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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 [...]

ICYMI 2/20/22: Worst Drought in 1,200 Years?

Dry start to 2022 intensifies drought in US West – CNS 2/17/22A high pressure ridge near the West Coast has largely diverted precipitation away from California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state and Idaho over the past six weeks, according to the agency. As a result, reservoir levels are already extremely low in southern Oregon, and in California the volume of water stored in the snowpack and reservoirs combined has plateaued.The five western states are on “the precipice of drought intensification” if precipitation continues below normal — a prospect forecasts and historical odds indicate is likely, according to the status update.The region is stuck in a megadrought that has enveloped southwestern North America for the past 22 years. The current megadrought, which is defined as [...]

Delta Flows 2/17/22: State Water Board, TUCP, Harmful Algal Blooms

At a State Water Resources Control Board meeting this week, the Board considered a revised Temporary Urgency Change Petition for Delta operations. Water contractors claimed they shouldn’t be hampered by Harmful Algal Bloom studies. DWR was busy seeking extensions. Restore the Delta made these comments in response to the requests made by water contractors and DWR. Chair Esquivel, Board Members and staff: We appreciate the revised order – it is movement toward improvement of managing the system for the health of the Delta. We agree with comments made by Dante Nomellini Sr. and John Herrick that the TUCPs need long-term drought planning and transparency about the operations plan for the projects. We agree that harm to fish, wildlife, Delta farmers, recreation, tribal [...]

Restore the Delta Mourns the Passing of Dino Cortopassi

For Immediate Release: 2/15/22 Photo of Dino Cortopassi in the Delta. Credit: Lodi News-Sentinel “If you are a Californian who loves Italian food, there is a good chance Dino Cortopassi fed you at some point in your life. If you are a Californian who loves the Delta, its wildlife, and its agriculture, there is a good chance that Dino Cortopassi’s initiatives and conservation efforts have touched your life. The Delta has lost an icon: a self-made business leader, who supported local education efforts for the next generation, nonprofits, environmental groups, and cultural endeavors with as much care as he did his business activities.  Dino Cortopassi had great intellect with an equal measure of heart and generosity. He loved the Delta and our region’s people. His care [...]

Delta Flows 2/13/22: Voluntary Agreements Undermining Climate/Water planning in the Delta

by Barbara Barrigan-ParrillaIn December, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced that the Voluntary Agreement (VA) process had ended for the San Joaquin River watershed; that rule making and implementation planning would begin for the Bay-Delta Plan (Phase 1) for the San Joaquin River watershed (with physical implementation in 2023); and that the process for the creation of the Bay-Delta Plan (Phase 2) for the Sacramento River watershed would commence, while the VA process would continue for the Sacramento River watershed. On top of the delays in restoring water quality and quantity for the Delta caused by never-ending VAs, court cases remain pending for curtailment orders during the last drought; court cases continue in response to last year’s Temporary [...]

DELTA FLOWS 2/10/22: “Adapting Restoration for a Changing Climate” 

Restore the Delta policy and science staff plug into many state and regional water discussions. We recently joined the “Adapting Restoration for a Changing Climate Symposium” held by the Science Program of the Delta Stewardship Council. The event was held Feb 2-3, 2022.Here are some highlights from the event. Laurel Larsen (Delta Science Program Lead Scientist) touted the symposium as an opportunity for “practical and visionary aspirations” that “move our projects into creating more carbon capturing sinks, and that they would be a “boon to recreational uses” in landscapes. She then gave an extensive land acknowledgement that included a reference to California’s “violent past,” and that the Delta Stewardship Council benefits from their dispossession. She stated that there is “much [...]

ICYMI 2/4/22: Experts Urge Overhaul of California’s ‘Antiquated’ Water Laws 

We support all of the recommendations in this report. These proposed reforms are long-overdue.– RTDExperts Urge Overhaul of California’s ‘Antiquated’ Water Laws Successful Farming, 2/4/22 As California enters its third year of drought, pressure is mounting for lawmakers to update the state’s antiquated water laws. On Thursday, a coalition of legal experts and retired state officials released a report with a list of suggested reforms, which they say would make California’s water politics more equitable and sustainable as climate change gets worse.” …the report suggests that California overhaul a series of Byzantine water laws that weren’t designed to grapple with climate change. For instance, California’s Water Board currently uses historical data on different river systems to decide how much water it [...]

DWR Response to Harmful Algal Blooms Lacking, says Restore the Delta

For Immediate Release: 1/31/22 Contact: Spencer Fern, Restore the Delta, (209) 639-0077, [email protected] Stockton, CA – A recent California State Department of Water Resources presentation on Harmful Algal Blooms in the Bay-Delta has garnered a strong response from Stockton-based, Restore the Delta.The comment letter intends to correct the record with the State Water Resources Control Board regarding the Department of Water Resources’ report regarding harmful algal blooms which DWR presented to the Board in January. Among the key findings: •DWR does not adequately acknowledge impact of drought barrier on HABs formation in the heart of the estuary–Frank’s Tract. • DWR does not acknowledge data collected by State Water Boards revealing high levels of cyanotoxins from HABs in urban areas and high-traffic recreation areas over the last few years. • [...]