The stated goal of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is to restore the ecology of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and protect the water that supplies two-thirds of the state’s population and thousands of acres of Central Valley farms.
The plan and its corresponding 25,000 pages of environmental documents are now available online.
“This is a very significant milestone. After a whole lot of talk we’re finally at the public comment period so we take this very seriously," says Mark Cowin, director of the California Department of Water Resources. "We want the opportunity to hear what the public has to say, we’ll continue to further refine the plan.”
Cowin says the department has made several changes since the drafts earlier this year.
They include greater protection measures for the Sandhill Crane during construction of the tunnels, additional fish studies for the new water intakes along the Sacramento River, and setting up a $450-million fund to support the adaptive management process if additional water supply is needed.
But people who live in the Delta and some environmental groups say the changes are not an improvement.
"We added up how tall this plan would be if anybody would dare to print it out. It would be nine feet tall," says Osha Meserve, with the organization Local Agencies of the North Delta. "After all that work, all that money dumped into this hole, it still does not conserve species.”
More Delta Coverage
California has a 100-year-old system for managing who gets to take water from rivers and streams. That system got tested this summer.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an amendment to a proposed water bill to fight against water hyacinth.
The drought in California is causing saltwater to intrude deep into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Water managers are constructing a rock barrier to prevent salt from affecting drinking water for millions of Californians.
(AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown has defended newly unveiled plans that call for scaling back the amount of habitat restoration done while twin tunnels are built around California's freshwater delta.
A small endangered fish that plays a pivotal role in California’s water wars may well be on its way out. Populations of the Delta smelt have plummeted to their lowest levels ever.