ICYMI 11/19/23: Water Storage, Manteca’s Climate Threat, “Streamlining” Sites Reservoir

Where’s our water? A look at California’s storage problem– BakersfieldNow 11/15/23
In 2014, California voters passed a proposition using $7.5 billion dollars in state funds to expand water storage capacity. Nearly 10 years later, people say not much has come from the vote. The main focus on their minds is the failure to expand Shasta Dam.
…So what’s the problem with raising the dam? Jon Rosenfield, Science Director at San Francisco Baykeeper, says a whole lot.
“Raising that dam is going to have negative impacts,” Rosenfield said.
First, Rosenfield suggests that California has too many water deliveries to hold significant reserves that an expanded Shasta Dam would collect.
“When there is water to use, it will get used,” Rosenfield said. “There are more water rights, rights to divert water than there is water. You are not going to have it in reserve.”
Rosenfield said that expanding the dam could inundate a Wild and Scenic River (McCloud River) and flood holy sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

Flood Biggest Climate Change Threat to Manteca – Manteca Bulletin 11/15/23
The state-mandated climate change action plan Manteca is creating might seem a bit of an abstract when it comes to the effect of greenhouse gas.
What isn’t is the No. 1 climate threat facing Manteca — flooding.
And it’s flooding frequency that is expected to rise.
…Manteca — along with Lathrop, Stockton, and San Joaquin County — have been working to address the issue long before climate change entered the everyday vernacular.
The $270.7 million 200-year-flood protection upgrades that are now moving forward to protect Lathrop as well as parts of Manteca and Stockton are being financed primarily with fees and taxes in growth.

Environmentalists blast Newsom again, this time for ‘streamlining’ Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley – SN&R News 11/15/23 
Despite strong opposition from indigenous tribes, fishing groups and conservation organizations, Governor Gavin Newsom took action in early November to fast-track the Sites Reservoir project, utilizing “new tools” from the controversial infrastructure streamlining package to “build more faster.”  
…The certification by the Governor follows an official protest against the water rights application and petitions of the Sites Project Authority for the proposed Sites Reservoir filed on August 31 by Friend of the River and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, along with a coalition of tribes and environmental organizations including Restore the Delta.
According to the protest, “Sites Reservoir’s negative environmental impact is the result of impaired timing, temperature and volume of flows in the Sacramento River and Delta, increased concentration of toxic metals, the formation of harmful algae blooms, and the immense greenhouse gas emissions Sites will create.”

Take Action! 
Bay-Delta Plan Hearings (Registration Deadline Extended!)
Restore the Delta and partners have been advocating through petitions filed with the State Water Resources Control Board, and with US EPA, for movement by the State Water Board to finish the Bay-Delta Plan. While we wait for implementation of Phase I (San Joaquin River flows) which was approved December 2018 and delayed due to the “voluntary agreements” process, the Delta has suffered for decades without updated water quality and flow standards that protect communities, culture, fisheries, recreation, and agriculture. 

Please join us in helping advocate for an improved Bay-Delta estuary! 

WHO: State Water Resources Control Board Public Hearings 

WHAT: Public Hearings (Panels and Individual Comments) for Phase II of the Bay-Delta Plan. Staff Report, which focuses on Sacramento River flows. Here is a link to the 5000-plus page report.  

WHEN: November 17th, 9:30 am; December 1st, 9:30 am; and December 11th, 12:00 pm. Time has been changed from 4:00 pm to 12:00 pm for the December 11th hearing.

WHERE: Cal EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento or attend on Zoom. 

HOW: You can organize a panel to make comments or speak individually. Panels are 20 minutes in length; individual comments are 3 minutes (about 250 to 300 words when drafting). The State Water Board, however, is only allowing individuals to speak once, either on a panel or individually over the course of the 3 days. 

The State Water Board changed individual comment speaking times from 5 to 3 minutes in part with the December 11th hearing date being longer. 

Registration to comment has been extended, you may register up until the hearing day you wish to participate in. 

Note, the State Water Board said that panel presentations (not individual comments) should be identified by November 3 if possible, or soon thereafter, to ensure adequate time is allotted for those presentations over the 3 hearing days. 

Here is the link to register.   

WHY: The Staff Report for the Bay-Delta Plan contains the “voluntary agreements” – a private, incomplete, and discriminatory process – in which most Californians were left out of having a say in water allocations and river and Bay-Delta protections – not to mention the disparate impacts these agreements will cause for tribal and environmental justice communities. 

Additionally, the Staff Report doesn’t contain a proposed project, but rather, a recommended alternative with options, through which the Board can put together a Bay-Delta Plan that serves political interests, rather than science-based objectives to restore our fisheries and environmental health. 


1. As currently drafted, the Plan is incomplete and inadequate for fisheries and the overall health of the Bay-Delta estuary. 

2. A proposed alternative of 55% unimpaired flows for the Sacramento River with a range of 45-65%, will not save native fisheries, and fisheries will continue to slide into extinction. While there isn’t a stable proposed project because Board members are being offered alternatives with additional a la carte management options, 65% minimum unimpaired flows gets us closer to fish recovery, and 75% is the best based on established science. There is no plan of implementation for the proposed alternative which should have been finished over the last five years. 

3. There is no harmful algal bloom standard to protect people who come in contact with waterways. There isn’t a real strategy for how harmful algal blooms will be tracked, identified, and mitigated. 

4. The voluntary agreements, which are offered as an option, do not set water quality objectives — so the voluntary agreements cannot meet the objectives of the Bay-Delta Plan. 

5. The voluntary agreements, as included in this draft, do not include an implementation plan, meaning that the public will have to comment on implementation later. This keeps us in a perpetual cycle of reacting to a Bay-Delta that is never finished. 

6. Beneficial uses are identified in this plan, i.e., agriculture, fisheries, recreation, drinking water, but the Plan does not define Tribal Beneficial Uses, which is a continuation of discriminatory practices. 

7. The Staff Report only looked at groundwater and drinking water, not cultural or recreational uses. The Environmental Justice analysis for the Delta is inadequate seeing it doesn’t cover 72 small drinking water systems. 

8. The voluntary agreements do not address cold water pools upstream needed for fisheries and do not contain storage thresholds. 

9. The Staff Report does identify the beneficial uses of a healthy river and estuary, and healthy fisheries within the cost-benefit analysis. Cost benefits are mostly related to water exports.

Delta Co-Op – Space Available
Restore the Delta has workshare space available for environmental and social justice organizations and positive environmental/sustainable businesses! Located in Stockton, near the Port of Stockton and I-5, our facility includes a conference room with hybrid meeting capability, ample parking, multiple kitchens, bathrooms, and great partner organizations to collaborate with on a regular basis. We also offer a large community meeting room. 
The Delta Co-Op has 4 workstations available presently with access to all facilities and storage (designated closet/cabinet areas) for $300 per month. Our community meeting room is also available to rent for specific events and includes a kitchenette. The community meeting room can be rented for $300 for 8 hours or $150 for 4 hours. 
Contact Mariah Looney today to learn more about the Delta Co-Op and to schedule a tour. Mariah can be reached at Mariah@restorethedelta.org, or 209-479-2559. 

Restore the Delta has new merch!
Restore the Delta is excited to announce that new merch is available! Shop for the holiday season for family, friends, and loved ones who share a fondness of the Delta!  

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