News

April 8, 2019

EcoRestore: Restoring California’s Great Estuary Video Released

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An aerial view of the Delta. DWR/2019

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the largest estuary on the West Coast. It’s a maze of floodplains, rich farmlands, and leveed waterways that helps provide freshwater to 27 million Californians. For centuries, the Delta was a dynamic and rich ecosystem of tidal wetlands, riparian forests, and vast seasonal floodplains.

But about 98 percent of the native habitat disappeared after the Gold Rush and a population boom across the Golden State. The spike in human development contributed to a decline in native fish, wildlife, and plants. The State of California recognizes the critical need to restore the Delta’s natural habitat and protect water for fish and human uses. In 2015, the California Natural Resources Agency embarked on an initiative to restore 30,000 acres habitat across the Delta.

In 2018, the California EcoRestore initiative broke ground on five habitat restoration projects that create new tidal wetlands, establish new riparian habitat, and improve fish passage through flood infrastructure built over a century ago.

The Department of Water Resources is the lead agency on 28 of 30 EcoRestore projects, including those that launched last year. The ecological restoration of today also supports the modern Delta as a place for people to live, work and play.

EcoRestore is about unifying the partner agencies and organizations involved in Delta environmental restoration, and accelerating results.

Watch the video below to learn more about how EcoRestore projects seek to repopulate salmon, smelt and other endangered species by either improving flood infrastructure or creating sustainable habitats.


April 2, 2019

DWR Issues Notice Of Preparation And Announces Public Scoping Meeting For The Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration And Flood Improvement Project

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is planning to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration and Flood Improvement Project in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). DWR has issued a Notice of Preparation (NOP) to provide responsible agencies, trustee agencies, and other interested parties with information describing the proposal and its environmental effects.

For more information on the Project and to download the NOP visit: https://water.ca.gov/Programs/Environmental-Services/Restoration-Mitigation-Compliance/Delta-Projects

A public scoping meeting will be held Wednesday, April 10th from 6-8pm in Dixon. See the meeting announcement here

Written comments on the NOP must be submitted to DWR by Monday, April 22, 2019 by 4:00 pm Pacific time. Comments can be mailed to: Lookout Slough NOP Attn: Heather Green, 3500 Industrial Blvd, West Sacramento, CA 95691 or emailed to FRPA@water.ca.gov.


February 1, 2019

DWR Gets Fish Friendly with Retooled Infrastructure in Yolo Bypass

Published: 
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View of the Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage structure at the north end of the Yolo Bypass. DWR/2019

Editor’s note: The following article is part of a continuing series highlighting the California EcoRestore Initiative, which seeks to restore 30,000 acres of habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by 2020. California EcoRestore is an umbrella program that includes habitat restoration efforts implemented and funded by departments under the California Natural Resources Agency including Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Delta Conservancy.

The Sacramento River moves water from Mt. Shasta to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, gathering runoff from the Coastal Range and Sierra Nevada before turning toward Sacramento and joining with the American River. In wetter years, the Sacramento River swells to flood levels and releases water into the Yolo Bypass, a major flood control feature for the Sacramento Valley.

At 59,000 acres, the Yolo Bypass can hold four times the capacity of water as the Sacramento River.

The primary trigger for river releases into the bypass is the Fremont Weir, a 1.8-mile concrete wall that automatically overtops when the Sacramento River reaches a designated high-water mark. Water flows over the weir every two out of three years on average.

Built in 1924 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Fremont Weir has been hailed as a simple yet impressive feat in sustainable flood protection and engineering.

What About the Fish?

The weir design, while forward-thinking at the time, revealed unintended consequences over time. Scientists discovered that when the Sacramento River overtopped the weir to flow into the Yolo Bypass, many adult Chinook salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon were delayed or stranded in the bypass.

As the fish, several of which are designated endangered or threatened species, swim north against the river’s current toward their spawning ground, they often mistakenly swim into the Yolo Bypass instead of staying in the river’s main channel. Some fish never make it back to the river. Even if they do, the diversion causes migration delays that may result in fish not spawning that year.

In 1965, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) built a “fish ladder” to help salmon, but over time scientists and engineers found that many fish were still marooned in the bypass. The fish ladder was an insufficient portal to pass through the weir.

A Modern Solution with Multiple Benefits

In 2018, DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) updated the fish ladder with a deeper, wider passageway in the weir to facilitate fish passage from the bypass to the river. In designing the Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project, DWR and Reclamation worked with an array of scientists, engineers and landowners from different organizations, including California Trout and American Rivers.

The design features an open channel fishway and a modern gate structure that automatically opens when water overtops at the Fremont Weir.

“The project allows fish to return to the Sacramento River. This connection improves fish passage and reduces the likelihood of fish getting stranded in the Yolo Bypass,” said Manny Bahia, DWR senior water resources engineer.

The passage corridor also accommodates migrating sturgeon, which can grow up to six feet long.

The retrofitted Fremont Weir will begin operations in winter 2019. DWR and Reclamation collaborated on the project in compliance with the 2009 biological opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service to offset harm to fish populations caused by the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.

“Every adult fish we save helps protect the species. One adult that makes it to the spawning grounds can lay thousands of eggs,” said Karen Enstrom, program manager for the Yolo Bypass Habitat Restoration Branch at the Department of Water Resources.

Beyond flood control and fish habitat, the Yolo Bypass of today provides an array of benefits including waterfowl habitat, agriculture, recreation, and cultural preservation.

The Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project is one of many restoration and infrastructure improvements within the Yolo Bypass aimed at boosting salmon survival rates. Other projects include the Wallace Weir Adult Fish Rescue Facility, the Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project, and the Lower Putah Creek Restoration Project.

Learn more about these projects on our website.

Contact:

Allen Young, Information Officer, Department of Water Resources

916-653-3925 | allen.young@water.ca.gov

Charlotte Biggs, Program Manager, Department of Water Resources

916-651-2997 |  charlotte.biggs@water.ca.gov


January 18th, 2019

McCormack-Williamson Tract Project Aims to Protect People and Wildlife

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An aerial view of the southern tip of McCormack-Williamson Tract. DWR/2019

Editor’s note: The following article is part of a continuing series highlighting the California EcoRestore Initiative, which seeks to restore 30,000 acres of habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by 2020. California EcoRestore is an umbrella program that includes habitat restoration efforts implemented and funded by departments under the California Natural Resources Agency including Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Delta Conservancy.

Located just south of the confluence of the Cosumnes and Mokelumne Rivers, the McCormack-Williamson Tract is a north Delta island with a long history of flooding. During the highwater events of 2017, water filled the island after the Cosumnes River overtopped the levee on the northeast bank. McCormack’s southern levees held firm, but had the levees broken, water could have rushed toward surrounding islands, potentially inundating private properties.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR), the Nature Conservancy, a conservation group that owns the site, and local, state, and federal partners acted fast: opening notches in levees on the north and south sides of McCormack to allow water to slowly drain off the island.

Once the flood season ended, DWR and its partners pumped the remaining water off the island, and repaired portions of the levees. Nearby landowners worked closely on the project, adding input as to where officials could open the levees.

“Landowners were happy we were able to move quickly and take action,” said Dawit Zeleke, Director of Conservation with The Nature Conservancy.

Breaking Ground

In 2018, DWR and its partners broke ground on a restoration project nearly a decade in the making. The project incorporates some of the fixes and lessons learned from the breaching event in 2017.

The McCormack-Williamson Tract restoration project, a 1,500 acre site, lowers the levees on the north side of the island to allow the river to overtop into the site. On the south side, DWR will alleviate the surge flows that pose a risk to neighbors by opening small holes in the levee. It’s a near replication of the response to the 2017 overtopping event.

2018 saw the completion of construction of a levee to protect existing infrastructure on the site, as well as progress on habitat restoration plans. For the next phase of the project, DWR will strengthen the interior levees and take steps toward opening the site up to tidal flows.

“The aim (of this project) is to restore natural floodplains and tidal marsh habitats, and also to reduce flood risk in the area,” said Anitra Pawley, McCormack-Williamson Tract project lead at DWR. “These are habitats which are very rare in the Delta and have been lost. We can recreate those habitats in this location.”

“We hope the restoration project will provide a tidal habitat for Delta smelt, and a shallow area for giant garter snakes and migratory birds,” she added.

The project brings together the goals of DWR, the Nature Conservancy and Reclamation District 2110 to restore the Delta island while balancing flood protection for neighboring residents.

McCormack-Williamson Tract is located at a higher elevation relative to most of the Delta. If the same project were attempted at a lower elevation, the land would be constantly inundated, a tidal habitat wouldn’t be possible, and fish and wildlife couldn’t adequately recolonize the area.

