Summary: H.R.3876 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3876. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (11/22/1991)

Central Valley Project Fish and Wildlife Act of 1991 - Title I: Central Valley Fish and Wildlife - Directs the Secretary of the Interior to: (1) develop, select, and implement specified actions with respect to fish and wildlife habitat issues in the California Central Valley; and (2) establish a Central Valley Project (CVP) Fish and Wildlife Advisory Committee (Committee) and a CVP Fish and Wildlife Task Force (Task Force).

Includes among initial actions that the Secretary shall take by specified dates: (1) negotiation and execution of agreements with the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) to mitigate the direct fishery losses associated with the operation of the Tracy Pumping Plant and the Contra Costa Canal Pumping Plant numbered one and to eliminate, to the extent practical, losses of salmon and steelhead trout due to flow fluctuations caused by the operation of Keswick, Nimbus, and Lewiston Regulating Dams; (2) installation and operation of a structural temperature control device at Shasta Dam and development and implementation of modifications in CVP operations to allow for control of water temperatures in the upper Sacramento River sufficient to protect salmon; (3) rehabilitation and expansion of the Coleman National Fish Hatchery; (4) development and implementation of a gravel replenishment program to restore and replenish spawning gravel lost due to the construction and operation of Shasta, Folsom, and New Melones Dams, bank protection programs, and other actions that have reduced availability of spawning gravel in the upper Sacramento River and the American and Stanislaus Rivers; and (5) development and implementation of a Delta Cross Channel monitoring and operational program to protect striped bass eggs and larvae as they approach the Delta Cross Channel gates.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) provide dependable water supplies of suitable quality to specified Central Valley wildlife refuges (refuges) until firm water supplies are available and provided (pursuant to agreements to be executed within one year after the enactment of this Act between the Secretary, the CDFG, and the Grasslands Resource Conservation District); (2) impose shortages, if the CVP cannot deliver a full supply in any water year to the refuges and the CVP contractors, on the CVP water provided to the refuges that are equal to those imposed on the nonwater rights CVP agricultural contractors; (3) implement actions authorized under this title without a reduction in the pumping or conveyance capacity, or both, needed to serve other CVP purposes; (4) encourage the conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater, and the multiple use of water supplies, as a means to facilitate the purposes of this title; and (5) establish a comprehensive assessment program to monitor fish and wildlife resources in the Central Valley and to assess the biological results of actions implemented pursuant to this title.

Specifies that 51 percent of the cost of providing water to private refuges shall be paid for by such refuges, with the remainder allocated under this Act.

Requires the Secretary to develop, evaluate, select, and implement, by specified dates, actions that address specified fish and wildlife protection, restoration, and enhancement issues, including: (1) developing and implementing programs to eliminate the need to reduce Keswick Dam releases every spring to place the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District's Diversion Dam into operation and every fall to take the Dam out of operation to minimize fish passage problems for salmon at the CVP Red Bluff Diversion Dam and to augment natural production of salmon and steelhead trout population levels in the San Joaquin River system in above normal water years through means of artificial production; (2) constructing and operating a new satellite hatchery to augment the single and dual purpose channels at the Tehama Colusa Fish Facility and to further mitigate the impact of Shasta Dam on fishery resources; (3) constructing a salmon and steelhead trout hatchery on the Yuba River; (4) negotiating and executing an agreement with the CDFG that requires the release of the minimum flows necessary to take full advantage of the spawning, incubation, rearing, and outmigration potential of the upper Sacramento River and the Lower American River for salmon, subject to the physical capabilities of the CVP facilities involved; (5) providing flows to allow sufficient spawning, incubation, rearing, and outmigration conditions for salmon and steelhead trout from Whiskeytown Dam and a new fish ladder constructed at the McCormick-Saeltzer Dam; (6) evaluating and implementing a program to correct a defective fish screen at the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District's Sacramento River diversion; (7) assisting in the funding of enforcement measures to reduce the numbers of striped bass illegally taken from the San Francisco Bay Estuary; (8) providing such assistance as may be requested by the State of California to develop and implement fishing regulations that protect the older more productive striped bass females in order to maintain a viable reproducing striped bass population; and (9) developing and implementing measures that will provide additional dependable water supplies of suitable quality.

Directs: (1) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to expedite, and complete by December 31, 1995, efforts to clean up mines causing intermittent releases of lethal concentrations of dissolved metals from the Spring Creek Debris Dam; and (2) the Secretary, in the interim, to provide water from the Keswick Dam sufficient to dilute the Spring Creek Debris Dam discharges to concentration levels that allow survival of fish life below Keswick Dam, except when the U.S. Corps of Engineers flood control criteria for Shasta Dam limits that capability.

Authorizes the Secretary to construct, in partnership with the State of California, a barrier at the head of Old River in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by December 31, 1995, to partially mitigate the impact of the CVP and State Water project pumping plants in the south Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta on the survival of young outmigrating salmon that are diverted from the San Joaquin River to the pumps.

Directs the Task Force to: (1) identify additional actions that would provide mitigation of CVP impacts on, protect, restore, and enhance, Central Valley fish and wildlife habitat; (2) develop the information needed to evaluate such actions technically, determine the economic and biological feasibility using specified criteria, determine appropriate cost allocations specific to each action, and select actions to recommend to the Congress for authorization to implement; and (3) report to the Congress according to a specified schedule until the year 2010 when the Task Force shall cease to exist.

