Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

Restore the Delta prepares for litigation after DWR’s filing of WaterFix tunnels NOD

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Stockton, CA – As anticipated, the California Department of Water Resources issued the Notice of Determination (NOD) for CA WaterFix on Friday, July 21.

Executive Director for Restore the Delta Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla issued the following statement:

“We are not surprised that the Notice of Determination has been issued. The Brown Administration will celebrate this document as a type of victory regarding the advancement of CA WaterFix. But it’s not. The EIR and the plan for the tunnels are deeply flawed as the project will not create water supply reliability in a world with increased and prolonged droughts, but perhaps up to 75 years of debt to be paid back by water ratepayers as recently proposed by Goldman Sachs representatives.

“We, other environmental organizations, and other parties in the Delta are preparing for litigation. We will expand our fight in the court of public opinion. We are considering all possible legal and political options to stop the project.”

Supplementary Documents:

FINAL Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for the California WaterFix

CEQA Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations

DWR Notice of Determination Items

DWR Official Press Release

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Frazier: Delta tunnels project must not proceed

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D–Discovery Bay), co-chairman of the California Legislative Delta Caucus, released the following statement Friday, July 21 after reports Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has given the green light to the proposed Delta tunnels project.

“I represent more of the Delta than any other member of the Assembly, and I will do everything in my power to stop this ill-conceived and destructive project,” Frazier stated. “The truth is, ultimately the disaster of an idea called the Delta tunnels would disrupt the Delta economy and significantly burden agricultural production, recreational activities, the natural migratory paths of endangered fish species and legacy communities.  The governor needs to explore real options that communities throughout the Delta can support to achieve the co-equal goals of restoring and protecting the Delta’s habitat, and providing clean and reliable water to Californians.  He must not green light the tunnels plan.”

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Delta tunnels project reaches key milestone as state environmental review is certified

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Clearing another major milestone toward the modernization of the state’s water delivery system, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today certified the environmental analysis of the California WaterFix, also known as the Delta tunnels. Friday’s announcement follows recent federal biological opinions that confirm the project is consistent with environmental and wildlife protection standards.  

“Today, we have reached our next important benchmark in moving California towards a more reliable water supply,” said DWR Acting Director Cindy Messer. “With this certification, our state is now closer to modernizing our aging water delivery system in a way that improves reliability and protects the environment.”

The WaterFix will modernize a 50-year-old water delivery system that is increasingly vulnerable to disruption by natural disaster and climate change. With new intakes along the Sacramento River, the project also would give water project operators the flexibility to divert water at times of high flow when the risk to native fish at the new diversion facilities is minimal, thus better balancing water supply and environmental protection needs.

Friday’s certification comes after more than a decade of analysis, review, and public comment. State and federal water and wildlife agencies have been working since 2006 to find the best way to improve how the State Water Project and Central Valley Project obtain water from the channels of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Together, the projects supply 25 million Californians with some or all of their drinking water supply and help irrigate three million acres of farmland.

The Notice of Determination and decision documents signed by Acting Director Messer approve WaterFix as the proposed project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The project helps ensure stable water supplies for millions of Californians. CEQA requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. WaterFix Notice of Determination

DWR, which operates the State Water Project, screened more than 100 different proposals before analyzing 18 alternatives in depth in the final 50,000-page Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under CEQA. The combined public comment period on these environmental analyses lasted nearly a year.

The project was refined several times to shrink its footprint, minimize impacts to Delta landowners, and make other changes.

The CEQA certification, Notice of Determination, and decision documents put WaterFix a step closer to construction, which could begin as early as 2018. As both a modern and ambitious infrastructure project, WaterFix will require world-class engineering, efficient construction management, aggressive cost containment, and transparent business operations. 

In addition to the certification, DWR also filed a “validation action” today with the Sacramento County Superior Court to affirm the department’s authority to, among other things, issue revenue bonds to finance the planning, design, construction and other capital costs of California WaterFix. A validation action is necessary to provide assurances to the financial community for the sale of the California WaterFix revenue bonds. 

Meantime, DWR and the federal Bureau of Reclamation have completed a substantial portion of the proceedings before the State Water Resources Control Board to change the point of diversion for the state and federal water projects to allow operation of the WaterFix.

For more information, including fact sheets about project costs, cost allocation, project delivery and environmental benefits, visit www.californiawaterfix.com.

