Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

Contra Costa County joins other agencies, groups to sue L.A. water district over Delta islands purchase

Friday, April 15th, 2016

On Thursday, Contra Costa County, the Planning and Conservation League and Food and Water Watch, as well as two other Delta local agencies, Central Delta Water Agency and San Joaquin County announced they will file a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Met) over their plan to purchase several islands in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.

On March 14, 2016, Metropolitan Water District had filed a Notice of Exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act for the purchase of the Delta islands, claiming the purchase was for Delta habitat restoration purposes.

However, Met’s General Manager, Jeff Kightlinger, admitted to the press at the time of the island purchase announcement that the islands could facilitate building the $15.7 billion Delta tunnels project championed by Governor Brown by “reducing eminent-domain needs and providing a storage place for construction dirt.”

In addition, Mr. Kightlinger made additional public statements regarding the uses and benefits of the Delta islands that contradicted the CEQA exemption statement.

At a rally in Stockton in support of the lawsuit, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta spoke.

“Based on this improper CEQA filling, we are calling on the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors to reverse the bad vote that they made at their General Manager’s urging to purchase the Delta islands,” she said. “Clearly, the purchase of the Delta islands is Met’s attempt to anchor the Delta tunnels in our region so that construction could begin, despite the fact that the plan is still not approved or financed.

“The $175 million purchase price for the Delta islands does not count the costs to Southern California ratepayers for the inevitable litigation that begins with today’s filing,” Barrigan-Parrilla continued. “If Met loses in court, they will not be able to ever sell these islands for the same price. That means Southern Californian water users will become owners of a very expensive duck habitat hundreds of miles to the north. Met will also be on the hook for maintenance of hundreds of miles of Delta levees, an ongoing cost that will be paid year after year by Southern California ratepayers.”

“Our 35,000 members from throughout California agree there are better ways for Southern California water agencies to plan for their water future.  More than 7500 area residents have already signed letters that will be sent to Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors urging them to drop the Delta islands purchase and to instead invest the $175 million in solutions that build sustainability in Southern California like storm water capture and water recycling,” she added. “Met has already spent nearly $100 million on Delta tunnels planning, but the process at the State Water Board has recently ground to a halt, and there is no financial plan between Met and agricultural water districts, like the SEC fined Westlands, as to who will pay what proportion of the $15.5 billion construction costs.”

For more information on Restore the Delta and their efforts to stop the Delta Tunnels, visit www.restorethedelta.org.

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Keep Antioch Beautiful Day annual, citywide cleanup, Sat., April 23

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

KAB-2016_FlyerFor the month of April the Antioch Police Department is encouraging citizens to participate in the citywide, KEEP ANTIOCH BEAUTIFUL DAY clean up event April 23, 2016 from 8:30am-11:00am. This is a collaborative community effort, which involves active participation from the Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission; Neighborhood Watch Program; Volunteers in Police Service; Keep Antioch Beautiful Committee; community volunteers, and the Public Works Department.

Check in sites for the April 23, 2016 citywide cleanup are at the following locations:

Nick Rodriguez Community Center, Turner Elementary, Mission Elementary, Carmen Dragon Elementary, Park Middle School, Antioch High School and Deer Valley High School

The targeted areas are within walking distance. Excluding inclement weather, future Neighborhood Cleanup events are scheduled for the first Saturday of every month and the locations will be announced in advance.

For a list of locations and to sign up visit http://art4antioch.org//Keep-Antioch-Beautiful.asp or call 779-6137.

Sponsored by City of Antioch, Republic Services, Honeywell, NRG, Antioch Unified School District, Walmart, East Bay Regional Park District, Central Self Storage, Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch, Pinky’s Klassy Kar Wash, Dick Straub (in Memorium), Police Crime Prevention Commission, Paradise Skate & Paintball Park and Undead Bettys Roller Derby.

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Residents urged to speak against Contra Costa Water District deal on Delta Tunnels, Wed., April 6

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Restore the Delta says to tell the Contra Costa Water Board “Say no to back room deals that sell out Delta water quality for the region”

By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta

The Contra Costa Water District Board of Directors will soon be reviewing the settlement agreement that they recently signed with the Delta Tunnels plan effort. The settlement drops CCWD’s protest against the tunnels plan in exchange for a separate pipeline to deliver drinking water to its customers. We are urging all concerned residents to attend the meeting.

This may be your only opportunity to register a public comment on how you feel about CCWD’s self-interested approach to secure a water supply at the expense of the community it serves.

