Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program

Program overview

The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCR MSCP) is a cooperative effort among the Lower Basin States of Arizona, California, and Nevada, several federal agencies and others to balance the use of the Colorado River water resources with the conservation of native species and their habitats. The program, authorized by Congress in 2005, works toward the recovery of species currently listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). It also reduces the likelihood of additional species listings. Implemented over a 50-year period (2005 through 2055), the program accommodates current water diversions and power production, and provides opportunities for future water and power development by providing long-term ESA and CESA compliance through the implementation of a Habitat Conservation Plan.

The program area extends over 400 miles of the lower Colorado River from Lake Mead to the southern border with Mexico, and includes lakes Mead, Mohave, and Havasu, as well as the historic 100-year floodplain along the main stem of the lower Colorado River. The LCR MSCP requires the creation of over 8,100 acres of habitat for fish and wildlife species and the production of over 1.2 million native fish to augment existing populations. The plan will benefit at least 26 species, most of which are state or federally listed endangered, threatened, or sensitive species.

Monitoring is a critical component of the MSCP, represented here by the banding of a Summer Tanager.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is the implementing agency for the LCR MSCP. Partnership in the LCR MSCP occurs primarily through the LCR MSCP Steering Committee, currently representing 57 entities, including state and federal agencies, water and power users, municipalities, Native American tribes, conservation organizations, and other interested parties. The Steering Committee provides input and oversight functions in support of LCR MSCP implementation. Costs associated with program implementation are evenly divided between the federal government and non-federal partners.

The LCR MSCP website includes many valuable resources related to the program, while the map below shows LCR MSCP site locations.

Map of the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program as of Fiscal-Year 2023 (click to enlarge).

Colorado River Board activities

The CRB represents the State of California in the LCR MSCP as one of 12 participants from California in the California Participants Group in the Steering Committee governance.