[env-trinity] Brown administration official claims 'Delta can't be saved'

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Sat Apr 20 13:27:37 PDT 2013


While speaking with Tom Stokely of the California Water Impact  
Network (C-WIN) at a meeting with Northern California's Native  
American Tribes on Monday, April 15, Natural Resources Agency Deputy  
Director Jerry Meral said, "BDCP is not about, and has never been  
about saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved."

Photo of Jerry Meral (left) at BDCP meeting by Dan Bacher.

original image ( 1600x1222)

Brown administration official claims 'Delta can't be saved'

by Dan Bacher

Recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Indian tribal leaders,  
family farmers, environmentalists, Delta residents and many elected  
officials strongly oppose the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to  
build the peripheral tunnels because they say it will lead to the  
extinction of Central Valley salmon, steelhead and other fish species.

Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and Governor Jerry Brown have  
constantly portrayed the BDCP as a visionary effort based on  
"science" to accomplish the "co-equal goals" of "ecosystem  
restoration" and "water supply reliability."

"Science has and will continue to drive a holistic resolution  
securing our water supply and substantially restoring the Delta’s  
lost habitat," said Laird on March 28. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/ 

However, a Brown administration official recently admitted that the  
Bay Delta Conservation Plan has nothing to do with saving the  
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the estuary that salmon,  
steehead, sturgeon, Delta smelt, striped bass and a host of other  
species depend on for survival.

While speaking with Tom Stokely of the California Water Impact  
Network (C-WIN) at a meeting with Northern California's Native  
American Tribes on Monday, April 15, Natural Resources Agency Deputy  
Director Jerry Meral said, "BDCP is not about, and has never been  
about saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved."

"I was flabbergasted because that's not what we've told by  
politicians and state officials," said Stokely after the meeting.

"Now if Governor Brown and State officials would just stop pretending  
it's a habitat plan to save fish when speaking with the press,"  
according to Restore the Delta's "Delta Flows" newsletter (http:// 

Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of  
Fishermen's Associations, commented, "It is indeed ironic that the  
BDCP, a supposed habitat conservation plan/natural communities  
conservation plan developed pursuant, respectively, to the federal  
and state Endangered Species Act, is not about saving the Delta or  
its fish. It is rather a giant water grab by Westside San Joaquin  
agribusiness and SoCal land speculators. Meral has just admitted what  
we've been saying all along - that the BDCP is a trojan horse for a  
massive heist of California's water."

Political science, not natural science, drives BDCP

Meanwhile, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S.  
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have released new "red flag"  
documents in response to the administrative draft of the Bay Delta  
Conservation Plan that indicate that the prognosis for fish survival  
under the BDCP is not good, in contrast with Secretary Laird false  
claim that the BDCP process is driven by "science."

These documents identify issues with BDCP that would make the  
fisheries agencies unwilling to issue the necessary "take" permits  
for a habitat conservation plan under the Endangered Species Act.

"For example, the NMFS response identifies a potential for increased  
salmon egg morality upstream resulting from release operations at  
Keswisk Reservoir at Shasta required by BDCP. Juvenile salmon in the  
Sacramento River would also be at risk under some scenarios,"  
according to Restore the Delta (RTD).

"The likely extinction of winter and spring run Chinook salmon is an  
inevitable consequence of shifting water exports to the Spring  
months, which is what BDCP wants to do. Reducing flows in the upper  
Sacramento River in Summer and Fall of dry years creates problems  
that are not going to go away," RTD stated.

As for habitat in the Delta offsetting the loss of fresh water for  
fish, the USFWS called the prospects for fish such as Delta smelt and  
longfin smelt "uncertain."

"Since the point of a habitat conservation plan is to make things  
better for threatened species, not worse, you'd think a problem like  
this would be a game-changer. And it would, if the game weren't  
rigged. It would be just like BDCP planners to tweak the models to  
eliminate or disguise the obvious problems that keep arising when  
they look for ways to get lots of export water without harming fish,"  
RTD said.

As Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu  
Tribe, said, "The common people will pay for the tunnels and a few  
people will make millions. It will turn a once pristine waterway into  
a sewer pipe. It will be bad for the fish, the ocean and the people  
of California.”

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan may be be based on "science," but  
it's political science, not natural science, that drives the process.  
The only real goal of the BDCP is to export massive amounts of water  
to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies and the  
oil industry, which is now expanding fracking operations in Kern  
County and coastal areas.

For more information, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org.

The Brown administration's terrible environmental record

The rush to build the peripheral canal or tunnel is not the only  
abysmal Schwarzenegger administration policy that the Governor Jerry  
Brown administration has continued and expanded.

Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird continued the  
privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative started  
by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2004. The conflicts of interest,  
failure to comprehensively protect the ocean, shadowy private  
funding, incomplete and terminally flawed science and violation of  
the Yurok Tribe's traditional harvesting rights have made the MLPA  
Initiative to create so-called “marine proected areas into one of  
the worst examples of corporate greenwashing in California history.

In a huge conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of  
the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life  
Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so- 
called "marine protected areas" in Southern California. Reheis-Boyd,  
the oil industry's lead lobbyist for fracking, offshore oil drilling,  
the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the evisceration of  
environmental laws, also served on the MLPA task forces for the North  
Coast, North Central Coast and Central Coast.

The Brown administration also authorized the export of record water  
amounts of water from the Delta in 2011 – 6,520,000 acre-feet,  
217,000 acre feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre  
feet set in 2005 under the Schwarzenegger administration.

Brown also presided over the "salvage" of a record 9 million  
Sacramento splittail and over 2 million other fish including Central  
Valley salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin  
shad, white catfish and sturgeon in 2011. (http:// 

Other environmental policies of the Schwarzenegger administration  
that Brown and Laird have continued include engineering the collapse  
of six Delta fish populations by pumping massive quantities of water  
out of the Delta; presiding over the annual stranding of endangered  
coho salmon on the Scott and Shasta rivers; clear cutting forests in  
the Sierra Nevada; supporting legislation weakening the California  
Environmental Water Quality Act (CEQA); and embracing the corruption  
and conflicts of interests that infest California environmental  
processes and government bodies ranging from the Bay Delta  
Conservation Plan to the regional water boards. 
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