Sets forth fish and wildlife habitat issues to be evaluated by the Task Force, including: (1) determination of the flows and habitat restoration measures needed to protect, restore, and enhance salmon and steelhead trout in parts of the San Joaquin River; (2) investigation of actions allowing closure or screening of the Delta Cross Channel and Georgiana Slough to prevent the diversion of out-migrating salmon and steelhead trout through those facilities; (3) investigation of the need to expand or develop wildlife refuges in the Central Valley; (4) investigation of alternative means of improving the reliability of water supplies currently available to privately owned wetlands in the Central Valley; (5) as a means of increasing survival of migrating young fish, investigation of the feasibility of using short pulses of increased water flows to move salmon, steelhead trout, and striped bass into and through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; (6) investigation of ways to maintain suitable temperatures for young salmon survival in the lower Sacramento River and in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by controlling or relocating the discharge of irrigation return flows and sewage effluent; (7) investigation of the need for additional hatchery production to mitigate the impacts of water development on Central Valley fisheries where no other feasible means of mitigation is available or where hatchery production would enhance efforts to increase natural production of a particular species; (8) investigation of measures available to correct flow pattern problems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta created by the operation of the CVP and the California State Water Project; (9) evaluation of measures to avoid unqualified losses of juvenile anadromous fish due to unscreened or inadequately screened diversions on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, their tributaries, and in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; and (10) elimination of barriers to upstream migration of salmon and steelhead trout adults to spawning areas downstream of existing storage facilities in the Central Valley caused by agricultural diversions and other obstructions.

Directs the Secretary, the Committee, and the Task Force to consider specified criteria and factors and issue findings thereon when determining which alternate program, policies, or procedures should be implemented to protect, restore, or enhance fish and wildlife conditions.

Sets forth provisions with respect to: (1) cost allocations; (2) additional authorities; and (3) funding to carry out the purposes and provisions of this Act.

Establishes the Committee and sets forth administrative provisions.

Directs the Secretary to establish the Task Force. Sets forth provisions with respect to the selection of Task Force members and organization and operation of the Task Force.

Title II: Water Transfers - Authorizes the Secretary, subject to specified limitations, to approve all transfer agreements: (1) among CVP contractors and between CVP contractors and noncontractors involving CVP water within the authorized CVP service area; (2) between CVP contractors and parties outside the CVP service area upon the determination that as a result of the proposed transaction over the term of the agreement there is no net export of water out of the CVP service area of the transferor; (3) between CVP water contractors and parties outside the CVP service area where the Secretary determines that as a result of the proposed transaction over the term of the agreement there will be a net export of water out of the service area of the transferor, provided that the water being transferred would not otherwise be available to other consumptive beneficial uses absent implementation of the program and that, over the term of the agreement in question, the transfer will have no significant, long-term adverse impact on groundwater conditions in the transferor's service area.

Sets forth provisions with respect to: (1) transfers of water developed through temporary or permanent land fallowing; and (2) transfers outside the CVP service area during certain critical years.

Specifies that: (1) all existing and future contracts for CVP water shall be deemed to allow for the transfers and exchanges provided for within this title; (2) all CVP contractors who are parties to a long-term transfer or exchange contract shall be entitled to renew its water contract for, at a minimum, a term equal to the remaining term of the transfer or exchange agreement at the time that the underlying contract is to be renewed; and (3) specified agreements entered into under this title shall provide that, during the years of actual transfer, CVP water subject to transfer shall be repayed at full cost.

Title III: Water Conservation - Requires all existing CVP agricultural contractors, within two years after the enactment of this Act, to submit a report to the Secretary which identifies water conservation practicies and analyzes the costs and benefits to that entity and its customers of implementing each of such practices and any additional practices the Secretary determines should be analyzed.

Requires all CVP agricultural contractors to develop a plan for implementation of such practices determined by the entity within the required water conservation report to be financially and otherwise feasible for the specific entity. Requires the entity to complete the plan for implementation within one year after completion of such report. Specifies that financially feasible conservation practices that will cause environmental harm or that are inconsistent with other legal requirements shall not be required to be implemented.

Establishes a Water Conservation Incentive Program which shall be administered by the Secretary to encourage and assist with the on-farm implementation of the water conservation practices set forth in this title.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) require all CVP municipal and industrial water users, to the extent they provide retail, municipal, and industrial water service, to comply with the provisions of a specified memorandum regarding urban water conservation in California. Requires the Secretary to evaluate the benefits and cost analysis for each of the water conservation practices found by the specific water user preparing the required reports not to be feasible and to determine: (1) which practices would make additional water available to Central Valley streams or to a usable ground water basin that would not otherwise be available; and (2) for each of specified practices, the benefit/cost ratio of implementation if that water were used to fulfill wildlife refuge water supply obligation or made available to other water agencies through the transfer provisions established by this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to implement those water conservation practices identified which conserve water, are economically feasible, and are prudent, with the entity holding the contractual right to the water conserved and then make that water available for use by Central Valley refuges as required by provisions of this Act, subject to specified requirements.