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Water Transfer Program for the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, 2005 to 2014

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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Bureau of Reclamation, Interior.


Notice of availability of the joint Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Final EIS/EIR) FES 04-50.


Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority (Exchange Contractors) have prepared a Final EIS/EIR for a 10-year water transfer program. The program would consist of the transfer of up to 130,000 acre-feet of substitute water (a maximum of 80,000 acre-feet of developed water from conservation measures, including tailwater recovery, and groundwater pumping and a maximum of 50,000 acre-feet from temporary land fallowing) from the Exchange Contractors to other Central Valley Project (CVP) contractors, to Reclamation for delivery to the San Joaquin Valley wetland habitat areas (wildlife refuges), and to Reclamation and/or DWR for use by the CALFED Environmental Water Account (EWA) as replacement water for CVP contractors. Reclamation would approve and/or execute short-term and/or long-term temporary water transfers or agreements.

A Notice of Availability of the joint Draft EIS/EIR was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 (69 FR 33659). The written comment period on the Draft EIS/EIR ended Monday, August 2, 2004. The Final EIS and Final EIR contain responses to all comments received and reflect comments and any additional information received during the review period.


Reclamation will not make a decision on the proposed action until at least 30 days after release of the Final EIS/EIR. After the 30-day waiting period, Reclamation will complete a Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD will state the action that will be implemented and will discuss all factors leading to the decision.


A compact disk or a copy of the Final EIS/EIR may be requested from Mr. Bob Eckart, Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, Division of Environmental Affairs, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, California 95825, at (916) 978-5051 (Fax: (916) 978-5055), or by e-mail at The final document is available online at​mp.

See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for locations where copies of the Final EIS/EIR are available for public inspection.

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Mr. Bob Eckart at the above address, by calling (916) 978-5051, or by e-mail:

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The purpose/objective of the proposed 10-year transfer program is the transfer of water from the Exchange Contractors to:

  • South of Delta and Friant Unit CVP contractors to meet demands of agriculture, municipal, and industrial uses,
  • The Department of the Interior's Water Acquisition Program for delivery to the San Joaquin Valley Federal, State, and private wildlife refuges to meet Incremental Level 4 needs, and/or
  • Reclamation and/or DWR for use by the CALFED EWA Program to benefit CVP operations by providing replacement water to CVP contractors.

The Exchange Contractors' proposed water transfer program would assist Reclamation in maximizing the use of limited existing water resources for agriculture, fish and wildlife resources, and municipal and industrial purposes. Water would be transferred to other CVP contractors to support the production of agricultural crops and livestock within the limits of their current agreements. CVP contractors include Santa Clara Valley Water District which is in need of short-term water supplies to support agriculture, municipal, and industrial uses in Santa Clara County. Reclamation's Water Acquisition Program needs additional water to provide the refuges with the increment between Level 2 and Level 4 water quantities for fish and wildlife habitat development. Reclamation and/or DWR may also need to acquire additional CVP water south of the Delta to replace water used for fish protection actions pursuant to CALFED's EWA Program (for the benefit of the CVP).

The water transfers would occur largely within the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. The Exchange Start Printed Page 75087Contractors service area covers parts of Fresno, Madera, Merced, and Stanislaus counties. The agricultural water users that would benefit from the potential transfers are located in the counties of Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Merced, Madera, Fresno, San Benito, Santa Clara, Tulare, Kings, and Kern. The wetland habitat areas that may receive the water are located in Merced, Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties. Water purchased for use by Reclamation and/or DWR for the EWA may be provided to CVP contractors in the West San Joaquin and San Felipe divisions to replace water bypassed at Tracy Pumping Plant pursuant to EWA fish protection actions.

The Draft EIS/EIR addressed impacts associated with water development by the Exchange Contractors and related effects associated with water use by CVP contractors and the wildlife refuges. Resources evaluated for potential direct and indirect effects from the proposed transfer program include: surface water, groundwater, biological (vegetation, wildlife, and fisheries), air quality, land use (including agriculture), socioeconomics, Indian Trust Assets, and environmental justice. An evaluation of cumulative hydrologic and water service area impacts associated with reasonably foreseeable actions is included also.

One public hearing was held on July 7, 2004 in Los Banos, California.

Copies of the Final EIS/EIR are available for public inspection and review at the following locations:

  • Bureau of Reclamation, Office of Public Affairs, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825-1898; telephone: (916) 978-5100.
  • San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, 541 H Street, Los Banos, CA 93635; telephone: (209) 827-8616.
  • California State Library, 914 Capitol Mall, Suite E-29, Sacramento.
  • Resources Agency Library, 1416 Ninth Street, Suite 117, Sacramento.
  • San Francisco Public Library, McAllister and Larkin, San Francisco.
  • Fresno County Public Library, 2420 Mariposa Street, Fresno.
  • Merced County Public Library, 1312 South 7th Street, Los Banos.
  • Santa Clara County Public Library, 10441 Bandley Drive, Cupertino.
  • Kern County Library, 701 Truxton Avenue, Bakersfield.
  • UCD Shields Library, Documents Department, University of California, Davis.
  • UCB Water Resources Center Archives, 410 O'Brien Hall, Berkeley.

It is Reclamation's policy to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address from public disclosure, which will be honored to the extent allowable by law. There may be circumstances in which a respondent's identity may also be withheld from public disclosure, as allowable by law. If you wish to have your name and/or address withheld, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety.

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Dated: November 19, 2004.

John F. Davis,

Deputy Regional Director, Mid-Pacific Region.

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[FR Doc. 04-27389 Filed 12-14-04; 8:45 am]