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CSPA September 21st Report to NCCFFI

by Cindy Charles, Golden West Fly Fishers

The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) has been in the trenches fighting for fisheries and water quality on multiple fronts during this historic 2021 drought. Here is a link to our website for the most current news

 Recent activities include:

  • Sacramento RiverOn August 26th, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, AquAlliance and the California Water Impact Network filed a lawsuit in federal District Court against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over the plans of a group of Sacramento River Settlement Contractors to pump extra groundwater in 2021.  Reclamation’s Plan would enable further groundwater pumping from an already depleted groundwater basin during the current drought.  It is noteworthy that these water users have enough river water now to sell to south-of-Delta interests.  The Court denied an injunction against the additional groundwater extraction, and CSPA and allies are appealing the denial.  Meanwhile, the case is pending until later this year and the groundwater extra pumping continues.
  • Yuba River: CSPA gave a presentation on September 17 on lower Yuba River flows in an important public technical workshop at the State Water Board.  The subject of the workshop was the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the FERC relicensing of the Yuba River Development Project.  The purpose of the workshop was to review the technical issues raised in petitions for reconsideration of the Certification.  Project owner Yuba Water Agency, CDFW, and a coalition of NGO’s, including CSPA, each filed petitions.  NGO Petitioners objected to the certification because key conditions related to flows and habitat restoration were vague and kicked the can down the road on controversial issues, including flow.  CSPA expects the CA Water Board to make a final decision on the petitions in an upcoming meeting.
  • California Drought Plan:  CSPA has been providing timely and extensive feedback on drought planning responses to the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Water Resources, who “manage” the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.  Most recently, CSPA appeared before the State Water Board on September 21 to advocate for an immediate halt to water transfers from Sacramento River Settlement Contractors to farmers south of the Delta.  Cessation of these transfers would increase end-of-November storage in Shasta Reservoir by over 100,000 acre-feet.  CSPA told the Board : 

[S]tart now to keep the present condition from getting worse. Specifically, the Board should act now to end the ongoing water transfers that BOR is making on behalf of Sacramento River Settlement Contractors from water sourced in Shasta Reservoir. The Board should not allow it to get worse by allowing BOR to complete these transfers in the balance of September and in October.  The August Addendum currently anticipates Shasta storage to be 728 thousand acre-feet.  That storage level is reckless.