“The project is kind of a sweet spot in conservation because it has multiple benefits for people and wildlife,” Zeleke said.

 

Contact:

Allen Young, Information Officer, Department of Water Resources

916-653-3925 | allen.young@water.ca.gov


December 18, 2018

Dutch Slough Project Creates Richer Habitat for Delta Fish and Wildlife

Editor’s note: The following article is part of a continuing series highlighting the California EcoRestore Initiative, which seeks to restore 30,000 acres of habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by 2020. California EcoRestore is an umbrella program that includes habitat restoration efforts implemented and funded by departments under the California Natural Resources Agency including Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Delta Conservancy.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently broke ground on the Dutch Slough Tidal Restoration Project, the largest tidal wetlands restoration project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to date. Located on the Delta’s western edge in Contra Costa County, the Dutch Slough project will transform approximately 1,200 acres of former grazing and dairy lands into a rich habitat for fish and wildlife.

Once completed, the project will utilize natural daily tides to allow water to flow in and out, creating a natural tidal wetland that provides a safer environment for salmon, splittail and other endangered fish species.

Historically, the Dutch Slough site was tidal marsh open to the rest of the Delta’s waterways. These wetlands helped support the base of the food chain.

Starting in the early 20th century, the creation of levees blocked off thousands of acres of wetlands from the Delta’s main channels, which diminished food production for fish and wildlife.

“It basically shut the grocery stores for most of the animals, there just wasn’t that much for them to eat anymore,” said Patty Finfrock, DWR Dutch Slough project manager.

Opening up the site to create the tidal wetland helps increase the density of the base of the food chain (such as clams, insects, and single-celled organisms) that support the fish in the main channels of the Delta.

Additionally, baby salmon migrating through the tidal wetlands to the ocean will now have a place to hide from predators and have greater access to food, which will help them grow stronger.

“Hopefully, the baby salmon will see this as a really great neighborhood to grow up in, because it is going to provide the things that they need – enough food to eat, and a safe place to live,” Finfrock said.

The site provides flood protection to surrounding neighborhoods, acting as a buffer against rising sea levels triggered by climate change. The project also includes a 55-acre regional park that will allow visitors to hike, bike, boat, fish, and birdwatch. The project also protects a historical vineyard, a local cultural heritage site that the public will be able to admire as part of the planned regional park.

“We don’t have to just restore habitat and set it aside for nature; we can do it in a way that provides lots of benefits to humans,” said John Cain, Director of Conservation for California Flood Management with American Rivers, a longtime advocate for this effort.

This project was designed to help scientists learn about restoration in the Delta. It will serve as a living laboratory where scientists can advance their understanding about the benefits of tidal habitat at a range of elevations. This knowledge will help inform future restoration projects – making them more cost-effective and ecologically valuable.

Dutch Slough is part of an effort by DWR’s Delta Levee Program, which ensures that there is no net habitat loss in the Delta because of the state’s levee improvement projects. The Dutch Slough Tidal Restoration Project is the result of years of hard work and a dedicated partnership between local, state, and federal agencies to plan and implement. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Contact:

Allen Young, Information Officer, Department of Water Resources

916-653-3925 | allen.young@water.ca.gov


November 27, 2018

Private sector partnership underlines DWR Flyway Farms restoration project

Yolo Flyway Farms. DWR/2018

Editor’s note: The following article is part of a continuing series highlighting the California EcoRestore Initiative, which seeks to restore 30,000 acres of habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by 2020. California EcoRestore is an umbrella program that includes habitat restoration efforts implemented and funded by the Departments under California Natural Resources Agency including Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Delta Conservancy.

 

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) completed construction on a 350-acre tidal restoration project at Yolo Flyway Farms on the northwestern edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Yolo Flyway Farms Tidal Habitat Restoration project floods grazing land to create a tidal habitat for Delta smelt in the Yolo Bypass, a floodwater diversion zone in Yolo County. The effort was the result of a partnership between DWR and a private landowner for the creation of habitat restoration.

Through a first-of-its-kind agreement, DWR worked with Charles Tyson, the property owner, to develop the 350-acre tidal habitat restoration site. Following project completion, DWR will take ownership of the site and will be responsible for its long-term maintenance and upkeep.

