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Bay-Delta Office
Department of Water Resources

1416 9th Street,
Sacramento, Ca 95814

Mailing Address:
P. O. Box 942836,
Sacramento, Ca 94236-0001

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SDIP Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the project sponsors?
What actions are proposed under the South Delta Improvements Program?
Why is SDIP proposed?
What is the purpose of the SDIP?
How would the proposed permanent gates be operated?
How would the plan to increase the maximum diversion rate into Clifton Court Forebay to 8500 cfs be implemented?
When would the project be implemented?
How much will SDIP cost?
How will SDIP be financed?
How would SDIP affect Bay-Delta fisheries?
How would SDIP affect Delta recreation and boating?
How would SDIP affect Bay-Delta water quality?
What is the relation or connection of SDIP to the CALFED Bay-Delta Program?
Who should I contact if I want more information?

Who are the project sponsors?
The United States Bureau of Reclamation (Department of Interior) and the California Department of Water Resources are the lead Federal and State agencies, respectively, for SDIP.

What actions are proposed under the South Delta Improvements Program?
The South Delta Improvements Program (SDIP) is a series of interrelated actions to manage water levels and water quality, protect fish and provide increased flexibility for operations of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP).

The specific actions include the following: (1) Replace a seasonal rock gate installed to protect fish with a permanent operable gate at the Head of Old River, (2) replace three seasonal rock gates with permanent operable flow gates on Middle River, Grantline Canal and Old River (near the city of Tracy),,(3) improve flow conditions in south Delta channels with limited dredging in Middle River, Old River and West Canal, (4) extend 24 existing local agricultural diversions in the south Delta to deeper water to limit the necessity for more frequent gate operations and 5) increase the permitted diversion capacity at the SWP Clifton Court Forebay to allow more operational flexibility to increase diversion rates when the increase will not harm the Delta’s fisheries or local agricultural users.

Why is SDIP proposed?
The SDIP is proposed in response to three important water management needs:
1. The operations of the SWP and CVP export facilities in the south Delta can change flow patterns in the local channels. This can cause migrating San Joaquin River fall- /late fall-run Chinook salmon, a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act, to move into the south Delta, primarily through Old River where fish mortality increases due to predators and higher levels of exposure to export facilities and agricultural diversions. Keeping fall- and late fall-run Chinook salmon in the main channel of the San Joaquin River until they reach the central Delta may increase their survival.

2. Local South Delta water users downstream of the head of Old River are affected by water quality and water levels at each intake location. These conditions are influenced by many factors, one of which is diversions in the south Delta by the SWP and CVP.

3. There are unmet water supply needs, with respect to quantity and reliability, south of the Delta for agriculture, municipal and industrial, and environmental uses.

What is the purpose of the SDIP?
The purpose of the SDIP consists of three objectives:
1. reduce the movement of San Joaquin River watershed Central Valley fall-/late fall–run juvenile Chinook salmon into the south Delta via Old River;

2. maintain adequate water levels and water quality available for agricultural diversions in the south Delta, downstream of the head of Old River; and

3. increase water deliveries and delivery reliability for SWP and CVP water contractors south of the Delta and provide opportunities to convey water for fish and wildlife purposes by increasing the maximum diversion through the existing intake gates at CCF to 8,500 cfs.

Meeting these objectives by implementing the SDIP will provide increased operational flexibility and the ability to respond to real-time fish conditions while improving water supply reliability.

The four permanent, operable gates proposed through SDIP will replace the current, cumbersome, seasonable rock gates that have been installed by DWR since 1990. The operable gates provide operational flexibility that the seasonable rock gates do not have. This flexibility will allow the gates to be operated on a “real-time” basis in response to unanticipated, changing conditions in the south Delta region.

How would the proposed permanent gates be operated?
The flow control gates would be operated from April through November on an as-needed basis to protect water levels and water quality for local agricultural diversions. The gate at the Head of Old River would normally be closed from mid-April through mid-May during the outmigration period for San Joaquin River salmon smelts and from September through October, as needed, to improve dissolved oxygen content on the stretch of the San Joaquin River from Old River to the Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel for inmigrating adult salmon during the pre-spawning period. Operation of the gates outside of these “pre-set” periods would only be on an as-needed basis subject to prior approval by State and federal fish and wildlife agencies.

