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Rogue Basin Water User’s Council: Bureau of Reclamation Section 7 ESA Consultation

Douglas McDougall and Jessica Ferrell represented the Rogue Basin Water User’s Council (RBWUC) in an ongoing Section 7 Consultation under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The matter involves the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rogue River Basin Project. RBWUC is comprised of the Talent Irrigation District, Medford Irrigation District, and the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District, which provide irrigation water to thousands of acres of orchards and farms in the Medford-Ashland area of Southwest Oregon.

RBWUC’s legal and technical team has developed a successful working relationship with Reclamation to provide the best available science to this consultation. RBWUC early-on obtained the equivalent of applicant status, and has participated in every phase of the consultation. Equally important, Reclamation has had the benefit of the districts’ operational expertise in developing its biological assessment. This level of participation and collaboration should serve as a model for similar consultations.