Diablo Helianthella - by James Gaither

Diablo Helianthella - by James Gaither

Santa Clara Valley and East Bay Chapters have been working on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SFPUC) Water System Improvement Project (WSIP).  The Calaveras Dam Replacement Project is one aspect of the larger WSIP program.  The Calaveras Dam project will have significant impacts on flora and vegetation in the Alameda watershed including almost 5 acres of wetlands, 13 acres of serpentine grasslands, and hundreds of oaks.  CNPS believes that the SFPUC has failed to provide reasonable or adequate mitigation for impacts caused by this project.  Notably, the SFPUC aims to mitigate for hundreds of inundated acres (lost habitat), by “protecting” lands it already owns and manages.  We believe this mitigation strategy sets up a poor precedent for future mitigation.

Here’s an introduction to our letter:

The Mount Hamilton area represents one of the most significant “last wild areas” of the Bay Area. CNPS has been studying and helping conserve this area for generations, starting with the Mt. Hamilton Flora which was first published by Helen Sharsmith in American Midland Naturalist in 1945. CNPS hopes that the SFPUC will be a force in preserving habitats of the Mount Hamilton area since preservation fits within the mission of the agency.

However, CNPS fails to understand how the SFPUC has met mitigation requirements for the proposed project by “protecting” land already owned and protected by the SFPUC. We believe that this DEIR is inadequate given the lack of specific mitigations and of details associated with how mitigations will be fulfilled.

Calaveras Dam DEIR Comments from CNPS