Archive for the 'Press Release' Category

Changes in Tunnel Plans

Updated 8/16/13

Breaking News:

The BDCP is proposing altering the tunnel path which they say is to reduce the impact on the farming towns and farmers in the north. Some changes were announced as improvements on the impacts on the towns of Hood, Courtland, Clarksburg and possibly Walnut Grove. For example, the pumping station will be 30 feet high instead of 60 feet, slightly lessoning the impact on those town’s scenic views but still over 3 stories high.

The BDCP’s new plan is to leave less tunnel muck in the Delta and now Daniel Wilson, the farmer who was threatened to lose his home and fruit packing plants, is out of danger. But Wilson was quoted in the Sacramento Bee as still opposing the project because of other fundamental changes it poses, including altered Sacramento River flows and water quality, and disruption of roads, traffic and scenery.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/15/5652161/water-plan-may-shift-delta-tunnels.html#storylink=cpy

Some believe it was motivated more by the need to reduce costs to keep the contractors involved. The new plan cuts the total path from 35 miles to 30 miles and reduces some of the acreage mitigation costs from muck storage by finding uses for it (a new release claims muck will now be “reusable tunnel material”).

THE BAD NEWS:

There is no change in the route through the South Delta. The plan will still cut the South Delta in half impacting marinas, restaurants, boating and recreation. The new route goes through Staten Island, the 9,100-acre island between two forks of the Mokelumne River that California taxpayers spent $32 million to preserve the island as wildlife habitat and may be a disaster for sandhill cranes. While the new plan removes some of the muck areas, there is now an even bigger muck pond shown south of Discovery Bay.

In addition, the long-term water quality issues, salmon issues, and other negative impacts from the tunnels remain.

Updated map: http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Libraries/Dynamic_Document_Library/Map_of_Proposed_BDCP_Changes_8-15-13.sflb.ashx

Press Release – Congressmen Oppose Immediate BDCP Decision

California Members of Congress Demand that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Be Fair and Equitable
Call the current delay the “the last, best opportunity” to improve the far-reaching plan

Washington, D.C. – Calling the most recent BDCP delay the “last, best opportunity to stand up to… unreasonable demands,” Reps. Jerry McNerney (CA-11), George Miller (CA-7), Mike Thompson (CA-1), Doris Matsui (CA-5), and John Garamendi (CA-10) called for specific steps to be taken for the BDCP to move forward in a fair and transparent manner. The five members from the California congressional delegation have been vocal in calling for changes to the BDCP and have demanded that any plan has significant input from the Bay-Delta region.

In letters sent today to Governor Jerry Brown and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the lawmakers said, “We recognize that some are now calling for an immediate decision, but we believe that it is critical to get this right; a rushed and inadequate Bay-Delta planning effort will lead to increased litigation, uncertainty, and expense.”

“I will not accept any plan for the Delta that is harmful to the farmers, families, and small business owners in the Delta region. To date, the planning process for Delta water has been unduly influenced by wealthy water contractors from south of the Delta who would steal our water, costing us millions of dollars and countless jobs. This delay provides an opportunity for the state and federal governments to stand up to the water contractors and ensure that the BDCP includes the input of our region. I will continue to fight against any measures that would destroy the Delta and our way of life,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney.

“More than five years into this process, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan still hasn’t met basic legal or scientific requirements,” said Rep. George Miller. “This is the last chance to fix it, and that’s why this delay is so important: it gives the scientists time to get it right. The Bay-Delta’s health is key to California’s future – we can either work out a good plan that reduces reliance on the Delta, or we can end up with increased litigation, uncertainty, and expense.”

“So far in this process we’ve seen too many back-door deals that put the interests of South-of-Delta water contractors before our farmers, fishermen and local communities. Many of our families and small businesses that depend on the Delta would have their livelihood stripped away and the Delta’s diverse wildlife would be destroyed if these politically driven deals were put in place. Federal and state officials need to use this delay to come up with fair and transparent plan that is based on sound science so that our communities, businesses, fish, wildlife and environment in the Delta and north of the Delta are not harmed,” said Rep. Mike Thompson.

“A 50-year permit needs to be done not only right, but with due diligence and equitable treatment to all those affected. I want to see the federal and state agencies take this opportunity to put forward a process and a plan for the Delta region that recognizes the input they’ve received not just from south of Delta interests, but north of Delta interests as well. Our state can’t afford to get this wrong,” said Rep. Doris Matsui.

