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Better late than never, maybe

Senator Feinstein’s aides were in the Delta last week getting feedback on the Senator’s bill for a Delta National Heritage Area and a Delta Conservancy. We were glad to have the opportunity to share our concerns, but it all came very late in the process. The Senator plans to introduce the bill this week.

There was widespread opposition in the Delta to the conservancy as proposed, and Restore the Delta will not support any version of this bill that includes a conservancy.

(While Restore the Delta has always supported a conservancy conceptually, what is proposed in this legislation is the design of a Federal/State/national NGO program to work in tandem with implementation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Restore the Delta has always maintained that a conservancy should be created by Delta landowners in partnership with local government as a way to create a region where agriculture and habitat thrive together.)

We also asked for changes in the language used to describe the Delta. Dr. Robert Benedetti from UOP’s Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership supplied missing information about the history and culture of the Delta region, and Jane Wagner-Tyack suggested additional changes that would take the emphasis off levee fragility and seismic disaster as the defining characteristics of the region.

At one point, North Delta Cares had emphasized four principles that Restore the Delta supported:

• The NHA plan should be written ONLY by the Delta Protection Commission, an in-Delta controlled entity
• The NHA plan should be administered ONLY by the DPC
• The funding decisions under the plan should be made ONLY by the DPC, and
• If, within three years and after plenty of public input and process, no plan was presented, the NHA designation should be terminated.

Now the ball is back in the Senator’s court. We will be interested to see what she does with it.

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