Posted by: Jan | September 5, 2017

Why Save the Delta?

A great article in the SN&R, “Why Save the Delta.” The article deals with the huge impact the tunnel project will have on the North Delta. That article starts on page 15.

SN&R Why Save The Delta

Thanks to Barbara Daly and our friends in the North Delta C.A.R.E.S.

(Note: Here is a smaller-sized file with just the article if you have trouble downloading the full magazine).

Posted by: Jan | September 3, 2017

Fight against the Delta Tunnels Marketing Tactics

One frustrating thing in the fight against the Delta Tunnels is how effective the tunnel proponents are in creating a false statement and having it proliferate as “fact” in every news article we read.


Case in point – Sunday’s Sacramento Bee editorial “After seeing Harvey, Central Valley must get ready for coming storm.” Most of the editorial was great – we need levee maintenance to protect Sacramento and our Delta region.

But then the editor threw in this totally bogus statement: “The report predicted as many as 50 levee breaches in the Delta region. Their failure would affect water deliveries via the State Water Project and Central Valley Project to the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.”
The tunnel proponents have tried to spread the “earthquake bogey,” as Dr. Pyke calls it, saying that in a “big one” all the levees will fall down and salt water will intrude and ruin the water being pumped south for farms and L.A. This scare tactic is just wrong:

  1. There’s low risk of major earthquake in the Delta. No active fault lines
  2. Tests show the levees aren’t prone to liquefaction during an earthquake
  3. When Jones Tract flooded in 2004, there was no salt water intrusion. That was the last major levee failure in a low flow timeframe.

So what about a superstorm? Yes, lots of levees could fail. There were some failures near Sherman Island during the big flows last year. BUT – during big flows, tons of fresh water is flowing out. Even if all the levees failed then, that wouldn’t affect the water being pumped out.
But somehow, time and again, articles like this throw in these bogus tunnel-proponent made-up “facts” (marketing scare tactics) with the report. Fake news?

What to do about the tunnel proponents never-ending marketing hype? Well one thing I try to do is write a letter to the editor every time I see it. So today I submitted,

“Get the facts straight about potential Delta Levee Failures”


“It’s true that to protect Sacramento and Delta regions, the levees should continue to be improved and maintained, just like they need to do in the Netherlands. However, the article interjected one bogus statement that Delta Tunnel proponents often use as a scare tactic to justify their tunnels. The truth is if there are levee failures during a superstorm, that would NOT affect water deliveries to the farmers and Delta water urban users in Southern California and elsewhere. The water delivery concern raised by the tunnel proponents after Katrina was that if a significant number of levees fail at once, saltwater intrusion could get into the water being pumped to the Corporate farmers south of the Delta and L.A. But that could only true if everything fails at times of low water flow (which is unlikely). During a superstorm, the issue is too much fresh water flowing through the rivers. Therefore, no salt water could intrude. Let’s clearly separate the needs. Ongoing levee maintenance is needed. The Delta Tunnels are not needed at all.”

If you see any Delta Tunnel fake news, write a LTE too!

Posted by: Jan | August 28, 2017

The Tulare Lake

Here’s a good article about what happened to the Tulare Lake, which once was the largest lake (in area) west of the Mississippi, larger than the Great Salt Lake. It is why there is now groundwater in the Central Valley. Drying up of the lake is why the groundwater in the Central Valley doesn’t recharge.

Some argue that restoring even a portion of the Tulare Lake would solve the Central Valley’s water issue and greatly improve the goal of “regional self-sufficiency.”

California’s Tulare Lake Basin destroyed by dams (March 2017).

Tule Lake area1922.jpg

Tulare Lake Article (from 2009).

Tulare Lake Restoration Project Proposal – San Joaquin Valley Leadership Foundation (2010).

Posted by: Jan | August 28, 2017

Trying to save the Delta once and for all

Michael Brodsky, STCDA Legal Council said: “Our precious Delta and our way of life deserve better than the governor is willing to give. So we must take things into our own hands as a community and devise lasting solutions. I hope the lawsuit will not only stop the tunnels but will be the beginning of a new movement toward saving the Delta once and for all.”

“You can’t put up a sign that says, ‘The Delta is closed for construction for the next 11 years’ and expect our marinas to survive,” said Lauren Korth, STCDA field director, who grew up in the Delta at her family’s business, Korth’s Pirates’ Lair Marina.

Check out the article in the Discovery Bay Press.

