The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) have made available for public review and comment the Draft Program Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft PEIS/R) for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP). The joint document describes the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of implementing the SJRRP. The SJRRP is being implemented by Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and DWR.
The SJRRP is a comprehensive, long-term effort to restore flows to the San Joaquin River from Friant Dam to the confluence of the Merced River to restore a self-sustaining Chinook salmon fishery in the river, and reduce or avoid adverse water supply impacts from restoration flows. The SJRRP implements the Stipulation of Settlement (Settlement) in NRDC, et al., v. Rodgers, et al., that resolved more than 18 years of litigation related to Reclamation’s operation of Friant Dam.
The Draft PEIS/R, which has been under development for three years, includes the schedule as agreed to in the Settlement. Reclamation recognizes that some actions required by the Settlement are unavoidably behind schedule. This includes certain channel and structural improvement projects that may be beneficial for successful reintroduction of salmon. Reclamation will promptly initiate consultation with the parties to the Settlement to develop a new schedule based upon the PEIS/R that assures implementation of the Restoration Program in a manner that addresses the requirements of the Settlement for expeditious action while meeting the requirements of the legislation to minimize impacts on third party interests.
Reclamation and DWR are holding four public hearings to solicit input on the Draft PEIS/R. Each public hearing will include an open house portion where SJRRP staff will be available to talk with the interested public. Following the open house portion, a formal public hearing will be held to gather comments. The meetings will be held:
Tuesday, May 24, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Lamp Liter Inn Ballroom, 3300 West Mineral King Avenue
Tuesday, May 24, 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Piccadilly Inn – University, Grand Ballroom, 4961 North Cedar Avenue
Wednesday, May 25, 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Merced County Fairgrounds, Germino Room, 403 “F” Street
Thursday, May 26, 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m., Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, John Q. Ballroom, 300 J Street
The joint document was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act to evaluate implementing the Settlement and considers the alternative actions that will be implemented over the next several years, as specified in the Settlement, toward achieving the SJRRP goals.
The Draft PEIS/R is available for public review and comment for 60 days. Written comments must be received at one of the following physical or e-mail addresses no later than 5 p.m. (PDT) on Tuesday, June 21, 2011:
Ms. Michelle Banonis
SJRRP Natural Resources Specialist
Bureau of Reclamation
2800 Cottage Way, MP-170
Sacramento, CA 95825-1898
Ms. Fran Schulte
SJRRP Program Office
Department of Water Resources
South Central Region Office
3374 E. Shields Avenue
Fresno, CA 93726
The Draft PEIS/R may be reviewed during normal business hours (from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at:
• Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Regional Office, 2800 Cottage Way, MP-170, Sacramento, CA 95825
• Reclamation’s South-Central California Area Office, 1243 N Street, Fresno, CA 93721
• DWR South Central Region Office, 3374 E. Shields Avenue, Fresno, CA 93726
• Several public libraries in Fresno, Madera, Merced and Stanislaus Counties listed on the SJRRP website at www.restoresjr.net.
The Executive Summary and Draft PEIS/R are also available on Reclamation’s website at www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=2940 or on the SJRRP website at www.restoresjr.net.
If you would like to request a copy of the Executive Summary or a compact disc containing the document, please contact Margaret Gidding, Bureau of Reclamation, at 916-978-5461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the SJRRP, please visit www.restoresjr.net.