Restore the Delta

Help us take action for a healthy Bay-Delta with the State Water Resources Control Board!

Dear Friends, Here is a more detailed update as to why we are asking you all to join us in advocating for a completed Bay-Delta Plan with the State Water Resources Control Board on 3/27 from 1 to 7 pm.  (More details about the mechanics of the event at the end of this email.)If you have been following our work with petition filing with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and US EPA, you will note that we have been asking for the following: 1.Updated, protective Bay-Delta water quality standards because the Board has not updated standards for over two decades. The entire process has been delayed by the voluntary agreements, which will further short-change the Delta of protective water quality [...]

ICYMI 3/21/23 EPA on Delta Tunnel, KQED, Boswell v. Allensworth, Bay-Delta Plan/VAs 

 Region 9 of US EPA comments on the Delta Tunnel (DEIS) – 3/16/23From the comments:“… the Delta is already experiencing degraded conditions due to insufficient inflow, increased surface water temperatures, invasive animal and plant species, harmful algal blooms, and sea level rise. As described in the Draft EIS and Draft EIR, the proposed project will not ameliorate any of these stressors and is likely to exacerbate many of them.” “The operation of the Proposed Project has potential to increase the extent of ecological impacts already impacting the Delta and Sacramento River, including salinity, temperature, nutrients, and chemical contaminants.”“Given that the status of many Delta fish species is threatened, endangered, or other description of imperilment, further diversion of Sacramento River water under the [...]

River Stage and Stockton’s Flood Risk

by Artie Valencia, Community Organizer & Government Liaison, Restore the Delta To understand flood risks from the recent Atmospheric River storms, Restore the Delta is analyzing River Stages in Feet and SWE (snow water equivalent) levels recorded from the latest storms. The ongoing monitoring of River stages in the San Joaquin River at Brandt Bridge is being done by the California Department of Water Resources, while surface water elevations are tracked by UCLA Climate Scientist Daniel Swain. ABOUT THE DATA On March 4th, 2023, the river stage in the San Joaquin River at Brandt Bridge was 6.75 and increased up to 10.63 feet between the weekend and March 14th. The River Stage that induced localized and river flooding in Stockton was [...]

ICYMI 3/12/23: TUCP Dies, RTD Goes National, Flood Bond Act Comments

State water agency rescinds controversial Delta order that put fish at risk – Alastar Bland, CalMaters – 3/10/23As storms swell California’s reservoirs, state water officials have rescinded a controversial order that allowed more water storage in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta while putting salmon and other endangered fish at risk. Ten environmental groups had petitioned the board to rescind its order, calling it “arbitrary and capricious, contrary to law, and…not supported by substantial evidence.” …Jon Rosenfield, science director with San Francisco Baykeeper, said the water board is “acknowledging what we knew all along — that there is no drought emergency & eliminating minimum flow requirements that protect water quality, fish, and wildlife is not in the public interest.” But Rosenfield added that rescinding the waiver is [...]

ICYMI 3/7/23: Water Rights, TUCP, Tunnel, Tribes and EPA

 ‘A foundation of racism’: California’s antiquated water rights system faces new scrutiny – LA Times 3/6/23It’s an arcane system of water law that dates back to the birth of California — an era when 49ers used sluice boxes and water cannons to scour gold from Sierra Nevada foothills and when the state government promoted the extermination of Native people to make way for white settlers. Today, this antiquated system of water rights still governs the use of the state’s supplies, but it is now drawing scrutiny like never before…“We’re confronting 21st century climate change, drought and water supply problems with a 20th century system of California water infrastructure and a 19th century system of water rights, and that’s a problem,” said Frank, [...]

ICYMI 3/1/23: Tunnel, Newsom, Water Rights, Solutions

A California tunnel could save stormwater for millions. Why is it so divisive? – Washington Post 3/1/23 Barrigan-Parrilla said opponents are eyeing potential regulatory and legal challenges to the project as the Army Corps and the State Water Resources Control Board review it, and in December joined with Indigenous groups in filing a civil rights complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency.The complaint asks the EPA to update water-quality standards for the delta and require increased river flows into the estuary, keeping water and salinity levels at safe and healthy levels for aquatic life and farming communities. It argues that reducing water levels in the delta violates the civil rights of groups including the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians and the [...]

ANALYSIS: California Water Rights Still 90% White

Current water management protects status quo For Release: Monday, Feb. 27 2023 8:30 amFor more information: Brian Smith [email protected] Stockton, CA – To inform the “Adapting Water Rights to our 21st Century Climate” hearing at the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife on Tuesday 2/28/23, Restore the Delta today is releasing the results of a California water rights analysis by race, completed by employees with the Department of Water Resources, but deleted from the agency’s website soon after posting.  This analysis of public records shows that the majority of water rights in California are held still by white landowners and white officials who manage special-interest water districts. (Detailed data is available to reporters.) ABOUT THE DATA For the third annual California Water Data Challenge [...]

Restore the Delta Files Opposition to Newsom Delta Flows Waiver

For Immediate Release: 2/22/23For more information contact: Tim Stroshane, 510-847-7556, [email protected], Calif. – Today, Restore the Delta filed a formal opposition letter regarding the new Temporary Use Change Permit for SF Bay-Delta operation announced last  by the Newsom Administration. The RTD letter details opposition to the plan for four main reasons. The TUCP would have unreasonable significant environmental impacts. The proposed TUCP is contrary to law because Petitioners failed to perform due diligence prior to submitting their petition.The TUCP is not in the public interest.The TUCP is contrary to law.  Public comment deadline issued, then ignored The initial issue notice of the proposed TUCP (2/13/23) gave the public until 2/23/23 to protest and object, but reserved right to approve the TUCP prior to that [...]

CA Tribes and EJ Groups file Comments on Water Voluntary Agreements

For Immediate Release: 2/9/23Contact: Brian Smith, 415-320-9384 [email protected], CA – A coalition of California Tribes and Bay-Delta Environmental Justice groups submitted comments on 2/8/23 regarding the Draft Scientific Basis Report for proposed Voluntary Agreements (VAs) for the Sacramento River, Delta, and Tributaries Update to the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The comments were filed with the State Water Board in Sacramento by Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, acting in the role of attorneys for Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Little Manila Rising, Restore the Delta, and Save California Salmon. This same coalition filed a civil rights complaint with the federal EPA against the State Water Board in December 2022.The VA comments begin by establishing the coalition’s standing and rights in California water negotiations:“For [...]

ICYMI 1/30/23
Droughts and Floods – What’s The Plan, California? 

VIDEO – Hell or High Water: How Stockton Can Prepare for the Risk of Flood Disaster? – River Partners/Restore the Delta 1/26/23Panelists included local and state government entities, community leaders, flood experts and esteemed researchers. Topics included: Stockton’s Growing Flood Risk, Flood Risk from the Community Perspective, The View from the Capitol, and Planning and Building Solutions.Storms dumped snow on California. Will it bring a reprieve from the drought? – Guardian 1/27/23But as most Californians relish a sunny reprieve from stormy skies this week, officials and scientists are hoping for more snowstorms in the forecast before spring. Strong starts don’t always guarantee strong finishes, especially as spikes in early-onset warm weather become more common.“It is definitely good news – but good news [...]