. "2 The Legal Context of This Report." A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California's Bay Delta. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2010.
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A Scientiﬁc Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California’s Bay–Delta
Project purpose: RPAs must be capable of implementation in a manner consistent with the intended purpose of the action.
Scope of agency authority: RPAs must be consistent with the scope of the action agencies’ legal authority and jurisdiction.
Feasibility: RPAs must be economically and technologically feasible; and
Avoid jeopardy: The directors of FWS and NMFS must believe that the RPAs would avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing the continued existence of listed species or resulting in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat (50 C.F.R. § 402.02).
Although RPAs must avoid the likelihood of jeopardy, they are not required to promote recovery of the affected species. In other words, no RPA has the responsibility of mitigating all the adverse effects—the “environmental baseline”—that may be causing the decline of a listed species. They must only avoid the likelihood that the proposed action will cause jeopardy.