NEWS WORTH NOTING: Public meeting on draft fisheries habitat restoration RFP; Draft EIS to protect Klamath salmon; Permit streamlining agreement approved for Poseidon Huntington Beach; Report on desal costs reinforces concerns over cost

CDFW to Host Public Meeting on Draft 2017 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Proposal Solicitation Notice

From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

dfw logo

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Watershed Restoration Grants Branch will hold a public meeting to discuss its Draft Fisheries Habitat Restoration 2017 Proposal Solicitation Notice (FHR 2017 PSN). The Draft FHR 2017 PSN includes focuses for the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, the Steelhead Report and Restoration Card Program, the Forest Land Anadromous Restoration Program and the Commercial Salmon Stamp Program.

The public meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento (95814). Interested parties may also participate via phone and online using AT&T Connect. See the meeting notice for instructions on how to participate remotely.

Written comments will be accepted by CDFW between Oct. 10 and Nov. 4, 2016.  All timely comments will be considered by staff prior to finalization of the solicitations. Comments may be submitted via email to FRGP@wildlife.ca.gov.

CDFW staff will accept oral and written comments during the public meeting and any comments received may become part of the public record.

For additional information, please contact Matt Wells at FRGP@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 445-1285.

Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Long-Term Plan to Protect Adult Salmon in the Lower Klamath River

Open House/Public Hearing Scheduled

From the Bureau of Reclamation:Reclamation

The Bureau of Reclamation has made available for public review and comment the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Long-Term Plan to Protect Adult Salmon in the Lower Klamath River (LTP). The Draft EIS describes the environmental effects of the No-Action and Action Alternatives to augment flows in the Lower Klamath River to reduce the likelihood and the severity of any Ich epizootic event that could lead to an associated fish die-off in future years (2017 – 2030).

An open house and public hearing to solicit comments will be held on:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016
  • Open House from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Doors open at 5 p.m.)
  • Public Hearing from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Holiday Inn, 1900 Hilltop Drive, Palomino Room; Redding, CA

Crowded holding conditions for pre-spawn adults, warm water temperatures, and the presence of disease pathogens are the likely major factors contributing to the adult salmon mortalities. The proposed increased flows would be provided primarily from releases of water stored in Trinity Reservoir on the main stem of the Trinity River.

The Draft EIS was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available at www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=22021. If you encounter problems accessing the document, please call 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or email mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov.

Please email comments by close of business Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, to BOR-SLO-sha-ltpeis-public-comments@usbr.gov or mail comments to Julia Long, Bureau of Reclamation, Northern California Area Office, 16349 Shasta Dam Blvd., Shasta Lake, CA 96019.

For additional information or to request a copy of the Draft EIS, please contact Long at 530-276-2044 or jlong@usbr.gov. The document may also be viewed at Reclamation’s Northern California Area Office at the above address and at the Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, Regional Library, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825.

Permit Streamlining Agreement Approved for Huntington Beach Desalination Project

poseidon waterToday, Poseidon Water announced the approval of an agreement among the staffs of the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”), California State Lands Commission (“SLC”) and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Board”) to streamline the permitting process for the Huntington Beach Desalination Project. The agreement can be viewed here.

The Coastal Commission was originally scheduled to consider the Project’s Coastal Development Permit on September 9th; however, Poseidon and Commission staff agreed to defer consideration of the Project’s CDP in order to allow for an interagency agreement that would clearly define the remaining permitting process.

“California continues to suffer from the effects of the worst recorded drought in state history,” said Poseidon Vice President Scott Maloni.  “For every year the Project is delayed and not producing water, Orange County will be forced to import, if available, 18 billion gallons of water from the environmentally constrained Sacramento San Joaquin Bay Delta or the Colorado River.

“Consistent with Governor Brown’s directive to ‘help local water agencies reduce the time required to comply with state-required environmental reviews,’ we are grateful to the staffs of the Coastal Commission, Regional Board and State Lands Commission for working with us to follow the most efficient, orderly and timely permitting process for the Huntington Beach Project,” said Maloni.

The Project has already had a lengthy permitting history. The City of Huntington Beach certified an Environmental Impact Report under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in 2006 and again in 2010. The Regional Board originally approved the Project’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit the in 2006 and again in 2012, and the SLC approved a lease agreement for the Project’s seawater intake and discharge facilities in 2010.

Poseidon is now proposing enhancements to the Project’s seawater intake and discharge technologies that require amendments to the SLC’s and Regional Board’s previous approvals. These design changes were proposed in response to the California State Water Resources Control Board adoption of a new Desalination Amendment to its Water Quality Control Plan for Ocean Waters.

In adopting the Desalination Amendment, the State Water Board resolved to direct its staff to propose and pursue a Memorandum of Agreement with other state agencies including the CCC and SLC to promote interagency collaboration for siting, design, mitigation, and permitting of desalination facilities. The permit sequence framework agreement developed by Poseidon fulfills the intent of the State Water Board’s resolution and creates a roadmap for the appropriate process for permitting seawater desalination facilities in the state of California under the new Desalination Amendment.