Posted by: Jan | August 28, 2017

We’re In!

STCDA is “in.” We’ve submitted our lawsuit to Save the Delta. Stand together. Stop the Tunnels!

See the article ‘Farmers & Environmentalists Join to Battle the Planned Delta Tunnel Project’.


Posted by: Jan | August 16, 2017

Issues with the MWD Financing White Paper

Dr. Jeffrey Michaels, respected (and independent) economist at the University of the Pacific, recently blogged his initial reaction to Metropolitan Water District (Met) Financing White Paper.

WealthyFarmer   Here is a summary:
All the calculations and modeling in the paper relies on 3 huge assumptions which are almost certainly false.

  • It assumes farmers (and wildlife refuges) pay the vast majority of the estimated $17 billion cost. Multiple analysis and statements by various potential participants have shown this is unlikely. Drop this assumption, and Met’s cost share could triple.
  • Cost comparisons are based on an assumed average annual yield (incremental increase in water supply) of 1.3 million acre feet per year. This is a wildly optimistic estimate.

(Jan’s note – the Delta cannot lose more than 3.5 MAF without environmental collapse, as we have been seeing. Current average exports go over 5 MAF. Increasing instead of reducing exports will totally destroy the Delta environmentally, create more blue-green toxic algae, decimate salmon runs).

  • The paper describes a host of critical financing issues as still “under negotiation” or being developed. Agencies have been working on these issues for years and still have not come to a resolution. [Yet\ these issues are being deferred to the future.
  • One of the key issues is what happens if (when) some agencies choose not to participate.

    A few other notes:

    • Costs for the Contra Costa Water District settlement and new tidal marsh from the Biops do not appear to be included.
    • The other big projects from the past in the comparison chart are all urban projects. None of them were counting on farmers and wildlife refuges to pay 2/3 of the cost.
    • What about comparing the cost of tunnel water to conservation/efficiency, stormwater capture, and other more cost-effective options.
    • … and other items of concern.

    Dr. Michaels’ conclusion: “This document surely doesn’t provide the information that is required to make a public policy decision of this consequence.”

    Read his entire report at

    Others agree. Doug Obegi, NRDC blogs that MWD’s WaterFix Cost Assessment is Inaccurate and Inadequate.

    Restore the Delta blog.

    Cartoon drawing from the book “The Fable of the Farmer and the Fish”, by Jan McCleery, Illustrated by Steve Greenfield. Available on Amazon. Amazon-Fable

    Posted by: Jan | August 16, 2017

    “Facts” from State-Paid “Scientists”

    You may have received the latest California State marketing on Gov. Brown’s WaterFix (aka the Delta Tunnels).


    Such bunk. UC Davis affiliates, mainly Peter Moyle, has been a strong advocate for the WaterFix (Delta Tunnels) since day one. Here’s what’s wrong with what he is saying. The “scientists” start by acknowledging “two facts”:

    1. They Say: “The status quo is not sustainable.” While this is true, the underlying, unspoken “fact” is that the “status quo” is pumping 5 million acre feet (MAF) of water out of the Delta yearly. When the pumps were installed, true scientists warned 3 MAF is the max that can be extracted and maintain a healthy ecosystem. So yes, the status quo is NOT sustainable. The answer is NOT what Boyle et al advocates, to continue to take 5 MAF out but take it out at a different location. The only real answer is to REDUCE the amount of water removed. Do NOT maintain the status quo.

    2. They Say: “The Delta infrastructure (levees) is old and vulnerable to catastrophic failure.” Well, you could say the levee system is old but it is not as old as the Netherlands levee system. Like the Netherlands, the Delta levees need (and have been getting) ongoing maintenance in order to maintain the farmlands, the communities, and to protect the state highways and railways through the Delta. As far as vulnerable to catastrophic failure, not so much. The State’s representatives started making up what Dr. Pyle calls the “earthquake bogie” after Hurricane Katrina and they use it often as a scare tactic although there is no basis in fact or science to back up their statement. And if there were, it’s the people living in the Delta and the state infrastructure (highways, railroads) that are at risk, not the water supply. (I could go into detail about that part, but for a different blog). That is, unless they build he Delta Tunnels that can be ruptured during an earthquake. (This is yet another lengthy blog, but they aren’t designing the tunnels in an earthquake-proof manner).

    Now, about the three things they claim WaterFix will do:

    • They say: “Reduce entrainment of smelt.” Well, putting better screens and reducing pumping would also do that.

