Remanded Biological Opinions on the Coordinated Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Scoping Meetings, 18858-18860 [2012-7488]

Download as PDF 18858 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 60 / Wednesday, March 28, 2012 / Notices associated impacts of each. Alternative 3 (Preferred Alternative) would implement the GCP as proposed. Authority: The environmental review of this project is being conducted in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508), and with other appropriate Federal laws and regulations, policies, and procedures of the Service for compliance with those regulations. Planned agenda items include opening remarks from the District Manager, access issues, illegal trash dumps, and the Social-Economic Strategic Plan. A half-hour public comment period during which the public may address the Council will begin at 2:30 p.m. on April 11, 2012. All RAC meetings are open to the public. Depending on the number of individuals wishing to comment and time available, the time for individual oral comments may be limited. Dated: February 17, 2012. Mark J. Musaus, Acting Regional Director. Bill Childress, District Manager, Las Cruces. [FR Doc. 2012–7370 Filed 3–27–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–VC–P [FR Doc. 2012–7408 Filed 3–27–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Reclamation Bureau of Land Management [LLNML00000 L12200000.DF0000] Notice of Public Meeting, Las Cruces District Resource Advisory Council Meeting, New Mexico Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. AGENCY: In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Las Cruces District Resource Advisory Council (RAC), will meet as indicated below. DATES: The meeting date is April 11 2012, at the BLM Las Cruces District Office, 1800 Marquess Street, Las Cruces, NM 88005, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The public may send written comments to the RAC at the above address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rena Gutierrez, BLM Las Cruces District, 1800 Marquess Street, Las Cruces, NM 88005, 575–525–4338. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8229 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 10member RAC advises the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, on a variety of planning and management issues associated with public land management in New Mexico. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:29 Mar 27, 2012 Jkt 226001 Remanded Biological Opinions on the Coordinated Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of Scoping Meetings Bureau of Reclamation, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent and scoping meetings. AGENCY: The Bureau of Reclamation intends to prepare an environmental impact statement for modifications to the continued long-term operation of the Central Valley Project, in a coordinated manner with the State Water Project, that are likely to avoid jeopardy and destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. We are seeking suggestions and information on the alternatives and topics to be addressed and any other important issues related to the proposed action. DATES: Submit written comments on the scope of the environmental impact statement by May 29, 2012. Four public scoping meetings will be held to solicit public input on alternatives, concerns, and issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement: 1. Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Madera, CA. 2. Thursday, April 26, 2012, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Diamond Bar, CA. 3. Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sacramento, CA. 4. Thursday, May 3, 2012, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Marysville, CA. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to ˜ Janice Pinero, Endangered Species Compliance Act Specialist, Bureau of SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Reclamation, Bay-Delta Office, 801 I Street Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814–2536; fax to (916) 414–2439; or email at jpinero@usbr.gov. The scoping meetings will be held at the following locations: 1. Madera—Madera County Mail Library, Blanche Galloway Room, 121 N. G Street, Madera, CA 93637. 2. Diamond Bar—South Coast Air Quality Management District, Room CC6, 21865 Copley Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765. 3. Sacramento—Federal Building, 650 Capitol Mall, Stanford Room, Sacramento, CA 95814. 4. Yuba County Government Center, Board of Supervisors Chambers, 915 Eighth St., Marysville, CA 95901. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: ˜ Janice Pinero at (916) 414–2428; or email at jpinero@usbr.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Agencies Involved II. Why We Are Taking This Action III. Results of Litigation IV. Purpose and Need for Action V. Project Area VI. Alternatives To Be Considered VII. Statutory Authority VIII. Request for Comments IX. Public Disclosure X. How To Request Reasonable Accommodation I. Agencies Involved We, the Bureau of Reclamation, are the lead Federal agency. We will invite the following agencies to participate as cooperating agencies for preparation of the environmental impact statement (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as amended: • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We have also identified other Federal, State, and local agencies (e.g., California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Game, State and Federal Contractors Water Agency, etc.) as potential cooperating agencies, and we will invite them to participate as such in the near future. II. Why We Are Taking This Action The Central Valley Project (CVP) is the largest Federal Reclamation project. We operate the CVP in coordination with the State Water Project (SWP), under the Coordinated Operation Agreement between the Federal government and the State of California E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 60 / Wednesday, March 28, 2012 / Notices (authorized by Pub. L. 99–546). Reclamation’s 2008 Biological Assessment, as modified by general changes due to the passage of time and those items that have been litigated or legislated since the completion of the BA, describes operation of the projects. In December 2008, USFWS issued a Biological Opinion analyzing the effects of the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP in California. The USFWS Biological Opinion: • Concluded that ‘‘the coordinated operation of the CVP and SWP, as proposed, [was] likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt’’ and ‘‘adversely modify delta smelt critical habitat.’’ • Included a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative for CVP and SWP operations designed to allow the projects to continue operating without causing jeopardy or adverse modification. On December 15, 2008, we provisionally accepted and then implemented the USFWS Reasonable and Prudent Alternative. In June 2009, NMFS issued a Biological Opinion analyzing the effects of the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP on listed salmonids, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whale. This Biological Opinion concluded that the long-term operation of the CVP and SWP, as proposed, was likely to: • Jeopardize the continued existence of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, southern distinct population segment (DPS) of North American green sturgeon, and southern resident killer whales. • Destroy or adversely modify critical habitat for Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley springrun Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead and the Southern DPS of North American green sturgeon. The NMFS Biological Opinion included a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative designed to allow the projects to continue operating without causing jeopardy or adverse modification. On June 4, 2009, we provisionally accepted and then implemented the NMFS Reasonable and Prudent Alternative. Several lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (the Court) challenging various aspects of the USFWS and NMFS Biological Opinions and our acceptance and implementation of the associated Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:29 Mar 27, 2012 Jkt 226001 III. Results of Litigation The results of the above lawsuits were as follows. • On November 16, 2009, the Court ruled that we violated NEPA by failing to conduct a NEPA review of the potential impacts to the human environment before provisionally accepting and implementing the 2008 USFWS Biological Opinion and Reasonable and Prudent Alternative. • On March 5, 2010, the Court held that we violated NEPA by failing to undertake a NEPA analysis of potential impacts to the human environment before accepting and implementing the Reasonable and Prudent Alternative in the 2009 NMFS Biological Opinion. • On December 14, 2010, the Court found certain portions of the USFWS Biological Opinion to be arbitrary and capricious, and remanded those portions of the Biological Opinion to USFWS. The Court ordered us to review the Biological Opinion and Reasonable and Prudent Alternative in accordance with NEPA. • On September 20, 2011, in the Consolidated Salmonid Cases, the Court remanded the NMFS Biological Opinion to NMFS. We now have an opportunity to initiate a combined NEPA process addressing both the USFWS and NMFS Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives. To that end, we are beginning this combined NEPA process to analyze the effects of modifications to the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP that are likely to avoid jeopardy to listed species and destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. IV. Purpose and Need for Action The purpose of the action is to continue the operations of the CVP, in coordination with the SWP, as described in the 2008 Biological Assessment (as modified) to meet its authorized purposes, in a manner that: • Is consistent with Federal Reclamation law, applicable statutes, previous agreements and permits, and contractual obligations; • Avoids jeopardizing the continued existence of federally listed species; and • Does not result in destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. Continued operation of the CVP is needed to provide flood control, water supply, fish and wildlife restoration and enhancement, and power generation. It also provides navigation, recreation, and water quality benefits. However, coordinated operation of the CVP, as described in the 2008 Biological PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18859 Assessment was found to likely jeopardize the continued existence of listed species and adversely modify critical habitat. The ESA requires Federal agencies to insure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Modifications to the coordinated operation of the CVP and SWP to be evaluated should be consistent with the intended purpose of the action, within the scope of our legal authority and jurisdiction, economically and technologically feasible, and avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing listed species or resulting in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. V. Project Area The project area includes the CVP and SWP Service Areas and facilities, as described in this section. A. CVP Facilities The CVP facilities include reservoirs on the Trinity, Sacramento, American, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin rivers. • A portion of the water from Trinity River is stored and re-regulated in Clair Engle Lake, Lewiston Lake, and Whiskeytown Reservoir, and diverted through a system of tunnels and powerplants into the Sacramento River. Water is also stored and re-regulated in Shasta and Folsom reservoirs. Water from these reservoirs and other reservoirs owned and/or operated by the SWP flows into the Sacramento River. • The Sacramento River carries water to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). The Jones Pumping Plant at the southern end of the Delta lifts the water into the Delta Mendota Canal (DMC). This canal delivers water to CVP contractors, who divert water directly from the DMC, and exchange contractors on the San Joaquin River, who divert directly from the San Joaquin River and the Mendota Pool. CVP water is also conveyed to the San Luis Reservoir for deliveries to CVP contractors through the San Luis Canal. Water from the San Luis Reservoir is also conveyed through the Pacheco Tunnel to CVP contractors in Santa Clara and San Benito counties. • The CVP provides water from Millerton Reservoir on the San Joaquin River to CVP contractors located near the Madera and Friant-Kern canals. Water is stored in the New Melones Reservoir for water rights holders