Action alert: Bad federal drought legislation is back.

Dear Restore the Delta friends, 

It's back! We've been keeping track on federal drought legislation that will have horrible impacts on the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas. The latest news article here indicates we need to act fast.

We do not have bill numbers/titles yet for the House or Senate versions of the two bills, but we do know that the most recent House draft will harm west coast salmon, override key environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act, and will ruin Delta water quality for all Bay-Delta users (farmers, drinking water, native fish, wildlife refuges).

The House bill is fast tracked in the Natural Resources Committee for quick passage for hearing at the Senate Energy Committee on June 2nd. While there is no bill number yet, we need you to move quickly in letting U.S. senators and our own senators aware of your position on federal drought legislation. 

Please call these Senators of the Senate Energy Committee:
Chairman/Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK): 202-224-6665
Senator Maria Cantwell (WA): (202) 224-3441
Senator Ron Wyden (OR): (202) 224-5244
Senator Mazie K. Hironi (HI): (202) 224-6361
Senator Cory Gardner (CO): (202) 224-5941
And of course: 
Senator Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA):  (202) 224-3841
Senator Barbara Boxer (CA): (202) 224-3841

Tell them: "The San Francisco-Bay Delta estuary, the nursery for coastal fisheries, the San Francisco Tourist Economy, and the source of life for 4 million Delta residents must be protected from over pumping." Watch this video for more details on what you can say. 

Yours in Service,

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director

 

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Catch up on Delta water & the tunnels with these important media alerts!

Dear Restore the Delta friends, 

A heartfelt thank you to all the good Delta people who sat through 9 hours of the State Water Board workshop on the TUCP and Delta drought measure to advocate for the Delta. Your testimony is part of the public record and weighs into their decision making. We are grateful for your thoughtful, caring analysis. Well Done!

Please check out these important news of interest below on Delta water and the Governor's tunnels plan.  

  • First, Delta farmers volunteered to cut their water use by 25% yesterday at the State Water Board workshop, read at San Francisco Chronicle, "Delta farmers offer to take 25 percent less water."

    "The delta, which marks the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, boasts more than 100 crops, with alfalfa, grapes, tomatoes and almonds among the staples.

    “We’re also trying to help,” Herrick added, noting that some growers realize they haven’t been hit by the drought as hard as others and want to make a concession. “It’s nice to have delta farmers cast in a good light.” 

  • Our press release with statements to the State Water Resources Control Board Water Board, "Gov. Brown Trampling Laws, Water Quality & Habitat Under Cover of Drought Emergency."

    "The California drought is a fifty-eight county drought,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director for Restore the Delta. 

    “Previous workshops in front of the SWRCB have focused primarily on efforts to get water to a handful of the 58 counties in California, and less than equal time has been spent on the impacts of drought management on the five Delta counties, Delta fisheries, threatened species, and water quality standards. The five Delta Counties are donor counties to the water export system, and have already suffered the negative impacts from the export of hundreds of millions of acre-feet of water over decades.."
     

  • In case you missed it: Our op-ed in the East Bay Express, "The Bipartisan Opposition to the Tunnels."

    "Fighting with a well-liked governor with whom we agree on many issues has not been easy. While our board of directors and membership base is politically left, right, and center, my team members and I are unabashed environmental progressives. Our staffers are registered Democrats and Greens, challenging a much-loved Democrat. Many of our members, meanwhile, are conservative Republicans and libertarians. United by our common opposition to the twin tunnels, both staffers and members muffle our personal views daily to keep our coalition united."
     

  • And lastly, watch and share our new video release "Water is Life: Will it be San Joaquin Valley almonds or the Bay-Delta estuary?

Yours in Service,

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director

 

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WATCH: Will it be San Joaquin Valley almonds or the Bay-Delta estuary?

We released a short video on You Tube to make our drought concerns accessible to the public, calling for favoritism to end in the Brown Administration’s handling of drought measures and efforts to move forward with the Delta tunnels. Watch the video below.

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Gov. Brown Trampling Laws, Water Quality & Habitat Under Cover of Drought Emergency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 [email protected]; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Tunnels Opponents: Gov. Brown Trampling Laws, Water Quality & Habitat
Under Cover of Drought Emergency

No Permit to Build Barrier; No Water Quality Protection;
Ineffective Effort to Protect Endangered Garter Snake

Stockton, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build massive underground water tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, along with its partners today made the following statement to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) regarding drought impacts, the installation of a drought barrier in the Delta, and violations of Delta water quality standards since the beginning of the year.

“The California drought is a fifty-eight county drought,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director for Restore the Delta. “Previous workshops in front of the SWRCB have focused primarily on efforts to get water to a handful of the 58 counties in California, and less than equal time has been spent on the impacts of drought management on the five Delta counties, Delta fisheries, threatened species, and water quality standards. The five Delta Counties are donor counties to the water export system, and have already suffered the negative impacts from the export of hundreds of millions of acre-feet of water over decades. This board determined in 2010 that greater outflows to the San Francisco Bay were needed for the protections of the estuary. Yet, the pumps have yet to be turned off one day in over four years of drought. The negative impacts of over pumping the estuary are now being exacerbated by drought emergency measures, and federal water quality standards are being violated on a daily basis.”

