[env-trinity] Trinity Journal Delta Council: ‘No impact’ on Trinity

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed May 29 08:00:04 PDT 2013

Delta Council: ‘No impact’ on Trinity
In OUR OPINION: Council ignores North State watershed impacts, page 4

Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 6:15 am
By Sally Morris The Trinity Journal | 0 comments
The California Delta Stewardship Council has given short shrift to Trinity County’s demands that a proposed Delta Plan and Bay-Delta Conservation Plan include protections for the Trinity River and its beneficial uses to the county of origin.
The Trinity County Board of Supervisors in January enumerated a detailed list of concerns in comments submitted to the Delta Stewardship Council on a re-circulated draft Environmental Impact Report for the Delta Plan.
The plan’s focus is to provide a more reliable water supply for the rest of the state and to protect, restore and enhance the Delta ecosystem. To be incorporated into the Delta Plan if certain criteria are met is the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan that proposes construction of two peripheral tunnels to convey water from north to south under and around the Delta, thus avoiding environmental and pumping constraints currently in effect.
Trinity County supervisors found the draft environmental documents “extremely deficient” at describing the relationship of the Trinity River to the Delta and they concluded the river is not adequately protected from plans to restore the Delta and provide more reliable water supply to the state.
The county recommended that the Delta Plan include specific protections for the waters of the Trinity River basin including conformance with minimum instream flows set forth in the Trinity River Record of Decision; compliance with Trinity River temperature objectives to protect fisheries; a requirement to maintain a minimum Sept. 30 carryover storage in Trinity Lake of 1.25 million acre-feet of water to sustain fisheries during a multi-year drought; and elimination of so-called “paper water” by conforming the amount available for export to the Central Valley to the river’s actual water supply.
The Board of Supervisors argued that the Delta Plan as currently drafted would adversely affect Trinity River basin recreation, fisheries, hydropower and water quality, but there is no acknowledgement of the impacts nor any kind of mitigation identified.
The board recommended that the draft EIR and proposed regulations be reissued again with a proper analysis of impacts to the Trinity River basin and appropriate mitigation, saying the current Delta Plan and draft EIR do not meet the requirements of California law.
A response has been received from the Delta Stewardship Council, simply referring most of the county’s comments to two separate master responses, many pages in length, that were sent to multiple commenting agencies under the headings of “project description” and “water supply.”
The response to Trinity County also notes that while the Trinity River watershed is included in the study area because it provides water to the Delta through Central Valley Project operations, the Delta Plan does not directly or indirectly affect actions that occur in the Trinity River watershed and “no significant environmental impacts would occur due to implementation of the Delta Plan.”
The only other specific response dismissed the paragraph regarding instream flow protections, water temperature objectives, a minimum pool and elimination of paper water as comments on the project and not on the EIR, saying “economic impacts are not effects on the environment under CEQA and are not analyzed in the EIR.”
“The county’s comments were not responded to, but rather told they were not relevant to the environmental analysis,” said Tom Stokely, a former Trinity County resident and senior planner who now works as a water policy analyst with the California Water Impact Network, C-WIN. “There is also an unsupported statement that the Trinity River would not be affected, yet it is plumbed to the Delta.”
A nonprofit corporation that says its purpose is to advocate for the equitable and environmentally sensitive use of California’s water, C-WIN will be filing a lawsuit against approval of the Delta Plan by mid-June, Stokely said.
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