News Worth Noting: Protests and Appearances Filed on California WaterFix’s Water Rights Change Petition; CDFW Awards $31.4 Million to Fund Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration Projects; Inaugural class of Delta Leadership Program; EPA Approves CA’s New Trash Control Policy

Protests and Appearances Filed on California WaterFix’s Water Rights Change Petition

From Richard Deitchman at Somach Simmons & Dunn:

somach logoOn January 5, 2016, the deadline passed for persons to file protests to proposed changes in water rights of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) associated with the California WaterFix Project (WaterFix).  DWR and Reclamation have petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) to add three new points of diversion and/or rediversion on the lower Sacramento River to specified water rights permits for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project.  The changes support implementation of the proposed WaterFix project, including three new water diversion intakes and two 30-mile long, 40-foot diameter tunnels to convey water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.   Construction of WaterFix requires multi-jurisdictional approvals for environmental, water, and other impacts.  The water rights change petition relates to necessary modification in the water rights permits of DWR and Reclamation, as those permits do not presently allow diversion or rediversion at the WaterFix proposed intakes. … ”

Continue reading at Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Protests and Appearances Filed on California WaterFix’s Water Rights Change Petition

CDFW Awards $31.4 Million to Fund Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration Projects

From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

dfw logoThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 24 projects that will receive funding from its Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) Restoration Grant Programs

The grants, which total $31.4 million, are CDFW’s first distribution of funds through these programs. They include approximately $24.6 million awarded through the Watershed Restoration Grant Program to projects of statewide importance outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; and approximately $6.8 million awarded through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program for projects that benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta specifically.

In response to this first solicitation, announced last August, CDFW received 190 proposals requesting a total of $218 million in funding. All proposals underwent an initial administrative review, and those that passed were evaluated through a technical review process that included reviews by CDFW scientists, as well as experts from other agencies and academia.

The 24 approved projects will further the objectives of the California Water Action Plan, including establishing more reliable water supplies, restoring important species and habitat, and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality, flood protection and habitat) that can better withstand inevitable and unforeseen pressures in the coming decades.

“These projects achieve the spirit and intent of Proposition 1 to protect and restore important ecosystems around the state,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “Investing in these projects is exciting. These projects prove we can conserve California’s natural resources, while also contributing to other critical statewide needs, such as enhancing water supply reliability.” … ”

For more information, including the long list of projects approved, go here: CDFW Awards $31.4 Million to Fund Ecosystem and Watershed Restoration Projects

Delta Regional Foundation and Delta Protection Commission announce inaugural class of Delta Leadership Program

From the Delta Protection Commission:

delta protection comm logoThe Delta Protection Commission, in partnership with the Delta Regional Foundation, has convened the first class of the Delta Leadership Program, a pilot effort to identify and promote regional leaders in the Delta community and expand leaders’ knowledge regarding the key issues, opportunities and challenges that face the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta community.

The inaugural class, selected from nominations submitted in November of 2015, conducted their first seminar at the State Capitol on January 8th. “With the challenges facing the Delta today, it is clearly in the Delta’s interest to cultivate the best in our existing leadership and to assist in the development of informed and energetic leaders for the Delta’s future,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho, Chair of the Delta Protection Commission.

Members of the Inaugural Class of the Delta Leadership Program are:

  • Amanda Beck, Senior Project Manager, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (Clarksburg)
  • Kathy Bunton, Owner, Delta Kayak Adventures (Antioch)
  • Ryan Camero, Arts Activist, Restore the Delta (Stockton)
  • Lea Castleberry, Deputy Chief of Staff, Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho (Discovery Bay)
  • Barbara Daly, Owner, Delta Heartbeat Tours (Clarksburg)
  • Roni Gehlke, Executive Director, Delta Science Center (Oakley)
  • Meghan Hertel, Director of Working Lands, Audubon California (Sacramento)
  • Lauren Korth, Volunteer, Restore the Delta (Isleton)
  • Nicholas Lavoie, Bay-Delta Public Lands Manager, State Lands Commission (Sacramento)
  • Jeannie Mathews, Manager, Willow Berm Marina (Isleton)
  • Marian Norris, Senior Field Representative, State Senator Cathleen Galgiani (Stockton)
  • Emily Pappalardo, Civil Engineer, DCC Engineering (Walnut Grove)
  • Erica Rodriguez-Langley, Senior Field Representative State Assemblymember Jim Frazier (Tracy)
  • John Stump, Owner/President, Flint Builders (Courtland)
  • Anna Swensen, Co-Director, North Delta C.A.R.E.S. (Clarksburg)
  • Justin van Loben Sels, Owner, Amistad Freight (Walnut Grove)
  • John Vasquez, Supervisor, County of Solano (Vacaville)
  • Esperanza Vielma, Executive Director, Café Co-op (Stockton)
  • Timothy Waits, Past President, Clarksburg Winegrowers’ and Vintners’ Association (Clarksburg)
  • Craig Watanabe, Mandeville Island Manager, CCRC Farms (Lodi)
  • Jeffrey Wingfield, Director of Public Affairs, Port of Stockton (Stockton)
  • Chuck Winn, Supervisor, County of San Joaquin (Ripon)

