News Worth Noting: Delta Counties support review of tunnels project spending; Contract for Battle Creek project awarded; Blue-green algae persists in Silverwood Lake; State Water Board reaches agreement with Redlands

Delta Counties support review of tunnels project spending

From the Delta Counties Coalition:

Delta Counties Coalition LogosThe Delta Counties Coalition (DCC) today voiced support for a request to evaluate state spending on the Governor’s proposed twin tunnels.  Nine legislators are requesting the California Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee to audit how the California Department of Water Resources funds California “WaterFix” activities. The project would build two 45-mile long tunnels each more than 40-feet wide to take water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

“We thank the legislators who asked for this audit and commend their efforts to protect the interests of California taxpayers and ratepayers,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

“We strongly support greater openness and accountability of this multibillion dollar tunnel plan,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, chair of the DCC. “This request is timely and will shed much needed light on spending for this project.”

The DCC has worked diligently for many years to protect the Delta. The coalition advocates for a set of approaches that will achieve balance for the economic and environmental health of the Delta while also improving water supply. These solutions include:

  • Increasing opportunities for local storage, increased conservation plans, water reuse and recycling and desalination;
  • Increasing storage capacity;
  • Reinforce the levee system; and,
  • Restoring the Delta’s health so that it can continue in its role as an economic, agricultural, recreational, and environmental engine for the region and state.

Find more information about the DCC’s efforts to protect the Delta by visiting: www.savingthedelta.net.

The DCC was formed to represent the nearly 4 million residents of the Delta.  The Delta Counties Coalition works collaboratively to give one voice to the Delta and engage in efforts to achieve three goals: improve the Delta ecosystem, provide a more reliable water supply for the state, and protect and enhance Delta communities.

Reclamation Awards Construction Contract for Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

ReclamationThe Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $5.5 million construction contract to TNT Industrial Contractors, Inc. from Sacramento, California.

The construction contract involves modifications to the fish ladders and fish screens at Eagle Canyon Diversion Dam and North Battle Creek Feeder Diversion Dam on North Fork Battle Creek to fully satisfy National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fisheries requirements; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) compliance requirements; and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) operations requirements.

Battle Creek has the geology, hydrology, and habitat suitability to support threatened and endangered anadromous Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead. The Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project, one of the largest cold-water anadromous fish restoration efforts in North America, is restoring approximately 42 miles of habitat on Battle Creek and an additional six miles of habitat on tributaries to Battle Creek, while maintaining the continued production of hydroelectric power at the Battle Creek Hydroelectric Project (owned and operated by PG&E and licensed by FERC).

By removing dams and constructing fish screens and ladders, the project is providing safe passage for anadromous fish to reach cold water and habitat needed for successful spawning and to increase their populations. The project is also preventing the mixing of North Fork Battle Creek and South Fork Battle Creek waters, through the construction of powerhouse bypass and tailrace connectors; protecting a trout hatchery from diseases carried by anadromous fish, through the construction of a fish barrier weir; increasing instream flows; dedicating water rights for instream purposes at dam removal sites; and implementing adaptive management to ensure fisheries objectives are met. The project area is located within five miles of Manton, California, in Shasta and Tehama counties.

To date, a dam and canal/pipeline system have been removed; two fish screens and fish ladders have been constructed; an approximate mile-long powerhouse bypass and a tailrace connector have been constructed; and a fish barrier weir has been constructed, resulting in approximately 16 miles of stream habitat restoration. Remaining work includes construction of a fish screen and ladder; construction of a powerhouse tailrace connector; removal of a canal system; and removal of four diversion dams. Entire project construction is anticipated to be completed in 2021.

“The award of this contract represents the continuation of Reclamation’s commitment to restoring the Battle Creek watershed,” said David Murillo Regional Director Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region. “Protecting and improving populations of Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead is vital to ensuring that we can reliably deliver water from Reclamation’s Central Valley Project. As we move forward with the project, the collective efforts from all participating partners demonstrates the importance of reestablishing approximately 48 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat in the Battle Creek watershed.”

To learn more about the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project, please visit http://www.usbr.gov/mp/battlec reek/index.html For additional information, please contact Mary Marshall, Project Manager, at 916-978-5248 (TTY 800-877-8339) or mmarshall@usbr.gov.