“As the lynchpin of California’s water system, the economic and environmental sustainability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta must be made front and center in this discussion. It’s the law,” said Rep. John Garamendi. “In addition, using the best available science, we must focus on conservation, storage, and recycling to preserve our state’s ecosystems and to meet the water needs of nearly 40 million Californians.”

The full text of the letter is below.
——————————————————

May 16, 2012

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

We write in response to the recently-announced delay in the timeline for releasing additional details of the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). We believe that acknowledging the need for changes and additional scientific review is an important first step towards transforming the BDCP into a plan that meets state and federal legal requirements and into a process that is fair, transparent, and inclusive of communities in the Delta region and Northern California. We recognize that some are now calling for an immediate decision, but we believe that it is critical to get this right; a rushed and inadequate Bay-Delta planning effort will lead to increased litigation, uncertainty, and expense.

As you know, we have raised many objections during the skewed process that has led to this point. We have reached out to state and federal officials repeatedly, as a group and as individuals, to express our view that the BDCP is failing to adequately address the needs of our constituents and the health of the Bay-Delta ecosystem. Our concerns have been largely reinforced by numerous independent analyses and the release of draft environmental documents which show that the leading BDCP proposal will not meet biological goals and may even lead to the extinction of several species, including some of California’s iconic salmon runs. The recent “red flag” comments from state and federal agencies are just the latest indication that the BDCP must be overhauled if it is to be successful.

We also understand that, despite the many flaws with the BDCP, state and federal agencies still hope to make a significant announcement on the plan this summer. We would like to reemphasize our conviction that, before making a determination of a preferred project, state and federal agencies have an obligation to ensure that the BDCP will:

Vigorously and meaningfully engage local officials from the Bay-Delta region and Northern California in the BDCP process.

  • Reflect the best available scientific understanding of the Bay-Delta ecosystem’s needs as required by state law, including the reduction of water diversions from the Bay-Delta.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the economic issues identified by the Delta Protection Commission’s Economic Sustainability Plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
  • Fully analyze a complete range of alternatives, including non-diversion alternatives, the State Water Resource Control Board’s alternative, and proposals put forth by experts from the Delta and Northern California. A cost-benefit analysis of each alternative should also be conducted.
  • Define and meet biological goals and ensure that the preferred BDCP proposal is fully consistent with the best available science and relevant federal and state environmental laws.
    Protect water quality and reliability for farmers and communities in the Delta and Northern California.
  • Rebuild the Bay-Delta’s fisheries and the thousands of jobs they sustain.
    Preserve flood protection for communities in the Delta and Northern California and include a focus on levee improvements.
  • Commit to choosing, clearly and with intent, the “least environmentally damaging practicable alternative” as federal law requires.
  • Meet the requirements of state law by including alternative water supplies as a way to increase water supply reliability and reduce dependence on the Delta.

Our constituents have repeatedly demonstrated that they are ready, willing, and able to participate in a BDCP process that is truly collaborative and transparent. Despite the good intentions of our constituents, the BDCP has been dominated by south-of-Delta contractors with a long history of opposing balanced solutions to the challenges facing California’s water system.

The recently-announced delay in the BDCP may represent the last, best opportunity to stand up to the unreasonable demands of south-of-Delta water contractors and change the BDCP into a plan that can enjoy support throughout the entire state of California.

Thank you for your attention to this letter. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Congressman Jerry McNerney
Congressman George Miller
Congressman Mike Thompson
Congresswoman Doris Matsui
Congressman John Garamendi

Senate Panel Hears from Angry Delta Residents on Delta Plan and Peripheral Canal

SENATE PANEL HEARS FROM ANGRY DELTA RESIDENTS ON DELTA PLAN AND PERIPHERAL CANAL
(reported by Michael Brodsky who attended the meeting representing STCDA)

Sacramento March 13, 2012.

The California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water held an oversight hearing at the Capitol Tuesday morning to hear about progress in developing the Delta Plan and to hear about the planning process for the Peripheral Canal.

As expected, California and federal officials painted a rosy picture. Roger Paterson, Assistant General Manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, told the senators that a new Peripheral Canal would be good for the Delta. He denied that there was any water grab driven by souther California interests underway. He said that Delta residents should rest easy because MWD has the best interests of the environment at heart.

