People have been asking me “What’s happening with the 2-Gates and other Delta projects?” While we made great progress delaying the 2-Gates project, there are many projects moving ahead and legislation to re-start 2-Gates being debated.
Since our Discovery Bay meeting March 1st, the STCDA (NoDeltaGates) team has been monitoring current events and working with other organizations like RestoreTheDelta.org.
RestoreTheDelta reported on April 19th:
- “April 1st was more than just April Fools’ Day; it was also the seating of the Delta Stewardship Council, which happened to coincide with the West Coast Salmon Summit hosted by Congressmen George Miller and Mike Thompson. RTD had called supporters out to attend the Salmon Summit, which contributed to a glaring absence of Delta supporters at the historic seating of the Stewardship Council. The absence of Delta support in the room was noted by one of the public commentators.
The first order of business was for the Council to elect their Chair. Not surprisingly, Phil Isenberg was unanimously elected Chair. No Vice Chair was elected.
Then the appointees were introduced. Sacramento Supervisor Don Notolli holds the only seat guaranteed to represent any Delta interest on the Council by virtue of the fact that he is the Chairman of the Delta Protection Commission. Besides Supervisor Notolli, we have Hank Nordoff, Patrick Johnston, Randy Fiorini, Phil Isenberg, Gloria Gray, and Richard Roos-Collins, who was absent.
Judge Ronald Robie officiated the swearing in of the Council. Judge Robie, a former head of DWR, reads and interprets water laws, some of which he wrote years ago.
Mr. Isenberg called Judge Robie “one of the best water judges in the state; he wrote the laws.” Resources Agency Director Lester Snow told the newly sworn in Council that one of their goals should be to keep the Council’s actions out of Judge Robie’s court because “he’s not a friend of ours.” It is hard to know whose friend Snow thinks Judge Robie is, but there was chuckling in the room by those thinking the BDCP and Alternative Conveyance are done deals. Time will tell. “
The STCDA were also dissappointed on April 10th to see email from the California Sportsfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) that:
- “Assemblymember Fuller has introduced AB 2336 to terminate the management and protection of the public’s striped bass fishery that inhabits the Bay-Delta estuary. The bill mandates the elimination of all regulations that govern the legal harvest of the fishery thereby eliminating its sport fishing protective status. The author alleges this is necessary to reduce striped bass predation on salmon and Delta smelt protected by the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.
This bill is similar to the one the Fuller introduced last year that was defeated by a coalition of anglers who care about the fishery and that acted in concert with sportfishing and environmental groups lead by CSPA. That bill was killed in its first committee hearing because the false arguments used by the author significantly overstated the impact of striped bass predation. Scientific testimony provided during the hearing made it clear that striped bass rarely, if ever, eat Delta smelt and that predation on listed salmon is so low that it does not impact the population level of the listed salmon.
This bill is different in that it calls for the elimination of “the program enhancement, expansion or improvement of the fishery”. Ironically, such programs do not exist! It also requires that the Delta Stewardship Council to establish programs to discourage the promotion of the Bay-Delta striped bass as a sport fishery. It further requires the Stewardship Council to evaluate predator suppression options and make recommendations to remedy these problems. “
As a friend of mine who grew up in Brentwood said “I used to do a lot of striper fishing in the Delta back when the salmon were plentiful. I always make a point to cut open the bellies of the fish I catch to see what they are eating. I have never found a salmon in the belly of a striper!”
Other noteworthy news: Mary Piepho and the other four Delta County supervisors are fighting to obtain funding because of the Delta Plan’s critical importance to the communities of the Delta. We need to support these efforts and speak out against the new bills to re-start the 2-Gates project and, definitely, against the Water Bond Bill in November!
KQED re-aired their “Saving the Bay” series in April. Interesting information:
- In 1945 the Central Valley Project (CVP) (Shasta Dam and Friant Dam and huge pumping station, the Tracy Pumps was planned). The CVP had 4 goals:
- 1. Water supply
4. Flood Control
Not until it (the CVP) was in place would its impact on ecosystems become evident. Notably the blocking of the salmon’s runs.
Today the survival of salmon is based on unceremonious procedures – fertilization no longer occurs in pristine rivers, instead, unceremoniously in a bucket.
Meanwhile the huge pumping stations in the Delta reverse the estuary’s natural flow of the Delta, often destroying a vast population of fish drawn into its own irresistible pull. The millions invested in 2 great engineering marvels [the Shasta Dam and Tracy Pumps] would, by century’s end, cost billions to deal the consequences.
We have committed the sin of serial engineering when it comes to the Estuary. For every engineering effort, for every engineering investment where we have tried to engineer a particular ecosystem service out of the Delta there has been a cascade of effects. Each one of those effects requiring a new investment of engineering. On that new investment of engineering against the need for more engineering. So we get locked into a cycle of serial engineer we can’t escape.
We know the “science” behind the 2-Gates project is flawed. We need to ensure that additional Delta projects are not implemented that affect the ecosystem.
Good News – Six months after the court-ordered release of water from a Central Valley dam, the San Joaquin River is now reconnected with San Francisco Bay, a major development in the river’s long-term recovery and re-establishment of chinook salmon populations.
Website Note: We’ve added a new tab, “Event Tracker” to help you and us keep track of the current issues and current legislative bills we need to focus on. It also includes a “History of Events” starting with when many of us first heard about the 2 Gates project and tracking activities and events since then for reference.