in the Stanislaus River watershed and CVP contractors in the northern San Joaquin Valley. E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1 18860 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 60 / Wednesday, March 28, 2012 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES B. State Water Project Facilities The Department of Water Resources operates and maintains the SWP, which delivers water to agricultural and municipal and industrial (M&I) contractors in northern California, the San Joaquin Valley, the Bay Area, the Central Coast, and southern California. • SWP water is stored and reregulated in Lake Oroville and released into the Feather River, which flows into the Sacramento River. • SWP water flows in the Sacramento River to the Delta and is exported from the Delta at the Banks Pumping Plant. The Banks Pumping Plant lifts the water into the California Aqueduct, which delivers water to the SWP contractors and conveys water to the San Luis Reservoir. • The SWP also delivers water to the Cross-Valley Canal, when the systems have capacity, for CVP water service contractors. VI. Alternatives To Be Considered The proposed action for the purposes of NEPA will consider operational components of the 2008 USFWS and the 2009 NMFS Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives. These components address continued operation of the CVP, in coordination with the SWP, in a manner intended to avoid jeopardizing continued existence of federally listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. • We expect to analyze flow management actions resulting from the 2008 USFWS Reasonable and Prudent Alternative that affect: (1) Protection of adult, juvenile, and larval delta smelt; and (2) Habitat improvements for delta smelt growth and rearing. • We expect to analyze flow management actions resulting from the 2009 NMFS Reasonable and Prudent Alternative that affect: (1) Attraction and channel maintenance flows; (2) Reduction of thermal stress; (3) Passage of fish at Red Bluff Diversion Dam; (4) Reduction of redd dewatering, entrainment, and straying; and (5) Reduction of negative hatchery influences on natural populations. The proposed action will not consider: • Structural changes prescribed in the NMFS 2009 Reasonable and Prudent Alternative that would require future evaluations, environmental documentation, and permitting; and • Reasonable and Prudent Alternative actions that would require future studies. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:29 Mar 27, 2012 Jkt 226001 As required by NEPA, we will develop and consider a proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives, including a No Action Alternative. Reasonable alternatives to the proposed action may include physical changes or changes in operations of CVP facilities. Alternatives could affect all or various components of the CVP, and may also include actions that affect SWP operations. We will engage with the Department of Water Resources in developing the proposed action and alternatives. We will also consider including in the alternative analysis reasonable alternatives to the proposed action identified through the scoping process. VII. Statutory Authority NEPA [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to determine if the actions may significantly affect the human environment. In addition, as required by NEPA, Reclamation will analyze in the EIS the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects that may result from the implementation of the proposed action and alternatives, which may include, but are not limited to, the following areas of potential impact: a. Water resources, including groundwater; b. Land use, including agriculture; c. Socioeconomics; d. Environmental justice; e. Biological resources, including fish, wildlife, and plant species; f. Cultural resources; g. Water quality; h. Air quality; i. Soils, geology, and mineral resources; j. Visual, scenic, or aesthetic resources; k. Global climate change; l. Indian trust assets m. Transportation; and n. Recreation. VII. Request for Comments The purposes of this notice are: • To advise other agencies, CVP and SWP water and power contractors, affected tribes, and the public of our intention to gather information to support the preparation of an EIS; • To obtain suggestions and information from other agencies, interested parties, and the public on the scope of alternatives and issues to be addressed in the EIS; and • To identify important issues raised by the public related to the development and implementation of the proposed action. PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 We invite written comments from interested parties to ensure that the full range of alternatives and issues related to the development of the proposed action are identified. Comments during this stage of the scoping process will only be accepted in written form. Written comments may be submitted by mail, electronic mail, facsimile transmission or in person (see ADDRESSES). Comments and participation in the scoping process are encouraged. IX. Public Disclosure Before including your name, address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. X. How To Request Reasonable Accommodation If special assistance is required at one of the scoping meetings, please contact ˜ Janice Pinero at the information provided above mailto: or TDD 916– 978–5608, at least five working days before the meetings. Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon request. Dated: March 14, 2012. Anastasia T. Leigh, Regional Environmental Officer, Mid-Pacific Region. [FR Doc. 2012–7488 Filed 3–27–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–MN–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [DN 2885] Certain Consumer Electronics, Including Mobile Phones and Tablets; Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public Interest U.S. International Trade Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has received a complaint entitled Certain Consumer Electronics, Including Mobile Phones and Tablets, DN 2885; the Commission is soliciting comments on any public interest issues SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 60 (Wednesday, March 28, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18858-18860]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7488]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation


