Fishermen, Delta Leaders: Exporters “Destroy Delta Smelt”

The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and Restore the Delta issued a press release on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 documenting how State and federal
fish agencies are failing to enforce laws to protect fisheries. Simply put, if endangered species become extinct, fault will be with State Water Board and captive fish agencies.

Bill Jennings, the executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, explains the severity of the mismanagement: “The State Water Board, even in the face of near-extinction of Delta smelt and salmon, is proposing to drastically relax minimal water quality and flow standards enacted to protect the Bay-Delta and tributary streams, for the third year in a row. Delta and longfin smelt and Winter-run salmon have collapsed to less than one percent of historic numbers, and are facing extinction. Yet the Water Board and the Governor expect our rivers and fisheries to bear the burden and suffer the consequences of mismanagement, even as additional acres of almonds are planted in the Valley. The Delta is a national treasure belonging to all of the people in the state and nation. It must not be sacrificed to the insatiable greed of special interests,”

Press Release: Export Projects Overpumping Delta During Drought Destroys Fisheries 

Posted in California Delta, Denise Zitnik, Fisheries, Press Release, State Board Bay-Delta Standards | Comments Off

CSPA Follows up at State Water Board on Economics, Fisheries and Water Deliveries

February 26, 2015 - In a supplementary filing to the State Water Board, CSPA submitted supporting information in opposition to weakening Delta flow and water quality standards as requested by the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation on January 27.  CSPA submitted records showing increases in San Joaquin Valley farm production and income even during times of drought.

In addition to the comments CSPA also submitted one letter rebutting claims by DWR and the Bureau that reduced standards won’t harm fish, and a second letter showing how water that is supposed to be saved by reducing Delta standards can easily benefit irrigation deliveries without improving any conditions for fish. Read more in the documents, shared below:

Posted in California Delta, Chris Shutes, Fisheries, State Board Bay-Delta Standards | Comments Off

CSPA Back before the State Water Board

Bill Jennings, Tom Cannon, and Chris Shutes pack pack into the crowded Water Board Meeting.

Bill Jennings, Tom Cannon, and Chris Shutes pack into the crowded Water Board Meeting. Photo Credit: Dan Bacher

February 18, 2015.  The State Water Board held a workshop on February 18, 2015 to hear comments on its February 3 Order that relaxed Delta flow and water quality standards in the Delta.  The Department of Water Resources, Bureau of Reclamation, and various other water agencies argued for increasing Delta exports even during times of low Delta inflow and outflow.  In opposition, CSPA made three presentations.  Tom Cannon discussed impacts of weakened standards on salmon and smelt in the Delta.  Chris Shutes discussed unreasonable effects on fish and wildlife in the Sacramento River and the importance of making water transfers comply with Delta standards.  Bill Jennings summed up by recounting the decline of fisheries over the past thirty years and the results of failure by the Board to enforce standards in dry years, when those standards are already too weak.  Comparing the operators of the state and federal projects to Goldman Sachs (sellers of unbacked securities), Jennings called on the Board to hold a hearing on Delta standards during drought and to create a legacy of protecting the public trust.

View Presentations from CSPA:

Posted in California Delta, Chris Shutes, Fisheries, State Board Bay-Delta Standards | Comments Off

CSPA Opposes Weakening of Delta Standards

February 13, 2015.  The State Water Project and Central Valley Project have doubled down on last year’s disastrous rollback of Delta flow and water quality standards. The Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation, operators of the state and federal projects, submitted a Temporary Urgency Change Petition to the State Water Board on January 27, 2015. On February 3, 2015, the State Water Board granted the same reductions in Delta standards that it granted during last year’s drought conditions, but denied a request that would have allowed additional south Delta pumping under conditions of reduced Delta outflow.

On February 13, CSPA filed an Objection, Petition for Reconsideration, and Petition for Hearing in opposition to the Change Petition and Change Order. The filing describes record low numbers of Delta smelt and the loss of salmon in the Sacramento River that occurred as a result of last year’s reduction of Delta standards. Included with the Objection are a series of documents that demonstrate the decline of Delta fisheries over the past several years. In the short term, CSPA advocates for a simple action: maintain Delta standards during the drought.

