Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

Rep. McNerney blasts “WaterFix” tunnels plan, foes claim it will devastate the Delta region, a waste of money

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Stockton, CA – On Tuesday, standing in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) held a press conference where he voiced his opposition to what he described as Governor Jerry Brown’s “WaterFix” tunnels plan, and explained why this ill-advised plan would devastate the Delta’s fragile ecosystem and hurt the families, farmers, and businesses in the region. He stressed his position while the public comment period for the plan‘s environmental review documents remains open through the end of October. The Congressman also highlighted why the plan is not the right solution for managing California’s water supply, and the need to pursue alternative, forward-thinking solutions.

Red flags have been raised across the board on the Governor’s tunnels plan that does nothing to fix the state’s existing water supply management and severe drought problems. From the underlying science and environmental impacts to the projected financial costs, this ‘fix’ is riddled with uncertainty every step of the way,” said McNerney. “The only thing clear is that the tunnels are a repackaging of old ideas that waste billions of dollars and threaten the way of life for an entire region without creating a single new drop of water.”

The Governor’s plan requires the construction of two enormous tunnels, 40 feet in diameter and 30 miles long, and would use three intakes to get water from the Sacramento River. The plan also calls for additional water pumps to be built at an expanded Clifton Court Forebay, an existing reservoir near Tracy. The new and existing pumps would maintain optimal water levels in the forebay and move water from the new tunnel outlets, through San Joaquin County, to existing canals that distribute water across the state.

Yet, these environmental review project documents show significant financial concerns and negative impacts for the Delta region. At a cost of approximately $16 billion, the tunnels would yield a minimal return on investment when it comes to new water supply. Every water user in the Delta could be injured from the changes in water quality, quantity, and levels as a result of the tunnels. The potential increase in salinity and the resulting contamination to crops grown in the Delta region is also a major concern. State contractors are also making plans to acquire as many as 300 farms in the Delta in order to construct the tunnels.

Construction from the tunnels would cause serious disruption and irreparable damage to farms, communities, and the environment. While we cannot afford to waste money on this wrong, outdated approach, we also cannot just say no,” added McNerney. “We should be using our resources to fund innovative, forward-thinking solutions that create new water and take pressure off the Delta by boosting regional self-sufficiency across the state.”

Speakers at the press conference included: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta; Jeffery Michael, Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific; and Tom Zuckerman, third generation Delta farmer, among other regional stakeholders.

Fourteen years of proposed tunnel construction will decimate the Delta’s $5.2 billion annual agricultural economy, and destroy family farms dating back to the 1850′s. 500,000 acres of Delta farms cannot survive dewatering & construction running 24-hours a day, seven days a week, for fourteen years,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “Farming families cannot survive being left for fourteen years with homes with no water service, no access to their property, and no farming income.”

According to the current documents, the Tunnels will deliver little to no new water, and that assumption is critical because it delivers little to no new water to those paying the $17 billion tab,” said Jeffrey Michael, Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific. “The Tunnels project described in the environmental impact report is not financially feasible. It makes no economic sense for the water agencies sponsoring the project, and certainly makes no economic sense for the state as a whole.”

The current drought reveals the stupidity of blowing $15 to $50 billion on tunnels which don’t increase the water supply instead of conservation, groundwater storage in wet years, and recycling projects leading to regional self-sufficiency at a far cheaper cost,” said Tom Zuckerman, a third generation Delta farmer.

Last month, McNerney, along with Northern California House Democrats, sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown expressing their concerns with the “WaterFix” tunnels plan. The letter argues that the multibillion-dollar tunnels fail to increase water supply, devastate an already fragile Delta ecosystem, and divert funding from more effective statewide water solutions for California. The letter also urges the Governor to focus on forward-thinking solutions like conservation, efficiency, recycling, stormwater capture, and groundwater recharge.

In July of this year, McNerney also voiced his concerns over the irreversible damage the “WaterFix” tunnels plan would cause to the Delta region.

He has pursued and expanding bold, innovative, technological solutions that create more water and address the energy-water nexus as a part of a comprehensive approach to address California’s severe drought crisis.

In August of this year, McNerney hosted a California Drought Solutions Forum that brought together farmers, water technology innovators, policy makers, state government, academia, and others to discuss how to advance the crucial water and energy efficient technological solutions that are needed to respond to the ongoing drought.

