Recent News

ICYMI: Watch our webinar series “Reframing a Region: Communities of Color in the California Delta Parts I & II”

This webinar series addresses popular narratives of the California Delta that present the region as a white space. Using an array of primary sources, a diverse panel of experts will contest this view, illustrating how communities of color were fundamental to the development of the Delta region.  You can watch part one here. This covers history through 1907.You can watch part two here. This covers history 1907 and beyond, Documents for this series:Phillip Merlo’s PresentationPhillip Merlo’s BibliographyMalissa Tayaba’s Presentation

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 [...]

ICYMI – 12/18/19 Trouble Brewing in D.C. over Bernhardt and Westlands…

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversightRoll Call, Washington D.C. 2/16/19Natural Resources chairman wants to investigate Interior secretary’s role in water allocation report that benefited a committee member’s district“Grijalva and Huffman want to know if Bernhardt was involved in changing the report’s findings. If the committee finds evidence of undue meddling in the science, that could result in future decision-making over California water supply getting overturned in federal court. Grijalva may need to issue subpoenas to complete that investigation.” Costa, Cox in pickle as House panel wants to probe Valley water boostSan Joaquin Valley Sun 2/17/19Prepping a probe to see if U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt influenced a plan to deliver far more water to the San Joaquin Valley, House [...]

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 [...]

ICYMI 12/10/19 – Pumping Rules, Water Markets, Delta Fishery Management Hearing

First, two smart takes from Dr. Delta Water Economics, Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific on Valley Economy Blog 12/9/19Water Supply Reliability Out, Endangered Species Killing Incentives In With New Federal/State Delta Pumping Rules“Water exporters are praising the new rules for their use of real-time operations, as opposed to the old rules that were “calendar based.”  It’s great PR messaging, but lousy policy.  The message appeals on the surface – new rules are modern and with high-tech real time adjustments, while the old-rules are primitive and based on calendars.  Good political messaging, but I would argue that it does not conform to the best available social science and policy design as it reduces water supply reliability and generates strong incentives [...]

RTD UPDATE: 12/06/19 Outcome of Selenium Drainage Permit Hearing at CVRWQB

Yesterday, Delta community members from Restore the Delta, Little Manila Rising, With Our Words, and LGBT+, Social Justice, and neighborhood groups, along with California Striped Bass, Save California Salmon, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Sierra Club California, and Planning and Conservation League achieved a better outcome than anticipated at the Central Valley Regional Water Board. It was not perfect. A selenium discharge permit was granted; however, it will be reopened for reconsideration in two years when more data on selenium discharge becomes available. We got this better result because our coalition of speakers — teenagers to seventy-year-olds — had facts, history, and the truth on their side.Will groups appeal the decision? Most likely yes. However, we were heard and [...]

ICYMI – Reactions to State Action on Trump ESA BiOps 11/22/19

First, a note from Barbara…So our members are clear, the outcome of the Newsom Administration’s announcement yesterday is not good. Yes, they are going to fight the Trump administration on rollbacks to the Delta. For that we are grateful.However, their plan for the Delta is just a little less bad than the Trump plan and increases water exports by another 300,000 acre-feet roughly, despite the Delta Reform Act calling for reduced reliance on the Delta. It weakens fishery protections as well.California Takes Action Against Trump ESA Rollbacks Restore the Delta response – Restore the Delta 11/21/19“We thank Governor Newsom, Secretary Crowfoot and Secretary Blumenfield for taking our concerns seriously. As always we will read newly released documents by the state for the State Water [...]

California Takes Action Against Trump ESA Rollbacks Restore the Delta response

For Immediate Release: 11/21/19 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta 209-479-2053, [email protected]  Stockton, CA – The State of California announced two actions today that will impact protections of California’s endangered species.The Department of Water Resources issued draft Environmental Impact Report today on the operation of the State Water Project.Agencies also announced intention to sue the federal government over the Trump Administration’s recent biological opinion that would increase the flow of water from federal water projects the SF Bay-Delta to corporate agriculture interests, despite impacts on endangered species like salmon.Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said:“We are happy to hear that the California Natural Resources Agency has determined that operating rules for the Federal water project are not scientifically adequate and that the state [...]

OP-ED: Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab!

Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab and save the San Francisco Bay-Deltaby Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Special to CalMatters11/20/2019 “Westlands is the 800-pound gorilla in California water politics. Years ago, fearing its water supplies were decreasing, Westlands hired David Bernhardt and paid him more than $1 million to be their lobbyist. Now that Bernhardt has become Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, the Westlands plan is in full effect. “It took national news stories breaking about conflicts of interest between Interior Secretary Bernhardt and Westlands Water District for the Bureau of Reclamation to release a significant Westlands water delivery contract for public review. “Within this new contract, water deliveries for up to 1.15 million acre-feet annually will be made available for Westlands to meet [...]