Groups file formal protests with State Water Board over tunnels permits

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As Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species continued to plummet to record low population levels in 2015, Governor Jerry Brown forged ahead with his salmon-killing plan to build the Delta Tunnels.

In 2016, the long battle to stop Delta Tunnels, renamed the “California WaterFix” last year, has moved to a “new venue,” as Alex Breitler reported in The Stockton Record. (http://www.recordnet.com/article/20160103/NEWS/160109986/-1/A_BIZ)

On January 5, Restore the Delta and numerous coalition partners filed either formal protests or notices of intent to make formal statements with the State Water Resources Control Board to oppose permitting to change the point of water diversion in the Sacramento River to allow for Delta Tunnels to be built, according to a news release from Restore the Delta (RTD). (https://s3.amazonaws.com/californiawater/pdfs/n44id_Complete_Final_CA_Water_Fix_WR_Change_Petition.pdf)

Photo of Delta smelt courtesy of California Department of Water Resources
Photo of Delta smelt courtesy of California Department of Water Resources

“Farmers, fishermen, business, environmental, community and environmental justice leaders from throughout the region and the state recognize that the impacts of diverting the Sacramento River from the north end of the Bay-Delta estuary via the tunnels will wreak havoc on fish, wildlife, farming, business and public health needs and industries within the estuary,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “Our intent is through science, economics, and law to put a stop to the Delta tunnels once and for all.”

Groups filing notices include: African American Chamber of Commerce, San Joaquin County, Asian Pacific Self Development and Residential Association, Braceros Del Delta, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (ret), Café Coop, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Striped Bass Association, California Student Sustainability Coalition, California Water Impact Network, Central Valley Asian Chamber of Commerce, Delta Chamber of Commerce, Delta Fly Fishers, Earth Law Center, Assemblymember Susan Eggman, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, Senator Cathleen Galgiani, Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, LAND, Lao Family Community Empowerment, Lower Sherman Island Duck Hunters Association, North Delta Cares, Planning and Conservation League, Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller (ret), San Joaquin County, Semillas, Sherman Island Duck Hunters, Sierra Club California, Social Media Moms, Stockton Downtown Comeback Club and Visit Stockton.

The groups filed the notices after a devastating year when both Delta and longfin Smelt reached record low population levels — and when over 95 percent of winter-run Chinook salmon perished in the upper section of the Sacramento River due to lethally warm water conditions for the second year in a row.

The tunnels would not only hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and Longfin smelt and green sturgeon, but would imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

For more information on the dismal results of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fall Midwater Trawl Survey, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/05/1466156/-Delta-Smelt-and-other-fish-species-plummet-to-record-low-levels