He has also introduced bipartisan legislation to establish a smart water management pilot program meant to spur innovative projects. And, the Congressman introduced legislation calling on Congress to authorize 27 regional water recycling projects that can create water for irrigation, agriculture, conservation, and increase the potable water supply.

Congressman Jerry McNerney represents California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of Antioch, East Contra Costa County, and San Joaquin and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.

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Volunteers needed for annual California Coastal Cleanup Day in Antioch, Saturday, Sept. 19

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Coastal Cleanup 2015The 32nd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state’s largest volunteer event, will take place on Saturday, September 19th 2015 from 9:00 AM to Noon. The event is expected to draw more than 70,000 volunteers who will combat marine debris at over 800 locations throughout the state by removing the trash that has accumulated on California’s beaches and inland shorelines over the past year. Get out there, join the effort in Antioch. There are three locations to choose from: Antioch Marina, Prewett Park & Fulton Shipyard. Register and choose your location by visiting

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Restore the Delta offering bus rides to Sacramento for Tuesday public hearings on Delta Tunnels

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

By Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, Restore the Delta

One of two public hearings on the Delta tunnels project will be held in Sacramento on Tuesday, July 28. They are making it an open house so that they don’t have to listen to public comments or respond to the outrage of hundreds of thousands of Californians who oppose the destruction the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas.

Help us transform the open house.

Our goal: a video of how large we really are to share with the Secretary Jewell at the Department of the Interior and with President Obama. We will provide you with insightful questions to ask, help you craft your own thoughts, and plan some spirited, yet respectful activities to transform their dull open house into a party to oppose the tunnels. Let’s win this thing once and for all! We need to pack the “public hearings” on the Delta Tunnels!!

Mark your calendars for Tuesday in Sacramento — that’s where we will be from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown.

Restore the Delta is hosting buses to the “Open House”/Public Hearings on the new Delta Tunnels Environmental Impact Report.

Sacramento Hearing: Tuesday July 28, 2015

3-5pm Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento

Buses to Event:

Antioch: 1:30pm – 115 Lauritzen Ln, Oakley

Discovery Bay: 1:30pm – 871 Marina Blvd.

RSVP to or 209-475-9550

If you cannot make the July 28 date from 3:00p to 7:00p, there is a second public meeting on July 29 in Walnut Grove (see here).

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Rep. McNerney calls on Congress to authorize regional water recycling projects

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Antioch, CA – Recognizing that water recycling is a critical part of a larger, comprehensive approach to addressing California’s drought crisis, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) announced on Thursday, July 2, that he would introduce legislation calling on Congress to authorize 27 additional regional water recycling projects. To highlight this announcement, McNerney toured Delta Diablo, the site for one of the water recycling projects he believes needs to be authorized.

I’m calling on Congress and introducing legislation to authorize more regional water projects – because expanding water recycling is one component of a comprehensive solution needed to address California’s long-term drought challenges,” said McNerney. “In this extreme drought, California communities a struggling to conserve the limited water available. That’s why it’s important to continue investing in water recycling technologies that treat wastewater and augment current supplies. Funding these projects creates additional water supplies available to ease pressure off the Delta, irrigate public spaces, grow crops, increase the potable water supply, and support environmental restoration.”

These 27 projects, when funded, can provide over 100,000 acre feet of new water – enough water to meet the needs for over half a million residents. These water projects need Congressional authorization in order to compete for Title XVI construction funds through the Bureau of Reclamation.

We thank Congressman McNerney for his leadership in introducing legislation which will proactively support new drought-tolerant water sources while protecting the Delta.” said Gary Darling, spokesperson for the Western Recycled Water Coalition.

Developing recycled water reduces dependence on Delta supplies. Recycled water projects like Delta Diablo improve water supply reliability, and reduce wastewater discharge into the fragile Bay-Delta environment.

When constructed, the Delta Diablo Recycled Water Project will provide more than 4,000 acre-feet per year of recycled water to municipal, commercial, and industrial users in Antioch and Pittsburg – equivalent to meeting the water needs of 16,000 households.

We need to look at bold, forward-thinking solutions that use new technology and scientific advancements to improve the management and conservation of California’s water supply. This will better prepare communities for severe drought conditions in the future,” added McNerney.

