Newsletter

ICYMI – George Miller Speaks, COVID19 and the Delta

This weekend, California’s environmental hero Congressman George Miller (ret.) explains what a coherent policy for California Water including dealing with Harmful Algal Blooms in the Delta and a flood plan for Stockton. What Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to do to protect state’s water future – George Miller, SF Chronicle “Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions…. “The governor’s suit to block that plan is a good first step. The governor should now direct the state water board to set strong flow standards for the bay-delta ecosystem, [...]

Delta Flows: Transparency Does Not Occur By Declaring Transparency; It Takes Intentional Action

By: Barbara Barrigan-ParrillaThis Delta Flows is brief.  This is what is happening in state and federal water processes during COVID19. We are not pleased with what we are seeing and hearing. But we don’t want to run alerts on our Governor who has more than a full plate, and who is handling the pandemic admirably.  We, however, believe that the California Natural Resources Department and the Department of Water Resources need to hear from all of us, as well as our US Senators and Congressional Representatives.  They need to know what the public expects from them during the pandemic and to understand that transparency is not just a buzzword.  1) DWR will not suspend public processes around tunnel planning as we respectfully demanded.  Please remember [...]

Restore the Delta Submits Comments on Delta Conveyance

How to send your commentsWe hope everyone has heard, the Delta Conveyance Project Scoping comment period has been extended to April 17, 2020, at 5:00 PM. This gives everyone more time to submit their comments regarding the tunnel project.How to Comment:Email: [email protected] Mail: Department of Water Resources, Attn: Renee Rodriguez, P.O. Box 942836, Sacramento, CA 94236 Fillable online form: View formThe NOP and related availability and informational materials can be viewed online or at one of these locations. Comments must be received electronically or postmarked on or before April 17, 2020.Here are the Comments Restore the Delta submitted this week.Via email: [email protected] March 20, 2020 Delta Conveyance Scoping CommentsAttn: Renee RodriguezCalifornia Department of Water ResourcesP.O. Box 942836Sacramento CA  94236 Subject: Delta Conveyance Scoping Comments Dear Ms. Rodriguez: Restore the Delta (RTD) advocates for local [...]

Delta Flows: Shutting down Anderson Dam

by Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta It was alarming, hardball news to hear yesterday that Leroy Anderson Dam—which holds back Silicon Valley’s Anderson Reservoir—is considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC, a federal dam regulatory) so seismically unsafe that its owner, the Santa Clara Valley Water District , must drain it to the last drop by October 1 this year. FERC viewed the District (“Valley Water”) as having slow-walked its response to seismic safety concerns, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Anderson Dam is underlain by channel sediments that could liquefy and undermine the dam’s foundation in good-sized (say, magnitude 6.6) earthquake nearby.  The Calaveras Fault is very close by. In 1984, I felt a 6.2 magnitude quake from [...]

Delta Flows: The Trump-Newsom, Newsom-Trump Water Plan for the Delta

By our Executive Director, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla One of Restore the Delta’s primary functions has been to rally people to advocate for comprehensive policies that would be protective of water quality and quantity for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.For years, meeting that objective included fighting the Schwarzenegger and Brown Administrations’ various conveyance projects ending with the twin tunnels.A Moment of Hope and Collaboration During the last year, with a brief respite in tunnel planning, we were able to begin working on plans for greater overall environmental protections for the region. We created a comprehensive analysis of the flood threat to the Delta and made sound, researched recommendations to the Newsom Administration about next steps for dealing with climate change impacts manifesting [...]

Single Delta Tunnel Planning Begins with “Notice of Preparation”; Reaction from Restore the Delta

For Immediate Release: January 15, 2020 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected] STOCKTON, CA – Planning for a single tunnel through the San Francisco Bay-Delta, formally began today as the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its Delta Conveyance Notice of Preparation. The document begins the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the “Delta Conveyance Project.” DWR’s notice today acknowledges that the proposed single tunnel is a new project, not a continuation of the Twin Tunnels permitting process. For comparison of timelines, the previous (now dead) Twin Tunnels planning process began under Governor Schwarzenegger. Reaction from Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta:  “We are disappointed that the notice of preparation for the Delta tunnel project was released todaybecause:  • A tunnel [...]

Delta Flows: Sea Level Rise and The Delta

I was minding my own business, checking Twitter Tuesday morning, December 10, when I saw this article from the Washington Post: “Septupled”—I had to think about that for a moment. Greenland’s rate of ice melt increased by a factor of seven times, reported the Post. Since 1992, Greenland’s ice sheet lost just 33 billion tons to neighboring oceans, compared with 254 billion tons now—an acceleration of 7.6 times. The 89 scientists authoring the Greenland report stated: “The Greenland Ice Sheet holds enough water to raise mean global sea level by 7.4 [meters, or about 32 feet on average].” The current melting rate is enough to raise global sea levels vertically about 1 centimeter (about three-eighths of an inch), they found.  Greenland study co-author Andrew Shepherd of [...]

Deep Dive: California Water Policy Challenges in 2020

by Tim Stroshane, policy analyst, Restore the DeltaWhile engaging with the Newsom Administration’s “water resilience portfolio” process and the governor’s “single-tunnel option,” we at Restore the Delta kept our eyes on the bigger picture. That picture includes a climate emergency: all bets are off on a stable climate moving forward decades and even centuries. That picture includes the health, well-being, and social and economic prospects of the Delta’s environmental justice communities.  The big picture also, sadly, includes a “single-tunnel option” for diverting water from the Delta. That proposal has new moving parts, each of which mesh into a power play by San Joaquin Valley growers and their water agencies to control California’s water future. With prospects of desiccating heat, fires, [...]

Delta Flows: The Political Science of Bernhardt’s Biological Opinions

By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla Governor Gavin Newsom has never been one to hesitate expressing his values in opposition to President Trump. However, as noted by Politico, and plenty of California water policy folks, there was no direct response from the Governor to the Trump administration biological opinions filled with species protection and water quality rollbacks and miscalculations. Instead, we heard from the California Natural Resources Agency, “We will evaluate the federal government’s proposal, but will continue to push back if it does not reflect our values.” Shouldn’t the Newsom administration be ready by now to articulate their sincere values regarding Delta management? And more importantly, shouldn’t the Newsom administration be ready to act on their water values as forcefully as they do [...]

SB1 Needed Time-Out

As our followers know, Restore the Delta has been busy supporting SB 1 with protections for Delta species. And we continue to support these goals and the   full bill as it was initially written. However, there are new complications.  Parties with good intentions worked to add strong clean water rules, which we tend to favor as an organization. But these rules are strongly opposed by the Central Valley Flood Control Association because they will interfere with needed dredging and excavating for flood control measures.  We also favor and argue for good flood control measures for protection of human life, climate change mitigation, and ironically water quality protection. (Flood events are not good for water quality.) We understand that this issue needs [...]