The Delta – A Place of Community, History and Nature
Former Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan, speaking for the Board of Supervisors of the five Delta Counties, wrote a Sacramento Bee commentary in 2009, “Attempts to address Delta issues will be unsuccessful without local involvement and ultimately without relying on those at the local level to make it happen…. We want the entire State to understand that the Delta is not a blank slate. People live here. People work here.”
We are those people. We recognize that the water, flood protection, economic, and environmental issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are substantial and complex. Although the State-led planning processes (Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), Twin Tunnels/California WaterFix) have held numerous public meetings where Delta residents, businesspeople, recreationists, farmers, and people throughout California stated our concerns and shared our knowledge, experience and ideas, little of our input has been included in the State planners’ solutions. Their current plans are nearly the same as their initial plans.
The Peripheral Canal was voted down by the citizens of California in 1982. The current California WaterFix is only a modification of the same plan – a massive diversion of water from the Delta. Without sufficient freshwater flow, the Delta will die. The effects on Delta communities and farms – some 6th and 7th generation – will be devastating. The effects on our native fish and wildlife will be equally devastating.
- The State and Federal water projects have exported too much water from the Delta, causing the severe decline in the estuary’s ecological health.
- California’s water has been mismanaged and over-allocated for decades. California must learn to live within the means of our real water supply.
- Those who live closest to the Delta’s lands and waters are its most passionate and best-informed stewards. Therefore we do not support efforts that lead to the de-population of the Delta, or a large-scale transfer of Delta lands from private to public hands.
- Without ongoing input and support from Delta residents at every level, attempts to improve the Delta’s ecological health and water supply will fail.
- The Delta is a resilient ecosystem. With better stewardship and adequate freshwater flows, the Delta ecosystem can regenerate.
- All Californians have a right to safe, clean drinking water.
- Legislators, planners, state and federal agencies, water contractors, environmentalists, the Governor and the public need to recognize that natural systems, even degraded ones, will not be nurtured through solutions driven by politics.
- The Twin Tunnels/California WaterFix and any plan that diverts water around the Delta for export to other regions.
- Any alteration or abolishment of presently held water rights of any type in the Delta.
- New Delta regional government structures – unless people living in the primary zone of the Delta, elected by primary zone residents, have seats at a 1:1 ratio of primary zone residents to non primary zone residents at each decision-making level. We oppose any government structure comprised of an appointed or unaccountable body of members who take action in the Delta without due consideration of the effect of those actions on the lives and livelihoods of the thousands who call the Delta home.
- Plans that seek to return the Delta lands and hydrologic features to a flooded state.
- Only water exports from Northern California and the Delta in excess of the present and future human and environmental needs of this region. Providing a reliable water supply for all Californians and improving the health of the Delta can be accomplished by managing our water resources more responsibly.
- Making the Delta levee system more structurally sound and continuing the long successful Subventions Program that supports Delta reclamation districts. These districts have deep knowledge of their local levees and how they work together as a complete system. The districts also have the advantage of working with neighboring districts to complete larger projects.
- Protecting endangered fish and wildlife species.
- Adopting standards of water quality and quantity that reverse the Delta’s ecological decline. Current standards are failing to protect fish, wildlife and beneficial uses of the estuary’s water. The State Water Resources Control Board is required to review and update its Water Quality Control Plan every three years – but has not done so substantively since 1995. Worse, the Board has relaxed water quality standards during the drought, risking extinction of multiple native fish species. We call upon the Board to adopt – and enforce – water quality standards that protect the Delta’s fish, wildlife, farms and communities.
- Aggressive statewide water conservation, groundwater recharge and wastewater recycling. We encourage the State to promote drip irrigation and provide financial assistance to farmers to help offset the cost of installation.
- Expanded, additional water storage in Central and Southern California for wet-year capture of excess runoff water. Tulare Lake Basin is an example of existing storage infrastructure that is not being used.
- Construction of fish habitat restoration projects and other ecological improvements based on sound science and fiscal responsibility, and placed on public land or private land with the willing consent of the property owners.
- Due process given to landowners, businesses, residents and other interested parties in any Delta projects. We encourage the State to work with us to create responsible solutions that will benefit the entire state while protecting the Delta.
- Protecting and enhancing the social, cultural, economic and ecological viability of the Delta including:
- Delta agriculture and supporting businesses
- Delta reclamation districts
- Delta tourism, recreation, boating and fishing industries
- Delta community infrastructure and services including civic organizations, fire districts, school systems, and communities of faith
- The Central Valley Flood Protection Board that protects Delta levees and the present levee system in its entirety
Thank you for taking the time to learn about North Delta CARES. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at (530) 570-9641 or firstname.lastname@example.org