News in Brief


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

California Water Wars At Boiling Point!

SACRAMENTO-- Water wars are part of California’s history, but amid the state’s current epic drought, the fights over the precious resource are intensifying.
The latest flashpoint is California WaterFix, a proposed more than $15 billion project to build two 30-mile-long tunnels up to 150 feet belowground to divert water from the northern edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which now supplies water to 25 million residents and 3 million acres of farmland.
The state says the tunnels would protect against disruption when aging levees fail because of rising sea levels and earthquakes.
Levee failures have caused the flooding of delta islands 158 times since 1900.
The debate pits farmers, politicians and some environmentalists against the state and is heating up as the public comment period nears its close at the end of October.
Opponents say that farmers will shoulder the high cost of the project, which will not increase their water supplies. Plus, they charge it would devastate the already fragile delta ecosystem.
“In a time of severe drought, we need to conserve water and augment our water supply throughout the entire state,” congressional opponents, led by  Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-California, wrote in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown late last month.
Central Valley farmers “will pay a steep increase in costs without a real return in water,” the letter said. And they fear that delta farms and communities will no longer be guaranteed help when levees fail.
“Red flags have been raised across the board on the governor’s tunnels plan that does nothing to fix the state’s existing water supply managements and severe drought problems,” McNerney said Monday at a an opposition rally in Stockton, in the heart of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. “The only thing clear is that the tunnels are a repackaging of old ideas that waste billions of dollars and threaten the way of life for an entire region without creating a single new drop of water.”
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, the executive director of Restore the Delta, a grass-roots organization, said that 14 years of tunnel construction “will decimate the delta’s $5.2 billion annual agricultural economy and destroy family farms dating back to the 1850s.”
Opponents call for redirecting funds toward existing conservation and recycling programs and more water storage facilities. California officials say the criticism is unfounded.
“You might ask critics how they can complain that the proposed project would both take too much water from the delta and not enough to be worth the investment,’’ said Nancy Vogel, the deputy secretary of communications for the California Natural Resources Agency.
She said that the state’s intent is not so much to increase the water supply but to modernize a system that has put a strain on the quality of the water and the ecosystem.
The drought, now in its fourth year, has exposed weaknesses in a system that now requires physically removing fish in metal buckets and transporting them in tanker trucks downstream to be released so they’re not drawn into the water system’s pumps.
“The south delta channels also are affected by the reverse flows created when the pumps are turned on,” Vogel said.
WaterFix would build three intakes on the Sacramento River about 35 miles north of existing pumping plants. Because the new intakes would not be on dead-end channels, “the steady flow of the Sacramento River would allow us to install effective fish screens,’ she said.
When river flows are high, water could be diverted without harming threatened and endangered fish, such as delta smelt and Chinook salmon, she said.
“I and my colleagues and every independent scientific effort to look at the future of the delta have come to the conclusion that the status quo is not sustainable in the future,” said Jeffrey Mount, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center. “We’ve kind of hit the wall.”
Climate change and rising sea levels, coupled with more groundwater pumping, have affected the quality and supply of the water, he said. “We may well be seeing a shift in our climate here in California,” he said. “We call this drought a dry run for a dry future. It has exposed weaknesses … This drought has given us a window of what the future might look like.”
California taxpayers would not pay for WaterFix. The project would be funded by water districts, which have already invested more than $200 million in the last eight years on the proposal. That cost is bound to be reflected in water bills, a concern of critics.
There is now a push for a ballot initiative that would put the project up to a vote in 2016.
Even if WaterFix gets the green light, Mount predicted protracted legal challenges that will raise costs even more. The state is moving ahead with permit applications.
He said the project would correct a historical mistake that state and federal agencies made when they decided to take water from the southern edge of the delta, an area that has the worst water quality because of high salt levels. Under WaterFix, the amount of water diverted could go up or down 5 to 10 percent a year, on average, depending on how endangered species fare.
”I understand and appreciate the fear people have that more water will be taken,” he said. “The alternative then is that you need honest conversation about what are the alternatives … Once you’ve stopped this, then what?”
The only alternative on the table — to significantly reduce water exports from the delta — would be painful to farmers and all the communities that rely on that water source, he said.
Even if the state could replace the 5 million acre-feet of water exported from the delta each year, the cost would be exorbitant, Vogel said. “To replace even 1 million acre-feet would require 18 desalination plants of the size now under construction in Carlsbad at a cost of $1 billion,” she said. The plant in San Diego County will produce about 56,000 acre-feet of water a year.
Or it would take 111 water recycling plants of the size recently completed in San Jose for $72 million.
Tom Zuckerman, a third-generation delta farmer also at Monday’s press conference, disagreed. “The current drought reveals the stupidity of blowing $15 [billion] to $50 billion on tunnels which don’t increase the water supply instead of conservation, groundwater storage in wet years and recycling projects leading to regional self-sufficiency at a far cheaper cost,” he said.
“There’s political exhaustion over the delta,” Mount said. “It might be time to cut a deal.”

