General Project InformationSettlement reached in September 2006 by the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Friant Water Users Authority. The settlement, which followed an 18-year lawsuit, received federal court approval in October 2006. Federal legislation, the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, was passed in March 2009 authorizing federal agencies to implement the settlement.
The SCCAO CVP O&M BiOp covers various routine operation and maintenance (O&M) activities that occur on CVP facilities located within San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Contra Costa counties for a period of 25 years. The document addresses the potential effects of certain routine O&M activities on the California tiger salamander, vernal pool fairy shrimp, valley elderberry longhorn beetle, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, vernal pool tadpole shrimp, San Joaquin wooly-threads, California red-legged frog, giant garter snake, San Joaquin kit fox, and the potential effects on proposed critical habitat for the California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander, in accordance with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
The Friant Division impounds or diverts the entire flow of the San Joaquin River, except for flood control and irrigation releases. Friant Dam sends irrigation water south through the Friant-Kern Canal, and north through the Madera Canal. The main features of this division are all constructed and operated by Reclamation - Friant Dam, Friant-Kern Canal, and Madera Canal.
The Cachuma Project is one of three large-scale Federal water projects in the region, the other two are the Santa Maria and the Ventura Projects. These seacoast projects capture the seasonal floodwaters that would otherwise flow to the sea.