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The New Smelt

The tunnels, of course, will interfere with the habitat of the endangered sandhills. Who could have guessed?

Sep 03, 2013

We've always said a new critter can be found to stop any water project. Can't stop a train, but can always find one to stop water. The latest critter is found on Staten Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, home of the sandhill crane. California taxpayers bought the island in 2001 for a permanent refuge for the crane. Half the money came from Prop 204, a billion dollar bond measure approved in 1996 to protect habitat and clean drinking water. Yes, we've dealt with that clean drinking water thing before. A couple of weeks ago state officials announced that the twin tunnels route would be shifted east and pass under Staten Island. So, here we go again.

The tunnels, of course, will interfere with the habitat of the endangered sandhills. Who could have guessed? Us. Hate to say 'I told you so'. We never know exactly what animal or critter it will be, but we know there will always be one in the way. It's as predictable as rain. Sorry for the pun.

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So, we can't pump water because it hurts the endangered smelt. We spend years putting together a plan to avoid the smelt by building twin tunnels under the delta. Now the tunnels will hurt the sandhill cranes. Why are the tunnels being moved in the first place? According to the article below, "shifting the tunnels east also avoids some harmful effects on Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, important crane habitat in its own right." Moving the tunnnels to help the crane, but end up running into the crane again. Guess what will happen if you move them again. We don't know if it'll be the crane, but it'll be something. It always is. Don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

We salute all the hard work that's been done on the long-term solution of the tunnels project. We just go back to the question we always end up asking: What is the short-term solution until a long-term solution is found? 

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