County Water Agency to discuss Mill Creek Project EIR

A little more insight ….

Have a great day!

By ROB BURGESS The Daily Journal
Article Last Updated: 02/16/2008

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, about 1,460
teratonnes of water covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface.

On Tuesday, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors may help parched
Redwood Valley get one step closer to tasting some of that.

The board will consider whether or not it will adopt the final draft of
the Mill Creek Project environmental impact report. The meeting is
scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the board’s chambers when the board is
scheduled to sit as the Mendocino County Water Agency.

“Approximately 95 years ago, the State of California constructed three
dams within a one-mile stretch of Mill Creek to provide a water supply for
the State Hospital in Ukiah,” stated the EIR. “The three dams are located
in the Talmage area on Mill Creek, tributary to the Russian River.”

The Redwood Valley Water District board voted unanimously last December to
declare a water emergency in Redwood Valley after storage in Lake
Mendocino dropped below 30,000 acre-feet.

Besides establishing Talmage water resources as a permanent supply for
Redwood Valley, one of the project’s other main goals is to mitigate for
the unplanned release of sediment into the creek four years ago.

“In December 2004, the Upper Dam base gate valve stuck open, and water
drained from the reservoir and released a substantial amount of sediment
into Mill Creek between the Upper Dam and the Middle Dam,” stated the EIR.
“In fall 2005, the county installed a standpipe to act as a
temporary water and sediment control system. Winter storms at the end of
2005 moved the released sediment into the reservoir area behind the Middle
Dam and an adjacent landslide in spring 2006 did further damage to habitat
in the area.”

According to the EIR, five options for action will be available: no
project, all dam structures in place and restored reservoirs (Alternative
A), all dams except the Lower Dam in place and restored reservoirs
(Alternative B), only the Upper Dam and Reservoir retained (Alternative C)
and all dams and reservoirs removed (Alternative D).

The full EIR can be viewed at the water agency’s Web site at by clicking on the “Downloads” link.

One thought on “County Water Agency to discuss Mill Creek Project EIR

  1. Good Morning,

    I would like to know your feeling and stand on the Benbow Lake seasonal dam project: Located on the Wild & Scenic South Fork of the Eel River in Southern Humboldt County, just South of the town of Garberville on Hwy 101.

    Your thoughts or studies on: Steelhead, Coho and Chinook passage in and around Benbow Dam, pre & post operation of seasonal use.

    Your thoughts on the un-regulated, un-permitted and un-mitigated instream gravel extraction State Parks has under taken at the confluence of East Branch Creek and the South Fork Eel River behind the Benbow Inn; too repair and re-shape their day use beach area every year.

    Your thoughts about the bank erosion and loss of redwoods into the river, across from East Branch Creek, with many more awaiting the same fate.

    State Parks is asking the Army Corps to extend their CWA 404 permit for two more years (permit # 27048N has expired as of 12/07) without filling a public notice on the project and extension of permit. Please contact Peter Straub, North Section Chief at the Army Corps office in San Francisco; tell him you want this permit extension to be posted as a public notice, and have public comment on it.

    Peter Straub
    North Section Chief
    Regulatory Branch
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    1455 Market Street, 16th Floor
    San Francisco, California 94103-1398
    (415) 503-6774 or (415) 503-6795
    FAX NUMBER: (415) 503-6690

    Thank you for your time, I look forward hearing from you;

    Ed Voice
    South Fork Eel River since 1962
    707 349 1069

    After some time, I did get an e-mail back from Peter Straub at ACOE:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Straub, Peter S SPN
    To: Ed Voice
    Cc: Ammerman, David A SPN ; Hicks, Jane M SPN
    Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 10:57 AM
    Subject: RE: Attn: Peter Straub

    Mr. Voice: The Corps is pursuing the issuance of a two-year time extension for the Benbow Summer Dam Project. The time extension would be only issued after completion of any necessary Section 7 consultation with the Services. A public notice is not necessary when the Corps determines that there has been no significant changes in the attendant circumstances since the orginal Department of the Army permit was issued. If you and other property owners have concerns about past compliance issues, you can certainly articulate them in a letter addressed to Dave Ammerman of our Eureka Field Office. Peter Straub

    This was my return letter:

    From: Ed Voice []
    Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2008 12:30 PM
    Cc: Hicks, Jane M SPN; Straub, Peter S SPN; Kiley, Craig W. LTC SPN
    Subject: Attn: Peter Straub

    Mr. Straub;

    Thank you for your reply: I understand about the Section 7 with NMFS, and we have already informed Mr. Ammerman about compliance issues with State Parks at Benbow (I believe you were CC’ed). We were told that Parks permits at Benbow Dam expire in 2007 and that we would be able to voice our opinion and public comments about the operation and project of Benbow Dam in 2008; when Parks applies for a new round of permits. Well it seems there is a loop hole, its called filling for an extension.

    1) We feel that with the additional instream gravel extraction occurring outside of Parks permits is a significant change.

    2) We feel that because of the current bank erosion problems occurring and additional redwood trees falling into the river because of it, is a significant change.

    3) We feel that Parks discussion and consultation with Fish & Game, considering major changes to bank stabilization alternatives in and around both sides of the river (South Fork Eel) at East Branch Creek is a significant change.

    4) We feel this kind of activity at Benbow Dam, in the name of recreation, does not protect threatened & endangered species and their critical habitats found there is a significant change.

    5) We have not seen any attempt by your office, requesting a Section 7 consultation of the National Parks Service (federal river administering agency), as stated in the Federal Wild & Scenic River Act. This should be a significant requirement. The Benbow Lake & Dam project is located on the South Fork Eel River, a State & Federal listed Wild & Scenic River.

    Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires the ACOE to regulate, through permits, the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 requires the ACOE to regulate, through permits, structures and work in navigable waters of the United States. The scope of the ACOE jurisdiction pursuant to these regulatory authorities is defined at 33 CFR 328-329 & 33 CFR 320-330. ACOE permit applications for activities in wild and scenic rivers are subject to the provisions of Section 7 of the Act.

    No Federal department or agency may assist by loan, grant, license or otherwise in the construction of a water resources project that would have a direct and adverse effect on the values for which a river is designated as an actual or potential System component. This does not preclude licensing or assistance to developments below or above an actual or potential wild, scenic or recreational river area or on a stream tributary which will not invade the area or diminish the scenic, recreational and fish and wildlife values of the area.

    Federal assistance, includes ACOE permits. A permit from the ACOE will require a Section 7 determination by the river-administering agency when the proposal occurs in a designated river or congressionally authorized study river and is a water resources project, i.e., affects the river’s free-flowing condition. This ACOE 404 permit process should trigger and requires a written request for determination from the river-administering agency for such projects.

    It is very important for regional and district ACOE staff to develop a close working relationship with Federal Wild & Scenic River administrators and participate in the review, evaluation process and provisions of Section 7 of the Wild & Scenic River Act.

    Thank you for you time and attention to this matter,

    Ed Voice

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