Programs/Projects Advance in 2010
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a region where two of California’s largest rivers meet the saltwater from San Francisco Bay, creating the West Coast’s largest estuary. The area is a blend of towns, highways, marinas and farmland. More than 50 island tracts are surrounded by levees and about 700 miles of sloughs and winding channels. The Delta is also the hub of the Central Valley Project and California’s water supply system.
Water from the Delta serves the federal and state water projects, which in turn, serve urban and agricultural areas in the San Francisco Bay area, the Silicon Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, the central coast and southern California. The Delta is also the habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife and fish, including some that are threatened and endangered.
The Delta has experienced significant ecological collapse as a result of 150 years of human activity, including California’s increasing demand for water and changing environmental conditions. Long-term solutions are needed to ensure reliable, quality water supplies and a sustainable ecosystem. Since the 1970s, urban, agricultural and environmental interests have fought over how to balance water diversions with environmental restoration in the Delta. Reclamation and its partners have implemented short-term solutions and are developing long-term plans for Delta sustainability in order to avert further ecological decline while maintaining reliable water supplies.
Restoration: Looking Ahead 50 Years
The latest actions to address Delta issues include preparation of a Bay Delta Conservation Plan by the State of California, Reclamation, other government agencies, water suppliers, environmental groups and other interested parties.
The BDCP has co-equal goals of providing conservation of sensitive species and their habitat and assuring a reliable water supply.
Drafting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan
Developing the plan is a collaborative effort that includes the Departments of the Interior and Commerce, the California departments of water resources and fish and game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
In November 2010, the BDCP Steering Committee released a working draft of plan components completed to date. The draft plan is intended to provide the Steering Committee and the public an opportunity to review and formulate opinions about how best to proceed with further development and revisions of the plan. Discussions are continuing in order to resolve issues.
- The BDCP is working to:
- Identify conservation strategies to improve the overall ecological health of the Delta.
- Identify ecologically friendly ways to provide a reliable water supply to cities and farms.
- Address toxic pollutants, invasive species and impairments to water quality.
- Establish a framework and funding to implement the plan over time.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the West Coast’s largest estuary.
Meeting CVP Improvement Act Requirements
The Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992 amends previous authorizations of the Central Valley Project to include fish and wildlife protection, restoration, and mitigation as project purposes that have equal priority with irrigation, domestic uses, and power generation. Reclamation implements activities to meet the Act’s purposes in collaboration with the state of California, local governments, tribes, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders.
From 1993-2010, the Mid-Pacific Region’s CVPIA Program has completed several large projects, including the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District fish screen, Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District fish screen and a temperature control device at Lake Shasta.
Other accomplishments from 1993 to 2010:
- Butte Creek has been restored and the program has completed 98 actions from the Final Restoration Plan in 26 watersheds throughout the Central Valley, focusing on barrier removal, floodplain restoration and gravel supplementation.
- The Region has assisted the state of California in the screening of 29 diversions ranging from 11 cubic feet per second to 960 cfs for a cumulative total of more than 4,800 cfs.
- On Clear Creek, 80 percent of the two-mile restoration project has been restored since the removal of McCormick-Saeltzer Dam.
- The Region has created or improved spawning habitat by placing 186,000 tons of gravel in the Sacramento River, 18,000 tons in the Stanislaus River, and 39,600 tons in the American River.
- The Region began interim flow releases on the San Joaquin River from Friant Dam at the beginning of Fiscal Year 2010 and released for public review a draft Fisheries Management Plan. (For more information on the San Joaquin River Restoration Project please see pages 36-39.)
The current scope of the CVPIA in the Region includes 15 programs that fall into three resource areas: fisheries, refuges, and other resources.
The Central Valley fisheries goal is to double the natural production of anadromous fish on a sustainable basis. During 2010, the Region achieved or advanced several fish-screening projects. For more information on two major projects please see pages 20-24 for the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project and page 44 for the Contra Costa Fish Screen Project.
The Trinity River fisheries goal is to restore and sustain the natural production of anadromous fish populations downstream of Lewiston Dam to pre-dam levels. The Trinity River Restoration Program has completed 23 of the 47 target mechanical channel rehabilitation projects; and implemented full Secretarial Record of Decision flows since 2005. For more information on the Trinity River Restoration Program please see page 46.
The Refuges Water Supply Program goal is to provide water to 19 CVPIA federal, state and private wildlife refuges. The program has delivered an annual average of more than 450,000 acre-feet to wildlife refuges since 2002. More information on the 2010 accomplishments of the Region’s CVPIA fish and wildlife programs is available online at: http://www.usbr.gov/mp/PA/docs/2010Accomplishments/addendum1.pdf.
