Ho, ho, the Tunnels must Go!

The public meeting of the BDCP is Thursday April 4 in Sacramento.

Car pools are being organized in Discovery Bay – 11 to 11:30 at the Boardwalk Grill to meet and drive up. The meeting is from 1:30-4:30 pm at the Red Lion Woodlake Conference Center, 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento. We need to show we are against the entire tunnel idea!

The 2nd set of BDCP chapters were released yesterday. Just more of the same. Everyone knows that over exports is what is causing the demise of the salmon. It’s the amount of water being removed. That is what the State Water Board’s Delta Flow report stated in August 2010. But it was the wrong answer for the Delta Stewardship Council and the BDCP. Charlton Bonham, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife claimed “An immense amount of science has gone into the (plan).” That may be – but it’s bad science if it ignores the key parameter: “How much water does the Delta need?” And the answer is “More than it’s getting today.”

On Capital Public Radio, Amy Quinton reported that

    The new chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan look at the effects of the project on endangered species like Delta Smelt and Chinook salmon.

They are progressing with their same, unscientific proposal to continue to take too much water out of the Delta, flood some islands, and want us to believe there is scientific evidence that then the fish will be happy.

Habitat restoration alone can’t save the Delta

I agree with Bill Jennings:

    Bill Jennings with the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is highly critical of the project.

    “You can’t deprive an estuary of half its flow and expect it to survive. And frankly, BDCP is essentially a death sentence for one of the great estuaries in the world.”

    Jennings says the proposed tunnels to pump water south would have disastrous effects on fish populations.

Who will pay for habitat restoration and for damages?

In a Mercury News article Paul Burgarino’s report identifies the “catch”:

    Plans call for creation of more than 140,000 acres of new habitat — floodplains, tidal marshes and grasslands — from existing Delta islands at a cost of about $4 billion to be footed by taxpayers.
  1. First, new habitat will not help fish if the water is salty and polluted.
  2. Second, new habitat will not ever be created if the “bill” is from bonds in place of schools or higher taxes. That’s right. The BDCP funds only cover the construction of the new tunnels. The rate payers will have to pay for the higher operational costs of the tunnels. And there’s no money identified for habitat or environment restoration. That will need to be voted on as new bonds or higher taxes!
  3. Third, other estimates claim the amount for just purchasing proposed habitat restoration acreage will be $9 billion, not $4.

And who’s land will they be flooding, anyway?

Jerry Meral at the last BDCP Public Meeting said that if the farmers are unwilling to sell their lands, the state would use eminent domain to take them.

And why?

The BDCP plans to force farmers to sell and then flood their fertile delta farmlands, farmlands that take half the water as desert farms down south, so that mega-corporation farmers living in Beverly Hills and Pacific Heights can get subsidized water and continue to increase the acerage of water-intensive crops like almonds and re-sell their subsidized $20/acre foot water to Mojave Desert developers at $5,000/acre foot. When these huge corporations are making so much profit from Delta water, what will stop them from wanting more and more?

The state can’t afford more almonds and other water-intensive crop expansion!

The big agri-business corporations have been expanding their water-intensive almond acreage for years (the past 10-15) which is directly responsible for the last 10-15 years’ increase in exports. That has also been compounded by the loss of the Colorado River water for LA but the most significant driver behind the increase is the big corporation almond farms. The increase moved the pumping from “excess” to “too much”, the river reversed flows, and the salmon and other fish populations collapsed.

Isn’t it intuitive?

The amount of acerage of water-intensive almonds goes up:

The amount of water exported goes up:

The salmon decline:

What about our water fowl?

Here’s what really gripes me. I love sitting on my back deck and watching the waterfowl. In last week’s chapters, Appendix 1-A specifically does NOT protect the magnificent blue heron, white egrets, or most other birds in the area, even ones on the “CDFW Watch List”. Part of living in and loving the Delta is our rich and varied, wonderful birdlife. If salt water intrudes and our water becomes polluted, these birds will die or leave. Specifics from Appendix 1-A:

  • Snowy egret and Great egret, GREAT BLUE HERON – even though the report states that their “rookeries are considered sensitive colonial breeding sites for this species and are thus included on the CDFW Special Animals list.” But no reason is provided why they would not be “Yes” on the list.
  • Cackling Goose, Tule white-fronted Goose – “Winters in the Yolo Basin and various locations in the Delta and could be affected by restoration activities” but not “Yes” on the BDCP list.
  • Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Osprey, various hawks. These are not included even though they are on the CDFW Watch List and the plan says they are occasionally observed foraging in the Plan Area, mostly during the winter.
  • “Comorants, Western grebes (small duck)” because they have “no special conservation status”. And not listed at all in the Appendix are our common Mallard ducks or Canadian geese. These aren’t endangered species and many of us don’t like the geese poop on our golf course, but we certainly don’t want to lose sight of them flying in our skies, honking in their V-formations in the evenings, and paddling in our bays. We do have a lot of them now (and I’m sure the duck hunters appreciate that) but I doubt any of us want them to move elsewhere as another impact from the decay of the Delta.

In researching, it’s interesting to me that birds like the herons, egrets, and sandhill cranes need BOTH wetlands to nest in and agricultural lands to forage in. The BDCP puts great stock in converting Delta islands to wetlands for environmental reasons. Yet that causes worries that species like the cranes will be negatively impacted by removing their foraging areas.

It all shows me how delicate the environmental balance is and why humans should stop doing experiments to “correct” the damage that was done by their last experiment. And why the BDCP reliance on “wetlands restoration” as the “fix” for the environmental damage they know the tunnels will cause is more than just risky and naive.

The public meeting of the BDCP is Thursday April 4 in Sacramento.

Car pools are being organized in Discovery Bay – 11 to 11:30 at the Boardwalk Grill to meet and drive up. We need to show we are against the entire tunnel idea!

“Ho ho, the tunnels must go!”

4 Responses to “Ho, ho, the Tunnels must Go!”

  1. 1 Gene Beley March 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Good job, Jan.

  2. 2 Brian May 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm


  1. 1 Save the Delta Alliance | Cecily Tippery's Real Estate Blog Trackback on March 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

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