NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. 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; Long-term Operations 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' Long-term Operations Opinion, section 126.96.36.199 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' Long-term Operations Opinion. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) also participates in the review because it operates the SWP. The first Long-term Operations Opinions (formerly Operations Criteria and Plan (OCAP)) Annual Review was held November 8-9, 2010.
The intent of the annual review is to inform 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.
This year's annual review will focus on the implementation of NMFS' Long-term Operations Opinion's Clear Creek RPA Actions (I.1.1 – I.1.6) and the Spring 2012 Delta Operations in lieu of NMFS' RPA Action IV.2.1 per joint stipulation (Spring 2012 Delta Operations) for operations and fisheries for water year 2012 (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012).
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 Gore, Ph.D., University of Tampa (Panel Chair)
- Ron Kneib, Ph.D., RTK Consulting Services and University of Georgia (Emeritus)
- James Anderson, Ph.D., University of Washington
- Mark Lorang, Ph.D., University of Montana
- John Nestler, Ph.D., USACE (Engineer Research and Development, retired)1
- John Van Sickle, Ph.D., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (retired)
1 Dr. Nestler will provide advice to the Panel on subjects relative to his expertise on ecohydraulics and coupled hydrodynmamics and fish behavior modeling. He is not tasked with written assignments for the report development