Environmental Water Caucus comments on fifth draft of Delta Plan

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
Bill Jennings, Chairman
Executive Director
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
3536 Rainier Avenue
Stockton, CA 95204
p: 209-464-5067
c: 209-938-9053
f: 209-464-1028
e: deltakeep@me.com
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 30, 2011
The Delta Plan, recently produced by the Delta Stewardship Council, will affect virtually every citizen and every part of our state, and it will largely shape the water landscape of California for decades to come.  It will guide the path to restoring one of the world’s great estuaries or write its obituary.  It will determine the future abundance of our fisheries and the quality of our waters from the Sierra to the Sea and from the Oregon to the Mexican borders.
An astonishing array of more than 200 environmental, environmental justice, tribal, and commercial and recreational fishing organizations has responded to the Plan: It is seriously deficient; it does little more than maintain the status quo; it will not achieve the “co-equal” goals of the enabling legislation; and it will cost the state billions of dollars more than we need to spend; and it does nothing to balance public trust values – one of the foundations of state water management policy.
This massive coalition of grassroots organizations has responded in a formal letter to the Delta Stewardship Council with these and other recommendations, which are included in the Environmental Water Caucus’ ground-breaking report:  California Water Solutions Now.
·      In order to recover the health of the Bay-Delta ecosystems and its fisheries, scientifically developed criteria that would allow increased flows through the Delta must be established.  Water exports from the Delta must be decreased and current federal and state water contract levels must be reduced in keeping with a safe, healthy, and reliable supply.
·      In order to compensate for reduced exports from the Delta, the state must sponsor a long-term, aggressive water efficiency program state wide that would apply to both urban and agricultural users.  The favorable economics of water efficiencies and water recycling have been proven and would be billions of dollars less expensive for the state than constructing major new conveyance facilities through the Delta or major new storage dams.
·      In order to further reduce the export pressures on the Delta, thousands of acres of impaired and pollution-generating farmlands south of the Delta must be retired from irrigation and turned into more sustainable and profitable uses, such as solar energy generation.
·      Delta levees must be improved beyond the current US Army Corps of Engineer standards in order to address potential earthquake and future sea level rise concerns.  The reinforcement of core levees beyond current standards is estimated to cost $1 to $2 billion and is orders-of-magnitude less expensive that major conveyance projects that are currently being contemplated by state and federal planners.
·      The Delta ecosystems and wildlife cannot be restored without major reductions of pollutants that are currently being poured into the Delta or without a significant program of habitat improvements for the Delta.
The coalition’s Comments Letter on the Fifth Draft of the Delta Plan, which includes the names of the 200 plus supporters and their logos as well as the full set of recommendations, can be viewed at the Environmental Water Caucus web site: www.ewccalifornia.org.
·      Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, Barbara@restorethedelta.org, 209 479-2053
·      Jonas Minton, Planning and Conservation League, jminton@pcl.org (916) 719-4049
·      Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Deltakeep@me.com, 209-464-5067
·      Dr. Mark Rockwell, Endangered Species Coalition, Federation of Fly Fishers, mrockwell@stopextinction.org, 530 432-0100
·      Debbie Davis, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Debbie@ejcw.org, 916 743-4406
·      Tom Stokely, California Water Impact Network, tstokely@att.net, 530-524-0315
·      David Nesmith, Environmental Water Caucus, ewc@davidnesmith.com, 510-893-1330
·      Nick Di Croce, Lead Author: California Water Solutions Now, troutnk@aol.com
To read the full comments on the fifth draft, Badlands suggests that readers go to the following site: 
Golden Gate Salmon Association