Policy regarding the scope of measures to be included in the plan.
The terms “mitigation” and “conservation” are used repeatedly throughout the Act and committee reports accompanying the Act. The importance of these terms is exemplified by the fact that Congress saw fit to include them in the official name of the Commission. The Commission interprets the term “mitigation” to mean activities undertaken to avoid or lessen environmental impacts associated with a Federal reclamation project or, should impact occur, to protect, restore, or enhance fish, wildlife, and recreation resources adversely affected by the project. Mitigation at the site of the impact typically involves restoration or replacement. Off-site mitigation might involve protection, restoration, or enhancement of a similar resource value at a different location. Mitigation may also involve substituting one resource feature for another. In meeting its mitigation responsibilities, the Commission sees an obligation to give priority to protection and restoration activities that are within the same watershed as the original impact and that address the same fish, wildlife, or recreation resource that was originally affected. The Commission's “conservation” authority allows it to invest in the conservation of fish, wildlife, and recreation resources generally, and not directly associated with any Federal reclamation project. Conservation projects may, therefore, be considered for any area of the state, regardless of the presence of a reclamation project. Nothing in this section is meant to restrict consideration of conservation projects directly associated with a Federal reclamation project. The Commission recognizes that, with limited resources, it is not possible to address the entire range of fish, wildlife, and recreation needs throughout the State. Indeed, addressing only the most critical issues will require prudent and judicious planning and use of resources. This section defines the areas where the Commission intends to focus its attention over the long-term and, in so doing, provides guidance for the development of the Commission's mitigation and conservation plan. By defining priorities, the Commission narrows the options of applicants in making recommendations for potential projects, and of the Commission itself in selecting measures to be incorporated into the plan.
(a) Priority resources.
The Commission's intent is to focus expenditures and activities on those areas and resources where the Commission believes that it can, consistent with its mandate, have the greatest positive impact. Accordingly, it is the policy of the Commission that projects selected for the plan must accomplish one or more of the following:
Protect and/or restore aquatic systems that provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife,
Protect and/or restore wetland and riparian systems that provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife,
Protect and/or restore upland areas that contribute to important terrestrial ecosystems and/or support aquatic systems,
Provide outdoor recreation opportunities that are dependent on the natural environment and that support the conservation of aquatic systems, and/or
Address fish, wildlife, or recreation resources from a statewide context in order to provide essential information on aquatic systems or to assist in the establishment of statewide programs for fish, wildlife, or recreation conservation.
(b) Priority projects.
In recognition of its responsibility to mitigate for Federal reclamation projects, the Commission will give special consideration to projects that:
Address fish, wildlife, and recreation resources affected by the development of the Central Utah Project, including projects authorized in Title II, section 304, or section 315 of the Act, as described in § 10005.8 ,
Address fish, wildlife, and recreation resources affected by the development of other features of the Colorado River Storage Project in Utah, or
Address fish, wildlife, and recreation resources affected by the development of other Federal reclamation projects in Utah.
(c) Specific objectives for five-year plans.
Each five-year plan will contain a set of specific objectives derived from the above elements. Objectives will be based on the Commission's determinations of the issues and resources that are in most need of attention, and the potential for making a substantial contribution to fish, wildlife, and recreation resources. Objectives may include the targeting of certain watersheds and/or basins for priority attention based on these same two factors.