Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

Celebrate Earth Day by helping keep Antioch beautiful, Saturday, April 22

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Clean-Up Event

Earth Day is a big deal in Antioch.  The Annual Keep Antioch Beautiful Clean-Up Day brings families, students, and community groups together for a city-wide litter pick-up and garbage haul that contributes toward a clean community.  This year’s cleanup is on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 8:30am to 11:00am.  There are five locations to volunteer, but you only need to pick one:

– Antioch High School

– Antioch Community Park at Jensen Family Grove

– Hillcrest Park at Larkspur Drive entrance

– Prewett Park at the Grand Plaza/Water Park

– Somersville Towne Center near Starbucks

There is a thank you BBQ after the clean-up at the Prewett Park Grand Plaza for all workers and volunteers.

Cash prizes are awarded to the schools that have the most number of volunteers participating in the clean-up.  To raise money for your school, individuals only need to write the name of the school on the registration and waiver forms.  High schools, middle schools, and elementary schools all qualify for the cash awards, and there is money for first, second, and third place participation.

Volunteers can show up the morning of the event to register and complete the event waiver form.

Advance registration is available at http://ci.antioch.ca.us/Enviornment/Keep-Antioch-Beautiful/

Community volunteers started this event eight years ago, working side by side with the City of Antioch to keep our community litter free.  Sponsorships and monetary donations are always needed and can be sent to Leo Fontana LAF “Keep Antioch Beautiful,” 2730 Lone Tree Way, Suite #4, Antioch, CA 94509. All donations are tax deductible. For more information call the Environmental Resource Line at 925-779-6137.

For more information or to register your group visit http://ci.antioch.ca.us/Environment/Keep-Antioch-Beautiful/.

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Payton Perspective: Officials must listen to the people and stop the Delta Tunnels

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

After watching and listening to the variety of East County and Bay Area residents speak out against the Delta Tunnels at the meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council in Brentwood on Thursday, March 23, 2017, one thing is clear, we don’t want them. All they will do is damage the Delta and the region in which we live. So how is that good stewardship of the Delta?

The proposed tunnels are referred to as conveyances. Well we already have two water conveyances, they’re called the San Joaquin River which flows north into and through the Delta and the Sacramento River which flows south. The two natural, God created conveyances we call rivers, meet at Antioch whose current slogan is the “Gateway to the Delta.”

Plus, there’s another man-made conveyance, known as the California Aqueduct that’s been sending water from Northern California and the Central Valley to Southern California for decades.  We don’t need another two, huge water conveyances to move the water from, around or under the Delta to Southern California.

Speaker after speaker who stood in line in the standing room only meeting – from residents, to activists, to Realtors, to those who fish and others who earn a living off the Delta – opposed the tunnels as the solution to water supply in the state. Instead they suggested more storage, such as maximizing the use of existing reservoirs and building more, and desalination.

One speaker, who said he is a native Californian with three daughters, offered the definition of stewardship which includes “the responsible overseeing of something worth preserving.” Two more speakers challenged the council members on the meaning of stewardship, as well.

“Tell the governor the people in this room know the difference between fresh water and salt water,” said another speaker. “For every gallon of fresh water we divert south, a gallon of salt water comes up the Delta.”

Salt water has encroached all the way to and past Antioch, which has the lowest intakes on the Delta and last year had to purchase 95% of its raw water from the Contra Costa Water District. The city has pre-1914 rights to the river allowing it to pump pretty much whatever amount of water needed for use by residents and businesses in the city. But, during the drought, and it’s believed that if the tunnels are built, those rights no longer mean anything, as there was and will no longer be enough or any fresh water to pump. So, if the salt water has already reached Antioch before the tunnels have been built, it can easily reach other parts of the Delta, if they are.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier had a representative read a letter from him at the meeting, in opposition to the conveyance system, or tunnels.

His letter mentioned the 2009 Delta Reform Act which established co-equal goals of “providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem” and that the proposed conveyance system barely touches on protection of the Delta.

A former Orange County, CA resident said “do the right thing. We want to preserve the Delta for our children.”

One speaker at the meeting got a bit animated. Screenshot from Cal-Span.org website

The final speaker asked “does anyone in this room want the tunnels?”

“No” was the loud reply.

The Council hasn’t yet made their final recommendation on whether the twin tunnels will be the solution to the conveyance of our water. So, there’s still time for the public to give input.

You can provide your comments using the online form at http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/contact-us. All written submissions will be posted on the website at www.deltacouncil.ca.gov. If you were unable to watch or attend the Thursday meeting in Brentwood, the webcast will be available on the website, as well.

Meetings of the Delta Stewardship Council in Sacramento on April 27th and 28th will be the next opportunity to give live, in-person input to the Council and for them to review the progress on the process. It will be held at Park Tower Plaza, 980 Ninth Street, 2nd Floor Conference Center in Sacramento.

In addition, in the future, as was said by Council Member and Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson, the Council needs to hold their meetings for the public at night. They can also be held on a Saturday and in a larger venue, so more people can attend.

