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Document Compares Actions Between 2000 BiOp and 2004 Draft

by CBB Staff
Columbia Basin Bulletin - October 8, 2004

Federal officials this week released a draft document intended to help the public better understand the "relationship and differences" between actions proposed in NOAA Fisheries' new draft biological opinion for the federal hydropower system and the 2000 BiOp.

Officially called the "Crosswalk of 2000 NOAA FCRPS BiOp RPA Actions and the 8/30/04 Draft UPA" the document compares the federal government's Draft Updated Proposed Action (UPA) with the 199 actions of the Reasonable and Prudent Alternative of the 2000 FCRPS Biological Opinion.

The full document can be found at:

Prior to finalization of NOAA's 2004 FCRPS Biological Opinion, due Nov. 30, the action agencies -- Bonneville Power Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation -- will provide a Final UPA, which, as indicated in the crosswalk, will contain in several instances a greater level of information about specific actions, federal officials say.

The 2000 BiOp included a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative to avoid jeopardy to ESA listed salmon and steelhead and the destruction or adverse modification of their critical habitat. The RPA used a performance-based approach, including hydropower survival and population performance standards to be achieved over a 10-year period. To progress toward meeting these performance standards, the RPA presented a list of 199 initial actions.

The draft UPA, say the action agencies, continues to focus on actions that will contribute toward meeting performance standards. Federal officials say it continues the implementation of many of the initial 199 RPA actions in the 2000 BiOp, except for actions that the action agencies have already completed.

The draft UPA also adds new, specific actions, designed to address the 2004 jeopardy analysis and 2003 remand directions from District Court Judge James Redden.

Redden remanded the 2000 BiOp because it relied in part on non-federal actions that were not reasonably certain to occur, and actions by other federal agencies (federal agencies other than the action agencies for the federal hydroelectric projects) that had not completed ESA consultation.

Federal officials say, consistent with the court's order, the draft UPA provides more specific commitments of the action agencies for hydro, habitat, and hatchery actions.

The draft UPA includes specific objectives, locations, and preliminary schedules that update and provide more detail than the initial set of actions in the 2000 RPA. The draft UPA relies upon actions within the authority of the Action Agencies and does not rely upon actions by other federal or non-federal entities.

CBB Staff
Document Compares Actions Between 2000 BiOp and 2004 Draft
Columbia Basin Bulletin, October 8, 2004

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