NEWS WORTH NOTING: Exploratory work begins at Shasta Dam; Delta Islands and Levees study final EIS released for review; Reclamation releases final environmental documents for the Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel Nutrient Enrichment Project

Exploratory work begins at Shasta Dam

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

Over the next several months, Bureau of Reclamation geologists are extracting core samples from on, around and deep within Shasta Dam. Gathered data will be used to characterize concrete and geology conditions related to a proposed 18 ½ feet Shasta Dam raise.

The federal government has been studying the idea of raising the dam and enlarging Shasta Reservoir on and off since the 1980s.

The current Shasta Dam and Reservoir Enlargement Project envisions raising the existing dam by 18 ½ feet, providing an additional 630,000 acre-feet of stored water for the environment and for water users. Enlarging the reservoir will improve water supply reliability for agricultural, municipal and industrial, and environmental uses; reduce ¿ood damage; and improve water temperatures and water quality in the Sacramento River below the dam for anadromous fish survival.

The project is currently in the preconstruction and design phase following Congressional approval of $20 million in Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act funding last March.

Other pre-construction activities ongoing or to be scheduled include: consultations and coordination with tribal interests, land-owners, government and non-government agencies; real estate planning; and arranging for a non-federal cost share partner.

Reclamation expects to issue the first construction contract for the dam raise by December 2019. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.4 billion (in 2014 dollars).

For more information, please visit https://www.usbr.gov/mp/ncao/shasta-enlargement.html

Denham legislation brings more water storage: Department of the Interior moves forward on expansion of Shasta Dam

From the Office of Congressman Jeff Denham:

Announced today, the U.S. Department of the Interior is moving forward on enlargement of Shasta Dam, a critical water storage reservoir in California. This expansion comes as a direct result of Rep. Denham’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act language and $20 million in funding approved in March of this year.

“We’re moving forward with building more water storage for the first time in decades,” said Rep. Denham. “Real progress and results are what California needs if the next generation wants water.”

The total expansion of Shasta Dam will raise the dam by 18 ½ feet and provide an additional 630,000 acre-feet of stored water for families, farmers and cities, delivering more water and improving reliability for farmers and communities. The expansion will also help reduce flood damage and improve water quality in the Sacramento River to revitalize fish populations and foster a stronger ecosystem.

According to the Bureau of Reclamation, which is leading the expansion effort, construction contracts for the dam are expected to be issued by December 2019, and the entire project is estimated to cost $1.4 billion. The project is eligible for additional financing through Rep. Denham’s New WATER Act, which provides financing opportunities for water infrastructure projects and will reduce the cost to water users.

The Denham New WATER Act language is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks to make major water infrastructure improvements a reality in the Central Valley. This success comes on the heels of major developments in the fight against Sacramento’s water grab, including Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue voicing support for Denham’s efforts to stop the state’s Bay-Delta plan.

For more information about the enlargement of Shasta Dam, click here and here. To learn more about what Rep. Denham is doing to fight for water in the Valley, visit www.Denham.house.gov/water, where you can also sign up to receive periodic updates on his work in Washington to improve local water infrastructure, storage and delivery.

Delta Islands and Levees study final EIS released for review

From the Army Corps of Engineers:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District today released its final Environmental Impact Statement and draft Chief’s Report for the Delta Islands and Levees Feasibility Study for public review and comment.

The documents outline the study’s recommended plan to implement ecosystem restoration opportunities within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through beneficial reuse of dredged material from the Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel.

The recommended plan proposes to restore 340 acres of intertidal marsh at Big Break, a historical marsh area previously converted into farmland until a levee break in 1928 inundated the island. Since then, Big Break has remained unvegetated open water.

The final EIS and draft Chief’s Report are published on the district’s website at http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Sacramento-San-Joaquin-Delta/.

Comments may be submitted until Oct. 21, 2018 by email to deltastudy@usace.army.mil or by postal mail to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District
Attn: Robert Kidd
1325 J Street Room 1513
Sacramento, CA 95814

All comments received on the draft document during its public review period in 2013 were addressed and have been incorporated into the final report as appropriate.

A record of decision will be signed after the review period concludes to outline the selected alternative, its environmental effects and appropriate minimization measures. This will also formally complete the National Environmental Policy Act process for the study. Congressional authorization and funding would be required to move forward with design and construction.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District provides planning, engineering, project management, environmental restoration and construction services to military and civilian customers in parts of eight western states, including California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming.

Reclamation releases final environmental documents for the Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel Nutrient Enrichment Project

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation has issued final environmental documents for the Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel Nutrient Enrichment Project. The project’s purpose is to determine if the addition of nitrogen can stimulate (fish food organisms) production in a section of the ship channel, which is isolated from the Delta in terms of water flow.

The project is an initial step in a broader effort to determine if, through the repair of the West Sacramento lock system, Sacramento River flows could be used to move fish food organisms through the Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel to the Delta. This step seeks to benefit delta smelt and the Bay-Delta System.

The Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and are available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=33481.

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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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