List of 27 Water Recycling Projects

Delta Diablo recycled water project – serving Antioch

Delta Diablo high purity water treatment facility – serving Antioch

Brentwood recycled water project

Ironhouse Sanitary District Cypress recycled water project – serving Oakley

Ironhouse Sanitary District industrial recycled water project – serving Oakley

Ironhouse Sanitary District direct potable reuse project – serving Oakley

Benicia recycled water project to Valero refinery

Central Dublin recycled water distribution and retrofit project

Central Redwood City recycled water project

Concord recycled water project

Contra Costa County refinery recycled water project, phase 1

Dublin recycled water expansion project

Fresno east central recycled water facility

Fresno downtown recycled water distribution

Fresno southwest recycled water distribution

Hayward recycled water project

Monterey peninsula groundwater replenishment project, phase 1

Mountain View recycled water project.

North Valley regional recycled water project

Palo Alto recycled water pipeline project

Pleasanton recycled water project

Potable Reuse in Santa Clara County, phase 1

San Jose Water Company recycled water project

Sunnyvale continuous recycled water production project

West Bay Sanitary District Recycled Water Project

Wolfe Road recycled water project

Yountville recycled water project

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Federal funds on way to combat invasive weeds in the Delta

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

New Funding will Aid in Enhanced Coordination among State and Local Partners along with USDA to Eradicate the Menacing Plants with more Effective Methods of Control

(Stockton, CA) San Joaquin and Contra Costa County leaders today applauded $1 million in new funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture‐Agricultural Research Service (USDA‐ARS), Area-wide Pest Management Program to help in the ongoing battle to control the invasion of aquatic plants in the Delta.

We wish to thank the USDA, and also acknowledge the important role of our local legislators and congressional delegation, along with other State, federal, county and community partners to secure these much needed federal funds to control these aquatic weeds that have severely impacted our local economy and all those who do business in the Delta Region,” said Supervisor Kathy Miller. “These invasive plants have sucked the oxygen out of our Delta’s waterways, prevented ships from reaching the Port of Stockton and deterred visitors from reaching marina businesses due to clogged waterways.”

The funding received could not have come at a better time due to the ongoing drought and unseasonably warm temperatures. The funds will be invested in improved coordination so these weeds and the mosquitos that nest and breed in them could be eradicated once and for all,” said Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho. “This is the result of parallel efforts by local, state and congressional leaders to fight the scourge of water hyacinth with tools that are equal to the scale of the infestation,”

Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman said. “This infusion, and the operation it funds, in combination with the additional $4 million in ongoing state funds secured by Delta representatives in the State Legislature, is a significant augmentation of the arsenal we have to deploy against water hyacinth.”

This federal funding represents a direct investment in the health of the Delta as an economic driver in the region, and our ability to eradicate dangerous and invasive plants from its ecosystem. It will provide critical new tools to better manage the growth of these aquatic weeds that can obstruct waterways and stifle the ability to provide water for urban and agricultural uses. I am thankful to the USDA and all of our partners who came together to address the threat that these invasive species can have on the Delta economy, environment, and agriculture,” said Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA‐9).

Invasive species is a chronic problem in California which impacts hundreds of species. Eradicating water hyacinth is critical for healthier waterways, a better boating experience, expanding commerce at our ports and operating California’s water systems,” said Congressman Jeff Denham (CA‐10).

These federal funds will enable communities in the Delta to make use of new techniques that have proven to be far more effective in controlling the weeds than prior eradication methods that were ineffective and expensive,” stated U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, Co‐Chair of the Invasive Species Caucus. “We all know invasive species pose a costly challenge to infrastructure, agriculture and the environment. These are preventing ships from reaching port, discouraging visitors and hurting business. By making use of new and better eradication techniques, we can get our delta waterways back to the healthy state on which so many jobs and businesses depend.”

This team effort jointly spearheaded by stakeholders in San Joaquin County, Contra Costa Counties, and the federal government will help address the invasive aquatic weeds that pose an environmental risk to our communities, which depend on the Delta to provide valuable water resources to the area,” said Congressman DeSaulnier (CA‐11).

We’ve all seen how the drought has made the problem of invasive species worse in the Sacramento‐San Joaquin Delta. Water hyacinth, Brazilian waterweed and emergent giant reed present massive threats to agriculture, navigation and the environment. As a member of the House Invasive Species Caucus, I am proud that we have worked together at the local, state and federal level to prevent further harm to our health and to the local economy,” noted Congressman John Garamendi.