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance’s Bill Jennings added, “The State Board Drought orders are an execution warrant for Central Valley fisheries. It is an unreasonable use of water to send species into extinction and hijack water from the environment, areas where water originates, and urban communities, simply to supply junior water rights holders in the desert with vast quantities of water to irrigate crops that produce relatively little revenue and few jobs.”

The priorities of the State are evident in the inadequate steps taken to protect the endangered giant garter snake during drought barrier construction at False River. Photos taken during barrier construction show that DWR installed a 150-foot-long fence along the road surrounded by open fields that extend for 7 miles around the island.

Barrigan-Parrilla explained, “It is laughable to think that a small fence will protect the threatened snake from slithering into equipment and materials during construction. The snake can go, and has already gone, around this cloth fence. Additional historical documents show that the False River Barrier is being constructed exactly where their habitat is located on Bradford Island. If the State cannot follow the laws in place or use good sense and judgment to get this small project right from the start, how can anyone believe that they will they protect the dozens of endangered species that live in the Delta, like the giant garter snake, while staging 35 miles of around-the-clock construction for 10 years to build Governor Brown’s water tunnels?”

Restore the Delta also released a short video on You Tube to make their drought concerns accessible to the public, calling for favoritism to end in the Brown Administration’s handling of drought measures and efforts to move forward with the Delta tunnels. The video can be seen here.

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Action Alert: We need your public comment at the Water Board’s 5/20 Workshop!

Dear Restore the Delta friends,

We need your attendance and public comment at a public workshop held by the State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday.  The Board wants to use the workshop to receive public input regarding its drought related activities in the Bay Delta watershed.
 
To date, the Board has been letting its executive director, Tom Howard, issue “temporary urgency change petition” (“TUCP”) decisions allowing state and federal water projects to get out from under established water quality protections for the Delta in order to smooth over the projects’ mismanagement of their water supplies.
 
While some of the TUCP order’s provisions are intended to protect endangered runs of Chinook salmon upstream, they have reduced and will reduce further flow and water quality in the Delta this summer. Delta smelt may not survive in the wild from this summer’s warm temperatures and its shrunken open water habitat.
 
Board members have gone along with Mr. Howard’s decisions so far this year and last. It appears this workshop is to provide Board members and staff (including Mr. Howard) with an opportunity to learn more about the effects of the Board’s TUCP orders.
 
Right now our Delta is already in an unhealthy state due to the drought and the continual relaxation of Delta flow and water quality standards. The Board’s TUCP orders have allowed water exports to continue going to growers in the south and west Central Valley, while very little water has gone to protect our public trust resource, the Delta. Exports for health and safety needs of cities and counties served by the state and federal projects have also been allowed, but have not been tracked to ensure the water gets where it is needed.
 
What is galling about the TUCP orders is that they weaken existing flow and water quality standards that were already known to fail at protecting endangered fish and wildlife in the Delta. Their further weakening  contributes to the continuing collapse of the Delta and our regional fisheries and economy, as well as encourage invasive species to thrive in bad Delta water conditions (like the water hyacinth and later in the summer, toxic blue-green algae blooms).
 
Extinction is forever.
 
Last year Board staff recognized that because they allowed a similar petition to change flow standards  to go through, 95% of winter run salmon were killed – but growers in the west and south San Joaquin valley are pushing and attacking Board staff to allow more water to be pumped, not taking into account the hugely adverse impact on Delta communities.
 
So far the voices of San Joaquin Valley growers have dominated past Board workshops. We have not had enough people to represent the Delta’s story to the Board.
 
Can you commit to joining us on May 20, Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. in Sacramento? Joe Serna, Jr. – Cal/EPA Headquarters Building Coastal Hearing Room 1001 I Street, Second Floor Sacramento, CA
 
We need you to sign up (using a blue card, which the Board makes available at the back of the meeting hall) and to make a 2 minute public comment introducing yourself, explaining how the TUCP or drought will/has negatively impact you  and explaining how increased pumping (that this petition will enable) will threaten our Delta communities, economies, and ecosystem.
 
The building is fully disabled accessible, with elevators and accessible seating in the hearing room.
 
We will be there with snacks and any help you may need to make this process as easy and accessible as possible for you. If you like, we can be available to read through your prepared public comment (feel free to e-mail or call us at 209-475-9550 for any guidance), thank you.

To see our suggested talking points on the “TUCP,” click here.

If you absolutely cannot attend the meeting, you could submit a public comment via post or e-mail to the board.

You should address correspondence to:

Jeanine Townsend, Clerk of the Board
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 2000
Sacramento, CA 95812-2000

Email can be sent to Jeanine Townsend at:

[email protected]

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