On 28 February 2011, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance joined with AquAlliance and the California Water Impact Network in submitting scoping comments for the Environmental Impact Report/Statement (EIR/EIS) of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s proposed long-term water transfer program. The Bureau and the San Luis/Delta Mendota Water Authority are the lead agencies for the ten-year project that envisions transferring 600,000 acre-feet of water from north to south.
The water transfer program will operate between 2012 and 2022. Potential sellers and buyers of water have not been identified but the project has the potential to significantly harm the fisheries and groundwater resources of Northern California.
The comments pointed out that the Department of Water Resources should be the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act and that the EIR/EIS must provide an accurate project description and environmental baseline, consider direct and reduced-demand alternatives and thoroughly analyze impacts to listed species, critical habitat and recovery plans, including cumulative impacts.
The Draft EIR/EIS is scheduled to be completed in July 2011 followed by public meetings during August 2011 and a final document released in January 2012.