Front Page News:

LAO Report on the November $8.9 Billion Ballot Initiative to Fund Water Projects

From the Appeal Democrat – The Legislative Analyst’s Office prepared this handout for the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife and Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation on the November ballot initiative. The initiative authorizes the state to sell $8.9 billion in new general obligation bonds to fund projects for water supply and quality, watershed, fish, wildlife, water conveyance, and groundwater sustainability and storage. Click here to read the handout.

$50M From Federal Government On Tap For Key Levee Work

From the Appeal Democrat – A 5-mile stretch of levee in south Sutter County has been on the radar of local levee experts for a few years due to the amount of flood fighting required during high-water events – the latest occurring in 2017. Officials have tried to obtain federal funding for the project but to no avail, until recently. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its 2018 work plan that highlights new construction projects set to receive federal funding. Levee work in the Sutter Basin was included in the plan and is designated to receive roughly $50 million from the federal government – the rest of the cost will be shared between the state and the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency. (more)

DWR Releases Draft Guidelines For Prop 1 Grants For Multi-Benefit Flood Reduction Projects

From – Last week the Department of Water Resources released the draft guidelines for the Prop 1 grant program to fund multi-benefit flood risk reduction projects that (1) address flood risk for urban communities, small communities and/or rural areas; and (2) enhance ecosystems by improving fish and wildlife habitat and water quality downstream. Projects must be in the Central Valley and within or adjacent to the Systemwide Planning Area (PDF). Projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta) are excluded. (more)

Helpful Clarification: Unpacking California’s New Water Efficiency Legislation: What Does It Mean for Urban Water Suppliers?

From Water Alliance Now – Last week Governor Brown signed two companion bills to put California on the path to greater water use efficiency in light of climate change and the reality that water utilities are facing a “new normal.” These bills – SB 606 (Hertzberg) and AB 1668 (Friedman) – grew out of the Governor’s 2016 Executive Order about Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life, and a yearlong stakeholder process that resulted in an implementing Framework for the Executive Order in April 2017. Although much of the Framework structure was retained, the plan shifted and evolved during the legislative debate. (more)

Framework Guides San Joaquin River Restoration Program Into Next Decade

From – The San Joaquin River Restoration Program, a multi-agency effort to restore Chinook salmon to 150 miles of river, this month completed a critical guiding document that prioritizes program actions and funding through at least 2024. The document – called the Funding Constrained Framework – outlines an ambitious, multiyear, staged plan to reconnect the San Joaquin River and provide volitional fish passage between Friant Dam and the confluence of the Merced River. The framework is a collaborative effort involving the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friant Water Authority, South Valley Water Association, the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, and other third parties. (more)

Water Commission Releases Next Round of Scores for Water Storage Projects

From Picture courtesy of Jennifer Bale. The scores released today will be combined with public benefit scores, which build on public benefit ratios  determined earlier this month, to create a final score on each project’s overall expected return on investment. The Commission will then use this final score to conditionally award nearly $2.7 billion in funding to help expand the state’s water storage capacity. The eight projects under consideration collectively would add 4.3 million acre-feet of water storage capacity to California via diverse projects scattered throughout the state. (more) 

CVFPB Staff and Board Members attend Groundbreaking of the Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project

Fremont Weir Groundbreaking Marks Milestone for Yolo Bypass

From Daily Democrat – A groundbreaking to provide habitat improvement on the Yolo Bypass is scheduled for Wednesday at the Fremont Weir. The California Department of Water Resources, California Natural Resources Agency, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will celebrate the creation of a critical habitat improvement project in the Bypass. The Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project restores an important migration corridor for native fish species and fulfills requirements set forth in the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion, according to Niki Woodard, of the Department of Water Resources. (more)

Committee Unanimously Approves Water Resources Development Act

From American Journal of Transportation – The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today unanimously approved the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018, legislation that provides for improvements to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure. Today’s approval marks the third Water Resources Development Act approved by the Committee under Chairman Shuster’s leadership, and follows the transparent process established under the 2014 bill (the Water Resources Reform and Development Act) that has led to a return to regular order and biennial consideration of this critical legislation. WRDA 2018 (H.R. 8) authorizes proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works activities and provides reforms to the Corps. (more)

Innovative Water Storage Projects Aid Wildlife, Salmon And Fishing Jobs

From Water Deeply – Environmental and fisheries groups have often opposed water storage projects. But two proposed projects in California have earned their backing, and Rachel Zwillinger of Defenders of Wildlife and John McManus of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, explain why.

As a result of California’s highly variable climate, the practice of storing water predates statehood. And for more than a century, storage projects in California have generated heated controversy. A century ago, John Muir led a famous and unsuccessful effort to stop the damming of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley. Since then, the story of water storage in California has often been one of conflict – including landmark fights over the Auburn and New Melones dams. (more)