Welcome to the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program Balancing Resource Use and Conservation

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Habitat Conservation Plan

      Species Specific Conservation Requirements

The Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) provides conservation measures specific to each species. These, as well as the Avoidance and Minimization, Research and Monitoring, and Conservation Area Management measures are listed for each species. Section 14.2 of the Implementing Agreement provides a process for making changes to the conservation measures that are minor or of a technical nature. Conservation measures with minor modifications are noted.

The following shows species specific conservation measures. Click on the arrows to see the conservation measures and the expanded write-ups.

Arizona Bell's Vireo
BEVI1—Create 2,983 acres of Arizona Bell's vireo habitat

Of the 7,260 acres of created cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite, at least 2,983 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for this species. Patches of created habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I - IV and honey mesquite type III that provide habitat for this species. The created habitat will be established in patches as large as possible. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than affected habitats. Patches of existing cottonwood-willow in the LCR MSCP planning area typically include dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood-willow land cover that will be created as habitat. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I–IV, support a diversity of plant species, and will be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for the southwestern willow flycatcher (Section 5.7.2 in the HCP) and yellow-billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow stands in structural types I - IV will also provide other habitat requirements for this species (e.g., habitat patch size, food requirements). In particular, the management of moist surface soil, slow-moving water, or ponded water conditions and greater diversity of seral stages of cottonwood-willow described in the conservation measures for the southwestern willow flycatcher habitat will also provide these habitat requirements for this species. Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of the native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM4—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism on reproduction of covered species

Research will be undertaken to determine whether brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the southwestern willow flycatcher, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, Sonoran yellow warbler, and summer tanager in the LCR MSCP planning area. If so, studies will be implemented to identify effective and practical methods for controlling brown-headed cowbirds. If cowbirds are adversely affecting breeding success and effective control measures are developed, a program will be implemented to monitor the effects of cowbirds on nesting success in LCR MSCP–created habitats to determine the need for cowbird control and to implement cowbird control measures in locations where cowbird control is needed to improve reproductive success.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Bonytail
BONY1—Coordinate bonytail conservation efforts with the USFWS and recovery programs for endangered fish species in the Lower Basin

The LCR MSCP is not a recovery implementation program for the bonytail in the Lower Basin. However, because the planning area overlies bonytail habitats that may be significant components of recovery, and the conservation measures included in the plan can provide resources to a separately organized recovery program, the LCR MSCP will be a contributor to recovery efforts. In that role, the LCR MSCP will interact with the USFWS or any formal recovery program developed in the future for the Lower Basin to ensure that conservation measures included in the conservation plan will be implemented in support of recovery efforts to meet recovery goals for the bonytail in the Lower Basin. This will allow coordination of stocking, research, monitoring, and the funding of other types of conservation efforts inside and outside the LCR MSCP planning area. The LCR MSCP may also use funding programmed for bonytail augmentation (BONY3) and other bonytail conservation measures to implement other recovery activities identified by the USFWS or a future formal recovery program if it is determined through the adaptive management process (Section 5.12 in the HCP) and with concurrence of the USFWS that providing such funding would more effectively contribute to recovery of the bonytail. The LCR MSCP conservation measures are designed to be flexible and adaptable to allow for changing needs and priorities in bonytail recovery efforts over the term of the permit. The LCR MSCP recognized that this flexibility would be extremely valuable as interim benchmarks to meeting the 2002 recovery goals and changes to recovery needs identified from research and monitoring were developed over time. In order to define the amount of conservation the LCR MSCP would contribute for the bonytail, some assumptions on how funds would be spent were made for the purposes of costing out the program. The adaptive management program, relying on research, monitoring, and other information, will guide the implementation of the conservation measures to mitigate incidental take and contribute to recovery.

BONY2—Create 360 acres of bonytail habitat

Create 360 acres of backwater with depth, vegetation, and substrate characteristics that provide the elements of bonytail habitat. This created backwater will also provide habitat for the razorback sucker. Created backwaters will be designed and managed as described in Section 5.4.3.4. in the HCP.  At a minimum, created backwaters will contain the physical, chemical, and biological conditions suitable for the establishment and maintenance of healthy fish populations in the LCR.

BONY3—Augment bonytail populations (Minor Modification)

Steering Committee Motion 11-003  10-27-10
Fish and Wildlife Service Approval  1-4-11

The LCR MSCP will provide a level of funding to support implementation of a stocking/augmentation program for the bonytail providing for the stocking of up to 620,000 subadult bonytail (at least 300 mm in length) into the designated critical habitat for the species in Reaches 2–3, and in Reaches 4 and 5 of the LCR. The figure of 620,000 fish is not a target number for the LCR but represents an assumption (see BONY1) used to define the extent of funding that would be available, with the understanding that the adaptive management process (see Section 5.12.2.2 in the HCP) would guide the actual stocking program. The elements of the augmentation program divide the conservation effort into the three reaches with numbers of fish per year per reach:

  1. Annually augment 4,000–6,000 subadult fish for 40 years in Lake Mohave to maintain the population (LCR MSCP stocking would follow completion of USFWS's augmentation commitment; estimate 10,000 subadult fish augmented per year for 10 years; consequently, the LCR MSCP commitment is estimated at a mean annual average of 5,000 subadult fish per year for 40 years, for a total of 200,000 fish augmented).
  2. Annually augment 4,000 subadult fish for 50 years in Lake Havasu to maintain the population (200,000 total augmentation).
  3. When technology permits, implement an experimental augmentation of 4,000 subadult fish annually in the Parker-Imperial river reach (Reaches 4 and 5) for ten consecutive years within the 50-year program (40,000 total augmentation) and conduct intensive follow-up monitoring.  These fish are additional to the annual augmentation listed in BONY 3.4.
  4. Annually augment 4,000 subadult fish to establish and maintain populations in the Parker-Imperial river reach (Reaches 4 and 5) for 45 years (180,000 total augmentation).

The number of fish that would be stocked in each reach would be based on the results of monitoring and research. Factors to be evaluated include the survival of stocked fish (including examination of rearing methods, stocking methods, and size of fish stocked), habitat usage, quality and availability, and other information. Stocking of bonytail in any reach would cease, even if the numbers described herein had not been stocked, if monitoring and research demonstrate: (1) no need for additional stockings to provide adults for genetic refuge or for evaluation of management activities related to creating a self-sustaining population (i.e., species recovery goals have been achieved); (2) results of monitoring and research indicate that management activities other than stocking would be more effective in contributing to recovery of the species; (3) there are factors in the reach that are not conducive to the survival of stocked fish to become adults or to be managed toward a self-sustaining population; or (4) that other biological or other factors warrant cessation of stocking. Funds not expended for growing and stocking subadult bonytail would continue to be available to fund other management measures that would minimize and mitigate incidental take and contribute to recovery. Other such management measures would be identified and implemented through the adaptive management process (Section 5.12.1 in the HCP), which requires that any proposed changes in the conservation measures be approved by the USFWS prior to adoption and implementation. As described in conservation measure BONY1, the number of bonytail stocked could also be reduced if funding provided for stocking bonytail is reallocated to support implementation of other conservation measures.

The proposed augmentation program assumes that the USFWS will complete its obligation to stock 125,000 subadult fish in Lake Mohave (an estimated 100,000 subadult fish remain to be stocked) and that the LCR MSCP will incorporate annual augmentations to maintain the Lake Mohave population that becomes established as a result of USFWS's augmentations. All fish stocked under the LCR MSCP augmentation program would meet applicable disease and parasite control protocols established for fish health.
BONY4—Evaluate and develop, if necessary, additional bonytail rearing capacity

Additional rearing capacity, if needed, would be developed through cooperation between AGFD, CDFG, NDOW, USFWS, and other LCR MSCP participants, or fish may be acquired from other sources. During the initial years of implementation, the LCR MSCP will evaluate the efficacy of existing or proposed bonytail production programs and facilities and develop the methods required to produce and rear the fish. Given the minimal information on the biology and ecology of the species, the success of large-scale production is uncertain. Also, the target size for subadults is 300 mm total length. Existing information indicates that hatchery and pond rearing of bonytail to 300 mm is difficult, requiring specific nutritional and spatial conditions. Opportunities to increase bonytail production could include defining feeding regimes, raceway and pond densities, and other factors that affect growth and testing the efficacy of raising fish in disconnected backwaters that are predator free. In the context of the integrated landscape mosaic (e.g., use of created disconnected backwaters), a “pilot project” grow-out facility will be developed for bonytail within the LCR MSCP planning area.

Until rearing capacity and aquaculture techniques can be increased sufficiently to produce the numbers of fish required for the augmentation strategy described in conservation measures BONY3, the LCR MSCP will stock the numbers of fish that can be produced up to the amounts described above. Annual augmentation targets for the first years of the program, therefore, may need to be shifted to later in the program, when increased rearing capacity is at full capacity. The LCR MSCP augmentation strategy assumes that fish production technology can be developed sufficiently to produce the numbers of subadult fish required for augmentation. If production of sufficient numbers of fish for the augmentation program is not possible, however, in addition to augmenting the numbers of fish that can be produced, the LCR MSCP will focus the expenditure of remaining augmentation funds on other types of management activities that will benefit the species (e.g., additional research, habitat improvements).
BONY5—Conduct monitoring and research, and adaptively manage bonytail augmentations and created habitat Humpback

Monitoring and research will be conducted to gather information necessary to adaptively manage bonytail conservation, including aggressive monitoring of fish response following augmentations to gather information regarding habitat use and fish movement, to increase the success of subsequent management of the species.

The LCR MSCP will implement an adaptive management process to reevaluate the augmentation strategy for bonytail, based on the results of monitoring and research. Monitoring and focused research will be a component of the adaptive management process. For example, the stocking of 8,000 subadult fish for 5 consecutive years below Parker Dam (conservation measure BONY3, submeasure 3) will be conducted as an adaptive management experiment, elements of which will include focusing augmentations in locations that currently support the species, followed by intensive monitoring and research for an estimated 7–8 years. Release of fish into the LCR will target a mix of riverine and lacustrine habitat types in Reaches 2 and 3. Augmented bonytail released will be marked with an appropriate batch-marking methodology and a statistically valid subset of released fish may also be PIT tagged or identified with other appropriate technology providing a similar level of individual fish identification. Monitoring will focus on determining key environmental correlates affecting survival, growth, movement, and reproduction (e.g., key habitat [e.g., depth, velocity, channel form, cover, substrate], continuity, water temperature, food, predation).

Following the 7–8-year intensive monitoring and research period, the information and insights gained will focus expenditure of the remaining funds on those management activities potentially contributing the most to achieving the recovery goals for bonytail. As appropriate, the management activities may include changes to the LCR MSCP participant's proposed augmentation approach, rates, and targeted areas. The monitoring and research information will also guide maintenance, enhancement, and creation of bonytail habitat (e.g., backwaters).

MRM5—Monitor selenium levels in created backwater and marsh land cover types, and study the effect of selenium released as a result of dredging activities

Conduct monitoring of selenium levels in sediment, water, and/or biota present in LCR MSCP created backwater and marsh land cover types. If monitoring results indicate that management of the LCR MSCP conservation areas increases levels of selenium in created backwaters and marshes or in covered species that use them, the LCR MSCP will undertake research to develop feasible methods to manage the conservation areas in a manner that will eliminate or compensate for the effects of increased selenium levels. If feasible management methods are identified, they will be implemented. This conservation measure will include monitoring the effects of dredging and dredge spoil disposal associated with creating and maintaining backwaters and marshes. If monitoring results indicate that current or future dredging and dredge spoil disposal methods increase selenium levels, the LCR MSCP will only implement methods that will have the least effect on selenium levels. A study will also be conducted to look at the effects of potential releases of selenium from dredging in general.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM4—Minimize contaminant loads in runoff and return irrigation flows from LCR MSCP created habitats to the LCR

LCR MSCP–created habitats that require irrigation to establish and maintain vegetation to provide habitat will be designed and managed to minimize contaminant loads that could return to the LCR as runoff or return flow. Measures will include vegetation establishment methods that minimize the need for application of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers and designing irrigation methods and new irrigation infrastructure to reduce runoff and return-flows to the extent practicable. Use of pesticides is not a covered activity. Pesticides used to establish and maintain LCR MSCP habitats, however, will be applied in accordance with EPA restrictions and, as needed, authorization for their use will be sought under separate permits.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

California Black Rail
BLRA1—Create 130 acres of California black rail habitat (Minor Modification)

Steering Committee Motion 11-004  10-27-10
Fish and Wildlife Approval 1-4-11

Of the 512 acres of LCR MSCP–created marsh, 130 acres will be created and managed to provide California black rail habitat near occupied habitat in Reaches 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.  This habitat will be provided by designing and managing at least 130 acres of the 512 acres of created Yuma clapper rail habitat to provide habitat for both species. Habitat will be created in patches as large as possible but will not be created in patches smaller than 5 acres. Additional California black rail habitat may be provided by marsh vegetation that becomes established along margins of the 360 acres of backwaters that will be created in Reaches 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. These small patches of habitat provide cover for dispersing rails, thereby facilitating linkages between existing breeding populations and the colonization of created habitats.

Design of created habitat will be directed toward establishing moist-soil marshes that support a predominance of three-square bulrush with suitable water depths to replicate conditions present at Mittry Lake and Bill Williams Delta that support the species. Habitat will be designed and managed to provide an integrated mosaic of patches of cattail, bulrush, and mudflat, interspersed with small patches of open water with varying water depths.

BLRA2—Maintain existing important California black rail habitat Areas

The applicants, under agreements with cooperating land management agencies, will provide funding to those agencies to maintain a portion of existing California black rail habitat in the LCR MSCP planning area (Section 5.4.2 in the HCP). Maintaining important existing habitat areas is necessary to ensure the continued existence of California black rails in the LCR MSCP planning area, provide for the production of individuals that could disperse to and nest in LCR MSCP–created habitats, and support future recovery of the species. Habitat maintenance would likely be undertaken in conjunction with the maintenance of existing Yuma clapper rail habitat.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements. Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM5—Monitor selenium levels in created backwater and marsh land cover types, and study the effect of selenium released as a result of dredging activities

Conduct monitoring of selenium levels in sediment, water, and/or biota present in LCR MSCP created backwater and marsh land cover types. If monitoring results indicate that management of the LCR MSCP conservation areas increases levels of selenium in created backwaters and marshes or in covered species that use them, the LCR MSCP will undertake research to develop feasible methods to manage the conservation areas in a manner that will eliminate or compensate for the effects of increased selenium levels. If feasible management methods are identified, they will be implemented. This conservation measure will include monitoring the effects of dredging and dredge spoil disposal associated with creating and maintaining backwaters and marshes. If monitoring results indicate that current or future dredging and dredge spoil disposal methods increase selenium levels, the LCR MSCP will only implement methods that will have the least effect on selenium levels. A study will also be conducted to look at the effects of potential releases of selenium from dredging in general.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

California Leaf-Nosed Bat
CLNB1—Conduct surveys to locate California leaf-nosed bat roost sites

Conduct investigations to identify locations of California leaf-nosed bat roost sites within 5 miles of the LCR MSCP planning area in Reaches 3–5.

CLNB2—Create covered species habitat near California leaf-nosed bat roost sites

The LCR MSCP process for selecting sites to establish cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite as habitat for other covered species will, based on the information collected under conservation measure CLNB1, give priority, when consistent with achieving LCR MSCP goals for other covered species, to selecting sites that are within 5 miles of California leaf-nosed bat roosts in Reaches 3–5. As described in Section 5.4.3 in the HCP, created cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite land cover will be designed to establish stands that will support a substantially greater density and diversity of plant species that are likely to support a greater abundance of insect prey species than is currently produced in the affected land cover types.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

Colorado River Cotton Rat
CRCR1—Conduct research to better define Colorado River cotton rat habitat requirements

Conduct research, if needed, to better define the elements of Colorado River cotton rat habitat and provide information necessary to design and manage created habitat.

CRCR2—Create 125 acres of Colorado River cotton rat habitat

Of the 512 acres of marsh to be created to create Yuma clapper rail habitat (Section 5.7.1 in the HCP), or the 5, 940 acres of cottonwood-willow and 1,320 acres of honey mesquite III to be created as habitat for covered species, at least 125 acres will be designed to also provide Colorado River cotton rat habitat in Reaches 3 and 4 near occupied habitat (Figure 5-2 in the HCP). Additional habitat may be provided by marsh vegetation that establishes along margins of the 360 acres created backwaters (Section 5.4.3.4 in the HCP).

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM5—Monitor selenium levels in created backwater and marsh land cover types, and study the effect of selenium released as a result of dredging activities

Conduct monitoring of selenium levels in sediment, water, and/or biota present in LCR MSCP created backwater and marsh land cover types. If monitoring results indicate that management of the LCR MSCP conservation areas increases levels of selenium in created backwaters and marshes or in covered species that use them, the LCR MSCP will undertake research to develop feasible methods to manage the conservation areas in a manner that will eliminate or compensate for the effects of increased selenium levels. If feasible management methods are identified, they will be implemented. This conservation measure will include monitoring the effects of dredging and dredge spoil disposal associated with creating and maintaining backwaters and marshes. If monitoring results indicate that current or future dredging and dredge spoil disposal methods increase selenium levels, the LCR MSCP will only implement methods that will have the least effect on selenium levels. A study will also be conducted to look at the effects of potential releases of selenium from dredging in general.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.
AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Colorado River Toad
CRTO1—Conduct research to better define the distribution, habitat requirements, and factors that are limiting the distribution of the Colorado River toad

Develop and implement a multiyear integrated research program to determine the range, status, habitat requirements, population biology, factors that currently limit Colorado River toad abundance and distribution, and factors that have contributed to the decline of the species in the LCR MSCP planning area.

CRTO2—Protect existing unprotected occupied Colorado River toad habitat

Based on results of research conducted under conservation measures CRTO1 and within funding constraints of the LCR MSCP, protect existing unprotected occupied Colorado River toad habitat that is located through the research program.

CRTO3—Conduct research to determine feasibility of establishing the Colorado River toad in unoccupied habitat

Conduct research necessary to determine the feasibility for successfully establishing the Colorado River toad in unoccupied habitat. If feasible, implement a pilot introduction into unoccupied habitat, and monitor the success of methods and establishment of the Colorado River toad in unoccupied habitat.

