The Comment Period has Started!

It’s been years but “Mamma Mia – Here we Go Again!” The Delta Tunnel Draft EIR (aka Delta Conveyance Project) was released July 27 (when most people were on vacation, of course). Comments for over 10,000 page EIR are due October 27. The first comment everyone should send in is that the comment period needs to be extended 90 days. Normal people cannot absorb and thoroughly review that many pages in 90 days. (A year would be even more appropriate).

EMAIL comments to: deltaconveyancecomments@water.ca.gov

YOU can help stop this ridiculous project to take the freshest water north on the Sacramento River and let the Delta and its ecosystem fail. As we review it, we’ll send more information for comments about this out-dated, ill-thought-out project.

New Delta Tunnel Plan Fails to Follow the Science

Opinion piece in the Mercury News about the new tunnel draft EIR and Newsom’s support for it. It says, “If Newsom wants to keep pressing his tunnel proposal, it’s imperative that he, water districts and environmentalists agree on a set of rules for water diversions from the Sacramento River. Otherwise, there’s no way to determine the environmental impact of the plan.”
Mercury News Editorial: “New Delta Tunnel Plan Fails to Follow the Science.”

But hey, that’s been the problem since 2009, hasn’t it? The legislator in issuing the Delta Reform Act specified step one would be for the newly formed Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) to determine the Delta Flow Requirements, the amount of water that had to be allowed to continue to flow through the Delta to keep the estuary clean. That report was written by the Bay Institute and adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in August 2010. The state acknowledged the fact that the Delta needed more water than it was currently receiving.

OOPS – Wrong Answer. The report was prepended with a DSC paragraph saying it had not been approved. Not true, I guess. The SWRCB tries periodically to increase the flows but it’s a logo. And everyone admits a tunnel will reduce flows further, or if even kept equal at times, the water coming in would be the polluted San Joaquin River after the Central Valley farms south of the Delta add their farm runoff with fertilizer and selenium from the tainted soils there, not as much of the clean Sacramento River water from the Sierra snow pack runoff. (Plus, this year, once again, what snow pack?)

Round and round we go.

I agree with the article’s conclusion: “State officials must provide more details and analysis of the Delta tunnel proposal — and alternatives to it — so Californians can determine whether it is the best approach for meeting long-term water needs.” Alas, the current draft EIR only includes alternative routes for a single tunnel or “No Project.” Where are is the study and investment into projects, like desalination, increased conversion efforts, that we need?

Delta Conveyance Project Draft EIR Available for Public Review and Comment Through October 27

Here we go. Single Tunnel Draft EIR released. Comment period through October 27. More to follow.

Jan

Jan McCleery, Past President
Save the California Delta Alliance (STCDA)

www.noDeltaTunnels.com www.facebook.com/SaveTheCaliforniaDelta

Together we can make a difference !

Begin forwarded message:

From: Department of Water Resources <deltaconveyance>

Subject: Delta Conveyance Project Draft EIR Available for Public Review and Comment Through October 27

Date: July 27, 2022 at 9:25:12 AM PDT

To: <janmccleery>

Reply-To: Department of Water Resources <deltaconveyance>

July 27, 2022
Delta Conveyance Project Draft EIR Available for Public Review and Comment Through October 27, 2022

Will the Tunnel Draft EIR be out soon?

The Delta Single Tunnel EIR was supposed to be released last year, then in June. Rumor on the street is it’s coming out this month. 15,000 pages. Yikes. We’ll see.

What is the DSC Really?

Newly Appointed Chief Counsel and Legislative and Policy Advisor

 On  July 1, 2022, Governor Newsom appointed Jorge Aguilar II as chief counsel and Brandon Chapin as legislative and policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council.

Seeing the notice made me think back to my long-standing question, “What is the DSC Really?”

Years ago, I was telling an acquaintance of mine about the wonderful place we lived, the California Delta. How it was a boater’s paradise. 1,000 miles of meandering waterways, pristine anchorages, perfect sloughs for waterskiers and wakeboarders. He was surprised he hadn’t heard about it, as he was a photographer for National Geographic’s Travel Blog. He said he wanted to find out more about it. They’d like to do a piece on it.

He came back to me later perplexed. “There doesn’t seem to be any tourist information about it,” he said.

“True,” I agreed. The State hasn’t made an effort to promote tourism in the Delta. Sad, actually.”

“And,” he continued. “I found a group called the ‘Delta Stewardship Council.’ In my experience, groups named ‘Stewardship Councils’ normally have the charter to protect and promote the area they support. But California’s DSC seems only interested in taking water out of the Delta. What’s going on?”

“Good question,” I agreed. “Supposedly their charter is to enforce the ‘co-equal goals’: exporting water for use outside the Delta and protecting the Delta environment. Sounds good, except the chair of the DSC has stated publicly in meetings that in cases where there is a conflict between the exporters and the fish, the exporters will always win. So much for ‘Stewardship.'”

Delta Counties’ Water Summit

Important meeting coming up. Here’s all of the information: https://nodeltagates.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/save-the-date-delta-counties-water-summit.pdf

Letter to Met

A “spot on” letter from Bill Wells to the Metropolitan Water District. If you don’t know Bill, he’s been a water warrior for years and years. He is the Executive Director of the California Delta Chambers, a monthly contributor to the Bay and Delta Yachtsman magazine, writing the “Delta Rat Scrapbook” articles, and is on the Board of Directors for our Save the California Delta Alliance.

Still Waiting for California to take the “First Step”

 

A good article in CalMatters was written by Carolee Krieger, the executive director for California Water Impact Network called “Here is the first step to a sustainable water policy”.

STCDA provided feedback commentary to CalMatters:

Good commentary and on the mark. But it’s discouraging to say that documenting the actual amount of water available is the first step to a sustainable water policy. This is the same step people have been saying for the 10 or more years that I’ve been tracking these issues.

Based on our legal counsel, Michael Brodsky’s briefs, we blogged on our Save the California Delta Alliance website about “Paper Water” in 2013, reporting that the state had oversold water by five times the amount it actually had. The UC Davis study Ms. Krieger refers to was in 2014.

Yes. The answers are appropriate water rights, addressing groundwater overdrafting, addressing Delta environmental issues via Delta flows, conservation, wastewater recycling and the retirement of impaired agricultural lands.

It includes doing what the Legislature dictated in the 2009 Delta Reform Act, namely moving toward regional self-reliance more than 10 years ago. Yet nothing changes.

It is very important to keep these issues in the forefront. Yes, it may be old news, but we all need to keep saying it until the agencies in charge wake up and pay attention.

Jan McCleery, Past President Save the California Delta Alliance

The Town of Hood Fights Back

Since the start of the tunnel project (Bay Delta Conservation Plan, then WaterFix, now the single tunnel Delta Conveyance Project), a repeated concern by everyone, and a big part of STCDA’s push back, has been the location of the intakes for the new pumps. The intakes continue to be planned to be put right on top of the tiny town of Hood.

The Delta Protection Committee penned a letter years ago to the Delta Stewardship Council saying the plan would cause “blight” on the small legacy towns. STCDA concurred.

Karen Mann who was a representative on the DWR’s Stakeholder Engagement Committee raised the point time and again that the intakes must be moved. All pleas fell on deaf ears. Time and time and again.

Well, the town of Hood just fought back: https://nodeltagates.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/10-22-2021-hood-letter-to-governor.pdf

Tales from a Water Warrior

Relevant to the prior Mono Lake article urging Governor Newsom to not rely on “voluntary agreements” to solve our current water crisis and instead let the Water Board do their job and mandate restrictions,

Deirdre Des Jardins, one of the constant and effective independent warriors in the Water Wars, wrote this insightful article about her efforts the past years to bring science to the Delta battle. It’s worth a read, as she illustrates the effort it takes to do this battle.

Image of the SWRCB Hearing Officer, Tam Doduc, muring the Oct 2, 2021 hearing. Taken by Deirdre Des Jardins.

In particular, she relates the “State Water Resources Control Board’s WaterFix Water Right Change Petition Hearing took place from July of 2016 to September of 2018. It was the largest water rights hearing in 50 years, involving over 110 parties and over 85 attorneys. I participated in the entire hearing. In addition to testifying on impacts of climate change, operations modeling, and reservoir operations for drought.”

Save the California Delta Alliance also participated in those hearings. Michael Brodsky attended days on end. Mike Guzzardo, Captain Frank Morgan (of the Rosemarie), Bill Wells, me, and others went to Sacramento and testified. (I only spent a few days there. Deirdre was relentless).

Worth the read – meet Deirdre.

https://cah2oresearch.com/2021/10/02/tales-from-the-water-wars-the-passing-game/?fbclid=IwAR37wdm_ohqTS7auKRFIGZqVv9jT2snJE-erRVgAoyQQ_ZutebaGpLdtAhA


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