Sunday, July 22, 2012

'California DELTA Dreamin'.......Nightmare?

                        
By Steven Masone



Raised in the Sacramento Delta as a young boy my brother and I would venture through Freeport, Clarksburg, Steamboat Slough and wherever our Schwinn bicycles could take us. Fishing, hunting,  trapping crawdads and gigging frogs. We would sell the frogs to kids at school, and fried up frog-legs at our camp-outs with a crawdad boil and fresh picked 'delta' corn-on-the-cob. Exploring and sometimes getting in trouble raiding sugar beet fields and fruit orchards, we thought it exciting to get chased as no one was ever able to catch us. ( But a lot of cuts and scratches the price!)
                                                      
 Though we did have some virtues helping the Delta farmers keep down the jack-rabbit and ground squirrel population with our .22 rifles and sometimes bow and arrows, we saw ourselves as real Huckleberry Finns and Tom Sawyers with territory rights to do as we pleased! Our fantasies could have been due to my being an avid Mark Twain fan, or just genetic from my Louisianian heritage where my Great Grandfather lived and shrimped for a living out of Shreveport La. When the fields flooded, we would build rafts to spear the fish that swam in the shallows.


Later in life I was part owner and General Manager of Steamboat Slough Resort where we had a restaurant and docks for fueling up and enjoying delta life. Taking that opportunity to use our watercraft rentals to finally explore more of the 1,000 miles of Delta Waterways, I was forever bonded with the magical wonder one experiences because of the sense that this living organic Eco-System we call ... Delta, gets in your blood. It's a "river rat" thing, and anyone can partake of it's authenticity and flavor when they come and explore... The Delta.

 If Governor Brown and the Big-Ag and Water Districts of Southern California have their way and build a "Twin Tunnel" system or whatever kind of Peripheral Canal they sell to voters, future generations may not be able to enjoy the kind of outdoor water world adventures the Delta still offers. While an overwhelming majority of Urbanite's in the delta area have never taken advantage of their "out of sight out of mind" natural treasure, they will wish they had when summer delta winds no longer cool the scorched valley in triple digit heat, and other related environmental adverse side effects like droughts and outrageous water bills remind them of their carelessness.



Certainly the tens of billions of dollars that they want to spend can be used to find alternative water projects so the fragile Delta is not the main source to put at risk. The fish and wildlife are just one of many so very important and vital aspects of dangers that could cause a catastrophic mistake with no way of recovery.

The science of the current environmental impact reporting have not even considered invasive species including microbiological and pollution issues that currently threaten the habitat and are still not solved. We have to fix the levee deterioration that is in the hands of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and do it without shutting down business and ruining tourism at the same time.

The special interest water companies are getting the big end the stick. We the taxpayers will pay for the project which could ruin the Delta and then these companies get our water for free charging exorbitant amounts. They just pay for the lines from our canals to Urban systems. This unequal arrangement needs to be revisited at the very least if not scrapped altogether. Each involved municipality can go to community owned water districts who will care about impacting their communities and not making profit the priority. 

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