Hearing Topic 3: Resources

Introductory Reading

Platte River Recovery Implementation Program

This is the official document that details the Platte River Recovery Implementation Plan.
• As an introduction, read “Program Goals” and peruse “Program Elements” (pages 2-20). You will likely come back to further sections of the document after some of the readings below.

"The Platte River Recovery Implementation Plan"
Chad Smith
Prairie Fire. Dec. 2007

This article summarizes the recovery program’s background, goals, and challenges.
"Senate Committee Approves Platte River Recovery Program"
Environment News Service
Jan. 31, 2008

Written more recently than the previous article, this article discusses a bill that would authorize the recovery program and includes statements from its sponsors.

"U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Release of Non-Jeopardy Biological Opinion on the Proposed Platte River Recovery Implementation Program"
June 19, 2006

Be sure to read the Q & A about the biological opinion.
PRRIP program update (powerpoint) This presentation depicts efforts currently being made on the ground to implement the recovery program.

The Bill, Biological Opinion, and Environmental Impact Statement

"The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and Pathfinder Modification Authorization Act"
H.R. 1462, 110th Congress
This is the bill you are being asked to comment on in your testimony. It provides legal authority to the Implementation Plan.
Read the 2nd version.
Final Biological Opinion

• Read “Cumulative Effects” (pages 294-300), “Conclusions” (pages 301-308), and “Conservation Recommendations” (pages 328-329).
• Skim “Effects of the Action” (pages 222-285), focusing on the summaries of effects for each species.

Final Environmental Impact Statement

• Read Chapter I pages 27-32, and Chapter V pages 143-150 and 289-303.
Note: Scroll down to the section titled “Department of the Interior”. Chapter I will be in Final Environmental Impact Statement Volume 1 Part 1, Chapter V will be in Volume 1 Part 2.


"Environmental Law at the Turn of the Century: A Reportorial Fragment of Contemporary History"
Joseph L. Sax.
California Law Review, 2000

This paper thoughtfully investigates cooperative efforts to reconcile water use and conservation needs in three different American rivers and holds up the recovery program for Platte River as the most promising of the three. Sax attempts to explain why certain strategies are more effective than others, and what political and economic contexts have enabled the development of effective strategies. Note: this paper can be found on HeinOnline and JSTOR.
• Please read everything except the case studies on the Snake River and the Rio Grande.

“No Success Like Failure: The Platte River Collaborative Watershed Planning Process”
John D. Echeverria
William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, 2000

A counterbalance to Sax’s optimism, this paper is far more critical of the Platte River collaborative watershed planning process, claiming that it intentionally produces gridlock, gives uneven influence to different stakeholders, and fails to sufficiently follow conservation recommendations. Please peruse the first half of the paper, in which Echeverria explains the history of the cooperative agreement and the political context out of which it originates, and read the second half of the paper beginning with “V. Fundamental Issues/Concerns” on page 579. Note: this paper can be found on HeinOnline

“Platte River Basin Study”
Leo Eisel & J. David Aiken
Report to the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission. 1997
This study evaluates the success of various policies (including the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program) to reconcile habitat conservation and water rights.
• Read Section III “Analysis of Effectiveness of Federal, State and Local Efforts to Resolve Problems” and Section IV “Findings and Recommendations".
Endangered and Threatened Species of the Platte River
The National Academies Press. 2004

This resource is a book but it is readily available for free online through the National Academy of Sciences. It is a good reference resource for detailed scientific information about impacts to endangered species.
•Read “Conclusions and Recommendations” (pages 240-257).