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Water Steal Fix... Is In!

For Jerry Brown’s water-stealing WaterFix, the Fix is IN…

By Dan Bacher
On the same day that Californians for Water Security, the astroturf coalition established to rally support for Jerry Brown’s $15+California's $15+ billion waterstealing "WaterFix" boondogglebillion Delta Tunnels, announced they were approaching their first anniversary, a panel of experts convened by Restore the Delta revealed the alarming information that they have discovered so about the project after reading through the 48,000 page Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
In an email statement to their supporters on September 29, Californians for Water Security claimed, “the coalition has achieved so much in the past year, thanks to the active participation of you and all of our coalition members. But it’s not time for celebration. It’s time to continue the work.”
“This next year could be the most important year in moving the California Water Fix from planning to construction. In the next year, we’ll have important decisions on the environmental impact report; local water agencies and contractors will make key decisions on future support; key state and federal agencies will hold hearings and determine positions on CA Water Fix; and much more,” the group wrote.
“You know how important the CA Water Fix is to the future of California’s water security. That’s why we hope we can count on continued support from you and our more than 150 organizational members and more than 16,000 citizens who support the project,” the “coalition” ( claimed.
However, the experts speaking in the Restore the Delta teleconference painted a very bleak, much different picture about the “future of California’s water security” for fish, wildlife, the environment and the people of California if the proposed California Water Fix, the Delta Tunnels project formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), is somehow approved by the permitting agencies.
They noted that this giant project will cost California tax and ratepayers between $15 and $60 billion — “one of California’s largest public investments to date.” And there will be no public vote, unlike in 1982 when the voters turned down the original peripheral tunnel plan by a huge margin.
For the complete statements by each expert on the panel and the audio of the event, you can go to:…
Jeffrey Michael Ph.D., Director, Center for Business and Policy Research, University of the Pacific, spoke on “Water Yields, Economics and Missing Alternatives,” exposing how the project is not economically or financially feasible.
“First, an EIR must describe the project accurately,” said Michael. “The Delta Tunnels EIR/EIS describes a project that is not economically or financially feasible due to its minimal water yields. Specifically, the EIR/EIS describes water exports with the $16 billion tunnels will only average about 250,000 acre feet more each year than under No Action.”
“That’s about 16,000 acre feet of unreliable, untreated water per $1 billion of capital cost, an incredibly low return on investment. For comparison, the highest cost alternatives like desalination plants deliver over 50,000 acre feet of highly reliable, purified water for the same capital investment,” noted Michael.
Robert Wright, Senior Counsel for Friends of the River, reported on the devastating impacts that Tunnels Plan would have on endangered species, including Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green sturgeon and Delta and longfin smelt.
“The Delta Water Tunnels would instead destroy endangered and threatened fish species,” said Wright. “The Tunnels would divert for the Central Valley and State Water Projects vast quantities of freshwater from the Sacramento River near Clarksburg that would no longer flow through the lower Sacramento River, sloughs, and Delta. This would jeopardize the continued existence of endangered and threatened species of fish and adversely modify their designated critical habitat by taking away freshwater flows for Winter Run Chinook salmon, spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green Sturgeon, and Delta smelt.”
Besides jeopardizing the continued existence of endangered Central Valley salmon and steelhead and Delta and longfin smelt, the tunnels also imperil the salmon and steelhead runs on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, since a large percentage of the water from the Trinity River is diverted to the Sacramento River system and the Delta for export to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Osha Meserve, North Delta Water rights attorney, exposed how the state and federal agencies were currently forging forward with key permits while the environmental review process is still underway.