CSPA et al Protest, Objection Petition

Posted in California Delta, Chris Shutes, Fisheries, State Board Bay-Delta Standards | Comments Off

CSPA and Colleagues Push Back on FERC’s Yuba Analysis

CSPA, as part of the Foothills Water Network coalition, filed comments on February 9 on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the relicensing of the Yuba-Bear and Drum-Spaulding hydroelectric projects, located in Placer and Nevada counties. CSPA first engaged in 2008 in the process required by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and has been a leader in both written filings and meetings since then.

The comments largely address the major issues that relicensing did not resolve. These include protection of salmon and steelhead in Auburn Ravine and the protection of cold water habitat for fish in the Middle Yuba River. The comments also argue that FERC should require support for a trail system along the Bear River, and not restrict its vision of recreation to reservoirs and campgrounds.

In addition, the comments discuss procedural decisions associated with PG&E’s decision to split off the uneconomic part of its Drum-Spaulding Project into a separate project, in order to facilitate selling the new project in the future. The new “Lower Drum Project” is a money loser as far as generating power goes, but is essential for delivering water to the greater Auburn area. Despite creating what is essentially a new stand-alone water supply project, FERC continues to accept PG&E’s self-serving argument that the project operator shouldn’t have to mitigate for most project effects on fish in Auburn Ravine, on the grounds that the end use of the water used to generate power is irrigation.

Comments on Yuba-Bear/Drum-Spaulding FEIS

Posted in Chris Shutes, Hydroelectric (FERC) | Comments Off

US Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Report Opposing the Enlargement of Shata Dam

Today the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and the California Water Impact Network (CWIN) issued a media release documenting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s opposition to the Bureau of Reclamation’s proposed $1.1 billion project to enlarge the Shasta Dam.

The Bureau of Reclamation is attempting to claim that 61% of the “economic justification” for the project is a larger cold water pool behind the dam to improve Sacramento River salmon survival during critically dry years. In response, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated in its recent draft report that the Shasta dam enlargement is not justifiable because it provides no net benefits to salmon, and will result in negative environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated. Further, several options besides enlargement of the dam would have been considered if salmon restoration was a true priority.

Bill Jennings, the executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, notes that the report is only a revised draft, and that it could be steamrolled by BOR and politicians controlled by corporate agriculture. “Given the political implications of the report, CSPA is very concerned that it may be rewritten by Obama Administration political appointees who support enlargement of Shasta Dam,” he said.

Media Release

Posted in California Delta, Denise Zitnik, Fisheries, Press Release | Comments Off

As Delta Smelt Plummets Towards Extinction, New Rules Allow Increased Kill

The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and California Water Impact Network (CWIN) issued a press release on Monday, January 26, 2015 criticizing a  decision that will allow government pumps to kill twice as many endangered Delta smelt than was previously permitted. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the Bureau of Reclamation’s request to increase the Delta Smelt “take” limit only two days after learning the population abundance of Delta smelt has collapsed to historical new lows.

“As goes the Delta smelt, so goes the Delta,” said Bill Jennings, the executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “The crisis isn’t limited to the smelt. All the (Bay/Delta’s) pelagic species are in trouble.”

Press Release

Posted in California Delta, Denise Zitnik, Fisheries, Press Release | Comments Off

Irrigation Districts Agree to Study Tuolumne River Fish Passage

Modesto Irrigation District and Turlock Irrigation District, owners and operators of the La Grange and Don Pedro hydroelectric projects on the Tuolumne River, agreed November 21 to conduct studies related to passing salmon and steelhead past both projects. The Districts filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) an “Updated Study Plan” for the licensing of the La Grange Project. The filing contains a draft “Fish Passage Assessment” Study Plan that proposes to evaluate the suitability of habitat in the Tuolumne River upstream of Don Pedro Reservoir for reintroduction of salmon and steelhead. The Assessment also proposes to evaluate conceptual level alternatives and costs for moving fish past La Grange and Don Pedro reservoirs.

