News Worth Noting: Cal Water Fix Hearing Update; Report from annual science review of state and federal water project operations now available; New laws impacting public agencies

Cal Water Fix Hearing Update

SWRCB logo water boardsFrom the State Water Resources Control Board:

“Please be advised that the latest update for the California WaterFix hearing and a revised Notice of Intent to Appear (NOI) form are posted at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix/change_petition_updates.shtml.  If parties have already submitted an NOI they need not submit a new NOI on the revised form unless they would like to clarify their participation.  The update is also provided below:

December 18, 2015 Update

As set forth in the hearing notice, all parties and prospective hearing participants who wish to present evidence during the hearing must submit a Notice of Intent to Appear. In response to questions regarding hearing participation and how to fill out the Notice of Intent to Appear, the form has been revised. The Revised Notice of Intent to Appear form allows parties and prospective participants to better differentiate between their proposed participation in Part I and Part II of the hearing. It also allows information concerning witnesses for Part II to be identified at a later date. The Revised Notice of Intent to Appear (Revised NOI) may be viewed or downloaded here: Revised NOI

The State Water Board encourages parties with common interests to work together to make the hearing process more efficient. Parties who are coordinating their participation may file one Notice of Intent to Appear that lists all the parties who will be presenting a consolidated cas-in-chief at the hearing. The hearing team has confirmed with the hearing officers that parties who present a consolidated case-in-chief will still have an opportunity to make separate opening statements during the hearing, if needed. Similarly, parties may file a joint protest against the petition if they share the same grounds for protesting and wish to submit the same supporting information.

There are no other new updates as of this date. Please review the October 30, 2015, Notice of Petition and Notice of Public Hearing and Pre-Hearing Conference (Notice), including Enclosure D “Information Concerning Appearance at the California Waterfix Hearing,” for detailed instructions and information regarding protests and hearing participation.

Reminders:

Deadline to Submit Protests and Notices of Intent to Appear

In accordance with the Notice, the deadline for receipt of Notices of Intent to Appear and protests against the California WaterFix Change Petition is 12:00 noon, Tuesday, January 5, 2016. Everyone wishing to present evidence at the hearing must submit a Notice of Intent to Appear. Please use the Revised NOI form.

Protests:

Petition protests must be submitted to both the State Water Board and both of the petitioners, California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. (See instructions beginning on page 13 of the Notice.) In addition to filing your protest, you must also submit a Notice of Intent to Appear indicating your intent to appear to present evidence in support of your protest. If you do not resolve your protest with the petitioners prior to the hearing, and then do not present a case supporting your protest at the hearing, your protest will be dismissed. You do not need to file a protest in order to participate in the hearing.

Policy Statements:

Interested persons who will not be participating as parties, but instead presenting only non-evidentiary policy statements should also file a Notice of Intent to Appear. While not mandatory, the State Water Board requests that policy statements be provided in writing before they are presented and, if possible, that they be submitted by electronic submittal. Policy statements are not subject to the pre-hearing requirements for testimony or exhibits.

Only parties to the hearing are required to appear at the pre-hearing conference. Interested persons presenting a policy statement only at the hearing are not required to attend. Please see Enclosure D of the Notice for definitions of “parties” and “interested persons.”

Report from annual science review of state and federal water project operations now available

From the Delta Stewardship Council:

Delta Stewardship Council new logoA report from the annual science review of the Long-term Operations Biological Opinions (LOBO) is available now on the Delta Stewardship Council website. The report synthesizes the findings of a panel of independent scientists who reviewed the implementation of actions required by the Endangered Species Act for salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon, and Delta smelt to operate the State and Federal Water Projects.

The review is intended to inform the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) about the efficacy of the prior year’s water operations and regulatory actions prescribed by their respective Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs). This will enable NMFS and USFWS to use lessons learned, incorporate new science, and make appropriate adjustments to the implementation of the RPAs. The Independent Review Panel’s findings and recommendations provide objective feedback to agency staff to consider in future operational decisions.

For more information, please click here.

New laws impacting public agencies

BB&K logoDrought fines and local governments, water system consolidation, water rate assistance, water loss management for urban water retailers, urban water management planning, and more – over 50 laws were passed this year affecting public agencies. Will any of them affect you? Click here for an extensive list and more information from Best Best & Krieger.

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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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