Biological Opinion for the California Water Fix (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) | June 23rd, 2017
This consultation examines whether the California WaterFix (CWF) Proposed Action (PA) is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the threatened California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), threatened California tiger salamander (Central California Distinct Population Segment; Ambystoma californiense), threatened delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus), threatened giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas\ endangered Least bell’s vireo (Vireo belliipusillus), endangered San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica), threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), endangered vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), and threatened western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis). Additionally, this consultation addresses whether the CWF PA is likely to destroy or adversely modify delta smelt critical habitat.
The attached Final BiOp incorporates relevant information provided by the action agencies and applicant, including comments, changes, and additions to the CWF provided since consultation was initiated.
The Service has prepared a mixed programmatic BiOp on the CWF. This BiOp represents the culmination of consultation on a mix of standard-level and programmatic-level project elements.
An analysis and conclusion of whether or not the entire CWF action is likely to jeopardize each listed species or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat is included in this BiOp.
All activities addressed programmatically will be subject to a subsequent consultation on future Federal actions in order to proceed.
The following activities analyzed as a standard consultation are: (1) construction of the tunnels; (2) expansions and other modifications of Clifton Court Forebay; (3) associated infrastructure; (4) geotechnical explorations, (5) compensatory mitigation associated with construction except the North Delta Diversions (NDD), Head of Old River Gate (HORG), and Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) settlement agreement facilities; and (6) specific construction-related conservation measures including preconstruction surveys for listed terrestrial species.
Where incidental take of threatened or endangered species is reasonably certain to occur, an Incidental Take Statement for these activities is included with this BiOp.
The following activities requiring future Federal approvals and therefore addressed programmatically are: (1) construction of the NDD and associated structures; (2) construction of the HORG; (3) construction of the CCWD settlement agreement facilities; (4) operations of new and existing CVP and SWP water facilities under dual conveyance; (5) future maintenance; (5) future monitoring; (6) compensatory mitigation associated with construction of the NDD, HORG, and CCWD settlement agreement facilities; and (7) the CWF Adaptive Management Program. In order to ensure that future actions developed for the CWF are consistent with this analysis, Reclamation and DWR have proposed a framework consisting of Guiding Principles that are analyzed as part of this BiOp.
One or more subsequent consultations will be needed to address activities associated with future approvals. No Incidental Take Statement is included for activities addressed programmatically because those subsequent consultations will address incidental take associated with those activities.
The Service has analyzed the operational scenario for CWF included in the BA. The agencies recognize this operational scenario will change between now and the time that the CWF facilities are operational. Changes to the operational scenario will be analyzed in subsequent consultation.
The attached BiOp addresses effects of the CWF to 16 federally-listed species and designated critical habitat. Appendix A of the BiOp includes justifications for the species and critical habitat that were determined not likely to be adversely affected. Effects to the remainder of the species and critical habitat are addressed in the BiOp. The Service has determined that the CWF is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any of these species, and is not likely to destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.