The California Natural Resources Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior propose to increase the frequency and duration of flooding in the Yolo Bypass for seasonal fish rearing habitat, both as a major component of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and also as a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative in the federal National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion on the Coordinated Long Term Water Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project for winter run salmon, spring run salmon, and Central Valley steelhead. While the state and federal government have not yet fully defined proposals to flood the Bypass for juvenile salmon, the project will have broader support and cost less if state and federal agencies minimize effects on existing land uses such as flood protection, migratory waterfowl and other terrestrial species habitat, and agriculture. To assist with the efforts to minimize impacts, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors has commissioned the following studies related to Yolo Bypass inundation proposals. The studies are intended to guide efforts to develop a final project that provides significant fish benefits and minimizes impacts on existing land uses.
1. Agricultural and Economic Impacts of Yolo Bypass Fish Habitat Proposals (April 2013)
Yolo County worked with UC Davis researchers and the Yolo Basin Foundation to analyze the agricultural impacts of state and federal proposals to increase the frequency and duration of inundation in the Yolo Bypass to benefit juvenile salmon and other fish species.
2. Waterfowl Impacts of the Proposed Conservation Measure 2 for the Yolo Bypass – An effects analysis tool (July 2012)
Ducks Unlimited worked in cooperation with Yolo County and the Yolo Basin Foundation to analyze the potential impacts to waterfowl habitat of proposals to increase the frequency and duration of inundation in the Yolo Bypass to benefit juvenile salmon and other fish species.
3. Yolo Bypass MIKE-21 Model Review: Strengths, Limitations and Recommendations for Refinement (September 2012)
Yolo County worked with Northwest Hydraulics Consultants (NHC) to complete a review of the MIKE-21 model, used in the past to estimate the inundation footprint associated with proposals to increase the duration and frequency of Yolo Bypass inundation. This review applies to other models as well.
4. Yolo Bypass Drainage and Water Infrastructure Improvement Study (April 2014)
Yolo County worked with cbec eco engineering, Douglas Environmental, Consero Solutions, and the Yolo Basin Foundation to complete the Yolo Bypass Drainage and Water Infrastructure Improvement Study. The goal of the study was to work with Yolo Bypass and owners, farmers, and wetlands managers to identify and prioritize Yolo Bypass drainage and water infrastructure improvements that benefit agricultural and wetlands operations. The study will assist with the identification of improvements that could be implemented as part of any project to increase inundation in the Yolo Bypass for fish.
5. Yolo County Agricultural Economic Development Fund (October 2014)
The Yolo Ag Fund is a forward-looking effort to support the continued work of local growers to produce high-quality agricultural products and bring those products to the local, regional and national public. Yolo County developed the Yolo Ag Fund from existing plans approved by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and in coordination with the Yolo County Ag Commissioner, the Yolo/Solano Farmbudsman, the Yolo County Farm Bureau, and other stakeholders working in local communities to promote agricultural sustainability. The Yolo County Agricultural Economic Development Fund (“Yolo Ag Fund”) is a central component of Yolo County’s efforts to support agricultural sustainability in the face of potential changes to the existing landscape of the county.
BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN COMMENTS
The Yolo County Board of Supervisors has submitted the following public comments on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the EIR/EIS: