Corps Issues Emergency Permit for Delta Barrier

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District issued a permit through emergency procedures May 4 allowing the California Department of Water Resources to begin construction of a drought barrier at West False River in the California Delta.

DWR applied to the Corps for the expedited permit review for the work that seeks to stem salinity intrusion into the Delta resulting from California’s extended drought. The 800-foot wide barrier will be composed of sheet pile and rock.

The Corps issued the permit after coordinating with Endangered Species Act agencies and issuance of water quality certification by the California State Water Quality Control Board. The Corps will conduct after-the-fact formal consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service for several endangered fish species.

“The Corps recognizes the exigent circumstances that have arisen after four years of drought and the potential impact it could have on water quality in the Delta,” said Michael Jewell, Sacramento District regulatory chief.The decision to issue this permit was made after considering endangered species, boating and other public interests.

DWR plans to begin installation of the barrier today. The permit requires DWR to remove the barrier by November 15, 2015.

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