Desert Pocket Mouse
DPMO1—Conduct surveys to locate desert pocket mouse habitat Colorado

Conduct surveys to locate desert pocket mouse habitat that could be affected by LCR MSCP habitat creation–related activities to determine whether the habitat is occupied. If the habitat is occupied, design habitat creation–related activities to avoid the habitat. If the habitat cannot be avoided, to the extent practicable, restore the disturbed habitat area onsite following completion of the activities and protect and incorporate the habitat into the conservation area. If the habitat cannot be restored onsite, create amount of habitat at least equal to the extent of disturbed habitat elsewhere in the conservation area. Restoring disturbed habitat will ensure that covered activities do not adversely affect the existing or potential future enhanced distribution, abundance, or population viability of the desert pocket mouse in the LCR MSCP planning area.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

Desert Tortoise (Mojave Population)
DETO1—Acquire and protect 230 acres of existing unprotected occupied habitat (completed)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Concurrence 8-18-11

Consistent with the mitigation measures identified in the document “Compensation for Desert Tortoise” (Desert Tortoise Conservation Team 1991), the LCR MSCP will acquire and protect 230 acres of unprotected occupied desert tortoise habitat. The acquired habitat will be transferred to an appropriate management agency for permanent protection of species’ habitat. Although creation of replacement habitat is not considered feasible, protecting existing occupied habitat will ensure that implementation of covered activities and LCR MSCP conservation measures do not adversely affect the existing distribution, abundance, or population viability of the desert tortoise within the LCR MSCP planning area.

DETO2—Avoid impacts on individuals and their burrows

To avoid and minimize  impacts on desert tortoise, the following measures, which are derived from USFWS's Field Survey Protocol for Any Federal Action That May Occur within the Range of the Desert Tortoise (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1992) and the Desert Tortoise Council's Guidelines for Handling Desert Tortoises during Construction Projects (Desert Tortoise Council 1994), will be implemented.

  1. Before implementing non-flow-related covered activities and LCR MSCP conservation measures in desert tortoise habitat, presence or absence surveys will be conducted using approved USFWS survey protocols to locate desert tortoises and their burrows (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1992). The number and location of all tortoises or tortoise sign (e.g., shells, bones, scutes, limbs, scats, burrows, pellets, tracks, egg shell fragments, courtship rings, drinking sites, and mineral licks) that occur within the project area and its zone of influence and whether any tortoises occur outside of the project area whose home ranges may overlap the project area or its zone of influence should be identified. The project area is defined as any area that will be cleared or partially cleared; have vehicles on or adjacent to it; be temporarily or permanently used for equipment or materials storage, loading, or unloading; or will have its soil or vegetation damaged, fragmented, or disturbed. Desert tortoise presence or absence surveys should be conducted during the typical period of activity for the tortoise (i.e., March 25 to May 31). Surveys should be conducted during daylight hours. The USFWS considers the results of a presence or absence survey, including the zone of influence, to be valid for no more than 1 year, though the time period may be significantly reduced, depending on project size, location, or proximity to other land disturbance.
  2. If desert tortoises are present, the covered activity or LCR MSCP activity will be modified to avoid take of individuals and their burrows. However, if impacts cannot be avoided, clearance surveys will be conducted to locate desert tortoises that will be removed and relocated to other habitat areas. Clearance surveys should be conducted to locate all desert tortoises above and below ground within the project area that would be temporarily relocated or salvaged using the USFWS clearance survey protocol (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1992). Clearance surveys should be conducted immediately prior to surface disturbance at each site within the project area. Surveys should be conducted during daylight hours.
  3. If impacts cannot be avoided, desert tortoises should be removed and relocated to other habitat areas, if appropriate. The Desert Tortoise Council guidelines for determining whether tortoises should be moved, mapping tortoise burrows, determining whether burrows should be excavated, finding tortoises in burrows, excavating burrows, constructing artificial burrows, handling tortoise eggs, handling tortoises, processing tortoises, translocating tortoises, and releasing tortoises should be followed (Desert Tortoise Council 1994).
AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

Elf Owl
ELOW1—Create 1,784 acres of elf owl habitat

Of the 7,260 acres of created cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite land cover, at least 1,784 acres will be designed and created to provide elf owl habitat. Patches of created habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I and II and honey mesquite type III that provide habitat for this species. The created habitat will be established in patches as large as possible. At a minimum, however, isolated patches of honey mesquite type III will be created in patches of at least 50 acres, and, of the 5,940 acres of LCR MSCP–created cottonwood-willow, 1,702 acres will be created in patches of at least 50 acres, 2,348 acres will be created in patches of at least 25 acres, and 1,890 acres will be created in patches of at least 10 acres. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than affected habitats. Patches of existing cottonwood-willow in the LCR MSCP planning area typically include dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood willow land cover that will be created as habitat. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I and II, support a diversity of plant species, and be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. The created elf owl habitat will also provide habitat for gilded flickers and Gila woodpeckers that create tree cavities that are used by elf owls for nesting. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for the yellow-billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow stands in structural types I and II will also provide other habitat requirements for this species (e.g., habitat patch size, food requirements). Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of the native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR. In addition, larger patches of created southwestern willow flycatcher habitat (i.e., greater than 10 acres) that supports cottonwood-willow types I and II could also provide habitat for this species.

ELOW2—Install elf owl nest boxes

Until vegetation has matured sufficiently to attract woodpeckers that are needed to create nesting cavities for the elf owl, structural characteristics of nesting habitat (i.e., snags) will be artificially established. Installation of 2–5 nest boxes on poles or sufficiently tall trees per 250 acres of created habitat will be conducted to replicate the average breeding density of established populations in southwestern United States (Henry and Gehlbach 1999).

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM3—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of nest site competition with European starlings on reproduction of covered species

Research will be undertaken to determine whether nest site competition with European starlings is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the elf owl, gilded flicker, and Gila woodpecker. If so, experimental programs may be implemented to determine the effectiveness and practicality of controlling starlings.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Flannelmouth Sucker
FLSU1—Create 85 acres of flannelmouth sucker habitat

Of the 360 acres of LCR MSCP–created backwaters, at least 85 acres will be created in Reach 3 with water depth, vegetation, and substrate characteristics that provide the elements of flannelmouth sucker habitat. Additional habitat could also be provided depending on the extent of connected backwaters that are created for the razorback sucker and bonytail in Reach 3. Created backwaters will be designed and managed as described in Section 5.4.3.4 in the HCP. At a minimum, created backwaters will contain the physical, chemical, and biological conditions suitable for the establishment and maintenance of healthy fish populations in the LCR.

FLSU2—Provide funding to support existing flannelmouth sucker conservation programs

The LCR MSCP will provide $80,000 per year for 5 years ($400,000 total) to support flannelmouth sucker research efforts in Reach 3 below Davis Dam to determine habitat use, habitat preferences, and recruitment and to support decisions on habitat management activities for river channel and backwater habitats in Reach 3.

FLSU3—Assess flannelmouth sucker management needs and develop management strategies

The LCR MSCP will use results of research conducted by the LCR MSCP (see conservation measure FLSU2) and others, through the adaptive management process, to assess main channel and backwater management needs and develop management strategies to benefit the flannelmouth sucker.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM5—Monitor selenium levels in created backwater and marsh land cover types, and study the effect of selenium released as a result of dredging activities

Conduct monitoring of selenium levels in sediment, water, and/or biota present in LCR MSCP created backwater and marsh land cover types. If monitoring results indicate that management of the LCR MSCP conservation areas increases levels of selenium in created backwaters and marshes or in covered species that use them, the LCR MSCP will undertake research to develop feasible methods to manage the conservation areas in a manner that will eliminate or compensate for the effects of increased selenium levels. If feasible management methods are identified, they will be implemented. This conservation measure will include monitoring the effects of dredging and dredge spoil disposal associated with creating and maintaining backwaters and marshes. If monitoring results indicate that current or future dredging and dredge spoil disposal methods increase selenium levels, the LCR MSCP will only implement methods that will have the least effect on selenium levels. A study will also be conducted to look at the effects of potential releases of selenium from dredging in general.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM4—Minimize contaminant loads in runoff and return irrigation flows from LCR MSCP created habitats to the LCR

LCR MSCP–created habitats that require irrigation to establish and maintain vegetation to provide habitat will be designed and managed to minimize contaminant loads that could return to the LCR as runoff or return flow. Measures will include vegetation establishment methods that minimize the need for application of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers and designing irrigation methods and new irrigation infrastructure to reduce runoff and return-flows to the extent practicable. Use of pesticides is not a covered activity. Pesticides used to establish and maintain LCR MSCP habitats, however, will be applied in accordance with EPA restrictions and, as needed, authorization for their use will be sought under separate permits.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard
FTHL1—Acquire and protect 230 acres of existing unprotected occupied flat-tailed horned lizard habitat

Consistent with the mitigation measures identified in the Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard Rangewide Management Strategy (Flat-tailed Horned Lizard Interagency Coordinating Committee 2003), the LCR MSCP will acquire and protect 230 acres of unprotected occupied flat-tailed horned lizard habitat. The acquired habitat will be transferred to an appropriate management agency for permanent protection of habitat for the species.

FTHL2—Implement conservation measures to avoid or minimize take of flat-tailed horned lizard

Reclamation will continue to implement measures to avoid or minimize take of flat-tailed horned lizard. These measures would include worker education programs and other procedures as described in the 1997 BO (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1997) and are in accordance with the 2003 Flat-tailed Horned Lizard Interagency Coordinating Committee recommendations for the species.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

Gila Woodpecker
GIWO1—Create 1,702 acres of Gila woodpecker habitat

Of the 5,940 acres of created cottonwood-willow, at least 1,702 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for this species in Reaches 3–6. Patches of created habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I–IV in patches as large as possible but will not be created in patches smaller than 50 acres to achieve, based on the best available information, the minimum habitat patch size requirements of the species. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than affected habitats. Patches of existing cottonwood-willow in the LCR MSCP planning area typically include dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood-willow land cover that will be created as habitat. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I–IV, support a diversity of plant species, and be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for the southwestern willow flycatcher (Section 5.7.2 in the HCP) and yellow billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow stands in structural types I–IV will also provide other habitat requirements for this species (e.g., habitat patch size, food requirements). Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR.

GIWO2—Install artificial snags to provide Gila woodpecker nest sites

Until vegetation in created patches of Gila woodpecker habitat has matured sufficiently to support structural characteristics of nesting habitat (i.e., snags), install artificial snags that can be used by Gila woodpeckers to excavate nesting cavities.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM3—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of nest site competition with European starlings on reproduction of covered species

Research will be undertaken to determine whether nest site competition with European starlings is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the elf owl, gilded flicker, and Gila woodpecker. If so, experimental programs may be implemented to determine the effectiveness and practicality of controlling starlings.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

Replace created habitat affected by wildfire. In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Gilded Flicker
GIFL1—Create 4,050 acres of gilded flicker habitat

Of the 5,940 acres of created cottonwood-willow, at least 4,050 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for this species. The 4,050 acres of habitat created for the yellow-billed cuckoo will also provide habitat for the gilded flicker. The created habitat will be established in patches as large as possible but will not be created in patches smaller than 25 acres. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than affected habitats. Patches of existing cottonwood-willow in the LCR MSCP planning area typically include dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood-willow land cover that will be created as habitat. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I–III, support a diversity of plant species, and be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for the yellow-billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow stands in structural types I–III will also provide other habitat requirements for this species (e.g., habitat patch size, food requirements). Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of the native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR. In addition, created southwestern willow flycatcher habitat that supports cottonwood-willow types I–III could also provide habitat for this species.

GIFL2—Install artificial snags to provide gilded flicker nest sites

Until vegetation in created patches of gilded flicker habitat has matured sufficiently to support structural characteristics of nesting habitat (i.e. snags), install artificial snags that can be used by gilded flickers to excavate nesting cavities.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM3—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of nest site competition with European starlings on reproduction of covered species

Research will be undertaken to determine whether nest site competition with European starlings is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the elf owl, gilded flicker, and Gila woodpecker. If so, experimental programs may be implemented to determine the effectiveness and practicality of controlling starlings.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Humpback Chub
HUCH1—Provide funding to support existing humpback chub conservation programs

The LCR MSCP will provide $10,000 per year for 50 years ($500,000 total) to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program or other entity approved by the USFWS to support implementation of planned, but unfunded, species conservation measures and, as appropriate, to fund species conservation measures in the lower Grand Canyon of the Colorado River upstream of Lake Mead NRA. The purpose and use of this funding would be reevaluated if the species was recovered and delisted during the term of the LCR MSCP.

Least Bittern
LEBI1—Create 512 acres of western least bittern habitat

Create and manage 512 acres of marsh to provide western least bittern habitat (Figure 5-2 in the HCP). This created habitat will also be habitat for the Yuma clapper rail (conservation measure CLRA1). Habitat will be created in patches as large as possible. Smaller patches are likely within the range of habitat patch sizes used by the species for foraging and dispersal, and larger patches may be used for breeding. Western least bittern habitat will be created and maintained as described in Section 5.4.3.3 in the HCP. Marshes created to provide western least bittern habitat will be designed and managed to provide an integrated mosaic of wetland vegetation types, water depths, and open water areas. Priority will be given, when consistent with achieving LCR MSCP goals for other covered species, to establishing habitat near occupied habitat. The largest numbers of western least bitterns in the LCR MSCP planning area are located at Topock Marsh and marshes near Imperial Dam, but they are present in suitable marshes throughout the LCR MSCP planning area. Within this mosaic of marsh conditions, western least bittern habitat will generally be provided by patches of bulrush and cattails interspersed with small patches of open water that maintain water depths no greater than 12 inches.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM5—Monitor selenium levels in created backwater and marsh land cover types, and study the effect of selenium released as a result of dredging activities

Conduct monitoring of selenium levels in sediment, water, and/or biota present in LCR MSCP created backwater and marsh land cover types. If monitoring results indicate that management of the LCR MSCP conservation areas increases levels of selenium in created backwaters and marshes or in covered species that use them, the LCR MSCP will undertake research to develop feasible methods to manage the conservation areas in a manner that will eliminate or compensate for the effects of increased selenium levels. If feasible management methods are identified, they will be implemented. This conservation measure will include monitoring the effects of dredging and dredge spoil disposal associated with creating and maintaining backwaters and marshes. If monitoring results indicate that current or future dredging and dredge spoil disposal methods increase selenium levels, the LCR MSCP will only implement methods that will have the least effect on selenium levels. A study will also be conducted to look at the effects of potential releases of selenium from dredging in general.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.
Lowland Leopard Frog
LLFR1— Conduct research to better define the distribution, habitat requirements, and factors that are limiting the distribution of the lowland leopard frog

Develop and implement a multiyear integrated research program to determine the range, status, habitat requirements, population biology, factors that currently limit lowland leopard frog abundance and distribution, and factors that have contributed to the decline of the species in the LCR MSCP planning area.

LLFR2—Protect existing unprotected occupied lowland leopard frog habitat

Based on results of research conducted under conservation measures LLFRO1 and within funding constraints of the LCR MSCP, protect existing unprotected occupied lowland leopard frog habitat that is located through the research program.

LLFR3— Conduct research to determine feasibility of establishing the lowland leopard frog in unoccupied habitat

Conduct research necessary to determine the feasibility for successfully establishing the lowland leopard frog in unoccupied habitat. If feasible, implement a pilot introduction into unoccupied habitat, and monitor the success of methods and establishment of the lowland leopard frog in unoccupied habitat.

MacNeill's Sootywing
MNSW1—Conduct surveys and research to locate MacNeill's sootywing habitat and to better define its habitat requirements

Conduct research to locate MacNeill's sootywing skipper populations that could be affected by covered activities and determine the macrohabitat and microhabitat requirements and ecology of the species. Based on research results, implement adaptive management experiments to develop habitat establishment and management methods.

MNSW2—Create at least 222 acres of MacNeill's sootywing skipper habitat

Based on results of research conducted under conservation measure MNSW1, at least 222 acres of MacNeill's sootywing skipper habitat will be created in Reaches 1–4 near occupied habitat. Patches of created habitat will be designed and managed to support a mix of honey mesquite type III and quailbush to provide food plants for caterpillars and adults and to maintain the microhabitat conditions required by the species. A substantial amount of the 1,320 acres of honey mesquite type III that would be created is expected to be created in reaches occupied by this species and will be established in conjunction with quailbush, the species' larval host plant. Consequently, it is anticipated substantially more than 222 acres of habitat could be created under the LCR MSCP.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

Northern Mexican Gartersnake
NMGS1—Create 1,496 acres of northern Mexican gartersnake habitat

Create and manage 512 acres of marsh to provide northern Mexican gartersnake habitat. This created habitat will also be habitat for the Yuma clapper rail (conservation measure CLRA1). Of the 5,940 acres of LCR MSCP created cottonwood-willow I-IV, 984 acres will be created and managed near to marshes to provide northern Mexican gartersnake habitat. Additional northern Mexican gartersnake habitat may be provided by marsh vegetation that becomes established along margins of the 360 acres of backwaters that will be created. These small patches of habitat may provide linkages between existing habitat and may facilitate the colonization of created habitats. Marsh associated with backwaters that are disconnected from the LCR channel are of higher value to northern Mexican gartersnake than connected backwaters on the LCR and are the preferred type to achieve LCR MSCP conservation goals for this species. Marsh associated with disconnected backwaters are managed to limit non-native predatory species, to the extent practicable. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for Yuma clapper rail (HCP Section 5.7.1), California black rail (HCP Section 5.7.13), southwestern willow flycatcher (HCP Section 5.7.2) and yellow-billed cuckoo (HCP Section 5.7 .14) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow and marsh areas will also provide other habitat requirements for this species.

NMGS2—Implement conservation measures to avoid or minimize take of northern Mexican gartersnakes

Implement measures to avoid or minimize take of northern Mexican gartersnakes. These measures could include worker education programs and other practices in accordance with LCR MSCP best management practices.

MRM3—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh. Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM4—Minimize contaminant loads in runoff and return irrigation flows from LCR MSCP created habitats to the LCR

LCR MSCP–created habitats that require irrigation to establish and maintain vegetation to provide habitat will be designed and managed to minimize contaminant loads that could return to the LCR as runoff or return flow. Measures will include vegetation establishment methods that minimize the need for application of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers and designing irrigation methods and new irrigation infrastructure to reduce runoff and return-flows to the extent practicable. Use of pesticides is not a covered activity. Pesticides used to establish and maintain LCR MSCP habitats, however, will be applied in accordance with EPA restrictions and, as needed, authorization for their use will be sought under separate permits.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

Razorback Sucker
RASU1—Coordinate razorback sucker conservation efforts with USFWS and recovery programs for endangered fish species in the Lower Basin Implementation Program

The LCR MSCP is not a recovery implementation program for the razorback sucker in the Lower Basin. However, because the planning area overlies razorback habitats that may be significant components of recovery, and the conservation measures included in the plan can provide resources to a separately organized recovery program, the LCR MSCP will be a contributor to recovery efforts. In that role, the LCR MSCP will interact with USFWS or any formal recovery program developed in the future for the Lower Basin to ensure that conservation measures included in the conservation plan will be implemented in support of recovery efforts to meet recovery goals for the razorback sucker in the Lower Basin. This will allow coordination of stocking, research, monitoring, and the funding of other types of conservation efforts inside and outside the LCR MSCP planning area. The LCR MSCP may also use funding programmed for razorback sucker augmentation (RASU3) and other razorback sucker conservation measures to implement other recovery activities identified by the USFWS or a future formal recovery program if it is determined through the adaptive management process (Section 5.12 in the HCP) and with concurrence of the USFWS that providing such funding would more effectively contribute to recovery of the razorback sucker.

The LCR MSCP conservation measures are designed to be flexible and adaptable to allow for changing needs and priorities in razorback sucker recovery efforts over the term of the permit. The LCR MSCP recognized that this flexibility would be extremely valuable as interim benchmarks to meeting the 2002 recovery goals and changes to recovery needs identified from research and monitoring were developed over time. In order to define the amount of conservation the LCR MSCP would contribute for the razorback sucker, some assumptions on how funds would be spent were made for the purposes of costing out the program. The adaptive management program, relying on research, monitoring, and other information will guide the implementation of the conservation measures to mitigate incidental take and contribute to recovery.

RASU2—Create 360 acres of razorback sucker habitat

Create 360 acres of backwater with water depth, vegetation, and substrate characteristics that provide the elements of razorback sucker habitat. This created backwater will also provide habitat for the bonytail. Created backwaters will be designed and managed as described in Section 5.4.3.4 in the HCP. At a minimum, created backwaters will contain the physical, chemical, and biological conditions suitable for the establishment and maintenance of healthy fish populations in the LCR.

RASU3—Augment razorback populations (Minor Modification)

Steering Committee Motion 11-001  10-27-10
Fish and Wildlife Service Approval Letter 1-4-11

The LCR MSCP will provide a level of funding to support implementation of a stocking/augmentation program for the razorback sucker, providing for the stocking of up to 660,000 subadult razorback suckers (at least 300 mm in length) into the designated critical habitat for the species in Reach 3, and in Reaches 4 and 5 of the LCR. The figure of 660,000 fish is not a target number for the LCR but represents an assumption (see RASU1) used to define the extent of funding that would be available, with the understanding that the adaptive management process (see Section 5.12.2.2 in the HCP) would guide the actual stocking program.

The elements of the augmentation program divide the conservation effort into the three reaches with numbers of fish per year per reach:

  1. Implement an experimental augmentation, at a site(s) to be selected in cooperation with USFWS and state game and fish agencies, of 12,000 subadult razorback suckers each year for ten years (120,000 total augmentation), and conduct intensive follow-up monitoring. When razorback sucker production capacity allows, razorback sucker production will be ramped up, with a target production of 120,000 300-mm subadult fish over a 10-year period (i.e., about 12,000 subadult fish per year). Of the 120,000 subadult fish, 6,000 300-mm fish will be stocked annually above Parker Dam and 6,000 300-mm fish below Parker Dam to facilitate maintenance of current juvenile and adult abundance. The augmentation program will also support maintenance and protection of the genetic diversity of existing populations in Lake Mohave (conservation measure RASU4).
  2. Annually augment the existing population by stocking up to 6,000 subadult razorback sucker for 45 years in Lake Havasu (270,000 total augmentation).
  3. Annually augment the existing population by stocking up to 6,000 subadult razorback sucker for 45 years below Parker Dam (270,000 total augmentation).

The number of fish that would be stocked in each reach would be based on the results of monitoring and research. Factors to be evaluated include the survival of stocked fish (including examination of rearing methods, stocking methods, and size of fish stocked), habitat usage, quality and availability, and other information. Stocking of razorback sucker in any reach would cease, even if the numbers described herein had not been stocked, if monitoring and research demonstrate: (1) no need for additional stockings to provide adults for genetic refuge or for evaluation of management activities related to creating a self-sustaining population (i.e., species recovery goals have been achieved); (2) results of monitoring and research indicate that management activities other than stocking would be more effective in contributing to recovery of the species; (3) there are factors in the reach that are not conducive to the survival of stocked fish to become adults or to be managed toward a self-sustaining population; or (4) that other biological or other factors warrant cessation of stocking. Funds not expended for growing and stocking subadult razorback sucker would continue to be available to fund other management measures that would minimize and mitigate incidental take and contribute to recovery. Other such management measures would be identified and implemented through the adaptive management process (Section 5.12.1 in the HCP), which requires that any proposed changes in the conservation measures be approved by the USFWS prior to adoption and implementation. As described in conservation measure RASU1, the number of razorback sucker stocked could also be reduced if funding provided for stocking razorback sucker is reallocated to support implementation of other conservation measures.

RASU4—Develop additional razorback sucker rearing capacity

The LCR MSCP, in cooperation with AGFD, CDFG, NDOW, USFWS, and other LCR MSCP participants, will develop additional razorback sucker rearing capacity or will acquire the necessary numbers of fish from other sources. Methods to increase rearing capacity to accommodate fish augmentations will include testing the efficacy of raising fish or creating recruiting populations in disconnected backwaters that are predator free. In the context of the integrated landscape mosaic that will provide a variety of habitats and management opportunities (e.g., use of created disconnected backwaters), grow-out facilities will be developed for razorback sucker in the LCR MSCP planning area. Until rearing capacity can be increased sufficiently to produce the numbers of fish required for the augmentation strategy described in conservation measure RASU3, the LCR MSCP will monitor species' response to previous augmentations and will stock the numbers of fish that can be produced up to the amounts described in RASU3. Annual augmentation targets for the first years of the program, therefore, may need to be shifted until later in the program, when increased rearing capacity is at full capacity.

RASU5—Support ongoing razorback conservation efforts at Lake Mohave

Provide support to maintain the current Lake Mohave Program (Native Fish Work Group) goal of maintaining a population of 50,000 adult razorback sucker in Lake Mohave as a genetic refuge.

RASU6—Conduct monitoring and research, and adaptively manage razorback sucker augmentations and created habitat

Monitoring and research will be conducted to gather information necessary to adaptively manage razorback sucker conservation, including continued monitoring of fish response to previous augmentations, aggressive monitoring of fish response following LCR MSCP augmentations to gather information regarding habitat use, and fish movement, to increase the success of subsequent management of the species.

The LCR MSCP will implement an adaptive management process to reevaluate the augmentation strategy for razorback sucker based on the results of monitoring and research. Monitoring and focused research will be a component of the adaptive management process. In particular, the stocking of 24,000 subadult fish for 5 consecutive years (conservation measure RASU3, submeasure 1) will be conducted as an adaptive management experiment, elements of which will include focusing augmentations in locations that currently support large numbers of fish, followed by intensive monitoring and research for an estimated 7–8 years. Release of fish into the LCR will target a mix of riverine and lacustrine habitat types in Reaches 3–5. Razorback sucker released into Reaches 2–5 will be marked with wire-coded tags and a statistically valid subset of released fish may also be PIT tagged or identified with other appropriate technology, providing a similar level of individual fish identification. Monitoring and research will focus on determining key environmental correlates affecting survival, growth, movement, and reproduction (e.g., key habitat [e.g., depth, velocity, channel form, cover, substrate], continuity, water temperature, food, predation). Following the 7–8-year intensive monitoring and research period, the information and insights gained will focus expenditure of the remaining LCR MSCP funds allocated for razorback sucker augmentations on those management activities potentially contributing the most to achieving the recovery goals for razorback sucker. As appropriate, the management activities may include changes to the Applicants' proposed augmentation approach, rates, and augmentation sites. The monitoring and research information will also guide maintenance, enhancement, and creation of razorback sucker habitat (e.g., backwaters).

RASU7—Provide funding and support for continuation of the Reclamation/SNWA ongoing Lake Mead razorback sucker studies

The LCR MSCP will continue to fund and support the ongoing studies of razorback suckers in Lake Mead that were implemented under the ISC/SIA BO. The studies are anticipated to be completed within 5–10 years. The focus of the studies will be to resolve any remaining questions about the location of populations of razorback suckers in Lake Mead from the lower Grand Canyon (Separation Canyon) area downstream to Hoover Dam, documenting use and availability of spawning areas at various water elevations, clarifying substrate requirements, monitoring potential nursery areas, continuing ageing studies, and confirming recruitment events that may be tied to physical conditions in the lake. The LCR MSCP and USFWS will agree to the term and further define the scope of the studies. These studies may be followed by further research and monitoring within the adaptive management program of the LCR MSCP.