How would the plan to increase the maximum diversion rate into Clifton Court Forebay to 8500 cfs be implemented?
DWR and Reclamation plan to implement the proposed actions under SDIP in two separate and distinct stages. The Final EIR/S for SDIP (scheduled for release in Spring 2006) will identify a preferred alternative for gate construction and operation, channel dredging and agricultural diversion relocation (Stage 1 actions). The Final EIR/S will include a range of alternatives for increasing the maximum diversion limit for CCF up to 8500 cfs (Stage 2 action) but will not identify a preferred alternative. After the Stage 1 decision documents are completed (Record of Decision and Notice of Determination), various public workshops and forums will be held around the State to gather further public input before identifying a preferred alternative for increasing the diversion limit to 8500 cfs. Once the preferred 8500 alternative has been identified, it will be submitted to the public for further review/comment and a final decision will be made by DWR and Reclamation in a subsequent ROD/NOD. The preferred 8500 alternative would be implemented after the completion of construction of the Stage 1 actions.

When would the project be implemented?
There is currently no implementation schedule

How much will SDIP cost?
The total estimated cost of the project is $111.6 million dollars in 2005, and a new estimate has not been prepared.

How will SDIP be financed?
Various sources of funding are available to fund SDIP, including monies from voter-approved Propositions 204 (approved in 1995), 13 (approved in 2000), 50 (approved in 2002), the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act, CVP, SWP and local funds. The specific cost-sharing to meet the total project cost has not been determined.

How would SDIP affect Bay-Delta fisheries?
If the four gate configuration is approved, the permanent gates on Middle River, Old River near Tracy and Grantline Canal will improve circulation in local south Delta channels. The improvement in circulation will benefit water quality and dissolved oxygen levels beyond the current conditions with rock gates. Also, the gate at the Head of Old River will impede fish from migrating from the San Joaquin River into the interior south Delta, where they could be exposed to further loss from the effects of local agricultural diversions and the operation of CVP and SWP export facilities.

In the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service Operations Criteria and Plan Biological Opinion the SDIP was determined to impact endangered migratory fish and their critical habitat.
DWR and Reclamation will utilize specific protective measures during times when permanent south Delta gates are constructed and dredging/diversion relocations are conducted to ensure no harm is caused to Delta fisheries.

How would SDIP affect Delta recreation and boating?
The permanent gates (except the Middle River gate) will feature boat locks to avoid any potential adverse effects to Delta boaters. This will be a net improvement to the existing rock gates, which have seasonal boat ramps at gate sites. No adverse effects to boating or recreation are expected from SDIP.

How would SDIP affect Bay-Delta water quality?
Detailed hydrodynamic and water quality studies of SDIP have concluded that there will not be any significant adverse effects to Bay-Delta water quality from SDIP implementation. In addition, DWR and Reclamation will work to identify and implement additional actions that may be needed to provide for the continuous improvement in water quality called for in the CALFED Program.

What is the relation or connection of SDIP to the CALFED Bay-Delta Program?
The August 28, 2000 CALFED Record of Decision specified that: (1) permanent gate installation, (2) selective channel dredging and, (3) agricultural diversion modifications, be carried out to improve conditions for local agricultural diverters (Pages 50-52, Volume 1). In addition, maximum diversion capability at SWP’s Clifton Court Forebay was to be increased to 8500 cfs and subsequently 10,300 cfs provided that new fish screens were installed at CCF (page 49, Volume 1).

After two years of study, the cost of new fish screens at CCF was estimated to be $1 to 2 billion dollars. Due to the enormity of the cost, CALFED decided that SDIP should only propose an 8500 cfs increase, with the 10,300 cfs increase and new CCF fish screens requiring further detailed studies.

SDIP’s actions are also included in the August 12, 2004 Delta Improvements Package Implementation Plan adopted by CALFED. The DIP clarifies the roles, responsibilities and commitments of State and Federal agencies to implement programs, projects, evaluations and other undertakings focused on the Delta region that advance CALFED’s goals.

Who should I contact if I want more information?
Contact Mr. Bob Pedlar  of DWR at (916) 653-5085.



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