Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan Administrative Draft is now complete - Eminent Domain may be used in Northern California

On May 29, 2013, the California Natural Resources Agency released chapters 8-12 of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (“BDCP”), thereby completing the administrative draft available for public review. According to a brochure on the BDCP official website, the estimated cost of this project is 24.54 billion and it will span the course of 50 years. Chapter 8 of the BDCP, which provides a detailed outline of costs and funding opportunities, also estimates the cost for land acquisition at $166 million. The project, led by California Department of Water Resources and supported by other public water agencies, will affect counties in Northern California. The BDCP’s objective is conservation and water quality improvement in the San Joaquin Delta.

The Sacramento Bee reports on the following components of the project, which will affect a 10-mile stretch of Sacramento County farmland:

“• Three intakes, each consisting of a 40-acre site elevated 2 to 5 feet above the existing levee, with industrial buildings six stories tall.

• A 1,000-acre reservoir south of the town of Hood, called an intermediate forebay, to provide gravity flow to the two main tunnels.

• High-voltage electrical substations and miles of power lines.

• Barge landings on the river's edge, each as long as a football field, one near Walnut Grove and another along the north fork of the Mokelumne River, on Tyler Island.

• A soil "borrow" area north of Hood, totaling 610 acres, to provide earth fill for the intake sites and other facilities.

• Disposal areas totaling 717 acres for "tunnel muck," the mixture of soil and excavation chemicals dug from the tunnel bores.”

The Sacramento Bee further reports that prime farmland, including vineyards, will be affected by the BDCP, which also seeks to address the affects of climate change on California landscape. In addition to affected farmland, some California homeowners may see their property become the subject of condemnation for the tunneling portion of the project. The condemning authorities might use eminent domain against homeowners in the County of Sacramento.