Action

Ask Governor Newsom to follow through on his promise to sue the Trump administration to halt implementation of new federal guidelines for the Central Valley Project which would override environmental and endangered species laws by allowing the diversion of more fresh water from the Sacramento - San Joaquin Rivers and tributaries.

The federal administration is poised to implement these guidelines this month. Write or call Governor Newsom and ask him to sue the federal government for the recently issued biological opinions (guidelines) of the Department of Interior and Department of Commerce.

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Governor Newsom, we need you to sue the federal government over the recently issued biological opinions for the Central Valley Project which would allow more water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system. Also ask for a preliminary injunction which could prevent these federal guidelines from taking effect until there is a court decision. We need you to provide the necessary leadership, which is lacking at the federal level of government, to defend the quality of our water, our fishing industry and our wildlife.

The ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay depends on adequate fresh water flows from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system. The San Francisco Bay estuary is one of the world’s greatest estuaries, home to many migrating birds, fish and mammals. Yet it is being starved of the fresh water flows it needs to survive. In some recent years the Bay has received less than 35% of the natural runoff from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and tributaries. Increasing salinity in the Bay is reducing the biodiversity and health of this ecosystem.

Expected climate change will intensify sea level rise bringing more salt water intrusion into the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers further endangering the water supply of many as well as the Delta ecosystem. The “threatened” chinook salmon population has been declining in the Delta largely because of insufficient fresh water flows. Implementation of these biological opinions would likely end its existence in the Delta.

We need you to make certain that the new amendments to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Plan adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) in 2019 are implemented. They have increased the minimum fresh water flow requirements of the San Joaquin River and three of its salmon supporting tributaries. Scientists realize that insufficient fresh water flows have reduced the populations of most fish not just the endangered and threatened species. Enforcing the Endangered Species Act and the Bay-Delta Water Control Plan are important for protecting the entire Bay-Delta ecosystem and the livelihoods and health of its people. These new federal guidelines contradict the conclusions of California’s scientists.

The Water Board is currently working on additional amendments to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Plan covering the Sacramento River and its tributaries. This area is even more important for salmon and scientists have determined that minimum fresh water flows need to be increased here as well.

Excessive diversions of water from the Bay-Delta system have resulted in a build up of salts and pollutants throughout the whole system. More fresh water to flush out these harmful additives is crucial to stopping the deterioration in water quality throughout the system.

Offer stories and testimonials about the importance of the Bay-Delta system to you.

Additional Information

The California State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) has concluded that “water diversion from the San Joaquin water system has surpassed the watershed’s ability to support healthy fish populations”. In February 2019 the Water Board adopted new amendments to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Plan that would increase fresh water flow in the San Joaquin River and three of its salmon supporting tributaries (Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers). The amount of fresh water flow affects habitat in many ways: water temperature, water chemistry, availability of physical habitat and food supply. The Water Board is currently working on a proposal for new flow requirements for the Sacramento River and its tributaries as well as the Delta and its tributaries.

The Bay-Delta system supports more than 35 native plants and animals that are now considered endangered.

California Water Board, “Summary of Proposed Amendments to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan”, 7/6/18

Guardian, “Delta Smelt: The Tiny Fish Caught in California’s War with Trump,”

Mercury News, “Governor Newsom’s Delta Water plan is merely Trump lite”

Mercury News, “Newsom is Being Played by Big Ag on Delta Water”

NY Times, “Trump Administration Moves to Lift Protections for Fish and Divert Water to Farms

Public Policy Institute of California, “California’s Water: the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta”

San Francisco Chronicle , “California Governor Newsom makes move to halt Trump water grab”, 11/21/19.