[env-trinity] Trinity Journal Editorial: Drop Dead: Delta plans offer no Trinity protections

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed May 29 08:27:38 PDT 2013

Drop Dead: Delta plans offer no Trinity protections

Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 6:15 am
After President Gerald Ford gave a 1975 speech denying federal assistance to spare New York from bankruptcy, a famous New York Daily News headline declared “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
Nearly four decades later Trinity County is getting the same message from the California Delta Stewardship Council, which claims its proposed Delta Plan and sister Bay-Delta Conservation Plan will have no effect on the Trinity watershed.
A large herd of cows doesn’t produce as much excrement as is contained in that claim. Especially if Gov. Jerry Brown’s ill-fated twin tunnels plan gets built. Only a fool believes the state would build two large conveyance tunnels without seeking additional sources of water.
The Stewardship Council all but ignored the Trinity County Board of Supervisors’ requests to include protections for the Trinity River and its county of origin rights; in fact, the Trinity River watershed barely gets a mention. Nor did any North State county receive much better treatment.
The council may not realize that Trinity Lake serves a multitude of purposes, from flood control and water storage to generating electricity to providing cold, crisp water for the Trinity River and its fisheries. It is also a tourism magnet for Trinity County. That they have a Central Valley Project straw into it doesn’t mean they can suck it dry.
The county rightfully recommended that the Delta Plan include specific protections for the waters of the Trinity River basin, including conformance with minimum instream flows set forth in the Trinity River Record of Decision; compliance with Trinity River temperature objectives to protect fisheries; a requirement to maintain a minimum Sept. 30 carryover storage in Trinity Lake of 1.25 million acre-feet of water to sustain fisheries during a multi-year drought; and elimination of so-called “paper water” by conforming the amount available for export to the Central Valley to the river’s actual water supply.
Many groups, including California Water Impact Network, argued that the Delta Plan as currently drafted would adversely affect Trinity River basin recreation, fisheries, hydropower and water quality, but there is no acknowledgement of the impacts nor any kind of mitigation identified in the plan.
Instead we get cookie-cutter responses that the Delta Plan does not directly or indirectly affect actions that occur in the Trinity River watershed and “no significant environmental impacts would occur due to implementation of the Delta Plan.”
Even the draft Bay-Delta Conservation Plan grudgingly acknowledges the likelihood of less carryover storage in Trinity Lake 18 percent of the time. But that plan, too, uses a copy-and-paste “no significant environmental impact” paragraph for all North State reservoirs.
While their focus has been rightfully directed on the Delta, given its importance in conveying water for multiple uses throughout much of the state, we don’t think it too much to ask that those assembling these reports glance northward toward where a good portion of their supply comes from.
Or are we to “Drop Dead” also?
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