The CVPIA’s other resources goal is to protect and restore terrestrial habitat and the species that depend on it. The Land Retirement Program has acquired about 9,300 acres and retired about 9,000 acres from agricultural production. The Habitat Restoration Program has funded more than 100 projects supporting the recovery of threatened and endangered species, including the acquisition and protection of more than 100,000 acres and restoration of more than 7,300 acres. A report on the 2010 accomplishments of the CVPIA Habitat Restoration Program is online at: http://www.usbr.gov/mp/PA/docs/2010Accomplishments/addendum2.pdf.
A report on the 2010 accomplishments of the separate but similar Central Valley Project Conservation Program is available online at: http://www.usbr.gov/mp/PA/docs/2010Accomplishments/addendum3.pdf.
Contra Costa Canal Fish Screen
|Contractors building the Contra Costa Canal Fish Screen.|
In May 2010, Reclamation awarded a contract of nearly $13 million in 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the third and final phase of the Contra Costa Canal Fish Screen at Rock Slough.
The project meets the coequal goals of reducing impacts to fisheries while improving water supply reliability and operational flexibility.
A number of resident and migratory fish species, including the threatened Delta smelt and the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon, can be drawn into the Contra Costa Canal. The structure will screen fish from entering the canal that provides water for San Francisco’s East Bay region. Rock Slough is the last of the Contra Costa Water District’s unscreened water intakes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The screen will also enable the District to increase usage of the Rock Slough intake, which will reduce greenhouse gases and energy consumption for pumping water.
The state-of-the-art project includes controls and transition structures necessary to reduce tidal influences and maintain flow rates, which will help the screen perform properly and allow fish to more easily pass the intake.
The Contra Costa Canal extends 48 miles from the Delta to Martinez Reservoir. The canal, constructed by Reclamation in 1948, is a major water supply and delivery system for the water district, which supplies 550,000 irrigation, municipal and industrial customers. Water is lifted about 130 feet by a series of four pumping plants also built by Reclamation.
The district was formed in 1936 to provide water for irrigation and industry. It is now one of the largest urban water districts in California.
Lake Berryessa Cleanup
|Contractor’s tractor demolishes old buildings at Lake Berryessa.|
Lake Berryessa, in the greater San Francisco Bay area, provides water and flood control to nearby cities in addition to recreational opportunities. During 2010, the Region nearly completed cleanup of about 1,500 trailers and environmental remediation at five former concession areas. The Region awarded concession contracts that will lead to construction of new facilities for public use, including picnic and camping areas, boat launches, marinas, cabins and restaurants. The Region began working on the project in 2000, with 50-year concession contracts scheduled to end in 2008 and 2009 without statutory authority for extension or renewal. The Region began planning through the National Environmental Protection Act to determine the future use of the lake and areas.
From 2000-2006, the Region conducted outreach with interested parties, including the public, concession contractors, and trailer owners. Requirements of the Record of Decision in 2006, included removing trailers and other structures. Cleanup, after concession contracts ended in 2008-2009, involved removing abandoned or unsafe trailers, vehicles, boats, trailer pads, ramps, decks, walkways, and hazardous materials. Workers began remediation of abandoned sewage ponds and sites contaminated by leaking underground storage tanks.
In 2010, the Region moved toward completion of the cleanup and environmental remediation. The work included Reclamation staff members, helped by 22 temporary employees, and eight separate contract awards funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As part of the Secretary of the Interior’s youth initiative, Reclamation has contracted with The Corps Network to complete cleanup during Fiscal Year 2011. Crews from the California Conservation Corps began work in October 2010.
Suisun Marsh Restoration
Reclamation, along with federal and state agency partners, has developed a draft environmental assessment of the impacts of a management, preservation, and restoration plan for Suisun Marsh. The marsh is the largest contiguous brackish wetland remaining in the western United States.
The marsh is located between the freshwater of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the saline waters of San Francisco Bay. It supports much of the state’s commercial salmon fishery by providing tidal rearing areas for juvenile fish. Levees in the marsh assist in protection of drinking water for millions of people by helping to prevent salt water intrusion into the Delta.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report developed by Reclamation and its partners assess a comprehensive 30-year plan to address use of resources within about 60,000 acres of the marsh. The focus of the plan is a mutually agreed upon multi-stakeholder approach to the restoration of tidal wetlands and the enhancement of managed wetlands. Once in place, the plan will help in the recovery of endangered species and increase tidal marsh habitat to benefit all.
Study Underway for 2012 Decision on Removal of Klamath River Basin Dams
|Copco 1 Dam, which is 115 feet in height, is another of the dams that may be removed from the Klamath River.|
In February 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced two agreements that call for a decision in 2012 assessing removal of four dams on the Klamath River.
