Endangered Species Protection

One juvenile delta smelt facing to the left inside a rearing tank .

A juvenile delta smelt inside a rearing tank at the U.C. Davis Fish Conservation and Culture Lab located at the John E. Skinner Delta Fish Protective Facility near Byron, California. Photo taken May 15, 2008. Dale Kolke / California Department of Water Resources.

The State Water Project (SWP) is operated in a manner that protects endangered and threatened species under the State and federal endangered species acts. DWR does this in part through compliance with a permit granted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).

The permit, called the Incidental Take Permit (ITP), represents a novel but prudent way for the SWP to ensure species protection -- through science, collaboration and transparency -- while protecting water delivery to millions of Californians.
In the past, DWR obtained coverage for SWP operations under CESA by securing a consistency determination from DFW based on the federal BiOps. In February 2019, State agencies confirmed they would for the first time pursue a separate state permit to ensure SWP’s compliance with CESA. This permit would be developed without need to rely on federal permits and utilize transparent, science-based guidelines to establish rules to protect endangered and threatened fish species.

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