The Single Delta Tunnel Is Still Bad for Fish, People and the Ecosystem

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The map graphic posted to the left shows how the “new” Single Tunnel Plan that would be constructed under the Delta “is the same as the old plan. And what is different (not much),” according to Jan McCleery, past president of the Save the California Delta Alliance (STCDA).

“The only difference is a possible new Eastern route which goes a bit more around-the-Delta than through it. But other than a swath of purple on a map, there are no details yet about construction impacts with an Eastern tunnel route,” she said.

“Otherwise, the same construction impacts exists at the North intakes and along the old Through-Delta route (still an option). In addition, regardless of tunnel route, the construction will leave behind muck in the Delta plus the same long-term water quality issues exist,” McCleery concluded.

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The Gavin Newsom Administration formally began the planning process for a controversial single tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta when the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its Delta Conveyance Notice of Preparation on January 15, 2020.

So far, the Department of Water Resources has held five public scoping meetings in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Walnut Grove, San Jose and Stockton on the recently released Notice of Preparation (NOP) for its proposal to “modernize water infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta” — build the Delta Tunnel.

“The NOP signals the start of the scoping period, providing an opportunity for public and agency comment on the scope and content of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, including the potential environmental impacts of a proposed single tunnel conveyance project and range of alternatives that will be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Informational materials, including a new overview fact sheet, can be found here,” according to the notice from DWR.

In meeting after meeting, the public, including members of California Tribes, fishermen, environmentalists, conservationists, recreational boaters, business owners, family farmers and Delta residents and landowners have turned out to oppose the Delta Tunnel because of the catastrophic impact the tunnel would have on people, fish, wildlife and the ecosystem.

In the Sacramento meeting, Northern California Tribal members, supporters, and members of the Hoopa High School water protector club traveled to ask the state of California to protect the Trinity and Sacramento Rivers and to schedule meetings in Northern California on the Governor’s proposed Delta Conveyance Project. Due to their persistence, the state finally agreed to hold a meeting in Redding on March 2.

Also at the Sacramento meeting, Chief Caleen Sisk from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe  voiced her concern that the tunnel project is connected to the controversial Shasta Dam raise. She said that the building of the Shasta Dam did not benefit her people in any way, but it did flood 26 miles of their land.

“The dam made us jobless and homeless, now they are talking about raising the Shasta Dam for the second time, that has to be connected to these tunnels, because they are not talking about shutting down the current fish killing diversions. They are only talking about taking more water,” said Chief Sisk.

The construction of the tunnel would hasten the extinction of Sacramento winter and spring run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead fisheries on the Klamath and Trinity rivers, according to fish advocates.

According to the documents, the state will consider a tunnel that would divert 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water from the Sacramento River. Tunnels with the capacity to divert 3,000 cfs to 7,500 cfs will also be considered as alternatives.

Information on the remaining public scoping meeting dates, locations and times can be found  below:

Thursday, February 20, 2020
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Brentwood Community Ctr, Conference Room
35 Oak Street
Brentwood, CA 94513

REDDING: The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has scheduled an additional scoping meeting in Redding, CA for the Delta Conveyance Project. Date: March 2, Time: 6pm – 8pm, Place: Sheraton Redding Hotel, 820 Sundial Bridge Drive, Redding, CA 96001

In addition to the scoping meetings, comments can be submitted by email to: or mail to: Delta Conveyance Scoping Comments, Attn: Renee Rodriguez, Department of Water Resources, P.O. Box 942836, Sacramento, CA 94236.

Agenda for each scoping meeting:

*Doors open for check-in 30 minutes prior to the listed meeting start time so presentations can begin promptly.

Welcome/Meeting Format – Janet Barbieri, Facilitator (5 minutes)
DWR is seeking agency and public input on the scope of issues to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and input about alternatives that meet the project’s objective

Presentation – Carrie Buckman, Environmental Program Manager, Department of Water Resources (30 minutes)
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Overview
Notice of Preparation (NOP) Details
Scoping Process and Public Involvement
Opportunity to ask clarifying questions related to the scoping process or contents of the NOP

Comment Session (1 hour 25 minutes)
Commenters will have three minutes to provide verbal comment that will be entered into the record

Comments may also be submitted in several ways:
In writing at the meeting
Mail: Department of Water Resources
Attn: Renee Rodriguez
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236

All comments received during the scoping period will be considered in the development of the Draft EIR

Anyone interested in more information concerning the EIR process, or anyone who has information concerning the study or suggestions as to significant issues, should contact Marcus Yee at (916) 651-6736.…/delta-conveyance-additional-…/…