News worth noting: DWR names drought management team, Annual review of SWP/CVP operations now available, public workshop on State Water Board’s groundwater workplan and more

news worth notingDWR names Drought Management Team: The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has mobilized a new drought management effort to prepare for and reduce potential impacts of what is expected to be a third straight dry year in 2014.  DWR Director Mark Cowin said the department is focusing its personnel and programs “to offset potentially devastating impacts to citizen health, well-being and our economy.” Cowin has appointed Bill Croyle to lead the effort as department drought manager. Croyle has 30 years of experience in water operations, including seven years as DWR’s flood operations chief and 23 years with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Jeanine Jones, DWR’s interstate resources manager, was appointed deputy drought manager. A 30-year DWR veteran, Jones has directed the department’s statewide planning program and worked on climate change adaptation programs. … ”  Read the full press release here:  Department of Water Resources Names Drought Management Team to Prepare for a Dry 2014

Delta Science Program releases Long Term Operations Biological Opinions (LOBO) Annual Review of State Water Project and Central Valley Water Project operations:  “This report represents findings and opinions of the Independent Review Panel (IRP) assembled by the Delta Science Program to inform the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) as to the efficacy of water operations and certain regulatory actions prescribed by their respective Long-term Operations Biological Opinions’ (LOBO) Reasonable and Prudent Alternative Actions (RPAs) as applied from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013(Water Year 2013).  This year’s annual review focused primarily on: (1) implementation of NMFS’s RPAs for Shasta Operations in connection with the activities of the Sacramento River Temperature Task Group (RPA Actions I.2.1– I.2.4), (2) new approaches to loss estimation of Chinook salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon at the Skinner Delta Fish Protective Facility and Tracy Fish Collection Facility (NMFS Opinion Term and Condition 2a), and (3) the USFWS RPAs related to Water Operations in connection with protection of delta smelt from December through June of the 2013 Water Year (RPA Action 1). … ”  Read the report here: Report of the 2013 Independent Review Panel (IRP) on the Long-term Operations Biological Opinions (LOBO) Annual Review

State Water Board announces public workshop for groundwater workplan: The State Water Resources Control Board will be holding a public workshop to receive input on its draft Groundwater Workplan Concept Paper on  Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at the Cal/EPA Headquarters Building in Sacramento.  The Groundwater Workplan Concept Paper and additional reference information are available at:  http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/groundwater/workplan.shtml.

Major cities, counties, and California water agencies file amicus brief with U.S. Supreme Court over Clean Water Act permit controversy:  “Associations representing the nation’s mayors, counties, cities, stormwater agencies and major California water agencies filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting efforts by a coal mining company to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from having the power to retroactively revoke Clean Water Act permits.  Mingo Logan Coal Co. petitioned the nation’s high court last month, asking the justices to review an appellate court decision that allowed the EPA to withdraw portions of a so-called dredge-and-fill permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In an unprecedented move, the EPA revoked parts of the company’s permit four years after it was issued.  “If the EPA has such authority, a proverbial Sword of Damocles would hang over all Section 404 permits, because all such permits could be revoked by the EPA at any time irrespective of the permittee’s reliance on the permit,” Roderick Walston, an attorney at Best Best & Krieger LLP based in Walnut Creek, Calif., wrote in the amicus brief filed Friday on behalf of several associations and water agencies. “Under the court’s decision, no section 404 permit would ever be ‘final.’ … ”  Read more from Best Best & Krieger here:  Nation’s Mayors, Cities, Counties & California Water Agencies File U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief In Permit Controversy

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