Recent News

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 [...]

ICYMI – Reactions to Trump Admin’s Bay-Delta ESA BiOp

October 23, 2019California fights Trump on everything — except water – Politico“Clearly this governor is making a play for the Central Valley to be nice to agriculture, and I think they’re playing him like a fiddle,” said one longtime environmental advocate who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid political repercussions. Editorial: Newsom must not cave to Trump on Delta water safeguards – The Mercury NewsThe question now is whether Gavin Newsom will respond by standing up for protection of California’s waterways with the vigor that he opposes Trump’s attack on the state’s auto emissions standards. Or will the governor capitulate to the same lobbying pressure from farmers and water agencies that are pushing the president’s Delta policies? Trump Water Rules Erode [...]

ICYMI – Delta Water Exports 10/21/2019

Precious Delta waters growing food that rots…California Families Are Hungry While a Third of Crops Rot in Fields – KQED 10/18/19 The Sanchez family is among the 22% of people in Fresno County who couldn’t afford the groceries they needed in the past year. Fresno ranks third in the country for food insecurity, according to the Food Research and Action Center. At the same time, the county leads the nation in agricultural production. A new study from Santa Clara University revealed that a whopping one-third of the hand-picked crops grown in the state are left to rot in the field. Exports continue to harm native fish species…San Francisco Estuary health report offers mixed review – Marin Independent-Journal 10/21/19 “To me there are two messages about [...]

ICYMI – On Resnick “Philanthropy” and Newsom’s Coming Water Challenges

Column: Resnicks set a record with Caltech gift, but altruism isn’t the whole story – LA Times Oct. 1, 2019“Although the $750 million represents a personal gift to Caltech rather than a corporate gift from the Resnicks’ principal corporate entity, The Wonderful Company, they’re engaged through that company in some arguably unsustainable environmental practices. Caltech’s announcement made a passing reference to Wonderful Co., but sedulously avoided communicating any details of what the company actually does…“Wonderful’s almond and pistachio trees are among the thirstiest crops in California, where the availability of water is likely to shrink as a result of climate change. “And the Resnicks’ control over a key supply of water could make it difficult for anyone to craft a statewide water policy that weighs [...]

ICYMI – “On the Public Record” takes on Voluntary Settlement Agreements

If you follow California water politics, you eagerly await the latest blog posts from the mysterious blogger, On The Public Record. This anonymous expert obviously has decades in this field and has a perfect record for calling BS. Worth a bookmark in your browser. Here are the latest OTPR posts that bring us up to date. The opportunity costs of the VSAs.OTPR – September 20, 2019“The VSA’s could well cost him his first two years of water policy, for no gain. It is now looking very likely that we will see a Democratic president, who will surely return to Obama-era protections or more stringent. If the VSA’s aren’t do-able a year from now under a Democratic federal administration, Governor Newsom will have [...]

ICYMI – Gov. Newsom and SB1 Edition

Governor Newsom has released a statement saying he will veto SB1. We need you to call him today, and repeatedly, until further notice. It is time to let him know that you expect him to do the right thing for the Delta, and California’s water future.Here is how to contact the Governor:His office’s phone number is (916) 445-2841.If you are unable to call, you can email his office here. Here is what California newspapers and blogs think about Governor Newsom’s opposition to SB1.A bad look for the Newsom Administration – On the public record 9/16/19“Frankly, the Newsom administration is two strikes down (Marcus, SB1) and have lost the benefit of the doubt.  They’re going to need a heavily enviro resilience portfolio if they want to be considered [...]

Urgent Fundraising Appeal

August 22, 2019 Dear Friends,              So much has changed for Restore the Delta this year.  The twin tunnels are dead, yet we anticipate that a notice of intent will be filed with the Federal Government in December, with a full tunnel plan and environmental impact report to be released in 2021.             Simultaneously, a number of issues related to water quantity and water quality loom before us including new weakened Federal water rules and reductions in species protections, new state voluntary settlement agreements that could reduce Delta flows, proliferation of toxic algal blooms, illegal dumping into our waterways, and E. coli outbreaks, in part, tied to increased homeless encampments along our rivers and sloughs.  Because we envision a Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as a [...]

Delta Flows: Learning from the Bullet Train Mess

Happy Hot Monday! We hope everyone is staying hydrated and cool during our first heat wave of the season.As we scanned the news today this story jumped out as something for Delta activists to think about.This LA Times story is truly a heartbreaking cautionary tale about the impacts of large infrastructure projects on farming communities. High-speed rail route took land from farmers. The money they’re owed hasn’t arrived – LA Times 6/10/19 “One problem was the agency’s decision to issue construction contracts with only 15% of the rail design completed, a so-called design-build approach. With only preliminary designs of highway bridges, rail structures and utility relocations, it was difficult to know how much land would be needed and the degree to which [...]

Do CA DWR “Hearings” Actually Listen?

by Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta The concrete-walled room was intimate and windowless, with chairs arranged into several rows facing toward a screen onto which a slide projector beamed DWR’s PowerPoint presentation. Placed in each corner was an easel with large displays for different facets of the State Water Project system. Each easel had a DWR staff person standing with it. To the side was a table where a court reporter sat with a laptop into which she would pour words stated at the event. There would be no questions or statements made in front of the assembled public this agency nominally serves.A “public meeting” held by DWR on May 13, 2019 once more illustrates that DWR officials [...]

CA DWR Rescinds California Water Fix Bond Resolutions

For Immediate Release: 5/9/19 Contact:Bob Wright, Friends of the River, (916) 442-3155 x207 Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, (209) 479-2053 Sacramento – The California Department of Water Resources has formally rescinded the Bond Resolutions authorizing issuance of almost $9 billion of bonds to pay for the start of construction of the Delta Twin Tunnels. The resolution was adopted on May 7, 2019. DWR’s funding for any new one-tunnel proposal must start from scratch. Attorneys representing conservation, agriculture, and fishing groups today praised this action by DWR. Statement by Bob Wright, Senior Counsel, Friends of the River There is great news now reflecting a complete restart of Department of Water Resources (DWR) planning for Delta water export issues including conveyance. On [...]