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NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Biological and Conference Opinion on the Long-Term Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project National Research Council Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta

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  1. NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Biological and Conference Opinion on the Long-Term Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project National Research Council Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta January 25, 2010

  2. Status of Species

  3. Central Valley Salmon Population Over Time


  5. Central Valley Spring ChinookESU Structure

  6. Central Valley SteelheadESU Structure

  7. Viability Criteria for Populations

  8. Viability Criteria for ESUs • At least two viable populations per diversity group • If possible, the populations should not have highly correlated risks of catastrophic disturbance

  9. Current Status of CV Spring- Run Chinook salmon

  10. Climate Change

  11. Effects of Water Projects on Salmon

  12. Effect of Habitat Modification s

  13. Institutional Challenges

  14. Summary • Central Valley Salmonid ESUs are threatened with extinction • Water project facilities and operations have negative effects on fish habitat, with cascading effects on spatial structure, diversity, productivity, and abundance of populations • Improving in-stream flows and curtailing exports is necessary to conserve salmon, but will not be sufficient for recovery • An ecosystem perspective is needed to understand how human activities impact salmon • Adaptive management is needed to reduce risks

  15. Scope of today’s presentation • Brief highlights of Opinion – not all topics presented due to time constraints • Opinion itself is a summary document of over four years of analytic work between 5 agencies • Biological assessment, NMFS technical memos, peer review reports are important • 700+ scientific citations • Administrative record is 150,000 pages - - documents full decision-making process

  16. Approach to Biological Opinion:Challenges • Complexity - geographic scope • Multi-species • State and federal project – combined operations • Number of dams and diversions • Economic importance of project • Urban water supply, agricultural water supply, commercial salmon fishery • Long-term proposed operations (21 years) • Litigation history • Current events (recession, drought, fishery closure)

  17. Approach to Biological Opinion: Constraints • Our task – Limited to analyzing the Federal action, as proposed • Uncertainty in science; risk is balanced in favor of the species • Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) – • Limited to actions within authority and discretion of USBR and DWR • Minimum to avoid jeopardy; NOT a recovery plan • Must avoid jeopardy in short-term and long-term • Not necessary to prove quantitatively

  18. Consultation Process • Used a team of experienced federal biologists and hydrologists. • Adhered closely to legal requirements, agency guidelines, and used the best available scientific and commercial information • Maintained close and meaningful collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, CA Department of Water Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and CA Department of Fish and Game • Draft opinion peer reviewed by CALFED Independent Science Panel and Center for Independent Experts (CIE)

  19. Scientific Evidence • Used best scientific and commercial information • Literature review - 700 citations • Information from previous listing decisions, critical habitat rules, etc. • USBR’s Biological Assessment, including model outputs • Draft recovery plan • Monitoring reports

  20. Consultation Background • NMFS OCAP biological opinions: • Feb. 14, 1992, limited to winter-run Chinook salmon • 1993-2002, interim opinions issued due to changes in operations and new species listed • October 22, 2004: In 2008, Federal court invalidated that Opinion, and ordered that NMFS prepare a new Opinion. • June 4, 2009: Six complaints filed to date. • Close coordination with the USFWS throughout the OCAP consultation process

  21. CALFED Science Panel: James J. Anderson, University of Washington & Columbia Basin Research Mike Deas, Watercourse Engineering, Inc. Philip B. Duffy, Climate Central, Inc.; University of California, Merced Daniel L. Erickson, Consultant Reg Reisenbichler, Retired--U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Kenneth A. Rose, Louisiana State University Peter E. Smith, Retired--USGS CIE reviewers: Richard A. Marston Ian A. Fleming E. Eric Knudsen Peer Reviews of theDraft Biological Opinion CALFED & CIE reviews supported NMFS overall conclusions

  22. Peer Reviews of the Draft Biological Opinion (cont’d) • Significant changes made in response to peer review recommendations: • Editing for clarity and consistency between division analyses • Estimate ranges of loss from compilation of existing studies, even when we did not have complete data sets • Assessed risk based on weighting and key lines of evidence • Plan for drought sequence – not a single dry year

  23. Analytical Overview • Evaluated each stressor by species, life stage, and location • Risk and uncertainty incorporated throughout • Weighted evidence by certainty and magnitude of effect • Stated assumptions, reviewed model constraints and applicability, used ranges • Identified all direct and indirect effects • Considered variability in the Bay-Delta ecosystem • Summed for individual, population, diversity group and species levels.

  24. ABUNDANCE POP GROWTH RATE SPATIAL STRUCTURE DIVERSITY Freshwater Estuarine Marine HABITAT CAPACITY AND DIVERSITY Analytical Approach • Viable Salmonid Populations

  25. Analytical Approach (cont’d) • Central Valley Technical Recovery Team products: • Historical population structure • Assessing viability of Central Valley salmon and steelhead populations • Life cycle approach

  26. Stressors on Listed Species • Loss of habitat and degraded water quality due to: • Non-Federal dams and diversions • Land use activities • Invasive species • Hatcheries • Harvest activities • Environmental variations • Ocean conditions • Climate change

  27. Environmental Baseline

  28. Effects Overview • Shasta Reservoir: Future operations, including climate change: • 5 to 65% mortality of winter-run Chinook salmon eggs and fry • Red Bluff Diversion Dam (RBDD): • Delays adult passage of up to 15% of the winter-run and up to 70% of the spring-run that spawn above the RBDD • Blocks up to 35% of green sturgeon from its only known spawning ground • American River: • Mean water temperatures > 65°F, results in increased incidence of disease in juvenile steelhead • ~75% of time in June, 100% in July and August, >95% in September

  29. Effects Overview (cont’d) • Juvenile survival at export facilities: • About 1 in 3 survive through the Federal facilities • About 1 in 6 survive through the State facilities • Overall mortality in the interior Delta: • 35-90% of those that enter interior Delta • 5-20% of each winter-run Chinook salmon population • Juvenile San Joaquin River steelhead: 90-99% mortality from project and non-project stressors • Reduction in approximately 13-15% fall- and late fall-run Chinook salmon, which is killer whale prey; effects from hatchery management.

