DWR releases draft environmental impact report for Delta Conveyance Project

DWR releases final EIR for Delta Conveyance

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project last week. It was redesigned following public input and Governor Newsom’s pledge of rightsizing the project to one tunnel to better support both environmental and water supply needs.

Throughout development of the proposed project, DWR heard from local communities and used feedback to address concerns, with some of these recommendations including: avoiding the central Delta, avoiding forebays and barge landings, reducing pile driving, undergrounding power near sandhill crane habitat, minimizing acreage needed to store tunnel material, and minimizing the project footprint.

The proposed project also includes a Community Benefits Program, with the goal to identify and implement local projects that can provide tangible and lasting local benefits.

“Modernized infrastructure in the Delta is a missing link to the state’s most affordable and reliable source of water,” said Karla Nemeth, Director of the California Department of Water Resources. “Improving water use efficiency and increasing local water supplies is an important compliment to the State Water Project to ensure that a climate proof water supply remains affordable now and into the future.”

The environmental review included a 142-day public comment period in which DWR received more than 700 letters and 7,000 individual comments. Outreach began in 2020 and has included a multitude of webinars, workshops, briefings, multi-language informational materials, email updates, videos, animations, tabling at local events, and a comprehensive Delta survey. The Final EIR responds to all substantive comments.

“We worked hard to address local concerns and made considerable improvements to minimize terrestrial species effects, wetland impacts, noise, air quality impacts, traffic, power needs, boating and waterway effects, land disturbance, and overall project footprint,” said Carrie Buckman, the project’s Environmental Program Manager.

Proposed responses to comments, as well as the Final EIR and accompanying informational resources, can be accessed at www.deltaconveyanceproject.com. This action signifies the last step DWR is required to take under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) prior to deciding whether to certify the EIR and approve the proposed project.

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