“Individuals and farmers who own land can see an opportunity to enhance the value of their land – that’s very positive and very possible,” Tyson said.

On September 25, DWR breached the levee allowing the land to tidally connect to the toe drain, a narrow channel that connects the Yolo Bypass with the Sacramento River. Tules were then planted along portions of the newly excavated channels, which will create a conducive environment for the production of food for fish as the vegetation breaks down. The food will eventually wash back into the larger channel, boosting salmon survival rates within the Yolo Bypass.

“We’re doing restoration work in this region because it provides food and habitat to support endangered species,” said Bonnie Irving, DWR senior environmental scientist and Yolo Flyway Farms project manager.

“The more food that we can put back in the Delta, the more food we can produce for endangered fish,” Irving said.

The restoration effort is federally required. In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that the pumps, aqueducts and other water infrastructure in California contributed to endangering the existence of the Delta smelt. USFWS mandated that the state of California restore 8,000 acres of tidal habitat in the Delta and Suisun Marsh.

Endangered fish populations continue to decline in the Delta. A 2017 survey by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) found only two Delta smelt after four months of trawling (dragging a fishing net across water).

The restoration project at Yolo Flyway Farms is part of the California EcoRestore Initiative (EcoRestore), a multiagency initiative coordinated by the Natural Resources Agency, which seeks to restore 30,000 acres of land in the Delta by 2020. EcoRestore responds to the 2008 USFWS mandate and other mandates by accelerating the work of 30,000 acres of restoration across the Delta, which will protect the Delta smelt, salmon, and other native species.

EcoRestore, which includes the tidal marsh projects launched by DWR’s Fish Restoration Program to achieve the federal mandate, also involves projects related to floodplain habitat restoration, fish passage, and improving subsided land and carbon sequestration. EcoRestore provides a vehicle to share lessons and other resources across these state-sponsored restoration efforts.

The overarching goal of California EcoRestore, and projects like Yolo Flyway Farms, is to return the natural ecological function to the Delta, the West Coast’s largest estuary that has badly deteriorated under human development.

 

Contact:

Allen Young, Information Officer, Department of Water Resources

916-653-3925 | allen.young@water.ca.gov


November 15, 2018

Decker Island Project Restores 140 Acres Of Tidal Wetland Habitat, Aims To Boost Fish Survival Rates

Editor’s note: The following article is part of a continuing series highlighting the California EcoRestore Initiative, which seeks to restore 30,000 acres of habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by 2020. California EcoRestore is an umbrella program that includes habitat restoration efforts implemented and funded by the Departments under California Natural Resources Agency including Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Delta Conservancy.

DWR recently completed construction that transforms an island in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from a managed leveed site to an open tidal wetland reminiscent of the historical landscape.

Decker Island (Solano County) is located amidst the largest estuary on the West Coast, between freshwater and saltwater, where the endangered Delta smelt are concentrated. Over time, the Delta ecosystem and food web that native fish species depend on has been greatly diminished.

The Decker Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project, which broke ground in August 2018, converts an existing wetland into tidal habitat. Under the plan, DWR breached levees along the perimeter of the 140-acre site, allowing water from the Sacramento River to move through the marshland. As the water flows out of the marshland, it carries microscopic plankton, plant particles, and other nutrients across the Delta’s waterways, where the tiny bits are eaten by Delta smelt and other fish and wildlife species.

“These tidal wetlands are the bread baskets of the Delta. This is where the basis of the food web is created,” said Dennis McEwan, Chief of the State Water Project Mitigation and Restoration Branch within DWR.

More than a century ago, levee systems were built up to protect agricultural land and urban areas from the seasonal and tidal waters. Since the 1800s, tidal wetland habitat in the Delta has declined from an estimated 350,000 acres to about only 10,000 acres. This loss of habitat has contributed to the steep decline of native fish and wildlife species. The restoration projects under California EcoRestore, such as this effort on Decker Island, seek to reverse this trend by providing the habitat and food sources needed to boost fish survival rates.

Decker Island is one of 13 projects planned and implemented by DWR’s Fish Restoration Program charged with restoring 8,000 acres of tidal wetland habitat in the Delta and Suisun Marsh, as required mitigation for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project long term operations. This effort has been a close partnership between DWR and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). CDFW will carry out the on-site biological monitoring to ensure the site functions as it was designed and to inform future restoration efforts.

