Local, State, and Federal Governments Failing to Protect Delta Residents from HABs

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2021

Contact: Mariah Looney, (209) 851-0270, mariah@restorethedelta.org

STOCKTON, CA – As reported by California State Water Resources Control Board staff, as of 7/27/21, there are more than two dozen outbreaks of harmful algal blooms (HABs) presently in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  

Most of these reported levels of cyanobacteria range between “cautionary” to “dangerous.” The majority of the outbreaks are occurring in San Joaquin and Contra Costa Counties, with two outbreaks identified in the Sacramento County portion of the Delta. (To track HABs in California use the bookmark here.)

Restore the Delta’s Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said:

“We commend State Water Resources Control Board staff for their extensive work and assistance in tracking the multiple HABs outbreaks in the Delta. Our disappointment lies with the Newsom Administration’s Department of Water Resources and the Biden Administrations’ Bureau of Reclamation for continuing to pursue water export policies that fail to acknowledge the need for cool freshwater flows in the estuary. Moreover, the state continues to fail to fully fund the California Water Boards so that they can enforce discharge standards to eliminate pollution, another source of HABs proliferation.  

“It’s only the end of July. What we are seeing is what we have experienced in recent years in September. What condition will the Delta be in by the end of this September? The present areas polluted by HABs are either dangerous or not fully safe for swimming, boating, fishing, or for contact for pets and wildlife. What will it take for the state to start regulating the causes of HABs conditions? The death of an individual? A massive fish kill? Ruined drinking water or irrigation water systems? Why can’t officials act before conditions worsen?

“While Contra Costa County does a good job with public notifications, San Joaquin County and the City of Stockton have dragged their feet on notifying the public of the dangers of HABs conditions. The City of Stockton has sat for weeks on notification from San Joaquin County Environmental Health to begin posting signs around dangerous waterways. While San Joaquin County Public Health got the word out last week, Environmental Health responded slowly to the California Water Boards in June. Restore the Delta sent a letter in March to San Joaquin County and City of Stockton officials warning of what was on the horizon. There is no excuse for the tardiness on their part in protecting public health.”

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