Provisions of the two agreements, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, provide for several federal and state government agencies to scientifically assess whether removing the Klamath Hydroelectric Project dams would help restore fisheries and would be in the public interest. The assessment process includes ongoing consultation with state, local, and tribal governments, as well as other stakeholders.
The Secretarial Determination will be supported by two separate but interrelated tracks of study, including a set of scientific studies and data collection activities (scientific studies track); and preparation of environmental compliance documents which will evaluate potential environmental impacts of such an action pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act.
These reports and analyses will be used, along with existing data and reports, to create a Secretarial Determination Overview Report. The report will be a stand-alone technical document for the Secretary of the Interior to use in preparation of a Record of Decision.
In August 2010, the Department of the Interior announced preliminary results of reservoir bottom sediment sampling, one of the scientific studies. The results of the tests indicate human health is not at risk due to contact with the sediment and confirm the findings of previous reports regarding the low-level presence of chemicals in the sediment behind the dams. The department ordered additional analysis of the sediments behind the dams in order to fully assess any potential effects of releasing sediments downstream if the four dams are removed.
The federal and state team, responsible for the process of additional studies and an environmental review, held public scoping meetings in Siskiyou, Humboldt, and Klamath counties in July 2010, with follow-up outreach meetings in September and December 2010. The draft Secretarial Determination Overview Report is due in early September 2011, with more outreach meetings scheduled later in September and October 2011. Subjects to be covered include engineering, biology, water quality, economic issues, cultural/tribal concerns, and fish and wildlife studies.
Trinity River Restoration
|Contractors work on restoration of Trinity River.|
The Trinity River Basin Fish and Wildlife Management Act ordered Reclamation to restore the fish and wildlife populations in the Trinity River Basin that were affected by construction of the Trinity and Lewiston dams.
The program’s mission is to:
- Improve the capability of the Trinity River Hatchery to mitigate salmon and steelhead fishery losses above Lewiston Dam.
- Restore natural, in-stream spawning salmon and steelhead production in the main stream and tributaries below Lewiston Dam.
- Compensate for impacts to deer and other wildlife from flooding of habitat and reduced stream flow.
- Develop and implement land management activities to stabilize watersheds and reduce sediment in Trinity River tributaries.
In 2010, the Region awarded nearly $5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for channel rehabilitation projects at three sites: Lowden, Trinity House Gulch and Reading Creek.
|Hydrilla is a rapidly-spreading aquatic plant that has invaded the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.|
|Mussels are among the invasive species that are a cause of concern.|
Reclamation is monitoring invasive species in California waterways. Quagga and Zebra mussels are of concern because they can form colonies that block water intakes and affect native species, municipal water supply, irrigation, powerplant operations, and recreation.
Among other actions, Reclamation has released an Equipment Inspection and Cleaning Manual to help prevent the spread of invasive species in the Region and beyond through contaminated equipment use. The manual presents equipment inspection techniques, equipment cleaning methods, and information on some of the common invasive species such as Quagga and Zebra mussels, and hydrilla, a plant common in the Delta. These and other invasive species can be inadvertently introduced into new sites on contaminated equipment.
A copy of the manual is at www.usbr.gov/pps.
Water Reclamation and Reuse
|Workers pour concrete over a recycled-water distribution pipe under a street as part of a Palo Alto city project.|
|Workers use an excavator to install a recycled-water distribution pipe below a road at night to reduce effects on traffic.|
In 2010, the Region executed 14 financial assistance agreements totaling more than $73 million in federal cost-sharing funds for construction of 10 projects to reclaim and reuse wastewater, as well as naturally impaired ground and surface waters.
The agreements were authorized under the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act of 1992, also known as Title XVI. Projects are constructed and owned by non-federal sponsors, uniting local communities with the U.S. government to provide change, growth and a future for clean water and environmental stewardship in a broad range of areas.
|Loads of pipe to convey recycled water are hauled to sites by flat-bed trucks equipped with cranes.|
Primary goals are improved water-use efficiency, creation of additional water supply, making the supply more resistant to drought and reducing reliance on inter-basin water transfers. The reclaimed water may be used for a variety of purposes, including environmental restoration; fish and wildlife groundwater recharge; and certain municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation purposes.
Reclamation’s role includes providing advice on preparation of necessary reports and reviewing the reports to determine whether the project meets the criteria of Title XVI.
Of the more than $73 million total awarded in 2010, matched to varying extents by recipients, more than $26 million of the funding came from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. The 2010 projects include locations in the California cities of San Jose, Palo Alto and Redwood City; and in the California counties of Santa Clara and Sonoma.
December 9, 2011