NEWS WORTH NOTING: Metropolitan study reveals endangered winter-run chinook salmon rely on diverse rearing habitats; Delta Independent Science Board seeks public comment on two prospectus documents; EPA releases proposed cleanup plan for Casmalia superfund site

Metropolitan Water District Study Reveals Endangered Winter-Run Chinook Salmon Rely on Diverse Rearing Habitats

From the State Water Contractors:

A new study conducted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and a team of scientists from partner agencies and organizations reveals new information about the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon’s migration patterns and offers new insight into their protection.

MWD, the largest member of the State Water Contractors, partnered with the University of California, Davis, the NOAA Fisheries Service and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on the research, which was published in the journal Biological Conservation. The study found that juvenile winter-run Chinook are venturing beyond the Sacramento River, using the river’s many tributaries to seek food and shelter on their way to the Pacific Ocean — challenging conventional wisdom around the species’ rearing tendencies.

“This study is a great example of how collaboration between academia and government agencies is advancing what we know about our complex ecosystems,” said Jennifer Pierre, general manager of the SWC. “Our respective approaches and resources complement each other, and the findings of this groundbreaking study speak to the potential for future partnerships to better understand California’s water and its species.”

The study is part of a larger effort by the SWC and its member agencies to increase scientific understanding of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its tributaries and species to solve some of the state’s water supply challenges. Each year, the SWC is investing more than $1 million in these efforts, laying the groundwork for new research that will spur policymaking in California and across the country.

The Chinook salmon research found that, on average, about half of the adult salmon that successfully reach the ocean and return to the river to renew the lifecycle ventured outside their natal reach of the Sacramento River as juveniles. While habitat restoration has typically been focused on the Sacramento River — the Chinook’s primary home — the new study highlights the potential for increased conservation opportunities beyond the Sacramento River.

“This research gives us a more comprehensive picture of the species’ migration patterns and survival strategies,” Pierre said. “With this information in hand, California can continue to refine and improve its habitat restoration efforts to yield better outcomes for endangered species like the Chinook salmon while gaining knowledge that can lead to improved water management policies and practices.”

Delta Independent Science Board Seeks Public Comment on Two Prospectus Documents

From the Delta Independent Science Board:

The Delta Independent Science Board is seeking public comment on the following documents:

Prospectus Document One: Draft Water Supply Reliability Prospectus

The Delta ISB would like to hear your thoughts on its draft prospectus to undertake an initial review of science on water supply reliability that will focus on scientific efforts and methods for estimating and evaluating water supply reliability.

Prospectus Document Two: Draft Interagency Ecological Program Prospectus

The Delta ISB would like to hear your thoughts on its draft prospectus for reviewing the science-governance structure of the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP). This review may yield recommendations on how IEP could improve science collaboration, integration, and use, to better inform decision making and adaptive management in the Delta.

Please send your comments on either Prospectus Document by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2018 to

You are welcome to provide or discuss your comments at the Delta ISB’s teleconference on December 11, 2017, or the in-person meeting on January 5, 2018.

U.S. EPA Releases Proposed Cleanup Plan for Casmalia Resources Superfund Site in Santa Barbara County

From the US EPA:

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a comprehensive cleanup plan to address contaminated soil and groundwater at the Casmalia Resources Superfund Site in Santa Barbara County, Calif. The former hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility closed in 1989. The site was listed on the National Priorities List in 2001 after years of operational problems, releases of waste materials, abandonment by the original operator, and concerns raised by local communities.

EPA’s recommended cleanup plan includes: contaminated hotspot removal, engineered capping systems, groundwater collection and treatment systems, natural breakdown of groundwater contaminants at some locations, long-term surface water management, source reduction, land use controls, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure onsite containment. Construction of the proposed cleanup plan is estimated to take five years and cost approximately $60 million. Annual operations and maintenance costs are estimated at $4.1 million per year.

EPA welcomes public comments on the plan from Wednesday, November 22, 2017, to Monday, January 22, 2018.  EPA will host a public meeting to discuss the proposed plan from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at Orcutt Academy Charter School (formerly Winifred Wollam Elementary School), at 3491 Point Sal Road in Casmalia, Calif.  Spanish interpretation services will be provided.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:

Alejandro Diaz, Community Involvement Coordinator
75 Hawthorne St., SFD 6-3, San Francisco, CA 94105

Although EPA has proposed a Preferred Alternative cleanup plan, the final remedy for the site has not been selected. All comments received will be considered and addressed in writing in the Record of Decision when a final remedy is selected for the site.

“Our proposed plan is based on the most effective cleanup technologies available,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We encourage everyone to review the plan and provide comments so we can reach the best decision to protect public health and the environment.”

EPA has prepared the proposed plan in consultation with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and community stakeholders. EPA has also consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for protection of special status wildlife species, including the California red-legged frog and the California tiger salamander.

The Casmalia Resources Superfund Site is a 252-acre former commercial hazardous waste management facility, which accepted about 5.6 billion pounds of wastes from over 10,000 generators between 1973 and 1989. The waste management operations included landfills, surface impoundments, evaporation pads, waste spreading areas, injection wells, and burial trenches. These disposal operations contaminated soil, air, surface water and groundwater on the property with many different types of mixed hazardous chemicals. Although the site has been stabilized and there are no immediate risks to the public, cleanup work, monitoring and ongoing maintenance of the site will provide long-term community protection.

In 1997, EPA reached a settlement with the Casmalia Steering Committee (CSC), a group of 54 companies that sent large volumes of waste to the site. The CSC will work on the final remedy based on an agreement with EPA. The work will be funded from financial settlements with many entities that sent waste to the site. The CSC has since been conducting site investigations, maintenance, and interim response work under EPA oversight.

To view the proposed cleanup plan and for more information about the Casmalia Resources Superfund Site, please visit:

Daily emailsGet the Notebook blog by email and never miss a post!

Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!


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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: