Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program aims to balance use of Colorado River water resources with the conservation of native species and their habitat. A key component of this process is restoring approximately 1,200 acres of riparian and marsh habitats along the lower Colorado River.
Launched in 2005, the MSCP works toward the recovery of species currently listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. To achieve that recovery, and reduce the likelihood of additional species listings, the 50-year MSCP program provides ESA compliance through a Habitat Conservation Plan that aims to balance water and power production needs.
The MSCP also seeks to create more than 8,000 acres of habitat including marshes and estuaries and introduce more than 1 million combined razorback suckerfish and bony tail fish along 400 miles of the Colorado River from Lake Mead in Nevada to the U.S.-Mexico border.
A major focus of the MSCP is on the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, where habitat is being restored for endangered fish, birds, and migratory waterfowl.
The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program is a collaborative effort involving the Bureau of Reclamation and state and local partners. Priority is placed on securing land with existing water rights.
The cost of the MSCP, roughly $626 million, is shared between the federal government and Arizona, California, and Nevada. The federal government pays half of the cost, and the states the rest, with California picking up half of the state’s amount.