News Worth Noting: Invasive mudsnails detected in Lower Feather River; $200 million for Sacto Army Corps projects; Extended drought regulation approved; Rep. Napolitano introduces Water Resources Research Amendments Act

Invasive Mudsnails Detected in Lower Feather River

From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

dfw logoThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed the presence of New Zealand mudsnails in the low-flow section of the Feather River in Butte County, and is asking recreational users of the river to “clean, drain and dry” fishing and recreational gear and watercraft in order to help prevent the spread of these invasive snails.

New Zealand mudsnails are tiny, aquatic snails that reach, on average, up to 4-6 millimeters long. Dense populations of New Zealand mudsnails can displace and outcompete native species, sometimes by consuming up to half the food resources in the waterway. The snails have been linked to reduced populations of aquatic insects, including mayflies, caddisflies, chironomids and other insects upon which trout and salmon populations depend.

Boaters, anglers and others who may visit the Feather River are asked to decontaminate equipment and follow the “clean, drain and dry” directive with all equipment used in the river:

  • If you wade, freeze waders and other gear overnight (at least six hours).
  • After leaving the water, inspect waders, boots, float tubes, boats and trailers or any gear used in the water. Remove any visible snails with a stiff brush and follow with rinsing. If possible, freeze or completely dry out any wet gear.
  • Never transport live fish or other aquatic plants or animals from one water to another.

CDFW biologists are in the process of conducting additional sampling in adjacent waterbodies around and connected to the Feather River including Lake Oroville, its Forebay and Afterbay, and the Yuba River in order to better define the geographic range of this new population. Target sampling areas will include high traffic areas, boat launches, access points and side channels.

To date, the snails have not been identified at the Feather River Hatchery, but CDFW is setting up decontamination procedures for the hatchery as a precaution. Decontamination procedures are currently being implemented by field crews working on the Feather River and surrounding waterbodies.

In the coming weeks, CDFW will implement public outreach and education efforts, including information cards, brochures and signage posted within and outside of the hatchery facility, bait shops and boat launches along the Feather River and at various access points and wildlife areas.

Natomas basin construction highlights nearly $200 million for Sacramento District projects

From the US Army Corps of Engineers:

Army Corps LogoFunding to begin construction in the Natomas basin leads the list of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District projects receiving funds for fiscal year 2016. Nearly $200 million is included for 16 flood risk reduction and ecosystem restoration projects.

“The Army Civil Works’ Fiscal Year 2016 work plan will significantly advance and complete studies and construction projects that support the Nation’s economy, environment and quality of life,” said The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

That progress is evident in several projects that are moving into a new phase. One of just six “new starts” nationwide, the Corps can now begin construction-related activities to complete upgrades to 42 miles of levee surrounding the Natomas basin. While the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency has completed work on more than one-third of the levees, the Corps will complete the remaining 24 miles.

Levee improvements in Natomas are just one piece of the Corps’ efforts to create a comprehensive flood risk management system for the Sacramento region. Projects to upgrade levees on the lower American River and construct an auxiliary spillway at Folsom Dam, as well as beginning construction to raise dikes and supporting dams around Folsom Lake contribute to building an effective system.

“Improving the levees for one of the most at-risk communities in the nation for flooding remains one of our highest priorities,” said Col. Mike Farrell, Sacramento District commander. “Starting construction in the Natomas basin allows us to maintain positive progress for the Sacramento region.”

Other projects progressing to a new phase include a dam safety modification project beginning construction at Isabella Lake Dam near Bakersfield, and projects in Sutter County and Truckee Meadows, Nev., transitioning from study to design after being authorized in 2014.

The following studies and projects were allocated 2016 appropriations:

  • Isabella Lake Dam improvements design and construction: $71.9 million
  • Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway construction: $62.275 million
  • Folsom Dam raise design and construction: $18.641 million
  • Hamilton City flood risk reduction/ecosystem restoration construction: $15 million
  • American River Common Features (Natomas Basin) levee improvement design and construction start: $14.5 million
  • Marysville ring levee construction: $7.361 million
  • Sacramento River bank protection construction: $6 million
  • Truckee Meadows initiate design: $1.75 million
  • Rural Utah, complete Eureka Water and Wastewater project and the Jackson Flat Reservoir: $1.075 million
  • Yuba River restoration feasibility study: $700,000
  • Lower Cache Creek feasibility study: $570,000
  • Tahoe Basin projects: $525,000
  • Sacramento River General Reeavalution study: $500,000
  • Sutter flood risk reduction continue design: $100,000
  • CALFED Coordination: $100,000
  • Lake Tahoe Partnership: $50,000

In addition to the 2016 work plan, President Barack Obama released his proposed fiscal year 2017 budget on Feb. 9. The budget proposal provides $20.7 million to complete the Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway, as well as funding for ongoing construction projects in Folsom, Hamilton City, Marysville, Natomas and at Isabella Lake Dam.

Full breakdowns of both the FY2016 work plan and FY2017 budget proposal, can be found here: http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Budget.aspx

Extended Drought Regulation Approved; Water Conservation Portal updated

From the State Water Board:

SWRCB logo water boardsThe Office of Administrative Law approved the Extended Emergency Regulation adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on February 2, 2016, which became effective on February 11, 2016.  A copy of the adopted and approved regulation is located on the Water Conservation Portal – Emergency Conservation Regulation webpage.

As part of the new regulation, a supplier’s conservation standard may be adjusted by submitting required information for verification through the new on-line tool at the DRINC Portal.   This tool will be available from February through March 15, 2016.   Late submittals will not be reviewed.  See this fact sheet for more information on adjustments and credits.

For convenience, below is a list of key web links:

Reps. Napolitano, Wittman Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Water Quality and Quantity Issues

From the website of Rep. Grace Napolitano:

grace napolitanoReps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), members of the House Natural Resources Committee, have introduced the Water Resources Research Amendments Act (H.R. 4497) to extend a Federal-State partnership aimed at addressing state and regional water problems, promoting distribution and application of research results, and providing training and practical experience for water-related scientists and engineers. 

“This legislation continues the commitment and partnership between the federal government and the states to collaborate and share costs on efforts to tackle short- and long-term water challenges,” Napolitano said. “The coordination between academia, the states, and the federal government is a measured approach, combining the best of our talents and knowledge to address our nation’s water issues in a cost-effective and timely manner. New funding opportunities will greatly expand our water portfolio in Southern California and across the country, helping grow our water workforce for the future and delivering the most current data to combat drought.”    

“Independent review has confirmed that the benefits the Water Resources Research Institutes provide in Virginia and in other states far outweigh the expenditures,” Wittman said. “This grant matching program has been instrumental, for example, in efforts across Mid-Atlantic states and in the Commonwealth to keep the Chesapeake Bay and our other water resources clean. Its localized approach has resulted in the development of innovative solutions—like urban storm water treatment and improved roadway design—to address particularized water quality and scarcity issues in the Bay and across the United States.”

H.R. 4497 would authorize $9,000,000 annually over five years for grants to water resources research institutes and require two-to-one matching with non-federal funds. It would also promote exploration of new ideas, expand research to reduce energy consumption, and bolster reporting and accountability requirements. 

Napolitano continues to emphasize the importance of dialogue between all sectors and utilizing the latest research and technology in developing a sustainable water future, holding public forums in Los Angeles County with leaders of industry, government, and academia. She is the Ranking Member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment and a current member and former Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Water, Power, and Oceans Subcommittee.

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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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