The native fish species of the Columbia River Basin rely on the healthy flow of rivers and streams for their survival, resilience and persistence. As a result of legal water withdrawals, stretches of many streams and rivers in the Columbia Basin run low –- and sometimes dry -– in summer and early fall. Inadequate stream flows, often the result of competing out-of-stream water uses like crop irrigation, are a key factor limiting the productivity of both anadromous (spawning) and resident fish species.
The Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program (CBWTP) was developed in 2002 to address chronically diminished stream flows in tributaries of the Columbia River. To enhance stream flow, the CBWTP works through local entities to acquire water rights from rights-holders, who volunteer to be part of the program. Using temporary and permanent water rights acquisitions and other incentive-based approaches, the CBWTP supports program partners in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana to assist landowners who wish to voluntarily restore flows to key fish habitat. Voluntary, market-based water transactions provide an effective and fair way to balance out-of-stream water uses with the need to maintain stream flow for imperiled fish.
Funding for this program is provided by Bonneville Power Administration in cooperation with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and with support from Altria.
Partner organizations for this program include:
Learn more at www.cbwtp.org.