What: CCWD Public Board Meeting

When: Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 6:30 to 9:00 pm. (Come at 6:00 pm if you would like to organize with us prior to the meeting)

Where: 1331 Concord Avenue, Concord   

The Contra Costa Water District is choosing to exchange its present contract for Delta water deliveries for an intake above the Delta that will remove even more fresh water from the estuary. This not only puts all other Delta communities at risk for even worse water quality, but also leaves their own customers within their own district with degraded Delta water for other uses. Additionally, their decision leaves the San Francisco Bay Estuary with degraded water quality which will negatively impact that magnificent ecosystem.

Contra Costa County residents recreate in high numbers in the Delta, live around its water ways, and have regular contact with the water.  Environmental justice communities and recreational anglers fish Delta waterways for sustenance and professional tournaments, and Contra Costa County farmers depend on quality Delta water for their businesses.

Furthermore, the impacts will be exacerbated for residents in Discovery Bay for all water uses — from toxic algal blooms to waterways polluted with salt, Selenium and human carcinogens. Reducing flow through the Delta will put the estuary in a state of “permanent drought.”

CCWD’s willingness to settle is an indictment of how bad the Delta Tunnels plan really is. The Tunnels Project will have egregious water quality impacts in the Delta. CCWD should drop the settlement, and rejoin the unified opposition to the Tunnels plan launched by the entire Bay-Delta community, not cut a self-serving back room deal!

Lastly, Restore the Delta and collaborating environmental groups have in the past supported an expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir (and an intertie between Contra Costa Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District) as ways to meet water needs for the greater Bay Area.  However, we are reconsidering our support of such measures seeing that Contra Costa Water District would now become a party to depriving the Bay-Delta estuary of needed flows through the Delta tunnels project. CCWD is effectively transforming the expansion of Los Vaqueros from a solution to a tool of the Bay-Delta estuary water grab.

Read our opposition to this settlement here. If you have questions, about this alert, please feel free to call our office at 209-475-9550.  We will see you, our members, at 6 pm in order to organize before the meeting on April 6, 2016. If you cannot make the meeting, submit a public comment here.

Thank you for your continued support.

The Contra Costa Water District service area includes Antioch, Bay Point, Brentwood (portion), Clayton, Clyde, Concord, Martinez (portion), Oakley, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill (portion), Port Costa and Walnut Creek (portion). To find your Director on the Board visit http://www.ccwater.com/426/Division-Map—Find-Your-Director.  If you can’t attend the meeting you can also email your Director by visiting http://www.ccwater.com/416/Board-of-Directors . and clicking on their name and then link to contact them. Antioch is represented by Directors Bette Boatmun and Connstance Holdaway.

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Contra Costa Water District signs agreement with Department of Water Resources on water from Delta Tunnels

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

The Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) announced, Tuesday that they have signed a settlement agreement with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) that will protect its customers, facilities, and operations if the Bay Delta Conservation Plan / California WaterFix (CWF), aka the “twin tunnels,” is built. The agreement is an insurance policy to protect the unique water quality and supply issues raised by CCWD.

Since studies began in 2006 to evaluate alternative conveyance strategies for Delta water serving those dependent on the export pumps in the south Delta, CCWD has publicly raised concerns about several issues including potential impacts to the operation of its facilities in the Delta that provide high quality water service to its customers. The state approached CCWD to discuss the water quality and supply concerns unique to CCWD and an agreement was reached that will provide protections for CCWD’s customers if the project is built.

“We take our role to protect our customers seriously and cannot gamble with the future of our water supply or quality,” said General Manager Jerry Brown. “Should this project move forward without these assurances in place, CCWD’s facilities and operations would be negatively impacted. We are confident this is an iron-clad insurance policy for our customers, we wouldn’t have reached an agreement otherwise.”

Key to this settlement is the fact that it will not result in rate increases for CCWD customers nor redirect any potential impacts to other areas. It is a legally binding agreement to protect CCWD’s ability to use the facilities its customers have invested over $1 billion in the past 20 years.

“We are confident knowing we have taken actions to protect our customer’s future if the tunnels are ever constructed,” commented Brown. “The state is committing to a significant investment to ensure CCWD customers will be made whole, and this agreement protects our ability to deliver high quality water to those we serve.”

“We’re pleased to have reached an agreement with CCWD that is good for their customers and good for the 25 million Californians who depend upon the State Water Project,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We appreciate CCWD’s reasonable, efficient, and effective approach to resolving concerns about California WaterFix.”

CCWD is not a proponent of the CWF. This settlement does not change that position, but instead is a way to safeguard CCWD and those it serves if a larger statewide plan is ever implemented. CCWD will remain an active participant in finding statewide solutions and continue to protect the drinking water interests of our customers.

The Board of Directors will review the details of the agreement at the April 6 Board Meeting held at 1331 Concord Ave. in Concord at 6:30 p.m.

For further details related to this settlement, please visit http://www.ccwater.com/317/Bay-Delta-Conservation-Plan-Comments.