When it came time for public comment, the senators heard a very different story. Speaker after speaker complained that plans to build the Peripheral Canal were secretive, that the science underlying the supposed environmental benefits of the canal was faulty, and that MWD and the other water contractors were being given secret access to the process leaving the public in the dark.

The panel also heard criticism of the Delta Plan, in particular that the Delta Plan favors increased water exports to southern California with no meaningful requirements for water conservation. The Delta Plan, being developed by a newly minted government agency called the Delta Stewardship Council, will be the master plan for the Delta for decades to come.

The Peripheral Canal is being planned in a separate process called the Bay Conservation and Development Plan, or BDCP for short. After completion, the BDCP will become a part of the Delta Plan.

Both of these planning processes are nearing critical phases and it will be especially important for Discovery Bay residents to attend upcoming meetings so our voices are heard. STCDA will be organizing trips to Sacramento and sending out notice to members well in advance so Discovery Bay residents can let their voices be heard.

STCDA submits comments on the draft “Delta Plan”

STCDA attorney Michael Brodsky submitted formal administrative comments to the Delta Stewardship Council on behalf of STCDA criticizing many aspects of the Delta Plan. The Plan is currently being developed and could change life in the Delta as we know it. See the formal administrative comments here.

Mr. Brodsky also sent the following letter to Wall Street Journal reporter Jim Carlton

Dear Mr. Carlton,

Mike Guzzardo asked me to contact you to provide my overview of Delta water issues. I apologize in advance for the length here but there are number of interrelated things going on and so far I haven’t seen any coverage that puts all the pieces together in a way that really gives the public an overview of what is going on so I thought you might find this useful.

From my perspective all of the present controversies are really framed by one thing: the water contractors have seized the levers of power. Not only is this Chinatown all over again, its Chinatown meets George Orwell: the huge new canal to divert Sacramento River water to Los Angeles is officially classified as a “conservation measure;” the move to privatize public water resources is advanced under the newspeak rubric of “public benefit;” the master plan to guide resource management of San Francisco Bay and the Delta for the next 30 years, called the Bay Conservation and Development Plan (BDCP) is being formulated with the water contractors in the driver’s seat and the dominant goal of building the Peripheral Canal to divert water to southern California.

1) The Peripheral Canal and the BDCP. Plans to build the Peripheral Canal in order to transport Sacramento River water around the Delta and directly to the export pumps, depriving Delta sloughs and rivers of water that currently flows through them, is being advanced through the BDCP process. The BDCP process was originally billed as a fair, balanced, and transparent planning process where all options to deal with Delta issues were on the table. As it turned out, the water contractors had secret and outsized influence from early on and the BDCP’s stakeholder meetings and other public relations measures are no more than a fig leaf for the water contractors to push through the Peripheral Canal.

Congressman George Miller has complained extensively about the inappropriate role of the water contractors in the BDCP. The San Jose Mercury news has covered the issue and editorialized about the favoritism of the BDCP process to water export agencies. I have submitted formal comments to the agency on behalf of MIke Guzzardo’s group (Save the California Delta Alliance) about the unlawfulness of the process.

2) The Canal Bond Measure. An $11 billion dollar bond measure will be submitted to California voters this November. The bond is billed as the “Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act.” Who could be against that? But this bond has nothing to do with the safety of drinking water . Drinking water standards are set by the federal and state governments and are in no way affected by this bill. Rather, the underlying purpose of the bond measure is to enable construction of the Peripheral Canal, shift costs from the water contractors to the tax payers, and further privatize public water resources. The bond measure states that its funds cannot be used for canal construction. However, it allocates billions for other critical costs associated with the canal. The exact mechanics of this are a bit too complicated to go into in detail here, but I would be happy to explain the details if you wish. Traditionally water infrastructure is paid for by the end users through the water rate structure. Here a new concept of “public benefit” has been introduced. But what public benefit really means is that the cost is shifted from the water contractors to the general tax base.

The water contractors have attempted to hide the true purpose of the bond measure from the public as follows: California law requires that for all ballot measures submitted to the voters, the California Attorney General has the duty to review each measure and prepare an impartial ballot title and summary of 100 words. From the 100 word summary, a condensed 75 word ballot title is drawn. The ballot title is what the voters see in the ballot booth when they place their mark for “yes” or “no.” The A.G. has a duty to prepare a title and label that are impartial and will not create prejudice either in favor or against the measure. Here, the water contractors have inserted language into the Canal Bond that purports to deprive the A.G. of authority to prepare an impartial summary for this measure. Instead, the water contractors have written their own summary and inserted it into the Canal Bond. If they have their way, the voters will see only the water contractor’s version next to where they place the X on the ballot.

