Fish Restoration Program Update: Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project, Real estate acquisition, Regional salinity monitoring, and Restoration RFP

From the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fish Restoration Program (FRP) addresses specific habitat restoration requirements of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) biological opinions (Biological Opinions) for State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) operations.
Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project Update

The Department of Water Resources recently acquired approximately 9 acres of property on Prospect Island in Solano County, completing the purchase of the island. This recently acquired land provides flexibility in maintaining short-term as well as long-term access to the Prospect Island restoration site.

DWR is finishing the process of reviewing and responding to public comments on the Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). In the coming weeks, DWR will begin drafting the Final EIR (FEIR). DWR anticipates releasing the FEIR in late 2017.

The DEIR analyzes potential impacts of a reasonable range of alternatives that could avoid or minimize adverse impacts and considers stakeholder input as part of the environmental review process. To download the DEIR and learn more information about its findings, visit the FRP Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project webpage here.

Restoration Real Estate Acquisition and Project Status

Arnold Slough
In 2017, the Fish Restoration Program acquired Arnold Slough, formerly known as Property 604, comprising approximately 280 acres of land adjacent to the Blacklock Restoration Site. DWR is planning to implement the Arnold Slough Tidal Restoration Project (Project), which will restore tidal connectivity to the interior of the property to create aquatic habitat at intertidal and shallow sub-tidal elevations connected to adjacent uplands to benefit native fish and wildlife. The Project is intended to partially fulfill DWR’s 8,000-acre tidal habitat restoration obligations required by the 2008 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Delta Smelt Biological Opinion for long-term coordinated operations of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Baseline data collection began in 2014, and project planning is ongoing. The land is currently being leased for recreational purposes, and will be restored when the lease terminates in early 2019.

Questions about the Arnold Slough Project should be sent to the project manager, Elaine Jeu (Elaine.Jeu@water.ca.gov).

Bradmoor Island
Bradmoor Island Tidal Restoration Project, previously referred to as the Overlook Club (Property 322) Tidal Restoration Project, is located within the Nurse Slough Complex of Suisun Marsh, Solano County. Bradmoor Island includes 730 acres of managed wetlands, tidal berms, and associated uplands in three parcels. DWR purchased the 245-acre Overlook Club in February 2013, the 257-acre Flying D Club (Property 329) in February 2016, and the 242-acre parcel (Property 330) in February 2017.

The Project is intended to partially fulfill DWR’s 8,000-acre tidal habitat restoration obligations required by the 2008 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Delta Smelt Biological Opinion for long-term coordinated operations of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Two of the three properties will have lease agreements for recreational use of the property until early Spring 2019, at which time restoration actions on the property are expected to begin. DWR is currently completing hydrodynamic modeling and restoration planning.

Questions about the Bradmoor Island tidal restoration project should be sent to the project manager, Caitlin Roddy (Caitlin.Roddy@water.ca.gov).

Regional Salinity Modeling
To ensure consistency with other restoration goals within the Bay-Delta, FRP has funded a modeling effort to assess cumulative salinity effects in the Delta and Suisun Marsh attributable to impacts from planned restoration projects. DWR seeks to better understand how collective restoration efforts are impacting salinity on a system-wide scale, and initial work on model calibration and scenario development is ongoing with a study report expected in 2018.

Fish Restoration RFP
DWR posted an extensive Request for Proposals (RFP) for fish habitat restoration projects within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh. Proposals were due on February 23, 2107. DWR has finished reviewing the proposals and DWR intends to award contracts to Reyiner Funds, LLC and Natural Resources Group, Inc.

For more information …

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