Draft Battle Creek Salmon And Steelhead Restoration Project Environmental Document Available For Public Review And Comment Public Meeting And Hearing Scheduled

Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916-978-5100

For Release: August 05, 2003

Reclamation, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have made available for public review and comment the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project (Restoration Project). Reclamation is the lead Federal agency for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FERC is a cooperating Federal agency, and the SWRCB is the lead State agency for the California Environmental Quality Act.

A public workshop will be held to discuss the purpose and content and answer questions on the Draft EIS/EIR. The public workshop will be held on Tuesday, August 12, 2003, at 6 p.m., at the Manton Joint Union Elementary School, 31345 Forward Road, Manton, California.

A public hearing will be held to receive comments on the content of the Draft EIS/EIR. The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, August 27, 2003, at 6 p.m. at the Manton Grange, 31557 Forward Road, Manton, California. Please note that this public hearing is separate from and not associated with any SWRCB hearings.

The proposed CALFED-supported Restoration Project would restore approximately 42 miles of habitat in Battle Creek, a tributary to the Sacramento River, and an additional 6 miles of habitat in its tributaries, while minimizing the loss of renewable energy produced by the Battle Creek Hydroelectric Project (Hydroelectric Project), owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Habitat restoration would enable safe passage for naturally produced salmonids and would facilitate their growth and recovery. These salmonids include the Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, State and federally listed as threatened; the Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, State and federally listed as endangered; and the Central Valley steelhead, federally listed as threatened. The Restoration Project would be accomplished through the modification of PG&E's Hydroelectric Project facilities and operations, including instream flow releases. PG&E is required to file an application with FERC for an amendment to PG&E's existing license to operate the hydropower facilities on Battle Creek that would be affected by implementation of the proposed Restoration Project. PG&E has made available for public review and comment the Draft License Amendment Application. FERC intends to adopt the EIS to fulfill its NEPA requirements as part of its review of PG&E's amendment application.

The Draft EIS/EIR addresses the impacts of project construction and operation on fisheries; botanical, wetland and wildlife resources; hydrology; power generation and economics; water quality; ground water; land use; socioeconomics; geology and soils; aesthetics and visual resources; transportation; noise; air quality; public health and safety; public services and utilities; recreation; cultural resources; environmental justice; and Indian trust assets.

To request a copy of the Draft EIS/EIR or Draft License Amendment Application, please contact Ms. Sammie Cervantes at 916-978-5104, TDD 916-978-5608, or via e-mail at scervantes@mp.usbr.gov. Written comments on the Draft EIS/EIR must be received by close of business Tuesday, September 16, 2003. Send written comments to: Ms. Mary Marshall, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento CA 95825, or Mr. Jim Canaday, State Water Resources Control Board, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

For additional information, contact Ms. Marshall at 916-978-5248, TDD 916-978-5608, via e-mail at mmarshall@mp.usbr.gov, and Mr. Canaday at 916-341-5308, or via e-mail at jcanaday@waterrights.swrcb.ca.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.