Environmental Assessment For The Emergency Flood Control Operations Contract Delta Lands Reclamation District 770 Pump-In Project Available For Public Comment And Review

Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916-978-5100

For Release: August 22, 2003

Reclamation and Reclamation District 770 (RD 770) are making available for public comment and review the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed emergency flood control operations contract for Delta Lands RD 770 to pump-in high river flows into the Friant-Kern Canal. The proposed action is analyzed in a joint EA and Initial Study (EA/IS) to comply with both the National Environmental Policy Act and California Environmental Quality Act.

Under the proposed action, Reclamation and RD 770 would enter into a long-term operations contract for emergency flood control to use 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 the construction, maintenance, storage, and operations of structures and in-place pumping equipment on Federally owned lands. The proposed action is needed to reduce or avoid flood-related damages and losses in the Tulare Lake Basin and other downstream lands from flood flows originating in the Kings, Kaweah, and Tule Rivers.

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 3 to 4 years based on historical frequency. The proposed action would provide better planning and management of emergency diversions under the long-term contract and license.

For additional information or to obtain copies of the Draft EA, please contact Ms. Lynne Silva at Reclamation's Fresno office at 559-487-5807, TDD 559-487-5933. Copies of the Draft EA may be viewed at Reclamation's South-Central California Area Office, 1243 N Street, Fresno, CA 93721. Written comments must be received by close of business Tuesday, September 30, 2003. Send written comments to Ms. Silva at the above address, or via electronic mail at: lsilva@mp.usbr.gov.

# # #

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 www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.