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Scientific report shows HR 1837 is big threat to Central Valley salmon

In their response to a report released by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), two prominent Representatives from California slammed legislation that would eviscerate protections for Central Valley chinook salmon.

Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Norwalk) and Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) responded on April 26 to the scientific review by the PFMC warning that H.R. 1837, the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, would damage salmon populations and undermine the recreational and commercial fishing industries that rely on them.

The Council staff report, titled “A General Review of Potential Effects of H.R. 1837 the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, on Central Valley Salmon Productivity and Salmon Fisheries In Ocean and Inland Waters,” blasted the legislation for the negative impact the legislation would have on Central Valley salmon fisheries.

“West Coast fisheries and coastal communities rely on a healthy level of salmon production from the Central Valley,” the report stated. “It appears that H.R. 1837’s provisions would have an adverse effect on Central Valley salmon habitat, total salmon production, fishery participants, and fishery economic benefits.”

EBMUD board votes 7-0 to drop Pardee Expansion from revised water plan

On Tuesday, April 24 in Oakland, the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a revised district Water Supply Management Plan 2040 that drops the controversial expansion of Pardee Reservoir.

The expansion would have destroyed at least a mile of the Mokelumne River, including a section eligible for National Wild and Scenic River designation.

The original WSMP 2040, adopted in October 2009, was successfully challenged in court by the Foothill Conservancy, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Friends of the River. A resulting court order required EBMUD to conduct further environmental review and consider participating in the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County.

The revised WSMP is a result of the revised environmental review. It includes a partnership with the Contra Costa Water District in the Los Vaqueros Expansion, expected to be completed later this year.

BDCP analysis includes plan to remove stripers and black bass

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is not just a corporate agribusiness-backed plan to build the peripheral canal, a project that will likely hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter run chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species.

The “Effects Analysis,” part of the BDCP draft planning documents released by the Department of Water Resources on February 29, also include plans to remove striped bass, along with largemouth and smallmouth bass and other alleged “predators.”

This “predator control” plan will remove these species allegedly to protect salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other native fish – the same fish that the construction of the peripheral canal/tunnel will kill!

“They are coming down hard,” said Bobby Barrack of Back to Class Guide Service, referring to the plans by the water contractors to build the peripheral canal and eradicate striped bass. “Please take a peek at the Effects Analysis - It is time to speak out!”

Salmon Water Now: Myth or Fact? Westlands & Reality

Pinocchio at the BDCP hearing?

by Dan Bacher

Bruce Tokars of Salmon Water Now has released the latest video, "Myth or Fact? Westlands & Reality" (3:01), covering the bizarre reality of the California Water Wars - and the deceptive campaign by corporate agribusiness, southern California water agencies and the Brown and Obama administrations to build the peripheral canal.

This video, as have many of Tokars' productions, focuses on Westlands Water District, considered the "Darth Vader" of water politics by Delta advocates. Westlands has waged a relentless legal and political campaign over the years to strip protections for endangered Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt and other species. The district irrigates land laced with selenium and other toxic salts and minerals that should have never been put into agricultural production.

This video features Jason Peltier, General Manager of Westlands Water District, speaking at the hearing on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan hearing convened by Senator Fran Pavley on March 13. Tokars captures revealing footage of Senator Lois Wolk asking Peltier if Westlands would accept a stipulation that water delivered under the BDCP would go only to continued agricultural production - and Peltier's response.

BDCP study, independent analysis show canal could hasten species extinction

The state and federal government’s own scientists agree that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral canal, an effort continually touted by Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and other officials as a “visionary” effort to achieve the “co-equal goals” of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability, could lead to the extinction of endangered Central Valley chinook salmon and Delta and longfin smelt.

Despite this assessment, Laird and the Brown administration remain committed to the fast-tracking of the BDCP process. “We believe the draft gives us (and the stakeholders) the information needed to define the basic elements of a proposed project in July, as previously announced by Governor Brown and Interior Secretary Salazar,” said Laird in a statement announcing the release of the revised “Effects Analysis” on February 29.

