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Save the Delta Alliance

March 29, 2013

Partially Reprinted from email blog:

delta estuary 2HO, HO the Tunnels Must GO!

The public meeting of the BDCP is Thursday April 4 in Sacramento.
Car pools are being organized in Discovery Bay – 11 to 11:30 at the Boardwalk Grill to meet and drive up. The meeting is from 1:30-4:30 pm at the Red Lion Woodlake Conference Center, 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento. Reply to: Janet McCleery [] if you want to car pool – drivers and passengers.  We need to show we are against the entire tunnel idea! We’ll make some signs or bring your own. “NO TUNNELS”, “LESS ALMONDS, MORE FRESH WATER”, “BIG DUMB CANAL PLAN”.

The 2nd set of BDCP chapters were released yesterday. Just more of the same. Everyone knows that over-exports is what is causing the demise of the salmon. It’s the amount of water being removed. That is what the State Water Board’s Delta Flow report stated in August 2010. But it was the wrong answer for the Delta Stewardship Council and the BDCP. Charlton Bonham, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife claimed “An immense amount of science has gone into the (plan).” That may be – but it’s bad science if it ignores the key parameter: “How much water does the Delta need?” And the answer is “More than it’s getting today.”  On Capital Public Radio, Amy Quinton reported that
The new chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan look at the effects of the project on endangered species like Delta Smelt and Chinook salmon.  They are progressing with their same, unscientific proposal to continue to take too much water out of the Delta, flood some islands, and want us to believe there is scientific evidence that then the fish will be happy.

Habitat restoration alone can’t save the Delta
I agree with Bill Jennings:
Bill Jennings with the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is highly critical of the project. “You can’t deprive an estuary of half its flow and expect it to survive. And frankly, BDCP is essentially a death sentence for one of the great estuaries in the world.”   Jennings says the proposed tunnels to pump water south would have disastrous effects on fish populations.

Who will pay for habitat restoration and for damages?
In a Mercury News article Paul Burgarino’s report identifies the “catch”:
Plans call for creation of more than 140,000 acres of new habitat — floodplains, tidal marshes and grasslands — from existing Delta islands at a cost of about $4 billion to be footed by taxpayers.
First, new habitat will not help fish if the water is salty and polluted.
Second, new habitat will not ever be created if the “bill” is paid by bonds in place of schools or higher taxes. That’s right. The BDCP funds only cover the construction of the new tunnels. The rate payers will have to pay for the higher operational costs of the tunnels. And there’s no money identified for habitat or environment restoration. That will need to be voted on as new bonds or higher taxes!
Third, other estimates claim the amount for just purchasing proposed habitat restoration acreage will be $9 billion, not $4.
And who’s land will they be flooding, anyway?
Jerry Meral at the last BDCP Public Meeting said that if the farmers are unwilling to sell their lands, the state would use eminent domain to take them.  And why?  The BDCP plans to force farmers to sell and then flood their fertile delta farmlands, farmlands that take half the water as desert farms down south, so that mega-corporation farmers living in Beverly Hills and Pacific Heights can get subsidized water and continue to increase the acerage of water-intensive crops like almonds and re-sell their subsidized $20/acre foot water to Mojave Desert developers at $5,000/acre foot. When these huge corporations are making so much profit from Delta water, what will stop them from wanting more and more?  The state can’t afford more almonds and other water-intensive crop expansion!  STOP TAKING OUT TOO MUCH WATER!
The big agri-business corporations have been expanding their water-intensive almond acreage for years (the past 10-15) which is directly responsible for the last 10-15 years’ increase in exports. That has also been compounded by the loss of the Colorado River water for LA but the most significant driver behind the increase is the big corporation almond farms. The increase moved the pumping from “excess” to “too much”, the river reversed flows, and the salmon and other fish populations collapsed.

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