Reclamation Makes Draft Environmental Assessment Available For Emergency Flood Control Operations Contract For Delta Lands Reclamation District 770 Pump-In Project

Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916-978-5100

For Release: March 22, 2004

Reclamation is making available a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposed emergency flood control operations contract for Delta Lands Reclamation District 770 (RD 770) to pump high-river flows into the Friant-Kern Canal. The EA on the proposed action is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Under the proposed action, Reclamation and RD 770, located in Kings County, would enter into a long-term operations contract for emergency flood control to use otherwise excess capacity in the Friant-Kern Canal to accept floodwaters from the Kings, Kaweah, and Tule rivers to protect downstream agricultural lands. Reclamation and RD 770 would also enter into a long-term license agreement for erection, maintenance, storage, and operations of structures and in-place pumping equipment on Federally owned lands.

Up to 300,000 acre-feet of floodwaters may be collectively diverted from these rivers within a single water year. RD 770 has pumped varying amounts of floodwater on eight occasions under separate Warren Act Contracts. Future diversions would likely occur, on average, every three to four years based on historical frequency. The long-term contract and license would provide better planning and management of emergency diversions.

The floodwater would only be accepted when coordinated with Friant Division operations and the Friant Water Users Authority, when it meets the applicable water quality standards and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's flood control criteria, and in coordination with Kings, Kaweah and Tule River water users. The disposal of this floodwater may occur under various alternatives. The EA examines the impacts to resources under each of the alternatives for disposing the diverted floodwaters.

Comments on the Draft EA are due April 23, 2004. Comments may be faxed to Lynne Silva at 559-487-5397, or mailed to Ms. Silva at: Bureau of Reclamation, South-Central California Area Office, 1243 N Street, Fresno, CA 93721. For additional information or to obtain copies of the Draft EA, please contact Ms. Silva at 559-487-5807 (TDD 559-487-5933). Copies of the draft EA may also be viewed at Reclamation's Fresno office.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.