Remanded Biological Opinions on the Coordinated Long-Term 
Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project: Notice 
of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Notice of 
Scoping Meetings

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent and scoping meetings.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Reclamation intends to prepare an environmental 
impact statement for modifications to the continued long-term operation 
of the Central Valley Project, in a coordinated manner with the State 
Water Project, that are likely to avoid jeopardy and destruction or 
adverse modification of designated critical habitat. We are seeking 
suggestions and information on the alternatives and topics to be 
addressed and any other important issues related to the proposed 
action.

DATES: Submit written comments on the scope of the environmental impact 
statement by May 29, 2012.
    Four public scoping meetings will be held to solicit public input 
on alternatives, concerns, and issues to be addressed in the 
environmental impact statement:
    1. Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Madera, CA.
    2. Thursday, April 26, 2012, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Diamond Bar, CA.
    3. Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sacramento, CA.
    4. Thursday, May 3, 2012, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Marysville, CA.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Janice Pi[ntilde]ero, Endangered 
Species Compliance Act Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, Bay-Delta 
Office, 801 I Street Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814-2536; fax to (916) 
414-2439; or email at jpinero@usbr.gov.
    The scoping meetings will be held at the following locations:
    1. Madera--Madera County Mail Library, Blanche Galloway Room, 121 
N. G Street, Madera, CA 93637.
    2. Diamond Bar--South Coast Air Quality Management District, Room 
CC6, 21865 Copley Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765.
    3. Sacramento--Federal Building, 650 Capitol Mall, Stanford Room, 
Sacramento, CA 95814.
    4. Yuba County Government Center, Board of Supervisors Chambers, 
915 Eighth St., Marysville, CA 95901.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janice Pi[ntilde]ero at (916) 414-
2428; or email at jpinero@usbr.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Agencies Involved
II. Why We Are Taking This Action
III. Results of Litigation
IV. Purpose and Need for Action
V. Project Area
VI. Alternatives To Be Considered
VII. Statutory Authority
VIII. Request for Comments
IX. Public Disclosure
X. How To Request Reasonable Accommodation

