After meeting with the Governor earlier this month, The Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, American Rivers, The Bay Institute, The Planning League and the NRDC sent a letter last week to Governor Jerry Brown, identifying three priority actions needed in regards to the Delta and the BDCP:
Secure a major increase in freshwater flows into, through and from the Delta. “We must move the needle significantly away from the current situation where we divert half of the flows in the Bay-Delta watershed … and move closer to the flow target of 75% of runoff that the State Water Board said in 2010 is needed to fully protect the public trust values of the Delta,” they write.
Develop local and regional water supplies that will reduce reliance on the Delta. A comprehensive approach which includes water conservation, recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater clean-up and other actions must be implemented on the same timetable as the BDCP and other processes in order to successfully reduce reliance on the Delta.
Make absolutely clear what the BDCP is intended to achieve, who is responsible for achieving the plan’s targets and who decides whether those obligations are met. BDCP could further achievement of the coequal goals and multiple objectives in the Delta If implemented in combination with improved flows and local water supplies, they write, but point out that successfully permitting and implementing the BDCP requires setting clear and enforceable targets, defining action to be taken if targets aren’t achieved, and ensuring that the permitting agencies are making the final decisions about objectives and actions that must be taken to meet those objectives.
“We urge you to take the necessary steps to achieve these three actions so vital to crafting and implementing a Delta solution that truly accomplishes the co-equal goals of restoring the Delta ecosystem and providing reliable water supplies,” the letter states. “We look forward to continuing to work with you and your administration to achieve a large-scale increase in flows and habitat restoration for the Delta’s endangered species and habitats, implement a comprehensive approach to improving local and regional water supplies, and make the changes necessary to gain a permittable and effective BDCP.”