In March 2009, the state and federal governments and the water contractors entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on planning, preliminary design, and environmental compliance for the habitat conservation plan and conveyance program we know as the BDCP (Bay Delta Conservation Plan). That MOU has just been amended.
- They plan to have a public draft of the EIR/EIS (the environmental reports) by May 2012 and to complete all tasks necessary for a Record of Decision (ROD) by February 15, 2013. (A Record of Decision is a formal decision document recorded for the public.)
- DWR and Reclamation can continue preparing the EIR/EIS even without comments from federal co-lead agencies (the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service). Why ask fisheries experts about the environmental impact of a project on fish?
- DWR has hired a consultant to be its Project Manager. We wonder who that is.
- DWR may designate the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency as the consultant contract administrator. (Well, the Water Contractors are a de facto state agency anyway.)
- Parties will support listing Public Water Agencies (i.e. MWD, Kern, Westlands, San Luis Delta Mendota Water Users Assn., etc.) as applicants and permittees, which pretty much ensures that the permits will be managed for the benefit of the few water agencies rather than of the whole state and the environment.
- The financing plan will not be released before the draft EIR/EIS.
- DWR expects to sign a subsequent funding amendment with San Luis Delta Mendota Water Users Authority. No details are provided.
So things are moving ahead just as the Water Contractors have always wanted, with minimal attention to fish and funding.