Adaptive Management – Sounds like a Good Approach on the Surface
The BDCP claims that they won’t harm Delta waterways because of a new adaptive management approach to water operations. Several management teams will oversee tunnel operations. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will also have seats on the management committees. An Adaptive Management Team will monitor conditions in the Delta and make recommendations for changes in water operations based on any ill effects that might crop up.
Will it work?
No – because no matter what harm the tunnels might cause, it will be virtually impossible to curtail water exports once the tunnels start operation. Because the main backers of the tunnels, the water contractors who will receive water deliveries from the tunnel and sell the water to their urban and agricultural customers, have seats on key committees and can veto decisions they don’t like escalating the decision all the way to either the Governor of California (for the State pump decisions) or the U.S. Secretary of the Interior who reports directly to the President (for Federal pump decisions).
No – That Won’t Work
“What that means,” said Michael Brodsky, Save the California Delta Alliance General Counsel, “is that if the top official at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes a decision about protecting Salmon that the water contractors don’t like, they can cause the decision to be appealed up and up and up the ladder all the way to the Secretary of the Interior. That will take years at best.”
“In the mean time, the fish suffer.”
For more information, see the April 3, 2012 STCDA Press Release.