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Delta water users dismiss call for steep cutbacks

By Mike Taugher Contra Costa Times SACRAMENTO — A powerful state board on Tuesday for the first time adopted criteria defining how much water must flow through the Delta to the Bay to maintain a healthy ecosystem. The criteria, while nonbinding, are based on findings that showed the state’s farms and cities are using far too much Delta water, results that could shift how policymakers balance the needs of the environment and the state’s farms and cities. “This is something that some of us have been awaiting for more than two decades,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of a trade group for commercial salmon fishermen, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. Grader and several environmentalists said the report’s central [...]

Delta’s bounty is a shared treasure – except when greed cuts ahead in line

By Brett Baker The Sacramento Bee My family has been farming in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta since 1851. The Sierra’s Gold Rush lured my ancestors to California – but the Delta made them stay. Gold played out in a few years, but the resources of the Delta have sustained our region of the state for over 150 years now. The rich soil and the reliable flows of fresh, sweet water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers yielded a bounty of crops that brought prosperity to the region’s farmers and fed Sacramento and the cities of the Bay Area. We’re still at it today. I represent the sixth generation of my family to farm the land on Sutter Island [...]

Hollywood Stars Come Together Against Proposition 18

SACRAMENTO – The No on 18 Campaign today announced its release of a public service announcement against Proposition 18, the $11.14 billion pork-laden water bond that remains on this November’s ballot. The PSA features such actors as David DeLuise, from “Wizards of Waverly Place” and son of Dom DeLuise; Justine Bateman, from “Family Ties,” “Californication” and “Desperate Housewives;” Kelly Williams, from “Lie to Me,” “The Practice” and “Scrubs”; Anna Belknap, from “CSI: NY.” The 60-second spot points out the bond will cost Californians $22 billion over the next 30 years in addition to the attempt by the legislators to postpone the measure until 2012. It also calls on voters to contact their local legislator and demand they scrap the bond [...]

“You won’t even know we’re there”

This week a Courtland landowner caught a couple of trespassers in a pick-up full of BDCP maps. After the landowner pressed for identification, one of the trespassers provided a card listing AECOM as his employer. According to its website, AECOM “is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.” Their vision: “to make the world a better place.” We guess that’s why the trespasser was a bit flip in his answers to the landowner, as the landowner was interfering with the trespasser’s quest to make the Delta “a better place.” Watch for AECOM employees at a potential conveyance alignment or intake area near you. [...]

It’s not just the sewage

Ongoing efforts to tie Delta water quality problems to urban discharges continued at the NAS committee briefings last week. Fortunately, there were public comments to supplement the scheduled briefings. Deirdre Des Jardins (see brief bio at the end of this newsletter) gave the committee a bibliography of major studies on the effect of other stressors besides urban discharges. For example, research by the original Pelagic Organism Decline (POD) team shows that both the Corbula clam invasion and toxic algal blooms are associated with low Delta flows. (Corbula amurensis, introduced into the estuary in ships from Asia, filters nutrients out of the water, reducing the food supply for native organisms. An algal bloom is a rapid increase in the population of [...]

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