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DWR Releases Environmental Document for Fremont Weir Fish Passage Project

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) are recirculating for public review the Biological Resources portion (Section 3.5) of the draft Initial Study and Environmental Assessment (IS/EA) and proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the proposed Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project, located in the northern portion of the Yolo Bypass, approximately 8 miles northeast of Woodland in Yolo County. The draft IS/EA and proposed MND was previously circulated for public review and comment February 3 through March 6, 2017.

The proposed project is being carried out to meet requirements in the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion and Conference Opinion on the Long-Term Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. The Yolo Bypass, a prominent feature of California’s State Plan of Flood Control, provides valuable rearing habitat for downstream migrating juvenile salmon while also providing a fish migration corridor for adult anadromous fish. Structures within the Yolo Bypass have delayed and prevented adult special-status fish species, such as Chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon from migrating upstream through the Yolo Bypass and returning to the Sacramento River.

The purpose of the proposed project is to improve fish passage at the Fremont Weir and within the Tule Canal. The project would modify an existing fish ladder at the Fremont Weir and improve fish passage within the channel both upstream and downstream of the Fremont Weir. In addition, one downstream agricultural road crossing would be removed and another such crossing would be replaced with a structure that provides improved fish passage within the Tule Canal. Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2017.

The Biological Resources portion of the document is being recirculated to provide public review of changes related to adverse impacts to sensitive species and habitat. Mitigation measures have also been changed to address these impacts.

Public comments are only being accepted on the Biological Resources portion of the draft, which is available for public review from Monday, May 15, through Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

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