The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, a group of Kern County growers and irrigators whose idea of a sustainable Delta is one from which they can get a large and uninterrupted supply of water, is suing the Department of Fish and Game for having game fish protection on striped bass, a non-native predator. There’s plenty of evidence that striped bass and salmon did fine together before exports changed the habitat of the Delta. DFG could remove protections on striped bass and there still wouldn’t be enough water for salmon at the present level of exports.
On the positive side, a lawsuit that can actually do some good has been filed against DWR and the SWRCB (the Water Board) by the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), and AquAlliance.
The lawsuit charges that the Water Board and DWR
- fail to protect public trust fishery resources
- divert water from the Delta wastefully and unreasonably
- use water from the Delta wastefully and unreasonably
- fail to enforce and comply with the State’s water quality laws
- fail to enforce and comply with the flow and water quality requirements of the Water Board’s own decision 1641, adopted ten years ago
- fair to comply with the narrative fish doubling standard in the SWRCB’s 1995 Water Quality Control Plan
The suit charges that the huge state export pumps near Tracy kill thousands of fish at different times of the year and are the main threat to public trust resources in the Delta. The two state agencies responsible for protecting public trust resources and enforcing the law have consistently failed to do either.
CSPA’s Bill Jennings calls this a “bookend” to the “Chinatown” lawsuits over the Monterey Plus Agreement, which facilitated dramatically increased exports from the Delta, and the illegal transfer of the Kern Water Bank from public to private hands.
And now we learn that even landowners in Kern County have been damaged by the operation of the Kern Water Bank, which is causing the surrounding water table to drop dramatically – 115 feet in the last three years.