Yolo County Superior Court Rules in Favor of Sites Project Authority

This past month, the Superior Court of Yolo County released an order denying all claims in the Friends of the River v. Sites Project Authority case.  In late 2023, six environmental organizations, Friends of the River, Center for Biological Diversity, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Impact Network, Save California Salmon, and Sierra Club, petitioned the Court to review certain aspects of the Authority’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and the Authority’s certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) for the Sites Reservoir Project.  The Yolo County Superior Court found in the Authority’s favor in every claim asserted by the environmental organizations. The Sites Final EIR fully complies with CEQA.  “We are grateful the court’s decision will allow us to advance Sites Reservoir and ultimately supply more water for people, farms, and the environment. The need for this water is significant, and we have no time to waste,” said Fritz Durst, Chair of the Sites Project Authority.  Sites Reservoir is purposely designed to work in concert with California’s changing climate conditions by capturing and storing water during extreme storm events for use during severe dry periods when it is needed the most. Sites will be a unique reservoir in California, one that captures and stores water for multiple benefits including as a dedicated asset specifically for the environment to support fish and their habitat during drought periods.  Sites is an off-stream facility that does not dam a major river system and does not threaten fish migration or spawning. Sites Reservoir diversions would be conducted under highly protective operating and permit conditions that establish when water can be diverted after all other water rights and regulatory requirements are met.  It is hoped that construction will begin in 2026.