Fish Restoration Program update: Prospect Island, Decker Island, and more Delta restoration news

DWR Delta Decker Island sliderboxFrom the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW):

NEW_DWR_LOGO_14inchdfw logoProspect Island EIR Progress

FRP staff and consultants continue to develop the Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR), in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The EIR analyzes project alternatives and stakeholder input as part of the environmental review process for the project, which is one component of FRP. A Public Draft EIR will be available for public review in early 2016. There will be a 45-day public review period, and a public meeting will take place in the February-April timeframe. Details of this meeting will be posted on FRP’s website, distributed to key project stakeholders, and shared with this email list, among other outreach mechanisms.

In addition, DWR is currently working with the Port of West Sacramento to acquire the southern portion of Prospect Island.

Tidal Habitat Restoration at Decker Island

DWR is also working with the Port of West Sacramento to acquire the Port’s portion of Decker Island. In preparation for restoration planning, DWR has begun to identify and fill data gaps and is planning vegetation, bathymetry, and topography surveys.

Restoration Monitoring Program

The FRP monitoring team continues to work with a diverse set of stakeholders to develop a generalized plan for monitoring the effectiveness of restoration projects. In an effort to streamline future monitoring, the team will be comparing various sampling gears and techniques, beginning this summer and continuing through spring 2016. The initial phase of testing will assess the feasibility of using each gear in and near tidal wetland habitats. Those that prove to be the most logistically reasonable for long-term sampling will be rigorously compared with one another in the second phase of work. The “winning” gears will be included in the generalized monitoring plan to provide robust characterizations of restoring biological communities while optimizing resource use.

Miner Slough Levee Repair

DWR is still waiting on the reconsultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for the Miner Slough Levee Repair (MSLR) project. Due to this and permitting delays, DWR may decide to discontinue the MSLR project and repair the Prospect Island Miner Slough levee on an as needed basis by using a recently-executed time and materials contract.

Federal Agency Coordination

On May 27, DWR and CDFW FRP staff met with staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and NMFS to discuss the Prospect Island Habitat Restoration Project. These federal agencies support DWR’s efforts to meet FRP’s federally mandated restoration requirements, and are willing to discuss mitigation needs for FRP projects and all habitat types and species of concern.

Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project Website

Information on the Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project is available on a dedicated DWR website, containing a project fact sheet, reports from the initial scoping process, and other relevant documents, such as the Final Groundwater Monitoring Report, Groundwater Monitoring Data Collection Summary, Prospect Island Turbidity Modeling Report, and Prospect Island Restoration DRERIP Evaluation.

Review project information and documents here.

FRP is a joint effort between DWR and CDFW to implement habitat restoration in partial mitigation for the State Water Project’s (SWP) impacts on sensitive fish species in the Delta. These efforts are being undertaken to satisfy requirements of recent Biological Opinions for SWP and Central Valley Project (CVP) operations. FRP is also intended to address the habitat restoration requirements of the CDFW Longfin Smelt Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for SWP Delta operations.

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