Sacramento, California - The Bureau of Reclamation has released a Finding of No Significant Impact for acquiring refuge water supplies from privately and publically owned groundwater production wells within or near the Grassland Ecological Area and the city of Los Banos. The groundwater acquisitions are a five-year action, March 2016 through February 2021.

The proposed action allows for implementation of new water acquisition and exchange agreements between Reclamation and parties in the vicinity of the south-of-Delta refuges. Groundwater acquisitions may be directly funded by Reclamation or by other districts in exchange for a smaller volume of refuge (or Level 2) surface water supplies.

The exchanged Level 2 water would likely be used for agricultural, municipal and industrial purposes within the Central Valley Project’s service area, depending on who the exchange agreements are with and how they intend to put this water to beneficial use. The proposed action includes groundwater production wells that would collectively produce up to 29,000 acre-feet annually of acceptable quality groundwater, which can be conveyed to and used within some of the south-of-Delta refuges.

The FONSI was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.