'Biological Assessment' Released for Big California Tunnels Project
"California officials Tuesday released a detailed environmental blueprint for Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial Delta tunnels project," reports Dale Kasler, "saying the $15.5 billion plan 'minimizes potential effects' on endangered fish species whose populations have dwindled following decades of water pumping."
The California Department of Water Resources released the revised "biological assessment" (after releasing a draft version last fall) as a necessary step in the lengthy planning process for the tunnels project. "Two federal agencies responsible for overseeing the Delta’s fish population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, now have to take the document and decide whether the tunnels would violate the Endangered Species Act," adds Kasler. California officials are hoping to have federal approval for the project before President Obama leaves office.
The tunnels project, of incredible significance to the state of California for its potential effect on water supply infrastructure and the environment, "would divert a portion of the Sacramento River’s flow near Clarksburg, and send that water via twin tunnels 30 miles to the Delta pumping stations near Tracy."