Two environmental groups, the Bay Institute and Defenders of Wildlife, responded that both the Effects Analysis and their independent preliminary analysis of the documents show that canal plan could lead to the further decline of imperiled fish species on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Steinberg says water bond delay is likely

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Thursday that a delay in the $11.14 billion water bond until 2014 is likely, though no definitive decision has been made yet on postponing the measure.

Near the end of Steinberg's press availability on March 22, he said it was a "likelihood" that the water bond would be delayed after he was asked by a reporter if there was any update on the water bond status.

Klamath Riverkeeper plans to sue Shasta River dam operator

In a major effort to restore coho salmon to the Shasta River, the Klamath Riverkeeper (KRK) is planning to sue the operator of a dam and reservoir on the major Klamath River tributary.

On March 12, the group filed a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue the Montague Water Conservation District (MWCD) for ongoing operation of Dwinnell Dam and associated diversions in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Notice provides an opportunity for the District to propose measures to settle the claims before initiating a judicial proceeding, according to KRK Executive Director Erica Terence.

“Coho once numbered in the thousands in the Shasta River,” noted Terence. “Today fewer than 50 return most years. In 2009 only 9 endangered coho salmon (all male) returned to spawn in the Shasta River, according to the California Department of Fish and Game."

The coho collapse in the Shasta is part of an alarming decline of the once abundant fish throughout California. Only 1% of historic coho salmon populations remain in California’s waters, according to UC Davis fishery scientist Peter Moyle.

DFG Volunteer Academy: training MLPA Initiative spies?

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), under the helm of DFG Director Chuck Bonham, announced on March 1 that it is "recruiting applicants for the "Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP)" to serve in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The DFG will hold a "NRVP training academy" in Los Alamitos from April 19 to May 2, Monday through Friday. Graduates of this academy will become volunteers for DFG.

The announcement of the launch of the academy in Los Angeles and Orange Counties takes place at a very curious time - just two months after so-called "marine protected areas," created under the "leadership" of a big oil lobbyist under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative process, went into effect in Southern California waters. The privately-funded MLPA Initiative is "proudly" backed by the Western States Petroleum Association, Safeway Stores and Walmart.

In an overt conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, as well as serving on the task forces for the North and North Central Coast. The task forces also included a real estate executive, marina developer and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest.

Obama will veto HR 1837 if it passes Senate

The House of Representatives on February 29 voted 246-175 to approve a water grab by powerful corporate agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley that will reverse decades of laws that protect fish and water supplies, but President Barack Obama has indicated he will veto the legislation if it ever passes through the Senate.

The Obama administration, in a statement on February 28, said it “strongly opposes” H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, because the bill “would unravel decades of work to forge consensus, solutions, and settlements that equitably address some of California's most complex water challenges.”

The bill is sponsored by Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) and cosponsored by Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA) Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) - and opposed by over 200 organizations including fishing groups, Indian Tribes, environmental groups, family farming organizations and California businesses.

Corporate Welfare Republicans Vote to Make California Salmon Extinct

Corporate Welfare Republicans Vote to Make California Salmon Extinct

by Dan Bacher

The House of Representatives, dominated by big government/corporate welfare Republicans, passed one of the worst job-killing bills in U.S. history, HR 1837, the “San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act,” on February 29.

The House voted 246-175 to approve a water grab by powerful corporate agribusiness interests in California’s San Joaquin Valley and reverse decades of laws that protect fish, wildlife and water supplies. The bill will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs in the recreational and commercial fishing industries in the Delta, coastal communities and the Central Valley, adding more economic devastation to communities already ravaged by the Wall Street-engineered economic collapse.

“Today’s vote is an enormous victory for the people of California,” proclaimed Representative Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), the bill’s author. “With House passage, we are halfway through the legislative process and now can look to the Senate for their response. Will our Senators help restore our property rights and end the death grip of radicals over California’s water supply or will we have to look to others in the Senate to lead the charge?”

