CSPA Strong after 40 Years: We Will Not Surrender this Delta!

The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance celebrated its fortieth birthday in 2023.  CSPA’s year of birth, 1983, was one year after California voters voted down the “peripheral canal” to divert water around the Delta.

CSPA’s mission to protect fisheries, habitat, and water quality is a good idea that lives on.

Unfortunately, the Department of Water Resources’ obsession to divert fresh Sacramento River around the Delta is a bad idea that just won’t die.

From about 2006 to 2014, it was recalled to life as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, or BDCP.

From 2015 to 2018, DWR jauntily rebranded it the “California WaterFix,” aka the “twin tunnels.”

Now, certified by DWR in December 2023, it’s the Environmental Impact Report for the “Delta Conveyance Project.”  Soon to follow is another massive water rights hearing.

DWR says it’s about a single tunnel around and under the Delta.

CSPA says it’s a project to convey the Delta straight to hell.

CSPA needs your support to drive a stake back into the heart of the project that once again rises from the dead.  Please join CSPA, renew your membership, and/or make your year-end donation to CSPA today!  It’s all tax-deductible.  And it’s for a natural legacy that’s worth saving, now more than ever.

There is so much we could say.  But in recognition of the first anniversary of the death of CSPA’s longtime leader Bill Jennings, we can’t say it much better than Bill Jennings’s 2013 Speech at Rally Protesting Bay Delta Conservation Plan, for which we also provide a link on YouTube.

Text of Bill Jennings’s 2013 speech: 

Good afternoon. And so on this chilly Friday the 13th, the BDCP public comment period begins. They gave us 40,214 — I counted ’em — pages of documents. And that’s a nine-foot-high stack containing 20 more pages than the 32 volumes of the last printed edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And we’re asked to provide comments within 85 working days — that’s 473 pages a day. And if you want a printed copy, you can go over and they’ll show you one for 3000 dollars. And when you turn the pages, you’ll discover what William Burroughs meant when he observed that a paranoid schizophrenic is simply someone who’s discovered what’s going on.

Since the State Water Project began exporting water in 1967, water exports have increased by more than 60%. Outflow to the Bay has declined by more than 40%. The flow and water quality standards protecting the Delta have been violated hundreds of times without a single enforcement action taken. The Water Code area of origin/watershed protection statutes have been ignored, and so it’s not surprising that the Delta’s biological tapestry is hemorrhaging. Populations of Delta smelt are down 98.9%. Striped bass 99.6%. Longfin smelt 99.7%. American shad 89.1. Threadfin shad 98.1 and Splittail 99.4%. And the anadromous fisheries have experienced similar declines. For example, winter-run salmon and wild steelhead are down 95.5 and 91.7%, respectively. Fisheries that evolved over millennia have been destroyed by greed in mere decades.

And now the architects of this biological meltdown present us with a 40,000-page omelet of distortion, junk science, half-truths and outright lies designed to create an artificial reality that you can restore an estuary disintegrating from lack of fresh water flow by stealing more water from it. They proposed to build the tunnels now and decide how to operate ’em later. That’s not restoration. That’s a death sentence for one of the world’s great estuaries.

Well, you won’t find any ideas or answers to how much water the Delta needs, how much water will be exported. Who has the legal rights to this water? And who is going to pay for this $50 billion scheme? Nor will you find responses to the federal agencies and independent scientists who have scathingly criticizing the draft versions of the scheme as biased, flawed, unsupported and highly speculative. That it will lead to species extinction. The State Water Board’s observations that the tunnels will provide less water than presently exported, if adequate fishery protection measures are established.  Independent economists, who have ridiculed the economic assessment and pointed out the huge financial risks.

It will saddle the public with vast debt, undermine regional water self-sufficiency, and the water will simply be too expensive for farmers unless heavily subsidized by urban ratepayers. We will not allow our fisheries, farms, communities and future prosperity to be sacrificed to enrich a south Valley industrial agriculture that comprises 3/10 of 1% of the state economy and is predicated upon embezzled water, massive public subsidies, unrestricted pollution, and subsistence wages.

We’ll fight this abominable scheme through the administrative halls, the court rooms, and the ballot box if necessary. If necessary, we’ll fight over channels and sloughs and on the television, through the field to the very gates of hell. We will not surrender this Delta! Thank you.

Renew your membership, join CSPA, or donate today!!!

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