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ICYMI: Water Wars During COVID19

Water’s Not the Issue: California farmers leverage Covid-19 in bid for more waterEast Bay Express 6/10/20“But while tens of millions of pounds of food has been destroyed or buried in the ground, a band of California’s farmers is claiming they can’t produce enough food to feed Americans, and they’re using the pandemic as leverage to grab more of the West’s scarce water.“For Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of the group Restore the Delta, the letters come off as grabs at water from the heavily strained Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, which her group has fought for years to protect. Heavy water diversions from the Delta have driven native fish species toward extinction—notably Delta smelt and several runs of Chinook salmon.“The way farmers are [...]

Delta Flows: California water during national crisis (Part 1)

by Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-ParrillaThis is the hardest, most emotionally difficult blog, I have written for Restore the Delta in our 14-year history. How do we talk about the vital work that we do and what is happening in California water against the context of what is happening in America:  a pandemic, a crisis in governance, and the exposure of systemic racism that led to the murder of George Floyd and too many Americans of color over the last 30 years?  How do we have this discussion without overreaching from our areas of expertise and our mission, while showing empathy, respect, and support for so many people suffering in our community, the state, and our nation? When people of color in our communities [...]

Action Alert Call Congress About Trump Executive Order (Tunnel Related)

President Trump, hiding behind the COVID pandemic, has, according to Roll Call,  “Signed an executive order that would expedite permitting for infrastructure projects, building on earlier orders to ease regulations for industry. The White House contends the move will help speed the nation’s recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.” “The order directs federal agencies, including Interior, Agriculture and Defense departments and the Army Corps of Engineers, to hasten the permitting processes required under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.” This is bad news in regard to the Delta tunnel and the raising of Shasta Dam, which will decimate the remaining lands of the Winnemem Wintu people. Both projects will destroy salmon fisheries. The Delta tunnel will ruin Delta [...]

Lawsuit Challenges Federal Water Contracts That Imperil Delta, Fish, Wildlife

Restore the Delta has been quiet this year about the Federal water contractors, but it does not mean that we have not been paying attention. This year, our strategy is all about taking action. And that means litigation when necessary against Secretary Bernhardt and the US Bureau of Reclamation.– Barbara—For Immediate Release, Contacts: Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 499-9185, [email protected] Robert Wright, attorney for Restore the Delta and Planning and Conservation League, (916) 873-5258, [email protected] Barrigan-Parrilla, (209) 479-2053, [email protected] SACRAMENTO— Three environmental groups sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation today to dispute the award of permanent federal water contracts to water users supplied by the Central Valley Project.  The Central Valley Project is one of the world’s largest water storage and delivery systems. It includes 20 [...]

Taking the Delta Watershed’s Pulse Webinar Sneak Peak

by Tim Stroshane, policy analyst The world of water management and politics, for all its political tempests and atmospheric rivers, is also driven by science and data. This is important because there is something binary about water—you either have it and life is good, or you don’t and life gets harder the less you have. That makes facts about water—and the data on which they’re based—really important. If you are curious to learn where and how you can see data on the Delta Watershed, sign up for Restore the Delta’s webinar, Taking the Delta Watershed’s Pulse on May 22nd at 11:00 AM. I’ll be going over basic types of data used by the water industry and government regulators when they make decisions [...]

Tunnel Planning First? California Resources Agency Failing to Address Immediate Issues

For Immediate Release: 5/18/20Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected], CA – This March, during the early days of the pandemic, Restore the Delta and local partner organizations sent a letter to urge the Central Valley Regional Flood Protection Board (a California Resources Agency department) to pull from its agenda an approval for a “statement of no objection,” requested by the Department of Water Resources,  for transmittal to the US Army Corps of Engineers for starting its 408 process for DWR’s proposed Delta Conveyance Project (DCP) “Delta Tunnel.” Central Delta Water Agency sent a similar letter here. Restore the Delta asked the Flood Board to delay public information hearings due to the pandemic, and explained that a “statement of no objection” to the proposed Delta Tunnel plan was premature in [...]

ICYMI – CA Water News, Events, and More 5/17/20

Federal Court Enjoins Trump Admin’s Delta Pumping in May – Doug Obegi, NRDC blog 5/12/20“Today’s ruling gives a brief—but vital—reprieve to salmon and other imperiled native fish in the Bay-Delta, and it’s an encouraging sign that Plaintiffs will eventually succeed in overturning these biological opinions.” RTD statement here. After Losing Several Key Battles Over Water, Delta Advocates See Hope in the Last Option Remaining: the Law – Bay Nature 5/13/20“So where are we now? The Voluntary Agreements are a fading dream. Lowered standards for the big water projects, both state and federal, are in force on the books. Everybody’s back in court. Those who want more water for fish and estuarine systems have lost several key battles in a row.” Chair Esquivel. Time to re-start [...]

Join us on May 22nd for our webinar Delta Water Flows – The Confluence of Science and Policy!

DATE: Friday May 22, 2020TIME: 11 AMJoin us for our next webinar on the basics of water flow in the Delta.Restore the Delta’s policy analyst, Tim Stroshane will present “Taking the Delta Watershed’s Pulse.”This webinar is not about modeling. Instead, it will identify and demystify sources of data for managing Delta water and other resources, and help you understand why and how data are used by local, state, and federal water agencies.  This seminar will address: How exactly does water flow into and out of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary? • How is that flow regulated and by whom? • What are the data sources that water activists and water industry professionals rely on to measure the Delta’s pulse?  • Why are some things [...]

Federal Court Temporarily Blocks Trump’s Water Grab in California

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2020Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected] federal court has temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to pump more water to the agricultural Central Valley, which the State of California and conservation groups said would threaten endangered species and salmon runs. A judge issued a preliminary injunction in two lawsuits brought against the administration by California’s Natural Resources Agency and Environmental Protection Agency and by a half-dozen environmental groups. The order bars the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation until May 31 from going ahead with expanding the amount of water it pumps from the San Joaquin Delta through the federal Central Valley Project. The suits argued that the exports would cause irreparable harm to species protected by state and [...]

ICYMI: We’ve Been Busy

Dear friends, The State of California went into Shelter-In-Place for the COVID19 pandemic on March 19, 2020. Despite sheltering in place, Restore the Delta has been working hard from our respective bunkers.  As our annual fundraising benefit and other contributor benefits have been postponed indefinitely, we are humbly asking our supporters for immediate contributions so that we can continue our Delta advocacy. Please support our on-line midyear mailer by donating here.We know the economy is tight for everyone; we are hoping for a large number of smaller donations so that we are not asking too much of any individuals or groups.Delta project and water planning processes have been deemed as essential by the state, but our funding opportunities have been greatly curtailed. [...]