News Release Archive

San Joaquin River Restoration Program to Design Seepage Projects with Contractor CDM Smith

Media Contact: Erin Curtis, 916-978-5100, 10/01/2014 17:33

For Release: October 01, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a contract to CDM Smith for seepage project design for $2,539,322 with one option year as part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. The Bureau of Reclamation also awarded a cooperative agreement with the Central California Irrigation District for seepage project construction for $6,258,150.

Resolving seepage challenges through this agreement is needed to reestablish and reconnect flows in the San Joaquin River from Friant Dam to the Merced River confluence. At the same time, seepage projects protect landowners from root zone salinity and waterlogging impacts to their crops as a result of higher groundwater levels.

The contract will provide for CDM Smith to design and do environmental compliance for seepage projects, as well as update the Seepage Management Plan, Seepage Project Handbook, conduct groundwater monitoring, soil salinity tests, hydraulic conductivity tests, and install staff gages. Reclamation will then work with the Central California Irrigation District through the cooperative agreement to construct, operate and maintain seepage projects.

Seepage projects include interceptor lines, drainage ditches, slurry walls, shallow groundwater pumping, seepage berms, and land-releveling in support of seepage management under the Restoration Program.

“These two agreements are a big step forward in Reclamation upholding its commitments to the parties to the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement and to the landowners adjacent to the San Joaquin River,” said David Murillo, Mid-Pacific Region Regional Director. “We are excited to be moving forward with construction actions to address seepage.”

The Restoration Program seeks to increase releases from Friant Dam to support a self-sustaining population of Chinook salmon and other fish in the San Joaquin River. The Record of Decision supporting the release of Restoration Program flows from Friant Dam limits the release of flows to levels that will not cause material adverse impacts to adjacent lands due to groundwater seepage. The current channel cannot support the required releases. Seepage projects address the groundwater seepage impacts and allow for the conveyance of the flows necessary to achieve the Program’s Restoration Goal.

To address groundwater seepage, the Restoration Program has committed in the Seepage Management Plan to hold flows low until seepage projects are implemented. Flows are limited based on groundwater level thresholds set in a network of over 200 groundwater wells, of which half are monitored weekly. Reclamation has been working on seepage project implementation for the past several years.

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Relevant Link:

Restoration Program

Funding Opportunity R14AN20022