News Worth Noting: GAO financial report on three Reclamation California water projects; Legal journal article on BDCP, CEQA, and the Delta smelt; Report on economics of drought for CA agriculture, Westlands-San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors exchange docs

GAO logoU.S. GAO Report: Bureau of Reclamation: Financial report for three California water programs:  “The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) data indicated that the agency expended over $1.9 billion on activities under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA), Calfed Bay-Delta Authorization Act (Calfed Bay-Delta), and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act (San Joaquin) for fiscal years 1993 through 2014. Reclamation received funding from a variety of sources to implement activities specified in the legal authorities—sections within each program’s authorizing legislation, or related requirements, that lay out activities to be carried out as part of the program. … ”  Read the summary and report here:  GAO: Financial Information for three California water programs

gavel_scale_of_justice_400_clr_2880Legal journal article: BDCP and CEQA: Sea Level Rise, Saltwater Intrusion and Endangered Fisheries – Shifting Baselines for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan:  Paul S. Kibel writes, “UC Davis School of Law’s March 2015 symposium on The Future of CEQA, out of which this article evolved, focused on how the substantive law governing the operation of the California Environmental Quality Act might change in the coming decades. In my presentation for the symposium’s final panel, I suggested that certain changes in CEQA substantive law may well be driven by the increasing recognition that the background conditions against which projects will operate will themselves change significantly in the future. The basic environmental impact assessment paradigm, under the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state laws such as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is as follows: set forth an accurate project description, describe baseline environmental conditions at the time the project is being considered for approval, assess the impacts of the proposed project on baseline environmental conditions, and then present a reasonable range of alternatives and feasible mitigation to reduce the significant adverse impacts of the project on baseline environmental conditions. … ” Continue reading here:  Sea Level Rise, Saltwater Intrusion and Endangered Fisheries – Shifting Baselines for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Giannini logoThe Economics of Drought for California Food and Agriculture: The extreme drought that has gripped California over the past several years is causing onerous adjustments in the natural and human environments. Agriculture, which uses much of the state’s water, is at the center of many of these arduous responses. The 2015 impacts of the continuing drought are still underway, but in this special ARE Update issue, we project responses and consequences within agriculture and more broadly.  In this issue, Hanak and Mount put this drought in the context of California’s history and put agriculture in the context of water institutions, management, and distribution throughout the state. Next, Medellin-Azuara and co-authors develop detailed, and albeit preliminary, assessments of 2015 irrigation water distribution. They estimate a cut to agriculture of about 8.8 million acre-feet, or about 30% of what might be available in a normal year. ... ”  Read more from the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics here:  The Economics of Drought for California Food and Agriculture

ReclamationReclamation Releases Final Environmental Documents for Proposed Exchange of Water between Westlands Water District and San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors:The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Final Environmental Assessment and Findings of No Significant Impact for the proposed exchange of up to 13,195 acre-feet of water between the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors and Westlands Water District, in response to drought conditions in the San Joaquin Valley.  The Final EA and FONSI were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, and are available at”


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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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