Funds Expected For Recharge Programs
With the San Joaquin River Restoration Program in place, increasing opportunities to store more water has never been more important within the Friant Division.
Funds about to be made available by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will help do just that.
Friant Water Authority directors learned at their February 28 meeting in Visalia that Reclamation plans to make $10 million available by mid-March to help fund groundwater recharge and related infrastructure projects.
Ronald D. Jacobsma, Friant Water Authority General Manager, said the funding is to be made available under Part 3 of the San Joaquin River Restoration Act with the window for districts to apply about to open.
The funding would pay for up to 50% of the cost of projects.
“We’ve been pushing very hard on Water Management Goal projects under the San Joaquin River Settlement and this could be an important one,” Jacobsma said.
Under the Water Management Goal, the Settling Parties – the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Friant Water Authority and its member districts, and the environmental and commercial fishing plaintiffs headed by the Natural Resources Defense Council – agreed to seek means of returning a significant amount of the water being contributed by Friant contractors to river restoration.
Groundwater recharge and banking projects are part of the Water Management Goal effort.
Other San Joaquin River Restoration Program developments:
- With some experimental streamside rearing of juvenile salmon taking place along the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam, the Restoration Program plans to try to trap migrating juvenile fish at a location east of Mendota Pool on the valley’s West Side, electronically tag the fish and transport them for release below the Merced River confluence. Due to seepage issues, Interim Restoration Flows are not being permitted below Sack Dam, east of Dos Palos.
- Environmental documents are being prepared by the San Joaquin River Restoration Program for alternatives to deal with a troublesome section of river – Reach 2-B, upstream from Mendota Pool – in which privately-owned levees cannot provide protection from flows at the rated channel capacity of 2,500 cubic feet per second, let alone the more than 4,000 c.f.s. that Reach 2-B would ultimately be called upon to carry as pulse flows for salmon. A Mendota Pool bypass also is being considered. Neighboring landowners are being asked to state their preferred alternative.
- Subsidence is continuing to be a big problem along portions of the San Joaquin River downstream from Mendota Pool and along the Chowchilla Bypass flood control channel upstream of Highway 152, east of Dos Palos. Some land is dropping 6-12 inches a year. Flood control and restoration