NEWS WORTH NOTING: Public comment period extended on San Joaquin River flow objectives; Draft enviro assessment for San Joaquin River Restoration Program seepage mgt; Corps proposes water supply rule, seeks public comment; Weekly water and climate report

Public comment period extended on San Joaquin River flow objectives to March 17, 2017

From the State Water Board:

The public comment period for the Substitute Environmental Document supporting proposed amendments to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan for the Lower San Joaquin and specified tributaries from January 17, 2017, to March 17, 2017.

The State Water Board received numerous oral and written requests to extend the comment deadline.  In addition, many oral comments urged the State Water Board to afford additional time for parties to negotiate voluntary agreements.

While the State Water Board has already provided an extensive public comment period, the two-month extension of the written comment deadline will give interested persons additional time to engage in negotiations for alternatives to implement the proposed water quality objectives.  It also provides time for stakeholders to consider the extensive oral comments received during the five days of public hearing.

Even with the extension, the board anticipates acting on a final proposal in the late summer of 2017.

Click here for the fourth revised public notice.

Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for San Joaquin River Restoration Program Seepage Management Actions

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation has prepared a draft environmental assessment for San Joaquin River Restoration Program seepage management actions up to 2020.

The program’s Restoration Flow releases are currently constrained based on the potential for groundwater seepage impacts to lands adjacent to the San Joaquin River. The purpose of implementing the proposed actions are to account for potential seepage impacts, and enable Restoration Flow releases up to 1,300 cubic feet per second.

Based on landowner input, seepage management actions currently being evaluated include the purchase of easements allowing for higher groundwater tables underneath crops as a result of the release of Restoration Flows or purchase of land affected by groundwater seepage on a willing seller basis.

The Draft EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=27373. More information on the Seepage Management Plan is available at: http://www.restoresjr.net/monitoring-data/groundwater-monitoring/. If you encounter problems accessing the documents, please call 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or email mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov.

Comments are due by close of business Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, to rvictorine@usbr.gov. Comments may also be mailed to Becky Victorine, Bureau of Reclamation, MP-170, 2800 Cottage Way W-1727, Sacramento, CA 95825 or faxed to 916-978-5469.

Corps proposes water supply rule, seeks public comment

From the Army Corps of Engineers:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has published a proposed rule to update and clarify its policies governing water supply uses of its reservoirs and seeks public comment.

In proposing this rule, pursuant to the Water Supply Act of 1958 (43 USC 390b) and Section 6 of the Flood Control Act of 1944 (33 USC 708) (“Section 6”), the Corps seeks to explain and bring certainty to its practices under both statutes, and to respond to issues that have arisen in exercising these authorities.

The proposed rule, along with instructions for submitting comments, is available at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=COE-2016-0016 .

The proposed rule is intended to enhance the Corps’ ability to cooperate with interested parties by facilitating water supply uses of its reservoirs in a manner that is consistent with the authorized purposes of those reservoirs, does not interfere with lawful uses of water and takes into account court decisions, legislative provisions and other developments.

This proposed rule is not intended to interfere with state or tribal prerogatives to allocate water rights, or with authorities of other federal agencies and applies only to Corps of Engineers actions pursuant to Section 6 and the Water Supply Act, not under any other authority.

It would apply prospectively, and only to reservoir projects operated by the Corps, not to projects operated by other federal or non-federal entities. It would not impose requirements on any other entity, alter existing contractual arrangements, or require operational changes at any Corps reservoir.

The Corps encourages all interested persons to carefully review the preamble and the proposed rule and to offer their comments for consideration. Public comment period closes Feb. 14, 2017.

Weekly water and climate report: New NWCC Interactive Map features basin summaries

From the NRCS:

The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.

The National Water and Climate Center (NWCC) has a new Beta release of our Interactive Map. This release has many new features including more detailed and in-depth analysis of seasonal peak snowpack; more user-configurable options for features such as reference periods, scales, and colors; and dynamically-generated basin-filled maps based on Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) boundaries. The example shows current snow water equivalent as a percent of median for the mountainous basins of the West.

Click here to read the report.

 

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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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