NEWS WORTH NOTING: Delta Counties Coalition decries lack of transparency and improper use of public funds to advance twin tunnels project; Army Corps now has nine certified planners; Two-year pilot study proposed on CVP water for Sutter National Wildlife Refuge

Delta Counties Coalition Decries Lack of Transparency and Improper Use of Public Funds to Advance Twin Tunnels Project

From the Delta Counties Coalition:

Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, Chair of the Delta Counties Coalition, issued this statement today regarding the U.S. Inspector General's report that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation failed to fully disclose $84.4M in public funding to advance the planning efforts of the California WaterFix, $50M of which was misapplied according to the audit findings:

“The DCC has always been concerned about the lack of transparency related to the planning, design and funding of the flawed $17B tunnels project. The latest findings by federal auditors is another example of why the public should be wary of the governments' expenditures on the WaterFix.

All Californians should write to their state and federal representatives and Governor Brown to express concern about the continued lack of transparency and use of public funds on this project.

The Brown Administration should redirect its attention to alternative, more cost-effective water solutions that assure a more reliable water supply for California, protect the Delta’s fragile ecosystem, and preserve the economic vitality and uniqueness of the Sacarmento-San Joaquin Delta. Some of these alternative solutions include: increased storage capacity; water conservation, reuse, recycling, and desalination; and investments in Delta levees.”

A link to the audit can be found here. For more information about the DCC and its solutions to the California WaterFix visit www.sharedwatersolutions.com. 

The Delta Counties Coalition (DCC) is an alliance of the California Counties of Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo. The DCC works to give one voice to the  Delta. The DCC has three goals: improve the Delta ecosystem, provide a more reliable water supply for the State, and protect and enhance Delta communities. The DCC works with local, state, and federal stakeholders to develop and implement solutions that address California’s water issues in a comprehensive, sustainable manner.

Corps announces inaugural cadre of certified planners, including nine from Sacramento District

From the Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District:

Four years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers set out to change the way it does business. Now, leaders are taking the next step to modernize its planning process, designating 34 certified planners to assist with complicated, controversial or highly visible studies and initiatives.

“Certified planners should be utilized to tackle the Nation’s complex water resources challenges,” said Maj. Gen. Donald Jackson, deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations for the Corps, in a memorandum announcing the selections.

Corps districts have been asked to review their planning portfolio to see where a certified planner could provide value, and the National Planning Center of Expertise can help match their need with an appropriate certified planner to either join their project delivery team or provide mentoring and guidance.

Sacramento District will not only get a front row seat for the new program but it appears it will have a chance to drive some of our nation’s most complex projects. Nine Sacramento District planners were selected as part of the inaugural collection of certified planners, which range from plan formulators to economists to environmental and cultural resources specialists.

“The selection process was rigorous and the standard high,” Jackson said. “Certification isn’t just about completing required training but requires a mix of training, experience, knowledge and leadership.”

Alicia Kirchner, chief of planning division for the Sacramento District, envisions the certification program will highlight the district’s capability to support other districts in the region and nation.

Each of the planners selected has broad experience and training within the Corps, and have proven capable of leading complex water resources planning efforts. The National Water Resources Certified Planner designation sets the standard for the profession, said Tab Brown, chief of planning and policy for the Corps during an August 29 ceremony in Washington D.C., to recognize the 34 certified planners.

Reclamation proposes two-year pilot study on CVP water for Sutter National Wildlife Refuge

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation proposes to enter into a two-year water conveyance pilot study with Reclamation District 1004, to annually convey up to 14,354 acre-feet of Central Valley Project yield to the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge in Sutter County.

Due to infrastructure constraints, Level 2 Refuge Water would be conveyed from the Sacramento River, through RD 1004’s conveyance system, to Butte Creek before reaching the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge boundary. The study is expected to yield sufficient data for Reclamation to determine if the arrangement would be an efficient and reliable method for long-term conveyance of Central Valley Project Improvement Act water supplies for the refuge.

A draft Environmental Assessment was prepared for public review in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=30122.

Please provide comments by close of business Sept. 15, 2017, to Dan Cordova at dcordova@usbr.gov or Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, MP-152, Sacramento, CA 95825. For more information or to request a copy of the document, please contact Cordova (916) 978-5483 (TTY 800-877-8339).

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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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