Delta and River Advocates Will Rally at Capitol to Oppose Maximizing Delta Exports; USBR Comment Meeting to Follow

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Klamath River Tribal Members, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, commercial and recreational fishing groups and Restore the Delta will hold a rally on Tuesday, January 23 in Sacramento to protest the Trump Administration’s plan to maximize Delta exports, followed by a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation public meeting to receive oral/written comments.

The rally will take place on the sidewalk outside 650 Capitol Mall at 1 p.m., while the public meeting will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Stanford Room, 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814.

A new proposal by the Trump Administration to maximize water deliveries to the Central Valley Project (CVP) and increase Delta pumping comes at a time when salmon runs and Delta smelt numbers have reached record lows. This proposal could impact flows on the Sacramento, Feather, American-San Joaquin, Trinity, and Klamath rivers.

“Last year, commercial and recreational salmon fishing were severely curtailed in California due to poor Klamath and Sacramento River salmon returns,” according to the organizers. “The Klamath River suffered the worst salmon return in history, which also effectively shut down Tribal subsistence and commercial fishing for California’s largest tribes.”

“The Delta smelt could be the first fish species to become extinct in the United States since the Endangered Species Act was signed in 1973. With only two Delta smelt identified in the last fish survey, state and federal agencies need to focus time, money, and energy on restoring smelt populations instead of turning up the pumps,” they said.

”The Trump Administration’s recent announcement to increase Delta exports to Central Valley farmers poses an imminent threat to California’s fish species. The Delta smelt is our small but mighty canary in the coal mine; it is an indicator of the health of the Delta ecosystem. If it goes, the future impacts to the health of humans and to other Delta fish and wildlife would be devastating,” they stated.

For more details on the public comment meeting January 23rd in Sacramento at the Capitol Mall, click here.

Noah Oppenheim, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, 415-561-5080,
Annelia Hillman, Klamath Justice Coalition & Yurok Tribal Member, 707-499-6061,
Regina Chichizola, Save California Salmon,  541 951-0126,

Press inquiries about impacts to fish should be directed to Noah Oppenheim

Press inquiries about impacts to Tribal members and Klamath fisheries should be directed to Annelia Hillman.

Press & advocate inquiries on rally and meeting logistics should be directed to Regina Chichizola. 

In addition to the public meeting on the Trump water proposal to be held in Chico on January  23, the Bureau will also hold a public scoping meeting in Room 210, Bell Memorial Union, CSU Chico, West 2nd St, between Hazel and Chestnut
on Thursday, January 25, 6pm to 8pm.

Written public comment due by February 1, 2018

Written public comment on this proposed water grab of Northern California and Delta water by the Trump administration and San Joaquin Valley growers is due on or before February 1, 2018.

You can sign this petition right now to stop the Trump administration plan that will kill the salmon, steelhead and other fish populations on the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Trinity, Klamath and other rivers:…

On December 29, the Bureau of Reclamation announced it will conduct an environmental analysis of potential modifications to the operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP), in coordination with California’s State Water Project, to “maximize water deliveries” and “optimize marketable power generation.”

In other words, the Trump administration wants to increase water exports to agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley at a time when the Delta smelt are near extinction and winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species are struggling to survive after decades of massive water deliveries.

“The CVP is a major water source for agricultural, municipal and industrial, and fish and wildlife demands in California,” according to the announcement from Reclamation. “State and federal regulatory actions and other agreements have significantly reduced the water available for delivery south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. This project will evaluate alternatives to restore water supply in consideration of all of the authorized purposes of the CVP.”

What Reclamation didn’t mention was that this proposal comes at a crucial time for fish populations on the Delta and the West Coast. In spite of a record water year in Northern California in 2017, the abundance of Delta smelt recorded in the state’s annual fall midwater survey (FMWT) is the lowest in the survey’s 50-year history.

Only two Delta smelt were collected at Delta index stations in October. One was from Suisun Bay and the other from the confluence of Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, reported James White, California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist, in a memo.

The agency collected the smelt, along with other five other pelagic (open water) species, in trawl nets at 100 index stations throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, from September 1 through December 13.

Maligned by agribusiness groups and San Joaquin Valley Republican Congressman as a “small minnow” supposedly standing in the way of deliveries of Delta water to irrigators, the Delta smelt is in fact a indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Delta ecosystem like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine.” More information:…

A Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), “Revisions to the Coordinated Long-term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and Related Facilities” was published in the Federal Register, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 and can be accessed at

Reclamation, headed by Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, is the lead federal agency and will request other agencies to participate as cooperating agencies. Reclamation is seeking comments by Feb. 1, 2018, that will be used to develop alternatives to the proposed action. Public scoping meetings will be scheduled for mid-January.

Written comments are due by close of business, Feb. 1, 2018, by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Katrina Harrison, project manager, Bureau of Reclamation, Bay-Delta Office, 801 I Street, Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814-2536; fax 916-414-2439; or email For additional information, please contact Harrison at 916-414-2425 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown continues to forge ahead with his environmentally destructive Delta Tunnels plan, a project that would likely result in the extinction of Delta and longfin smelt and Central Valley salmon and steelhead, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.