The False River Dam’s Impact on Bethel Island

More reasons to send in your comments on the Delta Dams project! See the end of this blog for where to send comments.

This month (until February 25th) is time to send in comments regarding the proposed three Delta Dams and what their impact would be if installed. One of the dams will be in False River, west of Franks Tract.


Let’s focus on Bethel Island.

Bethel Island is a small community just south of Franks Tract. My husband and I are familiar with Bethel Island because we kept our first ski boat at Russo’s Marina there. We had our first larger boat, a 28-foot Bayliner first at Bethel Harbor then had both boats at Russo’s. Later we bought a house south of Sam’s Harbor on Sandmound Slough and had our boats there for years. So we’ve hung out around Bethel for years.

Hal Shell’s book, Dawdling on the Delta, calls Bethel Island “the boating hub of the Delta” and goes further to say “For whatever the reason, Bethel Island has hands-down become the single most important place in the Delta as far as pleasure boating is concerned. That was in 1983 but many events continue to be focused at Bethel.

By far Bethel Island has the most marinas in the Delta in a small area:

Boats that are kept in marinas on Bethel are used to fish in Franks Tract, go east to Mildred Island on weekends, Discovery Bay, or north to Sacramento. But often trips are west: To Antioch, Pittsburg, Benicia or all the way to San Francisco.

The routes west will be blocked by the False River dam! The trip around is about 15 miles longer to backtrack through Franks Tract and up to the San Joaquin channel.

The San Joaquin Yacht Club, chartered in 1948 with 270 members, is located on Bethel Island:

The SJ Yacht Club is a great spot for other yacht clubs to visit. The club hosts events such as the January Crab Feed. Other yacht clubs come for exchanges and fun.

What will a dam between Bethel Island and the Delta to the west do? Won’t it make Bethel Island marinas less attractive for boaters who want a range of options? Won’t it cut-off the San Joaquin Yacht Club from a large number of clubs in the Delta? What will the impact be on Bethel Island’s economy?

This could be disastrous for Bethel Island marinas, yacht clubs and economy!

This dam will mean that instead of simply traveling directly from Bethel Island to the San Joaquin via False River, boats will need to backtrack across Franks Tract east to the San Joaquin River, an estimated 15 additional miles. The area could lose business, causing significant economical issues!

Why are they installing these dams?

They say it is to control salinity. However, their documents released are xxxTo enable the state to keep exporting water for the almond trees in Westlands and near I-5. The rock barriers are not needed for exports for Municipal and Industrial uses. The State Water Project urban contractors only need 330,000 acre feet next year. There is 1.9 million acre feet stored in Oroville reservoir, which is more than enough to supply water to the South Bay Aqueduct agencies and Southern California.

Some fear these dams are because the state thinks the tunnels are going to die. The rock barriers could be part of a fallback plan. In 2009, the BDCP maps showed the “through the Delta” peripheral canal alternative which was to wall up the Delta to make the Sacramento River and Middle River a “pipeline” to the Clifton Court Forebay. These dams were on those maps.

This is all about the almond farmers who have junior water rights but have planted permanent trees for profit.

Even though Northern California boating, recreation, and fishing are all beneficial use of Delta waters, and as such, meeting needs for these beneficial uses has legal priority over watering almond orchards in the San Joaquin Valley, the state is wanting to put in these dams to give more water for almonds for Asia.

Remember to SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS BY FEBRUARY 25 on the Delta Dams to:

Fax: (916) 653-6077
Snail Mail: Jacob McQuirk, Supervising Engineer, Bay-Delta Office
California Department of Water Resources
PO Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236

IMPORTANT!!! Tell them these dams need a formal EIR (Environmental Impact Report) and analysis due to the impacts and issues that they could cause.

3 Responses to “The False River Dam’s Impact on Bethel Island”

  1. 1 Anthony Brizzi February 6, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    The delta system is a one of a kind resource to be enjoyed by all visitors, which includes local residents, vacationers, and visitors from all over the world. To sacrifice it for the benefit of a few corporations and independent farmers is the ultimate sell out of public trust.

  2. 2 Dennis Eisenbeis February 7, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Be advised that NO agency has modeled the affect to water velocity or increase water height along Taylor, Sandmound or Dutch Sloughs. In addition to increase in scouring causing erosion of the base of the levees, the increased velocity and elevated water height will surely dislodge some old boats, docks, trees and assorted flotsam. What are they going to do if this debris forms a dam at, or wipes out either Bethel Island or Jersey Island Bridges? This is a very ill planned, improperly engineered plan!

    • 3 Jan February 8, 2015 at 9:22 am

      Note to readers: Jamie Bolt, Bethel Harbor, Ltd. validated the above comment in email:
      “Dennis Eisenbeis sits on our levee improvement district (BIMID) board. He has very valid points here. These risks are the same looming risks posed to Jersey and Bradford’s levees. Thank you Janet for helping get the word out to all. It is very much appreciated.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 113,163 hits

Support the STCDA

Sign up for Emails

Sign Up Now

Request a New Lawn Sign

Click Here to send an email to the lawn sign committee.

On Twitter

Receive news blog via email.

More Blogs

Educational Books about the Delta

Sassy the Salmon
The Fable of the Farmer and the Fish
All ages: K and above
Proceeds go to STCDA

%d bloggers like this: