De minimis threshold for Platte River species depletions consultations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has adopted a policy that water-related activities in the Platte River basin resulting in less than 0.1 acre-foot/year of depletions in flow to the nearest surface water tributary to the Platte River system do not affect the Platte River target species, and thus do not require consultation with the Service for potential effects on those species.

Similarly, detention basins designed to detain runoff for less than 72 hours, and temporary withdrawals of water (e.g., for hydrostatic pipeline testing) that return all the water to the same drainage basin within 30 days' time are considered to have no effect, and do not require consultation.

These thresholds were established to minimize the time and effort expended by the Service, by project proponents, and by lead federal agencies in the review of projects that are not expected, either individually or collectively, to have any appreciable effect on the success or failure of the Platte River species-recovery efforts.  One-tenth of one acre-foot roughly equates to the annual consumptive use of one residential water user in the Platte River basin.

(November 3, 2009)