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Salton Sea Species Conservation Habitat Stakeholders Meeting April 12, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Salton Sea Species Conservation Habitat Stakeholders Meeting April 12, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Salton Sea Species Conservation Habitat Stakeholders Meeting April 12, 2011

2 1 Introduce new team member Provide general updates on Salton Sea/activities Provide updates on SCH Project Provide opportunity for Stakeholders to provide informal input Meeting Purpose 1

3 2 Agenda Salton Sea Restoration Fund State of the Salton Sea SCH Project Schedule Stakeholder coordination Special studies Alternatives development Salton Sea Financial Assistance Program Stakeholder feedback/general discussion 2

4 3 Introductions Rick Davis – Davis Group Kim Nicol – Department of Fish and Game David Elms – Department of Fish and Game Kent Nelson – Department of Water Resources Rob Thomson – Cardno ENTRIX Ramona Swenson – Cardno ENTRIX 3

5 Salton Sea Restoration Fund Update and State of the Salton Sea 4

6 Salton Sea Restoration Fund Update (July 2007 through February 2011) 5 Source Mitigation FundProp 84 FY 07/08FY 08/09FY 09/10FY 10/11FY 07/08FY 08/09FY 09/10FY 10/11Total Appropriation2,741,5782,829,7702,741,9232,786,00013,300,00010,750,0005,296,000296,00040,741,271 Expenditures1,474,8891,494,011235,40184, , ,378,858005,451,169 Encum- brances22418,4262, , ,456,16328, ,535,563 Appropriation balance1,266,4641,317,3322,504,2052,671,1761,060,7609,342,5995,296,000296,00023,754,538 Note: Annual appropriation of approximately $2.7 million from the Mitigation Fund

7 Current State of Salton Sea Salinity – 53 ppt Water elevation – dipped below -230 feet this winter Bird numbers – very high last few years (especially fish- eating birds) due to continuing abundance of tilapia Bird disease – very low levels Fishery – tilapia fishery very robust; no signs of marine species return Fish die-offs – occasional smaller ones, no large events by historic standards Pileworm and barnacle populations – severely reduced; barnacle bars and beaches not replenished as Sea recedes 6

8 Questions and Discussion 7

9 Species Conservation Habitat Project Current Schedule 8

10 9 NEPA/CEQA scoping – June/July 2010 Draft NEPA/CEQA document – Spring 2011 Draft permit applications – Spring 2011 Final NEPA/CEQA document – Late 2011 to early 2012 Final design – Mid to late 2012 Permits complete – Mid 2012 Begin construction – Late 2012 Current Schedule (Subject to Change) 9

11 Species Conservation Habitat Project Stakeholder Coordination 10

12 Stakeholder Meetings Meetings held with Imperial County Farm Bureau Imperial Irrigation District Geothermal development companies Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge Vector control agencies Elected officials Purpose of meetings Share information about SCH Project Identify any concerns or conflicts with future plans Identify solutions and opportunities (cooperative efforts) 11

13 Imperial County Farm Bureau Issues Westernmost New River pond next to farmland good for lettuce production New guidelines require remedial action if leafy greens exposed to animal feces Typically includes eliminating affected portion of crop Response Analysis identified potential for increase in birds No increase in habitat for birds that forage in fields compared to current conditions Ducks and geese may roost and loaf, but not a change Habitat for gulls at SCH ponds, but may keep away from fields Overall bird population decrease over time from habitat loss 12

14 Imperial County Farm Bureau, cont. Issues Westernmost New River pond site is most easily reclaimable land Need to accommodate runoff in natural drainages Cost of SCH Project Response New River ponds truncated on western side Too costly (long berms for small amount of habitat) Avoids drains carrying natural runoff Combination of New and Alamo River sites eliminated due to cost 13

15 Imperial County Farm Bureau, cont. Issues Fish for birds could be raised in hatcheries, not ponds Response Raising fish at hatcheries would not meet Project goals Would not develop range of aquatic habitats to support fish and wildlife species dependent on Salton Sea Would not develop/refine information needed to manage SCH Project through adaptive management Issues Previous technique of using geotubes as berms presented Response Use of geotubes being considered in geotechnical study 14

16 Imperial County Farm Bureau, cont. Issues Saline water not needed to address selenium issues Response Range of salinity retained (20-40 ppt) Selenium in river water likely to reduce hatching success in some birds and likely to increase risk of embryo malformation Salinity range would minimize vegetation, reducing potential for bioaccumulation and mosquitoes Issues Potential conflicts with geothermal development Response Meetings held with geothermal developers and IID to address potential conflicts 15

17 IID and Geothermal Developers Issues Proposed SCH pond sites in known geothermal area Geothermal companies have contractual right to develop supplies Geothermal facilities (wellpads, roads, power lines) may be located in or near SCH ponds Response SCH agencies working cooperatively with geothermal companies to avoid conflicts SCH facilities would not preclude future geothermal development 16

18 IID and Geothermal Developers, cont. Issues Potential conflicts between sensitive species using SCH ponds and future geothermal development Construction disturbances Emergency brine basin could attract wildlife Bird collisions with transmission lines Accidents (blow-outs, leaking wells) Response SCH agencies coordinating with IID to avoid conflicts with operations and obtain appropriate coverage in HCP/NCCP 17

19 Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge Issues Future NWR projects planned at proposed SCH pond sites Red Hill Bay shallow water habitat Unit 1 A/B Ponds Reclamation Response SCH pond footprint redesigned to avoid Red Hill Bay Exploring potential for sharing infrastructure with USFWS Guidance being developed to ensure SCH compatibility with refuge management, including Unit 1 A/B Reclamation 18

20 Vector Control Agencies Issues Agencies raised concerns regarding potential increase in mosquito habitat at SCH ponds and sedimentation basins Response UC Riverside mosquito expert added to SCH team Providing input into EIS/EIR impact analysis Developing Vector Control Plan in coordination with Imperial County and Coachella Valley vector control agencies 19

21 Elected Officials Imperial County Supervisors Jack Terrazas Ray Castillo Gary Wyatt State Senator Bill Emmerson State Senator Juan Vargas staff Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez staff 20

22 Questions and Discussion 21

23 Species Conservation Habitat Project Special Studies Overview 22

24 Questions Addressed by Special Studies How to design SCH ponds that are ecologically productive and efficient? Biological requirements for productive fish community -Fish tolerance Pond design and operation - Hydrologic modeling How to build stable berms - Geotechnical studies Will SCH ponds increase ecotoxicity risks while providing habitat? Sediment and water contaminants (Se, As, Bo, pesticides) Selenium ecorisk 23

25 Fish Tolerance Study What are biological requirements for thriving fish community? Which tilapia species are best given their tolerances? What range of salinity and water temperature can be tolerated? Tested 3 tilapia species 3 salinities (20, 45, 60 ppt) 3 temperatures (11-16°C, 23-28°C, 33-38°C) 24

26 25 California Mozambique tilapia hybrid, male Redbelly tilapia Good survival in cold, 20 ppt Blue tilapia Wild fish – best survival in cold, 20 & 45 ppt Hatchery strain – very high survival in medium temps, moderate survival in hot Poor survival in experiment Found mainly in fresher waters Lousy survival when salty (60 ppt) plus extreme temperature (hot or cold)

27 Hydrologic Modeling Water quality conditions in ponds raise challenges for operations and biota Desired salinity (20-40 ppt) Selenium levels higher in fresh water Salinity tolerated by fish, suppresses vegetation and mosquitoes Evaporation of river water takes too long, concentrates selenium Blend of Sea and river water more efficient SCH pond depth and operations affect DO and temperature Ponds become stratified in summer (May to October) Low oxygen at bottom in spring and fall Tilapia can go to surface, but invertebrates may not Winter temperatures could fall below fish tolerance Deeper ponds stratified more often 26

28 Preliminary Geotechnical Studies Characterized soils/geotechnical information for preliminary engineering design Sea sediments – low strength, dispersive Subject to erosion from wave action Potential for compressibility, seepage, expansion, liquefaction Possible berm instability from seismic shaking Low risk of injury, property damage from berm failure 27

29 Preliminary Geotechnical Studies, cont. Conditions have implications for construction Increased construction costs due to soil characteristics May use onsite soils to minimize cost Playa soils may be too weak to support traditional construction equipment May need very flat slopes for berms Need to minimize seepage, dispersion of soils Shoreline protection needed 28

30 Contaminant Survey Arsenic and boron not a problem Selenium Present in sediment, but not at toxic levels Rewetting sediments releases some Se, but greater source from river water Pesticides Higher concentrations close to river mouth and below surface Submerged sediments had lower concentrations than exposed playa DDE is predominant organochlorine pesticide in sediment 29

