(SACRAMENTO, CA – Dec. 12, 2018) In response to the California State Water Resources Control Board’s vote today approving a new water management plan that addresses the ecological crisis in the Delta and headwaters systems, leading conservation organizations applauded the action as an important first step and called for ongoing productive and transparent discussions among all parties.
The groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Trout Unlimited, Defenders of Wildlife, American Rivers and The Nature Conservancy, issued the following statement:
“California’s water future looks brighter tonight. The State Water Board’s approved Phase 1 of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan will help us all protect clean water for 25 million residents, support jobs and start the recovery of our 10,000-year-old native salmon runs. After decades of inaction, today’s historic vote helps put Californians back in the driver’s seat to protect our own precious resources.”
Conservation and environmental groups have encouraged immediate adoption of Phase 1 of the Board’s Bay-Delta Water Quality Plan. The organizations acknowledge there are promising components in the proposed plan by California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Water Resources. However, the voluntary plan offered is only a start, and further work on it is needed to develop a full agreement that meets the water quality control plan objectives and supports recovery of fish species.
The State Water Board’s vote on Wednesday does not preclude board members from incorporating an eventual voluntary agreement, should one be reached. Conservation organizations will decide whether to engage in further negotiations based upon our judgment that the following critical criteria are met: (1) conservation organizations are able to make their own decisions about participation; (2) conservation organizations are engaged as full partners; (3) there is transparent information sharing in writing; (4) the proposal is designed to achieve water quality control plan objectives including fisheries recovery; and (5) all proposals are analyzed against a comprehensive suite of biological objectives.
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