I. Agencies Involved

    We, the Bureau of Reclamation, are the lead Federal agency. We will 
invite the following agencies to participate as cooperating agencies 
for preparation of the environmental impact statement (EIS) in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as 
amended:
     U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS),
     National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS),
     U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and
     U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
    We have also identified other Federal, State, and local agencies 
(e.g., California Department of Water Resources, California Department 
of Fish and Game, State and Federal Contractors Water Agency, etc.) as 
potential cooperating agencies, and we will invite them to participate 
as such in the near future.

II. Why We Are Taking This Action

    The Central Valley Project (CVP) is the largest Federal Reclamation 
project. We operate the CVP in coordination with the State Water 
Project (SWP), under the Coordinated Operation Agreement between the 
Federal government and the State of California

[[Page 18859]]

(authorized by Pub. L. 99-546). Reclamation's 2008 Biological 
Assessment, as modified by general changes due to the passage of time 
and those items that have been litigated or legislated since the 
completion of the BA, describes operation of the projects.
    In December 2008, USFWS issued a Biological Opinion analyzing the 
effects of the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP in 
California. The USFWS Biological Opinion:
     Concluded that ``the coordinated operation of the CVP and 
SWP, as proposed, [was] likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
the delta smelt'' and ``adversely modify delta smelt critical 
habitat.''
     Included a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative for CVP and 
SWP operations designed to allow the projects to continue operating 
without causing jeopardy or adverse modification.
    On December 15, 2008, we provisionally accepted and then 
implemented the USFWS Reasonable and Prudent Alternative.
    In June 2009, NMFS issued a Biological Opinion analyzing the 
effects of the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP on 
listed salmonids, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whale. 
This Biological Opinion concluded that the long-term operation of the 
CVP and SWP, as proposed, was likely to:
     Jeopardize the continued existence of Sacramento River 
winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, 
Central Valley steelhead, southern distinct population segment (DPS) of 
North American green sturgeon, and southern resident killer whales.
     Destroy or adversely modify critical habitat for 
Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley spring-run 
Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead and the Southern DPS of North 
American green sturgeon.
    The NMFS Biological Opinion included a Reasonable and Prudent 
Alternative designed to allow the projects to continue operating 
without causing jeopardy or adverse modification. On June 4, 2009, we 
provisionally accepted and then implemented the NMFS Reasonable and 
Prudent Alternative.
    Several lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for 
the Eastern District of California (the Court) challenging various 
aspects of the USFWS and NMFS Biological Opinions and our acceptance 
and implementation of the associated Reasonable and Prudent 
Alternatives.

III. Results of Litigation

    The results of the above lawsuits were as follows.
     On November 16, 2009, the Court ruled that we violated 
NEPA by failing to conduct a NEPA review of the potential impacts to 
the human environment before provisionally accepting and implementing 
the 2008 USFWS Biological Opinion and Reasonable and Prudent 
Alternative.
     On March 5, 2010, the Court held that we violated NEPA by 
failing to undertake a NEPA analysis of potential impacts to the human 
environment before accepting and implementing the Reasonable and 
Prudent Alternative in the 2009 NMFS Biological Opinion.
     On December 14, 2010, the Court found certain portions of 
the USFWS Biological Opinion to be arbitrary and capricious, and 
remanded those portions of the Biological Opinion to USFWS. The Court 
ordered us to review the Biological Opinion and Reasonable and Prudent 
Alternative in accordance with NEPA.
     On September 20, 2011, in the Consolidated Salmonid Cases, 
the Court remanded the NMFS Biological Opinion to NMFS.
    We now have an opportunity to initiate a combined NEPA process 
addressing both the USFWS and NMFS Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives. 
To that end, we are beginning this combined NEPA process to analyze the 
effects of modifications to the coordinated long-term operation of the 
CVP and SWP that are likely to avoid jeopardy to listed species and 
destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat.