31 Selenium Ecorisk Elevated risk compared to other habitats Moderate risk of reduced hatching Risk higher with Alamo River, low salinity Uncertainties Bioaccumulation rates in fish-eating birds Proportion of diet from SCH ponds Reduce risk through management Use New River water Higher salinity (35 ppt) Flush ponds in first year Monitor SCH ponds Ongoing research 30 Birds Fish Invertebrates Phytoplankton Algae Plants Water Sediment Selenium

32 General conclusions Use CM tilapia, wild from Sea and from hatchery, to accommodate variable conditions Low oxygen at bottom and in spring and fall; cold in winter Selenium - moderate risk for some bird species that breed at Sea, can be reduced with management Weak, dispersive soils - challenging for construction, berms Remaining uncertainties and data gaps Soil dispersion in saline water Selenium transfer from fish to birds Selenium management using constructed wetlands Conclusions 31

33 Adaptive Management 32 Plan Goals & objs, alternatives Design Physical designs, operations plan Implement Construct and operate ponds Monitoring Water quality, fish & birds, Se Evaluate Analysis, data management Adapt, Learn Decision-making framework, communications

34 Questions and Discussion 33

35 Species Conservation Habitat Project Crafting the Alternatives 34

36 Prior Alternatives New River, gravity diversion (2,460 acres) New River, pumped diversion (2,260 acres) Alamo River, gravity diversion (2,420 acres) Alamo River, pumped diversion (2,860 acres) New and Alamo River, gravity diversion (4,880 acres) New and Alamo River, pumped diversion (5,120 acres) 35

37 Factors Used to Refine SCH Alternatives Stakeholder input Existing and proposed land uses Special studies Geotechnical information Costs 36

38 Current Alternatives Combinations of New and Alamo River sites eliminated Too costly SCH pond footprints modified Red Hill Bay eliminated at Alamo River due to NWR plans NWR Unit 1 A/B in but will coordinate with NWR Far western pond at New River truncated due to high cost for small amount of habitat, drains Ongoing coordination with geothermal companies to ensure that design does not preclude geothermal development Not under DSOD jurisdiction as designed 37

39 Alternative 1, New River, Gravity Diversion 2,500 acres Independent ponds for West New and East New Cascading ponds for West New and East New -236) 38

40 39

41 Alternative 2, New River, Pumped Diversion 2,100 acres Independent ponds for West New and East New Far West New extended pond, but truncated from original skinny extension west 40

42 41

43 Alternative 3, New River Combination, Pumped Diversion 2,900 acres Independent ponds for West New, East New, and Far West New Cascading ponds for West New, East New, and Far West New -236) 42

44 43

45 Alternative 4, Alamo River, Gravity Diversion 2,290 acres Independent ponds for Morton Bay Cascading pond for Morton Bay that includes Mullet Island -239) 44

46 45

47 Alternative 5, Alamo River, Pumped Diversion 2,080 acres Independent pond for Morton Bay Wister Beach extended pond 46

48 47

49 Alternative 6, Alamo River Combination, Pumped Diversion 2,940 acres Independent ponds for Morton Bay and Wister Beach extended pond Cascading ponds for Morton Bay and Wister Beach extended pond -239) 48

50 49

51 Next Steps EIS/EIR will identify the environmentally superior alternative and lead agencies’ preferred alternative Corps of Engineers 404(b)(1) analysis will identify the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA) Design will continue to be refined based on Input from technical studies Input from Stakeholders, SCH Team Available budget and projected costs Planned land uses Constructed acreage may be less than evaluated in EIS/EIR due to budget considerations 50

52 Questions and Discussion 51

53 Salton Sea Financial Assistance Program 52

54 53 Financial Assistance Program General $3 million to local entities for habitat restoration and research projects FAP will be competitive proposal solicitation process Applications will be made online through DWR’s Bond Management System Proposals must be consistent with Salton Sea Restoration Act 53

55 Financial Assistance Program Schedule (Subject to Change) June 2011: Public review of draft solicitation package August 2011: Public release of final FAP Proposal Solicitation Package and Guidelines August 2011: Conduct applicant workshops Applicants have 2 months to prepare proposals December 2011: Review panel to make recommendation for funding 54

56 Questions and Discussion 55

57 Stakeholder Feedback and General Discussion 56

58 57 SCH Information Dissemination Website (www.water.ca.gov/saltonsea)www.water.ca.gov/saltonsea Stakeholders meetings/workshops Periodic newsletters Public meetings 57

59 58 Contact Information Co-Program Managers/CEQA Leads Kent Nelson, DWR Program Manager (916) David Elms, DFG Project Manager (760) NEPA Lead Lanika Cervantes, Corps Project Manager (760)


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