[env-trinity] CSPA Advisory: Governors Staff Drops The Ball on
danielbacher at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 29 11:09:21 PDT 2005
Governors Staff Drops The Ball!
The South Delta Improvement Project (SDIP) - Moving Forward!
[Or, if you build it, they will come? - Field of Dreams)
The campaign to stop the SDIP and additional water exports from the Delta
until the estuarys foodweb and fisheries are restored has made an impact.
The fishing and environmental community have put on enough pressure to delay
the decision to export more water out of the Delta, but if we want to win
the battle, then all the people who SHOULD HAVE emailed the Governor need to
Our last advisory contained a copy of the letter we sent to the Governor on
behalf of the Allied Fishing Groups. In this letter we carefully explained
why we opposed any additional Delta exports. We asked for no more than what
the government promised the public when they completed the CALFED Bay-Delta
Program. This wasnt the first time the government promised to restore our
fisheries. If they had honored the Central Valley Project Improvement Act
passed by Congress in1992, the anadromous fisheries of the Central Valley
would have been doubled and maintained at viable levels by 2002.
The response to our letter from the Governors staff failed to address the
crucial issues we raised! Instead they thanked us for supporting additional
funding for CALFED, the very program that has failed to achieve the
restoration promises made to the public! Given the magnitude of what is at
stake, if the giant holes in the food web are not self correcting, we will
surely see more parts of the food web collapse and additional declines of
Central Valley salmon, steelhead, striped bass and American shad. If losing
the productivity of the Delta is not bad enough, this could result in
additional closures in salmon and steelhead fisheries.
Below you will find the Governors contact information and a copy of a
letter his staff sent to many of those who emailed him asking for his help.
That letter basically says it is OK for the SDIP to move forward, build the
SDIP infrastructure and re-engineer the southern Delta. Once complete, then
the government would decide if they want to increase exports from 6,680 cfs
to 8,500 cfs, with other possible increases up to 10,500 cfs down the road.
They are going to do this while they try to scientifically determine the
causes for the food web and fishery declines. If such a determination is
possible it will probably take years of research. It makes little economic
or policy sense to build additional export capacity and then find out it is
the amount of water being exported that is driving the estuary into
The handwriting is on the wall! When the government spends millions of
dollars on a project, they intend to put it to use and thats exactly what
is likely to happen if they build more of the Through Delta facility
infrastructure. While they couch this in terms that sound good, one must
remember that spin masters abound in government and they would love you to
be spun around by concepts like reducing the straying of San Joaquin salmon
into the south Delta.
What their email fails to note is that the salmon stray into the southern
Delta because the water projects pumps suck them out of the lower San
Joaquin River channels in the Delta into those of the water projects. They
want to build permanent barriers to reduce the very impact they have
created! Its unfortunate the letter from our government could not manage to
put this project element in the proper perspective!
The angling and commercial fishing groups have opposed building any part of
this project until the problems with the estuarys foodweb have been
corrected and our fishery resources re-established at viable,
self-sustaining levels. If and when the governments long unfulfilled promise
is kept, then other considerations could be discussed that were not counter
productive to the management and protection of the Deltas aquatic
Unfortunately, our groups may take all the public policy positions we like,
but that does not mean the government will seriously consider our
perspective. You collectively have the power to make them listen!
Now is the time to let the Governor know that you are taking a stand for the
estuary and its fisheries while there is still a reasonable opportunity to
restore them! The best way to stop the SDIP is to contact Governor Arnold
You can email the Governor by going to http://www.govmail.ca.gov where you
can fill out the email form and send it to his office. Or you can send a
letter or card to him at:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
You can also call (916-445-2841) or fax (916-445-4633) his office. The
message is simple. Ask the Governor to stop the plans of the Department of
Water Resources to implement the South Delta Improvement Project and the
export of any additional water out of Delta until our estuary and its
fisheries are restored. Tell him that weve had a decade of broken promises
that these public resources would be restored. Given the collapse of the
Delta food web, now is the time to restore the estuary and our fisheries
before any more water is exported out of the estuary!
You can mention that DWRs recently released Bulletin 160 clearly
demonstrates that the state's water needs will be met for at least the next
decade with the existing water infrastructure. There is no water crisis that
would justify the destruction of the Delta! It is time to raise our
collective voice. The estuary is truly at stake!
For those who would like to see how the Governors staff is dealing with
this situation, below I have provided a copy of the email from the
Governors Office of Constituent Affairs. This document has been received by
a number of our members and fishing groups in response to their email urging
the Governor to put a halt to the SDIP.
Re: Delta Fisheries
Thank you for your email expressing your opposition to increased water
pumping from the San Francisco Bay-Delta. The work to ensure that California
has enough water to support its growing population and economy, as well as
to restore and maintain its ecological treasures, is both difficult and
As you know, the CALFED Bay-Delta Program plays an important role in meeting
California's future water needs and it must be part of the long-term water
resource investment strategy for the state. Governor Schwarzenegger has
directed Resources Agency Secretary Chrisman to work with the Secretaries
for Food and Agriculture, Environmental Protection and the Chair of the
California Bay-Delta Authority to develop just such a long-term strategy for
stable water resources investment funding. This long-term funding strategy
will ensure that we continue to improve water supply reliability, protect
water quality and restore our ecosystems to support California's needs.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently announced plans to release
a draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/S)
for the South Delta Improvements Program (SDIP). Objectives of the SDIP
program include reducing the straying of San Joaquin salmon into the south
Delta, maintaining adequate water levels and quality for local farmers and
improving the State Water Project's delivery capability.
The proposed plan will be staged in two parts. The first stage involves
physical components and would be accomplished by installing permanent
operable gates, performing limited dredging and extending some agricultural
diversions in the south
The second stage, involving changes to increase the maximum rate at which
the State Water Project is permitted to pump water from the Delta beginning
in 2009, can be accomplished with no new construction. It is important to
emphasize that while stage two planning will be underway during
implementation of stage one, no action regarding increased pumping will take
place until a decision is made on stage one.
The current water export limit is 6,680 cubic feet per second (except in the
winter when the volume may be higher.) The proposed increase would bring the
new pumping volume up to 8,500 cubic feet per second. Although this appears
to be an increase of 27%, environmental constraints and hydrologic
conditions would only allow the annual amount of water pumped to increase by
less than 1% to 3%, depending on the alternate evaluated by the SDIP.
Recently, there have been declines in the population of several Delta fish
species. Although the exact reason is not yet known, some theories include
pesticides, invasive species and changes in State and Federal water
operations. The Interagency Ecological Program has begun an aggressive $1.7
million augmentation of existing studies to look at the possible causes.
As this study proceeds, the DWR plans to release the draft EIR/S for the
SDIP. This will give the public an opportunity to thoroughly review the plan
and provide comments on the proposals. DWR officials will hold a series of
workshops throughout the State to provide information, respond to questions
and concerns and solicit recommendations. This public participation is vital
to the decision-making process and the eventual implementation of any water
Again, thank you for your email. In California, we are faced with the
difficult task of regulating a limited water supply so as to guarantee
adequate resources for farming, industry, neighborhoods and wildlife.
Together, we can meet the challenge.
Office of Constituent Affairs
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