“I want to remind people to submit their comments to the Delta Plan Final Draft before Jan. 14,” said McCleery. “Every comment and signature matters.”
The two-tunnels project – considered the first step toward a peripheral canal – is part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a planning document that includes a number of proposals for dealing with the Delta’s fragile ecosystem and the state’s freshwater dilemma.
McCleery, who submitted her comments in writing last week, believes there is much that is good about the proposal – and much that is not.
“The Plan has a lot of good information,” said McCleery. “And clearly states the problems and issues facing the Delta today and recognizes the Delta as a place for communities, boating and farming as well as being an important ecosystem. However, for boaters, while it recognizes the value of boating to the Delta communities and all of Northern California, there is nothing that discussed boaters’ significant concerns and issues which would be caused by restricting navigation such as was planned for the Two-Gates project.
“A primary focus for fixing the Delta is habitat restoration – flooding Delta islands. However, the scientific reviews I have seen and read are concerned that there is no proof that flooding islands does help significantly, and it reduces fertile farmland in order to send water to the desert Westland farms that leech selenium and other chemicals and toxic salts so they can expand growing water-intensive crops such as cotton and almond production for export. I for one am not excited to reduce our local wonderful produce in exchange for supporting the growing market for almonds and pistachios in China.”
The holidays seem to be McCleery’s call-to-action time. In November, she launched an online petition opposing Gov. Jerry Brown’s public support of the multi-billion dollar project last summer.
“The proposal we’re unveiling today is a big idea,” said Brown at a press conference in Sacramento on July 25. “A healthy Delta ecosystem and a reliable water supply are profoundly important to California’s future.”
McCleery’s campaign, run through Signon.org – a nonprofit online platform that helps individuals and organizations launch online petitions and claims – garnered nearly 1,000 local signatures. McCleery vows that when the number totals 5,000 she will personally deliver the petition to the governor’s desk.
And as the Delta Plan Final Draft document deadline draws near, McCleery hopes the public’s efforts will continue. “I was happy to read (in the draft plan) the positive efforts to represent the Delta as a place, including boating, and address the primary Delta issue of survival of both marine life – especially salmon – and the waterfowl that we so love to see flying over our homes,” she said. “I know we would all like to see it stay that way.”
The Delta Draft Plan document is available for viewing online at www.deltacouncil.ca.gov/delta-plan/current-draft-of-delta-plan. Comments on the draft may be made through Jan. 14 by e-mail at email@example.com.
Comments will be reviewed and considered by the Department of Boating and Waterways as decisions regarding the project are made. The final document is expected to be ready for public review in the spring.