On Saturday, March 3, Jerry Meral dropped by Stockton for a community forum at the Civic Auditorium. He led the 200 or so attendees in singing Happy Birthday to forum facilitator and Stockton city council member Susan Eggman; told the group that BDCP will reduce the amount of San Joaquin County land it wants to convert to habitat; and spent a lot of time talking about the benefits of BDCP for reducing flood risk.
If council member Kathy Miller hadn’t asked about conveyance, Meral would never have addressed it.
Meral didn’t stick around to hear presentations by the other seven speakers or audience questions and concerns raised during the rest of the program. He’s a busy person.
BDCP doesn’t have much to show for months of working group activities except in the case of the Yolo Bypass, which of course has flood management as well as species protection benefits. The benefits to species of the Yolo Bypass improvements got a lot of coverage at the recent BDCP meeting.
Meral’s message now seems to be: Hey, we can have all kinds of habitat and flood management improvements in the Delta with BDCP, but without a canal or tunnel, who will pay for them?
Last week the NY Times ran an article on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, and BDCP got just a brief mention. Reading it, you’d think that flood protection planning was the most important planning effort going forward in California right now. And while it should be, we know that is not what is really happening on the ground.
We can’t lose sight of the fact that BDCP has always been about export conveyance. Suggesting that a strategy to secure export water somehow enhances comprehensive Central Valley flood protection planning efforts is a diversionary and opportunistic message.