Reclamation transitions to modified water operation plan for its Klamath Project
Christie Kalkowski, 916-978-5100, email@example.com
For Release: April 02, 2019
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. —The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that it has completed all steps necessary to transition to a modified operating plan for its Klamath Project, which delivers irrigation water to approximately 230,000 acres in southern Oregon and northern California.
Reclamation issued a finding of no significant impact related to its modified water management approach for project operations between 2019 and 2024. The approach is consistent with coordinated biological opinions issued on March 29, 2019, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The biological opinions analyze the effects of the ongoing Klamath Project operations on federally listed species, including the endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers and threatened coho salmon. NMFS and USFWS concluded that Reclamation’s modified operations plan for the Klamath Project is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of federally listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of their designated critical habitat.
“Our water management approach is reflective of an extensive science-based effort that aims at creating greater reliability and certainty for all resources,” said Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. “We are working to provide a fair and early allocation to water users while fulfilling our tribal trust obligations and protecting important species including coho salmon, Lost River, and shortnose suckers, among others. This plan is key to the continued survival of protected species and to the economic vitality of the Klamath Basin.”
The re-initiation of consultation included a robust process that provided for an increased level of engagement and collaboration with six federally recognized tribes and key stakeholders including Klamath Project water users. “Our biological opinion uses the best available science in determining that the Klamath Project will not jeopardize coho salmon or other listed species in the Klamath Basin,” said NOAA Fisheries West Coast Regional Administrator Barry Thom. “We are pleased that the Klamath Project improves flows for threatened coho salmon and other listed species in the Klamath Basin.”
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to recovery of the Lost River suckers and shortnose suckers and used the best available science to offer a plan that will sustain these fisheries,” said USFWS Pacific Southwest Regional Director Paul Souza. “We believe captive propagation is an important part of the species' future recovery.”
Additional information on Klamath Project operations and anticipated water supplies will be found in Reclamation’s 2019 Operations Plan, which is expected to be released during the first half of April.
The National Environmental Policy Act documents can be viewed at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=37522. For more information about the biological opinions and plans, or to receive emailed copies, contact Laura Williams at (541) 880-2581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.