Contact:

Allen Young, Information Officer, Department of Water Resources

916-653-3925 | allen.young@water.ca.gov


August 10, 2018

DWR Releases Environmental Document for the Winter Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project for Public Review and Comment

Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration for Winter Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project – The Department of Water Resources is the Lead State Agency under the California Environmental Quality Act and has prepared in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife a Draft Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Winter Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project.

The Project is located in Suisun Bay between Broad Slough and Middle Slough, just north of the City of Pittsburg, in Contra Costa County. Winter Island sits at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, in the corridor between Browns Island and Sherman Island Waterfowl Management Area. The Winter Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project is proposed by DWR to restore connectivity to the interior of Winter Island to create aquatic and riparian habitat to benefit native species. Winter Island was formerly managed for duck hunting and currently receives muted tidal flows. The Project will enhance up to 544-acres of tidal wetland, associated high marsh and riparian habitats benefiting listed fish species including Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus), Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), and Longfin Smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys).The Project is intended to partially fulfill the 8,000-acre tidal habitat restoration obligations of DWR, contained within the 2008 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Delta Smelt Biological Opinion and referenced in the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service Salmonid Biological Opinion, for long-term coordinated operations of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Public Review Period
The IS/MND is being circulated for public review and comment for a period of 30 days beginning 08/10/18.   Comments on the IS/MND are welcomed and should be submitted no later than 5 P.M. on 09/10/18. Please send comments to:

Department of Water Resources
Fish Restoration Program
Attn: Joy Khamphanh
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, California 94236-0001
manisay.khamphanh@water.ca.gov |  (916) 376-9824

Related Documents: 
Appendix A: Response to Comments
Appendix B: Air Quality Calculations
Appendix C: CNDDB
Appendix D: IPaC List
Appendix E: Cultural Resource Report
Appendix F: Peak Velocity Modeling
Appendix G: Greenhouse Gas Calculations
Appendix H: Salinity Modeling
Appendix I: 90% Design Drawings


May 30, 2018

Fremont Weir Groundbreaking Marks Milestone for Yolo Bypass Fish Passage

Contact:
Niki Woodard, Public Affairs Office, Department of Water Resources
916-653-4161 | niki.woodard@water.ca.gov

Erin Curtis, Public Affairs Office, Bureau of Reclamation
916-978-5101 |  eccurtis@usbr.gov

 

Fremont Weir Groundbreaking Marks Milestone for Yolo Bypass Fish Passage

 Today, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and California Natural Resources Agency celebrated the groundbreaking of a critical habitat improvement project in the Yolo 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.

“This project highlights the complexity and competing needs of our system. But moreover, it showcases a solution,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Our work as water managers in the 21st century is to steward California’s diversity and beauty, while also ensuring public safety and water supply reliability. We can no longer choose one over the other. It’s not a trade-off analysis. We can and must ensure that all of our complex projects achieve multiple benefits, guided by a vision of long-term sustainability and public safety amid a changing climate.”

The Yolo Bypass is a critical part of the state’s flood control system, receiving flood waters from major rivers including the American, Sacramento, and Feather. When flooded, the bypass becomes one of the largest seasonal floodplains in the Delta, and a migration corridor for dozens of native fish species including Chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon.

The Fremont Weir, constructed almost 100 years ago to protect the region from flood waters, poses an obstacle for anadromous fish returning to their spawning grounds. The fish ladder currently in place provides inadequate fish passage, causing migratory delay and loss of life. The Fremont Weir modification project modernizes the structure and widens the channel through which the fish swim to ease their passage to upstream habitat.

This project complies with the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Biological Opinion on the Long-Term Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. The 2009 NMFS Biological Opinion recognized the importance of floodplain rearing habitat in, and fish passage throughout, the Yolo Bypass and requires DWR and Reclamation to complete several projects that accomplish these goals.

“We are pleased to provide the funding for the Fremont Weir construction effort as part of our work under the 2009 NMFS Biological Opinion,” said Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “The Fremont Weir is a prime example of what we can do when state and federal partners work together for water supply reliability in California. The State Water Project and the Central Valley Project are inextricably linked, and we have to work together, as we have done with this project, if we are to meet the needs of Californians.”

This project is part of a larger vision to restore Delta habitat for native fish and wildlife. Launched three years ago by Governor Edmund G. Brown, the California EcoRestore Initiative is a multi-agency effort to accelerate the restoration of at least 30,000 acres of critical Delta habitat. Six EcoRestore projects are breaking ground this year. Three of the six projects are required mitigation for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, and the other three support landscape-level tidal and floodplain restoration in the Delta.

