Archive for the 'Boating' Category

Delta Dams Meetings – UPDATED

UPDATED 4:21 PM 2/5/2015 – The DWR rep will not attend tonight’s (2/5) meeting in Clarksburg. The group is still going to talk about the barriers, but no one from the DWR will be attending

This week’s meeting of “North Delta Cares” in Clarksburg, near Sacramento, will be a discussion of the delta dams (drought barriers).

February 5th, 6 PM

Meetings held at:
Husick’s Restaurant and Taphouse
36510 Riverview Dr, Clarksburg, CA 95612

(Feel Free to Order food and beverage during discussions)
Delicious BBQ-Beer-Wine
Husicks

NEXT WEEK FEBRUARY 12, “North Delta Cares” in Clarksburg, near Sacramento, is with Mr. Paul Marshall, Chief, DWR Bay-Delta Office to talk about these proposed barriers (dams) in the Delta. Let me know if you attend and I’ll distribute your report/minutes to our members.

WHAT: Informational meeting about preparations for emergency drought barriers in Delta channels. DWR staff will give an overview of the proposal, followed by a question-and-answer period.

WHERE: Clarksburg Community Church, 52910 Netherlands Avenue, Clarksburg, CA 95612

WHEN: Thursday, February 12, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Dams in the Delta! Send in your comments!

A call for comments! The DWR is trying to get approval to install rock dams in three areas without proper review or process (reminiscent of the 2-Gates Project). The end of the comment period is February 25, 2015. So please send in comments now.

Send comments via E-Mail to: DWREDBCOMMENTS@water.ca.gov
Fax: (916) 653-6077
Snail Mail: Jacob McQuirk, Supervising Engineer, Bay-Delta Office
California Department of Water Resources
PO Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236

First, the issue. Next are some suggested comments.

THE ISSUE: The DWR is trying to get approval to install dams whenever they want over the next 10 years in three locations: West of Franks Tract, Sutter Slough and Steamboat Slough. The dam in False River next to Franks Tract will block the primary route for boats traveling between Discovery Bay/Bethel Island and Benicia, Petaluma and San Francisco. The dams in Sutter and Steamboat Sloughs will affect boating between Sacramento and San Francisco.

Unlike the 2-Gates, these aren’t opening gates but rock dams.

The dams could have some benefits – but without an environmental review it’s unclear if the benefits outweigh the negative impacts.

Of concern, this could set the precedent for dams wherever they want – even to re-start the 2-Gates proposal in Old River and Connection Slough which would block boats in and out of Discovery Bay and between Bethel Island and Discovery Bay.

The end goal, of course, is if they don’t get the Delta Tunnels approved, to “wall off” Middle River to form a direct channel from Sacramento to the Clifton Court Forebay to ensure lots of clean water for the farmers. The result would be the entire west side of the Delta would be a brackish mess. Goodbye salmon.

They claim they do not need to go through a formal EIR/EIS process. They are trying to rush approval through for these rock barriers without proper process. The DWR admits these rock dams will be detrimental to boating. They do not state if there’s issues with migrating fish yet we know from the 2-Gates fiasco that their planned gates there would have more likely killed fish than “protected” them as advertised.

Their goal is to block salinity from coming into the Delta so that they can continue to pump more water out than the Legislature approved. They need more water because they keep expanding profitable almond orchards in the Central Valley desert. Did you notice that we are seeing more produce (beans, asparagus, etc.) from Mexico and Costa Rica lately? Because the Central Valley is rapidly converting produce crops to the more profitable almonds. The need for almonds is rapidly growing in Asia.

Suggested Comments (re-write in your own words):

