Boaters' Opportunity to Comment - Trestle Across Mokelumne River

Boaters have the opportunity to provide comments on a temporary trestle Caltrans is proposing across the Mokelumne River prior to a January 23 deadline - for the referenced notice and information on submitting comments: click here.

From the USCG in transmitting the notice:

“Caltrans is proposing to erect a temporary trestle across the Mokelumne River, mile 22.9 at I-5 Bridges to facilitate the construction of a seismic retrofit project.  The temporary trestle is anticipated to be in place July to Oct 2019 and 2020.  

“Attached is a CG letter requesting comments from waterway users to determine if the temporary trestle meets the reasonable needs of navigation on the waterway during construction.”  

“Comments concerning this proposal are due NLT COB on January 23, 2019.”

RBOC Opposing Franks Tract Restoration Plan in Delta

RBOC is opposing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s proposed restoration of Franks Tract in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as the project would negatively and permanently harm present and future boating opportunities in this prime area of the Delta.

The following key impacts are of great concern to recreational boaters:

  • Access to False River and the San Joaquin River to the East would be permanently blocked.   This access would no longer be a thoroughfare for boaters traveling from San Francisco, Pittsburg and Benicia to recreate in the Delta.  Boaters would be forced to navigate all the way around - adding up to an hour to their cruising time and fuel consumption.
  • The project would result in the loss of marinas and marine-related businesses.  The plan would block off and severely impact the marinas, launch ramps, marine-related businesses and restaurants that serve the boating public in the Delta – with a tremendous, negative economic impact on this region.
  • The project would harm striped bass and black bass fishing, which are a core component of the Delta recreation with 150 tournaments held in the area each year. This would occur as additional water is diverted for the purpose of eradicating invasive species and helping endangered smelt.
  • The project would eliminate an important State Recreational Area that provides the stimulus for recreational and economic activity for the region.

RBOC’s opposition to this project is consistent with the organization’s August 21 testimony before the State Water Resources Control Board in support of the proposed resolution amending the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary Water Quality Control Plan [Bay-Delta Plan] and adopting the final Substitute Environmental Document [SED] for Lower San Joaquin River and Southern Delta.

The proposed plan amendments would revise two elements of the Bay-Delta Plan: lowering San Joaquin River flow objectives for the protection of fish and wildlife; and adjusting the salinity requirements to a slightly higher level to reflect updated scientific knowledge of Southern Delta salt levels that reasonably protect agriculture.

RBOC testified in support of the American Sportfishing Association’s coalition submittal, encouraging the adoption of scientifically and legally adequate flow standards of the lower San Joaquin River and its Tributaries. The organization emphasized that, given the extremely perilous state of salmon runs and other species, it is imperative that the board issue robust flow standards that will restore salmon.

RBOC’s opposition to the Franks Tract Restoration Project is also consistent with and in furtherance of the organization’s opposition to the California WaterFix, a massive construction project that could seriously impact boaters’ access to the Delta for years to come. 

The California WaterFix, which could take 14 years or more to complete, involves digging huge, 47-mile long tunnels under the Delta to facilitate the movement of water.  During construction, major waterways and tributaries could be closed to recreational boaters.

Other concerns with the WaterFix include:

  • The significant, negative impact that will occur with the closure of waterways to navigation during the lengthy construction period.
  • The absence of a plan to ensure that the Delta infrastructure will not only be preserved, but improved.
  • The lack of surety that the plan will address the threat that climate change and increased water transfer pose to the amount and quality of water in the Delta.

RBOC has, for decades, been at the forefront of opposing proposals that would impair the ability of boaters to access to the over 1,000 miles of waterways in the Delta. The organization successfully opposed permanent barriers that would have blocked navigation to popular Delta destinations. It has supported legislation that would increase funds for fighting invasive species such as the water hyacinth.

RBOC’s efforts are in furtherance of the policy it has pursued for over ten years in support of the preservation of recreational boating access to navigable California Delta waterways, including:

  • Pursuing assurances that as any changes are contemplated which further alter Delta navigable waterways that alternatives are identified and implemented that will best preserve and sustain recreational boat passage at each location.
  • Advocating for assured access for continued navigation by recreational boats wherever any “control structure” [such as, but not limited to gates or barriers whether temporary or permanent] is planned for placement across a navigable Delta waterway.  
  • Promoting the provision for operable boat locks installed as an integral design component to mitigate for the placement of any control structure across any navigable Delta waterway. All control structures and boat locks or other alternatives should be installed, maintained and operated without cost or expense to recreational boaters.

Delta - Boaters Can Comment - USCG Notice re Mokelumne River [I-5] Dual Bridge Project

Boaters have the opportunity to provide comments to the United States Coast Guard regarding a proposed bridge modification project in the Delta. Following is the USCG's April 3 public notice:

MOKELUMNE RIVER (I-5) DUAL BRIDGE – MOKELUMNE RIVER

AVAILABILITY OF PUBLIC NOTICE

The purpose of this notice is to solicit public comments on the proposed modification to the California Department of Transportation’s Mokelumne River (I-5) Dual Bridge, mile 22.9 over the Mokelumne River.  The General Bridge Act of 1946 requires approval of the location and plans for bridges over navigable waters of the United States, prior to commencing construction.  A Coast Guard Bridge Permit Amendment will be required for this project.