“Today we celebrate both the indomitable spirit of California’s native fish, and the indomitable spirit of those working to protect them,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. “Through large-scale conservation actions, we can begin reversing trends of species declines, and create the healthy environments we all want future generations to experience. This project turns what is primarily a flood control facility into one that serves multiple benefits. May today be but the first celebration in a year full of reasons to celebrate.”

The EcoRestore Initiative represents a deep commitment from a broad range of stakeholders to restore the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds in an effort to protect water supplies, ensure public safety, steward our natural resources, and improve salmon runs.

“These types of multiple benefit projects are the future of California water management and demonstrate that collaboration among diverse stakeholders can resolve even the thorniest water challenges,” said John Cain, American Rivers Director of Conservation for California Flood Management.

# # #

Fremont Weir photos and video are available for download.


March 28, 2018

Delta Conservancy Awards $18.9 Million to Nine Delta Projects providing watershed benefits to the Delta region

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy (Conservancy) Board awards approximately $18.9 million in proposition funds to nine projects that will provide watershed benefits to the Delta region. This is the third competitive cycle of the Conservancy’s Proposition 1 Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality Grant Program, which will distribute a total of $50 million from the voter-approved Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act (Prop 1) of 2014. The Conservancy’s critical role in providing Prop 1 funds to projects contributing to ecosystem improvements within the Delta helps further the California EcoRestore initiative’s goals and the California Water Action Plan.

The Conservancy is advancing a breadth of projects that will contribute to Delta ecosystem viability by:

  • Protecting and maintaining habitat values on working lands;
  • Restoring wetland, upland, and transitional ecosystems;
  • Advancing planning for multibenefit restoration projects; and
  • Eradicating invasive nonnative species.

“It is encouraging to see work ramping up in the Delta, and it is exciting to be able to put Prop 1 funds toward these worthy projects,” said Katherine Miller, Conservancy Board Chair.

The Conservancy will open a fourth grant cycle in summer of 2018 and anticipates awarding funding in the spring of 2019.

Working collaboratively and in coordination with local communities, the Delta Conservancy leads efforts to protect, enhance and restore the Delta economy, agriculture and working landscapes, and environment for the benefit of the Delta region, its local communities, and the citizens of California.

More information on the projects funded can be found here: http://deltaconservancy.ca.gov/prop-1/


December 22, 2017

DWR and Reclamation release environmental documents for the proposed Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project for public review and comment

DWR and Reclamation took steps toward improving fish passage and rearing habitat in the Yolo Bypass with the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the proposed Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project. This represents an important milestone for the California EcoRestore initiative. These documents have been made available for public review and comment. Public comments may be provided in person at public meetings in January or by mail/email. Comments must be received by February 15, 2018. (see more…)


November 6, 2017

Decker Island Tidal Restoration Project Certified – 30-Day Public Review Period Opens

The CA Department of Water Resources (DWR) has certified that the Decker Island Tidal Restoration Project is consistent with the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan. A necessary step for all projects proposed within the legal Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The November 6 certification opens a 30-day public review period.


September 12, 2017

Coalition Formed to Advance the Recovery of Viable Native Fish Populations

The Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership, comprised of state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, farmers, water agencies, and fishermen, was recently formed to advance the recovery of viable Central Valley salmon and steelhead populations.  This diverse coalition of partners brings existing salmon and steelhead recovery efforts together, prioritizing projects to support the rebound of these native fish populations.

Working across disciplines, the Partnership will develop science-based objectives and prioritized actions to implement them, to advance the recovery and maintenance of viable, self-sustaining salmon and steelhead populations, and also help restore and maintain robust and commercially and recreationally viable numbers of salmon.  Partnership members will provide expertise on a broad range of issues such as scientific study and securing permits, allowing the Partnership to move from concept to implementation quickly and efficiently.

Learn more about the Partnership and its important mission here.


May 15, 2017

DWR and Reclamation Recirculate Draft Environmental Document for Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project

DWR and Reclamation are recirculating for public review the Biological Resources portion (Section 3.5) of the draft Initial Study and Environmental Assessment (IS/EA) and proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the proposed Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project. The draft IS/EA and proposed MND were previously circulated for public review and comment February 3 through March 6, 2017 (State Clearinghouse Number 201702212).

