Representatives Nunes, Denham, and McCarthy Introduce Bill to Address Water Project Operations in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

On May 11, Representatives Nunes, Denham, and McCarthy introduced H.R. 1837 (pdf) "to address water-related concerns on the San Joaquin River, and for other purposes."  A section by section analysis is available here (pdf).

Title I of the bill includes a number of proposed amendments to the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA), 106 Stat. 4706.  Among other things, it eliminates non-native fish including striped bass from the list of "anadromous fish" that are protected by the CVPIA and it facilitates water transfers.  This title also:

  • specifies that all Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements will be met for operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) if they are operated in a manner consistent with the 1994 Bay-Delta Accord,
  • directs the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce to issue biological opinions for CVP and SWP operations that are no more restrictive than the provisions of the Bay-Delta Accord,
  • preempts any state requirements for the protection of ESA listed species that is more restrictive than the requirements of this section, and
  • preempts any state restriction imposed on take or harvest of nonnative species.

Title II of the bill repeals the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act.  Further, it requires the Secretary of the Interior to recognize hatchery-spawned species when making any determination under the Endangered Species Act that relates to anadromous fish in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and their tributaries.  In a prior blog post, we reported on a bill introduced by Representatives Cardoza and Costa, H.R. 1251, entitled the More Water for our Valley Act, which would also alter restrictions on CVP and SWP operations.

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