A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement Available for Public Comment
Office of the Secretary
SACRAMENTO, Calif., -- The Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service today announced the availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement on California's Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The goals of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are to help restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and improve California's water supply reliability.
The Draft EIR/EIS provides an analysis of the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan and its alternatives and their potential impacts to the environment and human populations. Pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, Reclamation and the FWS and NMFS, as the three co-lead agencies, are releasing the Draft EIR/EIS for public review and comment. A Notice of Availability marking the start of the public review period will appear in the Federal Register on Friday, December 13. As part of the review and comment period that ends on April 14, 2014, 12 public meetings will be held throughout California during the months of January and February.
“We look forward to hearing from members of the public on this proposal as we work to forge a lasting and sustainable solution that strengthens California's water security and restores the health of the Delta,” the federal agencies said. “Through our joint federal-state partnership, and with science as our guide, we need to take a comprehensive approach to tackling California's water problems.”
The FWS and NMFS have been providing technical assistance on biological issues to the State of California during preparation of the draft BDCP. When the remaining issues are resolved, and after the process is informed by public comment, the Services expect to consider issuing 50-year incidental take permits under the federal Endangered Species Act. Reclamation is considering changing operation of Central Valley Project facilities in the Delta consistent with the proposed new Delta conveyance facilities. Overall, the federal agencies consider the BDCP a key aspect of a comprehensive set of water management strategies needed to address water resource challenges in California. Federal agencies will continue their efforts in other areas to work with the State to help reduce its reliance on the Delta.
Visit www.baydeltaconservationplan.com to find details on the public meetings, to view and download the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS, or for a list of locations to view hard-bound copies. Written comments may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by U.S. mail to Ryan Wulff, National Marine Fisheries Service, 650 Capitol Mall, Suite 5–100, Sacramento, CA 95814.