Water Project Biological Opinions ("OCAP")

Federal pumping plant near Tracy, John Ridilla, USFWS

Federal pumping plant near Tracy
John Ridilla USFWS

Overview

To avoid jeopardizing listed species or adversely modifying their critical habitat, Federal agencies consult with the Fish & Wildlife Service or National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. (See Section 7 Consultation.)

If a Federal agency believes that a project may adversely affect a listed species, it requests a formal consultation with one or both of the services. The consulting service then issues a biological opinion about whether a project is likely to jeopardize a listed species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat.


Note: The Bureau of Reclamation has requested reinitiation of the long-term operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. See sidebar.

On May 16, 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources asked the Service to initiate consultation on the Long-Term Operational Criteria and Plan (OCAP) for coordination of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, specifically concerning the delta smelt and its critical habitat. (See OCAP Legal Archives.)

On December 15, 2008, the Fish & Wildlife Service issued a biological opinion (BO) on the Long-Term Operational Criteria and Plan (OCAP) for coordination of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.

The Service determined that the continued operation of these two water projects, as described in the plan, was likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt and adversely modify its critical habitat. The inclusion by the Service of reasonable and prudent alternatives, and their acceptance by the water agencies, avoided jeopardy and adverse modification.

California WaterFix

AKA "Delta Tunnels." Visit our California WaterFix page.

Smelt Working Group

The Smelt Working Group (formerly known as the Delta Smelt Working Group) evaluates up-to-date biological and technical issues regarding delta and longfin smelt and develops recommendations for consideration by the Service in its implementation of the Operational Criteria and Plan Biological Opinion. See the Smelt Working Group for notes and determinations.

Information about the Delta Smelt


Delta Smelt, Peter Johnson USFWS (More species photos)