“Signaling their commitment to a deeply flawed project, the project rushed forward with its major water right and wetland fill permit applications this month,” said Meserve. “In its submittal to the State Water Resources Control Board, tunnel applicants claimed they owned the roughly forty parcels of land necessary to construct the three tunnels that can convey 9000 cubic feet per second of water. Keep in mind the highest the river has flowed near the proposed tunnel intakes is 8400 cfs this month.”
“Later, after we pointed out the error, DWR submitted an errata sheet and tried to excuse its misrepresentations because the form was not usable for a project this large. DWR also had to amend its application to show that every water user in the Delta – over three thousand water rights — may be injured by the project from the changes in water quality, quantity and levels the project will cause,” she explained.
Tim Stroshane, water policy analyst for Restore the Delta, revealed the alarming impact the tunnels would have on the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
Stroshane said, “Harmful algal blooms are expected to increase due to the Tunnels, consuming most or all dissolved oxygen in the water, and suffocating oxygen-respiring organisms like fish. Blue-green algae, such as one species called Microcystis, can also produce ‘cyanotoxins’ that pose a significant potential threat to wildlife, dogs, and human beings, and exposure can cause liver cancer in humans.”
“Tunnels’ reports acknowledge that ‘increases in the frequency, magnitude, and geographic extent of Microcystis blooms in the Delta would occur relative to Existing Conditions,’ increasing a dangerous ecological and public health threat,” he disclosed.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, discussed “Politics vs. Sustainability” in the Tunnels Plan. She criticized the project for being a “legacy project” inherited from Governor Jerry Brown’s father “created on flawed logic” – and urged the Governor to “do the right thing” and drop the tunnels project.
“This repackaging of the Delta tunnels will waste up to $60 billion dollars without creating any new water, won’t help desperate communities during the drought, or fund innovative water conservation, stormwater capture, or water recycling projects that cities are eager to build for resilience in a changing climate,” she said.
“Californians now face a huge decision. Should we commit $60 billion (after bond repayment and operation costs are considered) to construct twin 40 foot-wide, 35 mile-long, tunnels to export what water is left for almonds for export and speculative development – in the year 2031? Or are we going to protect the most magnificent and important estuary on the west coast of the Americas?” asked Barrigan-Parrilla.
She concluded, “Governor Brown has inherited a legacy project from his father that was created on flawed logic – an overextended water supply, even back in the 1960s. With climate change, snowpack will continue to diminish in the Sacramento River watershed and more rain will fall at the coast. Instead of continuing to cling stubbornly to this flawed family legacy, Governor Brown needs to do the right thing for the future of the state he loves. He needs to drop the tunnels project once and for all, and use his office to create a Marshall plan for water sustainability for all Californians, not just mega growers in Westlands and the Kern County Water District, and certainly not for the Metropolitan Water District.”
The comment period ends for the California Water Fix ends on October 30, 2015, so Californians now have only one month left to submit comments on the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Delta Tunnels project. If you haven’t submitted your comment yet, now’s the time to do it!
Public Comments on the Delta EIR/EIS can be submitted to:
BDCP/California WaterFix Comments
P.O. Box 1919
Sacramento, CA 95812
BDCPComments [at]
You can also sign the petition to oppose the Delta Tunnels at:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ten Or More Killed In Oregon College Shooting

Embedded image permalink

At least 15 people were killed and another 20 wounded at a shooting on Thursday at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, media reported.
The Portland Oregonian newspaper and CNN reported that a suspect had been taken into custody, citing Douglas County officials. That suspect was not identified.
CNN reported that one of the wounded was a female who had been shot in the chest. There was no immediate information on condition of the other wounded victims.
A spokeswoman for the Douglas County Sheriff's department confirmed to Reuters that there was a shooting at the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg. The spokeswoman had no further details.

"Active shooter scene is code 4. Multiple casualties all pt's transported," the Douglas County Fire Department said in a tweet. Multiple ambulances were reported to be on scene.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fishing Week-End Shout-Out!

The long wait for salmon in the Sacramento River near Freeport may be at last over with at least a dozen fish landed by anglers spooning below the Freeport Bridge on Sunday. Stripers continue to invade the Delta from the bay, and they are moving on a daily basis from upriver toward Collinsville. Sturgeon are out there, but few fishermen have been targeting the diamondbacks so far this year. Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport said, “The wait is finally over as the salmon have arrived with at least a dozen landed below the bridge. I was trolling a Silvertron spinner weighted down with 3 ounces in order to make a 45-degree angle into the water on Sunday morning near Scribner’s Bend, and I hooked a big fish that came unbuttoned. There were several salmon rolling on the surface, so it looks like they have arrived.” Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento confirmed the improved action below the Freeport Bridge by jigging spoons or trolling Silvertron spinners or Brad’s Killer Fish. Tran added that drifting live mudsuckers or tossing shad-patterned swimbaits are working for stripers in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel or near Liberty Island for fish from 2 to 20 pounds. The stripers have been boiling in the early mornings in the Deep Water Channel around 4 to 5 miles above the mouth of Miner Slough. Striped bass fishing remained very good with Mark Wilson, striper trolling expert, reporting continued solid action in the Broad Slough and Collinsville areas with both shallow and deep-diving lures. He released stripers at 14 and 12 pounds on Friday on the shallow-diving Rat-L-Traps using light tackle. He advised, “The fish are moving around on a daily basis, and some of the schools have not been willing to bite, and we have even hooked fish that we didn’t see on the meter, so the fish are a bit finicky and the action is different every day.” The best bite has been at the end of the outgoing tide into the first two hours of the incoming tide, but the action dies by the middle of the tide. Salmon fishing has been slower in lower Suisun Bay, and Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait and Tackle said, “The water must be too warm down here since the fish are blasting through. Striper fishing is good for schoolies with blood worms or pile worms from the shorelines.” Tom Sanders of Lost Anchor Bait and Tackle at McAvoy’s Boat Harbor in Bay Point was rewarded with a 52-inch diamondback near the Yellow Can out in front of the harbor. He said, “The fish are there, it is just a matter of trying and finding the right window between the winds.” The Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival is only a few weeks away with the 68th annual event taking place from Oct. 9-11. Information at The San Joaquin River is starting to heat up for striped bass, and trollers and bait soakers are getting in on the action. The 40-degree temperature swing limited bass action to a few select windows within the past week of triple-digit temperatures, but cooler water conditions will improve action in the coming weeks. Gary Vella of Vella’s Fishing Adventures said, “I’ve been tearing up the stripers in the Delta for the past week, catching up to 30 fish per trip ranging from 12 inches to 18.5 pounds with limits during five straight days in a row trolling deep diving lures from 14 to 16 feet in the San Joaquin River.” For largemouth bass, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, reported the 40-degree temperature swing from 60’s in the early mornings to over 100 degrees by the afternoon, and the 40 degree temperature swing changes everything. If the swing is 20 degrees, the bite should last throughout the day, but a 40 degree swing will require adjustments. He said, “The temperature swing will require that you try different things, and adjust, adjust, adjust, as if you stay with one bait too long, you will die by the sword.” He advised starting with topwater lures such as the ima Little Stick, Helly P’s, or Persuader Buzzbaits, but if the fish aren’t biting, you should have at least three rods ready with different baits. He added, “Try different things, run the lures fast, run them slow.” Pringle added, “When the weather changes, the bite will really improve.” Striper fishing has been phenomenal for schoolie stripers around moving water in the Mokelumne and the San Joaquin with Optimum’s Double AA swimbaits or the ima Little Stick. He said, “Working major moving water is the key.” For largemouth bass, Pringle, reported solid action on the ima floating Flit or jerkbaits for reaction baits while working the bottom with the Chigger Craw or Havoc Flat Dog has been another productive method. Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento has found good action for up to 30 largemouth bass flipping Missle D-Bombs near structure. In Stockton, Brandon Gallegos reported quality largemouth are coming out of Whiskey Slough with live minnows, and the stripers are boiling in the mornings with small topwater Spooks near Weber Point in downtown Stockton and also in Whiskey Slough. 