  30. Findings of the Biological Opinion • OCAP would likely jeopardize: • Sacramento winter-run Chinook salmon • Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon • Central Valley steelhead • Southern DPS of North American green sturgeon • Southern Resident killer whales • Destruction or adverse modification of designated and proposed critical habitat • Central California Coast steelhead – not likely to adversely affect this species or its critical habitat

  31. Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) Overview • Identified actions to alleviate major stressors for each species and summed these for short-term and long-term • Included appropriate flexibilities in RPA where possible • Monitoring, reporting, research, adaptive management

  32. RPA Overview (cont’d) • Scope – minimum to avoid jeopardy • Over 50 individual actions grouped by division, plus a fish passage program • Themes: • Water quantity and quality • gravel augmentation • improve passage • decrease entrainment • engineered solutions

  33. Key Elements of the RPA • Clear Creek below Whiskeytown Dam - increased flows and reduced temperatures • Shasta Reservoir and the Upper Sacramento River - new temperature management program • Shasta Dam - long-term passage prescriptions to allow re-introduction of listed salmon • Red Bluff Diversion Dam - interim gate operations until 2012, then gates up all year. • Lower Sacramento River basin and Delta - improved juvenile rearing habitat

  34. Key Elements of the RPA (cont’d) • American River - New flow and temperature plan; fish passage at Folsom Dam • Hatchery Genetics Management Plan for Nimbus Hatchery for steelhead and fall-run Chinook salmon. • Stanislaus River – new flow schedule, temperature criteria, and habitat improvements • Delta Cross Channel Gates - Additional gate closures during key times when listed fish are likely to be migrating through the area

  35. Key Elements of the RPA (cont’d) • Old and Middle Rivers - Flows will be modified to reduce the number of juveniles exposed to the Delta pumps, and fish salvage improvements to reduce mortality • San Joaquin Basin - Increased flows and pumping curtailments. • Studies – 6 year study of acoustic tagged fish in the San Joaquin Basin to evaluate the effectiveness of the RPA and refine it over the life-time of the project.

  36. RPA Flexibilities • Real-time operations • Phased-in implementation • Performance-based approaches • Take limits based on annual juvenile production estimates • Actions tiered to water year type/drought exception • Research and adaptive management

  37. Other Alternative RPA Actions • Evaluated during consultation and rejected (ineffective, critical habitat concerns, smelt concerns, predation issues, etc): • Trap and haul of San Joaquin steelhead • New screens at the existing pumps • New screens in the Delta (e.g., Georgiana Slough) • Permanent operable barriers at Head of Old River • Non-physical barrier alone at the Head of Old River (without increased flows and export curtailments)

  38. Alternatives (continued) Alternatives to water supply evaluated and included in RPA: • Gravel augmentation • Rearing habitat restoration • Engineered solutions, including: • New fish screen at Red Bluff • New temperature infrastructure at Whiskeytown and Folsom Dams • Retrofits to existing salvage facilities • Non-physical barrier (bubble curtain)

  39. Sacramento River Division Bruce Oppenheim

  40. Shasta Dam and Reservoir

  41. Carry over Storage in Shasta Long-term Average Annual and End of September Storage Differences for Shasta Storage, Spring Creek Tunnel Flow, and Keswick Release Study 6.0 = 2004 operations Study 7.1 = near future operations Study 7.0 =current operationsStudy 8.0 = future operations

  42. Calsim and Sacramento River Water Quality Modeling results for temperature exceedances at Balls Ferry under future conditions Study 8.0 76 74 Avg Max 72 5% 70 10% 68 25% 66 50% 75% 64 90% 62 95% 60 Min Mean Daily Temperature (F) 58 56 54 52 50 48 46 44 42 40 38 1/1 1/22 2/12 3/5 3/26 4/16 5/7 5/28 6/18 7/9 7/30 8/20 9/10 10/1 10/22 11/12 12/3 12/24 Date (month/day)

  43. Study 7.1 (near future) Study 6.0 (2004) Study 7.0 (current) Study 8.0 (future) Percent Mortality Water Year Type Egg and Fry Mortality by Water Year Type at Balls Ferry

  44. Temperature effects with Climate Change

  45. Study 7.1 (near future) Study 6.0 (2004) Study 7.0 (current) Study 8.0 (future) Percent Mortality Water Year Type

  46. Percent Mortality Water Year Type

  47. Summary of Significant Effects on the Mainstem Sacramento River • Long-term average loss of 121 TAF September carry-over storage (including effects of climate change) will: • Eliminate spring-run spawning in the mainstem • Reduce winter-run spawning habitat in the mainstem • Increase egg mortality substantially in consideration of climate change [i.e., Critical years increases to 5 to 65% for winter-run, 40 to 95% for spring-run (Sac. R mainstem only), and 4% for steelhead (based on late fall-run Chinook salmon as a surrogate)]. • Result in shorter emigration period and lower survival for juvenile salmonids

  48. Red Bluff Diversion Dam (RBDD) Gates in Open Position Looking Upstream

  49. 4 months closed 2 months closed