RASU8—Continue razorback conservation measures identified in the ISC/SIA BO

Reclamation will continue to implement, as part of the LCR MSCP, the following conservation measures identified in the ISC/SIA BO:

  1. Reclamation will continue existing operations on Lake Mohave that benefit native fish during the term of the LCR MSCP and will explore additional ways to provide benefits to native fish.
  2. Reclamation will, to the maximum extent practicable, provide rising spring (February–April) water surface elevations of 5–10 feet on Lake Mead, to the extent hydrologic conditions allow. This operation plan will be pursued through Beach Habitat Building Flows (BHBF) and/or equalization and achieved through the Adaptive Management and Annual Operating Plan processes, as determined for spawning razorback suckers.
  3. Reclamation will monitor water levels of Lake Mead from February to April of each year during the term of the LCR MSCP. The LCR MSCP will evaluate the impacts to razorback spawning at water levels below an elevation of 1,160 feet msl. The ISC/SIA BO includes a conservation measure to collect and rear larval razorbacks in Lake Mead if the lake elevation falls below this level, based on an assumption that razorback spawning would be reduced or eliminated at water elevations below that36 level. It should be noted, however, that the spawning population of razorback sucker found in Echo Bay moved to a lower elevation in 2002 and spawned because the spawning location they had previously used was dry. This change indicates that razorback sucker can successfully move their spawning location into progressively lower elevations as the lake recedes. Given this new information, the LCR MSCP and USFWS will evaluate the data developed in conservation measure RASU6 and determine whether larva collection is appropriate and, if so, at what water elevation it should be implemented.
MRM5—Monitor selenium levels in created backwater and marsh land cover types, and study the effect of selenium released as a result of dredging activities

Conduct monitoring of selenium levels in sediment, water, and/or biota present in LCR MSCP created backwater and marsh land cover types. If monitoring results indicate that management of the LCR MSCP conservation areas increases levels of selenium in created backwaters and marshes or in covered species that use them, the LCR MSCP will undertake research to develop feasible methods to manage the conservation areas in a manner that will eliminate or compensate for the effects of increased selenium levels. If feasible management methods are identified, they will be implemented. This conservation measure will include monitoring the effects of dredging and dredge spoil disposal associated with creating and maintaining backwaters and marshes. If monitoring results indicate that current or future dredging and dredge spoil disposal methods increase selenium levels, the LCR MSCP will only implement methods that will have the least effect on selenium levels. A study will also be conducted to look at the effects of potential releases of selenium from dredging in general.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM4—Minimize contaminant loads in runoff and return irrigation flows from LCR MSCP created habitats to the LCR

LCR MSCP–created habitats that require irrigation to establish and maintain vegetation to provide habitat will be designed and managed to minimize contaminant loads that could return to the LCR as runoff or return flow. Measures will include vegetation establishment methods that minimize the need for application of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers and designing irrigation methods and new irrigation infrastructure to reduce runoff and return-flows to the extent practicable. Use of pesticides is not a covered activity. Pesticides used to establish and maintain LCR MSCP habitats, however, will be applied in accordance with EPA restrictions and, as needed, authorization for their use will be sought under separate permits.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Relict Leopard Frog
RLFR1—Provide funding to support existing relict leopard frog conservation programs

LCR MSCP program activities will assist and contribute to existing relict leopard frog research and conservation programs where appropriate. In particular, the LCR MSCP will contribute $10,000 per year for 10 years to support implementation of planned, but unfunded, conservation measures for the relict leopard frog. To the extent consistent with the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan goals and objectives, implementation of this conservation measure will be coordinated with the Relict Leopard Frog Conservation Team.

Sonoran Yellow Warbler
YWAR1—Create 4,050 acres of Sonoran yellow warbler habitat

Of the 5,940 acres of created cottonwood-willow, at least 4,050 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for this species. Patches of created habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I–IV. The created habitat will be established in patches as large as possible. At a minimum, however, all of the habitat will be created in patches of at least 10 acres, thus, based on the best available information, will meet the minimum habitat patch size requirements of the species. Created riparian forests will support breeding and migration habitats for yellow warblers that migrate along the LCR. In addition, the per-acre quality of created habitat for this species will be substantially greater than that of the affected habitat. Along the LCR, this species formerly nested in cottonwood-willow habitat ranging from gallery forests to early successional stage scrublands. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than affected habitats. Patches of existing cottonwood willow in the LCR MSCP planning area typically include dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood-willow land cover that will be created as habitat. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I–IV, support a diversity of plant species, and be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of the native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for the southwestern willow flycatcher (Section 5.7.2 in the HCP) and yellow-billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow stands in structural types I–IV will also provide other habitat requirements for this species (e.g., habitat patch size, food requirements).

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM4—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism on reproduction of covered species

Research will be undertaken to determine whether brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the southwestern willow flycatcher, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, Sonoran yellow warbler, and summer tanager in the LCR MSCP planning area. If so, studies will be implemented to identify effective and practical methods for controlling brown-headed cowbirds. If cowbirds are adversely affecting breeding success and effective control measures are developed, a program will be implemented to monitor the effects of cowbirds on nesting success in LCR MSCP–created habitats to determine the need for cowbird control and to implement cowbird control measures in locations where cowbird control is needed to improve reproductive success.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher
WIFL1—Create 4,050 acres of Southwestern willow flycatcher habitat

Of the 5,940 acres of created cottonwood-willow, at least 4,050 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for this species. Created cottonwood-willow will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I–IV that provide breeding habitat for this species. The created cottonwood-willow would also function as migration habitat for birds that migrate along the LCR. A total of 2,700 acres of created habitat will be designed and managed to provide habitat for both the southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-billed cuckoo. To provide habitat for both species, created habitat will need to be composed of cottonwood-willow types I–IV, include moist soils for flying insect production, and be in large habitat blocks (at least 25 acres but preferably up to 200 or more acres). The remaining 1,350 acres of the 4,050 acres of created habitat will also be composed of cottonwood-willow types I–IV and will include moist soils, but patches of this habitat may be smaller if site constraints limit the construction of larger habitat patches.

Of the 1,350 acres of habitat to be created specifically for the yellow-billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP), patches that provide surface water or moist surface soil conditions during the breeding season will also support habitat for the southwestern willow flycatcher. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than the affected habitat. Affected southwestern willow flycatcher habitat is dominated by dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood-willow land cover that will be created and managed as flycatcher breeding habitat. Cottonwood-willow land cover created to provide southwestern willow flycatcher habitat will be designed and managed to be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support flying insect production used as food by the flycatcher, support a diversity of plant species, provide a dense multilayered canopy, support multiple seral stages, and provide substantial areas of edge habitat. Created habitat, thus, will be similar to the condition of the species' native habitat that was historically present along the LCR. The relative suitability and carrying capacity of saltcedar and cottonwood-willow habitats for nesting southwestern willow flycatchers are difficult to measure under current conditions because saltcedar now dominates most riparian areas along the LCR. Based on historical accounts, however, cottonwood-willow forests of the LCR once supported a high diversity and density of nesting birds, including willow flycatchers (Grinnell 1914; Garrett and Dunn 1981; Rosenberg et al. 1991). Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the successful replacement of the current saltcedar-dominated habitats by the species' historical, native habitat would provide highly favorable conditions for long-term maintenance and enhancement of southwestern willow flycatcher populations on the LCR.

To ensure that high quality and fully functioning southwestern willow flycatcher breeding habitat is created, the following design and management criteria, subject to adjustment through the LCR MSCP adaptive management process, will be applied to created cottonwood-willow land cover dedicated as replacement southwestern willow flycatcher habitat:

  • Southwestern willow flycatcher habitat will be created in patches of at least 10 acres, with an objective of creating larger patches of habitat.
  • Created-habitat patches will be close to each other or existing tracts of riparian forest that provide southwestern willow flycatcher habitat in a manner that will maximize continuity with other riparian habitats.
  • Designs of created habitats will emphasize creation of nesting habitat within 200 feet of standing or slow-moving water or moist surface soils (suitable insect-productive foraging habitats) and will include creation of suitable habitat edges that are preferred by this species.
  • Created habitat will include provisions for supporting moist surface soils and standing or slow-moving water required by the species within their territories during the breeding season (may extend from late April to August along the LCR). Maintaining these conditions could involve creation of canals and shallow swales that permanently or seasonally maintain surface water or moist surface soil conditions. Because the actual period that moist soils or ponded or slow-moving water conditions must be present to support successful reproduction is not well understood, watering of created habitat will be managed adaptively to determine periods when water must be present to support flycatcher reproduction.
  • Canals and shallow swales may need to be created to dissect blocks of created cottonwood-willow that will be wide enough (estimated to be at least 25 feet) to create interior forest-edge conditions necessary to support southwestern willow flycatcher habitat, create the microrelief and soil moisture conditions necessary to support a diversity of understory plant species, and supply irrigation water.
  • Created habitat will be designed and actively managed to support a vigorous plant community that will support multiple layers, seral stages, and age cohorts of trees.
  • Mounds and depressions, to the extent necessary, will be created in habitat created on conservation areas to establish some topographic diversity that will also provide habitat diversity by increasing plant and insect prey species diversity.
WIFL2—Maintain existing important habitat areas
The Applicants, under agreements with cooperating land management agencies, will provide funding to those agencies to maintain a portion of existing southwestern willow flycatcher habitat within the LCR MSCP planning area (Section 5.4.2 in the HCP). Maintaining important existing habitat areas is necessary to ensure the continued existence of the southwestern willow flycatcher in the LCR MSCP planning area, provide for the production of individuals that could disperse to and nest in LCR MSCP–created habitats, and support future recovery of the species.
MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements
Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP)). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.
MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats
Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.
MRM4—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism on reproduction of covered species
Research will be undertaken to determine whether brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the southwestern willow flycatcher, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, Sonoran yellow warbler, and summer tanager in the LCR MSCP planning area. If so, studies will be implemented to identify effective and practical methods for controlling brown-headed cowbirds. If cowbirds are adversely affecting breeding success and effective control measures are developed, a program will be implemented to monitor the effects of cowbirds on nesting success in LCR MSCP–created habitats to determine the need for cowbird control and to implement cowbird control measures in locations where cowbird control is needed to improve reproductive success.
CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire
Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).
CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire
In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.
AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats
To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.
AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.
AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Sticky Buckwheat
STBU1—Provide funding to support existing sticky buckwheat conservation programs (Minor Modification)

Steering Committee Motion 11-005  10-27-10
Fish and Wildlife Service Approval 1-4-11

The LCR MSCP will provide $10,000 per year until 2030 to an ongoing Conservation Program or other entity approved by the USFWS to implement conservation activities for the threecorner milkvetch and sticky buckwheat.