Lake Don Pedro
Trout fishing is fair for those launching during the past week of triple-digit heat and heavy smoke from the Butte Fire. The rainbows are deep from 45 to 70 feet with heavy spoons. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The action isn’t fast and furious, and trying different techniques is necessary.” The boat launch has a slight curve, but once you get around the curve, launching two boats at the same time is possible. Manny Basi of the Bait Barn in Waterford said, “Bass fishing is best with live large minnows or with drop-shot plastics in shad patterns at depths from 40 to 50 feet.” The lake dropped slightly to 674.60 feet in elevation and 32% of capacity. Call: Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Gary Vella (209) 652-7550; Bait Barn (209) 874-3011.
McClure Reservoir
Bass fishing has been very good for anglers willing to launch at the Barrett’s North Shore ramp and make the long walk back to the parking lot. Working live large minnows from the banks or drop-shot plastics at depths from 40 to 50 feet are producing bass to 2 pounds. The Merced River is now closed to fishing until January 1st between the Crocker-Huffman Bridge to G Street in Snelling due to warm water conditions. The lake dropped 2 feet this past week to 608.88 feet in elevation and 9% of capacity. The Merced River is now closed to fishing until Jan. 1 between the Crocker-Huffman Bridge to G Street in Snelling due to warm water conditions. Call: A-1 Bait (209) 563-6505; Bub Tosh (209) 404-0053.
McSwain Reservoir
Although rainbow trout to nearly 10 pounds have been landed within the past week, warm water temperatures brought on by the drought, have forced Merced Irrigation District’s Parks to postpone the annual Fall Fishing Derby at Lake McSwain until springtime. At the same time, MID has reported that it expects to resume regular trout planting in the near future. “This drought has had widespread impacts and unfortunately, we aren’t immune at Lake McSwain,” explained Bret Theodozio, MID Director of Parks and Recreation. “Plenty of fish are still being caught, but they have gone deep and out into the middle of the lake. They are there for the catching if you can reach them.” Mike Dickson landed the 29-inch/9.5-pound rainbow on a Wedding Ring in the main lake. Theodozio noted that many of those participating in regularly scheduled fishing derbies do so from the bank. Because the fish have gone to deeper and into the middle of the lake, those without a boat would be at a significant disadvantage, he said. Although a derby won’t be held in October, the spring Derby is expected to be held in early April 9 and 10, 2016. At the same time, fish plants from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will soon resume in Lake McSwain. Plants had ceased earlier this year after regular-provider Calaveras Trout farms was forced to close its doors for the summer. Fish and Wildlife will resume its plants of the lake in the coming weeks as water temperatures begin to cool. The McSwain Marina is now closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Call: McSwain Marina (209) 378-2534.
New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch
The Butte Fire which started on Wednesday near the city of Jackson in Amador County, quickly spread through the Mother Lode, leading to the evacuation of several small communities including the residents of the Calaveras County seat, San Andreas. Smoke from the fast-moving fire limited any angling interest in the area as most residents were consumed with moving possessions and livestock out of the region. Melanie Lewis of Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp said, “We are overwhelmed with the community response as people have been bringing donations into the store for the victims of the fire, as I just received an anonymous donation for $1000 for the purchase of fuel for residents in need. Our wholesale distributor for fuel also donated $2000 this week. The area had become increasingly clear from smoke by Sunday, but Lewis commented, “It looked like Armageddon here on Friday with the smoke and the visible flames.” Prior to the fire breaking out, catfish remain the top species at New Melones with the whiskerfish cruising the shallows near standing timber and rocky banks. John Lietchy of Glory Hole Sporting Goods said, “Catfish are known to be bottom-feeders but, they actually feed all throughout the water column. Catfish are opportunistic feeders and they rarely pass up the chance to fill their bellies. The lake has an abundance of small shad and that is most likely what the catfish are feeding on. Try using frozen shad or live minnows to entice nearby feeding fish. Some catfish will leave the bottom and feed in the middle of the water column, and it is a good idea to add additional scent to your presentation. “ Whiskerfish in excess of 11 pounds have been landed from the banks during the past week. Trout and kokanee fishing continued to be slow with few boats launching into the lake due to the launch ramp conditions. Bass fishing is fair, and the triple-digit temperatures of the past week limited the window for action to the early mornings or late evenings. Lietchy said, “Generally the topwater bite is good at this time of year but right now we are getting very few surface blow-ups. The fish have been moving to deep/cool water and can be found suspended near shad or pulled tight to the bottom. Most fish are being caught on a variety of soft plastic presentations.” Crappie can be found under lights with live minnows or minijigs at night, particularly for those anchoring outside of structure in deep water. The crappie are ambushing the small shad from the security of submerged trees. The lake dropped 1 foot to 12% of capacity and 803.10 feet in elevation this week. Tulloch dropped 3 feet to 504.93 feet in elevation and 91% of capacity with more water releases anticipated. Call: Glory Hole Sports (209) 736-4333; Monte Smith (209) 581-4734; Danny Layne-Fish’n Dan (209) 586-2383; Sierra Sport Fishing (209) 599-2023.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay
Paul Jolley at Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill said, “The reemergence of jumbo minnows in area bait shops has led to more and more fishermen drifting the live bait near Goosehead Point, the Trash Rack and the mouth of Portuguese Cove. Most boaters are launching out of Dinosaur Point, but there is a submerged berm along the left hand side of the ramp that has scraped the bottom of boats. The lure bite is slower, and a few trollers are working shallower at depths from 30 to 40 feet with P-Line Predators, Yozuri Crystal Minnows, Rebels, or Lucky Craft 128’s throughout the lake.” In the O’Neill Forebay, weed growth is a hindrance at the small impoundment, but some fishermen are wading out into the water to toss ripbaits, swimbaits, or jerkbaits for stripers ranging from undersized to 23 inches. Mackerel, anchovies, chicken livers or sardines are working for catfish near Check 12. The main lake continues to release water at a rapid clip for agricultural and domestic uses, but imports from the Delta brought the lake up to 21% with an addition of 1254 acre-feet on Monday. Call: Coyote Bait andTackle (408) 463-0711, Roger George of (559) 905-2954.
Call: Randy Pringle (209) 543-6260; Captain Stan Koenigsberger – Quetzal Adventures (925) 570-5303; Intimidator Sport Fishing (916) 806-3030.

