Wave of suits hits Delta Plan

This week Save the California Delta Alliance joined with numerous other entities including environmental groups, commercial fishermen, water diverters and local governments in protesting the Delta Stewardship Council’s adoption of the Delta Plan. To view the STCDA Law Suit Filing click here.

The STCDA suit represents the interests of the large number of members in Discovery Bay, who “own waterfront homes with attached docks in the Delta”, and others who “swim, fish, boat, water-ski, wakeboard and otherwise recreate in the Delta. STCDA members earn their livings in Bay-Delta related businesses including marinas, fishing enterprises, water sports enterprises, Delta waterfront real estate agencies, and many other Bay-Delta related enterprises.” It stated that STCDA also represents the wider spectrum of membership including other Delta communities and the Bay.

Like the other suits, we object that the Delta Stewardship Council did not start with the scientific Delta Flows as directed by the Legislature. The Delta Flows are needed to identify how much water is available for export and how much must flow through the Delta to sustain it. The State Water Resources Control Board did produce its Delta Flow report in August 2010 but the answer was that the Delta needed less water exported out, not more. That was the wrong answer for the DSC so they have ignored the Delta Flows.

Our suit was able to take the Delta Stewardship Council to task for not specifically taking a position with regards to the still ‘on-hold’ Two-Gates Fish Protection Demonstration Project and The Plan makes no recommendations regarding them. As the last email to the membership noted, the Bacon Island Bridge is undergoing a one-month maintenance down-time in October during which, if the two-gates had been installed in 2009 as planned, Discovery Bay boats would not be able to come or go during that entire month. In addition, on Memorial Day, there was a tragic accident south of Mildred Island where a truck ran off the road into the slough and several people were missing. We were not allowed to pass through that slough to get from Mildred Island, through the Bacon Island Bridge to Discovery Bay due to the rescue operation and had to go the long way up Middle River and down Old River where the Two Gates would have not allowed us to return home with our grandbaby after the long weekend. We need to remain diligent to insure that gates do not get installed throughout the Delta, blocking navigation and causing other issues.

Our lawsuit further pointed out that the council has abdicated its responsibility to consider broad policy alternatives to “Big Conveyance” and have not followed the legislature’s mandate to “expand statewide water storage”. At prior DSC meetings we had requested the council consider a meaningful re-operation and conjuctive use strategy yet nothing is included in the Delta Plan and that the billions spent on the tunnels would be better spent on a series of smaller groundwater recharge projects that would be much less locally disruptive, spare Delta communities from annihilation, and would actually achieve the goals of providing a more reliable water supply to the state, restoring the Bay-Delta ecosystem, and expanding statewide storage capacity as mandated by the legislature. The re-operation and conjuctive use alternative is the one we have been raising money to hire scientists to help defend.

We are fortunate to have Michael Brodsky as a Discovery Bay resident and STCDA legal council. He once again has donated his time and expertise, working long hours and last weekend to put this suit together pro bono. Thank you again, Mr. Brodsky!

Links to news coverage of the law suits:

2 Responses to “Wave of suits hits Delta Plan”

  1. 1 Barbara Frantz June 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Janet and Michael, Thank you. For those of us who enjoy the Delta in many ways, I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts on my behalf. Barbara Frantz, Resident of Discovery Bay

  2. 2 Paul Seibert July 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I don’t see that any of lawsuits seek a compensation-related remedy for the likely loss of property value and income that the BDCP will cause to those who live and work in the delta. The damages would be prospective in nature, but if it can reasonably be proven that BDCP implementation would result in certain economic losses, a court might require the state to at least set aside a fund for possible future recovery. Also, the threat of a post-implementation lawsuit brought when damages are more certain might cause enough cost uncertainty to push the BDCP past the point of economic viability. Such a lawsuit could potentially involve tens or hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs each seeking tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

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