[env-trinity] NOAA's News Release on CVP and Salmon

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Jun 4 12:53:37 PDT 2009

Again.My apologies for any multiple postings




NOAA Releases New Biological Opinion on Salmon

NOAA News Release-6/04/09



NOAA released its final biological opinion today that finds the water
pumping operations in California's Central Valley by the federal Bureau of
Reclamation jeopardize the continued existence of several threatened and
endangered species under the jurisdiction of NOAA's Fisheries Service.


The bureau has provisionally accepted NOAA's recommended changes to its
water pumping operations, and said it will begin to implement its near-term
elements as it carefully evaluates the overall opinion.


Federal biologists and hydrologists concluded that current water pumping
operations in the Federal Central Valley Project and the California State
Water Project should be changed to ensure survival of winter and spring-run
Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, the southern population of North
American green sturgeon and Southern Resident killer whales, which rely on
Chinook salmon runs for food.


Two independent peer review panels were conducted to ensure the opinion is
solidly grounded in the best available science. The package was peer
reviewed by the CalFed Independent Science Board and the Center for
Independent Experts.


"What is at stake here is not just the survival of species but the health of
entire ecosystems and the economies that depend on them," said Rod Mcinnis,
southwest regional director for NOAA's Fisheries Service. 

"We are ready to work with our federal and state partners, farmers and
residents to find solutions that benefit the economy, environment and
Central Valley families."


As part of the final opinion, NOAA's Fisheries Service has provided a number
of ways the bureau can operate the water system to benefit the species,
including increasing the cold water storage and flow rates. 

Such methods will enhance egg incubation and juvenile fish rearing, as well
as improve the spawning habitat and the downstream migration of juvenile


Changing water operations will impact an estimated five to seven percent of
the available annual water on average moved by the federal and state pumps,
or about 330,000 acre feet per year. Agricultural water use in California is
roughly 30 million acre feet per year. Water operations will not be affected
by the opinion immediately and will be tiered to water year type. The
opinion includes exception procedures for drought and health and safety


In addition, the opinion calls for the bureau to develop a genetics
management plan and an acoustic tagging program to evaluate the
effectiveness of the actions and pilot passage programs at Folsom and Shasta
reservoirs to reintroduce fish to historic habitat.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will mitigate some costs
resulting from the opinion's recommended actions. The Department of the
Interior identified $109 million to construct a Red Bluff Pumping Plant that
will allow the old Red Bluff Diversion Dam to be operated in a "gates out"
position to allow salmon and green sturgeon unimpeded passage. In addition,
the Act contains $26 million to restore Battle Creek, a salmon tributary to
the Sacramento River.


The water projects included in the opinion are Shasta Dam at the upper
headwaters of the Sacramento River, Folsom and Nimbus dams on the American
River, and New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River. The opinion also covers
the state and federal export facilities in the Delta, the Nimbus hatchery on
the American River, and the operations of diversion structures, including
the Red Bluff Diversion Dam on the mainstem Sacramento and the Delta Cross
Channel gates in the Delta.


The bureau initiated the formal phase of consultation in May 2008 and then
cooperated with NOAA's Fisheries Service throughout the development of the
biological opinion and alternative actions in coordination with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Departments of Water Resources
and Fish and Game.


A copy of the final biological opinion and alternative actions may be found
at http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/ocap.htm.              


NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the
depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our
coastal and marine resources.# 



Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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