By Brett Baker
From SF Chronicle – Thursday, May 5, 2011
Coalition response...The continued vilification of Westside farmers from the San Joaquin Valley serves no purpose in resolving the issues within the Delta. No group is more interested in seeing Delta ecosystem issues resolved that the farmers who depend on the Delta to convey the water they have a right to use. Baker’s use of highly charged words including “corporate agribusiness” and “heavily subsidized” intentionally misleads readers from the fact that Westside farmers are family farmers just like him. Baker should have acknowledged that Westside interests have already invested millions in the Delta to improve habitat for Delta smelt and are working with biologists on new science to find the real causes of the Delta’s decline.
Major scientific studies and court decisions during the past two years have clearly pointed to factors other than the pumps as being the primary cause of fishery decline in the Delta. Consider:
1. Dr. Patricia Glibert---University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and who holds a PhD in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University---clearly concluded that high ammonium levels in the Delta are destroying the smelt’s food supply and that current strategy of regulating pumping “will likely show little beneficial effect.”
2. The federal judge in Fresno labeled the existing biological opinions governing the flow of water from the Delta as “arbitrary and capricious” in his order to the federal agencies to rewrite the opinions. He directed the agencies to consider the impact on humans the opinions cause in response to economic hits to rural communities and increased unemployment.
3. 2009 research by highly regarded fishery biologist Dr. Charles Hanson estimated that striped bass consumed 21 to 42 percent of endangered winter- and spring-run juvenile salmon, respectively. By comparison, other studies show the state and federal water projects took less than 3 percent.
4. Westside farmers have funded efforts to purchase land in the Delta to provide habitat for Delta fish.
Baker won’t admit it but 20 years of reallocating Westside water to the environment has done absolutely nothing to improve the ecosystem. Now is the time to seek answers to the Delta’s problems but Baker is stuck in the past and that’s not helping anyone, especially the fish he claims to defend.
From Bureau of Reclamation – Wednesday, May 4, 2011
From Fresno Bee – Thursday, May 5, 2011
From Porterville Recorder – Thursday, May 5, 2011
From Fresno Bee – Wednesday, May 4, 2011
From The Record – Thursday, May 5, 2011
From Record Searchlight – Thursday, May 5, 2011
From Mercury-Register – Thursday, May 5, 2011
From Press Democrat – Tuesday, May 3, 2011
From The Tribune – Thursday, May 5, 2011
From ACWA – Wednesday, May 4, 2011