NEWS WORTH NOTING: DWR issues notice for soil investigations for data collection in the Delta; Delta Stewardship Council completes first five-year review of Delta Plan; IID Board issues letter in support of New River emergency
Soil Investigations for Data Collection in the Delta
Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration
From the Department of Water Resources:
Today, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released an Initial Study/proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for soil investigations in the Delta. The proposed data collection, soil samples and surveys would support DWR’s efforts to better understand the region’s geology as the state continues to move forward to modernize water infrastructure in the Delta.
For additional information on how to submit comments or to access the document, visit the Delta Conveyance page on the DWR website.
What is the purpose of this work and how does the IS/MND relate to other Delta conveyance environmental planning activities?
Collecting data on soil conditions would help determine the composition, location, and geotechnical properties of soil materials commonly found in the Delta. This information would contribute to DWR’s overall understanding of Delta geology and inform the design, environmental analysis and development of alternatives for a potential Delta conveyance project. Preparation of the IS/MND is a standalone CEQA process—separate from environmental review of Delta conveyance—and comments should be focused on the contents and analysis contained in this document.
When would the soil investigations begin?
Soil investigation work would not be scheduled until completion of the environmental review process and all required permits and approvals have been obtained, which is anticipated in late Spring 2020. Initiation of this work would also require the appropriate notification and communication with property owners.
Is there potential for the comment period to be extended?
DWR will take all requests to extend the deadline into consideration. If the comment period is extended, a notification would be posted on the Delta Conveyance webpage and a notice would go out via email.
Delta Stewardship Council completes first five-year review of Delta Plan
From the Delta Stewardship Council:
To ensure that California’s Delta Plan evolves appropriately with time, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 requires that the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) review the comprehensive management plan at least once every five years, or as the Council deems appropriate.
In 2018, the Council began its initial review of the Delta Plan with three objectives in mind: (1) to reflect on the successes and challenges of implementation efforts across agencies; (2) to focus and prioritize the Council’s near-term implementation efforts; and (3) to identify planning topics and emerging issues that may inform future updates.
To summarize its findings, the Council recently published a detailed report summarizing these objectives alongside a highlights companion piece. By considering the Delta Plan and implementation progress to date, the Council will be better positioned to develop a roadmap for potential future changes and improvements to Delta Plan content and implementation strategies.
“Managing in the context of the Delta’s dynamic political, regulatory, and environmental landscape is challenging and requires strong leadership and adaptive management,” says Council Executive Officer Jessica Pearson. “The last six years have shown that the state’s Delta Plan is providing measurable value and clear direction for agencies engaged in stewarding the Delta’s diverse resources. This new chapter in Delta governance is yielding early, measurable success and must be built upon to achieve the bold goals established by the Legislature.”
IID Board issues letter in support of New River emergency
From the Imperial Irrigation District:
The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors unanimously approved issuing a letter of support for the County of Imperial’s recent proclamation of a local emergency at the New River.
The board took the action during its November 18 meeting to bring to the attention of Governor Gavin Newsom that the conditions at the New River “pose extreme danger to the health and safety of nearby communities and require immediate action before more residents, visitors and public sector workers become exposed to toxic substances and pathogens.”
In IID’s letter to Newsom, IID Board President Erik Ortega supports the efforts of the County of Imperial, which on November 5, declared a local emergency; the county’s action has been communicated to the California Office of Emergency Services.
Considered to be one of the nation’s most polluted rivers, the conditions of the New River have plagued the Imperial Valley for decades, Ortega wrote. Further, despite bi-national efforts, the New River requires more attention and resources. Raw sewage bypasses and toxic substances originating from Mexicali, Mexico, run north through the Imperial Valley, exposing these communities to harmful pathogens.
“The communities in the Imperial Valley should no longer have to be subjected to the vulnerability of failing sewer infrastructure,” Ortega wrote. “Furthermore, these waters flow into the Salton Sea, which itself is in a state of peril.”
The conditions at the New River are beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of the County of Imperial, he added, thus requiring immediate attention and additional resources from the State of California.
For these reasons, IID stands in support of the County’s proclamation of a local emergency at the New River and urges the governor to proclaim a State of Emergency exists.
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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.