Read more here:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Heroes Parade in Sacramento on 9/11... Courting Disaster?

 Those planning to attend the hometown hero parade honoring the three Sacramento-area men who stopped a terror attack on a French train be warned that temperatures are expected to be in the high 90s when the noon parade begins.

But also be warned this is happening on 9/11 for these young men who thwarted a Jihadist attack and became symbols of American exceptionalism. With Islamic hostilities already voiced in attack against Jews at UC Davis recently, it is not a stretch to assume we have a radicalized element locally.

Remember, the FBI and Homeland Security called a High Alert for last Fourth of July Celebrations.

Why this date was chosen for the parade to honor our heroes, is yet to be made clear. Hopefully it is not going to prove to be a bad decision.One could imagine the different Islamic terror groups who have discussed making this a prime targeted event for both revenge and the psychological mental-anguish another attack could have on the national psyche. 

Stay alert and safe. 

Terrorism Safety Awareness Animation Video

Friday, September 4, 2015

Stop Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels

Take Action Now to Stop Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels by Dan Bacher If you want to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, and Pacific Coast fisheries, it's time to take action against Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels Plan. The pork barrel project, if constructed, would hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The last round of public comments on the California Water Fix, formerly called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP, ends in just 65 days, October 30. That's why it is essential that you submit a public comment to go on record opposing the Delta tunnels/CA WaterFix/BDCP. This will be your last chance to submit a public comment -- federal agencies may attempt to permit this plan as early as 2016! Go to the Restore the Delta website to submit a public comment, sign their petition to send an automatic letter or create your own using their letter template: "Let's get our neighbors, friends and family members to submit as many public comments as we can opposing the tunnels," according to an action alert from Restore the Delta (RTD). "Together, Californians can stop this insane project. We have done it before and we can do it again!" Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, emphasized what is at stake if the tunnels are built. "I believe that the Delta should stay the same for future generations of salmon and people," said Chief Sisk. "The tunnels will kill the Delta by diverting all the Sacramento River, the tunnels are being build large enough to divert the entire river. This will be a irreversible water tragedy affecting our air and food sources and clean waters!" According to RTD, "The impact on wildlife and plant species in the Delta that depend on freshwater include the Delta smelt, chinook salmon, steelhead, San Joaquin kit fox, and tricolored blackbird, protected species already on the brink that will face decimation due to a diminishing food-web." On the ocean, the ESA-listed South Pacific Puget Sound Orca Whales depend on migrating Central Valley salmon that will be harmed by less water flowing through the Delta. The tunnels plan also appears to ignore Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits federal agency actions that are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or that “result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat of [listed] species.” The problem is that the Brown administration refuses to consider any other options to the tunnels to solve our ecosystem and water supply problems, such as the Environmental Water Caucus' responsible exports plan that sets an annual cap on Delta water exports of 3 million acre-feet. RTD said our tax and ratepayer dollars would be much better spent on: • More aggressive water efficiency program statewide that would apply to both urban and agricultural users. • Funding water recycling and groundwater recharging projects statewide that would be billions of dollars less expensive for rate payers than constructing a new version of the Peripheral Canal or major new surface storage dams. Meanwhile, these projects move communities towards water sustainability. • Retiring thousands of acres of impaired and pollution generating farmlands in the southern San Joaquin Valley and using those lands for more sustainable and profitable uses, such as solar energy generation. • Improving Delta levees in order to address potential earthquake, flooding, and future sea level rise concerns at a cost between $2 to $4 billion and is orders of-magnitude less expensive than major conveyance projects that are currently being contemplated. • Increasing freshwater flows through the Delta to reduce pollutants so ecosystems and wildlife can be restored. • Installing modern, state-of-the-art fish screens at the south Delta pumps to reduce the "salvage" of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Sacrament splittail, Delta and longfin smelt, striped bass, threadfin shad, American shad and a host of other fish species. The Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, reached a new record low population level in 2014, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's fall midwater trawl survey released this January. Department staff found a total of only eight smelt at a total of 100 sites sampled each month from September through December. Since then, the Delta surveys have revealed the continuing march of Delta fish species to the edge of extinction. ( The surveys were initiated in 1967, the same year the State Water Project began exporting water from the Delta. The surveys show that population indices of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, American shad and Sacramento splittail have declined 97.80%, 99.70%, 99.98%, 97.80%, 91.90%, and 98.50%, respectively, between 1967 and 2014, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). Fortunately, people throughout California strongly oppose Jerry Brown's salmon-killing tunnels. Outside the plush Los Angeles headquarters of agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick on August 19, 25 protesters chanted, "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Corporate Greed has got to go" and “Mayor Garcetti, have some will. Don’t let Resnick raise our bills.” The protesters, including Los Angeles ratepayers, community leaders and representatives of water watchdog groups, demanded that Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti protect LA water ratepayers from funding the massive Delta tunnels project promoted by Governor Jerry Brown to export more water to corporate agribusiness interests and oil companies on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.