Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
WHEREAS, the Division of Water Rights of the California Department of Water Resources has received applications 31194 and 31195 from Alaska Water Exports to appropriate water from the Gualala and Albion Rivers for export to Southern California; and
WHEREAS, the Gualala River is within the jurisdiction of the County of Sonoma; and
WHEREAS, the decline of salmonid populations along the California Central and North Coast regions has led to threatened listings under the Endangered Species Act; and
WHEREAS, chronic water shortages exist in the community of Gualala as determined by the California Department of Water Resources and the California Coastal Commission; and
WHEREAS, winter flows from the coastal rivers are essential for proper ecological functioning of estuaries and near shore ocean conditions, resulting in improved conditions including attraction flows for listed fish species; and
WHEREAS, coastal Sonoma County is reliant on tourism and maintaining a scenic, non-industrialized coastline; and
WHEREAS, the applications from Alaska Water Exports do not address the myriad of environmental and economic impacts this project would have on the County of Sonoma;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors opposes the application to export water from the Gualala River to Southern California; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors calls on all relevant regulatory agencies to insure that any such proposal for water export undergo the most rigorous of environmental studies including, but not limited to:
Impacts of lowering large quantities of fresh water flow in a manner that may effect the ability of salmonids to determine the time to enter the river system for spawning. Impacts of extraction on salt water intrusion up the river both on river ecology and domestic wells. Impacts on streambed alteration of placing pipelines, cisterns and intake points for water extraction significantly upstream from the river mouth including construction impacts. Impacts on estuary and near shore ocean ecology. Impacts on highly scenic coastal resources and related economic impacts on tourism. Impacts of construction and intakes on public access and use of the river. Impacts of offshore water bags on fishing boats and recreational craft. Impacts of pipeline construction on net and line snagging for fishing boats.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be submitted to relevant regulatory agencies, including the State Department of Water Resources, the California Department of Fish and Game, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Coastal Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the coastal permitting agencies in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.
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