Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Report

Published:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the proposed long-term operations of the State Water Project (SWP) (proposed project). The DEIR also may be used by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), as a responsible agency as defined by CEQA, in its discretionary approval process and consideration to issue an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the proposed long-term operations of the SWP. The DEIR describes the proposed project and evaluates the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed long-term operation of the SWP. The DEIR also analyzes four project alternatives in addition to the “no project” alternative. Pursuant to CEQA, the DEIR includes sufficient information about each alternative to allow meaningful evaluation, analysis, and comparison with the Proposed Project.

The DEIR was released for public review on November 21, 2019. The DEIR will be available for review at libraries and on the DWR project website, as listed in this notice. Comments on the DEIR will be received for a 45-day period, commencing on November 21, 2019 and ending at 5:00 p.m. on January 6, 2020, after which a final EIR will be prepared containing comments and responses to comments that, together with the DEIR, will form the final EIR.

PROJECT LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION

The proposed project location encompasses SWP water diversion, storage, and conveyance facilities and respective water service areas, consisting of the Sacramento River downstream of the Feather River confluence, the Delta and Suisun Marsh, and areas located south of the Delta that receive SWP water supplies. Under the proposed project, the SWP will continue to be operated to provide flood control and water supply for agricultural, municipal, industrial, recreational, and environmental purposes consistent with applicable legal requirements. SWP operations will also continue to be coordinated with the Central Valley Project (CVP), in accordance with the Coordinated Operation Agreement (COA), the 2018 COA Addendum and other operational requirements.

The proposed project incorporates new science, as well as information about the current status of listed species, to develop updates to the long-term SWP operations. The operational updates are designed to minimize adverse environmental effects particularly with respect to listed species and water quality, accounting for operational restrictions based on species as well as on environmental conditions such as salinity and turbidity.  The proposed operational updates include requirements that would be consistent with the California Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit covering Delta Smelt, winter-run Chinook Salmon, spring-run Chinook Salmon, and Longfin Smelt that may be issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

ANTICIPATED ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

The proposed project would not result in potentially significant impacts to the following: Aesthetics, Agriculture and Forestry Resources, Air Quality, Terrestrial Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Energy, Geology and Soils, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Land Use and Planning, Mineral Resources, Noise, Population and Housing, Public Services, Recreation, Transportation/Traffic, Tribal Cultural Resources, and Wildfire.

The DEIR evaluates potential project impacts to the following resources:

  • Hydrology: The proposed long-term SWP operations would alter existing surface water hydrology in the Delta and other waterways affected by SWP operations. Changes in surface water hydrology, by themselves, are not considered significant environmental impacts based on the CEQA Guidelines. However, changes to surface water hydrology may result in impacts to other secondary environmental resources evaluated in this DEIR.
  • Surface Water Quality: The potential of the proposed project to result in an exceedance of an applicable water quality standard or waste discharge requirement, or otherwise substantially degrade water quality would be less than significant.
  • Aquatic Biological Resources (Fisheries and Aquatic Resources): The impacts of proposed long-term operation of the SWP on fisheries and aquatic biological resources in the Delta and other waterway affected by SWP operations would be less than significant. These biological resources include Delta Smelt, winter-run Chinook Salmon, spring-run Chinook Salmon, and Longfin Smelt; and associated habitat, population abundance, and viability.
  • Tribal Cultural Resources: The proposed project would not impact identified Tribal Cultural Resources. A discussion of the Tribal consultation process is presented in the DEIR.

The DEIR evaluates the potential for the proposed long-term SWP operations to result in growth inducing effects and associated secondary environmental impacts. This DEIR also considers whether the proposed long-term SWP operations would result in a cumulatively considerable contribution to existing significant cumulative environmental effects when combined with other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects.