IV. Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of the action is to continue the operations of the CVP, 
in coordination with the SWP, as described in the 2008 Biological 
Assessment (as modified) to meet its authorized purposes, in a manner 
that:
     Is consistent with Federal Reclamation law, applicable 
statutes, previous agreements and permits, and contractual obligations;
     Avoids jeopardizing the continued existence of federally 
listed species; and
     Does not result in destruction or adverse modification of 
designated critical habitat.
    Continued operation of the CVP is needed to provide flood control, 
water supply, fish and wildlife restoration and enhancement, and power 
generation. It also provides navigation, recreation, and water quality 
benefits. However, coordinated operation of the CVP, as described in 
the 2008 Biological Assessment was found to likely jeopardize the 
continued existence of listed species and adversely modify critical 
habitat. The ESA requires Federal agencies to insure that their actions 
are not likely to jeopardize listed species or result in the 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Modifications 
to the coordinated operation of the CVP and SWP to be evaluated should 
be consistent with the intended purpose of the action, within the scope 
of our legal authority and jurisdiction, economically and 
technologically feasible, and avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing 
listed species or resulting in the destruction or adverse modification 
of critical habitat.

V. Project Area

    The project area includes the CVP and SWP Service Areas and 
facilities, as described in this section.

A. CVP Facilities

    The CVP facilities include reservoirs on the Trinity, Sacramento, 
American, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin rivers.
     A portion of the water from Trinity River is stored and 
re-regulated in Clair Engle Lake, Lewiston Lake, and Whiskeytown 
Reservoir, and diverted through a system of tunnels and powerplants 
into the Sacramento River. Water is also stored and re-regulated in 
Shasta and Folsom reservoirs. Water from these reservoirs and other 
reservoirs owned and/or operated by the SWP flows into the Sacramento 
River.
     The Sacramento River carries water to the Sacramento-San 
Joaquin Delta (Delta). The Jones Pumping Plant at the southern end of 
the Delta lifts the water into the Delta Mendota Canal (DMC). This 
canal delivers water to CVP contractors, who divert water directly from 
the DMC, and exchange contractors on the San Joaquin River, who divert 
directly from the San Joaquin River and the Mendota Pool. CVP water is 
also conveyed to the San Luis Reservoir for deliveries to CVP 
contractors through the San Luis Canal. Water from the San Luis 
Reservoir is also conveyed through the Pacheco Tunnel to CVP 
contractors in Santa Clara and San Benito counties.
     The CVP provides water from Millerton Reservoir on the San 
Joaquin River to CVP contractors located near the Madera and Friant-
Kern canals. Water is stored in the New Melones Reservoir for water 
rights holders in the Stanislaus River watershed and CVP contractors in 
the northern San Joaquin Valley.

[[Page 18860]]

B. State Water Project Facilities

    The Department of Water Resources operates and maintains the SWP, 
which delivers water to agricultural and municipal and industrial (M&I) 
contractors in northern California, the San Joaquin Valley, the Bay 
Area, the Central Coast, and southern California.
     SWP water is stored and re-regulated in Lake Oroville and 
released into the Feather River, which flows into the Sacramento River.
     SWP water flows in the Sacramento River to the Delta and 
is exported from the Delta at the Banks Pumping Plant. The Banks 
Pumping Plant lifts the water into the California Aqueduct, which 
delivers water to the SWP contractors and conveys water to the San Luis 
Reservoir.
     The SWP also delivers water to the Cross-Valley Canal, 
when the systems have capacity, for CVP water service contractors.

