The Mid-Pacific Region
Water supply and management present serious challenges for the water and power contractors, and other stakeholders, in the Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region. Much of the water supply in California and the bordering areas of Oregon and Nevada is no longer reliable. Some water systems are environmentally unsustainable. Long-term solutions are essential to the health of the state and local economies and the environmental well-being of associated natural resources. Reclamation is committed to working with our partners on long-term water supply improvements and environmental restoration in the Region.
During Fiscal Year 2011 (October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011), the Region continued to implement strategies to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness to deal with diverse and complex issues in a world of both changing climate and public values. The improvements were coupled with the focus on priorities of protecting human health and safety; and developing and maintaining relationships essential to accomplishing the Region’s mission. Regional Director Don Glaser led the Regional Management Team’s efforts at improving workload management and acquisition efforts, as well as to prepare for future needs.
The Region’s newly created Program Coordination Office prioritized programs across the Region, and the newly formed Bay-Delta Office addressed issues involving the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Delta is a central focus in water supply reliability and environmental restoration for the Central Valley Project and California’s State Water Project.
Through improved organizational efficiency and effectiveness, the Region successfully obligated the FY 2011 program of $325 million. Funding was designated for maintaining water supplies; repairing water and power infrastructure; addressing environmental needs associated with project operations; and improving water efficiency, reuse and recycling.
Advances in projects and ongoing programs in FY 2011 and early FY 2012 are highlighted in this report.
Regional Director’s Report on 2011: A Year of Accomplishments
|Regional Director Donald Glaser|
The Mid-Pacific Region achieved milestones on essential projects and programs while accelerating progress toward important goals and objectives during a pivotal time in a dynamic region. Employing strategies such as proactive problem solving, innovative processes and teamwork through new partnerships, the Region demonstrated dedication to its responsibilities and commitment to short-term and long-term water supply reliability and environmental restoration.
During Fiscal Year 2011, the Region continued to address significant water challenges on multiple fronts. We have advanced major projects, funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), including the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project, the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project, and the Delta-Mendota Canal and California Aqueduct Intertie Project.
Through the WaterSMART program, the Region contributed millions of dollars to dozens of local water-saving projects, including water recycling and reuse efforts. We have strengthened reliability and sustainability in water management by concentrating our work on a number of river restoration activities.
In addition, through river restoration projects such as those on the San Joaquin and Trinity rivers, the Region also assumed a major role in the Secretary of the Interior’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative.
The Region’s numerous 2011 accomplishments include taking steps to address climate change, advancing the restoration and mitigation goals of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) and Interim Federal Action Plan (IFAP) for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Bay-Delta) with projects such as installation of new fish screens over intakes for water districts, and partnering to increase water storage through the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project and Madera Ranch groundwater banking project.
2011: A Wet Year
In an above-average precipitation year, the Region worked to optimize use of water available in its 11 projects, including California’s Central Valley Project..
Precipitation at eight key stations in Northern California was about 145 percent of the historic seasonal average. For the Friant Division, in the San Joaquin Valley, the precipitation total for the Huntington Lake station was 151 percent of the historic seasonal average.
The improved hydrology and opportunities to exercise CVP operational flexibility influenced water supply availability, allowing a 100 percent allocation for all CVP water contractors, except for the South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors (80 percent) and Friant Division Class 2 contractors (20 percent). (See page 16 for more information.)
Going into the current 2012 Water Year, WY 2011 carryover CVP storage was 9.3 million acre-feet, the third highest carryover storage on record, with six key reservoirs at 78 percent of capacity--20 percentage points above the 15-year carryover average of 58 percent and significantly higher than the WY 2010 carryover.
Infrastructure Projects for Varying Needs
The Region’s achievements in managing and improving water resources for agriculture, for municipal and industrial use, and for fish and wildlife included completion of projects in the Bay-Delta -- the hub of the CVP and California’s water supply system. The Region and its partners completed two fish screen intake projects and participated in a ceremony to begin construction of a groundwater bank. Reclamation provided funds for the projects, which advanced priorities identified in the IFAP and the CVPIA. The fish screens were installed at intakes for the Contra Costa Water District in the Delta and the Patterson Irrigation District, south of the Delta in the San Joaquin Valley. The Madera Irrigation District’s groundwater bank is also in the San Joaquin Valley.
Reclamation continued working toward completion of a project that links two major federal and state canals in the Central Valley to improve operational flexibility and more efficiently deliver water south of the Delta.
Reclamation provided nearly $16 million in ARRA funds, which combined with other funding sources, made it possible to break ground in October 2010 for the $28 million project to construct an intertie between the federal Delta-Mendota Canal (DMC)and the state California Aqueduct. The project, located in Alameda County, west of Tracy, will potentially increase average annual deliveries to the CVP by as much as 35,000 acre-feet by addressing conveyance conditions in the DMC that restrict use of the nearby C. W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant to less than its design capacity.
