CDFW’s Franks Tract Plan Now Available for Public Review

aerial view of winding delta waters
Aerial view of Franks Tract

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released its draft report exploring options for achieving recreation, ecosystem, water quality and other community benefits at Franks Tract, a 3,000-acre flooded island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The public draft of the Franks Tract Futures Report, titled “Franks Tract Futures 2020 reimagined,” is now available for public review and can be accessed at franks-tract-futures-ucdavis.hub.arcgis.com.

Comments can be emailed to ucdfrankstract@gmail.com or submitted online. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

“For this report we worked with the local community to come up with concepts for restoration that address not only biological objectives but also recreation, navigation, flood concerns and economic concerns,” said Carl Wilcox, CDFW’s Delta policy advisor.

The new report identifies three restoration concepts and a no-action alternative. The preferred restoration design resulting from the stakeholder-driven planning process would restore about 1,000 acres of tidal marsh habitat while deepening other areas to provide fill for the marsh creation. It would also address community concerns regarding navigation and recreation.

Franks Tract is a nexus point of many Delta uses ranging from duck hunting and bass fishing to fresh water supply for California cities and farms. However, Franks Tract is also a hot spot for invasive plants and predatory fish, as well as a conduit for saltwater intrusion during dry conditions into waterways used to convey freshwater supplies to cities and agriculture in the Delta and other parts of California. For these reasons, Franks Tract is a strong candidate for restoration.

Media Contacts:
Carl Wilcox, CDFW Delta Policy Advisor, (707) 738-4134
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120

DFG to Hold Public Meetings on Suction Dredge Permitting Program

Media Contacts:
Mark Stopher, Environmental Program Manager, (530) 225-2275
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has completed the first round of environmental review documents related to California’s currently suspended Suction Dredge Permitting Program. The Draft Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) is now available for public review and comment.

The Draft SEIR addresses the potential environmental effects of the permitting program, which was suspended in 2009 pending completion of this review, and proposes amendments to the regulations that existed prior to the current moratorium.

In addition to proposing the revised program, the document also evaluates the potential impacts of four alternatives: a No Program Alternative (continuation of the existing moratorium), a 1994 Regulations Alternative (continuation of previous regulations in effect prior to the 2008 moratorium), a Water Quality Alternative (which would include additional program restrictions for water bodies listed as impaired for sediment and mercury pursuant to the Clean Water Act, section 303(d)), and a Reduced Intensity Alternative (which would include greater restrictions on permit issuance and methods of operation to reduce the intensity of environmental effects).

The Draft SEIR and supporting documents are now available on the DFG website at www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge, and can be provided upon request by calling (530) 225-2275. Copies of the Draft SEIR are also available for review at DFG regional offices including:

Region 1 601 Locust St., Redding
Region 2 1701 Nimbus Road, Suite A, Rancho Cordova
Region 3 7329 Silverado Trail, Napa
Region 4 1234 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno
Region 5 4949 Viewridge Ave., San Diego
Region 6 3602 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite C-220, Ontario
Region 6 4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite J, Los Alamitos (second location)
Region 7  20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey
HQ          1807 13th St., Suite 104, Sacramento

Five public meetings will be held in late March. All interested persons are encouraged to attend to present written and/or verbal comments. The meetings will be held at the following locations and times:

Santa Clarita:
Wednesday, March 23 at 5 p.m.
Residence Inn by Marriott
25320 The Old Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91381

Fresno:
Thursday, March 24 at 5 p.m.
California Retired Teachers Association
3930 East Saginaw Way
Fresno, CA 93726

Sacramento:
Tuesday, March 29 at 5 p.m.
Cal EPA Headquarters Building
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I St.
Sacramento

Yreka:
Wednesday, March 30 at 5 p.m.
Yreka Community Center
810 N. Oregon St.
Yreka, CA 96097

Redding:
Thursday, March 31 at 5 p.m.
Shasta Senior Nutrition Program
100 Mercy Oaks Drive
Redding, CA 96003

Written comments will also be accepted from Feb. 28 through April 29, 2011 at 5 p.m. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to dfgsuctiondredge@dfg.ca.gov or by regular mail to:

Mark Stopher
California Department of Fish and Game
601 Locust St.
Redding, CA 96001

Comments received by the due date will be included in the final SEIR that will be prepared for the Director of DFG.

For more information about the public meetings or the suction dredge program, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/suctiondredge/. If you require reasonable accommodation to attend a meeting or require this notice or the Draft SEIR in an alternate format, please contact the Suction Dredge Program at (530) 225-2275, or the California Relay (Telephone) Service for the deaf or hearing-impaired from TDD phones at 1-800-735-2929 or 711.