The Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program Saves Over $1 Million in Monitoring Costs After 5 Years
In 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a final biological opinion on the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System for salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act. The opinion (FCRPS BiOp RPA 56) mandates Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to collaborate with NOAA and other action agencies to improve aquatic monitoring in the Columbia River Basin. BPA must provide evidence that an expanded habitat restoration program is an effective approach to endangered species recovery.
The basin-wide monitoring program required 22 field crews from 12 agencies, tribes, and private firms to collect data from more than 350 sites in 11 watersheds using a synchronized set of methods. BPA needed a single solution to standardize all data collection, centralize analyses, automate QA/QC, and uniformly publish monitoring data to estimate basin-wide habitat conditions. In 2010, BPA entrusted Sitka and a few key collaborators to build an end-to-end solution platform that would become the Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP).