• Thank you to everyone that spoke at the Conservancy meeting last week
  • The Conservancy did not take any action
  • The City Council will consider spending $97,000 of measure C funds to recirculate the Fresno River West EIR on Thursday, June 15, at 1:30pm

Last Wednesday, June 7, the Conservancy Board received an update on the City's progress to evaluate route 5b for inclusion in the Draft EIR.  

The City Manager and Director of Public Works attended the meeting to reaffirm the City's commitment to complete an additional engineering study on route 5b.  They also agreed to contract with the Conservancy's consultant AECOM to complete the necessary environmental review for the DEIR.

Thank you to all of you that attended the meeting and encouraged the Conservancy to move forward with the existing draft EIR.  I'm inspired by the statements I heard from a wide range of commenters - people that have been involved since the inception of the San Joaquin River Parkway concept, and those who have more recently joined the effort.
The Conservancy Board chose not to provide any specific direction regarding the Draft EIR, other than to make a few recommendations regarding the forthcoming agreement between the City and AECOM. 

At the City Council meeting this Thursday, June 15, there is an agreement on the consent agenda as item 1b.  The consent item approves the use of $97,000 of measure C funds for AECOM's work.  The scope of services for the agreement is a letter at the end of the document presented by AECOM.  In the version of the letter that's available on the web, AECOM lists the City as the Lead Agency for the recirculation of the Draft EIR, states that they will be creating a new project description as part of this process, and states that all previous comments on the project are no longer relevant and will not be responded to in the recirculated EIR.  

Does that sound right to you?  In the Conservancy's report last week, we learned that there were 241 comment letters submitted on the Draft EIR.  If the City accomplishes it's goal of re-configuring the EIR process on land owned by the State of California, none of these previously submitted comments will be considered.  There may be changes to the scope of services before the City Council meeting on Thursday afternoon, but as of 7:00pm on June 13, this is the information that you and I can review.  If you want to review the Council agenda, click here.  If you want to review the documents for agenda item 1b, click here.

As a quick review, the Trust supports the completion and certification of the existing Draft EIR for Fresno River West with all three proposed access points - the proposed project access on Highway 41, Alternative 1 access on Riverview Drive, and Alternative 5 access from Palm & Nees.

The Trust neither supports nor opposes route 5b, which wasn't evaluated in the EIR.  We simply don't think it's a realistic option, since both the City of Fresno and the State of California have chosen not to take ownership of the property--despite regular offers of a donation from the owner--over the last 30 years.  Mayor Brand chose not to express support for the City's ownership of the property at the Conservancy's May meeting.  For more detail on this issue, you can read the extensive minutes of the May Conservancy Board meeting at

How long is this going to go on?  How many different routes will be studied before the Conservancy takes action on the EIR?  And why is the City spending money on another study of a project that they are not planning to implement?

Writer Marek Warszawski published his take on the project in the Fresno Bee.  Read the story here:

August 9th is the next milestone date for the San Joaquin River Conservancy.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned for the next update.

Sharon Weaver
Executive Director