The inter‐agency partnership for improved control is targeting floating water hyacinth and submerged egeria or Brazilian waterweed, as well as the shoreline giant grass known as arundo. All three plants are non‐native and invasive and produce flowers, but typically spread via buds and fragments borne by Delta currents. They can grow throughout most of the year in the Delta. In the summer and fall of 2014, the Stockton Deepwater Ship Channel, Port of Stockton, private marinas and public boat ramps, and the state and federal water pumping stations around Tracy were plagued with dense mats of water hyacinth that made navigation dangerous or impossible, restricting commercial shipping and trapping recreational boats in their slips.

Water hyacinth and egeria also reduced water flow to the South Delta pumping facilities, requiring removal of tens of thousands of tons of plants over the fall and winter with conveyer belts, backhoes and huge dump trucks. Dense aquatic weeds caused similar problems in Discovery Bay and elsewhere in Contra Costa County. The mats of aquatic weeds made control of mosquitoes by the San Joaquin and Contra Costa County Mosquito Vector Control Districts more difficult. Mosquito outbreaks led to detections of West Nile virus in mosquitos and birds in both counties in 2014.

The USDA‐ARS Delta Areawide project, which first received funding in June 2014, is designed to develop and implement principles of IPM, to increase the efficiency and success of control of water hyacinth and other invasive aquatic plants, and to improve coordination among agencies responsible for their management in the Delta. Some of the funds will also be used to improve control in the western Delta in Contra Costa County. Key participants include the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research Unit in Albany and Davis, which is leading the project and conducting research to improve weed control efficiency.

The NASA‐Ames Research Center in Mountain View is using satellites, areal images and visual models based on water nutrients and flow to pinpoint and predict where water hyacinth and other aquatic plants are growing and moving. This critical information is being used by California State Parks, Division of Boating and Waterways to prioritize the worst invasive populations of water hyacinth for treatment with herbicides and mechanical removal under its state‐funded programs.

The San Joaquin and Contra Costa County Mosquito Vector Control Districts are receiving funding to augment their efforts to control mosquitos near aquatic plant‐invaded waterways. Several departments at UC‐Davis are also involved, providing new knowledge of weed and mosquito biology and an economic model to track project success. New partners this year include the California Department of Food and Agriculture‐Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, and the Sacramento‐San Joaquin Delta Conservancy. The ultimate goal of the Delta area-wide project is to reduce or eliminate the economic and environmental damage caused by large populations of water hyacinth and other invasive aquatic plants, thereby improving protection of water resources and Delta habitats.

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Contra Costa Water District adopts 25% Drought Program consistent with state mandate, prohibitions

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Continued drought conditions prompt unprecedented action locally and statewide; affects Antioch; Board to consider temporary pricing adjustment, $500 fines

On April 15, the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) Board of Directors unanimously approved an update to their existing drought program to now require 25 percent water use conservation and implement additional prohibitions deemed wasteful during drought times. This update responds to the Governor’s order announced on April 1 mandating a 25 percent reduction in water use statewide; this statewide mandate on water conservation is a first in California.

While California is experiencing serious continued drought conditions, local agencies are putting together updated programs to encourage conservation. The CCWD Board of Directors approved updates to their program requiring 25 percent conservation and implementing additional prohibitions on wasteful water use during a drought – such as limiting outdoor irrigation to no more than twice a week.

The CCWD restrictions do effect us as we are buying all of our water from CCWD for the rest of the year and, if no rain/snow until the water quality in the river allows us to pump again,” said City of Antioch Public Works Director/City Engineer Ron Bernal. “This year we anticipate purchasing 95% of our water from CCWD.”

When asked if that is the reason for the city’s proposed increase in water rates, Bernal responded, “That’s part of the reason. Buying water from CCWD at a cost of $10 [million per] year as opposed to pumping from the river creates a significant cost to the program.”

At a public hearing on June 3, the CCWD Board will consider a temporary pricing adjustment on the unit cost of water, a fine for violations of the prohibitions, and adjusting the baseline to 2013 water use -all in compliance with the state regulations. As proposed, the temporary pricing adjustment would only apply to households using over 200 gallons per day and would end once the emergency order is lifted.

According to the CCWD website, “Violators could be subject to fines of up to $500 and suspension of water service subject to board approval.”

Beyond local conservation programs, the state is taking action to implement projects intended to encourage conservation. The Save Our Water campaign is being broadcast statewide.

