California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Statewide Fish Screening Policy

This fish screening policy is structured to comply with existing fish screening statutes, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), and court decisions in place at the time of its adoption. All diversions shall be dealt with uniformly on a statewide basis, as outlined in the policy memorandum.

Diversions Covered by Section 6100

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife shall require the installation of fish screens under Section 6100 et seq. on any new diversion, or on the intake of any existing diversion that is either enlarged, relocated, or at which the season of use is changed, in salmon and steelhead (anadromous) waters of the State.

In addition, all diversions covered by this section which are located within the essential habitat of a State (CESA) listed species, or the critical habitat of a federally (ESA) listed species, shall be deemed to require screening.

Variances from these requirements shall be supported by a report, prepared by the diverter, which includes data from onsite monitoring and a review of historical entrainment and diversion data. The scope of the report and the sampling effort shall be approved by the CDFW prior to the initiation of work.

Both approval of the scope of the report and the approval of an exception to this policy shall include the concurrence of the appropriate Regional Manager, the Deputy Director, Habitat Conservation Division, and the Deputy Director, Wildlife and Inland Fisheries Division. The final exception notice shall be issued by the Chief Deputy Director.

Diversions Covered by Section 5980

CDFW shall investigate, and where necessary, order fish screens installed on all diversions with a capacity greater than 250 cubic-feet per second, which affect fishery resources. Diversion in anadromous waters of the State shall be deemed to require screening unless onsite sampling demonstrates otherwise.

In addition, all diversions covered by this section which are located within the essential habitat of a state (CESA) listed species, or the critical habitat of a federally (ESA) listed species, shall be deemed to require screening.

Variances from these requirements shall be supported by a report, prepared by the diverter, which includes data from onsite monitoring and a review of historical entrainment and diversion data. The scope of the report and the sampling effort shall be approved by the CDFW prior to the initiation of work.

Both approval of the scope of the report and the approval of an exception to this policy shall include the concurrence of the appropriate Regional Manager, the Deputy Director, Habitat Conservation Division, and the Deputy Director, Wildlife and Inland Fisheries Division. The final exception notice shall be issued by the Chief Deputy Director.

Diversions Covered by Section 6020

CDFW may consider for screening any diversion with a capacity of 250 cubic-feet per second or less. Activities in this category will be assigned a lower priority than those covered by Section 5980 until all of the CDFW obligations for both its own diversions, and for those diversions with a capacity greater than 250 cubic-feet per second, have been fulfilled.

In addition, all diversions covered by this section which are located within the essential habitat of a State (CESA) listed species, or the critical habitat of a federally (ESA) listed species, shall be deemed to require screening.

Variances from these requirements shall be supported by a report, prepared by the diverter, which includes data from onsite monitoring and a review of historical entrainment and diversion data. The scope of the report and the sampling effort shall be approved by the CDFW prior to the initiation of work.

Both approval of the scope of the report and the approval of an exception to this policy shall include the concurrence of the appropriate Regional Manager, the Deputy Director, Habitat Conservation Division, and the Deputy Director, Wildlife and Inland Fisheries Division. The final exception notice shall be issued by the Chief Deputy Director.

NEPA and CEQA Process

When reviewing projects, the CDFW shall make every effort to require the installation of fish screens on all unscreened diversions where other measures cannot reasonably prevent entrainment of fish. Further, the CDFW shall make every effort to require the modernization of fish screens which do not meet our present fish screening criteria. This effort shall include the Streambed Alteration process (Section 1600 et seq. of the Fish and Game Code). Variances from the fish screening policy shall be treated as discussed above.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

Under the provisions of this act, the CDFW shall require the installation of fish screens on all unscreened diversions where fish are present. Further, the CDFW shall make every effort to require the improvement of fish screens which do not meet our present fish screening criteria. For example, opportunities are provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits process under the Federal Rivers and Harbors and Clean Water acts.

The attached Fish Screening Criteria; shall be used as the basis for design of fish screens required under this policy. The criteria may be modified by the CDFW, and it is the responsibility of the project proponent to have the most recent copy of these criteria. Copies are available from the Habitat Conservation Division, the Wildlife and Inland Fisheries Division, or from the appropriate regional office of the CDFW.