2012 Jeopardy Biological Opinion
On Feb. 29, 2012, NMFS issued a jeopardy biological opinion (2012 BiOp) on the impacts of the Englebright and Daguerre Point dams to threatened fish species in the Yuba River - meaning it had concluded that the dams jeopardized the existence of the species.
The 2012 biological opinion required actions that are outside of the Corps' authority, such as construction of facilities or other actions that would allow for fish passage at Englebright Dam. It also recommended the eventual removal of both dams - which requires additional Congressional authorization and appropriation and is outside of the Corps’ existing statutory authority to implement.
On July 3, 2012 the Corps transmitted a letter to NMFS memorializing the Corps’ concerns regarding the 2012 biological opinion, which were related to the description of the proposed action and action area; NMFS' approach to baseline effects; the scientific basis for the analysis and conclusions; the scope and breadth of the reasonable and prudent alternatives and the reasonable and prudent measures associated with the incidental take statement; and the limitations of the Corps’ authorities.
2013 Court Memorandum and Order
On Aug. 13, 2013, the United States District Court, Eastern District of California issued a Memorandum and Order, granting the U.S. government’s motion to stay two lawsuits brought by the South Yuba Citizen’s League (SYRCL) and the Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA), respectively, regarding the 2012 biological opinion. YCWA filed suit on January 10, 2013 challenging the legal and technical sufficiency of the 2012 biological opinion and SYRCL filed a lawsuit on Jan. 11, 2013 challenging NMFS’ decision to extend the deadlines in the 2012 biological opinion.
The Memorandum and Order directed the Corps to complete its 2013 biological assessment by Oct. 22, 2013 and to continue its ongoing efforts to ameliorate any adverse effects of operating and maintaining the dams. These ongoing conservation measures include: inspection and maintenance of the Daguerre fish ladders; placement and monitoring of 5,000 tons of gravel for spawning habitat; salmonid redd surveys as specified in the 2012 biological opinion; and placement and monitoring of large woody material between Englebright and Daguerre. The Corps has complied with the terms of the court’s order.