The Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program (CBWTP) was started in 2002 to address a chronic regional challenge. As a result of legal water withdrawals during the peak growing season, stretches of many streams and rivers run low – and sometimes dry – with significant consequences for imperiled salmon, steelhead, trout and other creatures. Using permanent acquisitions, leases, investments in efficiency and other incentive-based approaches, the CBWTP supports program partners in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana to assist landowners who wish to restore flows to existing habitat.
The CBWTP is managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife, working in partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration. The majority of funding is provided by BPA in cooperation with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. A number of other funders support the CBWTP. A 2012 addition is Altria which will provide matching support for the program in the Yakima and Walla Walla basins this year.