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Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
 

Overview:

The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCR MSCP) is a 50-year and 626 million dollar multi-stakeholder Federal and non-Federal partnership responding to the need to balance the use of lower Colorado River (LCR) water resources and the conservation of native species and their habitats in compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The program is cooperatively funded, with the federal government and the states splitting the cost. Arizona's share will be 12.5 percent or about $1.6 million per year over the 50-year period.
This long-term effort aims to conserve and work toward the recovery of State and Federally-listed species, and protect and maintain wildlife habitat along the LCR from Lake Mead to the Southern International Boundary with Mexico through the implementation of a Habitat Conservation Plan.

The purposes of the LCR MSCP are to:

  • protect the lower Colorado River environment while ensuring the certainty of existing
    river water and power operations,

  • address the needs of threatened and endangered wildlife under the Endangered Species Act, and

  • reduce the likelihood of listing additional species along the lower Colorado River

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is the entity responsible for implementing the LCR MSCP over the 50-year term of the program. The LCR MSCP is guided by a Steering Committee, which is an unincorporated association of more than 50 water and power users, and other state, federal, and local entities. The Steering Committee works with Reclamation to coordinate the implementation of the LCR MSCP. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is a member of the Steering Committee, along with more than 20 state and federal agencies, cities, water districts, and other affected parties in Arizona.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been involved in the program since its inception in 1995, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated critical habitat for four endangered fish species within the Colorado River Basin. The department has provided technical and policy guidance during all phases of the plan's creation, and will be directly involved in the program's implementation for the next 50 years.

There are 26 species “covered” by the LCR MSCP; 6 threatened and/or endangered species and 20 non-federally listed species. There are an additional five “evaluation” species, which could be added to the covered species list for the LCR MSCP, but currently there is insufficient information to determine their status in the planning area. Among the threatened and endangered species covered are the razorback sucker, the bonytail chub, the humpback chub, the southwestern willow flycatcher, the Yuma clapper rail, and the desert tortoise.

 

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Additional Information:

If you have Arizona related questions, please contact Troy Smith of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Yuma Region at (928) 341-4068.

For more information on the LCR MSCP, go to: www.lcrmscp.gov

For specific information regarding the LCR MSCP backwater site selection process, go to: www.lcrmscp.gov/technicalrepts.html and review the E-15 documents:

  • Reaches 5&6 Backwater Inventory - Steps 2-3: Screening and Evaluation (4/29/08)

  • Reaches 5&6 Backwater Inventory - Step 1: Identification of Backwaters for Screening and Evaluation (9/6/07)

  • Colorado River Backwaters Restoration - Final Model Evaluation Report (2/27/07)
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