[env-trinity] Salmon Water Now Video Exposes Corruption in California Water Politics

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Tue Dec 15 08:35:49 PST 2009

  I encourage everybody concerned about the destruction of  
California's salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass and other  
fisheries by corporate agribusiness and southern California water  
interests to watch and share this superb new video, "Science,  
Politics and Salmon." You can watch the video on: YouTube: http:// 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc5LC3HGWgE&fmt=18 or Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/ 


Salmon Water Now Video Exposes Corruption in California Water Politics

by Dan Bacher

SalmonWaterNow.org has just released a superb new video: "Science,  
Politics, and Salmon," the best documentary I've seen yet on the real  
reason for the collapse of Central Valley salmon runs - massive water  
exports from the California Delta to subsidized corporate  
agribusiness. I encourage everybody concerned about the destruction  
of California's salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass and other  
fisheries by agribusiness and southern California water interests to  
watch and share this video.

"What does it take to get to the truth?" asks the video's producer,  
Bruce Tokars. "How hard is it to come up with a scientifically sound  
explanation for the disastrous decline of Pacific salmon?"

"The San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento Delta have been studied  
over and over again," emphasizes Tokars. "The science seems pretty  
clear. Salmon and other species that depend on a healthy mix of salt  
and fresh water have been seriously hurt by excessive water  
diversions. Put simply, not enough fresh water is flowing through The  
Delta and San Francisco Bay because it is being sent to big growers  
in the Central Valley."

Tokar notes that inadequate fresh water flows because of natural  
drought are made worse by big agriculture’s never-ending demands for  
more and more water. Water for crops is planted on selenium-filled,  
drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley  
that never should have been irrigated.

"Add politics to the mix and you have a clear path to the decline of  
salmon and plenty of other species," he says. "This video shows how  
big money, big agriculture, and political contributions have  
prostituted the work of government scientists."

The information disclosed in the video offers a good counterpoint to  
the recent report, "California Water Myths," by the Public Policy  
Institute of California (PPIC), funded by Stephen P. Bechtel, Jr.,  
the Gap's Fisher Family and other corporate interests, that tries to  
dismiss the key role that sufficient flows of water play must play in  
the restoration of salmon and other fish populations.

The Bechtel-funded report claims that it is a "myth" that "more water  
will lead to healthy fish populations."

"In reality, more water alone is rarely sufficient to restore a fish  
population," the Bechtel-funded report claims. "Water that has the  
wrong temperature, nutrients, or sediment may harm fish, and so can  
water without sufficient habitat. Supporting native fish will require  
strategies that account for the complexities of aquatic ecosystems."

Of course, fish restoration requires a variety of "strategies,"  
including dam removal, habitat restoration, the reduction of  
pollution and other actions. However, the foundation of any  
restoration program, before anything else can happen, is the  
restoration of water flows in a system. The Bechtel-funded scientists  
that wrote the report seem to forget that "Fish don't swim in  
promises - they swim in water," as Zeke Grader, executive director of  
the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations (PCFFA) says.

The Bechtel-funded scientists include many of the same U.C. Davis  
folks who last July recommended the construction of the peripheral  
canal, an enormously expensive boondoggle that will inevitably lead  
to increased water exports from northern California and the Delta, as  
the "solution" to solving the Delta's ecological problems.

Ellen Hanak, director of "research" at PPIC and the recent report's  
co-author, states, "It’s essential to move beyond myth as population  
growth and climate change put even more pressure on our resources.”  
However, by dismissing the key role sufficient water flows play in  
fish restoration, Hanak and the other Bechtel-funded scientists  
appear to be embracing the myth spread by corporate agribusiness- 
funded astroturf groups that everything other than water exports is  
responsible for fish declines.

The video features the latest information on "Resnickgate," the huge  
scandal developing over the corruption of California politics through  
huge contributions of agribusiness billionaire Stewart Resnick, owner  
of Paramount Farms in Kern County, to Senator Dianne Feinstein,  
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and other corporate  
Democrats. The video documents how the "limousine liberal" Resnick,  
who made millions and millions of dollars selling subsidized water  
back to the public at enormous profit to himself, has successfully  
pressured Feinstein to attack protections under the Endangered  
Species Act for imperiled Sacramento River chinook salmon, Central  
Valley steelhead, green sturgeon, the southern resident population of  
killer whales and Delta smelt.

Feinstein, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Governor  
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who collectively have received hundreds of  
thousands of dollars from Resnick for their political campaigns, are  
also pushing for a peripheral canal and the destruction of the Bay- 
Delta Estuary in order to benefit Resnick and other rich corporate  
agribusiness tycoons at the expense of fish, fishermen, coastal  
communities, California Indian Tribes, Delta family farmers and  
environmental justice communities.

You can watch the new video on: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch? 
v=Gc5LC3HGWgE&fmt=18 or Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/8163239
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