Fish Restoration Program (FRP)
The Fish Restoration Program Agreement (FRPA), between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Department of Water Resources (DWR), addresses specific habitat restoration requirements of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) biological opinions (Biological Opinions) for State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) operations. The FRPA is also intended to address the habitat requirements of the CDFW Longfin Smelt Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for SWP Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) operations. The FRPA was signed by the Directors of DWR and CDFW on October 18, 2010 and has been amended once (November 15, 2010) since that time.
The primary objective of the FRP is to implement the fish habitat restoration requirements and related actions of the Biological Opinions and the ITP in the Delta, Suisun Marsh, and Yolo Bypass. The FRP is focused on restoring 8,000 acres of intertidal and associated subtidal habitat in the Delta and Suisun Marsh to benefit delta smelt, 800 acres of low salinity habitat to benefit longfin smelt, and a number of related actions for salmonids. Habitat restoration actions implemented in compliance with the USFWS biological opinion that also meet the habitat restoration requirements of the ITP will satisfy the acreage requirements of the ITP. Experts from the Biological Opinions and the ITP can be found in both the FRPA and the FRP Implementation Strategy.
Fish Restoration Project
The FRPA establishes the framework for how CDFW will work cooperatively with and assist DWR to implement the habitat restoration actions of the Biological Opinions and the ITP. DWR, with assistance from CDFW, will plan and implement the restoration actions to mitigate impacts to delta smelt, longfin smelt, and winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon caused by the SWP Delta operations. DWR’s obligations focus on the above species, but may also benefit steelhead, sturgeon, and other native fish. Specifically, these actions are:
- Delta Smelt Biological Opinion Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) Component 4;
- NMFS Biological Opinion RPA Actions 1.2.6 and 1.6.2 in partnership with the US Bureau of Reclamation;
- NMFS Biological Opinion RPA Action Suite 1.6 and 1.7. The FRP will not be lead, but will provide funding and technical support only;
- ITP Condition 7.
FRPA IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY
The FRP Implementation Strategy document describes the process by which DWR and CDFW will implement the Fish Restoration Program, and satisfies Section B of the FRPA. Section B of the FRPA requires DWR, with assistance from CDFW, to develop an Implementation Schedule that will identify restoration actions, estimated costs, targeted acreage, and a timeline for DWR’s implementation of restoration actions to satisfy DWR’s obligations under the Biological Opinions and ITP. Appendix B lists the specific habitat restoration requirements of the FRPA, the Biological Opinions, and the ITP that pertain to this program. This document lays out the strategy to address these requirements. In addition, DWR and CDFW will complete the necessary environmental compliance documents to implement site specific habitat restoration projects; this may include tiering from existing programmatic documents where appropriate.
CACHE SLOUGH COMPLEX CONSERVATION ASSESSMENT
DWR and CDFW recently completed Volume 1 of 2 of the Cache Slough Complex Conservation Assessment. The Conservation Assessment evaluates the potential for restoring the Cache Slough Complex as part the FRP and provides information on the current and historic conditions of the Cache Slough Complex in order to generate a regional landscape conceptual model for conservation.
OTHER ASSOCIATED FRP DOCUMENTS
If you have questions or would like to be added to our listserve please send your name and email address to Dan Riordan at FRPA@water.ca.gov.