B.F. Sisk Dam Seismic Upgrade Environmental Documents Released by Federal and State Agencies

By on April 16, 2019
Environmentalists propose new water bond

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for B.F. Sisk Dam in Merced County is now available for a 45-day public review period. The EIS/EIR for prepared jointly by the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources.

The 382-foot tall, earth-filled B.F. Sisk Dam retains San Luis Reservoir, which is the nation’s largest off-stream reservoir and serves both California’s State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. The dam and reservoir are located about 10 miles west of Los Banos in the Diablo Range to the east of Pacheco Pass. The dam is capable of storing more than two-million-acre feet of water.

The Draft EIS/EIR evaluates the potential direct and indirect environmental impacts of alternatives that would avoid destabilization of the dam embankment, reduce safety concern, and maintain water supply deliveries to state and federal water contractors during a seismic event. The proposed EIS/EIR was initiated as part of Reclamation’s Safety of Dams program.

“B.F. Sisk is a key component to both the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project,” said Ernest Conant, Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Regional Director. “We are pleased to release this joint document for review and comment.”

Two public meetings to receive feedback on topics addressed in the Draft EIS/EIR have been scheduled and written comments can also be mailed to either Reclamation or the state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) by Friday, May 28.

The two public meetings will be held:

  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Federal Building, Cafeteria Conference Rooms, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Miller and Lux Building, 830 6th Street, Los Banos

Written comments on the environmental documents must be received by close of business on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Comments can be mailed to: Jamie LeFevre, Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way MP-152, Sacramento, CA 95825 or by email to jlefevre@usbr.gov,  or to Shelly Amrhein, DWR, P.O. Box 942836, Sacramento, CA 94236-0001, emailed to rochelle.amrhein@water.ca.gov, or faxed to 916-653-2960. For additional information or a CD document copy, contact Amrhein at 916-653-6973.

The Notice of Availability and Draft EIS/EIR may be viewed on Reclamation’s website at: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=34281; DWR’s website at https://water.ca.gov/News/Public-Notices/New-Public-Notice-Folder/BF-Sisk-Dam-EIS-and-EIR; at 1416 Ninth Street, Room 604-8 in Sacramento; Los Banos Public Library at 1312 Seventh St. in Los Banos; or by emailing rochelle.amrhein@water.ca.gov.