August 11, 2022
EBMUD joins State effort to enhance Bay-Delta ecosystem
OAKLAND – The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of California to develop an agreement to improve water flows and habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
EBMUD has been negotiating with the state on an approach to provide additional flows from the Mokelumne River to support the endangered Delta ecosystem while also ensuring reliable, high-quality water supplies to the East Bay community.
“With decades of successful collaboration on the Mokelumne River, EBMUD looks forward to working with the state and other parties on an effective collaborative effort to help achieve the state’s goals for the Bay-Delta,” said EBMUD General Manager Clifford Chan. “This not only supports the Bay-Delta Plan, but also protects the communities and economy of the East Bay.”
The Mokelumne River provides drinking water to 1.4 million residents in the growing and vibrant communities and economy of the East Bay. The river is a small part of the Bay-Delta system, contributing 2.5 percent of the total inflow, but is home to the vital Mokelumne River salmon fishery, which is commercially and recreationally important to the state and contributes as much as 40 percent of the statewide salmon catch each year. The Mokelumne River is the only California river meeting the state’s salmon doubling goal, one of the core objectives of the state’s current Bay-Delta Plan.
Collaboration has been an important part of this success. In 1998, EBMUD and state and federal resource agencies established a partnership agreement under which EBMUD releases increased flows to the Mokelumne River to benefit fisheries and implemented habitat measures to enhance the fishery ecosystem. EBMUD has led a formal science-based effort with state and federal agencies, environmental organizations, and river stakeholders to successfully use flow and non-flow measures to benefit the fishery. EBMUD’s deep commitment to the Mokelumne River is demonstrated by the successful collaboration to add the Mokelumne River to the state’s Wild & Scenic Rivers system.
Some of the key aspects of the newly signed MOU for the Mokelumne River are:
1. Good for Fish – This MOU enhances the already successful EBMUD Mokelumne salmon program by providing additional flows on top of what EBMUD already releases for fish, timed around the salmon life cycle, and will also contribute to improved conditions for Delta fish.
2. Protects the East Bay – This MOU helps resolve a regulatory process that had the potential for significant water supply impacts for the people, communities, and economy of the East Bay. The additional Mokelumne River flows in the MOU will help the Bay-Delta while enabling EBMUD to achieve its water supply reliability goals for the East Bay.
3. Fair – This MOU clearly defines EBMUD’s contribution of water and funding that is fair and equitable for the size of the river. The contributions will support the Bay-Delta, which is critical to the entire state.
4. Significant first step in a long-term process – Though there is more work to be done, this MOU defines appropriate contributions to the environment and provides an equitable basis from which to craft a final approach.
Looking forward, EBMUD and the State agencies (California Environmental Protection Agency, California Natural Resources Agency, Department of Water Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife) will use the broadly defined areas of agreement to develop detailed implementation agreements that describe how contributions from the Mokelumne River and other rivers will support the water quality objectives for the Bay-Delta.
“We are pleased that we have reached a consensus that enables EBMUD to continue working with the state towards a long-term approach while empowering EBMUD and its partners to build on our past environmental successes to improve the health of the Bay-Delta,” said Director of Water and Natural Resources Michael Tognolini.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District has a proud history of providing high-quality drinking water for 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. EBMUD’s wastewater system serves 740,000 customers and helps protect the ecosystem of San Francisco Bay. EBMUD is a not-for-profit public agency established in 1923.
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