Fish Capture and Relocation

For projects that require dewatering or other work in suitable habitat for the special-status fish species, if fish capture and relocation would be the most protective approach to managing fish during construction, then a fish capture and relocation plan will be developed and submitted to NMFS, USFWS, and/or CDFW, as applicable, for approval. The plan will describe the biologist qualifications, capture methods, capture and relocation work areas, and reporting requirements including details in the list below. If capture and relocation is not feasible or would not be the most protective approach to managing fish in the work area (e.g., if dewatering is not needed or appropriate; or if fish are in a large, unconfined water body), other methods to protect covered fish species (e.g., timing restrictions around season and tide, or bubble curtains) should be detailed in a plan and submitted to FWS for approval.

– This plan will incorporate the latest agency guidance relating to the capture and relocation of fish, as applicable.

– Procedures for decontamination of any equipment used in the capture and relocation of fish will be identified.

– Prior to the implementation of capture and relocation activities, relocation (or release) sites will be identified by the agency-approved biologist based on proximity, access, habitat suitability, and potential to be affected by constructionrelated disturbance. Suitable habitat for relocation site(s) will be within the same watershed/sub-watershed fish were originally captured.

– Fish relocation will only be conducted (or led) by an agency-approved biologist. If an agency-approved biologist is needed, the project proponent will submit the biologist’s qualifications to the appropriate agency office for approval 30 days prior to project construction. The biologist will have knowledge and experience in fish biology and ecology, fish/habitat relationships, and biological monitoring, and handling, collecting, and relocating fish or other relevant experience.

– Residual surface water associated with the diverted or dewatered habitat will be monitored or sampled for the presence of fish by an agency-approved biologist as soon as the waters are isolated. If a special-status fish is observed in the isolated habitat, they will be immediately captured and relocated to the suitable habitat outside of the construction area, but within the same watershed/subwatershed, by the agency-approved biologist in accordance with the approved fish capture and relocation plan.

– The agency-approved biologist will relocate any special-status fish species that may become stranded to an appropriate place depending upon the life stage of the fish, consistent with the approved rescue and relocation plan.

– The agency-approved biologist will note the number of individuals observed in the affected area, the number of individuals relocated, the approximate size of individuals, the location of capture and release, any instances of injury or mortality, and the date and time of the collection and relocation. The agencyapproved biologist will also identify and record the species observed and relocated and the life stage for anadromous species. This information will be reported to the appropriate agency office within 7 days of completion of the fish capture and relocation effort.

– One or more of the following methods will be used to capture protected fish species: electrofishing, dip net, seine, throw net, minnow trap, and hand capture.