In my view, this was patently unlawful when the legislature approved this scheme in 2010. If there was any doubt, subsequent case law on unrelated ballot measures has removed it. The A.G. has a statutory duty to prepare an impartial summary and the legislature (doing the bidding of the water contractors) does not have the authority to usurp this function. It remains to be seen how the A.G. will respond when the time comes to prepare ballot summaries, but her actions will certainly be closely watched. California law allows for a challenge to the ballot summary before it is submitted to voters. I would not be surprised to see a challenge to this ballot summary later this summer (from groups like ours if the summary favors the water contractors, or from the water contractors if it doesn’t).

I can provide you with the source documents (bill language, etc) establishing the above-stated facts as well as contact information for others familiar with the subterfuge associated with this bond measure.

3) The Delta Plan and the Delta Stewardship Council. Running alongside the BDCP planning process is another process to plan for the future of the Delta. Once adopted, the Delta Plan will be the top tier plan for the Delta. After the BDCP planning process is complete, the BDCP will be submitted to the Delta Stewardship Council (the agency responsible for promulgating the Delta Plan) and, if approved by the Council, will be incorporated as a part of the Delta Plan. The legislation that created the Delta Stewardship Council and authorized the Delta Plan requires that reliance on the Delta as a source of water be reduced. This was part of the grand bargain struck to allow for construction of the Peripheral Canal. It mandates increased conservation and development of local supplies (among other things) in order to reduce Delta exports. However, the regulations being proposed by the Delta Stewardship Council thus far ignore this critical requirement by simply stating that existing water conservation measures are going really well and nothing further need be required. The water contractors thus get their canal but don’t have to keep their end of the reduced Delta reliance bargain. I have submitted formal administrative comments on behalf of STCDA to the Stewardship Council addressing this issue.

4) The Consolidated Salmonid Cases. Operation of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project (the two vast systems of canals that export water from the Delta) is governed by biological opinions issued by federal regulators from time to time. The 2009 biological opinion mandated a number of measures to protect endangered fish populations, including water export curtailment. The water contractors challenged this biological opinion in court and in a surprising decision, departing from precedent and normal practice, Judge Wanger struck down the biological opinion. You are probably familiar with the controversy surrounding Judge Wanger’s decision to retire from the bench and go to work for the water contractors immediately after issuing the Consolidated Salmonid Opinion.

The case is currently being appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

5) Privatizing the Kern Water Bank. In a series of secret meetings, the State Department of Water Resources turned over ownership and control of the Kern Water Bank to private interests. The secret deal is being challenged in court and opponents claim that the deal “turned over control of a significant portion of California’s water supply to a cabal of agricultural barons including billionaire Stewart Resnick.” This is another example of the “public benefit” concept.

6) The 2-Gates Project. I believe the 2-Gates project was the original concern that got you in touch with Mike Guzzardo. I submitted administrative comments on behalf of STCDA challenging the science underlying this project (as well as addressing its environmental impacts). Currently operation of the export pumps near Discovery Bay is curtailed by court order because the pumps tend to suck up the endangered Delta Smelt. The water contractors are always looking for ways to get around this court order. 2-Gates is their latest attempt. The idea behind 2-Gates is that the smelt prefer muddy water (high turbidity). Their theory is that by operating the gates they can manipulate water quality so it is less muddy in the area surrounding the pumps. If the water is less muddy, the smelt will stay away and they can run the pumps full tilt. However, there is little evidence to support the theory that the smelt will respond in this way. Because of our comments and those of others regarding the lack of scientific support for the 2-Gates model, the project was put on hold. But the water contractors are sponsoring new research that will purport to prove their theory. The researchers are employed by the United States Geological Survey but I would not be surprised if the water contractors are paying the tab for the research (they certainly will pay for construction and operation of the Gates project if it goes through). And the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California hired the researchers who came up with the original smelt-turbidity hypothesis. The new U.S.G.S. research was originally planned as 4 year study but it is being cut short and the researchers are being pressured to write up their findings based on a truncated study. The whole 2-Gates thing was billed as a “demonstration project” to generally benefit fish in the Delta. This is nonsense. It has no purpose other than to allow vastly increased water exports. The water contractors have been roundly criticized for trying to hide the true purpose of the project by the Delta Science Panel, among others.