Blue-green algae persists in Silverwood Lake; Stay out of the water until further notice

From the Department of Water Resources:

NEW_DWR_LOGO_14inchThe cyanobacteria (blue-green) algal bloom in Silverwood Lake is persisting, according to the Department of Water Resources (DWR). Recent sampling for microcystin toxins in the water showed that levels have increased, and DWR and California State Parks are warning the public to stay out of the water until further notice. All water activity is prohibited, including swimming, wading, boating, waterskiing and jet-skiing.

Danger signs are posted at the lake and swim beaches are closed. However, activities near the water such as picnicking and hiking are safe. Because algal blooms can form and die off fairly rapidly, DWR continues to test the water and will update this advisory as conditions change.

Based on current testing results, the following precautions from the Voluntary Statewide Guidance for Blue-Green Algae Blooms are in effect:

  • Stay out of the water until further notice.
  • Do not touch scum in the water or on shore.
  • Do not let pets go into or drink the water, or go near scum on the shoreline.
  • Do not drink lake water or use it for cooking. Boiling or filtering will not make the water safe.
  • Do not eat fish or shellfish from these waters.

If people or pets become sick after going in the water, contact a doctor or veterinarian.

Sunlight, warm temperatures, nutrients in the water and calm conditions can contribute to algal blooms, which are considered to be harmful if they produce toxins that can affect people and pets when they contact the affected water.

People can be exposed to the toxins when they accidently swallow water while swimming or waterskiing. The toxins can also contact the skin during swimming or be inhaled if they become aerosolized, such as during waterskiing or jet skiing.

Exposure to high concentrations of these toxins can cause skin rashes, eye, nose, mouth or throat irritation, headache and gastrointestinal upset. Dogs can experience diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, or even death if they ingest the water or lick their fur after contacting the affected water.

Additional information on harmful algal blooms can be found on the State Water Resources Control Board website: http://www.mywaterquality.ca.gov/monitoring_council/cyanohab_network/index.html.

Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.

State Water Board Reaches Agreement with Redlands to Promote More Water Conservation

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

SWRCB logo water boardsToday the State Water Resources Control Board announced an agreement with the city of Redlands to create a new irrigation efficiency program and an awareness campaign to promote the importance of conserving water. This settlement agreement was reached in lieu of an administrative civil liability of $61,000 levied against the city for allegedly failing to meet its mandatory water conservation rate of 36 percent.

Redlands was assessed the financial penalty in the fall of 2015 for its alleged failure to reach its conservation standard. The city has since agreed to create a citrus grove irrigation retrofit-rebate program that will provide incentives for replacing inefficient irrigation systems. The program will address large water users with a focus on grove irrigation.

Along with the Grove Rebates program, Redlands will launch an education campaign to promote the investigation of water waste and how to report it. The awareness program will be directed toward elementary-school-aged children through a pair of fictional alligators who will show students the importance of water conservation, and how to report water waste when they see it. The program will award prizes, and in some cases, publicly recognize children who report water waste in the community.

“The State Water Board’s goal has always been about furthering the efforts of water conservation – not issuing fines,” said Cris Carrigan, director of the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement. “This is the third agreement we’ve reached with a water supplier that was originally issued a civil liability for not meeting its water-saving mandate. This project will help upgrade old, inefficient irrigation systems, and educate the next generation of water users on the importance of conservation and stopping water waste. A key advantage of this approach is that funds that would have gone to pay the civil liability will be kept locally to help improve water savings.”

Redlands estimates that the cost of this project will be approximately the same as the proposed civil liability. If the city has both aspects of the project under way by June 30, 2017, the State Water Board will suspend the $61,000 penalty. If Redlands does not implement the project by the June deadline, it will be liable for the administrative civil liability.

Previously, the State Water Board reached agreements with the Indio Water Authority and the Coachella Valley Water District to create water conservation programs in place of administrative civil liabilities. The penalties were initially issued for failure to meet mandated water conservation standards. The city of Beverly Hills has paid its penalty of $61,000.

Redlands will measure the success of the water conservation project through customer participation in the rebate program, and consumers’ overall water usage compared to previous years.

“The city of Redlands appreciates the State Water Board’s support of this project and its willingness to allow us to spend the funds in a way that benefits the residents of our city, as opposed to paying a financial penalty,” said Redlands Mayor Paul Foster. “We expect this rebate program will become a valuable resource for those wishing to improve their irrigation systems. And educating our city’s youth on the benefits of water conservation will help us in our efforts to make water conservation a way of life for generations to come.”

For more information on the settlement agreement and the proposed water conservation project, see the Office of Enforcement webpage.

 

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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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