Record of Decision for Central Valley Project Operations

ROC on LTO signing

Record of Decision signing Feb. 19, 2020. From left to right: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Director Paul Souza, USFWS Director Aurelia Skipwith, Reclamation California-Great Basin Regional Director Ernest Conant, Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, and Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt

The Bureau of Reclamation signed a Record of Decision Feb. 19, 2020, modernizing Central Valley Project operations based on the latest science to provide greater water reliability for California farms, families and communities while improving protections for endangered species and their habitats. Reclamation worked closely throughout this process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Water Resources. The ROD completes a years-long process that began in 2016.

The ROD is based on robust modern science and rigorous scientific input and review. The resulting actions identified in the ROD will bring added operational flexibility, which will enhance water reliability throughout the system. For example, by incorporating real-time monitoring into the CVP, the ROD enables better decision making and flexibilities to quickly respond to agricultural, environmental and endangered species conditions.

New, modernized operations will namely:

  • be based on real-time conditions, with additional Delta pumping curtailments if monitoring and analysis show Delta smelt and salmon are sensitive to the effects of exports while also allowing for more pumping when species are not present in areas most influenced by pumping;
  • provide better cold water management at Shasta Reservoir to directly benefit incubating salmon eggs;
  • accelerate ongoing reintroduction efforts of imperiled winter-run Chinook salmon populations on Battle Creek; and,
  • implement a strategy to supplement Delta smelt in the wild in the next 3 to 5 years.

These and other actions will significantly contribute to improving conditions for endangered species while ensuring optimal delivery of water for farmers and communities.

In addition to operational changes, the ROD broadens the suite of tools to address species’ needs beyond flows alone and includes habitat restoration, facility improvements, hatchery actions, monitoring and science commitments estimated at approximately $1.5 billion in Federal and state funding for the needs of threatened and endangered species over the next 10 years.

The ROD is based on Reclamation’s December 2019 Final Environmental Impact Statement and biological opinions completed in October 2019 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to meet our obligations under the ESA.

The full Record of Decision and additional information is available at the links below:

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Last Updated: 3/2/20