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Celebrate Earth Day by helping keep Antioch beautiful, Saturday, April 22

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Clean-Up Event

Earth Day is a big deal in Antioch.  The Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Clean-Up Day brings families, students, and community groups together for a city-wide litter pick-up and garbage haul that contributes toward a clean community.  This year’s cleanup is on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 8:30am to 11:00am.  There are five locations to volunteer, but you only need to pick one:

– Antioch High School

– Antioch Community Park at Jensen Family Grove

– Hillcrest Park at Larkspur Drive entrance

– Prewett Park at the Grand Plaza/Water Park

– Somersville Towne Center near Starbucks

There is a thank you BBQ after the clean-up at the Prewett Park Grand Plaza for all workers and volunteers.

Cash prizes are awarded to the schools that have the most number of volunteers participating in the clean-up.  To raise money for your school, individuals only need to write the name of the school on the registration and waiver forms.  High schools, middle schools, and elementary schools all qualify for the cash awards, and there is money for first, second, and third place participation.

Volunteers can show up the morning of the event to register and complete the event waiver form.

Advance registration is available at http://ci.antioch.ca.us/Enviornment/Keep-Antioch-Beautiful/

Community volunteers started this event eight years ago, working side by side with the City of Antioch to keep our community litter free.  Sponsorships and monetary donations are always needed and can be sent to Leo Fontana LAF “Keep Antioch Beautiful,” 2730 Lone Tree Way, Suite #4, Antioch, CA 94509. All donations are tax deductible. For more information call the Environmental Resource Line at 925-779-6137.

For more information or to register your group visit http://ci.antioch.ca.us/Environment/Keep-Antioch-Beautiful/.

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Payton Perspective: Officials must listen to the people and stop the Delta Tunnels

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

After watching and listening to the variety of East County and Bay Area residents speak out against the Delta Tunnels at the meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council in Brentwood on Thursday, March 23, 2017, one thing is clear, we don’t want them. All they will do is damage the Delta and the region in which we live. So how is that good stewardship of the Delta?

The proposed tunnels are referred to as conveyances. Well we already have two water conveyances, they’re called the San Joaquin River which flows north into and through the Delta and the Sacramento River which flows south. The two natural, God created conveyances we call rivers, meet at Antioch whose current slogan is the “Gateway to the Delta.”

Plus, there’s another man-made conveyance, known as the California Aqueduct that’s been sending water from Northern California and the Central Valley to Southern California for decades.  We don’t need another two, huge water conveyances to move the water from, around or under the Delta to Southern California.

Speaker after speaker who stood in line in the standing room only meeting – from residents, to activists, to Realtors, to those who fish and others who earn a living off the Delta – opposed the tunnels as the solution to water supply in the state. Instead they suggested more storage, such as maximizing the use of existing reservoirs and building more, and desalination.

One speaker, who said he is a native Californian with three daughters, offered the definition of stewardship which includes “the responsible overseeing of something worth preserving.” Two more speakers challenged the council members on the meaning of stewardship, as well.

“Tell the governor the people in this room know the difference between fresh water and salt water,” said another speaker. “For every gallon of fresh water we divert south, a gallon of salt water comes up the Delta.”

Salt water has encroached all the way to and past Antioch, which has the lowest intakes on the Delta and last year had to purchase 95% of its raw water from the Contra Costa Water District. The city has pre-1914 rights to the river allowing it to pump pretty much whatever amount of water needed for use by residents and businesses in the city. But, during the drought, and it’s believed that if the tunnels are built, those rights no longer mean anything, as there was and will no longer be enough or any fresh water to pump. So, if the salt water has already reached Antioch before the tunnels have been built, it can easily reach other parts of the Delta, if they are.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier had a representative read a letter from him at the meeting, in opposition to the conveyance system, or tunnels.

His letter mentioned the 2009 Delta Reform Act which established co-equal goals of “providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem” and that the proposed conveyance system barely touches on protection of the Delta.

A former Orange County, CA resident said “do the right thing. We want to preserve the Delta for our children.”

One speaker at the meeting got a bit animated. Screenshot from Cal-Span.org website

The final speaker asked “does anyone in this room want the tunnels?”

“No” was the loud reply.

The Council hasn’t yet made their final recommendation on whether the twin tunnels will be the solution to the conveyance of our water. So, there’s still time for the public to give input.

You can provide your comments using the online form at http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/contact-us. All written submissions will be posted on the website at www.deltacouncil.ca.gov. If you were unable to watch or attend the Thursday meeting in Brentwood, the webcast will be available on the website, as well.

Meetings of the Delta Stewardship Council in Sacramento on April 27th and 28th will be the next opportunity to give live, in-person input to the Council and for them to review the progress on the process. It will be held at Park Tower Plaza, 980 Ninth Street, 2nd Floor Conference Center in Sacramento.