    • They say: “Reduce cross-Delta movement.” True. Adding intakes along the Sacramento River would reduce the abnormal directional flow down to Clifton Court Forebay. But instead they would cause a abnormal directional flow up Georgiana Slough, ruining salmon runs, which are an even bigger disaster for the state, Commercial fishing in California and Oregon, etc. Again, they need to REDUCE the amount of water extracted, which would remove the big problem we have now. The salmon and other fish populations weren’t crashing when they removed an average of 3 MAF. But no, that wasn’t enough for the almond farmers who wanted more and more and more acres planted in the desert by I-5 for their precious almonds to ship to Asia. (Note – 3 MAF/year is plenty to provide for the urban needs and enough water to provide crops for California and America).

    • They say: “Support large investments in habitat restoration via the ‘EcoRestore’ program.” Well, that would be nice EXCEPT the EcoRestore program, which was part of the original Bay Delta Conservation Plan, has been basically dropped. A few years ago when the EPA panned their BDCP plan, the State split the BDCP into two parts: WaterFix (aka Delta Tunnels) and they named the restoration part of the BDCP “EcoRestore” and that’s been the last we’ve heard of EcoRestore. All of the planning, EIRs, budget analysis, etc., etc. have been for the WaterFix alone, NOT the EcoRestore. There is no budget for EcoRestore so how can they claim building the Tunnels is related.

    Who is paying these “scientists” to continue to put out bogus marketing literature to try to help move along Gov. Brown’s pet project, the Delta Tunnels? That’s right, the urban rate payers.

    Posted by: Jan | June 6, 2017

    T-Shirts Available

    If you wanted to get one of the “Save the Delta | No Tunnels | No Gates” T-Shirts that you may have seen in the newspaper from recent Delta Stewardship Council meetings, or if you were at our Saturday Golf Tournament and you saw the volunteers wearing them, well now it’s easier. You can get them from the Discovery Bay Chandlery. (Thanks Lisa Black for offering to sell them for us!)

    Here’s our fabulous golf foursome below. No, we didn’t win any trophies, but don’t we look cute in front of that cool Sanger red & white boat? I told Scotty Pellaton I wanted the red & white boat for our event, but they ALMOST sold it the day before! Whew. Too bad Scott lost the sale, but we got the boat for our golf photo-op! I want to buy that boat!

    Dave and Deborah Veatch, Mike & Jan McCleery

    Discovery Bay Chandlery, near the Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor at 5901 Marina Road.

    Posted by: Jan | May 31, 2017

    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

    Posted by: Jan | May 31, 2017

    How To Protect the Salmon


    A May 29th LA Times article talks about a recent report findings: “The Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers historically supported up to a million Chinook salmon a year. Now we’re nowhere close to that.” And ominously predicts that “three-fourths of California’s trout, steelhead and salmon species will become extinct in the next 100 years. Within 50 years, nearly half will die off.”


    What’s to blame for that fact that where once there were millions of fish, now we’re counting thousands?

    Sure, there’s blame from the past projects building levees and dams. But those serve a purpose in today’s world for reclaiming fertile Delta farmland and storing water for thirsty cities. It’s not likely the State will want to flood fertile farmlands or blow up city reservoirs (although environmentalists would be happier). Those did cause fish decline in the 1900s. But the fish were still surviving, even improving in the late 80s/early 90s and commercial fishermen still had good fishing seasons each year.

    It’s what has been happening since the late 90s that should raise your ire and keep you up at night. Today,Bthe blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the excessive water diversions for irrigating orchards in the Central Valley.

    Agriculture interests scream that government wastes water by letting it flow to the sea. But if water doesn’t flow to the sea, neither do salmon and steelhead. And that kills the coastal fishing industry.

    What can be done?

    • Start by not making things worse by protecting what’s left of our best fish waters.
    • Try to restore waters that were lost generations ago, such as flood plains and the Tulare Lake Basin. Flooded rice fields, where fish can eat themselves silly, now are helping with that.
    • Tear down useless dams like Matilija. And provide passage around useful dams.
    • Most important: Get political leaders — not just wildlife managers — to give a rip.

    You can tell a fisherman wrote the article. He quotes the old Babylonian proverb: “The gods do not deduct from man’s allotted span the hours spent in fishing.”

    And then adds: “But there need to be fish to catch.”

    May 29, 2017 LA Times Article: “Here’s why we should think about protecting California fish”

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