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Harmful Algal Outbreak Worsens in SF Bay-Delta Waters

For Immediate Release: 8/26/20

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]

Stockton, CA – The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has reported that a recent collection of water samples from cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABs) along the Stockton waterfront contain microcystins up to 220 times higher than the “danger” level (the highest advisory threshold). These extremely dangerous readings were found at 5 out of 6 testing sites along the Stockton waterfront. Microcystins in large quantities pose a major threat to drinking and irrigation water supplies, humans in contact with waterways, and the environment at large. To read the Water Board’s findings, click here.

Restore the Delta’s Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla made the following statement:

“We are grateful that the Central Valley Regional and State Water Boards continue to make water quality testing a priority throughout the Delta and along the Stockton waterfront, the most populated urban area within the Delta with the state’s largest environmental justice community percentage-wise. We appreciate their leadership. 

“We are, however, deeply disappointed in decisions being made by the Department of Water Resources because none of their plans for the Delta or California water management include solving the HABs issue for our region, or for Northern California tribal communities suffering with the same water quality problem. Fresh water flows are needed all year long to lessen HABs development. Adequate funding is also needed for rigorous enforcement to stop pollution discharge that contributes to the problem. 

“Restore the Delta’s numerous reports, comment letters, and commentary call for real solutions to this public health challenge– which will continue to worsen with warmer water and air temperatures from climate change. Yet, our work falls on deaf ears.

“Instead, all that advances for the Delta are voluntary agreements designed to take more freshwater flows from the estuary, and of course the Delta tunnel, which will divert even more freshwater from Stockton and the South Delta.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. Allowing for adequate freshwater flows, water recirculation plans, enforcement of pollution standards are all possible if Governor Newsom chooses to let these policies manifest. He has the power and authority to help save the Delta. He can just say the word. We continue to wait, but the Delta and its people can’t.”