Public comments are only being accepted on the Biological Resources portion of the draft IS/EA, which is available for review and comment from Monday, May 15, through Tuesday, June 13, 2017. See the public announcement below for more information:

Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project Announcement

Copies of the recirculated draft IS/EA and proposed MND, as well as the original draft documents  are available at the above link.


May 9, 2017

Southport Setback Levee Project Breaks Ground in West Sacramento

West Sacramento breaks ground on its largest levee project on Tuesday, May 9, 2017.  Congresswoman Doris Matsui, West Sacramento’s Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, and Department of Water Resources’ Deputy Director Gary Bardini along with other federal and state flood protection partners are gathering to break ground on the project aimed at  improving nearly six miles of vulnerable levee along the west bank of the Sacramento River in Southport. This multi-benefit project contributing toward California EcoRestore floodplain and riparian habitat restoration goals will be constructed as part of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ West Sacramento General Reevaluation Report process through a partnership to plan and permit the project by the City of West Sacramento and West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency and the Department of Water Resources.

See the press release on the ground-breaking ceremony here: http://resources.ca.gov/ecorestore/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/WSFP-Southport-Levee-Groundbreaking-FINAL-Media-Release.pdf


May 1. 2017

Delta Conservancy Approves $4.4 Million to Benefit Delta Ecosystems, Water Quality, and Water-Related Agricultural Sustainability

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy (Conservancy) approved approximately $4.4 million for four projects that restore and enhance ecosystems, improve water quality, and support water-related agricultural sustainability in the Delta. The Conservancy provides funding through a competitive grant process made possible by a voter-approved bond measure, Proposition 1 – the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. These projects will count toward the 1,000+ EcoRestore goal of funding restoration projects through Prop 1 and 1E.

“The Delta Conservancy is proud to partner with the organizations implementing these projects to create a more viable Delta ecosystem,” said Campbell Ingram, the Conservancy’s Executive Officer. “Each project is has support from members of the Delta community, and will provide benefits for natural and human communities.”

This is the second round of grants the Conservancy has awarded though Proposition 1, which provided a total $50 million for the Delta Conservancy for the competitive grants. The Conservancy will open a third grant solicitation in August of 2017 and anticipates awarding funding in the spring of 2018. The Conservancy plans to administer at least one grant cycle each fiscal year through 2020.

See full story here: http://deltaconservancy.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Press-Release_round-2_final-draft.pdf


February 3, 2017

DWR and USBOR release public review draft Initial Study and Environmental Assessment (IS/EA) for the proposed Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) have released for public review the draft Initial Study and Environmental Assessment (IS/EA) for the proposed Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project, located in the northern portion of the Yolo Bypass, approximately 8 miles northeast of Woodland in Yolo County.

The proposed project is being carried out to meet requirements in the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion and Conference Opinion on the Long-Term Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. The Yolo Bypass, a prominent feature of California’s State Plan of Flood Control, provides valuable rearing habitat for downstream migrating juvenile salmon while also providing a fish migration corridor for adult anadromous fish. Structures within the Yolo Bypass have delayed and prevented adult special-status fish species, such as Chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon from migrating upstream through the Yolo Bypass and returning to the Sacramento River.

The purpose of the proposed project is to improve fish passage at the Fremont Weir and within the Tule Canal. The project would modify an existing fish ladder at the Fremont Weir and improve fish passage within the channel both upstream and downstream of the Fremont Weir. In addition, one downstream agricultural road crossing would be removed and another such crossing would be replaced with a structure that provides improved fish passage within the Tule Canal. Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2017.

The proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration and draft IS/EA have been prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and are available for public review and comment from February 3 through March 6, 2017. Copies of the documents are available at:

Please submit comments in writing or email to either:

  • Karen Enstrom, California Department of Water Resources, 3500 Industrial Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691 or Karen.Enstrom@water.ca.gov.
  • Ben Nelson, Bureau of Reclamation, Bay-Delta Office, 801 I St., Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814 or bcnelson@usbr.gov.

Written comments must be received by close of business Monday, March 6, 2017. For further information, please contact Karen Enstrom at (916) 376-9778 or Karen.Enstrom@water.ca.gov or Ben Nelson at (916) 414-2424 (TTY 800-877-8339) or bcnelson@usbr.gov.