VI. Alternatives To Be Considered

    The proposed action for the purposes of NEPA will consider 
operational components of the 2008 USFWS and the 2009 NMFS Reasonable 
and Prudent Alternatives. These components address continued operation 
of the CVP, in coordination with the SWP, in a manner intended to avoid 
jeopardizing continued existence of federally listed species or result 
in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical 
habitat.
     We expect to analyze flow management actions resulting 
from the 2008 USFWS Reasonable and Prudent Alternative that affect:
    (1) Protection of adult, juvenile, and larval delta smelt; and
    (2) Habitat improvements for delta smelt growth and rearing.
     We expect to analyze flow management actions resulting 
from the 2009 NMFS Reasonable and Prudent Alternative that affect:
    (1) Attraction and channel maintenance flows;
    (2) Reduction of thermal stress;
    (3) Passage of fish at Red Bluff Diversion Dam;
    (4) Reduction of redd dewatering, entrainment, and straying; and
    (5) Reduction of negative hatchery influences on natural 
populations.
    The proposed action will not consider:
     Structural changes prescribed in the NMFS 2009 Reasonable 
and Prudent Alternative that would require future evaluations, 
environmental documentation, and permitting; and
     Reasonable and Prudent Alternative actions that would 
require future studies.
    As required by NEPA, we will develop and consider a proposed action 
and a reasonable range of alternatives, including a No Action 
Alternative. Reasonable alternatives to the proposed action may include 
physical changes or changes in operations of CVP facilities.
    Alternatives could affect all or various components of the CVP, and 
may also include actions that affect SWP operations. We will engage 
with the Department of Water Resources in developing the proposed 
action and alternatives. We will also consider including in the 
alternative analysis reasonable alternatives to the proposed action 
identified through the scoping process.

VII. Statutory Authority

    NEPA [42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.] requires that Federal agencies 
conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to 
determine if the actions may significantly affect the human 
environment. In addition, as required by NEPA, Reclamation will analyze 
in the EIS the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental 
effects that may result from the implementation of the proposed action 
and alternatives, which may include, but are not limited to, the 
following areas of potential impact:
    a. Water resources, including groundwater;
    b. Land use, including agriculture;
    c. Socioeconomics;
    d. Environmental justice;
    e. Biological resources, including fish, wildlife, and plant 
species;
    f. Cultural resources;
    g. Water quality;
    h. Air quality;
    i. Soils, geology, and mineral resources;
    j. Visual, scenic, or aesthetic resources;
    k. Global climate change;
    l. Indian trust assets
    m. Transportation; and
    n. Recreation.

VII. Request for Comments

    The purposes of this notice are:
     To advise other agencies, CVP and SWP water and power 
contractors, affected tribes, and the public of our intention to gather 
information to support the preparation of an EIS;
     To obtain suggestions and information from other agencies, 
interested parties, and the public on the scope of alternatives and 
issues to be addressed in the EIS; and
     To identify important issues raised by the public related 
to the development and implementation of the proposed action.
    We invite written comments from interested parties to ensure that 
the full range of alternatives and issues related to the development of 
the proposed action are identified. Comments during this stage of the 
scoping process will only be accepted in written form. Written comments 
may be submitted by mail, electronic mail, facsimile transmission or in 
person (see ADDRESSES). Comments and participation in the scoping 
process are encouraged.

IX. Public Disclosure

    Before including your name, address, phone number, email address or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

X. How To Request Reasonable Accommodation

    If special assistance is required at one of the scoping meetings, 
please contact Janice Pi[ntilde]ero at the information provided above 
mailto: or TDD 916-978-5608, at least five working days before the 
meetings. Information regarding this proposed action is available in 
alternative formats upon request.

    Dated: March 14, 2012.
Anastasia T. Leigh,
Regional Environmental Officer, Mid-Pacific Region.
[FR Doc. 2012-7488 Filed 3-27-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-MN-P