The Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992 amended previous authorizations of the Central Valley Project to include fish and wildlife protection, restoration, and mitigation as project purposes having equal priority with irrigation and domestic uses; and fish and wildlife enhancement as a project purpose equal to power generation.
From 1993 through 2011, Reclamation and its partners have completed several large projects, including the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District fish screen, the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District fish screen, the Shasta Lake Temperature Control Device, the Contra Costa Canal pumping plant, and the Coleman National Fish Hatchery. Currently, the CVPIA Program is comprised of 23 programs that fall into three broad resource areas: fisheries, wildlife refuges and other resources programs.
Wildlife refuges in Central California teem with life. Employee contest photo taken by Stuart Angerer
The fisheries goal is to double the natural production of anadromous fish on a sustainable basis. Accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2011 included:
- In the Sacramento basin in central California, construction began on an Antelope Creek project to improve passage to 13 miles of spawning habitat; Wildcat Dam on Battle Creek has been removed and two fish ladders have been completed; and a contract was awarded for the Mill Creek fish passage assessment and restoration project, intended to improve fish passage for juvenile and adult salmonids.
- For the San Joaquin River Basin in central California, funds were provided to purchase 6,557 tons of spawning gravel to improve natural production of Chinook salmon and steelhead at several spawning sites in the Mokelumne River; construction began on the Calaveras River Passage Improvement Project to restore access to about 10 miles of habitat for salmon; a floodplain and side-channel enhancement project to increase juvenile salmonid rearing habitat and decrease predation at Lancaster Road was completed on the Stanislaus River, and construction continued on the Merced River Ranch Floodplain Enhancement Project to restore up to six acres of riparian floodplain and more than a mile of spawning habitat.
- The last component of the Contra Costa Canal Pump Program in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was completed when a new fish screen structure went into operation at the entrance to the canal in Rock Slough (see page 38).
- On Clear Creek in northern California, more than 21,000 square feet of spawning habitat was created by gravel placements at five sites (see page 58).
- There were placements of gravel in three other central California rivers to improve spawning sites: 5,000 tons went into the Sacramento River, 5,000 tons into the Stanislaus River, and 20,770 tons into the American River.
Construction on four fish screens was completed at three intakes on the Sacramento River and one intake site on the San Joaquin River. Construction continued on the American Basin Fish Screen Project, with completion expected in 2013. Design, environmental compliance and permitting activities for the Yuba City and the Reclamation District 2035 Fish Screen projects advanced, with construction expected to begin on both by 2013.
The San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s projects included Invasive Vegetation Management and Control activities, and completion of the Annual Technical Report and Annual Monitoring and Analysis Plan. Interim flow releases from Friant Dam contributed 106,318 acre-feet to San Joaquin River flows while working toward the goals of fish reintroduction and maintaining the current fish population (see page 38).
- On the Trinity River in Northern California, the restoration program achieved peak flows of 11,000 cubic feet per second. The program also added 5,300 cubic yards of gravel to the river. Watershed projects will keep about 9,600 cubic yards of fine sediment out of the river (see page 57).
An egret at a wildlife refuge
|Goslings are shown in this employee photo contest picture taken by Tami Corn|
|Frogs are drawn to wetlands such as this one shown in an employee photo contest picture taken by Nina Hemphill|
The goals of the Refuge Water Supply Program are to provide certain amounts of two classifications of water to 19 CVPIA federal, state and private wildlife refuges. Due to the wet year, the program was able to achieve deliveries that approached goal amounts:
- The goal is to supply 422,251 acre-feet of Level 2 water to the refuges annually. In 2011, the program delivered 367,592 acre-feet of Level 2 water.
- The other goal is to provide 133,264 acre-feet of Incremental Level 4 water. In 2011, the program supplied 101,854 acre-feet of Incremental Level 4 water.
The CVPIA requires the Region to acquire water supplies, known as incremental Level 4, to meet optimal waterfowl habitat management needs at various wildlife areas in the Central Valley. Incremental Level 4 is defined as the difference between historical annual average water deliveries (Level 2) and water supplies needed to achieve optimal waterfowl habitat management (Level 4).
The amount of water the Region can deliver to wildlife refuges depends on several factors, including the availability of water and ability of Reclamation to deliver water to certain refuges. During 2011, the Region funded design work that is anticipated to lead to the construction of refuge conveyance facilities beginning in 2012. In 2011, Reclamation also funded the installation of groundwater wells at refuge locations in order to improve the ability to deliver more reliable water supplies.
Other Resource Programs
The other resource programs’ goals are to protect and restore terrestrial habitat and the species that depend on them.
In 2011, the Habitat Restoration Program contributed to the protection of 5,404 acres of land through conservation easement acquisitions of 2,407 acres of vernal pool, grassland, and riparian habitats in Tehama County; and 2,997 acres of vernal pool, grassland, and other habitats in Merced County. Also, the program moved toward restoration of about 28 acres of alkali scrub and 101 acres of riparian woodland vegetation in Kern County, and 492 acres of serpentine grassland and associated habitats at in Santa Clara County.
The Land Retirement Program retired about 220 acres of land from irrigated agricultural production and converted it to native upland habitat.
More information: http://www.usbr.gov/mp/cvpia/index.html
A newborn elk nestles in a wildlife refuge in an employee photo contest picture taken by Ali Warren
April 20, 2012