The Leadership Program will continue with four more seminars in Stockton, Rio Vista, Oakley and Clarksburg, and the graduates will make a presentation to the Commission at the regularly scheduled meeting on May 19, 2016.

For more information, see www.delta.ca.gov/Delta_Leadership.htm.

The Delta Regional Foundation is a non-profit community benefit corporation founded in 2015 by Moni Van Camp-Kondos as a way to raise funds to support community action within the Delta region. The Foundation’s purpose is to support and promote cultural and historical preservation, recreation and tourism, and agricultural programs throughout the Delta, with the goal of raising awareness of the irreplaceable treasures of the Delta throughout California and the nation. More information can be found at www.deltaregionalfoundation.org.

The Delta Protection Commission, created under the 1992 Delta Protection Act, is a State Commission comprised of 15 members representing Delta cities and counties, reclamation districts and water agencies, and State departments. The Commission provides a forum for Delta residents to engage in decisions regarding actions to recognize and enhance the unique cultural, recreation, and agricultural resources of the Delta. More information about the Commission is available at www.delta.ca.gov.

U.S. EPA Approves California’s New Trash Control Policy

From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

epa-logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the State Water Resources Control Board’s new water quality standards for trash in California’s waters. The standards are part of the state’s new Trash Control Policy, designed to keep trash out of streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, coastal and ocean waters in California to protect people and the environment.

Trash seriously degrades habitats for many aquatic species, and can lead to fatal ingestion or entanglements. The presence of trash in waters also jeopardizes human health and safety, and impedes recreational, navigational, and commercial activities. As much as 80 percent of the trash that ends up as marine debris is generated on land. With these new requirements, California is not only protecting its own waterways, it will be shrinking the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the massive vortex of marine debris in the Pacific Ocean.

“The State of California has taken a bold step towards keeping millions of pounds of trash each year out of our inland, coastal and ocean waters,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is pleased to approve the state’s new water quality standards, which will help prevent harmful trash from making it from land to water and adding to our serious marine debris problem.”

“Trash in our lakes, streams, and the ocean pose a serious threat to fish and wildlife as well as harming the public’s ability to enjoy our beaches and waterways. The good news is that this problem is entirely preventable–many communities have already stepped up to meet the challenge and serve as an example to the rest of the state,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “This statewide policy relies on those tried-and-true, common sense approaches to ensure we get trash removed early before it enters our storm water system – resulting in cleaner beaches and healthier marine life.”

The Trash Policy provides a phased approach to eliminate trash in California’s waters by 2026. Much of the trash generated on land is transported to waterways via storm drains. The policy calls for the use of trash capture devices in areas that generate large amounts of garbage. California’s municipalities and other storm water permit holders must comply by either installing full trash capture systems, or by using equivalent devices coupled with programs such as increased street sweeping and educational outreach.

This trash capture approach has already proven successful in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Regions. The Los Angeles Region has waterbodies, including the L.A. River that will approach the zero trash standard in 2016. The recently updated San Francisco Bay stormwater permit has a target date of 2022 for zero trash, having already passed its 40 percent reduction milestone.

The new Trash Policy amends the Water Quality Control Plans for ocean waters, inland waters, enclosed bays and estuaries of California, and prohibits the discharge of trash to state waters through storm drain systems, as well as transportation and industrial facilities and construction sites that are regulated under National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, making them enforceable and reportable. EPA approved these water quality standards under its federal Clean Water Act authority.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations—home to more than 48 million people.

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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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