Army Corps Releases Draft EIS on Delta Conveyance Project
Army Corps Releases Draft EIS on Delta Conveyance Project

On December 19, 2022, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), Sacramento District released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Delta Conveyance Project. The Army Corps is the federal agency tasked with evaluating the Delta Conveyance Project for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Cooperating federal agencies include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The Delta Conveyance Project is the California Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) proposal to build an underground tunnel to bring water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the State Water Project pumps near Tracy in order to increase water supply reliability, and mitigate seismic and climate change risks to the State’s water supplies. The Delta Conveyance Project is the most recent iteration of a project that has been in the works for many years, formerly known as the California WaterFix.

The Army Corps’ statement says that the Draft EIS evaluates the following significant impacts: aesthetics and visual resources; agricultural resources; air quality; biological resources (fisheries and aquatic organisms, vegetation and wildlife, and wetlands and waters); climate change, cultural resources; environmental justice; flood protection; geology, soils, and paleontological resources; groundwater; hazards and hazardous materials; land use; navigation; noise; recreation; socioeconomics and public health; surface water; transportation; public services, utilities and energy; water quality; and water supply.

The Draft EIS is prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, and follows on the heels of DWR’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR), which evaluates a project’s compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The agencies coordinated throughout the preparation of the two documents, although the Draft EIS and Draft EIR operate as independent documents.

Differences between the Army Corps’ Draft EIS and DWR’s Draft EIR include that the Army Corps is not a project proponent whereas DWR is; the Army Corps’ review is limited to the parts of the project which are under its purview, including actions under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Sections 10 and 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act; and the Draft EIS evaluates five project alternatives whereas the Draft EIR evaluates nine.

Comments must be submitted to the Army Corps’ Sacramento District office by February 14, 2023.

  • Alexander J. Van Roekel

    Alex Van Roekel provides counsel to clients on state and federal water law issues, including compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, litigation strategy in both state and federal court and public policy within the ...

California Water Views provides timely and insightful updates on the water sector in the state. We relay information on how water legislation and policy from the nation’s capital, Sacramento, and around the U.S. affect California’s water utilities, agencies, practitioners, and consumers.  We also write about important events, conferences, legal cases, and other key happenings involving all things water in and around California.

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