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DWR Submits Permit Application to The Corps

DWR Submits Permit Application to The Corps

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On August 26, 2015, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for California WaterFix, a project that aims to modernize the way water is diverted from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.  This milestone brings additional opportunities for public participation in regulatory processes, including public comment.

This application starts a Corps environmental review process, which runs parallel to the environmental review process required of project proponents, DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), under the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.  The Corps’ process will consider whether to issue a permit to construct the California WaterFix project, for portions which would occur in waters of the United States, and involve activities triggering the Corps’ regulatory authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. In coordination with this application, DWR also will be requesting approval from the Corps under Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act for elements of the project that may affect federal levees or other federal projects.

The Corps’ public notice was published today (September 9, 2015), starting their 30-day comment period. Find the Corps’ notice here: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Media/RegulatoryPublicNotices/tabid/1035/Article/616568/spk-2008-00861-california-waterfix-project.aspx

DWR has been working closely with both the Corps and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect aquatic resources of national importance. At the public notice stage of the Section 404 permit process, it is anticipated that EPA will take a procedural action to identify the Delta as an aquatic resource of national importance (ARNI), and will issue a “paragraph 3A” or “ARNI letter” to preserve future coordination opportunities, sometimes known as “404q process.” This additional level of review will provide the opportunity for DWR and Reclamation to continue to collaborate with the Corps and EPA to further minimize potential impacts of the project.

More information about the 404 permit process here: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permitting/StandardPermits.aspx

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