Letter to SSWD
June 30, 2003
Mr. Marc Van Camp
Re: SSWD’s Diversion Expansion Project and Related Flow Improvement Ideas
We write to follow-up on our February meeting regarding South Sutter Water District’s (SSWD’s) canal/siphon expansion project currently underway. (Initial Study and Proposed Negative Declaration, State Clearinghouse #2002082010.) We would appreciate the opportunity to meet again with you to describe some ideas that we’ve been developing since that time: one that could help to improve flow and temperature conditions in the lower Bear River in conjunction with the above-referenced project; and one that could help to protect and restore flows in several important creeks that traverse the District.
As we explained previously, our interest in these initiatives stems originally from our involvement in efforts to (re)introduce and sustain salmon in the Yuba River system via the Upper Yuba River Studies Program (UYRSP) collaborative. This effort includes, among other agreements, various “keep whole” commitments for downstream (and down-canal) interests in the heavily inter-plumbed Yuba-Bear-American Rivers system.
During the course of our UYRSP-related investigations, we have become familiar not only with SSWD’s diversion expansion project plans, but with some important aquatic resource values in the lower reaches of the system and with the fact that SSWD receives anywhere from 5,000-20,000 acre feet of “surplus” or “supplemental” water each year from the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) via the Bear-Halsey-Wise canal system.
The first idea that we would like to explore would be to re-route
some portion of these supplemental NID supplies through the lower Bear
River for delivery to SSWD via the expanded canal/siphon system below
New Camp Far West (NCFW) Reservoir. Doing so would of course
require the cooperation of NID and possibly other entities as well,
though our research to-date suggests that this idea might well be accomplished
at little or no net cost, and with little or no loss in associated
The second idea we would like to explore involves protecting and improving watershed flows in several of the major creeks that traverse the District. As you know, these creeks today are part of the same intertwined water management system discussed above, and are important for salmon as well as other species of interest. We thus wish to ensure that their flow-related needs are addressed through comparable re-management strategies or other means, ideally in conjunction with several important local watershed initiatives already well underway (e.g., the Auburn Ravine/Coon Creek Watershed CRMP with Placer County, the City of Lincoln, and others; and the Nevada County-Placer County Bear River CRMP). We understand that SSWD has had at least some participation in these efforts to-date, so we are anxious to get your thoughts on how, and where, our ideas might best fit in.
Finally, from recent press accounts we are aware that you are hoping to secure state funds in order to complete the final phase(s) of your canal/siphon expansion project. If the appropriate agreements and understandings can be reached, we would certainly do our best to be helpful in this regard as well.
We are anxious to follow up on all of the above as soon as possible, and would suggest another meeting at your offices in Sacramento in early July. Please let us know what you think, and when you might be available, at your earliest convenience.
With best regards,
David Yardas Allan
cc: Tamara Gallentine, Nevada
Foothills Water Network • PO Box 573 • Coloma, CA • 95613 • 530-919-3219