On January 31st, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released their final biological opinion for the operations in the Delta. The timeline for the release of the revised biological opinions was sped up due to congressional pressure on the administration and the ultimate signing of the Presidential Water Memorandum last October. It is anticipated that the revised biological opinions, which guide how the state and federal government operate the pumps in the delta for endangered species, will bring significant improvements to water supply reliability for contractors south of the Delta. This release follows up on the recent revisions to the State and Federal Coordinated Operations Agreement, which decreased the risk of a call on Friant water supply by the Exchange Contractors.
The new biological assessment will now be reviewed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for consistency with the CA Endangered Species Act. In prior administrations, that review was mostly rubber stamped. It is anticipated that this CA review will be more heavily scrutinized. CCM will be coordinating closely with water districts in citrus areas on this critical issue. The full report can be accessed at: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/bdo/docs/ba-final-biological-assessment.pdf