In an effort to protect water quality in the Delta for water users and fish, the state is moving forward with a rock barrier that would physically help deter sea water intrusion into the southern part of the Delta. Why should CCWD care about this barrier? It all comes down to water quality. CCWD’s water intakes are in the Delta, and salinity intrusion from the Bay is an issue for water quality. With drought conditions, less fresh water is available to flow through the Delta. While this temporary barrier could cause temporary inconveniences for those using those waterways, CCWD supports the decision to install the barrier as the water quality implications could have longer term impacts on Delta water users, fish, the environment, etc… The last time the state did this was during the 1977 drought.

All said, this drought is serious and agencies are implementing actions that are necessary to protect residents and the environment. Some are unprecedented, but so are the drought conditions statewide.

The Contra Costa Water District is governed by five elected Directors, each representing a division of approximately 110,000 people. The Board of Directors normally meet in regular sessions on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room at the Contra Costa Water District Office, 1331 Concord Ave. in Concord.

For more information visit

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Assemblyman Frazier announces schedule for aquatic weed abatement in the delta

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Sacramento, CA – Waterways in Contra Costa County will be among the first to be treated for aquatic weeds this year, said Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, commenting on the California Division of Boating and Waterways treatment schedule released Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

Rock Slough, Indian Slough, Coney Island and the San Joaquin River will be among the first locations where herbicides will be used to treat Water Hyacinth and Spongeplant, beginning March 4.

For over a year, I have held meetings, co-authored legislation, supported augmenting the budget, and worked closely with the division to ensure that my constituents receive the services necessary to maintain a quality of life on the Delta,” said Frazier.

Extreme drought, record-high temperatures and low water flows have caused warmer areas of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to become choked with aquatic weeds.

DBW has permission to treat 3,500 acres of Water Hyacinth in the Delta between now and Nov. 30. In addition to the Contra Costa sites, it will begin by treating San Joaquin County areas including Middle River, Whiskey Slough, Old River and the Tuolumne River. On June 1, the state will expand the herbicide treatment to other Delta areas.

In addition, DBW is continuing to conduct mechanical harvesting of Water Hyacinth in the Old River area of the South Delta and around Stockton on an as-needed-basis. The Division will also begin treating Egeria densa and curly-leaf pondweed in early March; that schedule will be made public next week.

I want to thank everyone who contacted my office,” Frazier said. “Our voice played a critical role in securing these resources. It is very important that we continue to provide feedback to DBW so that the agency can better assess infested areas for further treatment.”

Sightings of aquatic weeds and infestations can be reported by calling 1-888-326-2822 or emailing

For more on the DBW treatment schedule, click here.

To contact Assemblymember Jim Frazier please visit his website at or call his District Offices at 707-399-3011 or 925-778-5790.

Follow Assemblymember Jim Frazier on Facebook and “Like” him for updates on events and happenings in the 11th AD by clicking here

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Antioch to host annual Coastal Cleanup Saturday, September 20

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Coastal Cleanup 2014The 30th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state’s largest volunteer event, will take place on Saturday, September 20th, 2014, from 9 AM to noon. The event is expected to draw more than 70,000 volunteers who will combat marine debris at over 800 locations throughout the state by removing the trash that has accumulated on California’s beaches and inland shorelines over the past year. Get out there, join the effort in Antioch.

Last year, over 100 participants volunteered There are three locations to choose from: Antioch Marina, Prewett Park & Fulton Shipyard. Select your location when you complete your registration (see link below). Last  year over 100 participants came together to clean along the Delta and create awareness of why trash  so damaging to our aquatic and coastal areas.

Coastal Cleanup Day provides  a way for tens of thousands of Californians to remove trash from our environments, but also reinforces that each of us, as consumers of goods and producers of those goods, has a responsibility to reduce, prevent, and clean up marine debris.

Many citizens of Antioch have been committed to local cleanups, such as the monthly Antioch Police Department efforts the first Saturday of each month, Facebook pages Empower Antioch and Cleaning Up Antioch, One House at Time and the annual Keep Antioch Beautiful. The local Coastal Cleanup event in September is one more opportunity to volunteer to improve our community.

For more information, and to register to volunteer, visit or email  or call Diane Gibson-Gray at (925) 325-9897 or Julie Haas-Wajdowicz at (925) 779-7097.

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