[env-trinity] S.F. Chronicle-12/1/10
bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Dec 1 11:44:46 PST 2010
San Luis & Delta Mendota agency quits delta plan
By Kelly Zito
Another power player in California agriculture has withdrawn from a highly
touted effort to fix the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the
deteriorating estuary at the heart of the state's water-supply system.
The San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority has decided to suspend funding
for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, citing a lack of good faith by the U.S.
Department of the Interior. Westlands Water District leveled the same
accusations when it pulled its support for the 4-year-old, $150 million
process last week.
"The lack of creativity and leadership from Washington is perpetuating the
same flawed practices that have led too many of California's fisheries to
the brink of extinction and imperiled our once thriving economy," according
to a statement by Dan Nelson, executive director of the water authority.
Westlands and the San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority, which together
irrigate more than 1.5 million acres of Central Valley farmland, argue that
federal officials intend to reduce the amount of water they can divert from
The water agencies want a huge pipeline around or under the delta that they
hope would return water exports to levels last seen in the early 1990s.
But officials with the Obama administration say they've reached no
conclusions about water deliveries and insist they're taking a thorough,
scientific approach to the conservation plan's two aims: restoring health of
the ecosystem while ensuring a stable water supply.
As overseer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Interior Department
must sign off on the 50-year management plan for the delta.
Critics of the two politically connected agricultural water agencies suggest
they are trying to strong-arm state and federal regulators into waiving laws
designed to protect vulnerable fish species in the delta.
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
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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