Thursday, June 29, 2017

Feds determine no endangered species jeopardized, approve Delta water tunnels

California Governor Jerry Brown’s plan for two massive tunnels to divert water from the state's largest river, the Sacramento, to the farm-rich Central Valley and populous Southern California, won’t threaten endangered species, federal agencies say. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Monday that federal agencies responsible under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have given the project first approval after concluding that the proposed tunnels would not jeopardize the existence of endangered species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a central hub of the state’s water system. In their biological opinions, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) both concluded that the project “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence” of endangered or threatened species or “destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat” for those species. The $15.7 billion proposed project, dubbed “WaterFix,” calls for the construction of two massive 35-mile-long tunnels to carry water from the Sacramento River to existing pumping plants in the south Delta. The project has been in the planning stages for more than a decade...more

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