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The Program
In December 2001, BPA issued a Request for Qualifications for Water Program Solicitation seeking statements of qualifications from individuals or entities interested in helping BPA implement Action 151 under the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) 2000 Biological Opinion on the Operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System and aspects of Implementation Provision A.8 from the Northwest Power Planning Council's Fish and Wildlife Program.

In April 2002, BPA selected the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to serve as the regional entity for the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program. NFWF is a non-profit organization established in 1984; it is authorized to accept federal funds and leverage them with non-federal partners to invest in innovative strategies for increasing stream flows. To date the foundation has funded over 5000 projects worth more than $500 million in federal and nonfederal investments to meet national conservation priorities. NFWF established its Pacific

Northwest Regional (PNW) Office in September 2000 in order to develop innovative partnerships with both federal and nonfederal entities. The PNW Office currently manages over 250 projects in the Northwest worth over $35 million. NFWF and its PNW office has built upon its existing capabilities in order to operate the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program through its cooperative funding agreement with BPA.

NFWF receives, evaluates, and ranks innovative water proposals submitted by local entities, and facilitates the implementation of projects and individual water transactions with funding from BPA, NFWF and other sources. Using a set of approved criteria, NFWF makes funding recommendations on water project proposals submitted by local entities and obtains BPA approval before funding a project under this program. NFWF ensures effective implementation of funded projects and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act through its agreements with the local entities participating in the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program. NFWF develops outreach information, issues transaction solicitations, and qualifies additional local entities.