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CITY OF JACKSON

MOORE DITCH CLOSURE

Authority for Review

Grand Jury jurisdiction provided by Penal Code Section 925a.

Background

Complaint received by the Grand Jury claimed "the City Council has stopped the water to the Moore Ditch without an Environmental Impact Report."

Method of Review

Interview with the City Manager
Interview with the City Environmental and Land Use Planner
Review of related documents including legal opinion letters and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

Findings

The Moore Ditch is an unlined ditch approximately 5,000 feet long. The Ditch begins at City of Jackson Reservoir south of Martell. The Ditch runs south past French Bar Road to Laughton Reservoir. The Ditch originally served a variety of mines, including the Moore Mine, and some domestic users in the Jackson area.

The Ditch eventually became the property of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) who sold untreated water to a few ranchers and households. In the 1980's, PG&E sold the Ditch to the Amador Water Agency, who subsequently sold the ditch to the City of Jackson.

Raw water for the City of Jackson reservoir is purchased from the Amador Water Agency. The reservoir supplied the water for the Ditch. The unlined Ditch suffered water loss through seepage and evaporation, and therefore the City decided to permanently cease delivery of water through the Ditch due to financial losses. Several public meetings were held discussing the Ditch closure.

Raw water delivery to users along the Ditch continued until February 16, 1996 when the ditch was turned off by the City for maintenance reasons. Prior to the maintenance shutdown, new domestic water lines were extended to existing ditch users.

In May 1996, during the maintenance shutdown of the Ditch, the Jackson City Council requested a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Initial Study and Checklist regarding permanent closure of the Ditch.

Under CEQA, an Environmental Impact Report is not required in certain circumstances. If the Initial Study and Checklist shows that the proposed project could not have a significant impact on the environment, or that any effect on the environment would not be significant because of mitigation measures, an Environmental Impact Report is not required. The Initial Study and Checklist prepared for the City found that the proposed closure of the Ditch would not have a significant effect on the environment because of proposed mitigation measures. Based on this finding, the City was required to file a Mitigated Negative Declaration rather than an Environmental Impact Report. In August 1996, the City officially ceased the transmission of water through the Moore Ditch.

Conclusion

An environmental impact report on the permanent closure of the Moore Ditch was not necessary following the City's Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration.

Recommendation

None

Response Required

None
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