News worth noting: Delta Protection Commission releases visual simulation of tunnel impacts, State Water Board curtailment options, Delta smelt biop rehearing petition, Wildlife Conservation Board funds project, Klamath Basin legislation introduced

delta protection comm logoDelta Protection Commission releases visual simulations of tunnel impacts:The Delta Protection Commission has prepared visual simulations of the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) tunnel intakes and will release them at its meeting this evening in Walnut Grove (May 22 at 5 pm at the Jean Harvie Center, 14273 River Road in Walnut Grove). The visual simulations are designed to communicate the impacts of the proposed tunnel construction to the public. They were commissioned because the depictions of the proposed tunnel intakes and facilities were not adequately presented in the BDCP documents, especially in capturing the magnitude of the project in relation to the Delta legacy community of Hood. The simulations have been produced using information and data presented in the BDCP and draft  environmental documents. To see the images, please go to the Commission’s website: http://www.delta.ca.gov/BDCP.htm . … ”  Continue reading the press release here:  DPC_PRESS_RELEASE_5_22_14 2 The visual simulation specialist also created an animation depicting the visual impact of the proposed BDCP tunnel intakes:

somach logoLegal analysis: State Water Resources Control Board Will Soon Issue Curtailment Notices to Post-1914 Water Right Holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Watershed:  “On May 21, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) held a workshop to receive comments on proposed options for curtailing Post-1914 water diversions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta watershed during the current drought. The proposed options engendered a significant response from water rights holders, both in the form of written comments and testimony at the hearing. In light of this considerable response, the State Water Board ultimately directed staff to follow the option that respects the water rights rule of priority. … ”  Continue reading from Somach Simmons & Dunn here:  State Water Resources Control Board Will Soon Issue Curtailment Notices to Post-1914 Water Right Holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Watershed

somach logoLegal analysis: Petitions for Rehearing Filed in Delta Smelt Biological Opinion Litigation:Last week, several parties filed petitions for rehearing en banc before the Ninth Circuit in the Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases.  This follows the Ninth Circuit’s decision in March of this year, reversing the District Court’s invalidation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) 2008 Smelt Biological Opinion (Smelt BiOp), which had concluded that the Central Valley Project and State Water Project jeopardized the continued existence of the Delta smelt and its habitat.  In its decision (San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 4781 (9th Cir. March 13, 2014), the Ninth Circuit disagreed with the District Court’s conclusion that the Smelt BiOp was arbitrary and capricious because it was scientifically unsupported and violated the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).  While admitting that the Smelt BiOp was “a bit of a mess,” the Ninth Circuit deferred to the USFWS’ findings and analyses, concluding that they were supported by substantial evidence and were not arbitrary and capricious. … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here:  Petitions Filed for Rehearing Filed in Delta Smelt Biological Opinion Litigation

dfw logoWildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects:  At its May 22 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $22.1 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 23 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

Dianne_Feinstein,_official_Senate_photo_2Senators Feinstein, Boxer, Wyden, Merkley Introduce Klamath Basin Legislation: Moving quickly to build on the work done by local ranchers, tribes, and federal and state officials, California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced legislation today that will put into law the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement that was signed last month.  The Senate bill gives Congressional approval to the Upper Basin Agreement, authorizing the Department of the Interior to act and achieve the agreement’s benefits: increased stream flows into Upper Klamath Lake, more water certainty to irrigators, improved and protected riparian areas and economic development for the Klamath Tribes and its members. The legislation also authorizes other agreements that comprehensively settle water rights disputes in favor of collaborative solutions to water management in the basin.  “California is in the midst of a historic drought, and this bill—in particular the authorization of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement—will help Northern California,” Feinstein said. “The three agreements authorized by the bill will improve water supply reliability, environmental recovery and economic growth for a wide range of California stakeholders. These agreements also demonstrate the benefits of different groups coming together in a spirit of compromise and acting on behalf of the greater good.” … ”  Read the full press release here: Feinstein, Boxer, Wyden, Merkley Introduce Klamath Basin Legislation

Jared_Huffman,_Official_portrait,_113th_CongressCongressman Jared Huffman responds to Klamath Basin Legislation:  “The introduction of the Klamath legislation in the Senate is a milestone toward an historic effort to revive California’s ailing salmon stocks, improve water quality and build economic resilience for California and Oregon tribes, fishermen, farmers and recreational enthusiasts.  This bill provides a framework for ending decades of conflict through the biggest dam removal project in the United States and an ambitious restoration and water allocation program. I am grateful for the courage and diligence of my colleagues in the Senate for bringing this issue to Congress. There will undoubtedly be refinements to the bill as it makes its way through the legislative processes in the Senate and the House, but my commitment to the Klamath Basin’s stakeholders will remain at the heart of my work on this matter — work that will be bicameral and hopefully bipartisan.”  Source:  Congressman Jared Huffman responds to Klamath Basin Legislation:

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