The public comment for a proposed reservoir project along Del Puerto Canyon Road west of I-5 expired on Monday 9.
This means that anyone who would like something they believe might be impacted by the project to be studied as part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must have submitted their comments by 5 p.m. on Monday.
After the public comment period ends, bringing up new areas of concern becomes much more difficult.
The project is in the very early stages of a legal process that all proposed projects must go through. It was announced in late June, when a Notice of Preparation of an EIR and Scoping Meeting was published.
At the scoping meeting on Wednesday, when the concept of the project was presented to the public, a conceptual rendering of the reservoir was available.
The Initial Study for the project, dated June, 2019, indicates that the EIR for the reservoir, which will be located on private property, will not include any recreational use.
“My hope is that the County or City at some point might have a complementary project,” Hansen said, adding that she can envision activities for the reservoir project that are not “on-the-water,” such as hiking or birdwatching.
She also pointed out that the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project (NVRRWP) supplies water to 160,000 acres of wildlife reserve, which have hiking trails and visitors centers. “I’m very proud to say… 27 percent of the recycled water from NVRRWP is going to sanctuaries. I think the district is doing its part.” She described the water the district supplies as the first long-term commitment of water resources that the refuges have had since 1992.
While Hansen and the district seem amenable to allowing limited public use of the area, the recreation category was not checked as an area for study on the EIR. Other areas not currently set for evaluation include wildfire and public services.
Of the responses received, Robin Cort, Senior Environmental Planner at Woodard & Curran, who is handling the project for the district, said by phone Wednesday, “We’re still in the process of going through the comments. so far there aren’t any big surprises...” She added that Anthea Hansen of the water district has been out of the office this week, so more comments may have been received from that office, as well.
“We won’t only evaluate things the public has expressed concerns about; there’s a checklist of environmental topics that we have to address. People don’t have to say, ‘please look at this’ in order to address a particular topic. For example, I don’t believe anybody expressed concern over greenhouse gas emissions, but we are still going to look at it.”
Website for the Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir project: https://www.delpuertocanyonreservoir.com/