OVERVIEW In 2006, the Department of the Interior entered into the San Joaquin River Settlement (Settlement) in NRDC et al., v.
Kirk Rodgers et al.
The Settlement was subsequently approved by the Court in October 2006 and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, Public Law 111-11,
authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to implement the Settlement.
The Settlement calls for a combination of channel and structural improvements along the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam, releases of additional water from Friant Dam, the reintroduction of spring and/or fall-run Chinook salmon, and the reduction or avoidance of water supply impacts to the Friant Division long-term contractors that may result from the Settlement’s Interim and Restoration flows.
With the implementation of the Settlement, the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation has increased releases from Friant Dam into the San Joaquin River.
These increased releases, termed Interim and Restoration Flows, will be protected for instream and fish and wildlife uses under the California Water Code.
The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) began releasing Interim Flows on October 1, 200 9. These flows could potentially increase the quantity and distribution of invasive plant species.
Interim Flows rewetted previously dry portions of the San Joaquin River, and may facilitate the spread of invasive vegetation from below Friant Dam to parts of the San Joaquin River further downstream.
The Water Year 2010 Interim Flows Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) require Reclamation to monitor and manage invasive vegetation in the San Joaquin River.
The EA and FONSI identify key species with potential to prevent successful SJRRP implementation.
Reclamation has the same requirement to monitor and manage invasive vegetation in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement / Report.
The San Joaquin River Partnership (Partnership) includes 11 non-profit member organizations and an array of scientists, volunteers, and conservationists who together seek to support full implementation of SJRRP by working with private landowners, government agencies, and community organizations.
Two members of the Partnership, including River Partners (RP), and the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust (Trust), propose to monitor and manage invasive vegetation in fulfillment of Reclamation’s environmental commitments in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement / Report.
The members’ past natural resources management successes have been a direct result of their ability to work in Central Valley communities, and building coalitions and partnerships with Federal, state and local agencies and stakeholders.
This history of working with local communities is important because the members would like to engage local youth, agricultural labor crews, and local students to monitor and manage invasive plants on the river.
The members view this as an opportunity to address high unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley, and reach out to the locals who are often unaware and uninformed about SJRRP.
RECIPIENT INVOLVEMENT The Trust agrees to:
• All aspects necessary to monitoring and manage invasive vegetation • Coordinating and cooperating with Reclamation to complete the environmental compliance and permitting activities for the Project.
• Obtaining any additional state and local permits and/or approvals that may be required for the Project.
RECLAMATION INVOLVEMENT Substantial involvement on the part Reclamation is anticipated for the successful completion of the objectives to be funded by this award.
In particular, Reclamation will be responsible for the following:
• Be responsible for completing the following environmental compliance and permitting activities by December 31, 2016:
National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Historic Preservation Act.
Reclamation did not solicit full and open competition for this award based the following criteria:
(1) UNSOLICITED PROPOSAL AND (4) UNIQUE QUALIFICATIONS Single Source Justification Description:
The Trust submitted an unsolicited proposal to monitor and manage invasive vegetation using a unique and innovative approach by employing local students, youth, and agricultural labor to monitor and manage invasive species.
The Trust approach provides the ancillary benefits of helping to address high unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley, providing a means for SJRRP to reach out to local communities, and working to achieve the Department of the Interior’s Priority Goal to Hire or Temporarily Engage Individuals Aged 15-25, which is included in Mission Area 5:
Building a 21st Century Department of the Interior (Department of the Interior Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2011-16).
River Partners and the Trust have many decades of combined experience in protecting and restoring natural resources in California.
Their successes have been a direct result of their ability to work in Central Valley communities, building coalitions and partnerships with Federal, state and local agencies and stakeholders.
The Trust proposes to include the River Partners as a subcontractor in this effort.
The Trust is uniquely qualified to perform these activities within the San Joaquin River Parkway (Parkway) and surrounding areas.
The Trust works in cooperation with the San Joaquin River Conservancy (Conservancy), a public agency which develops, operates, and maintains the Parkway.
The Parkway is a 22-mile regional greenspace and wildlife corridor along both sides of the San Joaquin River, extends from Friant Dam to Highway 99, and is composed of public ownership, conservation easements, and private ownership with public access.
The Trust already possesses GIS data of invasive vegetation in Reach 1, and invasive vegetation removal permits which could cover related activities under the proposal.
The Conservancy and the Trust already have an existing relationship in which the Trust provides assistance in managing the Parkway.
In addition, River Partners' mission is to create wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment.
River Partners has 16 years of experience in restoring properties and conducting on the ground efforts for the benefit of habitat.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY Public Law 111-11, Title X, Subtitle A - San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement, Part I – San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, Section 10004 (b)(2) SEC.
1000 4. IMPLEMENTATION OF SETTLEMENT.
(b) AGREEMENTS.— (2) OTHER AGREEMENTS.—The Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts, memoranda of understanding, financial assistance agreements, cost sharing agreements, and other appropriate agreements with State, tribal, and local governmental agencies, and with private parties, including agreements related to construction, improvement, and operation and maintenance of facilities, subject to any terms and conditions that the Secretary deems necessary to achieve the purposes of the Settlement.