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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. • [...]

ICYMI 1/26/22: Bill Jennings, Dave Hurley Join California Outdoors Hall of Fame

“Bill Jennings and Dave Hurley are two of the finest advocates we have worked with at Restore the Delta. They have taught us so much over the years. They are our friends, and both have served the Delta and local communities with courage and a true moral center.”– Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta Stockton’s Bill Jennings, Dave Hurley inducted into California Outdoors Hall of Fame – Dan Bacher, Stockton Record 1/25/22 STOCKTON — Two more Stocktonians recently joined former Stockton Record outdoor writer Peter Ottesen and the late Jay Sorensen, founder of the California Striped Bass Association, as members of the California Outdoors Hall of Fame (COHOF). Fisheries protector Bill Jennings entered the Hall of Fame this year, while outdoor writer and educator Dave Hurley joined it last year. Arriving in California in the early 1980s, [...]

RTD Comments on Delta Science Action Agenda 2022-2026

Every five years, the Delta Science Program, under the wing of the Delta Stewardship Council, plans for its next five years of investments it wants to make in Delta scientific research. In December 2021, the Program released its next “Delta Science Action Agenda,” which lays out a set of research priorities based on management needs.We at Restore the Delta stay abreast of Delta scientific issues since they are crucial to resolution and debate of ongoing Delta social, economic, and environmental issues. We have applauded the Science Program’s slow but steady efforts to build a social science role in Delta science affairs, as well as regularly commented on other science matters, from ecosystem restoration and toxic contaminant stressors, to harmful algal blooms.Here [...]

ICYMI 1/19/22 Resetting Priorities: Clean Drinking Water for All Californians

A new UC Berkeley/UCLA study, Inequities in Drinking Water Quality Among Domestic Well Communities and Community Water Systems, California, 2011‒2019 has found that an estimated 370,000 Californians rely on contaminated drinking water sources that disproportionately impact communities of color in the state.  The study examines both community water systems and domestic well areas of California, covering about 99 percent of the state’s population by race and renter status, and looked at three contaminants and their average concentration for a nine-year period (2011-2019): naturally-occurring arsenic, nitrates, and chromium-6, all of which are toxic to humans, and using available water quality data from the state OEHHA.The study found:For arsenic, nearly twice the proportion of people on domestic wells (about 8.2 percent) face levels exceeding the average allowable concentrations [...]

Governor’s 2022-23 Budget Proposal: A View from the Bay-Delta

For Immediate Release: 1/11/22Contact:Tim Stroshane, Restore the Delta, 510-847-7556, [email protected], CA – This week Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23. After two years of “unimaginable challenges” the governor states that, “This budget is a new opportunity for us to address the greatest challenges facing our state – for the year ahead and future generations. We must meet the moment once again.” Indeed. California’s Bay-Delta is currently on the brink. Delta smelt, an indicator species of ecosystem health, may have gone extinct. Zero delta smelt were found in the annual survey for a third year. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of winter-run Chinook salmon perished in Sacramento River warm water due to Bureau of Reclamation delivering Shasta Lake supplies to senior [...]