Stockton East Water District (SEWD) prepared a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report to disclose potential environmental effects from SEWD’s Water Rights application to appropriate an additional 598,000 acre feet annually (afa) from the Calaveras and Stanislaus river watersheds. Of that total amount, 111,000 afa will be diverted from the Stanislaus River at Goodwin Dam, at a maximum rate of diversion of 750 cfs, from December through March.

SEWD states that “Diversions from the Calaveras River would occur at SEWD’s existing Bellota facility via an expanded intake to be constructed in conjunction with the project.” There are documented occasions when steelhead and salmon have become stranded below Bellota weir as a result of inadequate fish ladders, a lack of flow and/or a lack of water releases from Bellota weir.

While SEWD has agreed to improve the fish ladder at Bellota Weir, a state-of -the-art ladder should be built before any water is diverted from the Calaveras River in order to assure free, unencumbered fish passage. It is also vital that SEWD construct fish screens, in accordance with the Dept. of Fish and Game’s Fish Screening Criteria, before any diversions are made for this project. SEWD also indicates that up to 350 cfs of flows may be diverted into the Old Calaveras River channel. If the Old Calaveras River Channel is re-watered, then some flows need to stay in-channel, downstream of the diversion pipeline, in order to allow fish to continue downstream travel.

(Click here to read SEWD’s Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report).