[env-trinity] Monterey Herald 8 4 10
bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Aug 4 17:15:34 PDT 2010
Editorial: What's good for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is good for the
THE HERALD'S VIEW
The Monterey County Herald
Posted: 08/04/2010 01:33:37 AM PDT
Updated: 08/04/2010 08:36:25 AM PDT
Don't fall for the "new dust bowl" references and the other hype from
California's great interior.
The new report from the State Water Resources Control Board about excessive
water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is good news for the
fishing industry, San Francisco Bay and California's overall water quality.
By reporting that current diversions threaten not only the Delta smelt but
the chinook salmon, steelhead and other fish important to the commercial and
recreational fishing industries of California's coast, the board put in
writing what was already obvious.
Despite the well-financed PR campaign being waged by San Joaquin Valley
agribusiness, it isn't a case of "fish or farms." It's more a case of "fish
or sprawl." Corporate farms of the western San Joaquin Valley now buy a
sizable share of the Delta's water at deeply discounted prices-subsidized by
federal taxpayers-and resell it at plump profits to the developers of
Southern California subdivisions and high rises.
To keep the Delta habitable for fish stock long term, the Water Resources
Control Board staff concluded in the long-awaited study that the export of
Delta water needs to be cut in half. Accomplishing that still would provide
ample water for irrigation, but would set off one of the great water wars of
our times, pitting the most powerful players in water politics against a
relatively ragtag collection of environmental and fishing industry groups.
It is a safe bet the mega-farmers of Fresno and Kern counties aren't going
to give up a drop they don't have to.
Yes, this is the same State Water Resources Control Board that is poised to
curtail diversions from the Carmel River to protect the river and its
inhabitants. Its principal task is to protect the water supply and related
habitat, and it takes a decidedly environmentalist approach. What's good for
the Carmel River is good for the Delta, and what's good for the Delta is
good for California. All of it.
There are those, such as Fresno Congressman Jim Costa, who accuse the board
of taking extremist positions. Referring to the report released last week,
Costa said, "This kind of misinformation serves as fodder for extreme
environmentalists and critics of our valley who aim to cut off our water."
There is some truth to his view in that the water board report amounts to an
environmental wish list. Political and economic realities will never enable
California's water managers to restore the full, original flow of water
north to south.
But the Delta and the rivers that feed off it are an integral part of the
water supply for much of California, and voices other than Big Ag's need to
join the discussion about how the resource is appropriated. It is a coastal
issue just as much as it is a valley issue.
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land/fax
415 519 4810 mobile
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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