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Diane Burgis receives Women Improving the Environment Award from the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Diane Burgis, a trustee on the East Bay Regional Parks District Board and Executive Director of Friends of the Marsh Creek Watershed received the Women Improving the Environment Award from the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame, Tuesday night in Concord.

The Board of Supervisors established the Contra Costa Women’s Hall of Fame in October 1997 to acknowledge those exceptional, multifaceted women who have enhanced life in Contra Costa County through their careers and volunteer activities.

The honorees have made a difference through their efforts towards equity, innovation, service or achievement in commerce or community outreach.

Burgis was nominated by Susan Morgan, a Director on the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board.  “Through Diane Burgis’ leadership as Executive Director of the Friends of the Marsh Creek Watershed, the protection of natural resources including creeks, water quality and open space has become a priority to our community and its leaders,” said Morgan.  “Much of Diane’s work has been funded part time and she was able to accomplish great things for our environment and the Watershed by working beyond her paid hours and by recruiting and encouraging support from volunteers in the community.”

Marsh Creek is one of the fastest urbanizing watersheds in California, and the creek flows for 30 miles through the rapidly growing communities of Brentwood, Oakley and Antioch in eastern Contra Costa County and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the many volunteers who contribute their time and talent to protecting, conserving and restoring the Marsh Creek Watershed,” said Burgis.

Burgis is a candidate for County Supervisor in District 3 in the June election. This is the second honor for her since she entered the race.

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Viewing party of Open Roads with Doug McConnell featuring a segment on Marsh Creek, Sunday

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Friends of Marsh Creek WatershedBy Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed

Join us Sunday March 20th at 6PM for a viewing party of Open Roads with Doug McConnell featuring a segment on Marsh Creek.  Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed invited our friends from Save Mount Diablo, the John Marsh Historical Trust & the Independence High School Outdoor Wetlands Learning (OWL) Program to participate in a quick look at Marsh Creek top to bottom.

We will have food and soft drinks for $10.  This is a family event!

You can attend without eating just sign up for a free ticket.

When: Sunday, March 20, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT) – Add to Calendar

Where: Providence Bar & Eatery – 2085 Main Street, Oakley, CA 94561 – View Map

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Southern California water agency to purchase Delta islands, could advance Delta Tunnels project

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

At a closed session board meeting Wednesday morning, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California authorized the purchase of four islands in the San Francisco Bay-Delta for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is highly controversial in Northern California as it would put Southern California’s most powerful water agency in control of a group of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta islands that can serve as water storage areas or entry points for the proposed $15 billion Delta Tunnels projects.
For months MWD has been considering the purchase of islands now used for farming. The islands mirror the path of the plan for the Delta Tunnels proposal.

The four island deal includes Bouldin Island, Webb Tract, Holland Tract, and Bacon Island. They cover approximately 20,000 acres of the Delta. Here (and below) is a map of the islands in the path of the Delta Tunnels.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta spoke on the matter.

“It is troubling for the Delta region that Metropolitan Water District is going to acquire such a significant portion of Delta land and Delta water rights,” she said. “They have the resources to change law and policies statewide to maximize their access to Delta water in their favor. They will own two islands that are directly in the path of the proposed Delta Tunnels project, eliminating eminent domain concerns for that portion of tunnels construction. We believe that having MWD as a neighbor is an existential threat to the future of the Delta and Delta communities.”
Delta Tunnels opponents note that after nine years and a quarter of a billion dollars spent on the proposal, Delta Tunnel backers have still has not produced a legally acceptable plan that can pass environmental standards. On October 30, 2015 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the Draft Environmental Impact Report a failing grade of “Inadequate” due to lack of science about the impacts on the Delta ecosystem and endangered species.

For more information on the Restore the Delta visit www.restorethedelta.org.

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Annual Super Bowl weekend Sturgeon Derby in Bay Point, Feb 6 & 7

Thursday, February 4th, 2016
courtesy of originalsturgeonderby.com

courtesy of originalsturgeonderby.com

Sturgeon DerbyLost Anchor Bait & Tackle in Antioch is gearing up for their busiest weekend of the year, in preparation of the 32nd Original Sturgeon Derby, Feb 6 & 7, held each year on Super Bowl weekend. Over 1,100 anglers are expected to be in East County for the derby.

To get your bait and supplies for the derby, stop by the store at 908 West 2nd Street in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown. Then sign up for the derby at McAvoy Harbor at 1001 McAvoy Road in Bay Point.

“We are flying in lots of bait this evening,” said Steffen Masters, owner of Lost Anchor. “So we should be all set up and ready to go Friday and Saturday.”

Call them for the details at 925 384-5005.

The derby is sponsored by the Foundation Sportsman’s Club in Bay Point. For more information visit www.originalsturgeonderby.com.

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