The Peripheral Canal is the water contractor’s long term plan to take more water, but even under the best scenario for them it wouldn’t be operational for at least 10 and probably 15 years. So the gates are a high priority in the near term.

Finally, I understand Mike took you out for a boat ride. I hope you enjoyed our Delta and got to meet some of the characters out on some of the islands out there. From grizzled Marina operators to farmers fighting eminent domain to make way for the canal you can’t beat the Delta for local color. You’re less than a 100 miles from San Francisco but you might as well be on another planet. The Post Office even delivers mail by boat out there.

Michael Brodsky
Law Offices of Michael A. Brodsky

Good news for the striped bass and the Delta

If you have been as dismayed as I have been about the recent attempts to eradicate the striped bass (erroneous claims that the bass, instead of excessive exporting of water from the Delta, are the cause of the decline of the salmon) then happily note that the Fish & Game Commissions yesterday voted unanimously to reject the Department of Fish and Game’s striped bass regulation change proposal.

The proposal was introduced by the DFG as a settlement agreement resulting from a 2008 lawsuit. In that lawsuit, the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta claimed that striped bass are “harming” native species, including endangered Central Valley chinook salmon and steelhead and Delta smelt.

But the slight-of-hand being attempted is clear when you find out that three executives of Stewart Resnick’s Paramount Farms in Kern County founded the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta. Resnick is the politically connected Beverly Hills billionaire who has made tens of millions of dollars annually from buying and reselling water back to the public for a big profit. It’s the same profiteers who are making millions from water that are behind efforts to build the Peripheral Canal and recent legislation to give Paramount Farms easier access to water contracts (causing more and more excessive exporting) and water rights over family farmers who have farmed for generations. And bass fisherman have been loud opponents to the Two Gates and Peripheral Canal efforts these millionaires want in order to increase exports.

The article concludes: “Hoorah to the integrity of the Fish and Game Commission to see through this ‘fishery management by lawsuit’ and defend the autonomy of the regulation process. Particular credit goes to outgoing Commission President Jim Kellogg who, as his last piece of business in his term, declared striped a native species,””

Read the entire article at http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2012/02/02/commission-votes-against-pursuing-striped-bass-eradication-proposal/

Press Release 3/11/2010

Thank you for attending our meeting on March 1st. It ran a bit long, but the information presented was fantastic.

Please see our latest Press Release March 11, 2010 from STCDA – SAVE THE CALIFORNIA DELTA ALLIANCE (formerly SFBDF).

SFBDF HAS IMPACT AS OBAMA DELAYS “2 GATES” PROJECT

U.S. Department of Interior – Bureau of Reclamation “2 Gates Fish Protection Demonstration Project” HAS BEEN DELAYED to review the science behind the study.

But don’t let down your guard…..they are just pausing to regroup. The 2-Gates Fish Protection Demonstration Project was developed by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and they are pushing HARD to get this 2 gates project through.

Guess who provided the “science” behind the project… Southern California Water… can you say conflict of interest?

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Hello Friends and Happy New Year. We have received dozens of emails and calls in the last few weeks about the recent news stories.

The GOOD news is that we had an effect on the process but be sure that this is NOT over…

· Our meeting with Government Officials in December in Stockton was a great first step bringing residents together with local and federal government to discuss potential health and safety issues with the 2 gates project and work toward a solution that will benefit everyone. Thanks again to Supervisor Mary Piepho and her staff for setting the meeting up which was a first of its kind for SFBDF and allowed us to be a part of the process which is what we are all looking for.

· We are guardedly happy…but, if you have been reading the news carefully – you will note that a prominent UC Davis biologist states that gates WILL be needed in the delta (so it may be a matter of time)…we are developing proof, through research and reports, that the gates (in the Southern Delta and Discovery Bay)…could be disastrous. We know for sure the water flow will be increased to the Interior Valley and Southern California and we live very close to that “conveyance” so we need to remain vigilant in order to protect our health, safety and navigational rights.
Thank you ALL for your support and encouragement. With your help we submitted more than 2500 comment sheets within 4 – 6 weeks, developed a web site, have had quite a bit of press, have community signs, put together a community meeting of 400+ people, been meeting w/agencies and politicians…this has been amazing.

