[Federal Register: February 22, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 34)]
[Page 8605-8606]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Reclamation

Fish and Wildlife Service

Long-Term Environmental Water Account, San Francisco Bay/
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, CA

AGENCY: Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement/
environmental impact report (EIS/EIR) and notice of public scoping 


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and 
the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Bureau of 
Reclamation (Reclamation), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the 
California Department of Water Resources (DWR) intend to prepare an 
EIS/EIR for implementing the Long-Term Environmental Water Account 
(EWA). Reclamation and the FWS are the joint lead Federal agencies and 
NOAA Fisheries is a cooperating agency. DWR is the lead State agency 
and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is the responsible agency and 
trustee agency. A Draft EIS/EIR is expected to be available December 
    The EWA has been established to provide water for the protection 
and recovery of fish beyond water available through existing regulatory 
actions related to the Central Valley Project/State Water Project 
(Project) operations. The EWA is a cooperative management program whose 
purpose is to provide protection to the fish of the Bay-Delta estuary 
through environmentally beneficial changes in project operations. This 
approach to fish protection requires the acquisition of alternative 
sources of Project water supply, called ``assets,'' which will be used 
to augment streamflows and Delta outflows, modify exports to provide 
fishery benefits, and repay the Project contractors whose supplies have 
been interrupted by actions taken to benefit fish. The period of 
analysis for the purposes of the EIS/EIR is through 2030.

[[Page 8606]]

DATES: A series of public scoping meetings will be held to solicit 
public input on alternatives, concerns, and issues to be addressed in 
the Long-Term EWA EIS/EIR as follows:
     Wednesday, March 9, 2005, 10 a.m., Sacramento, CA
     Thursday, March 10, 2005, 6 p.m. Fresno, CA
     Monday, March 14, 2005, 6 p.m. Red Bluff, CA
     Tuesday, March 15, 2005, 6 p.m. Tracy, CA
     Wednesday, March 23, 2005, 4 p.m. Los Angeles CA
    Written comments on the scope of the EIS/EIR should be mailed to 
Reclamation at the address below by 30 days after the date of the last 
scoping meeting.

ADDRESSES: The public scoping meeting locations are:
     Sacramento at the Best Western Inn, 1413 Howe Avenue, Expo 
     Fresno at the Fresno Radisson, 2233 Ventura Street, Salon 
     Red Bluff at the Red Bluff Community Center, 1500 Jackson 
Road, West Wing, Red Bluff
     Tracy at Anthony's Steak House and Banquet Room/VFW Hall, 
430 West Grant Line Road
     Los Angeles at Metropolitan Water District, 700 N. Alameda 
Street, Room 1-102
    Written comments on the scope of the EIS/EIR should be sent to Ms. 
Sammie Cervantes, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, 
CA 95825.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Cervantes at the above address or 
916-978-5104, TDD 916-978-5608; or Ms. Delores Brown, Department of 
Water Resources, 3251 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95816 or 916-227-2407.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The CALFED Bay Delta Program is a long-term 
comprehensive plan to restore ecological health and improve water 
management for beneficial uses in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San 
Joaquin Delta (Bay-Delta) estuary system. The agencies that signed the 
Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final Programmatic EIS/EIR on August 
20, 2000, committed to implement the CALFED Bay-Delta Program. The EWA 
is one component of the long-term comprehensive plan adopted in the 
CALFED Bay-Delta Program ROD.
    To achieve the program purpose, the long-term plan addresses 
problems of the Bay-Delta system within each of four resource 
categories: ecosystem quality, water quality, water supply reliability, 
and levee system integrity. CALFED agencies identified a need in the 
ROD for additional fisheries protection measures above and beyond the 
existing baseline regulatory measures to speed recovery of listed fish 
species. The establishment of the EWA was a key component of this 
additional protection.
    The EWA is a cooperative management program involving five CALFED 
agencies that have responsibility for implementing the EWA. The FWS, 
NOAA Fisheries, and DFG, collectively referred to as the Management 
Agencies, have the primary responsibility for determining how to manage 
the EWA assets to benefit long-term survival of fish species, including 
those listed under State and Federal Endangered Species Acts. 
Reclamation and DWR, collectively referred to as the Project Agencies, 
work with the Management Agencies in administering the EWA, and are 
responsible for the following actions that may include, but are not 
limited to, acquiring, banking, borrowing, transferring, making 
operational changes, and arranging for the conveyance of EWA assets.

Current Activities

    Reclamation, DWR, FWS, NOAA Fisheries, and DFG, collectively 
referred to as the EWA Agencies, completed the Final EWA EIS/EIR for 
the Short-Term EWA in January 2004. The March 2004 ROD and Notice of 
Determination for the Short-Term EIS/EIR documented the decision to 
implement the preferred alternative termed the Flexible Purchase 
Alternative. The Flexible Purchase Alternative allows the EWA Agencies 
to purchase up to 600,000 acre-feet of water to use for fish actions 
through the following acquisition and management methods: (1) Delta 
operations: altering Delta Project operations, when environmental 
conditions allow, to export additional water (also called variable 
assets); (2) Water purchases: purchasing water from willing sellers 
both upstream from the Delta and within the Export Service Area; (3) 
Water storage: purchasing stored water from the Export Service Area 
sources to be used as collateral for borrowing (released only when all 
other assets have been expended), and to function as long-term storage 
space after the water has been released; (4) Source shifting: delaying 
delivery of water to a Project contractor, who would use water from an 
alternative source until the water is paid back; and (5) Exchanges: the 
Project Agencies may exchange EWA assets for assets of character, such 
as location, seasonality, or year-type, more suitable to EWA purposes. 
The September 2004 ROD and March 2004 Notice of Determination for the 
Short-Term EIS/EIR documented the decision to implement the Flexible 
Purchase Alternative through December 31, 2007.

Alternative Measures

    The Long-Term EWA EIS/EIR will focus on alternative strategies for 
obtaining assets through 2030. The asset acquisition and management 
tools described in the Short-Term EWA EIS/EIR will be expanded in the 
Long-Term EWA EIS/EIR to include source shifting and purchase of stored 
reservoir water from additional reservoirs, groundwater substitution 
and banking in additional counties, crop idling in additional counties, 
as well as idling different crops. The alternative formulation process 
will also include evaluating permanent land idling, conservation, 
recycled water, and desalination as methods for acquiring assets.
    If special assistance is required at the scoping meetings, contact 
Ms. Sammie Cervantes, Reclamation, at 916-989-5104. Please notify Ms. 
Cervantes as far in advance of the meetings as possible to enable 
Reclamation to secure the needed services. If a request cannot be 
honored, the requestor will be notified. A telephone device for the 
hearing impaired (TDD) is available at 916-978-5608.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review. Individual 
respondents may request that we withhold their home address from public 
disclosure, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There 
also may be circumstances in which we would withhold a respondent's 
identity from public disclosure, as allowable by law. If you wish us to 
withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at 
the beginning of your comment. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public disclosure in their entirety.

    Dated: February 15, 2005.
Michael Nepstad,
Deputy Regional Environmental Officer, Mid-Pacific Region, Bureau of 
    Dated: February 15, 2005.
Wayne White,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-3277 Filed 2-18-05; 8:45 am]