Now it’s the US Government impacting the Delta

Provisions hidden in a bill the House of Representatives just passed will abandon the positive steps that have been made the past year in restoring the Salmon runs. Not only is this bad for the salmon, it’s terrible for the entire Delta region for many reasons. Losing the environmental provisions will affect all fish (bass fishing and the tournaments and income from that), wildlife (our ducks and geese – OK, we don’t like geese pooping on the golf course but they are pretty), the water quality in our back yards and golf course, Delta Farm water quality, Delta communities water sewage, health of those using the water recreationally and long-term our drinking water.

And the only positive benefit is to the big agribusiness special interests – Westlands millionaire farmers who should have “junior” farmer water rights who farm the arid farmlands west of Hwy 5. This isn’t about the family farmers or drinking water in LA.

There have been reports on this bill in SF Gates and Contra Costa Times. A good summary is from the “Water for Fish” newsletter article:

Fatal Salmon Provisions Pass the House of Representatives

On Saturday February 19th the House passed a Continuing Resolution Bill which is needed to keep the Federal Government running after March 4th 2011. The bill included three fatal amendments for California salmon. The first stops the spending of the National Marine Fisheries Service in enforcing the biological opinions that protect the Central Valley salmon and steelhead from extinction. The second takes away the funding from the San Joaquin River Restoration project and the third defunds the Klamath Basin Settlement agreement. The amendments were inserted into the bill by Representatives Devon Nunes of Visalia and Tom McClintock of Granite Bay. They were supported by the Republican majority and the bill passed. Our salmon supporters in the House fought hard against the amendments but were overruled in the vote.

The Senate now takes up the bill. If the Central Valley provisions stay in the bill, salmon recovery is hopeless. Not only does the bill wipe out the salmon populations but it destroys the positive state efforts that are now underway to balance water needs with ecosystem recovery. We must get them removed in the Senate. We need hundreds of letters to go to Senators Feinstein and Boxer to ask for help. Please write a letter and ask your friends to do the same. … Time is important. When the Senate gets back from the current recess, they will only have four days to address the bill before the March 4th cutoff.

2010 Fall Run Salmon Returns Improve. A 2011 Fishing Season Looks Promising
The seven year steady declines in fall run salmon counts turned around in 2010. Preliminary Fish and Game data shows that 133,014 fall run adults and 30,181 two year old jacks returned to the Sacramento San Joaquin system. These figures are over three times the returns of 2009. This may provide enough fish for a 2011 season but the crisis is not over. “

Call to Action

Anyone concerned should send letters or on-line comments strongly requesting our senators to stop this bill in the Senate. Or you can write your own message to the Senators via their web contact forms:

Sen Feinstein
Sen Boxer

Send to Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein

SUBJECT: House Continuing Resolution language to withdraw California funding for the implementation of the Salmon biological opinion in the San Francisco Bay and Delta and to withdraw funding for the San Joaquin River restoration project.

I am deeply concerned with the House Resolution which would destroy our Central Valley salmon runs.

The salmon biological opinion of 2009 is the only thing left standing in the way of a complete loss of the Central Valley salmon. All of the runs have declined more than 50% in the last few years and fall run and the ESA listed winter run have each declined more than 90%. In the interest of our jobs and the economic viability of our local businesses, I urge you to oppose and reject the language which would destroy the salmon and our livelihoods.

The State of California is now taking positive steps to solve its water and salmon problems. There is a good new law on the books and diverse parties are now starting to work together. Leaders of our industry and other stakeholders are now at the table. I don’t believe that federal legislation is needed at this time. We should give the state processes time to work. Solutions are needed, but sending wildlife to extinction to benefit a few agricultural interests is not a solution.

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