We need to continue to stay on top of ALL OF THE Federal and State water plans – as many of them could be harmful to our community.

We still need YOUR help as we raise funds for expert research, legal comments and briefs, and possible future litigation as we continue to push the Bureau to submit honest Environmental Impact Statements that look out for our community and the communities around us in the greater Delta Region instead of fast tracking projects without any study or discussion with our local residents.

We are looking to raise $140,000 and have raised more than $20,000 so far.

Please make your tax deductible donations on our website ( http://www.nodeltagates.com) using PayPal OR

make out a check payable to ” SFBDF”
Mail your checks to:
Save the San Francisco Bay and Delta Foundation 4112 Windward Ct. Discovery Bay, CA, 94505

“Save the San Francisco Bay and Delta Foundation (SFBDF) is a public interest organization committed to working with local, state, and federal government to create a balanced plan that offers water for everyone and also makes the California Delta and San Francisco Bay a safe and healthy environment for all who live here.”

DAVE DOVE – CHAIRMAN 925.354.3800 DDOVE@SBCGLOBAL.NET

KAREN MANN – VICE CHAIRMAN 925.513.3231 x1 KAREN@MANNAPPRAISAL.COM

MIKE GUZZARDO – MEDIA RELATIONS 925.864.5757 MIKE@94505.COM

Obama Administration releases Delta plan

Obama Administration releases Delta plan

By Mike Taugher Contra Costa Times
Posted: 12/22/2009 04:41:22 PM PST
Updated: 12/22/2009 05:07:05 PM PST

In response to California’s water crisis, the Obama administration says it will delay a plan to install gates in Delta channels meant to increase water supplies but push forward with a plan to build a new fish hatchery in Rio Vista to keep alive fish populations at risk of extinction.
The administration’s 23-page interim plan, released Tuesday, pledges better cooperation between the state and federal governments. It lays out a number of projects that it says will help ease the conflict between the need for water supplies statewide and the declining Delta environment until a more permanent solution is found.
Among the proposals:
Build a connector to link state and federal canals south of Tracy to facilitate water sales and increase flexibility in water deliveries.
Delay plans to build the “Two Gates” project that some water agencies were hoping would increase water deliveries this year. Instead, the administration said that further studies will be done to see if the project will work and whether it will be cost effective.
Intensify the investigation and response to industrial pollution, pesticides, sewer discharges and other environmental threats to the Delta to determine how they are contributing to the environmental crisis.
Install protective fish screens in several key spots, including a $30 million screen at the Contra Costa Water District’s Rock Slough intake, where the district now gets about 20 percent of its water.
Sequester carbon and restore wetlands habitat in key areas of the watershed.
Several of the measures were suggested by the Contra Costa Water District three years ago, but most were never implemented, said Greg Gartrell, the district’s assistant general manager.
“The long-term (solution) is going to take a long time, so you have to do these immediate actions or you’re going to end up in a bad place,” he said. “That’s where we ended up.”
The fish hatchery for Delta smelt and possibly other imperiled fish is planned in Rio Vista, where the city owns former Army base property that might be used for the purpose.
The site would be used to produce fish for research and maintain stocks of species in case they go extinct or are further threatened.
Among the fish species that might be raised there are Delta smelt, longfin smelt, Sacramento splittail, green sturgeon and others.
“We want the ability to expand to produce large numbers of fish should it become necessary to supplement the wild population,” said Bob Clarke, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional acting fisheries program manager.
Water users in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California and their congressional allies were pushing for the “Two Gates” project this year. The idea was to submerge gates that can be opened and closed in the Delta to control the turbidity in the water.
Delta smelt are thought to stay in murkier water, and if the gates could keep the water near Delta pumps clear, water agencies thought they could get more water out without killing nearby fish.
“One way or another, we will be putting in gates in the Delta, not just to manage turbidity, but over the long run to manage flows, water quality and, I suspect, as a hedge against future island failures and sea level rise,” said Jeff Mount, a UC Davis geologist. “But it looks like Interior has made the decision to wait until the science that’s behind the smelt-turbidity hypothesis is better formed.”

Press Reviews

I wasn’t able to update the website much last week, nonetheless my inbox filled with a steady stream of information, which is overdue to get out.

