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  • Manny Crisosotomo / The Sacramento Bee

    Homes and buildings line the northern end of Bradford Island that borders the San Joaquin river. Bradford Island and it's 7.4 miles of levees can only be reached by ferry and is home to 40 residents. Aerial photographs of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta taken November 11, 2008. Manny Crisostomo / The Sacramento Bee

  • Manny Crisosotomo / The Sacramento Bee

    Aerial view of the Delta and the islands separated by the Franks Tract in the forground; San Joaquin river in the middle and the Sacramento River in the background. I Bradford Island, center, is flanked by Jersey Island on the left and Sherman Island in the background. Aerial photographs of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta taken November 11, 2008. Manny Crisostomo / Sacramento Bee

Groups want more time to review Delta tunnel project

Published: Monday, May. 19, 2014 - 7:06 pm
Last Modified: Monday, May. 19, 2014 - 9:41 pm

More than 30 conservation groups are asking for more time to comment on the proposal to build two giant water diversion tunnels in the Delta.

In a letter dated Friday, the groups asked California officials to extend the public comment period on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which is currently set to close June 13. The letter requests a minimum extension of 60 days.

The letter was submitted by the Environmental Water Caucus on behalf of 34 conservation groups struggling to comprehend the project’s complicated planning document and environmental impact study, which exceed 30,000 pages. Signatories range from the Karuk Indian tribe and Sierra Club to the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.

The project, estimated to cost $25 billion, aims to re-engineer water diversions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and restore 100,000 acres of habitat. The most controversial component is two tunnels, 40 feet in diameter, that would divert a portion of the Sacramento River’s flow at three new intakes near Courtland.

The public comment period began on Dec. 13 after more than seven years of planning. The groups said they want more time because officials have yet to release an “implementation agreement,” which would spell out financial obligations and other responsibilities of the various water agencies that will benefit from the project.

The California Department of Water Resources is leading the project, and it has extended the public comment by 60 days once already.

“We’ve taken the request under consideration, but we haven’t made a decision yet on whether to extend the public comment period,” said DWR spokeswoman Nancy Vogel.

For more information on the project, visit:

Call The Bee’s Matt Weiser at (916) 321-1264. Follow him on Twitter @matt_weiser.

Read more articles by Matt Weiser

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