[env-trinity] Appeal-Democrat: Fishing groups oppose final Delta plan
danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Tue May 21 08:40:27 PDT 2013
OFF THE HOOK: Fishing groups oppose final Delta plan
by Dan Bacher
Representatives of fishing groups united with family farmers,
environmentalists and elected officials on May 16 to oppose the Final
Delta Plan adopted by the Delta Stewardship Council because of the
big threat the plan poses to Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta
In spite of overwhelming opposition to the plan, the Council voted
7-0 to approve the plan and the accompanying environmental impact
report and regulations.
“State law told us to develop a legally enforceable Delta Plan that
will guide state and local agency actions on water use and the Delta
environment,” said Delta Stewardship Council Chair Phil Isenberg.
“We will now be able to focus on implementing the policies and
recommendations that will help achieve the State’s coequal goals of
providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting,
restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem while protecting the
unique values of the Delta as an evolving place.”
A press release from the DSC revealed how the Delta Plan is
intimately tied to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the
peripheral tunnels. “The Plan will eventually include the Bay Delta
Conservation Plan (BDCP) when the BDCP is completed and successfully
permitted,” the release stated.
Delta advocates, who held a protest before the meeting in West
Sacramento, disagreed strongly with Isenberg's contention that the
plan would protect, restore and enhance the Delta ecosystem. They
said the flawed plan would instead "drain the Delta and doom salmon
and other Pacific fisheries."
Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing
Protection Alliance and board member of the California Water Impact
Network (C-WIN), began his address to the Council by saying, "Good
morning, welcome to the resumption of California's water wars."
"The Delta Plan fails to comply with the law, and perpetuates an
unsustainable status quo that enriches a few powerful water brokers
at the expense of reliable water supplies and healthy fisheries,"
said Jennings. "It is a classic shell game to benefit special
interests and, if implemented, would represent a death sentence for
one of the world's great estuaries."
"The Council has squandered a marvelous and unique opportunity,"
emphasized Jennings. "Because the Council failed to identify and
analyze the root causes of California’s water crisis – over-
appropriation, unreasonable use, failure to balance the public trust
– the Delta Plan and EIR largely recommends that agencies should
continue to do the same things that created the crisis in the first
place. The Plan and EIR ignore history and are predicated on an
artificial reality. They’re little more than omelets of half-truth
and distortion to justify predetermined conclusions."
The peripheral tunnel opponents said the real purpose of the Delta
Plan is to get around the court "biological opinions" that restrict
water exports in order to protect Sacramento River Chinook salmon,
Central Valley steelhead, Delta smelt, green sturgeon and the
southern resident population of killer whales (orcas) from extinction.
"The courts have found that water exporters have threatened the very
survival of several fish species,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla,
executive director of Restore the Delta. “Now, instead of reducing
water exports, the Delta Plan endorses simply moving the point of
export to a different spot in the Delta.”
Independent scientists have found that the diversion of more Delta
flows through the peripheral tunnels would hasten the extinction of
Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt
and other fish species. "Yet, that is what the Delta Plan endorses,"
"We have urged the Council to analyze and incorporate the findings of
the legislatively mandated flow reports by the Water Board and
Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Delta Protection Commission’s
Economic Sustainability Plan,” said Jennings. “Following an extensive
proceeding involving agencies, academia and non-governmental
organizations, the Water Board concluded that a substantial increase
in Delta outflow and a return to a more natural hydrograph were
necessary to protect public trust resources. The Delta Plan EIR
didn’t even consider that report as a major source of information.”
Dick Pool, Secretary of the Golden Gate Salmon Association,
criticized the failure of the plan to address the recovery needs of
Central Valley salmon.
"The salmon cannot be restored with only habitat changes in the
Delta," said Pool. "There is a large body of science including the
state and federal agencies that recognize that only a combination of
both upriver habitat and Delta actions can restore the salmon
populations. Delta operations, specifically the pumps in the South
Delta, with their strong impact on upstream water movements and
reservoir operations, severely impact the survival of juvenile salmon
above the Delta. The Delta Plan fails to address these issues."
Nicky Suard, owner of Snug Harbor Resorts on Steamboat Slough in the
Delta, summed up the lack of credible science in the Delta Plan when
she described it as "Salad Bowl Science," where the plan officials
"pick and choose" the science to justify their pre-determined goals.
"Don't pass this plan," Suard urged the Council. "It will destroy the
Delta and everything in it."
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