NEWS WORTH NOTING: Another reach, another refuge: Rio Vista side channel habitat project; WE Watch urges local water providers to opt-out of costly delta conveyance project; U.S. EPA requires safer management of hazardous waste at NAS China Lake

Sacramento Valley: Another reach, another refuge: Rio Vista side channel habitat project

Press release from Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program and the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District:

A salmon habitat project is underway just outside the City of Red Bluff in Tehama County. One of several such in the North State, the Rio Vista Side Channel Habitat Project will offer protection for juvenile salmonids, including endangered winter-run Chinook. A seasonal side channel (RM 248) will be excavated down an average of 5 feet to allow Sacramento River waters to flow year-round. This side channel ‘fish nursery’ is intended as refuge for juvenile salmonids before they migrate out to the ocean: providing protective cover, slower flows, and sources of food. The project also includes native riparian planting and other habitat features. Construction starts Monday October 7, 2019 and will take approximately 4-6 weeks to complete.

Ongoing Commitment: This is the second side channel project in Tehama County and fourth side channel project overall in four years to be completed as part of the Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Monitoring of constructed side channels to-date indicates increased habitat complexity, as well as fish use that is comparable or better than naturally occurring control sites. An overview map of completed and proposed program sites is available here: https://www.sacramentoriver.org/forum/index.php?id=gis

Partnerships at Work: This project continues the work of improving spawning and rearing habitat for salmonids in the Sacramento River below Keswick Dam; and helps to meet the requirements of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Section 3406 (b) (13). To implement such projects, the Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program is comprised of a network of partnerships. It brings together the expertise, community connections, and implementation capacity of local, state and federal agency staff, nonprofit organizations, water districts, university faculty and graduate students, and support of willing private landowners.

For more information about the project or the Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program and its partners, contact Harmony Gugino at 530-529-7383 or harmony@sacriverforum.org

For more information about the Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program, contact Cynde Davis at 530-934-8881 or cdavis@gcid.net

WE Watch Urges Local Water Providers to Opt-Out of Costly Delta Conveyance Project

Press release from WE Watch:

A Santa Ynez Valley non-profit, WE Watch, has sent letters to local agencies involved in providing water to Valley residents, urging each agency to opt-out of participation in the newly proposed “Delta Conveyance Project” (DCP). As recently proposed by Governor Newsom, the DCP would move State Water Project (SWP) water from northern California rivers through a new tunnel under the California Delta to connect to the California aqueduct.  Local water agencies that currently manage or receive SWP water would continue to receive their current allocation of SWP water while opting-out of participation in, and payment for, the costly new DCP.

The WE Watch letter, dated 9/17/19, was sent to: Buellton, Solvang, Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District ID-1, and the Central Coast Water Agency (CCWA). Over the coming months each of those water agencies and the County, as the SWP’s contract holder in Santa Barbara County, will be asked to decide whether to opt-in or opt-out of participation in the DCP.

WE Watch’s objections to the DCP are based on several concerns, including some cited by Governor Newsom when he cancelled the State’s previously proposed project for two tunnels under the Delta.  These concerns are:

  • The DCP would be very expensive, with CCWA’s up-front cost estimated by CCWA to be in the $152 million range. Those costs would directly pass through to those agencies which receive state water in Santa Barbara County. Solvang and Buellton’s share of the costs would each be in the $3 to $4 million range, while ID#1 would be approximately $11 to $12 million.  WE Watch believes less expensive alternatives exist for providing water, as well as mitigating for water quality, earthquake damage, and sea level rise.
  • The DCP won’t necessarily improve the reliability of SWP water delivery. As evident during the past decade, the reliability of SWP water allocations is inherently highly variable and unpredictable from year to year, mainly due to annual variations in precipitation. How can you possibly expect water reliability when statewide water allocation quantities are five times greater than is available in a typical California water year?  These allocations equate to paper water.
  • The DCP will continue, rather than mitigate, adverse environmental impacts in the Delta. By reducing ground-level water flow, the DCP will undoubtedly harm endangered species and further degrade habitats, water quality, and the healthy farming and recreational economies of the Delta.
  • The State’s estimates of the DCP’s costs and water supplies are questionable. In the past, the State has tended to over-estimate water supplies from State projects, while under-estimating actual costs and project implementation schedules.

In its letter, WE Watch noted that its purpose as a non-profit is to work together with others to sustain and improve the environment of the Santa Ynez Valley, mainly by educating its members and the community about environmental issues affecting the quality of life in the Santa Ynez Valley.  More information about WE Watch can be found at its website: https://www.we-watch.org/

U.S. EPA requires safer management of hazardous waste at the Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake, California

Press release from the US EPA:

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with the Department of the Navy for improperly managing hazardous waste at the Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake. Under the agreement, the federal facility will pay a $23,700 penalty.

“It is critical for federal agencies to comply with laws that protect public health and our natural resources,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “This agreement will bring the Department of the Navy into compliance with hazardous waste laws and help minimize the potential for hazardous waste releases to the environment.”

The Naval Air Weapons Station – China Lake is in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, approximately 150 miles north of Los Angeles. Operations at the facility include research and development of explosive materials and weapons, aircraft maintenance, facilities maintenance operations, metal fabrication operations, and storage of hazardous materials and waste. EPA’s 2018 inspections identified violations of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. RCRA rules require the safe management of hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment and to prevent the need for costly and extensive cleanups.

Violations identified during the inspection included:

  • Failure to comply with a permit condition that requires deteriorating containers to be replaced or put inside larger containers in good condition at the point of generation.
  • Failure to keep hazardous waste containers closed.
  • Failure to properly manage universal wastes.

The facility has resolved the identified violations and is now in compliance with the RCRA requirements.

For more information on EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act please visit: www.epa.gov/rcra

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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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