ICYMI 11/26/23Sites Fakery, Bay-Delta Plan Hearing, Calaveras River Levees

Column: This water project is expensive, wasteful and ecologically damaging. Why is it being fast-tracked? – Los Angeles Times 11/21/23
Newsom and other Sites advocates have tried to justify the project with flagrantly misleading statistics. As Newsom said when announcing his certification, the reservoir would hold “up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water, enough for 3 million households’ yearly usage.” That claim may have been accepted by some people who should know better, but it’s fakery, pure and simple. First, suggesting that the reservoir’s storage would serve “3 million households” is deceptive. As much as 80% of the water would be stored for the benefit of Central Valley growers, not urban residents.

1st Bay-Delta Hearing Panels – 11/17/23
Missed our panels from last week and need a break from eating turkey and watching football? We have conveniently split up the three Delta & Tribal panels from last week’s Bay-Delta Plan Hearing from the State Water Resources Control Board. They are loaded with information regarding water justice, flows, tribal beneficial uses, tribals water rights, harmful algal blooms, air and water quality and fisheries!
Tribal Engagement and Tribal Water Rights
With Vice Chair Malissa Tayaba, Gary Mulcahy, and Ivan Senock.
Tribal Beneficial Uses
With Krystal Moreno, Emily Moloney, Sherri Norris, and Sarah Ryan. 
Environmental Justice and Harmful Algal Blooms
Opening remarks from Tama Brisbane. With Zach Gigone, Spencer Fern, Gloria Alonso Cruz, and Cintia Cortez. 

Stockton residents concerned over Calaveras River levee erosion – ABC10 11/17/23
Over this past weekend, concern is growing for some people in Stockton’s Country Club neighborhood living along a levee still damaged in last winter’s storms.
The flowing water along the Calaveras River looks calm from the top of the River Drive levee, but erosion lurks just below.
‘With the floods back in January, there’s some definite erosion damage that has occurred,’ said Patti Brennan, who has lived along the river for eight years.

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!
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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