Thursday, November 7, 2013

News articles and links from November 7, 2013


From: Dana Nichols, Stockton Record

The summer of 2013 was a bad one for fish in the San Joaquin River Delta, and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance Executive Director Bill Jennings says state water pollution cops exacerbated the situation by quietly promising they wouldn't enforce state water quality standards.

In particular, Jennings points to a May 29 letter from California Water Quality Control Board Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson to top officials for the State Water Project and the California operations of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In that letter, Wilson said he would "not object or take any action" if the two agencies took measures to hold water back in reservoirs and allow increased salinity in the water Delta farmers use for irrigation.

Coalition response... Bill Jennings is concerned about changes in Delta salinity as a result of State and federal water project operations, but he's missing the big picture. Delta outflow at this time of year is mostly provided by upstream water storage. The very projects he's criticizing are providing the fresh water flows that maintain water quality in a dry year like this. Prior to construction of the dams and reservoirs in the middle of the last century, water quality in the Delta varied widely, salinity sometimes reaching as far inland as Courtland. Salinity control, in fact, was one of the main reasons for building the projects. This is easy to see in a comparison of historic and current salinity levels at

Endangered Species Act

From: Chris Hurd, Fresno Bee

Everything comes at some cost." This statement certainly resonates with people like me who live and work on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

We have disproportionately borne the costs associated with actions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect fish species that occupy the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. These costs are astounding. And they extend well beyond the farmer's gate. These costs extend from our local communities - impacting the tax base, unemployment and social support programs - all the way to the consumer as higher prices for food.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: George Basye,

(The Sacramento Bee has discontinued the option of readers commenting on stories.) Re "Delta project has many unanswered questions" (Viewpoints, Nov. 6): The cost of taking more Delta water through tunnels, through the San Joaquin Valley and over the Tehachapi Mountains should be compared to the cost of a closer source -- desalinating Southern California's adjacent seawater.

From: Marie Meade,

(The Sacramento Bee has discontinued the option of readers commenting on stories.)
Re "Delta project has many unanswered questions" (Viewpoints, Nov. 6): The biggest unanswered question for those of us who live and work in the area is "What about us?

From: Mike Wade, Santa Ynez Valley News

(The Santa Ynez Valley News has run an edited version of the Coalition letter.)
Clarifications on the "Protesting a pipe dream for more water" commentary are needed to concerning the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and California water rights.

The BDCP is in response to a 2009 mandate by the Legislature to restore the ecosystem of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Bay Delta, and to create a reliable water supply for 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of productive farmland.

California Water Action Plan

From: Editor, Santa Maria Times
From: Editor, Lompoc Record

Think of California as the huge athletic facility where the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates once played. It was called Three Rivers Stadium.

It was given that name because three rivers - the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela - converged at the stadium location near downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. Professional sports teams did battle there for three decades, and many titles were won and lost at Three Rivers, which was imploded into rubble three years ago due to old age, and the fact that both the Pirates and Steelers had moved into shiny new facilities of their own.


From: Alastair Bland, East Bay Express

Experts say the number of striped bass in San Francisco Bay has plunged dramatically because of the Delta pumps, which send freshwater to the arid San Joaquin Valley.

John Beuttler remembers when, in the 1970s, he could stand waist deep in San Francisco Bay, cast an artificial lure into the murky water, and begin catching large striped bass, one after another. "It was an incredible urban fishery," recalled Beuttler, who works in Berkeley as a consultant to fisheries conservation groups. "Anyone could walk down to the water pretty much anywhere between Berkeley and Richmond and expect to catch ten or fifteen stripers in a couple of hours. And these were big fish. You could catch thirty-pounders from the beach."


From: Staff,

Be prepared for the very real possibility of a dry winter. That's the warning from California State Hydrologists.
Statewide our reservoirs are at around 77 percent of capacity. But, Pine Flat Reservoir in Fresno County is only holding 16 percent of it's capacity.


For selected reservoirs in Northern and Southern California as of 11/06/2013.

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