Friday Flashback: California water and the Delta through the eyes of Melinda Terry, Kate Poole, and Chuck Bonham

Friday Flashbacks are a new weekly feature where I’ll dig into the archives and bring out some older posts that still have relevance today.  In the fall of 2013, Emily DeMarco wrote a series of posts which examined Delta and California water issues through the eyes of North Delta Water Agency’s Melinda Terry, the NRDC’s Kate Poole, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham:

Melinda Terry: Listening to the Delta

Original published date: October 23,2013

Terry 3Melinda Terry had reached a breaking point. She set her jaw, gripped either side of the wooden podium, and lectured the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Finance Working Group in a voice laced with frustration and anger. Although known for bringing an emphatic but respectful, clear-eyed manner to the often heated conversations about the BDCP, this time Terry’s disappointment with the draft Statewide Economic Impact Study sharpened her tongue.

Discarding “sham” and “deceitful” as adjectives too charitable to describe the draft report, which estimates the statewide benefits of the proposed BDCP, she settled on “fraud” at the August 8th meeting. Her severe assessment comes from what she sees as the state’s continued failure to plainly communicate the true costs of the proposed tunnels on Delta communities. …

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Kate Poole: Moving Water in California: God, Gravity, and Lawyers

Original publish date:  October 30, 2013

Kate PooleThrough the red and white sandstone canyons of northwest Colorado flow two rivers, the Green and the Yampa. Their confluence is the heart of Dinosaur National Monument, and it was on their banks that Kate Poole, water attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), had her first exposure to both water management in the West and its hand maiden: controversy.

A Michigan native, Poole spent a summer after college working as a seasonal park ranger—a job she highly recommends—at the Monument. And she learned about the Echo Park Dam controversy that launched an era of environmental conservation. …

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Chuck Bonham: Navigating the Rapids

Bonham-2011Last January, Chuck Bonham sat down in Siskiyou County with a group of residents—including ranchers, farmers, miners, water users, and conservationists—to talk about natural resources and wildlife management in the area. Right off the bat, the talk turned contentious as one resident expressed his frustration with what he saw as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) history of protecting the region’s salmon at the expense of its people.

In response, Bonham reached over, shook the man’s hand—the two had never met before—and told him a story.

During his first year as Director of CDFW, Bonham had judged a wildlife photography contest on the steps of the State Capitol. The photo that he selected showed two birds flying in opposite directions, each bird holding one end of the same fish in its talons. And Bonham identified with that fish, saying “that’s kinda what it feels like to be at the Department.” The tension in the room dissipated ever so slightly. …

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