NEWS WORTH NOTING: Reclamation announces public scoping meetings on Shasta Dam fish passage evaluation; DWR releases final enviro docs for new Delta research station; Western water districts partner with federal agencies to explore next generation of water-saving devices and projects

Reclamation Announces Public Scoping Meetings on Shasta Dam Fish Passage Evaluation

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation will hold two public scoping meetings to gather information from other agencies, interested parties, and the public on the scope of alternatives for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Shasta Dam Fish Passage Evaluation (SDFPE) project. The SDFPE project evaluates the near-term actions of reintroducing Federally-listed endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and potentially spring-run Chinook salmon to tributaries above Shasta Dam. The near-term goal is to increase the geographic distribution and abundance of the listed fish. The long-term goal is to increase abundance, productivity, and spatial distribution, and to improve the life history, health, and genetic diversity of the target species. The public scoping meetings on the EIS are scheduled for:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825, Federal Building, Cafeteria Room C-1001.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., 20814 Mammoth Drive, Lakehead, CA 96051, Lakehead Lions Club.

The EIS will assess impacts associated with the implementation of the near-term activities identified under Action V in the National Marine Fisheries Service Reasonable and Prudent Alternative from the 2009 Biological Opinion and Conference Opinion on the Long-term Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. Action V includes a Fish Passage Program to evaluate the reintroduction of Federally-listed Chinook salmon and steelhead to three dams operated by Reclamation: Shasta, Folsom, and New Melones.

In 2016, Reclamation released a Draft Pilot Implementation Plan. This Pilot Plan provided a general overview of winter-run Chinook Salmon reintroduction to historical habitats in the Study Area. In 2017, Reclamation prepared a Preliminary Draft Environmental Assessment as part of the planning process to evaluate and disclose potential environmental effects associated with the SDFPE’s implementation of a Pilot Study to assess the feasibility of the reintroduction of Federally-listed Chinook salmon in tributaries above Shasta Lake. These documents can be found at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/BayDeltaOffice/shasta-dam-fish-pass.html.

DWR Releases Final Environmental Documents for New Delta Research Station

From the Department of Water Resources:

A significant milestone has been reached in the effort to build a state of the art scientific field station in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in May finalized the environmental documents for construction of a research hub on the former Rio Vista Army Base.

The proposed field station would be home to scientists from nine State and federal agencies who are now scattered in offices across the region. All are involved in the decades-long effort to monitor conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast. The Delta is home to many threatened and endangered species as well as a source of drinking water for two-thirds of the state’s population.

The proposed Rio Vista Estuarine Research Station includes office space, laboratories and boat storage.  It is planned in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Regional Fish Technology Center, a five-acre complex that will house populations of fish species including Delta smelt.

The new Rio Vista field station would bring together scientists, engineers, technicians, computer scientists, and office staff from the Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the California Department of Water Resources,  U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and other State and federal agencies.  The consolidation would reduce operational costs and foster scientific collaboration.

The project enjoys wide support.

“Protection of our Delta, the most important estuary on the west coast of the western hemisphere, depends on science,” said Congressman John Garamendi. “The Rio Vista Estuarine Research Station will advance our understanding of the ecology of the region and provide critical information to direct policy.”

DWR Acting Director Bill Croyle called the 12-acre project a smart investment for State and federal agencies.  He noted that construction of the facility is one of 13 actions set forth in the state’s Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy.

“Ecologically and economically, much is at stake in the Delta,” said Croyle.  “The better we understand the estuary, the better we can manage the constant balance that must be struck among competing uses of the Delta.  By bringing together scientists who are now scattered across the region, the new Rio Vista field station should bring efficiency, spark collaboration and ultimately improve our understanding and management of this complex, dynamic place.”

The cost of the Rio Vista Estuarine Research Station is estimated at $90 million to $100 million, to be shared by the State and federal governments. Now that DWR has finalized the environmental impact report/statement for the project, construction could begin as soon as federal funding is secured.

The final environmental documents and more information about the Rio Vista Estuarine Research Station are available here.

Western water districts partner with federal agencies to explore next generation of water-saving devices and projects

Program grants focus on water/energy nexus projects

From the Metropolitan Water District:

A project using thermal cameras to analyze and adjust water needs and another venture evaluating water-efficient dipper wells for restaurants and ice creams shops are among the latest to receive competitive grants focused on discovering the next generation of water-saving devices and technologies in the West.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California partnered with the Central Arizona Project, Southern Nevada Water Authority, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to help fund 10 projects in the most recent round of Innovative Conservation Program grants. The program—which includes Southern California Gas Co. and the non-profit conservation group, Western Resource Advocates—seeks to advance water-saving efforts by finding new and innovative methods for using water more efficiently.

“Western states need to build and sustain resilience to droughts,” said Tomás Torres, EPA’s water division director for the Pacific Southwest. “By supporting the ICP, we’re investing in innovative solutions to help communities meet the challenges of tomorrow—today.”
This $560,000 ICP cycle focused on water-saving devices, technologies and strategy proposals that address the water/energy nexus. Awards were given in two funding categories: up to $30,000 and between $30,000 and $100,000. A total of 96 proposals were evaluated through a competitive review process based on project innovations, a water/energy saving and research plan, market impact potential, cost effectiveness, ICP focus and project preparedness.

While California’s drought has ended, Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger noted the West continues to grapple with drought in the Colorado River Basin, which has now stretched into a 17th year.

“You don’t need a crystal ball to predict that our future depends on using water wisely and efficiently today,” Kightlinger said. “This program fosters fresh and innovative approaches and inspires creative ideas and strategies to reduce water use.”

To continue reading, click here:  ICP Release FINAL 061317

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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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