  • MOST IMPORTANT COMMENT: I oppose installing any dams in the Delta without a complete environmental review. The DWR admits these dams will be detrimental to boating. An environmental review is needed to determine what the effect on migrating fish, impacts to the levees, boating and other environmental and economic problems.
  • What will dams mean economically to communities reliant on boating and what will that cost for added fuel costs and other impacts?
  • What will be the effect on migrating fish? The Head of Old River dam has been documented to trap smelt behind the dam for predators to easily kill. The 2-Gates Fish Protection Project (another set of dams/gates proposed for salinity control) were withdrawn due to the likely negative effect on fish. These new dams need a complete environmental analysis before approval.
  • Will the rock be completely removed once the dams are removed or will there be wing dams and if so, what will that do to the water flow and how will that impact the safety of boating in the area?
  • These dams are to stop salt water; however, the direction on operating the pumps is supposed to maintain the X-2 line (salinity line) west of Pittsburg. How will Antioch’s water supply and western farms be affected if salt water is allowed to intrude nearly to Franks Tract and as far North as Steamboat and Sutter Sloughs?
  • Why were LA’s reservoirs and the Kern Water Bank “topped off” in 2013 during the 2nd year of a drought allowing the Northern California reservoirs to be at too low a level to support adhering to the legislative-directed salinity controls in the Delta?
  • How will these dams help maintain urban users’ fresh water supply during 2015? The LA reservoirs were topped off in 2013 and the LA mayor has said that LA has enough water until 2016. Isn’t this really to continue to provide expanded water to the Central Valley farmers for almonds?

Related Information:

  1. These dams could become permanent. They definitely will be full-time over the summer since they are rock dams, not like the 2-Gates proposed opening gates.
  2. The dams are not planned to be fully removed. The wing dams on the side will remain. What will that do to the water flow during high tides? Will it be safe to boat through?
  3. There is a massive hyacinth/egeria densa problem in the Delta that is caused by low water flows. Frank’s Tract could become a meadow if the water flow is tampered with. Marinas are already having to spend millions of dollars of their own money to control invasive plants. If there are dams on Steamboat and Sutter Sloughs, the hyacinth problem there will be horrendous as there will be little or no water flow.
  4. Barriers are part of an overall backup plan (if the BDCP fails) to “wall in” the delta and create a pipeline from Sacramento to the Forebay to export water south. These dams are 3 of a dozen or so that were seen on the BDCP maps in 2009 as part of the “through-the-Delta” peripheral canal plan.

The proposed False River dam is already further upriver than the agreed-to X-2 Salinity line. Letting salt water that far upriver will impact the City of Antioch’s drinking water and west-side farms. This is not a good plan.

There is an alternative – slow down exports during this time of drought. These dams support ongoing exports even during the drought. The need is as much a result of mismanagement of the water system in California as anything. In 2013 the USBR and DWR approved releases of water from Northern California dams to completely fill LA reservoirs and the privately-held Kern Water Bank. That was totally irresponsible and now Northern California’s water crisis is worse than it would be if the system had been well-managed. The dams are not as much for drinking water protection but rather to increase the amount of exports allowed for Central Valley corporate farmers; mainly for almonds to ship to Asia.

Dams are not the answer. At least not without a complete EIR/EIS to study the effects on Northern California fish, boating and western farms.

These are the same rock dams we asked people to comment about last April but end of 2014 the DWR withdrew the request siting sufficient water flow for 2014.

This year the DWR is trying to streamline approval to have the dams installed whenever they decide.

Documents are available online at http://www.water.ca.gov/waterconditions/emergencybarriers.cfm

Invasive Weed Meeting Tuesday July 8 6:30 PM

*** REMINDER *** Delta Weed Meeting Tomorrow, Tuesday July 8, 6:30 PM in the DB Elementary School Gymnasium.

I’ve heard of bays where boaters can’t get out, families can’t use their back yard waterways for swimming and fun plus sales are being impacted. This problem isn’t limited to Discovery Bay – our Bethel Island neighbors and marinas throughout the Delta are struggling. Yet the Division of Boating and Waterways recently announced they weren’t going to spray this year.

Assemblymember Jim Frazier is bringing the Division of Boating & Waterways reps to talk to us about their invasive aquatic weed abatement plans (or lack thereof). In addition biologists will be on hand to discuss the invasive species and methods of management.

It looks to be an important and informative meeting plus hopefully enough people will attend to demonstrate that there really is a problem this year.

Comments Due on the 3 Dams by April 16

Plans are moving forward to approve putting rock dams in three sloughs: False River (just west of Franks Tract and the typical navigation route for boats traveling from the South Delta to San Francisco), Sutter Slough and Steamboat Slough (in the North Delta). These would impact boating and navigation. Worse, they are being proposed by the water contractors to enable them to continue to over-export water south.

