This is a month for scoping. Last week the Bureau of Reclamation did scoping meetings in three Central Valley regions for the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority’s long term water transfer from Northern California to the Westside. Long-time observers of Central Valley water grabs, note that conducting this EIS/EIR and establishing such a long term transfer of exports out of the Delta watershed in advance without the environmental reviews regarding the water needed for the ecological health of the Delta is an end run around the process. In addition, salt discharge and pounds of selenium in violation of Clean Water Act standards are being discharged by the Westside into the San Joaquin River and Delta. Providing more water to [...]
Also this month, the Delta Stewardship Council is holding CEQA scoping meetings on the development of the Delta Plan. Meetings are scheduled in Sacramento and Clarksburg on January 24 and in Stockton on January 25. Meetings will also be help in Southern California (Diamond Bar), in Merced, in Concord, and in Chico. (Yes, the Legislature gave this DSC a very long reach.) Links to information on these scoping meetings are available at http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/calendar.html
Restore the Delta will be hosting a special Delta wine and art event on February 26, 2011. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details next week.
We finally have an interim something from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, although it isn’t what the steering committee intended to have at this point: a quick fix for the Delta ecosystem that would let them get all their exports back. Westlands has thrown a fit and pulled out of the process; the state is making placating noises about building a conveyance (in this economy? with what environmental protections?); and the U.S. Department of the Interior may or may not be on board for the same conveyance, depending on how we read comments from Secretary of the Interior Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes. (This is not a good time for the Obama administration to run afoul of agribusiness, wealthy water [...]
The National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta invited the public to an open session in San Francisco (not the most convenient location for Delta folks) week before last. Members of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Steering Committee, including Jason Peltier of the Westlands Water District, made a presentation to the council suggesting that we have the science we need to move forward with conveyance, and we can’t wait forever for “ecosystem Nirvana.” The Committee heard that increasing flood plain inundation doesn’t guarantee that salmon will use the flood plain, especially if they are not present in the system. They heard that the first ever actual photo of a wild smelt was [...]