Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Gets Closer to Construction

Anderson Reservoir is a critical water supply facility for Santa Clara County and is Valley Water’s largest owned and operated reservoir. Located near Morgan Hill, California, reservoir water releases support water supply, groundwater recharge, flood control, power generation, downstream aquatic habitat, maintenance, and emergency purposes. The Anderson Dam is seismically deficient and the dam spillway lacks the capacity to safely pass flood flows associated with the probable maximum flood. Horizon is assisting Valley Water with environmental planning services including CEQA compliance, FERC order compliance, permitting, and other technical studies.

Following an emergency order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Valley Water began drawing down the reservoir to Deadpool in October 2020. Construction of the low-level outlet tunnel is anticipated to commence in early 2021. Horizon is leading the consultant team helping Valley Water navigate environmental studies and permitting to comply with recent FERC orders, while also making progress on the larger dam replacement project EIR. Horizon tasks to date have included design alternatives review, impacts assessment, mitigation planning, sediment monitoring plan development, and preparation of construction specifications.

Central Coast Water Board Agricultural Order

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Coast Region (CCWB), is responsible for the protection of water quality in California’s central coast region, which includes approximately 538,940 acres of irrigated farmland in nine counties. CCWB currently regulates discharges from irrigated agriculture under its Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program using a permit called a conditional waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs). CCWB intends to replace the current permit regulating discharges from irrigated lands in the central coast region (commonly referred to as “Agricultural Order 3.0”), thereby establishing “Agricultural Order 4.0”. The new permit established under Agricultural Order 4.0 would be WDRs rather than a waiver of WDRs, and thus would not be subject to a time limit.

Horizon Water and Environment assisted the Department of General Services and CCWB in the preparation of a draft environmental impact report (Draft EIR) to provide an up-to-date, transparent, and comprehensive evaluation of the environmental effects that could occur from implementing Agricultural Order 4.0. The Draft EIR was publicly reviewed in spring and summer 2020. A Final EIR is anticipated in 2021.

Phoenix Lake Dredging

Phoenix Lake is the primary drinking water supply for Sonora, Jamestown, Scenic View, and Mono Village. The lake is also a primary fill source for CAL FIRE helicopter operations. Phoenix Lake is an important natural resource too that supports migrating birds, aquatic wildlife, and wetland habitat.

Horizon has helped the Tuolumne County Utilities District (TUD) since 2010 to develop the Phoenix Lake Preservation and Restoration Plan (PLPRP) to restore lake capacity, reduce watershed sedimentation, improve water quality, and protect, enhance, and restore wetland habitat.

In summer 2020 sediment removal began at the lake. More than 160,000 cubic yards were removed to restore lake capacity, improve water quality, and protect wetland resources. Horizon provided biological monitoring and regulatory agency coordination during the construction process, working closely with TUD, construction manager Anchor QEA, and contractor Steve Manning Construction, Inc.

Horizon – Open for Business

Horizon Water and Environment remains open for business during the Coronavirus pandemic.  We are focused on helping our clients with their ongoing needs and projects.  Don’t hesitate to call or write a Horizon project manager to discuss your project needs.  Or contact Ken Schwarz at

Horizon Selected by DGS

In 2018, the California Department of General Services (DGS), Real Estate Services Division (RESD) selected Horizon to once again provide environmental compliance services for the agency’s northern region.

DGS RESD is responsible for planning developing many state buildings and properties.  Horizon provides DGS with diverse range of environmental services including in-depth biological, hydrology, water quality, and cultural resources investigations.

An example of a recent Horizon project for DGS is the environmental documentation for the relocation and demolition of the State Printing Plant and Textbook Warehouse. Horizon completed a mitigated negative declaration for the project on an accelerated schedule, filing a public draft within 4 months from the DGS notice to proceed. All technical studies were conducted by Horizon staff, which continues to provide permitting and mitigation measure implementation support, including archaeological exploratory trenching.

Horizon Helps Clients with Vegetation Management and Fire Risk Reduction

Recent fire seasons make clear that massive wildfires are the “new normal” in California. As fire risk increases, vegetation management becomes increasingly important to reduce fire hazard.

Horizon is experienced with vegetation management projects and has successfully assisted several clients with vegetation management planning, compliance, and implementation including the City of Oakland, San Jose Water Company, Sonoma County Water Agency and San Mateo County.

Horizon’s approach to vegetation management balances desired vegetation outcomes with protecting biological resources and also addressing community concerns. One recent example of Horizon’s work is the Oakland Vegetation Management Plan, which covers fire risk reduction vegetation management activities occurring on City-owned parcels in Oakland, covering more than 1,400 acres and 300 miles of roadside.

SRWA Regional Surface Water Supply Project Moves Forward!

In August 2018, the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority (SRWA) held a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate a key step in completing the Regional Surface Water Supply Project. Construction began on a wet well and pump station facility at Turlock Irrigation District’s (TID’s) infiltration gallery on the Tuolumne River, near the Geer Road bridge. The project helps in the design and development of a regional water treatment plant to provide surface water to the Cities of Ceres and Turlock.

Horizon Water and Environment has had extensive involvement with the project throughout the development and environmental review process. Horizon prepared an IS/MND for the Infiltration Gallery Testing Project (adopted in September 2017) and an EIR for the Surface Water Supply Project (certified in August 2018). Permitting efforts have involved coordination with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Section 401 water quality certification), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Section 1602 Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Incidental Take Permit and special-status species requirements), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Section 404 permitting), Central Valley Flood Protection Board (encroachment permit), and State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water (State Revolving Fund loan application process).

(Above) Members of the SRWA Technical Advisory Committee attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the Infiltration Gallery Testing Project: (l-r) Garner Reynolds, Michael Cooke, Jeremy Damas, Toby Wells, Phil Govea, Robert Granberg (SRWA General Manager), Bill Penney, Tou Her, and Stephen Fremming.

San Mateo County and Horizon Win 2019 Award for Outstanding Environmental Document

Horizon Water and Environment together with our client, the San Mateo County Department of Public Works, won the 2019 Award for Outstanding Environmental Resource Document by the California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP).  The award-winning document is the San Mateo County Routine Maintenance Program Manual (Maintenance Manual).  The Maintenance Manual is a state-of-the-art document for resource planning and protection that provides clear methodology and uses site-specific resource assessments to target and focus impact avoidance and minimization approaches.  Additionally, the Maintenance Manual:

  • presents a creative but practical approach to categorize routine work sites according to their resource sensitivity, an approach that is supported by regulatory agencies.
  • provides an approach to classify and organize different maintenance activities and their potential environmental effects that are directly transferable to other jurisdictions and organizations.
  • represents a flexible and programmatic approach toward resource management that can evolve as the County’s needs shift over time
  • is a clear and accessible document, structured in a logical sequence for ease of use.

Horizon is a recognized leader in helping public agencies develop their capital improvement and maintenance programs, obtaining long-term permits for on-going activities, conducting resource studies, and completing CEQA/NEPA in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

CDFA and Horizon Win 2018 Merit Award for Environmental Analysis Document

Horizon Water and Environment together with our client, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), won the 2018 Merit Award for Environmental Analysis Document by the California Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP).  The award-winning document is the CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Program EIR. CDFA established this licensing program in compliance with recent legislation and voter-approved initiatives to allow medical and adult use of cannabis. Unregulated cannabis cultivation had led to substantial environmental impacts on water supply, water quality, fisheries, timber conversion, public safety, and other concerns. The program establishes a regulatory framework that allows for commercial cultivation to be conducted in a manner that protects the general public, cannabis cultivation workers, and the environment.

The Program EIR prepared by Horizon provides a comprehensive evaluation of CDFA’s proposed regulations and the activities that would occur in compliance with the regulations. Written in clear and understandable language and organized in a clear manner, the Program EIR strikes an appropriate balance between technical rigor and public accessibility. This innovative EIR:

  • Provides an efficient vehicle for minimizing environmental impacts associated with cannabis cultivation.
  • Avoids duplication with other cannabis regulatory programs.
  • Allows flexibility for local jurisdictions.
  • Streamlines future CEQA compliance documents through its tiering strategy.

Horizon is a recognized leader in helping public agencies develop EIRs for regulatory programs that are both technically thorough and clear and understandable for the general public.



CDFA and Horizon Win 2018 Merit Award for Environmental Analysis Document

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