December 20, 2016

DWR Seeks Proposals for Habitat Restoration Projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (reposted RFP)

Instructions for accessing the RFP Secondary for Habitat Restoration within the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh…


November 7, 2016

Southport Setback Levee project obtains consistency with Delta Plan covered actions without appeal

southport-levee-picThe West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (WSAFCA) officially certified without appeal on Monday, November 7th that its Southport Sacramento River Early Implementation Project is consistent with the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan covered actions. Obtaining this certification is a key permitting step for the Southport Setback Levee project, a California EcoRestore effort being implemented by WSAFCA, and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Division of Flood Management. Once the full effort is constructed this project will yield up to 152 acres of mixed floodplain and riparian habitat as part of a unique opportunity to set back the levee in this rapidly urbanizing area. The levee setback will enhance the ability of the river to meander across the floodplain, distributing soils and nutrients that sustain riparian vegetation and aquatic species.

More information here: http://coveredactions.deltacouncil.ca.gov/profile_summary.aspx?c=99054fee-f0d5-45ee-b322-520d8201b033


delta

WSAFCA Setback Levee Project Clears Council’s Covered Action Process Without Appeal November

 Monday 7

The West Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (WSAFCA) certified that its Southport Sacramento River Early Implementation Project is consistent with the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan, and no appeal was filed with regard to that certification.

This project will involve construction of approximately 3.6 miles of setback levees in the City of West Sacramento along the Sacramento River, which will contribute to the city’s required 200-year level of flood protection.

The project will also restore approximately 150 acres of seasonally inundated floodplain habitat.

To learn more about the Council’s Covered Actions process please click here.


October 12, 2016

Fish-friendly weir will keep salmon in the river, not farm fields

wallaceweir1w-1024x683

By Tanya Perez, October 12, 2016, The Davis Enterprise

YOLO BYPASS — The word of the day was “partnership” as a team of tenacious problem-solvers met Thursday in the Yolo Bypass north of Woodland to check on the progress of a fish-friendly weir being built by local, state and federal officials.

Read More: http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/fish-friendly-weir-will-keep-salmon-in-the-river-not-farm-fields/


October 6, 2016

Project Underway at Wallace Weir to Prevent Straying of Adult Sacramento River Salmon

jrc_wallace_weir-4084Reconstruction of century-old structure provides multiple benefits

YOLO BYPASS, Calif. – Yet another hazard to migratory salmon will disappear soon, when local, state, and federal officials finish building a permanent, fish-friendly weir in the Yolo Bypass four miles northeast of Woodland.

The Wallace Weir Fish Rescue project will help prevent adult Sacramento River salmon from swimming into a drainage ditch that leads deep into farm fields where spawning is hopeless. By building a permanent barrier across the Knights Landing Ridge Cut, the agencies will be able to better control farm drainage releases to avoid attracting salmon. A new fish collection facility adjacent to the weir will allow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to more effectively capture stray salmon and return them to the river to spawn.


September 19, 2016

Tule Red Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project Groundbreaking in Suisun Marsh

jrc_tule_red_media-6075Public-Private Effort to Restore Tides to Hundreds of Acres of Suisun Marsh

Tidal Wetlands Help Delta Smelt and Other Imperiled Species

From the California Natural Resources Agency:

Local, state, federal, and private industry leaders on Monday kicked off the largest tidal wetland restoration project in the Delta, breaking ground on a project to return salty tides to several hundred acres for the sake of native fish.


September 9, 2016

DWR Seeks Proposals for Habitat Restoration Projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

UPDATE: The current RFP has been cancelled. DWR will re-release the RFP at a later date. When re-released a new announcement will be posted on our website with instructions for accessing the RFP.


August 23, 2016

Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project DEIR Available for Public Review and Comment

prosp_island_restor_site_mapDWR has released the Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The DEIR analyzes project alternatives and stakeholder input as part of the environmental review process for the project. There are several ways that you can review or provide input on the DEIR, or learn more about the project: View and download the DEIR by clicking here.


May 22, 2016

Charlton H. Bonham: Brown’s Delta Plan Will Restore Habitat

San Jose Mercury News
Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s announcement of a modified approach to restoring Delta habitat and securing water supplies for 25 million Californians reinforced the state’s commitment to habitat conservation in the Delta.


October 22, 2015

Remarks by CDFW Director Chuck Bonham At Knights Landing Outfall Gates Dedication