THIS JUST IN … Reclamation uses latest science to improve water reliability in California

Aerial view of the constructed intertie between the California Aqueduct and Delta-Mendota Canal Photo by Paul Hames / DWR

Final environmental impact statement released for the biological opinions for Central Valley Project and State Water Project long-term operations

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation today announced a major step to optimize water deliveries and power production for California communities and farms in an environmentally sound manner. The agency released a final environmental impact statement analyzing Central Valley Project and State Water Project long-term operations based on new biological opinions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to protect threatened and endangered species.

“This is a vital milestone for water reliability in California. It ensures our actions improve the quality of life for people and protect our environment,” said California-Great Basin Regional Director Ernest Conant. “We’ve embraced the latest science to allow real-time monitoring and other operational improvements throughout the system to protect fish.”

The EIS outlines several alternatives for operating the CVP and SWP. The preferred alternative best balances the need to provide a safe and reliable water supply to farms, families and communities with protections for critical species. Actions include real-time monitoring of endangered species, habitat restoration and improving temperature management strategies.

Specifically, the alternative provides better cold water management at Shasta Reservoir to directly benefit spawning salmon; a $14 million investment to accelerate ongoing reintroduction efforts of imperiled winter-run chinook salmon populations on Battle Creek and other Sacramento River tributaries; and an additional $50 million for a conservation hatchery in the Delta that will assist with the recovery of the Delta smelt and other Delta species of concern.

These and other actions will significantly improve conditions for endangered species while ensuring optimal delivery of water for farmers and communities. Reclamation expects to finalize these actions with a record of decision in 2020.

The final environmental impact statement is available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=39181.

 

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