Klamath Project Biological Assessment
The 2018 assessment and its appendices
are available at www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao
Reclamation this week released the finalized portion of the
Klamath Project Biological Assessment, a guiding document
totaling hundreds of pages that will help other federal
agencies to write the biological opinion for the Klamath
Basin hoped to take effect by April 1.
analyzing, assessing, the impacts of the Klamath Project
operation on all these (endangered) species,” said Laura
Williams, a spokesperson for the Klamath Basin Area Office
of Bureau of Reclamation.
are going to use this Biological Assessment that we did … to
create the bi-Op. We gathered as most recent science and
statistics, and that’s what this assessment document is.”
references the threatened Coho salmon in the lower Klamath
River, and endangered Lost River and shortnose sucker in
Upper Klamath Lake, Williams said, among many others.
Creation of the
Biological Assessment began in fall 2016 and originally was
planned to take several years to complete, Williams said.
wanted it done sooner than that so we did expedited
process,” Williams said. “Everybody has been working on this
intensely for about two months.”
working weekends and holidays to finish it.
court-required flushing flows and all that, those are in
effect until the new biological opinion is done,” Williams
said. “So that’s why it’s so important to do a thorough job,
but as quickly as possible, so that we could get that done
before the next water season. It’s as fast as it can be
opinion will be a guiding document for impact on Endangered
Species Act (ESA)-listed species for the next 10 years.
According to a
news release, the Biological Assessment contains: one, a
detailed description of the Klamath Project and its
operation; two, a description of the specific area that may
be affected by the action and the environmental baseline;
three, a description of ESA-listed species and critical
habitat; four, a description of the effects of the proposed
action on ESA-listed species and associated critical
proposed action analyzed in the assessment proposes to
continue to: store waters of Upper Klamath Lake and the
Klamath and Lost rivers; operate the project for the
delivery of water to meet authorized project purposes and
contractual obligations inclusive of deliveries to national
wildlife refuges; conduct routine maintenance activities on
project facilities; and, implement conservation measures
intended to minimize impacts of the proposed action.
action includes a water supply-based operational strategy
and consists of a water management approach for Upper
Klamath Lake and the Klamath and Lost rivers that mimic
natural hydrologic conditions observed in the Upper Klamath
officials said such an approach attempts to optimize the
ecologic benefit of the available water supply, resulting in
the ability to maximize the amount of remaining water
available for the Klamath Project while seeking to fill
Upper Klamath Lake during the fall/winter to increase the
volumes available for the Environmental Water Account
(including disease mitigation flows), Upper Klamath, and
project irrigation supply during the spring/summer
Assessment was submitted to the National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on
Dec. 21, with the federal agencies tasked with formulating
the biological opinion.
FWS public affairs officer for the Klamath Basin office,
said she not authorized to work at this time due to the
Due to the
shutdown, in its 13th day today, the turnaround time of the
biological opinion could be impacted, according to Williams.
“It’s the goal
to have it in effect by then (April 1),” Williams said. “We
are hoping it does not but there is potential for a delay.”
known as the Final Biological Assessment on “The Effects of
the Proposed Action to Operate the Klamath Project … on the
Federally-listed Threatened and Endangered Species,” the
document will serve as a guide for federal agencies to
formulate the biological opinon that takes effect April 1
through March 31, 2029.
officials said the information in the assessment represents
the best scientific and commercial data available.
officials expressed appreciation for the contributions
provided by tribes and key stakeholders during the
development of the assessment.
the public to view it but there’s no comment period,”
Williams said, of the assessment.
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