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CMFO Biologist Guest Lecturer on Endangered Species Consultation for Corps of Engineers Planning Associates Training
Midwest Region, June 6, 2013
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Petroglyph/pictographs at Columbia Hills State Park along the Columbia River.
Petroglyph/pictographs at Columbia Hills State Park along the Columbia River. - Photo Credit: jledwin (USFWS)
Bonneville Dam, Columbia River, Oregon
Bonneville Dam, Columbia River, Oregon - Photo Credit: jledwin (USFWS)
Fish ladder at Bonneville Dam, Oregon.
Fish ladder at Bonneville Dam, Oregon. - Photo Credit: jledwin (USFWS)

Jane Ledwin, biologist with the Columbia Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, represented the Fish and Wildlife Service as a guest instructor for the environmental module of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Annual Planning Associates Training in Portland, Oregon, this June. The Corps’ Planning Associates program is an advanced training opportunity in water resources planning whose goal is to broaden planners' competencies in solving complex water resource challenges. The course covers all aspects of the Corps’ water resource development programs. This was the sixth year Ms. Ledwin has joined Corps instructors.  She provided instruction and perspective regarding our agencies’ shared responsibilities for federally listed species to this year’s class of planners from Districts across the country.

 

 

Ms. Ledwin provided a primer on the Endangered Species Act, with special attention on the intent of the Act, and the federal responsibilities under Sections 7(a)(1) and 7(a)(2). She emphasized the importance of early and frequent communication to take advantage of conservation opportunities and management flexibility during the initial stages of project development. She also underscored the Congressional intent of a well-reasoned, credible federal approach to conservation of federally listed species, rather than an adversarial approach between agencies. In her presentation, Ms. Ledwin emphasized that success depends on collaborative problem-solving and bringing everyone's ingenuity and expertise to these often complex and controversial projects. She also tried to impress on the students that now is a time of great change in water development projects planning. Existing guidance is being revisited and updated, federal agencies are being tasked to incorporate climate change issues in future projects, and existing projects are nearing the end of their anticipated project life. These planners have the opportunity to greatly influence the future direction of the Corps’ water resource development projects and programs, and should consider carefully the legacy they hope to leave.

The course is structured into sections, and the Northwest Division hosts the section on Hydropower, Recreation, and Fish and Wildlife. The field trip included a tour of several Corps and tribal facilities along the Columbia River, including Celilo Falls, a traditional tribal fishing area flooded by impoundments from Corps dams. District and Division tribal liasons provided great insight and perspecitive regarding the significant cultural issues woven into Columbia Rvier management. District staff also described work incorporating cultural artifacts and features into several projects along the River. We saw ongoing efforts to relocate petroglyphs/pictographs for public viewing and preservation. Ms. Ledwin was impressed with the Corps' planning program, the students and the staff. In addition, the students regularly comment on the importance of guest speakers to provide other perspectives beyond the Corps and reinforce important partnerships.

 


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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