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Call for Support of the Merced River S.A.F.E Plan

Hearings to be held on the Potential Changes to the Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay - Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta Estuary: San Joaquin River Flows and Southern Delta Water Quality and on the Adequacy of the Supporting Recirculated Draft Subsitite Environmental Document.

In the coming weeks there will be hearings of the State Water Resources Control Board on the Substitute Environmental Document for the Delta Water Quality. Our board at LDPCSD is unanimously opposed to this SED as it will have a direct effect on the quality and supply of our community's water. We instead, are calling for support of the Merced Irrigation District's S.A.F.E. Plan which takes into account the environment and our community's needs.

The SED: 

  • Provided Increased Flows
  • Will Result in the LDPCSD Intake Pumps being dry a majority of years, which could devastate our local economy
  • Harms local water quality and supply
  • Does nothing to address salmon habitat or restoration

The Merced River S.A.F.E.: 

  • Provides increased flows using science to dictate the amounts and timing
  • Restores miles of riparian habitat and substantially restores salmon habitat
  • Protects local drinking water quality
  • Provides predation control
  • Improves Salmon production and rearing at the State's Merced River Hatchery.

For members of the community interested in attending, hearings will be held on the following dates: 

9:00am November 29th - Sacramento

Joe Serna Jr. – CalEPA Headquarters Building

Byron Sher Auditorium 1001 I Street, Second Floor

Sacramento, CA 95814

9:00am December 19th - Merced

Multicultural Arts Center

645 W. Main Street Merced, CA 95340

Notice of Filing and Recirculation, Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Hearing

Lake Don Pedro's Letter to the State:

Letter to State



On September 15, 2016 the State Water Resources Control Board released a revised Subsitute Envrionmental Document (SED) analyzing the proposed changes to the current Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The revised SED includes significantly more analysis and proposes more drastic measures than the December 2012 SED, even though local testimony and comments in 2013 stressed routinely that the 2012 estimated impacts were unsustainable for the fishery and the region. 

In short, the SED is intended to anaylze the impacts of propsed operational, temperature, water quality requirements to allow for existing beneficial uses of water to continue in the lower San Joaquin River, but is primarily focused on the improvement of the salmon fishery in the basin. Specifically the SED proposes to release approximately 40% of what would naturally flow down tributary watersheds lik the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced Rivers during the February - June period, which means that reservoirs on those water sheds would be restricted from storing until 40% UIF (Unintended Flow) is bypassed down the river. In addition, the SWRCB proposes to adaptively manage UIF's between a range of 30-50% which means the effect can be even more drastic.

The State passed landmark legislation in 2014 to sustainably manage groundwater and prevent overdraft, yet they produce a document that takes away surface water and calls for additional groundwater pumping in a critically over-drafted basin without analyzing the furture groundwater supply. This limits conditions placed on well pumpers when future sustainability plans are developed. 

The plan does not offer any proposals for mitigation to meet SGMA requirements, nor to counteract the signifigant economic losses in the region, considering the regional agriculture, urban and business losses, and water resource losses. Instead, they just conclude that the impacts are "signifigant and unavoidable".

As a result of the proposed increased Merced River flows out of Lake McClure, the Merced Irrigation District (MID) has initiated a push for the State Board to consider utilizing the existing extensive studies, enginerring and evaluations completed by MID in its recent hydroelectric relicensing effort on Lake McClure. The state is paying no attention to these dedicated studies in the development of the SED for the Delta Water Quality Plan.

MID's propsosed S.A.F.E. (Salmon, Agriculture, Flows, and Environment) Plan is intended to provide certainty for both the envrionment and for the local water supply. It puts years and millions of dollars of investment studying the Merced River into a practical propsal to improve the river with benefits for all stakeholders. The S.A.F.E. Plan seeks to provide certainty for our local community, improve salmon rearing and protect water quality.