The Region advanced two major fish passage projects, including the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project in northern California, a $190 million pumping plant project that includes about $115.5 million in funds from ARRA. The pumping plant, screened to protect fish, will convey water from the Sacramento River to the Tehama-Colusa and Corning canals. The pumping plant replaces the existing Red Bluff Diversion Dam that creates a barrier to migrating fish, some of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act. The diversion dam gates will be placed in the open position for unimpeded migration of fish. The new pumping plant will ensure continued water deliveries to farmlands.
Reclamation advanced another major fish passage project, the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project in Northern California near Manton. The project is among the largest cold-water anadromous fish restoration efforts in North America. Facility improvements, and habitat restoration and enhancement will enable safe passage, growth and recovery for threatened and endangered Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead. Restoration along 48 miles of Battle Creek and its tributaries, which is on schedule for completion in 2014, includes removal of five hydropower diversion dams and construction of fish screens and ladders on three hydropower diversion dams.
Construction continued on an intertie between two major canals in California’s Central Valley
WaterSMART Programs/Addressing Climate Change
Reclamation plays a key role in the WaterSMART Program as the Department of the Interior’s main water management agency. Focused on improving water conservation and helping water and resource managers make wise decisions about water use, Reclamation’s portion of the WaterSMART program is achieved through administration of grants, scientific studies, technical assistance and scientific expertise.
In 2011, the Region awarded 36 water conservation and efficiency grants through WaterSMART and other programs that totaled more than $13 million. Including local cost-share contributions, more than $205 million in water management improvement projects will be implemented in the next 24 months. The projects will result in conservation or better management of an estimated 236,500 acre-feet annually.
The Region also entered into 16 new financial assistance agreements to provide more than $5.5 million in federal cost-sharing funds for the planning of projects to reclaim and reuse wastewater. The local sponsors will provide at least 50 percent of the funding. The Region modified two existing agreements to provide about $2.3 million for the construction of three water reuse projects. The sponsors will provide at least 75 percent of construction costs. Of the more than $7.8 million total awarded by the Region in 2011, nearly $4 million came from the WaterSMART Program.
A new program to address the effects of climate change intersects with the WaterSMART program, enabling grants for studies that will benefit the Region’s climate change assessment and adaptation strategy planning capabilities. Studies also are underway to analyze options for meeting future demands within three areas of the Region: the Truckee, Klamath and Sacramento-San Joaquin Basins.
The Region and its partners advanced the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, a comprehensive, long-term effort in central California to restore more than 150 miles of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam to create a self-sustaining Chinook salmon fishery in the river while reducing or avoiding adverse water supply impacts from restoration flows. A second year of interim flows concluded in September 2011. Interim flow releases first began in October 2009 and the river was reconnected to the Delta in March 2010, a stretch of roughly 330 miles -- an event that had not occurred in more than 60 years without flood flow releases.
Other restoration efforts included making advancements in comprehensive, long-term projects such as the Trinity River Restoration Program in Northern California and the Habitat Management, Preservation and Restoration Plan for the Suisun Marsh near the San Francisco Bay.
Construction advanced on a major fish passage improvement project near Red Bluff
Central Valley Project Improvement Act Program
The Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992 amended previous authorizations of the CVP to include fish and wildlife protection, restoration, and mitigation as project purposes having equal priority with irrigation and domestic uses; and fish and wildlife enhancement.
From 1993 through 2011, Reclamation and its partners have completed numerous major projects. Currently, the Region’s response to the CVPIA is comprised of 23 programs that fall into broad categories that include fisheries, wildlife refuges and wildlife habitat restoration. During 2011, numerous actions across the Region assisted the natural production of anadromous fish on a sustainable basis, including placement of thousands of tons of gravel in rivers across the Region; significant allocations of water to wildlife refuges; and protection of thousands of acres of wildland habitat through conservation easements.
Safety of Dams Program/Joint Federal Project
Reclamation’s major Safety of Dams efforts continue to be focused on modifications to Folsom Dam in our Region. In 2011, the Region and its partners, including the Army Corps of Engineers, announced the completion of the second phase of the Joint Federal Project. The JFP is the cornerstone for more than $1 billion in dam safety and flood damage reduction improvements to further protect more than a million residents in communities downstream from Folsom Dam, which is on the American River, about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, California.
America’s Great Outdoors
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor visited two of the events that were among the many held by the Region and its partners to advance the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. Secretary Salazar participated in an AGO event in Fresno, California, which focused on restoration efforts along the San Joaquin River. Commissioner Connor visited a major AGO exhibit at the California State Fair in Sacramento, California.
The Future: Dedication and Dedications
Looking to the rest of 2012 and beyond, the Region remains dedicated to working toward completion of other important projects and objectives as it strives to proactively meet the varying challenges of this critical era for water management.
With the momentum of 2011 continuing into 2012, the Region is expecting to dedicate three major projects. Reclamation and its partners are scheduled to hold completion ceremonies for the Delta-Mendota Canal/California Aqueduct Intertie Project, the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project, and the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project, which increases water storage by enlarging a water district’s reservoir that is used to supply municipal and industrial water to part of the San Francisco Bay Area.
January 28, 2013