The decision by the Districts will, once approved by FERC, represent the first instance in which fish passage is evaluated in a FERC licensing proceeding in California’s Central Valley. It is an outcome for which CSPA has tirelessly advocated on the Tuolumne for three years and for which CSPA has advocated more generally in the Valley for over seven years. The decision by the Districts is thus at once a landmark in hydropower licensing generally and in CSPA’s hydropower advocacy in particular.  The decision by the Districts comes after a series of events, including a La Grange licensing meeting on October 6 during which CSPA, National Marine Fisheries Service and others advocated that the Districts conduct fish passage studies.

CSPA is convinced that Central Valley salmon and steelhead cannot survive on the Valley floor alone, downstream of the rim dams that block passage on every major Valley river. However, the suitability of any candidate area for upstream reintroduction needs to be evaluated in each particular location. We look forward to working with the Districts to evaluate the suitability of habitat on the upper Tuolumne and to evaluate opportunities for getting salmon and steelhead to that habitat.

Districts’ Updated Study Plan and Notes from October 6 licensing meeting

Conservation Groups’ comments

Posted in Chris Shutes, Hydroelectric (FERC) | Comments Off

CSPA Dismisses Protest against North San Joaquin Water Conservation District

CSPA has dismissed its 2009 water rights protest against the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District. CSPA’s dismissal will allow the District to use time-restricted funding to complete a groundwater recharge project. North San Joaquin will report annually to CSPA regarding its projects and its efforts to bring its groundwater into balance.

North San Joaquin petitioned in 2007 for more time to use all the water it was allowed to use under a 1950’s era water rights permit. When the petition was noticed by the State Water Board in 2009, CSPA protested on four major grounds: the District had no project planned to use more water, had no money for a project, had performed no environmental review, and perhaps most importantly had no demonstrable intent to bring its overdrafted groundwater into balance. For several years after the protest was filed, things deteriorated at the District: its members voted down a charge on groundwater pumping to pay for infrastructure, and its Board became very dysfunctional. However, since 2012, the District has changed direction. It has partnered with San Joaquin County, it has defined several projects, it has secured funding, and it has completed environmental review for its first major project.

The recently passed legislation to regulate groundwater, while requiring less reporting than CSPA had advocated for, provides a new backstop that over the long term will help protect against worsening groundwater levels. More positively, many areas in the District have reduced demand and improved previously overdrafted conditions, and both the District and the County appear serious about groundwater sustainability. The relatively small amount of water available under an extended permit will allow North San Joaquin and its partner San Joaquin County to develop pilot projects that demonstrate their ability to stabilize water use.

14 09 29 Agreement to Resolve Water Right Protest

Posted in Chris Shutes, Water Rights | Comments Off

San Francisco Can Do Better Than Just Say No to Tuolumne Flow

Since 2009, representatives of the City and County of San Francisco have consistently advocated against flow increases in the lower Tuolumne River. In proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the State Water Board, San Francisco’s advocates have argued that increased flow will cause economic disaster during dry year sequences. The general strategy of the City’s attorneys, staff and consultants has been to make a bunch of assumptions about dry year water supply and demand and rationing, and then to have a few experts describe in vivid detail what would happen if those assumptions were true. Then they argue that since increased flow can’t work in droughts, there’s just nothing to do.

On July 29, 2014, San Francisco’s City Attorney sent a letter to staff at the State Water Board with a new version of the same tired arguments. The immediate issue was how the State Water Board will evaluate impacts to the City in an environmental analysis of changes to flow in tributaries of the San Joaquin River, including the Tuolumne. A copy of the letter was filed with FERC.

On October 8, 2014, ten conservation groups who’ve been working in FERC proceedings on the Tuolumne River, including CSPA, filed a response to the City’s letter with both the State Water Board and with FERC. The conservation groups’ response provides background about the City’s advocacy over the last five years and makes numerous suggestions about different ways the City might comply with increased flow requirements or mitigate their impacts to the City’s water supply and economy. These include creating different flow requirements during multiple dry years and expanding efforts (some of which are already underway) to secure alternative supplies if Tuolumne River supplies run short.