PUBLIC REVIEW PROCESS

The purpose of this Notice, consistent with Sections 15086 and 15087 of the State CEQA Guidelines, is to consult with and request comments from responsible agencies, organizations, and interested parties regarding the environmental analyses presented in the DEIR. The DEIR is being circulated for review and comment by appropriate agencies, as well as organizations and individuals who have requested notification. In accordance with Section 15205(d) of the State CEQA Guidelines, the Lead Agency has scheduled a 45-day public review period for the DEIR, ending on January 6, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Within that 45-day period, the Lead Agency will hold one public hearing to request comments on the DEIR, at the following time and place.

December 12, 2019

9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Ziggurat Building Auditorium

Department of General Services

707 Third Street

West Sacramento, California 95605

The DEIR is available for review at the DWR Division of Environmental Services office located at 3500 Industrial Boulevard, West Sacramento, CA 95691. Digital copies of the DEIR are available on the DWR website at: https://water.ca.gov/News/News-Releases/2019/November/Long-Term-Operations-of-State-Water-Project

The DEIR is available for review at the following public libraries:

 

Library Name Address City  State  ZIP Code
Beale Memorial Library 701 Truxtun Avenue Bakersfield CA 93301
Colusa County Library 738 Market Street Colusa CA 95932
 Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library 315 E. 14th Street Davis CA 95616
 El Centro Public Library, Community Center 375 South 1st Street El Centro CA 92243
 Fairfield Civic Center Library  1150 Kentucky Street Fairfield CA 94533
 Fremont Library 2400 Stevenson Boulevard Fremont CA 94538
 Alameda County Library 2450 Stevenson Boulevard Fremont CA 94538
 Hanford Branch Library 401 North Douty Street Hanford CA 93230
Los Angeles Public Library 630 West 5th Street  Los Angeles CA 90071
 Contra Costa Library, Martinez Branch 740 Court Street Martinez Martinez CA 94533
 Merced County Library, Merced Branch 2100 O Street Merced CA 95340
 Modesto Public Library 1500 I Street Modesto CA 95354
 Napa Main Library 580 Coombs Street Napa CA 94559
 Pleasant Hill Library 1750 Oak Park Boulevard Pleasant Hill CA 94523
 Quincy Public Library 445 Jackson Street Quincy CA 95971
 Red Bluff Library 645 Madison Street Red Bluff CA 96080
 Redding Library 1100 Parkview Avenue Redding CA 96001
 Riverside Public Library 3581 Mission Inn Avenue Riverside CA 92501
 Sacramento County Library 828 I Street Sacramento CA 95202
Norman F. Feldheym Central Library 555 West 6th Street San Bernardino  CA  92410
 San Diego Public Library, Central Library 820 E. Street San Diego CA 92101
 San Francisco Public Library 100 Larkin Street San Francisco  CA 94102
 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library 150 East San Fernando Street San Jose CA 95112
 East San Jose Carnegie Branch Library 1102 E. Santa Clara Street San Jose CA 95116
 San Luis Obispo Library 995 Palm Street San Luis Obispo CA 93401
 Marin County Library 3501 Civic Center Drive San Mateo CA 94402
 Central Library 40 East Anapamu Street Santa Barbara CA 93101
 Santa Clara City, Central Park Library 2635 Homestead Road Santa Clara CA 95051
 Sonoma County Central Library 211 East Street Santa Rosa CA 95404
 Cesar Chavez Central Library 605 N. El Dorado Street Stockton CA 95202
 E.P. Foster Library 651 East Main Street Ventura CA 93001
 Visalia Branch Library 200 West Oak Avenue Visalia CA 93291
 Willows Public Library 201 North Lassen Street Willows CA 95988
 Sutter County Library, Main Branch 750 Forbes Avenue Yuba City CA 95991

Source documents and information incorporated by reference in the DEIR can be obtained by requesting them through the project email at LTO@water.gov.

Written comments on the DEIR may be submitted to:

You Chen (Tim) Chao, PhD, PE, CFM

Executive Division

California Department of Water Resources

PO Box 942836

Sacramento, CA, 94236-0001

Please include a return address and contact name with your written comments. Comments can also be sent via email with subject line “LTO of SWP Project" to: LTO@water.ca.gov.