Water Resources Development vs. Fish and Wildlife Problem Areas Studied

Material Information

Water Resources Development vs. Fish and Wildlife Problem Areas Studied
Boyle Engineering Corporation


Subjects / Keywords:
River deltas ( jstor )
Rivers ( jstor )
Wildlife ( jstor )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida


Boyle Engineering Corporation Newsletter Article Fall 1987
General Note:
Box 7, Folder 3 ( Vail Conference 1988 - 1988 ), Item 36
Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location:
Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Between two mountain ranges-the
Coast Range on the west and the
Sierra Nevada on the east-lies Cali-
fornia's great Central Valley. It is about
400 miles long and 45 miles wide. The
northern half is called the Sacramento
Valley and is drained by the Sacramento
River. The southern part also bears
the name of a river, the San Joaquin.
Through a vast delta west of Stockton,
the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers
drain into San Francisco Bay.
In the San
IAe/ Joaquin Valley
iADA Sac w o/ o water supplies
Sfw JoLquin r decrease from
north to south.
However, its
water require-
Sments are great
L," by reason of
large irrigable
areas (over a
million San
Joaquin Valley
acres are irrigated) and little rainfall.
Since 1951, the federal Central
Valley Project (CVP) has provided in-
S creasing deliveries to the San Joaquin
"FIELD Valley from the Sacramento-San Joa-
quin Delta. Numerous agreements be-
tween the Fish and Wildlife Service, the
California Department of Fish and
Game, and various other interests were
.OS ANGELES made to mitigate the impacts of the
CVP on fish and wildlife resources.
However, after more than 35 years of
operation of various features of the
SAN DIE ,: S project, fish and wildlife resources
Shave continued to dwindle. With the
uMEXICO start-up of the State Water Project
(SWP) in 1967, many of these impacts
were magnified.
In 1979 the U.S. Bureau of Reclam-
ation and other federal and state re-
source agencies began the Central
Continued on Page 2

-f -

h-.alley Fish and Wildlife Management
udy (CVFWMS), a comprehensive
study of project impacts on the fish
and wildlife resources in the Central
Valley hydrologic basin. Over 100 prob-
lem areas were identified and priori-
tized for further study and analysis.
Boyle Engineering has undertaken a
number of studies through a technical
services contract with the Bureau's
Mid-Pacific Region.
Cross Delta Water Transfer
Since the early part of this century
the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta
has been caught in a tug-of-war by
competing interests. Today the Delta
channels are used as shipping routes
to the large inland ports of Stockton
and Sacramento; as fish habitats; as
conveyance routes for flood flows from
upstream tributaries; for transfer of
agricultural, municipal, industrial and
wildlife water supplies; and as recrea-
tional boating, fishing and hunting areas
which accommodate over three million
visitors annually.
Capacities in the Delta channels are
adequate e to transfer present and
S.ojected quantities of water to CVP
and SWP diversion facilities near Tracy.
The Bureau of Reclamation, State De-
partment of Water Resources and the
Corps of Engineers have commenced
a re-analysis of water transfer facilities
across the Delta. Boyle developed the
plan of study for this investigation.
Offstream Storage
Because future agricultural produc-
tion in the San Joaquin Valley is de-
pendent on available uncontracted water
yield from the CVP, additional studies
were required to determine how these
waters could be captured to meet these
demands. Additional offstream storage
capacity in the Sacramento and San
Joaquin Valleys would be necessary
to regulate the surplus water.
Boyle developed the plan of study
for the Bureau's offstream storage in-
vestigation. Under this conceptual
plan, surplus water would be pumped
from the Sacramento River or the Delta
into offstream storage facilities during
,4 es when the state conveyance sys-
f n was operating at less than maxi-
mnum capacity. The water could be
delivered as needed during times
when canal capacity is available, thus,
construction of new conveyance facili-

ties south of the Delta could be deferred
for a number of years.
As part of its investigation the Bureau
is considering the use of Grasslands
Water District as an offstream storage
site and enhanced wetland habitat. The
GWD consists of about 51,000 acres
of seasonal wetlands and agricultural
lands in the central San Joaquin Valley.
Boyle formulated and evaluated
three alternative plans, each with a
variation in operation. A small reservoir
for gathering and holding releases
from the GWD before return to the
CVP was also evaluated.
Fishery-Related Studies
The construction and operation of
the Shasta and Keswick Dam have
modified the flow regime and sedi-
ment transport patterns of the Sacra-
mento River, resulting in high levels of
turbidity. Boyle's appraisal-level study
determined however, that exposure to
these conditions over extended
periods of time does not directly im-
pact the river's fish populations, nor
are they a significant impact on sport
The dwindling chinook salmon and
steelhead trout resources of Clear
Creek, tributary to the Sacramento
River, are another area of concern.
Boyle studied the benefits and costs
of modified flow releases from Whiskey-

town Lake, and habitat restoration
measures to improve fishery habitat
and protect Clear Creek from future
In an appraisal of the San Joaquin
River salmon fishery study for the
CVFWMS, Boyle identified several alter-
natives for the development and im-
plementation of a comprehensive re-
storation program. The basin's chinook
salmon population has been negatively
impacted by water resources develop-
ment, land development, habitat alter-
ation and removal, water quality de-
gradation and overfishing.
Several other studies not directly
related to the CVFWMS are also being
performed by Boyle for the Bureau of
Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region. In
addition, Boyle's Las Vegas office was
recently awarded a technical services
contract from the Bureau's Lower Col-
orado Region.
According to David S. Houston,
director of the Mid-Pacific Re-
gion, the Bureau is beginning a transition,
changing its mission from one based
on federally supported construction to
one based on resource management.
Boyle Engineering Corporation, tradi-
tionally sensitive to the environmental
effects of engineering projects, is proud
to be a participant in these challenges
of the future.


Steelhead spawning operation at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery on the
American River. This female steelhead weighs approximately five pounds.
The steelhead are returned to the river after the spawning process. U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation photograph by M.G. Volkoff.