Draft Environmental Documents Available for San Joaquin River Restoration Program Mendota Pool Gates Project

Media Contact: Pete Lucero, 916-978-5100

For Release: December 14, 2011

The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Draft Environmental Assessment and Proposed Finding of No Significant Impact (Draft EA/Proposed FONSI) for the replacement of water control gates at the Mendota Dam on the San Joaquin River near the town of Mendota. The Mendota Dam is owned and operated by the Central California Irrigation District (District) and is a main diversion point for agricultural water supplies. The document was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and describes the proposed project and the No-Action Alternative.

Of the six water control gates on the Mendota Dam, two are controlled electronically and four are controlled manually. The District is upgrading the four manually operated gates with electric operators and will remove and replace all six existing gates. The proposed action is to provide the District with six new gates.

The new gates will improve the function and reliability of gate operations. The new gates will increase water level control capabilities in the Mendota Pool with up to 1,300 cubic feet per second (cfs) flows below the dam through the new gates. Construction activities are proposed to be completed by January 2012. No disturbance to the river channel would be needed and all work will occur within the confines of the existing structure.

The proposed action also would improve flow control capabilities at Mendota Dam to allow for more accurate San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) flow releases downstream while increasing control of Mendota Pool water levels needed by other Reclamation water service contractors and other water diverters. The new gates would also increase safety for District staff by eliminating the need to make manual adjustments at the dam.

The Draft EA/Proposed FONSI is available on the SJRRP website at www.restoresjr.net or on Reclamation’s website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=8782. The Draft EA/Proposed FONSI is available for public review and comment until 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 28, 2011.

Please contact Michelle Banonis, Bureau of Reclamation, for questions or more information about the document at mbanonis@usbr.gov or 916-978-5457. To request a compact disc containing the document, please contact Margaret Gidding, Bureau of Reclamation, at 916-978-5461 or mgidding@usbr.gov.

To learn more about the SJRRP, please visit www.restoresjr.net.

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Relevant Link:

Reclamation Website - Draft EA/Proposed FONSI