NEWS WORTH NOTING: Improvements begin at two Lake Oroville State Recreation Area sites; San Joaquin River flows move to restoration flows; Governor signs water conservation bill initiated by Orange County students

Improvements Begin at Two Lake Oroville State Recreation Area Sites

From the Department of Water Resources:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has begun construction to expand visitor parking lots and improve facilities at the Bidwell Saddle Dam Trailhead at Kelly Ridge Road in Oroville and the Lime Saddle Boat Launch Area in Paradise.

“Lake Oroville offers some of California’s premier opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. And DWR is committed to maintaining and improving recreation at Lake Oroville,” said DWR Acting Director Cindy Messer. “Expanding parking lots for visitors and improving site facilities at Bidwell Saddle Dam Trailhead and Lime Saddle Boat Launch are just two examples of our long-standing commitment to invest in Lake Oroville recreation sites.”

Construction on the Bidwell Saddle Dam Trailhead will be completed in two phases. On Monday, July 31, construction crews will begin widening the existing gravel lot. The site will be closed during construction of the first phase and is expected to be complete and reopened before Labor Day, September 4. The second phase of construction focuses on improving site amenities. By the time construction work is complete in Spring 2018, visitors can expect running water, additional gravel parking and picnic tables.

Construction has already begun at the Lime Saddle Boat Launch Area in Paradise, which will remain open throughout construction. The project will also be completed in two phases. Construction crews are widening the gravel parking lot to accommodate an estimated 50 vehicles and trailers. In Spring 2018 the gravel lot will be paved and lighting installed.

The projects are set to cost a combined $2.8 million: $1.6 million for Lime Saddle improvements and $1.2 million for Bidwell Saddle Dam Trailhead improvements. Funding is provided through a DWR fund dedicated to recreation at State Water Project facilities. These projects will help offset the temporary closure of the Spillway Boat Ramp and Diversion Pool Day Use Areas.

San Joaquin River flows move to Restoration Flows

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

As part of its effort to restore a self-sustaining Chinook salmon population within the San Joaquin River while minimizing impacts to water contractors, the San Joaquin River Restoration Program resumed its Restoration Flows to the river July 21.

Since January 4 of this year, Friant Dam releases have been managed for flood control. This precluded the program’s Restoration Flows, which include releases from Friant Dam for downstream riparian interests. With the change, water users should be aware that diversions of Restoration Flows are not allowed unless authorized by the Bureau of Reclamation, as these flows are dedicated for preservation and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources pursuant to Water Code section 1707 and are protected under the California Water Code.

Reclamation regularly evaluates releases at Friant Dam to achieve the program’s flow target at Gravelly Ford. Restoration Flows will be limited such that no flooding or seepage impacts are expected to occur. Reclamation will reduce Restoration Flows as necessary to maintain compliance with the program’s seepage management plan, and it maintains a seepage hotline at 916-978-4398 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Currently, 191,575 acre-feet have been recommended as Restoration Flows, with the balance of 364,967 acre-feet as Unreleased Restoration Flows which were sold to Friant long-term contractors. A copy of the allocation and default flow schedule is available at http://www.restoresjr.net/wp-content/uploads/20170710_SJRRP-Restoration-Allocation-1.pdf. The change in operations to Restoration Flows is consistent with the Stipulation of Settlement, Restoration Flow Guidelines (V. 2.0, February 2017) and the Final 2017 Restoration Allocation & Default Flow Schedule issued July 10, 2017.

For additional information about the San Joaquin River Restoration program, please visit http://www.restoresjr.net or contact Josh Newcom, public affairs specialist, at 916-978-5508 or snewcom@usbr.gov.

Governor Brown Signs Water Conservation Bill Initiated by Orange County Students

AB 1343 (Chen) was born from water-saving project at Washington Middle School in La Habra, CA

La Habra, CA – Assembly Bill 1343 (AB 1343), a water conservation bill initiated by four female high schoolers, was recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill, which furthers his Executive Order to make “water conservation a California way of life,” aims to foster partnerships between K-12 schools and water suppliers to help reduce water usage in drought-afflicted California.

Assemblymember Phillip Chen (R-Brea) introduced the bill that encourages water suppliers that offer water efficiency rebates to commercial and industrial users, to also include K-12 schools in their targeted outreach. These “Go Low Flow Water Conservation Partnerships” between school districts and public water systems would be created “for purposes of reducing water use at schools, reducing stormwater and dry weather runoff at schools, reducing schoolsite water pollution, and establishing the basis for educational opportunities in water conservation,” according to the bill signed by Governor Brown on Friday.

In return, these schools would use these existing rebate incentives on already planned or future planned facilities improvements to replace older, water-guzzling fixtures including toilets, faucets, and hose nozzles. The schools would also use information from the water suppliers to educate their students, their families, and their communities on the importance of water conservation in drought-afflicted California.

“AB 1343 helps make water conservation an important part of our education,” said Angeline Dequit, 15.

Dequit is among the group of young women, dubbed the La Habra Water Guardians, who proposed bill language to Assemblyman Chen after creating a Water Conservation Master Plan at Washington Middle School in 2015 that aims to cut water use by 30%. The other Water Guardians are Jessica Gallegos, 14; Fiona Paredes, 15; and Skye Lim, 14. They are all students now at Sonora High School in La Habra, CA.

The Water Guardians’ ongoing Master Plan that inspired the legislation involves creating a drought-tolerant garden in front of their school and replacing old toilets with low-flow models.

“Protecting our water resources and education our students are not mutually exclusive,” said Jim Byerrum, President of the Whittier-based California Domestic Water Company, one of the Water Guardians’ sponsors. “The Water Guardians have worked hard on this legislation that accomplishes both of these goals.”

Schools are among the biggest consumers of water statewide. Many of the more than10,000 K-12 schools statewide have older toilets that use 5 gallons of water per flush where modern low flow models use 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

“We want to create a future for our community and state, where we have a plentiful water supply and all citizens are better prepared with water conservation skills for life,” Lim said.

The Water Guardians formed in 2015 after their science teacher Dr. Susan Pritchard shared the Lexus Eco Challenge, a national sustainability contest for students, with her classes. The Water Guardians won First Place in their division for their Water Conservation Master Plan.

The Water Guardians raised money through a school dance and secured sponsors to help fund trips to the state Capitol to testify in support of AB 1343 and create water conservation chapters at other schools.

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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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