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ICO Article: Coast panel sets water bag hearing in San Diego

This article was published in the
Independent Coast Observer
on November 1, 2002.

Coast panel sets water bag hearing in San Diego
By Julie Verran

Courtesy Independent Coast Observer, Gualala, CA

The California Coastal Commission will hold a public hearing in San Diego next Thursday to decide whether to protest Ric Davidge’s proposals to take water from the Albion and Gualala Rivers and tug it in giant water bags to San Diego.

The CCC has made a habit of agendizing important North Coast issues in southern California.The CCC protest draft was prepared in the form of two letters to State Water Resources Control Board staff to be signed by CCC Executive Peter Douglas. They set forth the sections of the Coastal Act that may be violated by the water bag scheme, explain why, and ask the SWRCB to consider alternatives including other water sources for San Diego. One example:

“Commercial fishing and recreational boating are protected activities that would be disrupted by the presence of near-shore tugboat-maneuvering waterbag-towing traffic. The physical placement of the pipeline and mooring/loading facility in near-shore coastal waters would be considered “fill” that would displace protected marine habitat, thereby affecting marine ecology. Mooring and loading operations would displace commercial and recreational fishing from a large area of the ocean around the loading facility.”

The draft letter says the delivery of the water could also harm the near-shore environment of San Diego.

The CCC is the only public agency other than the counties of Mendocino and Sonoma and some cities to send comments to the Water Board so far, according to Mike Folyd of the Water Board staff. The CCC wrote several months ago to let the Water Board know that the projects would need a CCC permit.

Letters to the CCC may be addressed to Randall Stemler, California Coastal Commission, P.O. Box 4908, Eureka, CA 95502-4908 or faxed to 707-445-7877, with hard copy mailed also.

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