One of the few positive things about the current drought is that it has shown that people, especially in the Bay Area, value water conservation and are willing to work at it. Bay Area water agencies are talking to each other about sharing resources and infrastructure, particularly during drought situations. Agricultural demand reduction by other users of Tuolumne River water is also going to have to be part of the solution.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on July 22, 2014 stating that the “… San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary helps to power [the Bay Area’s] economic engines, is the globally recognized symbol of our region, and its health reflects on our region’s capacities, values and vibrancy . . . .” San Francisco needs to line up its water supply policies with its values. The most progressive City in the world can and must do better than just say no.

Conservation Groups’ October 8, 2014 Response to City and County of San Francisco

Posted in Chris Shutes, Hydroelectric (FERC), State Board Bay-Delta Standards | Comments Off

CSPA Works to Make Delta Flow Work

The 2010 Delta Flow Criteria Report announced findings by the State Water Board that additional flow into and out of the Delta was needed to restore fisheries. The Report stated: “In order to preserve the attributes of a natural variable system to which native fish species are adapted, many of the criteria developed by the State Water Board are crafted as percentages of natural or unimpaired flows.”

CSPA strongly supports the percent-of-unimpaired approach to developing Delta flow requirements. However, figuring out how to actually implement this approach takes a lot of work. The State Board has not done much to advance understanding. Resource agencies have not consistently advocated for it. Other environmental and fishing groups have supported it as a principle, but have made little apparent effort to demonstrate its feasibility or evaluate the reservoir operations that it would require. And, of course, many irrigation districts and water agencies have hired talented modelers with the general intent of making a percent-of-unimpaired approach appear unreasonable.

License applicants in relicensings of three key Central Valley hydroelectric projects (Merced River Project, Don Pedro Project on the Tuolumne, and Yuba River Development Project) have developed daily operations models that allow careful analysis of how a percent-of-unimpaired approach could be implemented. CSPA’s hydropower advocate, with help from several engineers, has used these models to evaluate two of the systems: Merced River and Yuba River. In July, 2014 we posted the product of some of that work for the Merced River (“CSPA Proposes High Spring Flows on Merced River”). On September 24, 2014, CSPA made a presentation in the Yuba River Development relicensing discussing how conceptually a percent-of-unimpaired approach might be overlaid onto flows developed in the 2008 Yuba Accord to improve instream flow benefits both in the Yuba River and in the Delta downstream. Over the coming year, CSPA will be working on a similar analysis for the Tuolumne River.

CSPA flow presentation Yuba River 092414

Posted in Chris Shutes, Hydroelectric (FERC), State Board Bay-Delta Standards | Comments Off

Media Advisory: Salmon Fishermen to Oppose Prop. 1

San Francisco – Bay Area fishermen announced today they will oppose Proposition 1, the State Water Bond, at a San Francisco Bay news conference on Friday, Oct. 3. “Prop. 1 is one more shovel of dirt on the grave of our salmon, crab and other Pacific fisheries,” said Larry Collins, of the San Francisco Crab Boat Association. “Building more dams to hold water we don’t have is misplaced spending and harms the businesses, families and communities that depend upon our salmon, crab and other fisheries.”

WHAT: Bay Area Fishermen to Oppose Prop. 1 – Harms Salmon Fisheries

WHEN: Friday, October 3, 2014 10:30 am

WHO: Larry Collins, San Francisco Crab Boat Association; Mike Hudson, Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishermen’s Association; Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations

WHERE: Pier 45, Shed D5, San Francisco Bay

See full media advisory here. For more information, please visit www.noonprop1.org

Posted in Alerts & Advisories, Fisheries, Miscellaneous, Press Release | Comments Off

CSPA Settles Lawsuit Against City of Watsonville

On 30 September 2014, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against the City of Watsonville for violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit. The City operates a 1.6-acre Material Recovery Facility, a 5.8-acre Corporation Yard and a 100-acre landfill in Watsonville, California. The lawsuit alleged that the facilities discharged polluted stormwater into Watsonville Slough, Gallighan Slough, the Pajaro River and ultimately Monterey Bay.

The settlement agreement obligates the City to comply fully with the Clean Water Act, develop and implement a suite of Best Management Practices and structural improvements, conduct more frequent and comprehensive monitoring and prepare an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The agreement incorporates provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded.

As mitigation for past violations, Watsonville agreed to send $27,500 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to fund environmental projects to improve water quality in local watersheds. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit. The Law Offices of Andrew Packard represented CSPA in this matter.