Summer Tanager
SUTA1—Create 602 acres of summer tanager habitat

Of the 5,940 acres of created cottonwood-willow, at least 602 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for the species. Patches of created habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I and II. The created habitat will be established in patches as large as possible. At a minimum, however, 4,050 acres of cottonwood-willow will be created in patches of at least 25 acres, and 1,890 acres will be created in patches of at least 10 acres. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than affected habitats. Patches of existing cottonwood willow in the LCR MSCP planning area typically include dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood-willow land cover that will be created as habitat. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I and II (i.e., over 50 percent of the trees are taller than 15 feet), support a diversity of plant species, and will be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of the native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for the yellow-billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow stands in structural types I and II will also provide other habitat requirements for this species (e.g., habitat patch size, food requirements). In addition, created southwestern willow flycatcher habitat that supports cottonwood-willow types I and II could also provide habitat for this species.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM4—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism on reproduction of covered species

Research will be undertaken to determine whether brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the southwestern willow flycatcher, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, Sonoran yellow warbler, and summer tanager in the LCR MSCP planning area. If so, studies will be implemented to identify effective and practical methods for controlling brown-headed cowbirds. If cowbirds are adversely affecting breeding success and effective control measures are developed, a program will be implemented to monitor the effects of cowbirds on nesting success in LCR MSCP–created habitats to determine the need for cowbird control and to implement cowbird control measures in locations where cowbird control is needed to improve reproductive success.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Threecorner Milkvetch
THMI1—Provide funding to support existing threecorner milkvetch conservation programs

Steering Committee Motion 11-005  10-27-10
Fish and Wildlife Service Approval 1-4-11

The LCR MSCP will provide $10,000 per year until 2030 to an ongoing Conservation Program or other entity approved by the USFWS to implement conservation activities for the threecorner milkvetch and sticky buckwheat.
Townsend's Big-Eared Bat
PTBB1—Conduct surveys to locate pale Townsend's big-eared bat roost sites

Conduct investigations to identify locations of pale Townsend's big-eared bat roost sites within 10 miles of the LCR MSCP planning area in Reaches 3–5.

PTBB2— Create covered species habitat near pale Townsend's big-eared bat roost sites

The LCR MSCP process for selecting sites to establish cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite as habitat for other covered species will, based on the information collected under conservation measure PTBB1, give priority, when consistent with achieving LCR MSCP goals for other covered species, to selecting sites that are within 10 miles of pale Townsend's big-eared bat roosts in Reaches 3–5. As described in Section 5.4.3 in the HCP, created cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite land cover will be designed to establish stands that will support a substantially greater density and diversity of plant species that are likely to support a greater abundance of insect prey species than is currently produced in the affected land cover types.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

Vermilion Flycatcher
VEFL1—Create 5,208 acres of vermilion flycatcher habitat

Of the 7,260 acres of created cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite, at least 5,208 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for this species. Patches of created habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I–IV and honey mesquite type III that provide habitat for this species. The created habitat will be established in patches as large as possible. At a minimum, however, isolated patches of honey mesquite will be created in patches of at least 50 acres, and, of the 5,940 acres of LCR MSCP–created cottonwood-willow, 1,702 acres will be created in patches of at least 50 acres, 2,348 acres will be created in patches of at least 25 acres, and 1,890 acres will be created in patches of at least 10 acres. In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitat, the quality of created habitat will be substantially greater than affected habitats. Patches of existing cottonwood-willow in the LCR MSCP planning area typically include dense stands of saltcedar that support little vegetative diversity relative to the cottonwood willow land cover that will be created as habitat. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I–IV, support a diversity of plant species, and be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of the native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR. The design and management criteria described in the conservation measures for the southwestern willow flycatcher (Section 5.7.2 in the HCP) and yellow-billed cuckoo (Section 5.7.14 in the HCP) will ensure that created cottonwood-willow stands in structural types I–IV will also provide other habitat requirements for this species (e.g., habitat patch size, food requirements).

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM4—Conduct research to determine and address the effects of brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism on reproduction of covered species

Research will be undertaken to determine whether brown-headed cowbird nest parasitism is a substantial factor limiting the reproductive success of the southwestern willow flycatcher, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, Sonoran yellow warbler, and summer tanager in the LCR MSCP planning area. If so, studies will be implemented to identify effective and practical methods for controlling brown-headed cowbirds. If cowbirds are adversely affecting breeding success and effective control measures are developed, a program will be implemented to monitor the effects of cowbirds on nesting success in LCR MSCP–created habitats to determine the need for cowbird control and to implement cowbird control measures in locations where cowbird control is needed to improve reproductive success.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Western Red Bat
WRBA1—Conduct surveys to determine species distribution of the western red bat

Conduct investigations to identify the distribution of the western red bat in Reaches 3–5.

WRBA2— Create 765 acres of western red bat roosting habitat

Of the 7,260 acres of cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite to be created as covered species habitat, at least 765 acres will be designed and created to provide western red bat roosting habitat. Created roosting habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I and II and honey mesquite type III. The LCR MSCP process for selecting sites to establish cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite as habitat for other covered species habitat will, based on the information collected under conservation measure WRBA1, give priority, when consistent with achieving LCR MSCP goals for other covered species, to selecting sites that are occupied by the western red bat in Reaches 3–5. As described in Section 5.4.3 in the HCP, created cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite land cover will be designed to establish stands that will support a substantially greater density and diversity of plant species that will provide roost trees and that are likely to support a greater abundance of insect prey species than is currently produced in the affected land cover types.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Western Yellow Bat
WYBA1—Conduct surveys to determine species distribution of the western yellow bat

Conduct investigations to identify the distribution of the western yellow bat in Reaches 3–5.

WYBA2—Avoid removal of western yellow bat roosts trees

To the extent practicable, avoid removal of palm trees that could serve as roosts for the western yellow bat when creating covered species habitats.

WYBA3— Create 765 acres of western yellow bat roosting and foraging habitat

Of the 7,260 acres of cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite to be created as covered species habitat, at least 765 acres will be designed and created to provide western yellow bat roosting or foraginghabitat. Created roosting or foraginghabitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I and II and honey mesquite type III. The LCR MSCP process for selecting sites to establish cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite as habitat for other covered species habitat will, based on the information collected under conservation measure WYBA1, give priority, when consistent with achieving LCR MSCP goals for other covered species, to selecting sites that are occupied by the western yellow bat in Reaches 3–5. As described in Section 5.4.3 in the HCP, created cottonwood-willow and honey mesquite land cover will be designed to establish stands that will support a substantially greater density and diversity of plant species that will provide roosting or foraging habitat and that are likely to support a greater abundance of insect prey species than is currently produced in the affected land cover types.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
YBCU1—Create 4,050 acres of yellow-billed cuckoo habitat

Of the 5,940 acres of created cottonwood-willow, at least 4,050 acres will be designed and created to provide habitat for this species. Created habitat will be designed and managed to support cottonwood-willow types I–III that provide breeding habitat for this species. The created cottonwood-willow would also function as migration habitat for birds that migrate along the LCR. A total of 2,700 acres of created habitat will be designed and managed to provide both yellow-billed cuckoo and southwestern willow flycatcher habitat, and 1,350 acres will be designed and managed to specifically provide habitat for the yellow billed cuckoo.

The created habitat will be established in patches as large as possible but will not be created in patches smaller than 25 acres to achieve, based on the best available information, the minimum habitat patch size requirements of the species. Of the 1,350 acres of habitat to be created specifically for the southwestern willow flycatcher (Section 5.7.2 in the HCP), patches that support cottonwood-willow types I–III of at least 25 acres will also support habitat for the yellow-billed cuckoo.

In addition to the spatial replacement of affected habitats, the quality of created habitats will be substantially greater than affected habitats that are currently dominated by saltcedar. Cottonwood-willow land cover created to provide yellow-billed cuckoo habitat will be designed and managed to provide high habitat values for this species. Created habitat will be dominated by native riparian trees (i.e., cottonwood and willow trees), support a tree structure corresponding to structural types I–III (i.e., the greatest proportion of trees are at least in the 10–20-foot height class), support a diversity of plant species, and be created to the greatest extent practicable in patch sizes optimal for supporting the species. Created habitat, thus, will approximate the condition of the native habitat of the species that was historically present along the LCR.

To ensure that high-quality and fully functioning yellow-billed cuckoo habitat is created, the following design and management criteria, subject to adjustment through the LCR MSCP adaptive management process (Section 5.12.1 in the HCP), will be applied to created cottonwood-willow land cover dedicated as replacement yellow-billed cuckoo habitat.

  •  Habitat will be created in patches of at least 25 acres, which, at a minimum, is expected to provide suitable nesting habitat for 1–2 pairs. Creation of larger patches are expected to provide sufficient habitat to support multiple nesting pairs.
  •  Based on studies conducted by Gaines (1974), priority will be given to creating habitat in patches of at least 330 feet in width. Created-habitat patches will be located close to each other or to existing tracts of riparian forest and situated in a manner that will maximize continuity with other riparian land cover types.
  • Created habitat will be managed to maintain cottonwood and willow stands with trees in structural types I–III.
  • The vegetation and seral structure and edge characteristics described for created southwestern willow flycatcher habitat (Section 5.7.2 in the HCP) will be maintained in created cottonwood-willow land cover that is designed and managed to provide both yellow billed cuckoo and southwestern willow flycatcher habitat.
  • Mounds and depressions will be created in habitat created on conservation areas to establish some topographic diversity that will also provide habitat diversity by increasing plant and insect prey species diversity.
YBCU2—Maintain existing important yellow-billed cuckoo habitat Areas

The applicants, under agreements with cooperating land management agencies, will provide funding to those agencies to maintain a portion of existing yellow-billed cuckoo habitat within the LCR MSCP planning area (Section 5.4.2 in the HCP). Maintaining important existing habitat areas is necessary to ensure the continued existence of the yellow-billed cuckoo in the LCR MSCP planning area, provide for the production of individuals that could disperse to and nest in LCR MSCP–created habitats, and reduce the likelihood of future Federal listing of the species.