In addition, in the future, as was said by Council Member and Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson, the Council needs to hold their meetings for the public at night. They can also be held on a Saturday and in a larger venue, so more people can attend.

We must stand united and continue to fight the Delta Tunnels to keep them from being built and damaging the ecosystem of the Delta and the adjacent region where we call home. Hopefully those charged with the stewardship of the Delta will hear us and recommend against the tunnels.

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Writer says Community Choice Energy alternative will create jobs in the county

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Editor:

Contra Costa County will be in direct coalition to Community Choice Energy (CCE) a sustainable choice to cleaner energy usage. They are pleased to announce their plans to bring more unionized jobs that will benefit the CCCounty.

This local renewable build out scenario, would involve a significant number of mostly unionized and non-union hires.  Also, a potential for 40% of the local build out will be near the Northern Waterfront in Concord area. In return this will be a huge deal for those looking to get hired in today’s economy. As the plans are underway to figure out the details there will be more to come on this future project.

Keep posted for more information regarding the Community Choice Energy (CCE) unionized jobs for hire and their announcements.

Lynette Robinson

San Pablo

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Group of state legislators from Delta Caucus release statement on alarming Oroville Dam situation

Monday, February 13th, 2017

(SACRAMENTO) – On Monday, February 13, 2017, members of the Delta Caucus of the California state legislature, including three representing Contra Costa County, released the following statement regarding the hazardous situation at Oroville Dam after news reports that previous concerns about the safety of the dam’s current infrastructure were ignored:

“We are concerned that a clear alarm raised 12 years ago about the state of the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was discounted. There has been more than enough time since then for upgrades and maintenance to the structure. Instead, nearly 185,000 people have been displaced, and there are still people in harm’s way. A catastrophic failure at Oroville would result in uncontrolled releases that do considerably more harm to the surrounding communities, and threaten those further downstream, including levee-protected communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. For now, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that people are safe and that necessary steps are taken to prevent further compromise of the entire Oroville facility.  When the immediate threats have subsided, we need to clearly assess this disaster and its causes.  We have a duty to ensure California’s existing infrastructure is maintained and upgraded, and not sacrificed in favor of conveyance projects.”

Caucus Co-Chair Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) and Assemblymembers Tim Grayson (D-Concord) and Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) are members of the Delta Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators whose districts include portions of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. The caucus works to keep their colleagues updated on the latest scientific data, economic developments, and actions taken by the state agencies responsible for the Delta, including the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources, and the Delta Stewardship Council.

They and the following legislators wished to be part of this statement: Co-Chair Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Assemblymenbers  Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) and Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove).

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Water level at Los Vaqueros Reservoir rises to a new high

Friday, February 3rd, 2017
The 100,000 acre-foot Los Vaqueros Reservoir

Los Vaqueros Reservoir. courtesy of CCWD.

After leaning on Los Vaqueros Reservoir for supply during the drought, the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) is pleased to announce that the reservoir is now holding more water than it ever has for its customers.  The reservoir is doing its job and the filling underway is good news for serving customers now and into the future.

This week, the reservoir’s storage level rose above 133,000 acre-feet, surpassing the high reached in 2013.  CCWD will continue to fill while conditions are favorable, depending on Delta water quality and energy costs.

“Los Vaqueros continues to serve CCWD customers well, especially during this drought,” said CCWD Board President Lisa M. Borba. “Customers responded tremendously to the call for conservation, and we were able to save conserved water in the reservoir, positioning us well if dry years continued. Now we are adding to our water saving account.”

CCWD owns and operates Los Vaqueros Reservoir primarily to manage water quality for the 500,000 residents of central and eastern Contra Costa County.  Water from the Delta is pumped into the reservoir when water quality is good and then is used to keep water quality delivered to its customers high when salinity levels rise in the Delta.  The off-stream reservoir located near Brentwood was originally constructed in 1998 with the ability to store up to 100,000 acre-feet of water.

An expansion of the reservoir was completed in 2012 increasing the capacity to 160,000 acre-feet.  Stores of water in the off-stream reservoir reached a then high of 132,900 acre-feet in 2013 and was then drawn upon, as designed, to meet water supply demands during the past few years of drought.

With strong and steady storms this winter supplying fresh water to the Delta, CCWD has turned on its pumps to move high quality water into Los Vaqueros for future use.

Learn more about CCWD and Los Vaqueros Reservoir at www.ccwater.com.

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