Fish and Wildlife Service Completes/Reclamation Receives Biological Opinion on Delta Smelt

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For Release: December 16, 2008

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Media Contacts:  Reclamation - Lynnette Wirth, 916-978-5100,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Al Donner, 916-414-6566,

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) delivered its Biological Opinion (BO) to the Bureau of Reclamation on Monday, December 15, 2008, on the effects of the continued operation of the Federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project on the delta smelt and its designated critical habitat.

The Service has determined that the continued operation of these two water projects as described in the Biological Assessment (BA) is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt and adversely modify its critical habitat.  The BO is accompanied by a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) intended to protect each life-stage and critical habitat of this federally protected species.

Reclamation initiated the formal phase of consultation in May 2008 and transmitted a revised BA in August of this year.  Reclamation and the Service cooperated closely throughout the development of the BO and coordinated regularly with the California Departments of Water Resources and Fish and Game.

Reclamation is currently reviewing the BO, including the RPA, to determine if the BO can be implemented in a manner that is consistent with the intended purpose of the action, is within the agency's legal authority and jurisdiction, and is economically and technologically feasible.

The BO is available at

The Department of Justice has notified the Eastern District Court and Judge Oliver Wanger that the Service has completed the BO within the time-period directed by the court.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  Visit our website at

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

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