“Poseidon is pleased to once again serve as an industry leader by defining the future of seawater desalination in the state of California,” said Maloni. “Carlsbad was an unprecedented success. As the state’s environmental regulations have now evolved, we are prepared to build on our success and deliver Orange County the most technologically advanced and environmentally sound seawater desalination plant in the world.”

Under the permit sequence agreement, the SLC will consider an amendment to the Project’s 2010 lease agreement and process the required supplemental CEQA analysis of the proposed seawater intake and discharge technology enhancements. The Regional Board will then consider the amendment and renewal of the Project’s 2012 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit and compliance with the State Water Board’s Desalination Amendment. The CCC will then finally consider Poseidon’s application for a Coastal Development Permit, which was first submitted in 2006.

Poseidon anticipates the permitting process to be completed in 2017 and, subject to approval, for the Project to then proceed to the construction phase.

Poseidon’s proposed Huntington Beach Project will be the first large-scale desalination facility in the world to include 1mm (1/25th inch, approximately the thickness of a credit card) slot width seawater intake screens and through-screen water velocity of less than 0.5 feet per second in an open-ocean setting. The plant will also include state-of-the-art diffuser technology that will ensure that the salinity level in the plant’s seawater discharge meets the State Water Board’s stringent new receiving water quality requirements.  These technologies will minimize the intake and mortality of all forms of marine life.

The Huntington Beach plant will be the first large-scale water treatment plant in California to be 100% carbon neutral.  Poseidon recently submitted a proposed Marine Life Mitigation Plan to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board that involves providing long-term financial support for the maintenance of the Bolsa Chica.

The Huntington Beach Project will produce 56,000 acre feet per year (50 million gallons per day) of locally controlled, drought-proof drinking water that will reduce Orange County’s need to import water from Northern California and the Colorado River. The Huntington Beach Project is the single largest source of new, local drinking water supply available to the region and is identified in County water planning documents as a planned future water supply. In May 2015, Poseidon and the Orange County Water District reached agreement on the terms for the District to purchase the facility’s full 50 million gallons-per-day capacity.

Poseidon Water specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants in an environmentally sensitive manner. These projects are implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks. For more information on Poseidon Water and the Huntington Beach desalination facility, visit http://HBfreshwater.com

New Report Confirms Desalination is Most Expensive, Least Efficient Water Supply Option for California

Coastkeeper says Pacific Institute research reinforces concern about high cost of proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant

From the Orange County Coastkeeper:

On Thursday, the Pacific Institute released a comprehensive new report that highlights the critical importance of investing in cost-effective new water supplies as California communities determine how best to meet their water needs. The report, “The Cost of Alternative Water Supply and Efficiency Options in California,” finds that communities can achieve significant savings over their current water costs by investing in affordable, common-sense efficiency measures. By contrast, the report shows that seawater desalination, offered by some proponents as a mythical “silver bullet” to meet California’s water needs, is by far the most expensive option. It also reports that the in-between options, such as recycled water sources and rainwater capture, are all far cheaper than desalination.

“We need a diverse portfolio of sustainable solutions. This doesn’t mean we can afford to do everything, so we must do the most effective things first,” says report author Heather Cooley.

Orange County Coastkeeper says these statewide conclusions are echoed in Orange County, where water conservation and efficiency upgrades resulted in Orange County residents using a remarkable 16 percent less water in August than they did in the same month in 2013, despite warmer temperatures, according to statistics released by the state, while also reducing consumers’ water bills.

Also in line with report findings, says Coastkeeper, is the cost-effectiveness of water recycling in Orange County, which will soon supply half the water used by Orange County Water District’s 2.4 million customers. In 2015, it cost only $142 million to expand the capacity of Orange County’s water recycling facility from 70 to 100 million gallons per day, and the facility is now being expanded to produce an additional 30 million gallons per day. By contrast, Poseidon’s proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant will cost over one billion dollars to produce 50 million gallons of water. Coastkeeper says that is an especially bad deal for ratepayers because the company is demanding a 50-year contract that requires consumers to pay for the expensive water whether or not they need it.

And, according to Orange County Coastkeeper, the true cost of the Huntington Beach plant will likely be even higher than Poseidon has suggested.

“Poseidon is using public subsidies and creative math, like leaving out a $300 million cost for distribution, to conceal the true cost of its desalinated water,” says Orange County Coastkeeper Executive Director Garry Brown. “We know the plant would come with added costs to ratepayers over the next 50 years, especially as energy prices increase. It will also have significant environmental impacts to marine habitats — all for water that is not needed in Orange County.”

Orange County’s most recent water plan, published in April, indicates that Orange County can meet all of its water needs through at least 2040 without investing in a costly desalination facility. The plan also shows a healthy surplus through 2040 for Metropolitan Water District of Orange County, the agency that supplies imported water for Southern California communities. These forecasts raise further doubts about the reasonableness of locking Orange County ratepayers into a long-term contract for the most expensive water supply option available.

You can read the executive summary of Pacific Institute’s report here.

For more information, see this infographic on the true cost of desalination.

ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Orange County Coastkeeper is a member of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, which has 236 different independent programs across 29 countries. Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit www.coastkeeper.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.

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