News Worth Noting: California Water Fix hearing update; Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects; Russian River Independent Science Review Panel releases report; Santa Clara County Passes Resolution on San Francisco Estuary
Since the hearing started on July 26, 2016, the petitioners have put on their case in chief covering: project description, engineering, operations, and modeling aspects of the WaterFix project. Last week, the hearing officers granted parties’ oral requests to cancel the August 29-30, 2016 hearing days so parties can work on their cases in chief (due September 1, 2016). The hearing will resume on September 22, 2016, when the petitioners will be presenting testimony regarding water rights.
Several parties and a substantial number of joiners requested an extension of time for parties to submit Part 1B cases in chief. The co-hearing officers denied parties’ request to further extend the September 1, 2016 due date. Part 1B of the hearing will begin on October 20, 2016. Part 1B includes other parties’ cases in chief, associated cross-examination, and rebuttal for Part 1 of the hearing. For additional information please visit the Water Board’s California WaterFix Hearing webpage.
Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects
From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:
At its Aug. 30 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $15 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 21 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:
A $135,000 grant to the Lake County Land Trust to acquire in fee approximately 34 acres of land for the protection of shoreline freshwater wetland, riparian woodland
and wet meadow habitats that support the state-threatened Clear Lake hitch and the western pond turtle, a state species of special concern. This will also provide future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities in an area known as Big Valley, on the northwestern shore of Clear Lake in Lake County.
A $1.2 million grant to the Feather River Land Trust for a cooperative project with the Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement over approximately
5,530 acres of land to provide protection for deer, mountain lion and oak habitats near the town of Doyle in Lassen County.
A $1.7 million acquisition in fee of approximately 1,066 acres of land by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to expand the Crocker Meadows Wildlife Area, protect riparian and oak woodland habitat, and for future wildlife oriented public use opportunities near Beckwourth in Plumas County.
A $3 million grant to Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy to acquire a conservation easement over approximately 871 acres of forest lands, including large areas of old and new growth redwood located near Stewarts Point in Sonoma County.
A $2.5 million grant to the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust for a cooperative project with the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District to acquire in fee approximately 240 acres of land as an expansion of the Sawmill Pebble Plain Ecological Preserve – rare pebble plain habitat supporting a wide variety of endemic plant species – south of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, in San Bernardino County.
An $850,000 grant to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for a cooperative project to implement a comprehensive habitat restoration program, remove target nonnative invasive weed species and restore native habitat on 65 acres of coastal wetlands on several sites located at Agua Hedionda, Batiquitos Lagoon and San Elijo Lagoon. These are located from approximately nine miles north to five miles south of Encinitas on privately owned properties and on properties owned by CDFW and the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Russian River Independent Science Review Panel releases major report on stream flow, aquatic habitat and water management
From Fish Friendly Farming:
The Russian River Independent Science Review Panel (ISRP) is a group of nine interdisciplinary scientists that have met since 2012 to evaluate stream flow processes, salmon habitat and water management in the Russian River Watershed. The ISRP collected and analyzed scientific data for the watershed and formulated a conceptual model for stream flow in the tributary streams and the main river channel. The Russian River is distinctive among north coast rivers for it large alluvial valleys (Redwood, Ukiah, Hopland and Alexander). These valleys are also large ground water basins. The complex intersections of ground water and surface water are what provide stream flow in the dry summer months.
The ISRP propose the use of a channel typology defining 8 channel types with distinct surface and groundwater features. The typology was applied to 8 subareas of the watershed and better defines where cold water salmon and steelhead are likely to rear over the summer. The typology also defines where diversions and ground water pumping may impair aquatic habitats. The ISRP also documented the major changes to the Russian River including major dams (Coyote and Warm Springs), the channelization of the river by the Corps of Engineers, gravel mining, numerous small diversions and illegal diversions, and agricultural and urban development and how these changes alter the physical functions of stream and aquatic ecosystems.
The report and executive summary are available for download from: www.Russianriverisrp.org and will be presented in a public meeting on September 9th, 2016 between 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in the Auditorium at Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds. Contact Melina at 707-253-1226 x2 or email@example.com to RSVP.
Santa Clara County Passes Resolution on San Francisco Estuary
Board of Supervisors Calls for Making Health of the Bay-Delta Estuary a Priority
From Friends of the San Francisco Estuary:
Earlier today, Santa Clara County became the seventh county in the Bay Area to pass a resolution recognizing that improvements to habitat, water quality, flows, and water supply are needed for a healthy San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.
The resolution was put forward by Supervisor Joe Simitian, who authored the State’s Delta Reform Act during his tenure in the California State Senate. Simitian notes, “It’s essential that we reaffirm the coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. As decisions are made shaping the future of the Estuary, we have to ensure that hard science trumps political convenience.”
The resolution urges the Santa Clara Valley Water District to adhere to certain principles in participating in critical planning processes underway that will affect the Bay-Delta Estuary, an area that includes the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These principles include: improving habitat, water quality, flows, and water supply to support fisheries, wildlife, and a resilient Bay-Delta ecosystem; providing for the restoration of native habitat to protect endangered fish, wildlife, and plant species, and to improve the ecological functions of the Bay-Delta Estuary; ensuring restoration of more natural flow patterns within the Delta and San Francisco Bay to support robust fish and wildlife populations; and increasing regional water supply self-sufficiency to contribute to the statewide priority of reducing reliance on the Delta.
Sustainable Silicon Valley supported the resolution. “The Santa Clara Resolution brings attention to the critical importance of a healthy San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary. Our region is dependent on water from the Estuary and the resolution explains why future decisions will have a profound impact on this fragile natural resource, says President Jennifer Thompson. “Moreover, the resolution highlights many of the outstanding accomplishments of the Santa Clara Valley Water District and details a list of vital concerns that must be considered during future planning.”
Friends of the San Francisco Estuary worked with local organizations, including the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Tuolumne River Trust, Committee for Green Foothills, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, and Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society to craft a resolution that speaks to the priorities of Santa Clara County. “Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society applauds Santa Clara County for prioritizing the health of the San Francisco
Bay-Delta Estuary and the millions of migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway that depend on its habitats, says Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate. Katja Irvin, Water Committee Chair for the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, agrees, “By passing this resolution, the Board of Supervisors has demonstrated that the health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary is a county priority, complementing the continued restoration of South Bay wetlands and renewed efforts to restore habitat and flows for steelhead in county streams.” Friends also worked with the Santa Clara Valley Water District on the resolution
Friends of the San Francisco Estuary is a non-profit organization formed in 1993 to protect, restore, and enhance the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. “As we’re facing the possibility of multiple fish species going extinct, we need the leadership of agencies around the Estuary like Santa Clara County and the Santa Clara Valley Water District to demonstrate that reduced reliance on the water of the estuary is possible and that we can achieve both a reliable water supply and a healthy Bay for fish and wildlife,” says Friends of the San Francisco Estuary Board President Mitch Avalon. “The Santa Clara County resolution is a guiding document for the county and its partners to adhere to the principles that will ensure a healthy Bay-Delta Estuary for our children.”
This resolution joins similar resolutions passed by the Association of Bay Area Governments, six Bay Area counties, three water districts, and two Bay Area cities. For more information on passed resolutions, visit http://friendsofsfestuary.org.
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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.