Report on the November 15th Delta Stewardship Council

The November 15th DSC meeting was attended by a Discovery Bay representative. Here are a few key points from the meeting to be aware of the current projects and plans under way:

  • The Meadows Restoration: They are looking at various areas in the Delta where habitat restoration projects can begin within about 5 years. McCormick Tract is on the top of their list and this is where The Meadows is located. After the presentation about restoration opportunities there (which was rather vague), I asked the presenter how this would affect recreational boating and anchorage in the meadows. She said “That’s a really good question.” Then she said she didn’t think it would have any negative impact on boating and might even increase the size of the anchorage and add some additional sloughs in there for boats to meander around. She added that it would be more prone to winter flooding and the area might not be usable for boating during winter storms. There were about forty people at the meeting representing various interest groups. There was no one else there with any interest in boating. Bottom line: this needs to be watched closely and steered in a direction that won’t hurt (and might even help) boating interests.

  • Invasive Species (bass or weeds?): They are working on a short list of invasive species that should be controlled. They have money to do this long term. The representative from the Metropolitan Water District of Los Angeles (who is at every meeting) made clear that he thinks the stripped bass to be an invasive species that should be eradicated because it eats Delta Smelt. The Council did not get so far as to talk about what species should be on the list but directed staff to work on it more. At a break our representative talked to one of the council members about this. He said that they had previously considered eradicating stripped bass but had rejected the idea. [Note: We previously reported that in February, 2012, the California Fish and Game Commission took final action to reject the Department of Fish and Game’s controversial proposed changes to striped bass regulations. Commission President Jim Kellogg, as his last piece of business in his two year term as President, declared striped bass a native species.] He also said that egeria densa would certainly be considered when they get that far in the process.

  • Peripheral Canal (Delta Tunnels): The folks who are pushing the canal will soon release their Environmental Impact Report (maybe before the end of the year). At this stage, the Delta Stewardship Council will review the report and make comments. There was a discussion of what areas they would comment on. The MWD rep said that they shouldn’t bother making a thorough review of the EIR and let’s just get started building the canal.

  • Delta Independent Science Board: The ISB is very important. They are the ones who wrote the scientific report that was highly critical of 2-Gates. They report to the Delta Stewardship Council but are supposed to be entirely independent and not subject to any agenda or political pressure. They will review the peripheral canal EIR, write a report about it and send it to the Delta Stewardship Council. They will meet on November 30 to discuss how they will go about reviewing the EIR when it comes out. In discussions with their scientist who as at the meeting, it is clear that they would welcome and use comments from the public flagging areas that they should look at. There is yet another independent science panel that also looks at the “effects analysis” of the canal.

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