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Day of Reckoning

County elected officials, who represent 525,000 people, say they haven't been part of the discussion.

Sep 12, 2016

We have done our best over the last decade to explain the mistake that the San Joaquin River Settlement was and still is.  The San Joaquin River, however, was not an end in itself for environmentalists, but just another step in their continued effort to extract more and more water from the farm community.  

The SJ River Settlement was a strategy to go after the water used by Friant farmers on the east side of the Valley.  At the same time this was being done there was another effort regarding the Endangered Species Act protecting smelt and salmon in the Delta.  This strategy led to biological opinions that curtailed pumping out of the Delta and limited water deliveries to the Valley's west side.  

The next step for enviro water strategy is to the north.  The State Water Resources Control Board is set to release their latest plan to send twice as much water down the Tuolumne River to the Delta.  Stanislaus County officials have been trying for the last year to work out a reasonable settlement, but they say those efforts have been ignored.  

The amount of water they're talking about is 380,000 acre feet, which state officials say will cost the area $40 million.  Stanislaus officials dispute the $40 million figure saying it is more like a billion.  

County elected officials, who represent 525,000 people, say they haven't been part of the discussion.  Assistant County CEO Keith Boggs says, “there’s no transparency, no dialogue. … They never once reached out or shared anything with us. They haven’t followed up with any of us. We reached out and asked them to do so, and they said they would, but they haven’t.”

Sorry to say, that's the way it works.  Why ask people what they think if you don't really care and don't have to listen?  

By the way, the water board's plan has no definition for success, as usual.  There's no identifiable goal for how many fish it will produce.  We would expect that a total failure to produce more fish would be rewarded with more water, because failure in the environmental world always means they didn't get enough water.  

If you're in the Kings River watershed and don't think this is your problem, you should know this:  you're next when the date of the FERC re-licensing of your dam comes up!

Day of reckoning for our rivers - Modesto Bee

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