First off, as probably noticed, the comment deadline of the USBR Two Gates Project got extended by two weeks until November 30th – a small victory, and a direct result of your comment submissions. One of the many links I got on that subject was the Delta E-news letter from the California Department of Water Resources.

Therefore: Please, keep your comments going to the people responsible for these gates. We updated the web site, on your right we have now three links under “Speak up” which lead directly to the Two Gates Project Manager, the Project Manager from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and to the U.S. Department of the Interior Comment Form for the California Delta. Please use them, let them know we’re not just going to roll over and play death.

We have one more week until November 30th.
Let’s use it!

 


 
In other news, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, asks on Huffingtonpost “Is California Really Solving Its Water Crisis?“. In this article, he notes that practically nothing has been done to solve the water problems in more than 35 years, and he goes on to say:

The San Francisco Delta is dying as an ecosystem, eroding as a levee network, and utterly unreliable as a water-conveyance structure. The Colorado River, upon which much of the southern part of the state relies, is gradually drying up. And the Salton Sea is on the verge of becoming the world’s second-largest toxic waste dump (after the mess the Russians made of the Aral).

And the response from the governor and Sacramento? Essentially, more of the same. Instead of recognizing that we first need to use every drop of water that falls near us and only then rely on long-distance transport and surface storage, the governor’s proposal continues excessive reliance on outmoded water-storage solutions, lowers the emphasis on protection provided by existing law for the health of California’s waterways, does almost nothing to enhance local self-reliance on water supplies, and fails to guarantee commonsense reforms of water policy.

Unfortunately, almost none of the commercial and public buildings I frequent have simple water-conservation technologies installed. There is no serious talk about reengineering urban areas as sponges. Instead we continue to guarantee water shortages by treating the the urban landscape like a roof and gutter, designed to get rid of (instead of soak up) precious rainfall. Farmers are still paid to dump toxic chemicals in the state’s most precious resource, but cities have no money to develop water recycling, storm-water capture, or groundwater storage.


 
From the PLF Liberty Blog via Aquafornia, we learn of a recent statement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar concerning new California water legislation and the forthcoming National Academy of Sciences reviews of the delta smelt and salmon biological opinions. Secretary Salazar’s statement begins as follows:

Today, Governor Schwarzenegger is signing milestone water legislation in Fresno County, one of the counties hardest hit by California’s water crisis – a crisis caused by the brutal combination of a three-year drought, the collapse of native fisheries in the Bay Delta, and the fact that California’s investments in water conservation and infrastructure have not kept up with its growth.

This is a gross oversight by Salazar. The Secretary has implied that the current water crisis has nothing to do with his own department’s Endangered Species Act restrictions. In so doing, Salazar has defied what is clear to the San Joaquin Valley and those who see through environmental extremism — the Endangered Species Act has turned California’s water crisis from bad to much worse.
Read the rest of the story over at the PLF Liberty Blog.
 


 
In a response from First District Senator Dave Cox to the Executive Director of the California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau Bill Wells, we get some insight into the process by which those water decisions are being made. Senator Cox says about the passage of the recent water bill:

Unfortunately, the package was never subject to public input or debate, in direct violation of the rules of governance of both the Senate and Assembly. This was also a failure by the Legislature to provide Californians with the transparency and accountability to which our legislative leaders regularly ascribe – apparently only when convenient.


 
And, the “Save the San Francisco Bay and Delta Foundation” is also finally getting press: the Central Valley Business Times has a story about us, and our own Mike Guzzardo was on the KGO afternoon news. And the turn-out at tonights meeting in Discovery Bay was beyond expectations. Our PR-Master Mike Guzzardo will have an article on that tomorrow.

Technorati # EPVSS4U5SEAR

SFBDF PRESS RELEASE 11-17-09

THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD IS NOW EXTENDED UNTIL NOVEMBER 30.

NEXT PUBLIC MEETING IS
MONDAY NOV. 23, 6:30PM,
DISCOVERY BAY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

PLEASE ATTEND THIS CRITICAL MEETING!!

Please read the press release:
Save the San Francisco Bay and Delta Foundation PRESS RELEASE 11-17-09 123pm

There is also a short radio interview with Mike Guzzardo on KGO.

CONTACT US:


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Educational Books about the Delta

Sassy the Salmon
and
The Fable of the Farmer and the Fish
All ages: K and above
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