NOAA Fisheries Approves Habitat Conservation Plan on Calaveras River

By on September 16, 2020
The Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project

Stockton East Water District (Stockton East) announced this week that a final Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) has been approved by NOAA Fisheries for the Calaveras River. This plan is designed to protect threatened fish species while also providing long-term security for crucial water operations through 2070.

Under the agreement NOAA fisheries has issued a 50-year Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the operations and maintenance of Stockton East facilities on the river and Stockton East has committed to multiple conservation actions to benefit fish populations on the Calaveras River.

“The District is thrilled that it can support the fishery while at the same time protecting the needs of our agricultural and municipal water users,” said General Manager Scot A. Moody. “We’re making a commitment, and we get some certainty in return.”

The conservation actions focus primarily on the Central Valley Steelhead, rainbow trout and Chinook salmon. Stockton East guarantees minimum flows in key fish habitat and will also provide  screening water diversions, improving fish passage over structures, and continued fisheries research and monitoring on the Calaveras River.

“There is something here for everyone,” said Monica Gutierrez, Fisheries Biologist, who has led the development of the HCP for NOAA Fisheries’ Central Valley Office in Sacramento. “The Water District gets security and predictability in its water supply while we are also improving conditions for fish in key habitat at a critical time.”

The plan covers the area of the lower Calaveras River from New Hogan Reservoir to the confluence with the San Joaquin River.

More information about the plan, including a new video, is available on the Stockton East website at: https://sewd.net/habitat-conservation-plan/