Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Bureau of Reclamation Projects

Bureau of Reclamation Projects: a variety of specific and omnibus authorizing statutes provide for fish and wildlife conservation at water resources projects of the Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, and the Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army.

General authority for conservation measures to be considered in planning reclamation projects is contained in statutes such as the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-666c, 48 Stat. 401), as amended, and the Small Reclamation Projects Act of 1956 (43 U.S.C. 422a-422k, 70 Stat. 1044), as amended. Projects which include specifically authorized conservation measures include, but are not limited to the following:

Public Law 98-396, approved August 22, 1984, (98 Stat. 1369) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to accept title to and operate and maintain any reregulating dam or fish passage facility without compensation. Provides that anadromous fish operations and management costs that are in excess of present obligations shall be nonreimbursable and nonreturnable. Authorizes credit to the Yakima Indian Nation for construction for the Yakima Enhancement Project.

Bureau of Reclamation projects and studies were again authorized and amended via the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992 (106 Stat. 4600; P.L. 102-575). Studies and projects which require conservation measures or are interest to Service include:

- Bonneville Unit Water Development: authorizes that use of appropriated funds for compliance measures pursuant to a biological opinion rendered under the Endangered Species Act

- Uinta Basin Replacement Project: authorizes that use of appropriated funds for compliance measures pursuant to a biological opinion rendered under the Endangered Species Act; directs the Secretary of the Interior to establish a conservation pool of water in a project reservoir for fishery and recreational uses.

- Section 3405 Water Transfers; establishes conditions and requirements under which water transfers from the project may occur, including the protection and preservation of fish and wildlife.

- Section 3406 Fish,Wildlife and Habitat Restoration; allows the authorization of project monies for fish and wildlife habitat mitigation, preservation, and restoration and for enhancement of fish and wildlife. Also, stipulates that mitigation of fish and wildlife losses as a result of Central Valley Project operations and construction shall be based on the replacement with ecologically equivalent habitat. Operations are to be consistent with all relevant Federal and state law, including, but not limited to, the Endangered Species Act. Restoration activities include: development of a program to protect, restore and enhance natural production of anadromous fish species; provision of water flows which are adequate to sustain and protect fish, wildlife and their habitats; completion of fishery impact studies.

- Section 3407 Restoration Fund; establishes the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund. Funds are to be used to carry out projects under Section 3406. Not less than 67% of all fund monies are to be used for habitat restoration, improvement, and acquisition. Also, directs the Secretary to complete a programmatic environmental impact statement analyzing the direct and indirect benefits of implementing this title. Appropriations are authorized to carry out the provisions of this title.