Central Valley Project And State Water Project Coordinated Operations Consultation Ongoing Biological Assessment Available

Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916-978-5100

For Release: April 02, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources have entered into formal Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation on coordinated Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) operations and on proposed actions as described in letters dated March 15, 2004, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and NOAA Fisheries. On March 22, 2004, a biological assessment (BA) was transmitted to the Service and NOAA Fisheries. It is anticipated that these State and Federal agencies, including participation by the California Department of Fish and Game, will produce biological opinions (BO) by summer 2004.

Pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA, consultation on five threatened or endangered aquatic species is being reinitiated to address effects of operating the projects under a new Operating Criteria and Plan (OCAP). Consultation on the October 1992 OCAP was completed for winter-run Chinook salmon, resulting in the February 1993 (amended in 1995) winter-run BO. Consultation for Delta smelt was completed in March 1995. Consultations for spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead resulted in 1- and 2-year BOs, which were issued again this year. Consultation on Coho salmon in the Trinity River is also being reinitiated.

Consultation on actions includes continued operation of the CVP and SWP, Freeport Regional Diversion Project, Trinity River flows, and Delta-Mendota Canal/California Aqueduct Intertie. Also included is early consultation on South Delta Improvement Project, Long-Term Environmental Water Account, and elements of CVP and SWP integration, as described in the March 15, 2004, letters.

For informational purposes, the March 22, 2004, BA, including the March 15, 2004, letters, are available online at www.usbr.gov/mp/cvo/ocapBA.html. The BA, which continues to be updated and refined, will be reissued prior to completion of consultation. For additional information or to request a compact disk, contact Ms. Ann Lubas-Williams at 916-979-2068, TDD 916-979-2183, or via e-mail at alubaswilliams@mp.usbr.gov.

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