Garamendi tries to stop California water war

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Natural Resources Committee and former Deputy Interior Secretary under President Bill Clinton, said in a press release on February 28 that he is "doing all he can to prevent reigniting another California water war."

On February 27, Garamendi sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to all Members of Congress urging his Democratic and Republican colleagues to vote 'nay' or 'present' on H.R. 1837, the so-called San Joaquin Water Reliability Act.

There is broad and substantial opposition to H.R. 1837 in California among urban, agricultural, conservationist, and recreational water stakeholders. A huge, diverse coalition of 190 environmental, environmental justice, tribal and fishing organizations from around the state sent comments in opposition to H.R. 1837 to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. California Indian Tribes opposing the legislation include the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Karuk Tribe and Modoc Nation. (

The "water grab" is also opposed by the Western States Water Council, which consists of representatives appointed by the governors of 18 western states.

Delta Region Unites Against H.R. 1837

Organizations throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region have united against a horrible piece of legislation that would upend water rights in California, gut protections for imperiled Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations, and halt a historic plan to restore salmon to the San Joaquin River.

According to a news release from Restore the Delta, sixteen Delta-region environmental, business, and municipal organizations have signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner voicing strong opposition to H.R. 1837, “The San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act,” sponsored by south San Joaquin Valley Congressman Devin Nunes and scheduled to be heard by the House on February 29. (

Opponents have also written to area congressional representatives Tom McClintock and Jeff Denham, both of whom support the measure, a water grab by the Corporate Welfare Kings of the San Joaquin Valley.

“The environmental community, fishing groups, and the Building Industry Association of the Delta all recognize how dangerous this bill is,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “It would strip away 150 years of water rights law and public trust protections in California.”

Saving the seas for the banksters?

World Bank launches alliance to 'save' the oceans

by Dan Bacher

The World Bank, an organization notorious for promoting structural adjustment policies and the privatization of public services that have devastated developing countries and the environment, on February 24 announced the formation of an international coalition supposedly designed to “protect” the oceans.

“A powerful coalition of governments, international organizations, civil society groups and private interests are joining together under the banner of a Global Partnership for Oceans to confront widely documented problems of over-fishing, marine degradation, and habitat loss,” a press release for the World Bank claimed.

The decision to hold the event in Singapore, a police state known for its repressive laws and policies, is apparently designed to stop any pesky protesters and opponents of corporate globalization from showing any opposition to the highly choreographed event, The Economist’s World Oceans Summit.

Surprise: New PPIC Report Promotes Peripheral Canal

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has just released a new report, "California 2025: Planning for a Better Future," touching on an array of issues including water.

Other topics included in the report ( are budget, climate change, economy, education, housing, population and the workforce

Those hoping that the PPIC might break with its past reports calling for the construction of the peripheral canal to export more Delta water to corporate agribusiness and Southern California will be disappointed, since the report includes a rousing endorsement of the peripheral canal as the "solution" to both ecosystem restoration and water supply needs in California.

Like in its previous reports, the PPIC describes California's "biggest water challenge" as "Instability in the Delta," using the threat of catastrophe from the "looming collapse" of the Delta levees from an earthquake or sea level change as the reason to proceed ahead with the construction of a peripheral canal.

Winnemem Wintu leader will speak on salmon at Fisheries Forum

Winnemem Wintu leader will speak on salmon at Fisheries Forum

by Dan Bacher

Caleen Sisk, the Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, will speak during a four person panel on the state of salmon in California at the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture’s 39th Annual Fisheries Forum scheduled for today, Feb. 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 4202 in the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Sisk's Tribe is opposing the Obama administration's plan to raise Shasta Dam and state/federal plans to build the peripheral canal. Sisk recently slammed as a "dehumanizing document" the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's controversial draft report claiming that a $1.07 billion plan to raise Shasta Dam by 18-1/2 feet is "feasible" and "economically justified" because it would flood the Tribe's sacred sites on the McCloud River and pave the way for more water exports to corporate agribusiness and southern California.