Opinions about the dams vary. There is a chance the False River one could actually help water quality in the South Delta. However, there are more that have negative opinions:

  1. They could (to me, it seems likely) become permanent. They definitely will be full-time over this summer since they are rock dams, not like the previously proposed opening gates.
  2. They are not planned to be fully removed. The wing dams on the side will remain. What will that do to the water flow during high tides? Will it be safe to boat through?
  3. There is a massive hyacinth/egeria densa problem in the Delta that is caused by low water flows. Frank’s Tract could become a meadow if the water flow is tampered with. Marinas are already having to spend millions of dollars of their own money to control invasive plants. If there are dams on Steamboat and Sutter Sloughs, the hyacinth problem there will be horrendous as there will be little or no water flow.
  4. This will have a negative effect on boating all over the area. False River is a well used navigable waterway as are Steamboat and Sutter Sloughs. The boating and marina industry is already suffering in the Delta along with restaurants and resorts.
  5. I worry that the barriers are part of the overall plan to “wall in” the delta and create a pipeline from Sacramento to the Forebay to export water south. These dams are 3 of a dozen or so that were seen on the BDCP maps in 2009 as part of the “through-the-Delta” peripheral canal plan.

UPDATED April 14, 2014: There’s a different email address than the one sent out previously:

SUBMITTING COMMENTS: Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2014-00187 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before April 16, 2014.

Bill Guthrie, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814-2922
Email: William.H.Guthrie@usace.army.mil

The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal’s probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact the applicant or the Corps’ project manager Bill Guthrie, 916-557-5269, William.H.Guthrie@usace.army.mil.

(Old information below)

If you have concerns about these dams, send your comments in to Zachary.M.Simmons@usace.army.mil, or by telephone at 916-557-6746.

The original Army Corps of Engineers notice is provided below.

——– Original message ——–
From: “Imamura, Eileen R SPK”
Date:04/01/2014 3:07 PM (GMT-08:00)
To: “Simmons, Zachary M SPK”
Subject: Public Notice SPK-2014-00187 – Emergency Drought Barriers project (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has posted Public Notice SPK-2014-00187 to http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices.aspx

The California Department of Water Resources has applied for a permit to place dredged or fill material in approximately 3.89 acres (0.75 acre permanent and 3.15 acres temporary) of waters of the United States to construct three temporary salinity barriers. Proposed barriers would be located in Sutter Slough, approximately 1.25 miles downstream of the Sacramento River, Steamboat Slough, approximately 0.95 miles downstream of the Sacramento River, and False River, approximately 0.4 miles east of the San Joaquin River.

Written comments and/or a request for a paper copy of the notice may be submitted to project manager Zachary Simmons, by mail at 1325 J Street, Room 1350, Sacramento, California 95814-2922, by email at Zachary.M.Simmons@usace.army.mil, or by telephone at 916-557-6746.

Comments must be received by April 16, 2014.volunteers@nodeltagates.com?subject=I want to get on the bus!
&body=I want to go to Sacramento July 17th! My Name: Address: Phone#:” =”

Eileen Imamura
Administrative Officer, Regulatory Division
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350, Sacramento, CA 95814-2922
916-557-5262 FAX: 916-557-7803
Eileen.R.Imamura@usace.army.mil

Let us know how we’re doing. Please complete the survey at: http://corpsmapu.usace.army.mil/cm_apex/f?p=regulatory_survey

Information on the Regulatory Program.
http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory.aspx

Regulatory Public Notices: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices.aspx

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE


The Dept of Water Resources is meeting with Reclamation District 799 to get a permit to install “temporary barriers” in the False River due to the drought. Apparently this is just a prelude to installing barriers in Three Mile Slough and Fisherman’’s Cut. It appears the drought is being used as an excuse to put in barriers that will be needed for the Twin Tunnels in the future.

Anyone interested in attending the meeting it is on Tuesday, March 18th at 10 AM at the Reclamation District Office 6325 Bethel Island Rd., Bethel Island, CA.

Please notify everyone you know that opposes our navigable waterways being blocked.

Read more in the Sacramento Bee today.

Getting the word out

We asked for more media involvement and Linda Yee, KPIX Channel 5 News picked up the gauntlet, producing a two-part series that aired Friday November 15th. The first covered Delta farmer (Hemley Farms), boaters (McCleery’s on the Delta), businessmen (Bill Pease at his marina) and community concerns in the video taken at the second BDCP In-Delta meeting at the Brentwood Library (including John and Diana Senter and Bob Ackerly).

The second piece features Bobby Brown, bass fisherman, and Linda Yee does a good job exposing Paramount Farms’ role including the Resnicks and their primary ownership of the Kern Water Bank.


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