News Release Archive

Reclamation uses latest science to improve water reliability in California

Proposed changes will optimize water delivery and species protection

Media Contact: Jeff Hawk, 916-978-5100

For Release: December 19, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation today announced a major step to optimize water deliveries and power production for California communities and farms in an environmentally sound manner. The agency released a final environmental impact statement analyzing Central Valley Project and State Water Project long-term operations based on new biological opinions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to protect threatened and endangered species.

“This is a vital milestone for water reliability in California. It ensures our actions improve the quality of life for people and protect our environment,” said California-Great Basin Regional Director Ernest Conant. “We’ve embraced the latest science to allow real-time monitoring and other operational improvements throughout the system to protect fish.”

The EIS outlines several alternatives for operating the CVP and SWP. The preferred alternative best balances the need to provide a safe and reliable water supply to farms, families and communities with protections for critical species. Actions include real-time monitoring of endangered species, habitat restoration and improving temperature management strategies.

Specifically, the alternative provides better cold water management at Shasta Reservoir to directly benefit spawning salmon; a $14 million investment to accelerate ongoing reintroduction efforts of imperiled winter-run chinook salmon populations on Battle Creek and other Sacramento River tributaries; and an additional $50 million for a conservation hatchery in the Delta that will assist with the recovery of the Delta smelt and other Delta species of concern.

These and other actions will significantly improve conditions for endangered species while ensuring optimal delivery of water for farmers and communities. Reclamation expects to finalize these actions with a record of decision in 2020.

The final environmental impact statement is available at

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.