MRM1—Conduct surveys and research to better identify covered and evaluation species habitat requirements

Conduct surveys and research, as appropriate, to collect information necessary to better define the species habitat requirements and to design and manage fully functioning created covered and evaluation species habitats. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh.  Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season

To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

Yuma Clapper Rail
CLRA1—Create 512 acres of Yuma clapper rail habitat

Create and manage 512 acres of marsh to provide Yuma clapper rail habitat (Figure 5-2 in the HCP). This created habitat will also provide habitat for the western least bittern and the California black rail (see conservation measures LEBI1 and BLRA1). Habitat will be created in patches as large as possible but will not be created in patches smaller than 5 acres. Smaller patches are likely to support isolated nesting pairs and be within the range of habitat patch sizes used by the species for foraging and dispersal. Larger patches would be expected to support multiple nesting pairs. Additional Yuma clapper rail habitat may be provided by marsh vegetation that becomes established along margins of the 360 acres of backwaters that will be created in Reaches 3–6. These small patches of habitat would provide cover for dispersing rails, thereby facilitating linkages between existing breeding populations and the colonization of created habitats.

Yuma clapper rail habitat will be created and maintained as described in Section 5.4.3.3. in the HCP.  Marshes created to provide Yuma clapper rail habitat will be designed and managed to provide an integrated mosaic of wetland vegetation types, water depths, and open water areas. Within this mosaic of marsh conditions, Yuma clapper rail habitat will generally be provided by patches of bulrush and cattails interspersed with small patches of open water with water levels maintained at depths appropriate for this species (no more than12 inches).

CLRA2—Maintain existing important Yuma clapper rail habitat areas
The applicants, under agreements with cooperating land management agencies, will provide funding to those agencies to maintain a portion of existing Yuma clapper rail habitat within the LCR MSCP planning area (Section 5.4.2 in the HCP). Maintaining important existing habitat areas is necessary to ensure the continued existence of Yuma clapper rails in the LCR MSCP planning area, provide for the production of individuals that could disperse to and nest in LCR MSCP–created habitat, and support future recovery of the species. Habitat maintenance would likely be undertaken in conjunction with the maintenance of existing California black rail habitat.
MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats
Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.
MRM5—Monitor selenium levels in created backwater and marsh land cover types, and study the effect of selenium released as a result of dredging activities
Conduct monitoring of selenium levels in sediment, water, and/or biota present in LCR MSCP created backwater and marsh land cover types. If monitoring results indicate that management of the LCR MSCP conservation areas increases levels of selenium in created backwaters and marshes or in covered species that use them, the LCR MSCP will undertake research to develop feasible methods to manage the conservation areas in a manner that will eliminate or compensate for the effects of increased selenium levels. If feasible management methods are identified, they will be implemented. This conservation measure will include monitoring the effects of dredging and dredge spoil disposal associated with creating and maintaining backwaters and marshes. If monitoring results indicate that current or future dredging and dredge spoil disposal methods increase selenium levels, the LCR MSCP will only implement methods that will have the least effect on selenium levels. A study will also be conducted to look at the effects of potential releases of selenium from dredging in general.
CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire
Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).
CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire
In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.
AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats
To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.
AMM2—Avoid impacts of flow-related covered activities on covered species habitats at Topock Marsh

Impacts on groundwater levels that support covered species habitat at Topock Marsh will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries for maintenance of water levels and existing conditions. At times, flow-related activities could lower river elevations to levels that could disrupt diversion of water from the river to the marsh. Improvements to intake structures that allow water to continue to be diverted or other measures to maintain the water surface elevation will avoid effects on groundwater elevation. Avoidance of effects could be accomplished with the purchase, installation, and operation of two electric pumps sized to the current inflow at the Topock Marsh diversion inlet. The pumps would most likely need to be operated during summer to make up for the lower flow periods.

Implementation of this conservation measure would maintain existing habitat at Topock Marsh for the Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, Colorado River cotton rat, western least bittern, California black rail, yellow-billed cuckoo, gilded flicker, vermilion flycatcher, Arizona Bell's vireo, and Sonoran yellow warbler. The extent of covered species habitat impacts that will be avoided by maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh are presented in Table 4-2 in the HCP. Maintaining water deliveries to Topock Marsh will also maintain razorback sucker and bonytail habitat associated with disconnected backwaters managed for these species.

AMM3—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize disturbance of covered bird species during the breeding season
To the extent practicable, to avoid and minimize potential impacts on covered bird species, vegetation management activities (e.g., periodic removal of emergent vegetation to maintain canals and drains) associated with implementation of covered activities and the LCR MSCP that could result in disturbance to covered bird species will not be implemented during the breeding season to prevent injury or mortality of eggs and young birds unable to avoid these activities. Table 5-9 in the HCP describes the breeding period for each of the covered species during which, to the extent practicable, vegetation management activities in each species' habitat will be avoided.
AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area
To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.
AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities
To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).
Yuma Hispid Cotton Rat
YHCR1—Conduct research to better define Yuma hispid cotton rat habitat requirements

Conduct research, if needed, to better define the elements of Yuma hispid cotton rat habitat and provide information necessary to design and manage created habitat.

YHCR2—Create 76 acres of Yuma hispid cotton rat habitat

Of the 5,940 acres of cottonwood-willow to be created as habitat for covered species, at least 76 acres will be designed to provide habitat for the Yuma hispid cotton rat in Reaches 6 and 7 near occupied habitat. Created Yuma hispid cotton rat habitat will be designed and managed to support a moist herbaceous understory, an element of the species’ habitat.

MRM2—Monitor and adaptively manage created covered and evaluation species habitats

Created species habitats will be managed to maintain their functions as species habitat over the term of the LCR MSCP. Created habitat will be monitored and adaptively managed over time to determine the types and frequency of management activities that may be required to maintain created cottonwood-willow, honey mesquite, marsh, and backwater land cover as habitat for covered species. This conservation measure applies to those species for which comparable measures are not subsumed under species-specific conservation measures (Section 5.7 in the HCP). They are not applicable to species for which habitat would not be created under the LCR MSCP Conservation Plan, such as the desert tortoise, relict leopard frog, humpback chub, and threecorner milkvetch.

CMM1—Reduce risk of loss of created habitat to wildfire

Management of LCR MSCP conservation areas will include contributing to and integrating with local, state, and Federal agency fire management plans. Conservation areas will be designed to contain wildfire and facilitate rapid response to suppress fires (e.g., fire management plans will be an element of each conservation area management plan).

CMM2—Replace created habitat affected by wildfire

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

AMM1—To the extent practicable, avoid and minimize impacts of implementing the LCR MSCP on existing covered species habitats

To the extent practicable, establishment and management of LCR MSCP–created habitats will avoid removal of existing cottonwood-willow stands, honey mesquite bosques, marsh, and backwaters to avoid and minimize impacts on habitat they provide for covered species. Temporary disturbance of covered species habitats, however, may be associated with habitat creation and subsequent maintenance activities (e.g., controlled burning in marshes and removal of trees to maintain succession objectives). LCR MSCP conservation measures that could result in such temporary disturbances will, to the extent practicable, be designed and implemented to avoid or minimize the potential for disturbance. In addition to implementing AMM3 and AMM4 below, these measures could include conducting preconstruction surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if present, implementing habitat establishment and management activities during periods when the species would be least sensitive to those activities; or redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb sensitive habitat use areas; staging construction activities away from sensitive habitat use areas; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM5—Avoid impacts of operation, maintenance, and replacement of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities on covered species in the LCR MSCP planning area

To the extent practicable, before implementing activities associated with OM&R of hydroelectric generation and transmission facilities, measures will be identified and implemented that are necessary to avoid take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. These measures could include conducting surveys to determine if covered species are present and, if so, deferring the implementation of activities to avoid disturbance during the breeding season; redesigning the activities to avoid the need to disturb covered species habitat use areas; staging of equipment outside of covered species habitats; delineating the limits of vegetation control activities to ensure that only the vegetation that needs to be removed to maintain infrastructure is removed; stockpiling and disposing of removed vegetation in a manner that minimizes the risk of fire; and implementing BMPs to control erosion when implementing ground disturbing activities.

AMM6—Avoid or minimize impacts on covered species habitats during dredging, bank stabilization activities and other river management activities

To the extent practicable, before initiating activities involved with river maintenance projects, measures will be identified and implemented that avoid or minimize take of covered species where such activities could otherwise result in take. Such measures could include alternative methods to achieve project goals, timing of activities, pre-activity surveys, and minimizing the area of effect, including offsite direct and indirect effects (e.g., avoiding or minimizing the need to place dredge spoil and discharge lines in covered species habitats; placing dredge spoils in a manner that will not affect covered species habitats).

In the event of created-habitat degradation or loss as a result of wildfire, land management and habitat creation measures to support the reestablishment of native vegetation will be identified and implemented.

Updated September 12, 2018