WATERWAY AND LOCATION:  Mokelumne River, mile 22.9, north of Stockton, on the San Joaquin County and Sacramento County line, California.  (N 38 15.292'  W 121 26.872')

Public Notice (11-146), dated April 3, 2018, is being published on the Coast Guard Navigation Website.  The public notice contains a detailed description of the proposed bridge modification project and includes location maps and bridge drawings with navigational clearances.  Interested parties may access Active Public Notices for Bridge Projects for the Eleventh Coast Guard District at the following web site https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/D11BN.  The public notice may also be obtained by calling the Eleventh Coast Guard District Bridge Office at (510) 437-3516, by writing to Commander (dpw), Eleventh Coast Guard District, Coast Guard Island, Bldg 50-2, Alameda, CA 94501-5100, by email at Carl.T.Hausner@uscg.mil, or by facsimile at (510) 437-5836.

Mariners are requested to comment on the proposed modification project and navigational safety issues.  Interested parties are requested to express their views in writing.  Comments will be received for the record at the address given in Public Notice (11-146) through May 2, 2018.

Very Respectfully,

CARL T. HAUSNER

Chief, Bridge Section

Eleventh Coast Guard District

Commander (dpw)

Eleventh Coast Guard District

Coast Guard Island, BLDG 50-2

Alameda, CA  94501-5100

Key Water Agency Board Votes Against Participating in California WaterFix

By a 7-1 vote, the Wetlands Water District Board of Directors has voted against participating and providing an estimated one quarter of the projected $17 billion cost of the RBOC-opposed California WaterFix that includes the controversial twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The decisions of other significant water agencies are anticipated to be made later this year..

RBOC Opposing California WaterFix, Citing Negative Impact on Boating

RBOC has adopted a position in opposition to the proposed WaterFix project, a massive construction project that could seriously impact boaters’ access to the Delta for years to come.

“RBOC has, for decades, been at the forefront of opposing proposals that would impair the ability of boaters to access to the 1,000 miles of waterways in the Delta,” said Peter Robertson, president of the organization.  “We successfully opposed permanent barriers that would have blocked navigation to popular Delta destinations.  We have supported legislation that would increase funds for fighting invasive species such as the water hyacinth,” stated Robertson.

According to RBOC, the proposed WaterFix project is the latest threat to boating in the Delta.  The project, which could take 14 years or more to complete, involves digging huge, 47-mile long tunnels under the Delta to facilitate movement of water.  During construction, major waterways and tributaries could be closed to recreational boaters.

At an August 1 meeting of its Board of Directors, RBOC identified specific, boater-related concerns with the Notice of Determination (NOD) for the California WaterFix environmental analysis.  These include:

  • The significant, negative impact that will occur with the closure of waterways to navigation during the lengthy construction period.
  • The absence of a plan to ensure that the Delta infrastructure will not only be preserved, but improved.

  • The lack of surety that the plan will address the threat that climate change and increased water transfer pose to the amount and quality of water in the Delta.

“We are encouraging the state to consider other sources of water such as increased storage and desalination,” stated Robertson.

RBOC Works to Protect Boating, Files Concerns with California WaterFix EIR/EIS

RBOC has filed its concerns with the negative impact that the California WaterFIx would have on the ability of recreational boaters to navigate and recreate in the Sacramento—San Joaquin Delta.  Of particular note:

1. There has been insufficient time to review the responses to RBOC and other comments that were submitted as far back as 2013.

RBOC is therefore urging that the public comment deadline on the 2016 Final BDCP/California WaterFix EIR/EIS be extended.

Based on our initial review of the responses to RBOC’s comments, our organization believes that many responses are insufficient, ambiguous and/or unresponsive.

2.    As discussed in the 2016 Final BDCP/California WaterFix EIR/EIS, the California WaterFix would severely restrict navigable waterways during construction of the twin tunnels.

This is contrary to the California State Constitution, Article 10, Section 4 of which provides that “No individual, partnership, or corporation, claiming or possessing the frontage or tidal lands of a harbor, bay, inlet, estuary, or other navigable water in this State, shall be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water whenever it is required for any public purpose, nor to destroy or obstruct the free navigation of such water; and the Legislature shall enact such laws as will give the most liberal construction to this provision, so that access to the navigable waters of this State shall be always attainable for the people thereof.”

3.  The planned temporary closure of significant recreational waterways including Twin Sloughs and Mildred Island are unacceptable, unmitigated and unconstitutional.

RBOC's concerns have been filed within the public comments on the 2016 Final BDCP/California WaterFix EIR/EIS. This is in addition to extensive comments that RBOC has submitted within this proceding in an effort to protect the ability of recreational boaters to navigate and recreate in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 

State Proceeding with One Temporary Drought Emergency Delta Barrier for 2015 - Info for Boaters

As the state Department of Water Resources [DWR] moves forward in 2015 with plans to install one emergency, temporary rock barrier across West False River Slough in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, RBOC continues to engage with the state and is working to inform boaters so they can plan accordingly.

DWR hopes to begin installation of the emergency, temporary barrier on May 8 and to remove it this November.

  • For the DWR notice to boaters with map and information: click here
  • For the DWR press release: click here

RBOC acknowledges and appreciates the dire drought situation - now in its fourth year - that challenges all Californians, and appreciates the need for significant action as called for in the Governor’s April 1 executive order. 

The installation of a temporary rock barrier across West False River Slough is intended to preserve a fresh-water Delta and to sustain the Delta's ecosystem as a supply for drinking water.

Balancing the preservation of recreational opportunities in the Delta while preserving its ecosystem and as a state fresh-water supply is a worthy endeavor.

As boaters find their favorite lakes and reservoirs increasingly being closed to boating because of low water caused by the continuing drought, many will turn to the Delta as a new and enjoyable destination and RBOC stands ready to address their needs for access to boating waterways.

RBOC will continue to be engaged as this action is taken.