Action Alert: Stop Westlands from Draining the Delta!
by Dan Bacher
Don’t let the corporate welfare crybaby growers from the Westlands Water District pressure the water board to eviscerate environmental protections for California fisheries!
Restore the Delta has issued an urgent action alert calling everybody who cares about the Bay-Delta Estuary and the public trust to show up at the State Water Resources Control Board meeting at the Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, at 8 am to oppose the efforts by corporate agribusiness to override protections for California fisheries and to pump more Delta water for export.
“We understand that the Westlands Water District is organizing busloads of farmers and farmworkers to attend the State Water Resources Control Board Meeting on Wednesday, February 18, 2015,” according to the action alert. “They intend to demand that the State Water Resources Control Board abandons the few protections left in place to stop over pumping of the Delta during the drought.”
“What’s at stake? We are on the verge of losing Delta smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon, steelhead, and other Delta and coastal species. In addition, if any more pumping takes place beyond current minimal protection levels in the drought, water quality will deteriorate even more, which is bad news for Delta municipalities and farming communities.
“It is important that the State Water Resources Control Board understand that the commercial salmon, Delta farming, and Bay-Delta recreational economies worth many billions of dollars annually are at stake if the estuary collapses.
We must tell them while the current standards (which are called D1641) have never been fully adequate for the health of the estuary, but setting them aside so that three of California’s 58 counties can have any and all water during this prolonged drought is wrong.
The Delta is always doing without, and now Westlands is demanding what little water is left, even though their water rights are junior. King, Fresno and Kern Counties are not the only counties suffering in the drought. The estuary is in peril!”
Here is where we need you to be:
Joe Serna Jr. – Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento
As close to 8 a.m. as possible. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.
Be ready to remind the board of the Delta’s right to water that meets water quality standards that are set by law!
On the same day, Delta fishing, community leaders, and state water experts will hold a news conference outside the scheduled State Water Resources Control Board meeting to protest a push by Westlands Water District, other Federal and State Water Contractors, and their political allies to further overpump the Delta for export water.
“Thus far, the SWRCB has enforced an inadequate standard that fails to protect Salmon, Delta smelt and other fisheries, yet Federal and State water contractors are seeking additional waivers from meeting this less than ideal standard which would result in the permanent destruction of Winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, and other fisheries,” according to a media advisory from Restore the Delta. “The SWRCB needs to at least hold the line on this less than ideal standard because fishery agencies are failing to stop the permanent loss of these species.”
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta said, “The latest push by Sen. Feinstein on behalf of Westlands Water District would exterminate Winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta smelt and steelhead, mainly to benefit a small number of huge corporate agribusinesses on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. If there are no fish, then there are no protections for fish needed, and the greedy mega-growers can grab all the water for three of California’s drought stricken counties.”
Who: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Ex. Dir., Restore the Delta
Mike Jackson, Water Law Attorney, California Water Impact Network
Bill Jennings, Ex. Dir., California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
Fishers, Farmers, and additional policy experts available for questions
When: 1:00 pm, Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Where: Outside Cal EPA, 1001 I Street, Sacramento
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; 916/956-4592-cell; firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @shopcraft
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 email@example.com; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta