Cooperation To Meet Water Salinity Objectives At Vernalis

OVERVIEW The Grassland Water District (GWD) is a California Water District formed under Section 34000 of the State Water Code.

The District is approximately 51,537 acres in size with the majority of this land in wetland habitat.

The District’s primary function is the delivery of

water to the landowners within its boundaries.

The canal system for carrying out water deliveries is approximately 110 miles in length and is operated and maintained by the GWD.

GWD and Reclamation have installed a water monitoring system within Grassland Resource Conservation District (GRCD).

The system has been used for water conservation purposes and as a demonstration for RTMP.

Reclamation and GWD intend to partner along with other agencies to demonstrate a pilot study for the management of waters potentially high in salinity concentrations.

The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to demonstrate how salt loads in waters may be managed through a RTMP.

The RTMP is a Stakeholder driven water management program that will evaluate the data from GRCD’s pilot study and determine its applicability for full scale operation within the westside San Joaquin region.

GWD shall provide data on water flows, management, quality, and salt loads imported and exported through GRCD.

The information will be used to develop a water management program to meet salinity objectives as required by the Salt and Boron Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) 2014 compliance deadline.

This water monitoring project is a proposed two-year study which will monitor and report the volume of water, as well as salt load, of all major water sources entering the wetlands of the GRCD, key inter-conveyance points of mixing, deliveries to state federal and private wetlands, and all major outflows draining from the region to the Lower San Joaquin River (LSJR).

The real time publically available web enabled data provides decision support to wetland and water managers to maximize water conservation and water quality within the GRCD which in turn minimizes spill and maximizes water quality discharged to the LSJR.

The RTMP monitoring project assists in meeting the Program to Meet Standards objectives for the Secretary, “to undertake a program to investigate and identify opportunities to reduce salt loads to the San Joaquin River.

The benefits of the Project are multi-purpose.

This Project will assist Reclamation in fulfilling its responsibilities under P.L.

102-575, as amended, and other related legislation towards improving water quality, collaborating with interested parties, and demonstrating water management operations.

The Project will enhance water conservation, habitat restoration and management, and improve salt loads discharged to the LSJR.

RECIPIENT INVOLVEMENT Grasslands Water District shall perform the following:
GWD shall manage the RTMP within the GRCD.

GWD shall operate and maintain about 50 existing water monitoring stations (monitoring volume and salt) within the GRCD wetland complex including:
key inter-conveyance points of mixing, select wetland impoundments, and outlets leaving the wetland complex.

GWD shall report on the dynamics of water movement and its salt load entering, leaving, and within the wetland complexes, and drainages from the GRCD.

RECLAMATION INVOLVEMENT Substantial involvement between Reclamation and Grassland Water District is anticipated during the performance of the project.

Reclamation’s responsibilities include:
Real Time Management Support Reclamation with GWD assistance will be supporting the development of a RTMP for salt and boron to comply with the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements.

GWD shall provide input to all stages of the process.

The current project will provide the basic monitoring infrastructure upon which a preliminary real-time water quality management program can be based.

Real-time water quality management requires monitoring, forecast modeling for river assimilative capacity, and a user friendly management model.

Connectivity between the monitoring and modeling is important so that models are always run with the latest flow and water quality data and model forecasts are made available to decision makers who can make adjustments to salt exports to so as not to exceed current river assimilative capacity.

Planning, data management, decision support tools, and implementation of the GWD RTMP pilot study.

The monitoring plan and the pilot study work plan will be prepared and submitted for review.

Essential to this program is agency collaboration.

SINGLE-SOURCE JUSTIFICATION Reclamation did not solicit full and open competition for this award based the following criteria:
(4) UNIQUE QUALIFICATIONS Single Source Justification Description:
In carrying out those responsibilities, Recipient has acquired a vast array of information regarding river operations, irrigation water scheduling, the topography and geology of the area upon which the temporary pumps will be constructed, and other unique information critical to successfully completing the temporary pumping facility.

Through their consultants, Recipient is a partner in the design of the RTMP facility.

In fulfilling those responsibilities, they have assisted in the design data acquisition process, making them experts in several critical engineering aspects unique to the site, including geology, hydro-geology, channel morphology, etc.

No other entity could achieve a similar level of familiarity and expertise without first engaging in the lengthy process of studying and analyzing the data acquired thus far.

Grasslands Water District (GWD) should be sole sourced for this because the new work is a logical follow-on to existing monitoring research at the Grasslands Resource Conservation District.

GWD in collaboration with Reclamation, USFWS, CDFG, Lower San Joaquin River Committee and CVSALTS Stakeholders has demonstrated water conservation using The existing monitoring network.

This agreement with the GWD will allow the completion of a pilot study for the Real Time Management Program Water Quality Monitoring to document performance of the system and decision support tools in relation with salinity discharges.

This agreement is dynamic and based on stakeholder and agency input.

No other entity could achieve a similar level of familiarity and expertise without first engaging in the lengthy process of studying and analyzing the data acquired thus far.

The Water Acquisition Program (WAP) was established pursuant to Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Section 3406(b)(3) and implements part of 3406(d) which states that Reclamation shall provide firm water supplies of suitable quality to maintain and improve wetland habitat areas on various central valley refuges including those in the northern San Joaquin Valley.

The WAP is a Department of Interior program that is jointly managed by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Water Supply, Reliability, and Environmental Improvement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-361) requires, among other mandates, that the Secretary of Interior “shall develop and implement a best management practices plan to reduce the impact of the discharges from wildlife refuges that receive water from the federal government and discharge salt or other constituents in the San Joaquin River”.

Water use and water quality in the San Joaquin Valley are long standing issues both for agricultural and natural resource purposes.

The northern portion of the San Joaquin Valley (Merced County) has a significant amount of seasonal wetlands and is a major wintering area of national importance to waterfowl.

Wetland and resource managers need information on water volumes and water quality to optimize water use on their wetlands for the benefit of wildlife and to optimal habitat diversity.

The Real Time Management Program monitoring will augment existing water conservation and quality monitoring throughout the Grassland Resource Conservation District (GRCD), including California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and private lands, located within Merced County near the town of Los Banos, California.

Data from this monitoring effort will provide both real time decision support and trend water quality and flow information to land use managers which will serve to maximize water quality and water conservation within the GRCD.

Other benefits include a better understanding of the dynamics of water quantity and quality used to manage the Grassland ecosystem.

Additionally, the real time water quality and flow data from this network of sensors provides information to GWD resource managers to minimize spill and maximize water quality return to the Lower San Joaquin River (LSJR).

The District will use both Federal and non-Federal funds to fund the Real Time Management Water Monitoring project to serve Grasslands Water District, Grassland Resource Conservation District, and USFWS / CDFG Refuges located adjacent to the GRCD.

The monitoring project is expected to have the potential benefits, of reducing the demands on existing Federal water supply facilities, minimizing the discharge of high salinity waters to the Lower San Joaquin River, improving wildlife habitat for migrating water fowl, and providing a monitoring network for improving water conservation and managing salt loads.

Collaborators may include:
GWD, Reclamation, USFWS, CDFG, NRCS, CVSALTS and the LSJR Committee.

OBJECTIVE Two deliverables will be produced with this monitoring effort.

GWD shall prepare the Annual Report that documents the quantity and quality (salt load) of water entering (delivered and drainage) and leaving the GRCD.

The final product will be a report on the quantity (volume) and quality (salt load) of water entering, found within and leaving the GRCD.

Additionally, the goal of this cooperative agreement is for the monitoring network to receive approval by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board as an approved Real Time Monitoring Network as identified in the Salt and Boron TMDL for the Lower San Joaquin River.

BENEFITS Data from the monitoring effort will provide decision support information to land use managers which will maximize water quality and water conservation to both the refuge complex and the Lower San Joaquin River and facilitate in meeting water quality objectives in the Lower San Joaquin River.

The network will also serve to characterize the dynamics of water quantity and quality used to manage the Grassland ecosystem.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY This Cooperative Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between the United States of America, acting through the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, hereinafter referred to as “Reclamation,” and Grassland Water District, hereinafter referred to as the “Recipient” or “Grantee,” pursuant to Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

Public Law 102-575, Section 3406(b)(3) and 3407(e) and Funding Authority:

86-488; and CALFED Bay-Delta Authorization Act (Public Law 108-361 Title I, Section 103 (d)(2)(D).

The following section, provided in full text, authorizes Reclamation to award this financial assistance agreement:
Section 3406(b)(3) CVPIA Instream Water Acquisition Program - To acquire and manage instream flows in support of the Vernalis Adaptive Management Plan (VAMP) and the San Joaquin River Agreement (SJRA).

To acquire instream flows to improve spawning and rearing habitat and increase migration flows for fall-, winter- and spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead, in support of the Anadromous Fish Restoration Plan (AFRP).

3407(e) Funding to Non-Federal Entities.--If the Secretary determines that the State of California or an agency or subdivision thereof, an Indian tribe, or a non-profit entity concerned with restoration, protection, or enhancement of fish, wildlife, habitat, or environmental values is able to assist in implementing any action authorized by this title in an efficient, timely, and cost effective manner, the Secretary is authorized to provide funding to such entity on such terms and conditions as he deems necessary to assist in implementing the identified action, and Funding Authority:

86-488; and CALFED Bay-Delta Authorization Act (Public Law 108-361 Title I, Section 103 (d)(2)(D).

103 (d)(2)(D) Program to Meet Standards.

(III) COORDINATION WITH ENTITIES THAT DISCHARGE WATER.—The Secretary shall also coordinate activities under this clause with other entities that discharge water into the San Joaquin River to reduce salinity concentrations discharged into the San Joaquin River by the 2014 TMDL Deadline.

Related Programs

Central Valley Improvement Act, Title XXXIV

Department of the Interior

Agency: Bureau of Reclamation


Estimated Funding: $1,048,791

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This is a notice of intent to award the Institute for Bird Populations a single source agreement of $82,390 under justification 505 DM 2.14 (B4).

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