NEWS WORTH NOTING: State Senate confirms Wade Crowfoot; Wildlife Conservation Board funds stream flow enhancement projects; State Water Contractors release fact sheet on Voluntary Agreements; Reclamation releases enviro docs addressing improved water quantity, quality in San Luis Reservoir
State Senate Confirms Wade Crowfoot as California Secretary for Natural Resources
From the California Natural Resources Agency:
The State Senate today confirmed Wade Crowfoot as California Secretary for Natural Resources in a bipartisan vote of 38-0.
“I’m honored to lead the Natural Resources Agency at this important time,” Crowfoot said. “I’m excited to work with my colleagues within the Agency and across the Newsom Administration to manage our resources in a way that allows communities and natural places to thrive, builds our state’s resilience to the challenges of climate change, and strengthens the connection between Californians and nature.”
Crowfoot oversees an agency of 19,000 employees charged with protecting and managing California’s diverse resources. This includes stewarding the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. As a member of the Governor Gavin Newsom’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on natural resources and environmental issues.
“Secretary Crowfoot is well suited to lead an agency that directly impacts so many of our communities,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) said. “He brings a deep appreciation for our natural resources and a strong record of collaboration. We are fortunate to have his experience and commitment at this critical time for California.”
Crowfoot was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Newsom on Jan. 11, 2019. He brings over two decades of public policy and environmental leadership to the office, with expertise in water, fisheries, climate and sustainability issues.
He most recently served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy that builds water solutions for communities, the economy and the environment across the American West. In that role, he developed innovative partnerships among a broad range of partners including agricultural leaders and environmental conservation groups.
Prior to joining the foundation, Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. In that role he led the administration’s drought response efforts and spearheaded several of the Governor’s priority initiatives to build California’s resilience to climate change. He previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and as senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, where he helped to lead many of Mayor Newsom’s nationally-recognized environmental initiatives.
Crowfoot received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and earned a master’s degree in public policy from the London School of Economics in 2004, where he graduated with honors.
The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $13 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 11 stream flow enhancement projects were approved at an April 4 meeting of the Stream Flow Enhancement Program Board. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change.
Funding for these projects comes from the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). The Act authorized the Legislature to appropriate funds to address the objectives identified in the California Water Action Plan, including more reliable water supplies, the restoration of important species and habitat, and a more resilient and sustainably managed water infrastructure.
Funded projects include:
A $499,955 grant to the University of California, Davis for a cooperative project with the University of California, Berkeley that will apply the newly developing California Environmental Flows Framework to inform decisions regarding instream flow enhancements in the Little Shasta River in Siskiyou County and San Juan Creek in Orange County, by defining target hydrologic regimes that meet ecological and geomorphic objectives.
A $1.5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency for a cooperative project with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in the Oroville Wildlife Area in Butte County. The project will reconnect the Feather River to approximately 400 acres of its historic floodplain, increasing the frequency and duration of floodplain inundation, and enhancing habitat for anadromous salmonids.
A $1.98 million grant to the Truckee River Watershed Council for a cooperative project with the CDFW, U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe National Forest and Bella Vista Foundation to enhance hydrologic and ecological function and improve base flows during the low flow period within Lower Perazzo Meadow in Sierra County.
A $621,754 grant to the San Mateo County Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with DWR and State Coastal Conservancy to construct an off-channel storage pond on Klingman-Moty Farm. Combined with irrigation efficiency upgrades and a commitment from the landowner to forbear diversions during the low flow period, the project will improve instream flow conditions in San Gregorio Creek in San Mateo County.
A $1.78 million grant to the Ventura Resource Conservation District for a cooperative project with Ojai Valley Inn, the city of Ojai, the Thacher School, and a diverse array of other partners. They will develop an Integrated Water Management Framework for Instream Flow Enhancement and Water Security and complete planning, permitting and outreach to advance 25 stream flow enhancement projects to an implementation ready stage.
State Water Contractors release fact sheet on Voluntary Agreements to improve Bay Delta watershed
From the State Water Contractors:
The State Water Contractors (SWC) today released a fact sheet on the Voluntary Agreements being developed as an alternative to the State Water Resources Control Board’s regulatory approach to update the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The Voluntary Agreements represent a collaborative science-based approach to improve the health of the rivers and provide reliable water supplies for years to come.
Reclamation releases environmental document addressing improved water quantity and quality in San Luis Reservoir
From the Bureau of Reclamation:
The Bureau of Reclamation and Valley Water released today a draft feasibility report addressing improved water quantity and quality in San Luis Reservoir. The San Luis Low Point Improvement Project Draft Feasibility Report addresses the potential costs, benefits and environmental impacts of four action alternatives and is available for public comment until May 6.
“We’ve been wrestling with this issue for a long time, and we’re glad to see forward progress on the project,” said Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Direction Ernest Conant. “This report engages the local community and provides a path toward a more sustainable, reliable water supply in San Luis Reservoir.”
The proposed project will help solve the “low point” problem, which occurs when the water drops to 300,000 acre-feet during certain dry years. The low water level fosters algae growth, making the water supply unsuitable for municipal and industrial use by Valley Water.
“It is great to see this project move forward with various solutions. We’re particularly excited to see that the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project has risen to the top of the list, which will increase our water emergency storage capacity and provide ecosystem benefits to our region,” said Valley Water Board Chair Linda J. LeZotte.
The draft feasibility report suggests avoiding water supply interruptions by increasing available water throughout the year to south-of-Delta contractors, including Valley Water, dependent on San Luis Reservoir for municipal and industrial water deliveries. It would also improve the reliability and quantity of yearly allocations to south-of-Delta contractors, again dependent on San Luis Reservoir.
The report incorporates the locally preferred plan, the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Alternative. The alternative would be located on Pacheco Creek upstream of North Fork Dam and would inundate most of the existing Pacheco Reservoir area.
Reclamation is releasing this draft feasibility report to share information generated since completion of the Plan Formulation Report in 2011. A draft environmental impact statement will be prepared later this year for formal public review and comment.
For additional information or to request a copy of the documents, please contact Nicole Johnson at 916-978-5058 (TTY 800-877-8339) or at the email address above. Copies of the documents may also be viewed at the Reclamation Regional Library, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825, by calling 916-978-5593.
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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.