Delta Activists Meet & Greet

Clockwise from top left: (1) Delta Farmers Market gathering place; (2) Karen Mann, Gene Beley, and others chat around the appetizer table prior to the meeting; (3) Attendees Melinda Terry and her brother in front and Laura Scheidegger enjoying the discussion; (4) Gene Beley, the Delta’s intrepid videographer of all meetings; (5) Barbara Barrigan-Parilla from Restore the Delta

A public meeting was held last night, “A Gathering of Activists.” The meeting was hosted by Bill Wells, California Delta Chambers and Visitors Bureau. It was a public meet and greet to get people throughout the Delta who have been working to stop the Delta Tunnels project together.

Thanks so much to Ken and Laura Scheidegger for hosting the event at their Delta Farmers’ Market on the intersection of Highways 160 and 12, in the middle of the Delta. Laura and her team were wonderful, the wine and appetizers great. I didn’t know about the place but what a nice place to stop by during the day or for a glass of wine after work when commuting around the Delta.

The first speaker was Ken Scheidegger who spoke about their dream to build a Delta Discovery site to better educate people traveling through the Delta on the wonders the Delta can provide. Ken spoke about the need to raise money to finish the Center in order to teach visitors about the Delta so that they care about the Delta and help protect it. Good luck on their worthwhile efforts!

Speakers included Barbara Barrigan-Parilla who talked about the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority trying to modify the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement so the current design contracts would cover the project redesign. This would likely result in only small project changes from WaterFix. She noted that the DCDCA meeting is on Thursday but had to leave the meeting early to meet with supervisor Don Nottoli.

Erik Vink from the Delta Protection Commission (DPC) talked about implementation of National Heritage Area designation. Congressional authorization was for $10 million over a 15 year period. There are 55 NHAs. Park service has funds for $150k for first year, $250k for next year and subsequent years. He lso talked about importance of making people care about the Delta. Deirdre thanked him for the Delta Protection Commission letter saying that the project would cause an “existential crisis” for North Delta legacy towns and that DWR had “failed to grapple with the realities of the project” and “thoroughly failed to mitigate” the impacts. I thought it was a key reason the entire twin tunnels project was cancelled. Folks cheered. Mariah, from Restore the Delta, talked about her experience attending the DPC Delta leadership program and what a great program that is.

Sean Kearns, Assembly Member Jim Frazier’s Delta & Contra Costa field representative, thanked everyone for their efforts.

Melinda Terry, North Delta Water Agency, said how North Delta Water Agency got involved in the tunnels fight. They had a contract for water with DWR, with guaranteed water quality.

Karen Mann, President of Save the California Delta Alliance, described her multi-generation background in the Delta and what the Delta means to her. She explained how the Delta Alliance organization started by opposing the Delta Gates project, then became active in the Delta tunnels fight. She gave a shout out to Jan McCleery, founding president of STCDA. Folks cheered.

Deirdre Des Jardins explained that Governor Newsom was saying that they had to build a single tunnel because of sea level rise and earthquakes. She said that the tunnel engineering failed and California Water Research was going to challenge it. Folks cheered.

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