Draft Agenda for SWP Contract Amendment for Delta Tunnel Meeting Released

Article from Daily Kos.


Dan Bacher, Tuesday July 30, 2019 · 10:10 AM PDT

As the Delta smelt continues to get closer and closer to extinction after decades of water exports from the Delta to corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies, the State Water Project (SWP) Contract Amendment for Delta Conveyance (the Delta Tunnel) will be held on Wednesday, July 31.

The meeting will be held at the Courtyard Sacramento Midtown, 4422 Y Street, Sacramento, CA 95818 starting at 10:00 a.m. NOTE: Parking will be validated and there will be no fee. Attendees need to pull a ticket and bring it with them to the meeting for validation.

The draft agenda for the meeting is posted on this site for your reference: https://cadwr.box.com/s/irusyewojv4nwzmxfznghzmgli9sswcw.

The meeting rooms at the DoubleTree will be as follows:

  • Negotiation Room: Auditorium
  • PWA Caucus Room: Ivy Room
  • DWR Caucus Room: Azalea Room

There is a webinar option, which can be accessed via the following link: http://kearnswest.adobeconnect.com/deltaconveyance/. You do not need a user name or password to join the meeting. Please select the guest option, type in your first and last name, and then click the “Enter Room” button. A new window or tab should open with the meeting room.

Please note that the webinar will not include audio and you will need to dial into the conference line via telephone to hear the meeting (Phone Line: 719-359-4032; Access Code: 474346#)

The  Delta Tunnel that Governor Gavin Newsom, San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California support is likely to hasten the extinction of Delta smelt (if they don’t become extinct in the wild before then) longfin smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon, spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green sturgeon and other species

The fall of 2018 saw a new record low number of Delta smelt — zero — in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) midwater trawl survey. This trend has continued in the spring Delta smelt 20-mm surveys conducted this year and last year, with a record low number of the smelt collected by Department scientists. (www.wildlife.ca.gov/…)

The Delta smelt was once the most abundant fish on the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, numbering in the millions. However, massive water exports by the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project to agribusiness interests, combined with declining water quality and the impact of upstream dam operations, have put the fish on the bring of extinction under the Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom administrations.

The spring 20-mm study monitors post larval-juvenile Delta Smelt distribution and relative abundance throughout their historical spring range in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay Estuary, according to the CDFW.

According to independent fisheries biologist Tom Cannon in his California Fisheries Blog on the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) website, the Late April and early May 20-mm surveys “provide an excellent picture of the status of Delta smelt population in the estuary.”

“Since 2017, some surveys collected no Delta smelt in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. The 2018 and 2019 survey catches are a new low for Delta smelt, lower even than the 2017 survey catch, and the lowest in the 1995-2019 survey period,” said Cannon.

“The outlook for the Delta smelt population remains grim after these lows. Despite good conditions in spring 2018 and 2019, the severely depressed number of adult spawners indicates a continuing weak potential for recovery,” Cannon concluded.

The 8 surveys conducted by the CDFW this spring produced a total of only 13 Delta smelt. Survey #1 yielded 2 smelt, survey #2 produced 1 smelt, survey #3 yielded 0 smelt, survey #4 produced 7 smelt, survey #5 yielded 1 smelt, survey #6 produced 1 smelt, survey #7 yielded 1 smelt, and survey 8 yielded 0 smelt.

UC Davis Professor Emeritus Dr. Peter Moyle and other fisheries scientists say they don’t have an easy answer for the Delta smelt’s precipitous decline, particularly in 2017, a record water year when biologists would have expected a rebound. But fish advocates and independent scientists attribute the collapse of Delta smelt and other fish on the export of big quantities of water to agribusiness and Southern California water agencies by the state and federal pumping facilities in the South Delta over the past 50 years.

“We know what fish need,” said Bill Jennings, Executive Director CSPA. “Fish prosper when they have adequate flows and quality water. They suffer when they don’t. The question is how do we get them to survive on less water of poorer quality than they evolved with for thousands of years. The answer appears to be they can’t.”

The Delta smelt, found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, is an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the San Francisco Bay Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. If the smelt goes extinct, other West Coast fish species are likely to follow.

For more information on the fall 2018 midwater trawl survey, please read my article in the Sacramento News and Review: www.newsreview.com/

Kern County Oil Spill up to 1,167,000 Gallons

Then in other California water news, the Kern County Oil Spill is now up to 1,167,000 gallons of mixed water and oil total, averaging 30,000 gallons per day since the spill begin. There is no end in sight, according to Tom Frantz, @airqualityguy.

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