Everyone in the Delta’s five counties plus environmentalists, Northern California boaters and the fishing industry are ecstatic today about the current defeat of the Peripheral Canal (beaten down, not yet dead).
The citizens of the Delta wrote letters to representatives and others. Discovery Bay mobilized through clubs and neighborhood e-mail lists to make sure their voices were heard. We received feedback and encouraging responses from all my legislators: Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblyperson Joan Buchanan, Congressman Jerry McNerney and Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Peipho, who worked tirelessly to defeat the Peripheral Canal.
The canal’s defeat last week in Sacramento means that the rush to destroy the Delta has been slowed down. And that there is hope on the horizon that more reasonable, rational minds will persevere and bring about a balanced approach to the state’s water needs. An approach that will not include a Peripheral Canal. A canal that would destroy the Delta to send water elsewhere.
It was an amazing effort by all of the Delta legislators. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
But there is still the immediate, looming threat of the 2-Gates Project (falsely named the “2-Gate Fish Protection Project”), which we fear will be installed before we know it. I’m talking about the two gates that are to be installed on Old River and Connection Slough. Even though these gates pose major concerns to our Delta and the citizens who live here such as:
• Environmental and water concerns: The gates “purported” purpose to “save the Delta smelt” has been rejected by environmentalists and fish experts. The 2-Gates Project’s sole purpose is to keep salt from getting into the Tracy pumps in order to allow additional water extraction from the Delta.
In addition to the Tracy pumps, which are already destroying water quality and fish habitats by bringing salt levels upstream past Antioch, there are four new EBMUD pumps about to be turned on near Freeport (mouth of the Sacramento River), which will only exacerbate the problem. If salt intrusion is allowed to come as far up as Old River, and hence require the need for salinization gates, that will be a disaster for the Delta and the communities that rely on the Delta’s salt-free water for drinking water and agriculture.
• Safety concerns for boaters: The 2-Gates pose real safety risks to boaters because they are going to be installed in key, heavily-boated waterways in the Southern Delta. Besides the direct risk to boaters trying to navigate through these narrow, shallow areas, the gates will block the primary path of rescue operations for the sheriffs and Coast Guard.
• Impact on the levees: There has not been sufficient data provided to alleviate concerns that the 2-Gates will not cause floods and levee damage.
• Impact to our local economy: The location of the 2-Gates will impact the Delta communities and residents. The local economies rely on boaters to come to this area from all of Northern California – and related services. Which in turn drives the economy and our housing values.
Again, thanks to our local and state legislators. Plus Sen. Lois Wolk, www.RestoreTheDelta.org, www.CalSport.org, and other groups for your efforts defeating the Peripheral Canal bills. That was an extremely important effort !
But please don’t stop now. Spending $29 million putting these two gates in key boating waterways is the wrong approach and continues down the path of destroying the Delta and impacting its citizens. We need actions which assure that the water supply and water quality of the Delta will be protected, not gates to block the salt intrusion which would not be occurring if the Delta were being properly managed.
We need to stop the 2-Gates Project now!
Jan McCleery, Discovery Bay