Consent Agreement

Posted in Bill Jennings, Enforcement, Fisheries, Water Quality | Comments Off

CSPA Settles Lawsuit Against Sacramento Auto Dismantler

On 27 September 2014, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Pick and Pull Auto Dismantlers, Pick and Pull Auto Dismantling, Inc., and Norprop, Inc. (collectively, PNP. for violations of the federal Clean Water Act and California’s General Industrial Stormwater Permit. PNP operates an automobile recycling facility in Sacramento, California. The lawsuit alleged that the facility discharged polluted stormwater into the Sacramento storm sewer system and local surface waters, including Elder and Morrison Creeks, which are tributaries to the Sacramento River.

The settlement agreement obligates PNP to comply fully with the Clean Water Act, develop and implement a suite of Best Management Practices and structural improvements, conduct more frequent and comprehensive monitoring and prepare an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The agreement incorporates provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded.

As mitigation for past violations, PNP agreed to send $35,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to fund environmental projects to improve water quality in local watersheds. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit. Lawyers for Clean Water represented CSPA in this matter.

Settlement Agreement

Posted in Bill Jennings, Enforcement, Fisheries, Water Quality | Comments Off

CSPA Settles Lawsuit Against Rocklin Auto Dismantler

On 26 September 2014, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Pick and Pull Auto Dismantlers, Pick and Pull Auto Dismantling, Inc., and Norprop, Inc. (collectively, PNP. for violations of the federal Clean Water Act and California’s General Industrial Stormwater Permit. PNP operates an automobile recycling facility in Lincoln, California. The lawsuit alleged that the facility discharged polluted stormwater into the City of Rocklin’s storm sewer system and local surface waters including Antelope Creek, which are tributaries to the Sacramento River.

The settlement agreement obligates PNP to comply fully with the Clean Water Act, develop and implement a suite of Best Management Practices and structural improvements, conduct more frequent and comprehensive monitoring and prepare an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The agreement incorporates provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded.

As mitigation for past violations, PNP agreed to send $35,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to fund environmental projects to improve water quality in local watersheds. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit. Lawyers for Clean Water represented CSPA in this matter.

Settlement Agreement

Posted in Bill Jennings, Enforcement, Fisheries, Water Quality | Comments Off

CSPA Submits Comments and Testifies at State Board Workshop on Delta Water Availability

On 24 September 2014, CSPA testified at a State Water Resource Control Board (State Board) workshop regarding a proposed order on Central and Southern Delta Water Availability and Use. CSPA had previously submitted comments on 15 September.

The stated purpose of the workshop was to receive comments and discuss the process the State Board should use to address recent allegations by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) that Delta water users were stealing project water. Attached to the hearing notice was a draft order requiring riparian and pre-1914 appropriative water right claimants within the Delta to provide specific information regarding the type of water right and monthly amounts of water diverted under each claim.

CSPA joined South and Central Delta Water Agencies, San Joaquin County and other representatives of Delta landowners in recommending the State Board conduct a formal evidentiary hearing, with cross-examination and rebuttal. Baring that, CSPA and Delta interests recommended that all parties agree to refer the matter to court to address the factual and legal issues.

CSPA characterized the process as a witch hunt and compared the State Board to a store manager, facing allegations of missing inventory, who didn’t know how much inventory was delivered to the store or how much or by what means inventory was removed and who proposed to address the problem by installing a checkout counter for a small subset of customers: in this case, Delta farmers. CSPA pointed out that: actual Delta outflow, natural inflow, accretions and channel losses in both the tributaries and Delta are all calculated “guestimates;” the projects had “commingled riparian and stored water and that “abandoned water” in the Delta was subject to public trust requirements and the water rights seniority system.

CSPA suggested that if the State Board desired to pursue allegations that Delta farmers were illegally taking water belonging to the state and federal projects, it needs to first determine whether the water DWR and USBR claim is being taken actually reaches the Delta and whether the projects have legal rights to it. It must quantify the volume and source of commingled water in both upstream waters and the Delta Pool and then sort out the legal rights to that water.

