Reclamation, Sites Project Authority extend public comment period for proposed Sites reservoir to Jan. 28




By Dan Bacher | 


The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Sites Project Authority have announced an extension of the public comment period on the proposed Sites Reservoir project from Jan. 11 to Jan. 28, 2022. 

Sites Reservoir is opposed by California Tribal representatives, environmental justice groups, conservation organizations and fishing groups because the big threat that it poses to the imperiled salmon and other fish species and ecosystems of the Trinity and Klamath rivers, the Sacramento River, the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and to Tribal rights and culture.

“Public involvement is an important part of the environmental review process,” a Reclamation press release stated. “The extension will allow for additional opportunity to participate and help inform the content of the project’s environmental analyses.”

On Nov. 12, 2021, Reclamation released a Notice of Availability announcing the public review and comment period for the Sites Reservoir Project Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report/Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement and dates of virtual public meetings.

The revised draft EIR/EIS is available at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=29024 or https://sitesproject.org/resources/environmental-review/. Written comments may be mailed to Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2830, Sacramento, CA  95825 or Sites Project Authority, P.O. Box 517, Maxwell, CA  95955.

On December 15, the California Water Commission voted to approve the Commission staff’s findings to maintain Sites Reservoir’s Project’s eligibility for $800 million of project subsidies from Proposition 1, despite a multitude of comments by California Tribal representatives and environmental advocates opposing the project because of the devastating impact that they say it would have fish, water, the environment. For more information, go to: www.dailykos.com/…

The massive opposition to the projects by one commenter after another was underlined by the submission to the Commission of a petition created by Save California Salmon – containing nearly 50,000 signatures – urging them to reject the projects.

The announcement also comes as the Delta smelt, once the most abundant fish on the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, has become virtually extinct in the wild.  For the fourth year in a row, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has reported zero Delta smelt at its index stations throughout the Delta.

In a December 21st memo, James White, CDFW environmental scientist wrote, “The 2021 abundance index for Delta Smelt was 0 and was tied with 2018 through 2020 for the lowest in FMWT history. This is a continuation of a pattern of low indices that occurred in recent years. No Delta Smelt were collected from any stations during our survey months of September- December. An absence of Delta Smelt catch in the FMWT is consistent among other surveys in the estuary."

For questions about the Sites Reservoir project or meetings, contact Vanessa King, Reclamation, at 916-978-5077, vking@usbr.gov or Alicia Forsythe, Sites Project Authority, at 916-880-0676, aforsythe@sitesproject.org.

Learn more about the project at https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nodos/ and https://sitesproject.org/.


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