CAL WATER FIX: DWR files Incidental Take Permit application; State Water Board issues ruling on multiple objections to submitted testimony

Department of Water Resources files Incidental Take Permit Application for California Water Fix

From the California Water Fix website:

Cal Water Fix LogoThe Department of Water Resources (DWR) has submitted an incidental intake application for California WaterFix to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) in compliance with the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Consistent with the federal Endangered Species Act process where DWR and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently submitted the California WaterFix biological assessment addressing incidental take of federally-listed species, DWR has submitted this application to DFW in compliance with Section 2081(b) of CESA to address incidental take of state-listed species for the California WaterFix.

As identified in CESA, projects that may cause “take” of a state-listed species must obtain authorization from DFW prior to implementing the action. Because California WaterFix would potentially cause incidental take associated with its construction and operation, DWR is required to apply for an incidental take permit (also known as a 2081(b) permit). The California Code of Regulations (Title 14, Sections 783.0 – 783.8) provide details on the application and review requirements related to the 2081(b) permit. Key elements in the 2081(b) application include documentation that the impacts of the incidental take are minimized and fully mitigated; funding is available for the minimization and mitigation measures; and incidental take authorized by the permit would not jeopardize the continued existence of a CESA-listed species.

Click here for more, including the link to the complete permit document, appendices and figures.

State Water Board issues ruling on objections to written testimony outside of the scope of Part 1, other procedural matters

Update by Maven:

On Friday, the State Water Board issued a ruling on the numerous objections submitted in written testimony for Part 1 of the hearing.

Part 1 of the hearing is focused on whether or not the change in the points of diversion in effect initiate a new water right, and if the proposed changes would cause injury to other municipal, industrial, or agricultural uses of water; Part 2 issues include whether the proposed changes would unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or recreational uses of water, or other public trust resources, and whether the proposed changes are in the public interest.

The Department of Water Resources and several other parties had filed objections to the written testimony of numerous witnesses for Part 1 of the hearing on the grounds that their testimony is not relevant to the issues for Part 1. Some of the issues include economic feasibility of the project, environmental impacts, impacts to recreation, CEQA/NEPA compliance, and consistency with the Delta Reform Act.

After reviewing the objections, responses to objections, and the testimony in question, the State Water Board has ruled that some of the objections have merit; however, the ruling notes that while much of the testimony in question does fall outside the scope of Part 1, it is relevant to the issues for Part 2 of the hearing.  Therefore, the ruling directs the affected parties to resubmit their testimony for Part 2 of the hearing by October 17, 2016.

Hearing schedule

Part 1A of the hearing has concluded.  Part 1B will begin on October 20, 2016.

Part 2, which deals with fish and wildlife impacts and other issues, will begin once the environmental documents are complete, possibly by the end of this year or early 2017.

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