We are at a crossroad for the future of the Delta.
2022 has been a year filled with hope and much progress at Restore the Delta. However, we have also had to remain vigilant in our opposition to the Delta tunnel and regarding government efforts centered on further reducing flows into the estuary through questionable voluntary agreements. Depleting and destroying the Delta cannot become California’s answer to managing water resources for permanent dry conditions throughout the state. Restore the Delta is working to ensure that this will not happen.
Additionally, the Delta, which has not seen proper government investment for decades in its infrastructure, recreational sites, or ecosystem and agricultural land protection, must become a priority. Public investment must benefit Delta communities – not just water exports. The people of the Delta deserve the same protection and access to resources that is enjoyed by other regions in California.
More than ever, reducing the demand being placed on the Delta solely as a water extraction region, and protecting its environment and people, will require smart, informed, and capable representation in government processes. We must focus on water quality, flood planning, habitat restoration, agriculture, climate policy, and economic development.
Our young, yet thoroughly trained team has the energy, intelligence, and leadership skills to advocate for the Delta and its people in a myriad of government processes. As displayed in our recent next generational symposium, “Where the Future Flows,” our young professionals have the vision and determination to insist on fairness, equity, and fact-based best practices by government agencies for regional protection of our waterways, agricultural lands, climate mitigation plans, restoration, recreation, environmental and economic needs.
The difference between our past work to stop the twin tunnels and present challenges requires a more comprehensive form of regional self-advocacy. It is going to take more than just saying no to the tunnel – which is a given. This time we also have to say yes to what we want and insist on receiving what we need. The hope for the Delta exists in this next generation insisting on positive projects like flood protection, urban waterway restoration, and investment in the West Coast’s most magnificent estuary – the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. It will require young rural and urban Delta residents uniting to build a shared regional identity together that will support the best of our farms, our fisheries, improved recreation, the environment – our small towns, and our redeveloping urban centers. It will require celebrating the Delta as a place, its history, and its culture. It will require on building and articulating a Delta identity that is shared by all the people within our region.
This is where we need your help.
While our financial condition improved during 2022, enabling us to modestly expand our team back to pre-pandemic levels, we need to build a fund to support this work in the years to come. We need to build on and develop the programming work that we have started to ensure a better and brighter future for the Delta. It’s time for our region to stop playing defense and to bring forth a full vision for a healthy and restored Delta future.
In 2022, Restore the Delta:
- Trained 15 interns who represented Delta water protection interests with elected officials, US Senators, the Delta Stewardship Council, and at the State Water Resources Control Board. These same interns have expanded our social media advocacy campaigns around water quality, and flood protection needs for the region. They are now turning their efforts to the Delta Conveyance Project.
- Hired and trained staff in partnership with government agencies and academic institutions to implement a science-based harmful algal bloom monitoring program. Data collected has been used by the State Water Boards and the Delta Stewardship Council for future state planning. This work culminated with Restore the Delta’s presentations at the state’s two-day Delta HABs workshop.
- Presented at the SF Estuary Partnership Conference and giving input on community issues around water quality to updated science community reports.
- Presented at the Salinity Conference for Delta planning.
- Prepared thorough written comments (work in progress) in response to the Delta Conveyance Project’s environmental impact report.
- Collected data for petitions filed with the State Water Resources Control Board for the completion of the Bay-Delta Plan.
- Participated in the creation of a white paper to articulate community needs and standards for future carbon capture sequestration projects.
- Informed and shaped, through regular meetings and tours, a thorough and complete environmental justice analysis for the Delta with the Delta Stewardship Council and other state and federal agencies.
- Led Delta Protection Commission Advisory Committee meetings.
- Led related harmful algal bloom committee research and meetings with the air pollution district.
- Advocated for improved local water and air pollution controls with the Port of Stockton.
- Training Delta communities on flood protection needs.
- Identified urban farm resource needs and creating a database for agricultural workforce development and training.
- Trained over three-dozen young professionals at other Delta community-based organizations on Delta water quality and protection needs to partner with us for advocacy.
Our team is building stronger bridges with communities throughout California to support sustainable water programs that solve the water needs of forgotten communities. Programs and projects that keep rivers and groundwater systems connected and healthy, provide clean drinking water for all people, use water efficiently for drought protection, keep water affordable for everyone, protect communities from flood, restore salmon runs, and aid in the restoration of the health of the Bay-Delta estuary need Delta champions to lead the way.
Your annual contribution will ensure that our team of Delta champions succeed in this vitally important work for the estuary. They are truly where the future flows. You can donate here, or mail a check along with this form to 515 E Main St, Stockton, CA 95202.
We appreciate the continued support from so many of you over the years. Your support this year will help us expand our advocacy for the future of the estuary.
We hope you and your families are well and are enjoying a return to post-pandemic life. We keep you all in our hearts and in our work.
We wish you peace, joy, and good health through the holiday season and into 2023.
Yours in service,
Executive Director, Restore the Delta