Incomplete Working Draft of Bay-Delta Conservation Plan Needs Significant Revisions

November 18, 2010
Contact: 

NEWS RELEASE

Contacts: Ann Hayden, 510-590-2410 (m), ahayden@edf.org
Cynthia Koehler, 415-235-9432 (m) ckoehler@edf.org  
Sean Crowley, 202-550-6524 (m), scrowley@edf.org

(Sacramento, CA – November 18, 2010) An incomplete working draft of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) released today shows progress to date, but also that much work lies ahead to ensure sustainable state water supplies and recovery of endangered fisheries in the Bay Delta, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

"For the sake of current and future Californians, we must take advantage of this opportunity to complete the plan and provide the scientific credibility required to assure reliable water supplies and recovery of endangered fisheries," said EDF Senior Water Resource Analyst Ann Hayden, a member of the BDCP steering committee that reviewed the working draft. "For example, the economic future of Pacific salmon fishermen depends upon a healthy Bay Delta, including sufficient delta water flows, to ensure the recovery of endangered Chinook salmon."

"Everyone acknowledges that we have been managing the San Francisco Bay-Delta unsustainably for many years," said Cynthia Koehler, EDF California Water Legislative Director. "California's water reform legislation of 2009 gave us a road map forward. We must reduce our dependence upon the Bay Delta's fragile ecosystem."

Some of the key unresolved issues include:

1. The plan must be guided by quantified biological goals so results, or lack thereof, can be measured.
2. Proposals for pumping water must be compatible with the recovery of salmon populations and other endangered fisheries.
3. The best available science, which shows that a healthy Delta estuary requires increased freshwater flows, must be applied.
4. The size and operation of any new conveyance facility must be optimized to improve the health of the Bay-Delta.

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. For more information, visit www.edf.org/california. Follow us on Twitter at EDF_CA and read our blog at http://blogs.edf.org/waterfront/.