[env-trinity] Fw: Stop Schwarzenegger's End Run to Build the Peripheral Canal

Brandt Gutermuth bgutermuth at mp.usbr.gov
Thu Jan 15 12:51:41 PST 2009


Obviously there are some real problems with the current Delta water
management scheme.  I certainly would opt for conservation measures
rather than dams.  However, given California's insatiable demand for
water and rising sea levels, some version of a peripheral canal may be
warranted.   Certainly NEPA impact analyses should be included in review
of alternatives.  A little detail on delta options is found at:

HTTP://www.swrcb.ca.gov/board_info/agendas/2007/march/0320_04pres_lund.pdf


Brandt


>>> "Tom Stokely" <tstokely at att.net> 01/14/09 8:46 PM >>>

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Dan Bacher 
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 8:19 AM
Subject: Stop Schwarzenegger's End Run to Build the Peripheral Canal





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------






--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




delta_photo_by_dwr.jpg


Stop Schwarzenegger's End Run to Build the Peripheral Canal


by Dan Bacher


Barbara Barrigan Parrilla, campaign director of Restore the Delta,
fears that two recent moves by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to weaken
environmental laws are designed to facilitate the development and
construction of the peripheral canal.


Schwarzenegger's obsession with his "Big Ditch," a project that would
certainly result in the destruction of imperiled Central Valley chinook
salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and other species, is
apparently motivated by his desire to create a "monument" to his
gigantic ego - and to sacrifice Delta farms to provide subsidized water
to corporate agribusiness on the San Joaquin Valley's west side.


"Governor Schwarzenegger has asked President-elect Obama to suspend or
otherwise eliminate National Environmental Impact Review (NEPA) for the
economic stimulus package projects for California, including some $8
billion in unnamed water and sewer projects," according to Parrilla.
"The Governor has also been attempting to weaken the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) during the state budget process."


"It is the assessment of advisors working with the Restore the Delta
staff that the Governor is trying to weaken federal and state
environmental review standards in order to ease the development and
construction of the peripheral canal, rather than following existing
environmental laws and processes," she stated.


While Schwarzenegger constantly grandstands and flies off to "climate
change" and "green energy" conferences throughout the country, he is in
reality the worst-ever Governor for fish and the environment in
California history, receiving the "Outdoor Villain" of 2008 award from
Field and Stream magazine. He has presided over the unprecedented
collapse of Central Valley fall chinook salmon populations, the dramatic
decline of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, juvenile striped
bass and other species and massive fishing closures along the California
Coast. He has vetoed suction dredge mining legislation, the fish rescue
plans bill and other legislation badly needed to restore California's
imperiled fisheries.


The Governor's handpicked team of cabinet level advisors, the so-called
"Delta Vision Committee," on January 2 released an environmentally
devastating plan to break ground on the peripheral canal in 2011,
without the approval of the Legislature and voters.


More recently, the Nature Conservancy, an organization infamous for its
corporate greenwashing schemes throughout the world, joined the Governor
in his campaign to build the canal when they announced support for his
plan. California voters defeated the previous incarnation of the canal
by a wide margin in 1982, but Schwarzenegger and his environmental
collaborators are trying to market the "new" peripheral canal by
including "eco-language" to make it sound like the canal will "restore"
the Delta when its only purpose is to increase water exports to Central
Valley agribusiness.


The Nature Conservancy is in "good company." The Metropolitan Water
District's Board of Directors on January 13 unanimously supported the
final report from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's cabinet-level advisors
that proposes the construction of a "dual conveyance" system in the
Delta, beginning in 2011. "The committee's final report serves as a road
map to implement lasting Delta solutions for habitat restoration, water
conservation and system improvements," claimed Metropolitan board
Chairman Timothy F. Brick.


As the Governor and his collaborators continue to campaign for the
canal, Delta pelagic (open water) fish populations continue to collapse.
The delta smelt population has declined to its lowest level ever,
according to the latest data from the Department of Fish and Game's fall
midwater trawl survey. The DFG studies the health of these populations
by compiling an "index," a relative measure of abundance. The index
declined to 23 this fall, down from the previous low level of 28 last
fall.


American shad also reached a record low level in fall 2008. The index
was 271, compared to 533 in 2007 and 9360 in 2003.


Threadfin shad also declined to a record low population level, down to
450 from 3177 in 2007.


The Sacramento splittail, a native minnow, declined to the lowest ever
level this fall. In fact, no splittail were observed in this yea'rs
survey, while only one fish was documented last year!


Only the striped bass and longfin smelt showed an increase, though the
population levels are still precariously low. The striper index rose to
220 from 82 in 2007, both alarming low numbers, according to Bill
Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection
Alliance. In contrast, the index was 9500 in 1971, when the population
was still healthy before the fish-killing state and federal pumps went
into full operation.


The longfin smelt abundance index rose from a record low of 13 in fall
2007 to 113 this fall. By comparison, the index was 6654 in 1998.


The crisis in Delta fisheries will not be solved by taking more water
out of the Delta through a peripheral canal - a canal will only
exacerbate the collapse. Parrilla urged everybody concerned about the
fate of the California Delta, the West Coast's largest estuary, to call
Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer today and ask them to
protect NEPA and all essential environmental laws while helping to
develop the Federal economic stimulus package.


I join Barbara in urging you to call the Senators at the numbers below.
And if you have time, please drop her an email to let her know that you
called: Barbara [at] restorethedelta.org.


Senator Diane Feinstein Washington Office: 202-224-3841 -- San
Francisco: 415-393-0707-- Los Angeles: 310-914-7300--


Senator Barbara Boxer: Washington Office: 202-224-3553 -- San
Francisco: 415-403-0100 -- Los Angeles: 213-894-5000 --


About Restore the Delta: Restore the Delta is a grassroots campaign
committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable,
swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore
the Delta - a coalition of Delta residents, business leaders, civic
organizations, community groups, faith-based communities, union locals,
farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists - seeks to strengthen the
health of the estuary and the well-being of Delta communities. Restore
the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming
can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


Website: http://www.restorethedelta.org Restore the Delta: Making the
California Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable by 2010!




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------






More information about the env-trinity mailing list