At yesterday’s joint Senate oversight hearing on the BDCP, Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin told the senators that the draft EIR/EIS would still be released the week of May 6th as planned, and “the week of May 20th, we expect to release the remaining chapters of the BDCP, including most importantly, the benefit-cost analysis and the financing plan,” Cowin said.
As for the final plan documents for formal public review: “We originally said we’d like to get it out in July, and frankly that time scale is slipping on us, but summer is still well within our sights. That will begin the official review period, we have yet to establish how long that period will be, but of course we’ll comply with statutory requirements and more,” said Mr. Cowin. “That would lead us to an ultimate record of decision and notice of determination on the project. We would still like to say later this year but more likely first quarter of 2014.”
BAY-DELTA WATER QUALITY CONTROL PLAN (STATE WATER BOARD)
At last Delta Stewardship Council meeting, Les Grober updated the Council on the status of the Phase I and Phase II of the Bay Delta Plan update.
Phase 1 (San Joaquin River flow objectives and southern Delta salinity objectives):
The State Water Board had tentatively expected to be adopting the new objectives in August; however, they have received over 4000 comments, Mr. Grober said. “Given the number of comments, we are still on track to get something for Board consideration by the end of the year. We are determining how many changes do we need to make and how much additional analysis do we need to do. “
Phase II (Comprehensive review of the Bay Delta Plan):
Mr. Grober said that they are much less farther along with this phase: ” … Part of the reason for the phasing is that phase 2 covers some of the same subject matter as the BDCP. It’s our comprehensive update to the plan, and BDCP is preparing some of the information as it relates to the state and federal projects in the Delta, so as part of our activities we have increased our activity level working with the department in reviewing the draft EIR of the Plan to see if it provides the information that we’re going to need to support a changed point of diversion and any other permits that they would need for the BDCP, as well as reviewing it to see if it has information that would be useful to inform the Phase 2 update.”
At the April 9 meeting, Board members discussed next steps with Dr. Peter Goodwin, lead scientist of the Delta Science Program, about uncertainties, and four areas were identified that they will likely be scheduling workshops to gather more information. “It might be overly ambitious to get those completed by August; I think more by the end of the year would still be helpful to inform our process.”