The Science is Clear

Fisherman at Clifton Court Forebay
Fisherman at Clifton Court Forebay

Gov. Jerry Brown told the Sacramento Bee in December that “the best scientific thinking says California needs the project.”

At the Delta Stewardship Council Meeting in April, after the attendees had been consistently raising their “Disagree” signs when the briefing referred to the science behind needing the tunnels. one of the Council members asked the attendees if they believed there was other science not being considered by the Council in making their decision about Conveyance (aka the Delta Tunnels). All signs said “Agree.”

So, how can the Council members really sit there and tell us that the need for the Tunnels is formed on any scientific basis?

The science on the Delta is clear. The only way to restore the Delta’s health is to get more water flowing through it, not less.

  • In 2010, the Bay Institute/State Water Resources Control Board issued their Delta Flow Requirements report that said the Delta needed more water running through it, not less. A more recent Delta Flow Requirements report increases the amount of flow it recommends.
  • In 2012, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences took a comprehensive look at the twin-tunnel plan and found it riddled with holes and inconsistencies, including the failure to examine the potential to reduce demand for Delta water through efficiencies and conservation.
  • Federal scientists have been saying for years that the massive, $17 billion project will also only make things worse for the fragile Delta. In 2015, the EPA panned the BDCP project, saying it was not a true Habitat Conservation Plan (i.e., no saving fish there).
  • In 2016, the Delta Independent Science Board found gaping holes in the tunnel project. In prior meetings, the Board had stated that the State’s experimental habitat projects, planned to improve the fish survivability without providing additional flow, were showing no real results.
  • A recently released draft analysis of Brown’s Delta Tunnels WaterFix project — this one by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service — adds another scientific voice saying the project not only won’t help the salmon and Delta smelt populations, it also will likely do additional damage.

    Among other issues, it is expected that Delta smelt habitat would be negatively impacted for 10 years during construction and that the project would result in killing an additional 7 percent of the Chinook salmon winter run, doing further harm to a valued endangered species. The scientists also say the proposed habitat restoration isn’t enough to offset environmental damage.

The Science is Clear – the Tunnel will Hurt the Delta

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