[env-trinity] Contra Costa Times 12/8/10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Dec 9 12:21:21 PST 2010

Panel calls Delta recovery plan woefully incomplete

Contra Costa Times-12/8/10

By Mike Taugher


A national panel of experts appeared frustrated Wednesday by gaping holes in
a developing master plan for the Delta despite four years and $140 million
in studies.


The report provided the committee no straightforward description of the
recovery goals for the Delta ecosystem, no analysis of water demands
compared to available supplies and, perhaps most troubling, portions of an
ongoing study on the environmental effects of the proposal were described as
woefully incomplete.


How can the panel review the science behind the plan, asked Denise Reed of
the University of New Orleans, when the analysis provided contains "no
depth, frankly?"


The National Academy of Sciences panel has been reviewing new environmental
regulations, water supply and ecosystem problems in the Delta for about a


Next fall, the group is set to release its final report that will analyze
the Delta's environmental problems and provide recommendations for moving
toward solutions.


The reviews were triggered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, acting at the request
of Kern County water and farming magnate Stewart Resnick, to review new
restrictions on Delta pumping.


But a public session Wednesday focused largely on a more recent assignment,
scheduled to be done in April, that involves evaluating the science used in
the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. 


The plan would move Sacramento River water by canal or tunnels to the south
as part of a sweeping strategy to restore the West Coast's largest estuary.
Its cost would exceed $11 billion.


Supporters hope it will lead to the recovery of declining fish species and
stable water supplies. But it is facing growing questions about its
viability. Can the conservation plan provide enough water to make it
financially worthwhile for water districts, or does significantly more water
need to flow into San Francisco Bay to help fish?


Despite the lack of answers to basic questions the panel had, Jason Peltier,
Assistant General Manager of Westlands Water District,  said that after more
than 100 meetings and $140 million, it was time to make decisions.


"We have to make decisions with the science we have," Peltier said.


But Reed, echoing a number of colleagues who expressed dismay at the lack of
answers to basic questions, asked how the committee could meet its charge to
evaluate science when, "frankly, it hasn't been provided."



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

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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