Another detour around the BDCP process

The Sacramento Bee’s Matt Weiser announced that State officials have reached an agreement that will provide an estimated $188 million over 10 years to restore habitat for imperiled fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Click here for article.

DWR and DFG will undertake certain restoration activities to satisfy state and federal environmental laws. State water contractors will pay for those projects.

Weiser writes that, “In the agreement, finalized last week, DWR also commits to restoring a total of 8,000 acres of habitat for fish including salmon, sturgeon, Delta smelt and Sacramento splittail. This may involve acquiring additional Delta properties.”

“The deal is intended to satisfy state and federal endangered species acts, as well as the terms of a forthcoming Bay Delta Conservation Plan.”

Now, excuse us for being confused, but the BDCP still doesn’t have a clear plan, let alone a plan that has been through environmental review.  So how can state agencies start in on restoration activities to satisfy the terms of the BDCP?

Is this a way to bypass consideration of the environmental impact of the whole BDCP project?  But CEQA doesn’t permit a public agency to subdivide a single project into smaller sub-projects in order to avoid considering the environmental impact of the whole project.

On the other hand, if there are restoration activities that DWR and DFG can legitimately undertake, a naïve person might wonder what they have been waiting for.

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