The Bureau of Reclamation announces the receipt of a joint, coordinated Biological Opinion delivered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The BO analyzes the effects of the ongoing operations of Reclamation’s Klamath Project through March 2023 on federally listed threatened and endangered species, including but not limited to, the endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers and the threatened coho salmon and their designated critical habitat.
The Services have concluded that the ongoing operation of the Project as described in Reclamation’s 2012 Biological Assessment, and as modified during formal consultation, is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of federally listed species or their critical habitat.
“I appreciate the inter-agency collaboration that went into developing this critical document for the Klamath Basin,” said David Murillo, Mid-Pacific Regional Director. “This will be an important guidepost as we work to develop a sustainable science-based water management approach that gives greater certainty to all water users throughout the Basin.”
Reclamation and the Services participated in extensive interagency coordination over the last two years for the purpose of collaboratively developing a water management approach that has the flexibility to optimize the benefits of available water for federally listed species while providing irrigation deliveries to the Project. Through this collaboration, Reclamation developed an innovative approach with the key driver and benefit of providing greater certainty, early in the year, on the amount of water that will be available for Upper Klamath Lake (endangered suckers), the Klamath River (threatened coho salmon) and the Project.
Implementation of this innovative water management approach will be beneficial during dry hydrologic years like 2013, and throughout the life of the BO, as the approach is expected to more efficiently optimize limited water supplies to benefit listed fish species and Project water users than in the past.
Additional information regarding Project operations and anticipated water supplies during 2013 can be found in the 2013 Operations Plan, which is expected to be released in early June.
More from Western Farm Press