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Meeting Flow Objectives for the San Joaquin River Agreement 1999 - 2010
Environmental impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report


Lead Agencies: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region, Sacramento, California; and San Joaquin River Group Authority, Modesto, California

Cooperating Agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; California Department of Water Resources; California Department of Fish and Game

This Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) has been prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) procedures for NEPA compliance.

Reclamation and the Authority are jointly preparing this EIS/EIR for meeting the flow objectives for the Draft San Joaquin River Agreement (Agreement) over the period 1999-2010. The Agreement developed as an alternative that provides a level of protection equivalent to the San Joaquin River flow objectives contained in the State Water Resources Control Board’s 1995 Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (1995 WQCP). Discussion over the flow objective led to a proactive problem-solving process to develop an adaptive fishery management plan and the water supplies to support that plan. The process of developing the Vernalis Adaptive Management Plan (VAMP) resulted in the Agreement in April 1998. The Agreement identifies where the water to support the VAMP study would be obtained, specifically from the San Joaquin River Group Authority whose members are willing sellers.

The purpose of the proposed action is to acquire water identified in the Agreement and use the water for:

  • a pulse flow for a 31-day period at Vernalis during April and May, and
  • other flows identified by the CVPIA water acquisition plan to facilitate migration and attraction of anadromous fish, including fall attraction flows and other flows as needed by the adaptive management study to support anadromous fish and provide environmental benefits in the project area.

This water is needed to support VAMP and to provide protective measures for fall-run chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River. The adaptive management study means that the flow requirement is to change annually in response to hydrologic and biologic conditions. As a result, varying amounts of water would be needed. The Agreement provides for up to 137,500 acre-feet of water.

The EIS/EIR examines one other alternative that was determined to meet the project’s purpose and need: the State Water Right Priority System. This alternative is identical to Flow Alternative 3 in the SWRCB’s DEIR for implementation of the 1995 WQCP for the Bay/Delta Estuary.

The proposed action is located in the following counties in California: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Madera, Merced, Fresno, Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Calaveras.

For further information regarding this EIS/EIR, contact Mr. Michael Delamore, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, South-Central California Area Office, 2666 N. Grove Industrial Dr., #106, Fresno, CA 93727-1551, (209) 487-5039, fax: (209) 487-5130; or Mr. Dan Fults, Friant Water Users Authority, 1521 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 441-1931, fax: (916) 441-1581.

SCH#: 98092062


January 28, 2023

Prepared for

U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Reclamation
Sacramento, California


San Joaquin River Group Authority
Modesto, California

Prepared by

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology
Lafayette and Sacramento, California


Dennis W. Westcot, Project Administrator
San Joaquin River Group
716 Valencia Ave.
Davis, CA 95616-0153
(530) 758-8633
[email protected]

For information regarding this web site, contact the Modesto Irrigation District.