Department of Water Resources Home

Franks Tract Project

Contact:

Robert Yeadon,
Project Manager

Dept of Water Resources
1416 9th St, Room 252-18
Sacramento, CA 95814
robert.yeadon@water.ca.gov Telephone: (916) 651-9823
FAX: (916) 653-9574

Media Contact:

Ted Thomas,
Media and Public Information Office

Dept of Water Resources
1416 9th St, Room 252-20
Sacramento, CA 95814
tthomas@water.ca.gov Telephone: (916) 653-9712

Involvement Opportunities

Franks Tract Logo and Banner

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) propose to implement the Franks Tract Project to improve water quality and fisheries conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). DWR and Reclamation are evaluating installing operable gates to control the flow of water at key locations (Threemile Slough and/or West False River) to reduce sea water intrusion, and to positively influence movement of fish species of concern to areas that provide favorable habitat conditions. By protecting fish resources, this project also would improve operational reliability of the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) because curtailments in water exports(pumping restrictions) are likely to be less frequent.

The project gates would be operated seasonally and during certain hours of the day, depending on fisheries and tidal conditions. Boat passage facilities would be included to allow for passing of watercraft when the gates are in operation. The Franks Tract Project is consistent with ongoing planning efforts for the Delta to help balance competing uses and create a more sustainable system for the future. Preparation of a joint environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) for the project is underway, and public input is strongly encouraged.

Franks Tract Project Objectives

The overall purpose of the Franks Tract Project is to modify hydrodynamic conditions to protect and improve water quality in the central and south Delta, and to protect and enhance conditions for fish species of concern in the western and central Delta. An auxilary benefit to better water quality and fishery protection is greater operational flexibility for pump operations in the south Delta.

Specifically, DWR and Reclamation have identified the following objectives for the project: 

  • Modify hydrodynamic conditions for fish species of concern to positively influence their movement to areas that provide favorable habitat conditions.

  • Modify hydrodynamic conditions to improve water quality by reducing higher salinity sea water intrusion into the central and south Delta.

Project Background

DWR and Reclamation have conducted studies to evaluate the feasibility of modifying the hydrodynamic conditions near Franks Tract to improve Delta water quality and enhance the aquatic ecosystem.  The results of these studies have indicated that modifying the hydrodynamic conditions near Franks Tract may substantially reduce salinity in the Delta and protect fishery resources, including the sharply declining populations of delta smelt, a federally listed and state-listed species that is endemic to the Delta. The studies are available in the Project Library section on the right sidebar.

The project gates would be operated seasonally and during certain hours of the day, depending on fisheries and tidal conditions. Boat passage facilities would be included to allow for passing of watercraft when the gates are in operation. The Franks Tract Project is consistent with ongoing planning efforts for the Delta to help balance competing uses and create a more sustainable system for the future. Preparation of a joint environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (EIS/EIR) for the project is underway, and public input is strongly encouraged. The public scoping meetings were held on October 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2008. The scoping report is available for download in the Project Library section on the right sidebar.

Work on the Franks Tract Project slowed down in 2008, following the freeze on the use of bond money for various State programs. Fortunately, some funding for the project remained available even during the freeze and allowed work on the project to continue. One report, Initial Alternatives Information Report for the North/Central Delta Improvement Study (Delta Cross Channel, Franks Tract, and Through-Delta Facility Evaluation), was completed and is available at Reclamation’s website (http://www.usbr.gov/mp/frankstract/docs/NoCDIS_IAIR_Final_2010-06-15.pdf).  This report identified two alternatives to be carried forward for further analysis: an operable gate on Threemile Slough and an operable gate on West False River.

To provide comments via this Web site, or to sign up for the Franks Tract Project mailing list, please click here.

 

Anticipated Project Schedule

The Franks Tract Project has been delayed.