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ICYMI – Reactions to State Action on Trump ESA BiOps 11/22/19

First, a note from Barbara…

So our members are clear, the outcome of the Newsom Administration’s announcement yesterday is not good. Yes, they are going to fight the Trump administration on rollbacks to the Delta. For that we are grateful.

However, their plan for the Delta is just a little less bad than the Trump plan and increases water exports by another 300,000 acre-feet roughly, despite the Delta Reform Act calling for reduced reliance on the Delta. It weakens fishery protections as well.

California Takes Action Against Trump ESA Rollbacks Restore the Delta response – Restore the Delta 11/21/19
“We thank Governor Newsom, Secretary Crowfoot and Secretary Blumenfield for taking our concerns seriously. As always we will read newly released documents by the state for the State Water project with a critical eye on behalf of the estuary and Delta communities. We will see if they meet protective standards. We will then turn our critical eye towards future evaluation of the voluntary agreements as well. We will share our future findings.”

Newsom administration sends mixed signals on delta endangered species protections– LAT 11/22/19
California officials sent mixed signals Thursday when they said they will sue to block a Trump administration rollback of endangered species protections for imperiled fish — while also proposing new water operations that mimic parts of the Trump plan.

Newsom says California will sue Trump over Delta water, endangered fish – Sacramento Bee 11/21/19
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said Thursday it will sue the Trump administration over its efforts to push more water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, saying the federal plan would harm the sprawling estuary and the fragile fish populations that live there.

In a 610-page environmental report, Newsom’s administration sketched out its own plan for managing water flows through the Delta, while issuing a separate statement that blasted the Trump plan, which is designed to increase water supplies for San Joaquin Valley farmers, the president’s political allies.

California to sue over federal rules governing water – Associated Press 11/21/19
The state Department of Water Resources says its proposed rules for the State Water Project include specific protections for the longfin smelt, which is protected under the state’s Endangered Species Act but not the federal equivalent.

Obegi said the state’s water rules ultimately would let water agencies take out an additional 219,000 acre feet of water each year, which he says would harm the longfin smelt and other endangered species. One acre-foot of water is more than 325,000 gallons (1.2 million liters), or the amount of water that would cover an acre to the depth of a foot (0.3 meters).

California Gov. Newsom makes move to halt Trump water grab – SF Chronicle 11/21/19
While California has been quick to challenge the Trump administration on many fronts, from immigration to air pollution, the thorny issue of water has been one that Newsom hasn’t wanted to stoke. The first-year governor instead has generally pursued a middle ground between the environment and big water users allied with Washington.