Report of the 2011 Independent Review Panel (IRP) on the Implementation of Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) Action Affecting the Operations Criteria And Plan (OCAP) for State/Federal Water Operations (December 9, 2011)
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have each issued Biological Opinions on long-term operations of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP, hereinafter CVP/SWP; OCAP Opinions) that include Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPA) designed to alleviate jeopardy to listed species and adverse modification of critical habitat. NMFS' RPA requires the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and NMFS to host a workshop no later than November 30 of each year to review the prior water year's operations and to determine whether any measures prescribed in the RPA should be altered in light of information learned from the prior year's operations or research (NMFS' OCAP Opinion, section 22.214.171.124 of the 2009 RPA with 2011 amendments, starting on page 9). Under direction from the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior, this review has been expanded to include a review of the implementation of the USFWS OCAP Opinion. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) also participates in the review because it operates the SWP. The first OCAP annual review was held November 8-9, 2010. The intent of the annual review is to advise NMFS and USFWS as to the efficacy of the prior years' water operations and regulatory actions prescribed by their respective RPAs, with the goal of developing lessons learned, incorporating new science, and making appropriate scientifically justified adjustments to the RPAs or their implementation to support real-time decision making for the next water year.
At the request of NMFS, USBR and USFWS, the Delta Science Program (DSP) is employing the services of an independent science review panel to assist the agencies in reviewing the effectiveness of the implementation of the OCAP RPAs. The role of the Independent Review Panel is to provide a technical review to the agencies involved in implementing the OCAP RPAs.
Charge to the Independent Review Panel:
The charge to the panel provides the orientation and focus, materials to be reviewed, and specific questions for the panel to start the review process. It provides the direction, context, and timeline for the review.
Review Panel Members:
- James Anderson, Ph.D., University of Washington
- James Gore, Ph.D., University of Tampa
- Ron Kneib, Ph.D., RTK Consulting Services and University of Georgia (Emeritus)
- Mark Lorang, Ph. D., University of Montana
- John Van Sickle, Ph.D., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency