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ICYMI 5/11/22 Dreadful Drought, Junk Science in VAs

California summer: Why drought makes us scared, edgy, angry – Mercury News 5/9/22The American Psychological Association describes climate anxiety, or eco-anxiety, as fear of environmental doom. In the Bay Area, it has become easy to believe in doomsday scenarios on days when wildfire smoke chokes the air with particulate matter and turns the sky an apocalyptic orange. Even before the onset of COVID-19, Bay Area residents began learning about sheltering in place from wildfire-necessitated Spare the Air alerts and days when air quality index maps turn scarlet and purple. “It’s become drier and drier over the years, and it’s become pretty stressful,” says Monica Sain, a community college instructor who lives in Santa Clara. “I have asthma, so I feel this [...]

Delta Flows 5/6/22: The Late Invitation

Restore the Delta wants to share with our supporters this recent communication with the Department of Water Resources about the voluntary agreements. Date: 5/5/22Dear Director Nemeth, Thank you for your email regarding the upcoming voluntary agreement governance meetings. At this time, Restore the Delta is respectfully declining your invitation. I would like to share a few reasons behind our decision to forego participation. First, we feel this invitation has come too late within the voluntary agreement process, unless the process started over with representatives from all the impacted parties at the table from the beginning — a redo so to speak.  Restore the Delta has been asking for a seat at the table since 2019.  We offered you and DWR staff tours. We [...]

ICYMI 2/24/22: CA Water: Wasted, Swindled, Recycled

How America’s Farmers Got Cut Out of the Supply Chain  – New York Times 4/20/22 “My warehouses are already bulging at the seams,” Mr. Phippen says. “It scares the crap out of me, because in five months I’m going to get a new crop in the door. There’s no timeout in farming.”…Throughout California, more than 1.1 billion pounds of almonds from last year’s harvest are sitting in warehouses, a volume roughly one-third larger than this time last year, according to the Almond Alliance of California, an industry trade group. Bay-Delta VA: A Sweetheart Deal to Subsidize Agribusiness – Doug Obegi, NRDC 4/18/22It’s not surprising, given who was in the room negotiating this backroom deal, that the VAs are a sweetheart deal that would [...]

Action Alert 4/21/22: Tell State Legislators DWR Tunnel Propaganda is Unacceptable

On April 20th, 2022, the Department of Water Resources sent out a non-factual statement about how the Delta Conveyance Project is the answer to managing our water system for climate change. While salmon die off, Delta smelt go extinct, water quality deteriorates in the Delta, and flood threat to disadvantaged communities increase, DWR sends out a ridiculous statement about how a Delta Tunnel will solve California’s water supply problems.  This is false because we know that DWR’s climate change modeling is flawed. We know the Delta Conveyance project will further harm Delta water quality problems and fail to help Delta communities prepare for the flood threat because DWR is supporting a voluntary agreement process that will reduce flows through the Delta to [...]

Delta Flows 4/6/22: A Bittersweet Time at Restore the Delta

Restore the Delta staff and interns have begun public work again, in-person following the pandemic, with a bright and hopeful focus on problem solving and community building activities.Meanwhile, a new, and deeply problematic, Temporary Urgency Change Petition has been conditionally approved to suspend Delta water quality standards the next 90 days. In addition, the Department of Water Resources has released a Voluntary Agreement Framework for the Sacramento River watershed that is so deeply disappointing for the future of the Delta and California rivers that we simultaneously feel like we are publicly mourning.First, We Focus on the PositiveOur new team of Climate Water Advocates, funded by the James Irvine Foundation, the Mosaic Momentum Foundation, and Environment Now, are nearing completion of 18 [...]

Voluntary Agreements Fail Environmental Justice Communities

For Immediate Release:  March 29, 2022Contact:Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected] STOCKTON, Calif. – Today, Governor Newsom announced that Sacramento Valley parties—from the American River watershed all the way up the Valley— have signed a 34-page memorandum of understanding for a Board update of the Phase II of the water quality control plan.  Whatever the “voluntary agreements” consist of, the Water Board is expected to consider the VAs as an alternative in its Phase II Sacramento River update of the Bay-Delta Plan, which regulates water quality in Delta water ways. San Joaquin Valley water interests are not part of this process. The process is facilitated by the Department of Water Resources and the US Bureau of Reclamation, which are also parties in today’s announcement, and the announcement is timed to facilitate further spending [...]

Groups Defend Needed Regulations for the Delta: 19th century “water rights” should not trump drought management

For Immediate Release: 3/11/22 Contact: Matt Holmes, Little Manila Rising, 415-254-3546, [email protected] Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, 916-214-8493, [email protected] Malissa Tayaba, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians,916-468-2730, [email protected] Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Thursday 3/10/22, a coalition of California Indian Tribes and Delta community groups (represented by the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic) filed an amicus brief in state appellate court defending the State Water Resources Control Board’s power to protect the California Bay-Delta by regulating and enforcing against excessive diversions of water, which harm the Delta watershed and the communities that depend on it. The Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Little Manila Rising, and Restore the Delta are parties to the brief. The amicus brief was submitted in the “California [...]

ACTION ALERT UPDATE:  Don’t Collapse the State Water Board!

UPDATE: This is a big deal with new information. We hope everyone speaks up this week.Thanks to everyone who has already taken action. State Senators Melissa Hurtado and Dave Cortese are not exactly friends of the Delta. Their audacious new bill SB1219 is a complete assault on the Delta and all the work that Restore the Delta has championed over the years. This bill would give the State Water Resources Control Board’s authority to the Department of Water Resources — the Department that fails time and time again to listen to communities, to answer questions truthfully, that fails to take positive action for improvements to the Delta or management of the State’s watershed, and that thinks environmental justice is completing a survey (while ignoring [...]

Stockton Coalition Receives Mosaic Grant to Develop  “The People’s Water Plan”

For Immediate Release: 3/8/22Contact:Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected], Calif. – Restore the Delta and local coalition partners Little Manila Rising, Greenlining the Hood, Third City Coalition, and With Our Words have been awarded a 2022 Mosaic grant.  The funds will help this coalition of Stockton-based organizations develop The People’s Water Plan. Combining communications, leadership development, advocacy, training, data gathering, the plan will empower environmental justice communities in Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast. The People’s Water Plan will develop curriculum materials including manuals, videos, and training programming with the aim to train 50+ BIPOC leaders in the region. Stockton’s environmental justice community has deep and historic ties to the Bay-Delta estuary. This coalition is perfectly situated to tell the [...]

ACTION ALERT 2/24/2022: Don’t Collapse the State Water Board

State Senators Melissa Hurtado and Dave Cortese are not exactly friends of the Delta. Their audacious new bill SB1219 is a complete assault on the Delta and all the work that Restore the Delta has championed over the years.  This bill would give the State Water Resources Control Board’s authority to the Department of Water Resources — the Department that fails time and time again to listen to communities, to answer questions truthfully, that fails to take positive action for improvements to the Delta or management of the State’s watershed, and that thinks environmental justice is completing a survey (while ignoring the results in project implementation and mitigation). If this legislation were to pass, DWR could exercise many new powers including: 1) Issuing themselves [...]