≡ Categories

Paul Wenger State Farm Bureau President visit to South Delta

The meeting between Paul Wenger, State Farm Bureau President, and South Delta Farmers scheduled for October 25, 2010, has been cancelled!Paul Wenger, California Farm Bureau President, will be meeting with Delta farmers at the Roberts-Union Farm Center on Monday, October 25th at 6 pm to hear the concerns of Delta farmers regarding the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.The Roberts-Union Farm Center is located at4925 W. Howard Road, Stockton, CA 95206.For more information, call Heather or Mike Robinson at 209-470-4669, or Rogene Reynolds at (209) 992-8090 or (209) 464-8054.We encourage Delta farmers and those in support of the Delta farming community to attend.

Update on the NHA

The National Heritage Area processes now going forward in the Delta differ from the usual NHA process.  Where are the opportunities?  What should we be concerned about? Think tanks concerned about private property issues have noted that NHAs are usually proposed by national and local Green groups working with the National Park Service as a management entity drawing boundaries and using federal funds to influence land use decisions within those boundaries.  In their analysis, the effect is to undermine private property rights.  Regulators “browbeat” landowners into becoming “willing sellers.” According to these think tanks, NHAs are pushed by congressional representatives who hand out money to national Green organizations or wealthy local interests. From what RTD has seen after doing a [...]

Some specific local considerations

A NHA can be viewed as a problem-solver from an in-Delta perspective.  It could allow the Delta to be maintained as a whole, filling in gaps that result from having many reclamation districts and other local authorities with responsibility for protecting and improving Delta levee systems.  It would justify government funding for economic development, such as ag tourism and eco tourism, and for maintaining critical infrastructure. Feinstein’s NHA legislation was a response to counties’ requests for appropriations to help them keep track of all the ongoing planning processes in the delta.  With the NHA as proposed by Feinstein, dollars will flow to the counties through the DPC. The catch is that the Department of the Interior will hold the purse [...]

Where does Restore the Delta stand on a NHA?

The RTD campaign has three questions regarding a NHA:1.  Will a NHA protect water quality and water quantity for fisheries and Delta farms?” Answer:  No.  A NHA will have no direct impact on water quality.  That is why RTD sees the NHA designation as a secondary Delta issue.2.  Will a NHA help or harm Delta communities? Answer:  NHA funding may have a positive impact on local government funding for the five Delta counties.  That’s why they support it. 3.  Will a NHA take away private property rights or add another level of         bureaucracy that will harm the agricultural community and the recreation     community in the Delta, thereby further reducing the taxable base in the five  Delta counties? Answer: [...]

We have to wonder. . .

In-Delta interests fought successfully to have the conservancy references removed from Feinstein’s NHA legislation.  Restore the Delta staff made it clear that we would not support the legislation if it had included references to the conservancy. Now we wonder, without the conservancy language, why is this bill still attractive to the Metropolitan Water District and the State Water Contractors?  Without their political support, this bill will never become a law.  But if a NHA designation provides the protections and assurances that are claimed for it, then it would make new conveyance much more difficult to complete. We’re skeptical of this NHA legislation if it’s backed by the water agencies in favor of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

Speaking of the California Water Commission

We tried to get a meeting schedule for the California Water Commission by clicking on the link provided at the CWC website.   Back came this response: “Your message wasn’t delivered because of security policies. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you.  Please provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator.” Lots of programming text followed. We thought that was kind of cumbersome, so we repeated our request using “Comments or Suggestions” at the bottom of the CWC webpage.  That was two days ago. Hello, CWC staff.  If you don’t have a schedule yet, just let us know.   And you might want to do something about that message that makes a simple request for information sound [...]

When necessary, we can do it ourselves

In her latest post on California Spigot, journalist/anthropologist/blogger Patricia McBroom tells the story of how Delta residents saved a levee hit by a freighter last August.  They did it swiftly, efficiently, and at a fraction of what it would have cost for the state to do it.  These are some of the people that BDCP can’t be bothered to consult. http://www.californiaspigot.blogspot.com/

Crashing the Principals’ Office

By Brett Baker Over the past several weeks, the media has reported on “secret meetings” being held behind closed doors to set the course for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.  Resources Agency Director Lester Snow went before the DSC last week to refute the reports of “secret meetings” saying they were due to insufficient fact checking on the part of reporters and news media. On the morning of September 30th, 2010, a BDCP principals meeting was convened at the California Farm Bureau Federation off of Garden Highway in Sacramento. Those on the invite list included BDCP steering committee members who were only privy to the discussion, but not allowed to speak.  (Melinda Terry of the North Delta Water Agency- the [...]

Called into the Principals’ Office: The Not-So-Superintendent

Lester Snow may have been kicked upstairs from DWR Director to Resources Agency Secretary partly to ensure delivery of the Bay Delta Consesrvation Plan.  The Administration may have been thinking that potentially regulated entities (PREs) around the BDCP table were losing focus and Snow would be the one to get folks back on track and encourage compromise.  Unfortunately, last month the table was moved to a back room, and people from the Delta weren’t given a key to get in. Delta legislators complained in a formal letter to Snow and the Department of the Interior, but the Schwarzenegger Administration is showing itself to be increasingly contemptuous of California’s elected representatives. At the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) meeting on September 23, [...]

They had to pay someone to tell them this…

DSC independent consultant ARCADIS released a report that bashed BDCP’s progress and lack of significant findings, and the lack of willingness and/or ability to ask the right questions. A notable weakness is the vagueness surrounding proposed operational criteria and conservation measures.  RTD reported on this last month (August 25) in our “Haste makes waste, again” article. The DSC briefly discussed the ARCADIS report, and we can only hope that they give it  the attention it warrants. If the folks running BDCP had listened to and addressed the issues and concerns we have heard continually brought up at public scoping meetings and community outreach meetings, maybe the council could have saved itself the ARCADIS consulting fee.