The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service gave a crucial green light for the intensely controversial and ambitious California WaterFix project, which would pump water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
"The Delta tunnels got a crucial green light Monday from two federal agencies, whose scientists said they’ve determined that the controversial project can co-exist with the endangered fish that inhabit the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta," report Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow.
More specifically, "the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service said the $15.5 billion tunnels aren’t likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the Delta smelt, Chinook salmon, steelhead and other threatened species," according to Kasler and Sabalow. The biological opinions, as the reports are called, reversed course somewhat in the months between draft form and final form. An op-ed by Matt Weiser, published in May, used the draft biological opinions to build an argument making just the opposite point: that the project will make life worse for fish.
2017 has long been circled on the calendar as a critical year for the so-called WaterFix project, which in previous iterations this decade has been called the peripheral canal project or the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. A peripheral canal proposal was also defeated by voters in 1982 [pdf].
The article quotes Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District, who says the release of the biological opinions is a "huge milestone" for the project. Ryan Sabalow reported in December that the state signed off on the project in December, and that construction could begin in 2018.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Hawai’i Transportation Projects Receive Federal Grants
State officials say they need around $15 billion to mitigate the impacts of rising seas.
Feds Announce Over $3 Billion in Homelessness Assistance Funding
The Continuum of Care grants are directed to programs that provide supportive services and boost housing stability.
AI’s Growing Threat to Climate Justice
Emerging technologies like AI have great promise for climate innovation, but also a hidden environmental footprint could lead to disproportionate harm to low-income and marginalized communities.
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Harvard GSD Executive Education
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.