Friday, June 28, 2013

News articles and links from June 28, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan 

From: Alastair Bland, Marin Independent Journal

On the brisk, foggy seascape of the Gulf of the Farallones, 15 miles from shore, another rod bends over under the weight of a hefty Chinook salmon. The frantic energy moves up the line, into the hands of the fisherman, and from there into the blood of every angler onboard. Yes - salmon possess this kind of power.

In fact, though they're armed with hooks, lines, nets, and billy clubs, most fishermen are allies of the Chinook salmon, and the greatest threat may be people of political power who work in the stodgy suit-and-tie chambers of Capitol Hill. Here, state officials are now polishing up plans to build a pair of huge underground tunnels that could take away half or more of the Sacramento River before it even reaches the Delta, diverting the water instead into a state-of-the-art delivery system serving San Joaquin Valley farmers and thirsty cities.

Coalition response...It is understandable that fishermen are concerned about the possible effects the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) may have on fish but those concerns need to be based on facts. Saying the tunnels "could take away half or more of the Sacramento River before it reaches the Delta" does not reflect reality. Mandated water levels flowing through the Delta will be maintained under BDCP. The flow of water through the tunnels will be governed according to available supply. When the flows are high, more water will move through the tunnels. Lower flows mean less water will be exported. See more at 

BDCP includes more than a 100,000 acres of habitat that will be created to protect fish by providing safe harbor from predators and an improved food supply.

Too many people mistakenly believe that the pumps that deliver water to thousands of farms and 25 million Californians are the primary cause of the dwindling salmon population of recent years. Yet, the National Marine Fisheries Service has concluded that poor ocean conditions---warm water and a reduced food supply---is the leading cause of the drop in salmon populations.


From: Matt Weiser, Modesto Bee

(This article previously appeared in the Sacramento Bee.)
In a sign of growing drought in California, state officials recently took the unusual step of loosening environmental water quality rules in hopes of protecting salmon in the Sacramento River.

The move illustrates how drought forces difficult trade-offs in modern-day California, where water supplies are stretched to the limit even in normal years.

Coalition response...The solution to providing sufficient water for fish migration while continuing to meet the water supply needs of Northern California and the rest of the state is the development of new storage in Northern California. Construction of Sites Reservoir and expanding Shasta Dam would help improve water management flexibility for all of California. These projects can accomplish this by increasing the reliability of Sacramento Valley water supplies and other parts of the state by reducing Sacramento River diversions at a time when salmon need it most. Combined, Sites and Shasta could add over 2 million acre-feet to California's water supply and ecosystem portfolio, which is a win-win for people and the environment.


From: Genevieve A. Suzuki, Mission Times Courier

Looking upon the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, it's easy to dismiss it as just another modern marvel, crafted to bring 25 millions of Californians drinking water. Water flows in and out of our faucets, hoses and toilets every day; it's a given we all take for granted.

All it takes is one of Metropolitan Water District's inspection trips to the Bay Delta to force you to confront reality about water truly being one of our more precious resources. And, as with any precious resource, there is a wealth of issues surrounding its maintenance and distribution.

Salton Sea

From: Ian James, Desert Sun

The state budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday commits $30 million for a study and habitat restoration work at the Salton Sea, but the governor also used a line-item veto to cut $3 million that would have gone toward other projects at the shrinking lake.

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