Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Sacramento Fish & Wildlife Office
2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605
Sacramento, CA 95825
http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/

June 12, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Al Donner, 916-414-6566, al_donner@fws.gov
Steve Martarano, 916-414-6571, steve_martarano@fws.gov

June 18 information workshop set for delta smelt fall action
Work plan is being developed to meet OCAP Biological Opinion requirement

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is hosting a workshop to introduce the stakeholder, agency, and academic community to the Habitat Study Group (HSG) process and progress to date on the draft conceptual model and work plan for a fall flow action to help protect juvenile delta smelt, which is part of the Service’s 2008 OCAP Biological Opinion (BO). The workshop on Thursday, June 18, will be held in the CALFED Delta Room, 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The conceptual model and draft work plan is intended to provide for adaptive management of fall delta smelt habitat quality. Reasonable and Prudent Alternative Component 3, generally called the “Fall Action” in the Service’s delta smelt OCAP BO, requires restored flows in the Delta from September through November to improve habitat conditions for juvenile smelt.

However, due to the state’s current dry conditions, the fall action will not occur this year because the BO specifies that it can only occur in years that are wetter than average.

The HSG is an independent subgroup of the Pelagic Organism Decline team within the Interagency Ecological Program. The HSG focuses on X2 (flow) and its effects on growth, fitness, and survival of juvenile delta smelt. The HSG includes seven Federal and State agencies entrusted with management of Delta habitat, augmented with academic expertise in estuarine community ecology. The HSG posts notes online at http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/Habitat_Study_Group.htm.

The June 18 meeting will introduce the work of the HSG. In September, the HSG plans to hold another public meeting to present the completed draft Work Plan and answer questions and comments from an independent peer review panel. Public comments focusing on technical aspects of the study plan, experimental design, or relevant questions being addressed will be solicited and considered during the process.

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.