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 the program is the restoration and enhancement of existing riparian and marsh habitat 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 riparian, marsh and backwater habitat and introduce more than 1 million combined razorback suckers and bonytail, two native fish that have become endangered, 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, north of Yuma, Ariz., where habitat is being restored for endangered fish, birds and migratory waterfowl. Eighteen conservation areas are part of the MSCP, with an additional one being planned. Some are on wildlife refuges or state lands in Arizona, California and Nevada and some are on other partner lands, including U.S. Bureau of Reclamation land.
The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program is a collaborative effort involving the Bureau of Reclamation and federal, 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 states’ amount.