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No on A.B. 1265 – No on postponing the water bond to 2012

The No on 18 campaign today announced its opposition to A.B. 1265, a bill to postpone the $11billion water bond from this November’s ballot to 2012. “A vote for A.B. 1265 is a vote for the water bond,” said Jim Metropulos of the Sierra Club California. “Legislators should do what’s right for California and vote down this attempt to delay the measure – not try to hoodwink voters by postponing it for two years.” Governor Schwarzenegger proposed postponing the measure to 2012 when polling numbers showed low support for the bond, which would cost California taxpayers $22 billion over 30 years to fund projects such as the construction of new dams. “Voters know that the bond is bad for California,” said [...]

Who’s Bankrolling the Push for Prop 18?

SAN FRANCISCO – Developers, agribusiness and construction interests would benefit from the water bond on this fall’s ballot, while public services—such as education and public health programs—could suffer, according to a new analysis from consumer organization Food & Water Watch.As California’s legislators return to Sacramento this week to decide the fate of Proposition 18, an $11 billion water bond that the governor hopes to postpone to the 2012 ballot, the group today released an independent analysis detailing the funders of the pro-bond campaign and the interests that stand to benefit from the most expensive water bond in the state’s history. The fact sheet, Who’s Behind the Bond?, can be downloaded here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/california/no-water-bond/whos-behind-the-bond/.“Proposition 18 is being sold as a solution that [...]

Worthy of guarded optimism

The State Water Resources Control Board this week adopted the report on flow criteria that was required by last November’s SBX7 1 on Delta Governance and the Delta Plan. Based on the best available science, the report affirms what people in the Delta have known for decades: You can’t have a healthy Delta when you are sending so much water somewhere else.Specifically, the report says that “to preserve the attributes of a natural variable system to which native fish species are adapted,” the Delta needs 75% of unimpaired outflow from January through June, 75% of unimpaired Sacramento River inflow from November through June, and 60% of unimpaired San Joaquin River inflow from February through June.Meeting these criteria would require major [...]

Keep your eye on the ball

Of more immediate interest to people in the Delta is the new Watermaster, Craig Wilson, who was introduced at this week’s Water Board hearing. The Watermaster position was created by the Delta Reform Act of 2009.According to the Water Board’s press release, “The Delta Watermaster will act with a high degree of independence within the Delta to implement and enforce existing water rights laws and State Water Resources Control Board permits, licenses, and decisions and authority to issue a notice of proposed cease and desist order or administrative civil liability complaint.”Carolee Krieger, executive director of the California Water Impact Network, has said that the legislation creating the Watermaster position was developed under pressure of west side San Joaquin Valley agribusiness [...]

Delta water users dismiss call for steep cutbacks

By Mike Taugher Contra Costa Times SACRAMENTO — A powerful state board on Tuesday for the first time adopted criteria defining how much water must flow through the Delta to the Bay to maintain a healthy ecosystem. The criteria, while nonbinding, are based on findings that showed the state’s farms and cities are using far too much Delta water, results that could shift how policymakers balance the needs of the environment and the state’s farms and cities. “This is something that some of us have been awaiting for more than two decades,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of a trade group for commercial salmon fishermen, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. Grader and several environmentalists said the report’s central [...]

Delta’s bounty is a shared treasure – except when greed cuts ahead in line

By Brett Baker The Sacramento Bee My family has been farming in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta since 1851. The Sierra’s Gold Rush lured my ancestors to California – but the Delta made them stay. Gold played out in a few years, but the resources of the Delta have sustained our region of the state for over 150 years now. The rich soil and the reliable flows of fresh, sweet water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers yielded a bounty of crops that brought prosperity to the region’s farmers and fed Sacramento and the cities of the Bay Area. We’re still at it today. I represent the sixth generation of my family to farm the land on Sutter Island [...]

Hollywood Stars Come Together Against Proposition 18

SACRAMENTO – The No on 18 Campaign today announced its release of a public service announcement against Proposition 18, the $11.14 billion pork-laden water bond that remains on this November’s ballot. The PSA features such actors as David DeLuise, from “Wizards of Waverly Place” and son of Dom DeLuise; Justine Bateman, from “Family Ties,” “Californication” and “Desperate Housewives;” Kelly Williams, from “Lie to Me,” “The Practice” and “Scrubs”; Anna Belknap, from “CSI: NY.” The 60-second spot points out the bond will cost Californians $22 billion over the next 30 years in addition to the attempt by the legislators to postpone the measure until 2012. It also calls on voters to contact their local legislator and demand they scrap the bond [...]

“You won’t even know we’re there”

This week a Courtland landowner caught a couple of trespassers in a pick-up full of BDCP maps. After the landowner pressed for identification, one of the trespassers provided a card listing AECOM as his employer. According to its website, AECOM “is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.” Their vision: “to make the world a better place.” We guess that’s why the trespasser was a bit flip in his answers to the landowner, as the landowner was interfering with the trespasser’s quest to make the Delta “a better place.” Watch for AECOM employees at a potential conveyance alignment or intake area near you. [...]

It’s not just the sewage

Ongoing efforts to tie Delta water quality problems to urban discharges continued at the NAS committee briefings last week. Fortunately, there were public comments to supplement the scheduled briefings. Deirdre Des Jardins (see brief bio at the end of this newsletter) gave the committee a bibliography of major studies on the effect of other stressors besides urban discharges. For example, research by the original Pelagic Organism Decline (POD) team shows that both the Corbula clam invasion and toxic algal blooms are associated with low Delta flows. (Corbula amurensis, introduced into the estuary in ships from Asia, filters nutrients out of the water, reducing the food supply for native organisms. An algal bloom is a rapid increase in the population of [...]

Now we know how much water needs to flow

This week, the California Water Resources Control Board released a draft report identifying increased water flows needed to protect fisheries and water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary. According to Mike Taugher of the Bay Area News Group, “The key finding is that of all the snowmelt and rain that falls into the Delta’s watershed, which covers 40 percent of California, about 75 percent of it should be allowed to flow through the Delta into San Francisco Bay.” “Today, only about 50 percent of the flow passes through the Delta on average as nearly all of California taps into its rivers and the Delta itself.” A press release from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) notes that the report [...]