The State Board was clearly troubled by the testimony and made no decision. Earlier, the Board had clarified that CSPA’s formal 13 August complaint alleging that DWR and USBR had been illegally exporting water and petition to adjudicate Central Valley waters would be considered separately.

CSPA Comments   South Delta Water Agency Comments   Central Delta Water Agency Comments

Posted in Bill Jennings, California Delta, Fisheries, Water Quality, Water Rights | Comments Off

CSPA Submits Comments and Testifies on State Board Hearing on Order Denying Petitions for Reconsideration of Emergency Orders

On 24 September 2014, CSPA testified at the State Water Resource Control Board’s (State Board) hearing on the draft Order denying petitions for reconsideration and addressing objections regarding the Temporary Urgency Change Petitions (TUCP) for operation of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. CSPA, CWIN and AquAlliance had submitted comments on the proposed Order on 16 September.

Between 31 January and 2 May, the State Board issued eight TUCP orders modifying and relaxing water quality and flow standards for the Delta. CSPA and a number of others filed formal protests of the emergency orders and CSPA and five other parties filed Petitions for Reconsideration.

CSPA pointed out that the relaxed standards and reduced outflows had a catastrophic impact to listed species and in-Delta beneficial uses and that export pumping should have been curtailed before Delta water quality and flow standards established for drought conditions were discarded. CSPA characterized the TUOP process as an egregious backroom violation of due process and urged the State Board to establish an open public process for any subsequent emergency actions.

Despite almost uniform criticism of the order by environmental and fishing groups and Delta and north-state water agencies, the State Board adopted the order with few changes.

CSPA Comments on Draft Order

Posted in Bill Jennings, California Delta, Fisheries, Water Quality, Water Rights | Comments Off

CSPA Settles Lawsuit Against Santa Cruz Concrete Facility

On 24 September 2014, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Las Animas Concrete & Building Supply for violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit. Las Animas operates a 2.4-acre concrete production plant in Santa Cruz, California. The lawsuit alleged that the facility discharged polluted stormwater into the San Lorenzo River.

The settlement agreement obligates Las Animas to comply fully with the Clean Water Act, develop and implement a suite of Best Management Practices and structural improvements, conduct more frequent and comprehensive monitoring and prepare an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The agreement incorporates provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded.

As mitigation for past violations, Las Animas agreed to send $15,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to fund environmental projects to improve water quality in local watersheds. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit. The Law Offices of Andrew Packard represented CSPA in this matter.

Settlement Agreement

Posted in Bill Jennings, Enforcement, Fisheries, Water Quality | Comments Off

CSPA Settles Lawsuit Against Lincoln Ready-Mix Plant

On 24 September 2014, CSPA settled a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Syar Concrete, LLC and Syar Industries, Inc. for violations of the Clean Water Act and California’s General Industrial Stormwater Permit. Syar operates a readymix concrete batch plant facility in Lincoln, California. The lawsuit alleged that the facility discharged polluted stormwater into Markham Ravine, which flows to the Sacramento River.

The settlement agreement obligates Syar to comply fully with the Clean Water Act, develop and implement a suite of Best Management Practices and structural improvements, conduct more frequent and comprehensive monitoring and prepare an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. The agreement incorporates provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded.

As mitigation for past violations, Syar agreed to send $30,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to fund environmental projects to improve water quality in local watersheds. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit. Lawyers for Clean Water represented CSPA in this matter.

Settlement Agreement

Posted in Bill Jennings, Enforcement, Fisheries, Water Quality | Comments Off

CSPA Files Comments and Objection to June Lakes TUCP Petition and Order

On 19 September 2014, CSPA submitted comments and a formal objection to a temporary urgency change petition and order regarding a change in required minimum flows past the June Lake Public Utility District’s (JLPUD) Fern Creek diversion facility. CSPA pointed out that JLPUD’s temporary change petition was identical to he District’s previous petition for permanent change to cut flows to one-eighth of requirements agreed to in 1998. The JLPUD provided no evidence that the proposed flow reduction is protective of Brook trout and other fishery resources in Fern Creek.

CSPA Comments and Objection

Posted in Bill Jennings, Fisheries, Miscellaneous, Water Rights | Comments Off