We must stand united and continue to fight the Delta Tunnels to keep them from being built and damaging the ecosystem of the Delta and the adjacent region where we call home. Hopefully those charged with the stewardship of the Delta will hear us and recommend against the tunnels.

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Writer says Community Choice Energy alternative will create jobs in the county

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Editor:

Contra Costa County will be in direct coalition to Community Choice Energy (CCE) a sustainable choice to cleaner energy usage. They are pleased to announce their plans to bring more unionized jobs that will benefit the CCCounty.

This local renewable build out scenario, would involve a significant number of mostly unionized and non-union hires.  Also, a potential for 40% of the local build out will be near the Northern Waterfront in Concord area. In return this will be a huge deal for those looking to get hired in today’s economy. As the plans are underway to figure out the details there will be more to come on this future project.

Keep posted for more information regarding the Community Choice Energy (CCE) unionized jobs for hire and their announcements.

Lynette Robinson

San Pablo

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Group of state legislators from Delta Caucus release statement on alarming Oroville Dam situation

Monday, February 13th, 2017

(SACRAMENTO) – On Monday, February 13, 2017, members of the Delta Caucus of the California state legislature, including three representing Contra Costa County, released the following statement regarding the hazardous situation at Oroville Dam after news reports that previous concerns about the safety of the dam’s current infrastructure were ignored:

“We are concerned that a clear alarm raised 12 years ago about the state of the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was discounted. There has been more than enough time since then for upgrades and maintenance to the structure. Instead, nearly 185,000 people have been displaced, and there are still people in harm’s way. A catastrophic failure at Oroville would result in uncontrolled releases that do considerably more harm to the surrounding communities, and threaten those further downstream, including levee-protected communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. For now, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that people are safe and that necessary steps are taken to prevent further compromise of the entire Oroville facility.  When the immediate threats have subsided, we need to clearly assess this disaster and its causes.  We have a duty to ensure California’s existing infrastructure is maintained and upgraded, and not sacrificed in favor of conveyance projects.”

Caucus Co-Chair Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) and Assemblymembers Tim Grayson (D-Concord) and Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) are members of the Delta Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators whose districts include portions of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. The caucus works to keep their colleagues updated on the latest scientific data, economic developments, and actions taken by the state agencies responsible for the Delta, including the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources, and the Delta Stewardship Council.

They and the following legislators wished to be part of this statement: Co-Chair Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Assemblymenbers  Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) and Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove).

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Water level at Los Vaqueros Reservoir rises to a new high

Friday, February 3rd, 2017
The 100,000 acre-foot Los Vaqueros Reservoir

Los Vaqueros Reservoir. courtesy of CCWD.

After leaning on Los Vaqueros Reservoir for supply during the drought, the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) is pleased to announce that the reservoir is now holding more water than it ever has for its customers.  The reservoir is doing its job and the filling underway is good news for serving customers now and into the future.

This week, the reservoir’s storage level rose above 133,000 acre-feet, surpassing the high reached in 2013.  CCWD will continue to fill while conditions are favorable, depending on Delta water quality and energy costs.

“Los Vaqueros continues to serve CCWD customers well, especially during this drought,” said CCWD Board President Lisa M. Borba. “Customers responded tremendously to the call for conservation, and we were able to save conserved water in the reservoir, positioning us well if dry years continued. Now we are adding to our water saving account.”

CCWD owns and operates Los Vaqueros Reservoir primarily to manage water quality for the 500,000 residents of central and eastern Contra Costa County.  Water from the Delta is pumped into the reservoir when water quality is good and then is used to keep water quality delivered to its customers high when salinity levels rise in the Delta.  The off-stream reservoir located near Brentwood was originally constructed in 1998 with the ability to store up to 100,000 acre-feet of water.

An expansion of the reservoir was completed in 2012 increasing the capacity to 160,000 acre-feet.  Stores of water in the off-stream reservoir reached a then high of 132,900 acre-feet in 2013 and was then drawn upon, as designed, to meet water supply demands during the past few years of drought.

With strong and steady storms this winter supplying fresh water to the Delta, CCWD has turned on its pumps to move high quality water into Los Vaqueros for future use.

Learn more about CCWD and Los Vaqueros Reservoir at www.ccwater.com.

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Delta Diablo wins Governor’s Award for Sustainability Leadership

Friday, January 27th, 2017
From Left to Right: Mike Bakaldin, Interim General Manager, Phil Govea, Engineering Services Director, Joaquin Gonzalez, Operations Manager holding the plaque, Amanda Roa, Environmental Programs Manager, and Robert Brothers, Environmental Compliance Specialist II.

From Left to Right: Mike Bakaldin, Interim General Manager; Phil Govea, Engineering Services Director; Joaquin Gonzalez, Operations Manager holding the plaque; Amanda Roa, Environmental Programs Manager; and Robert Brothers, Environmental Compliance Specialist II.

Delta Diablo was honored in Sacramento on Thursday evening, January 19th with a prestigious 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA). GEELA is California’s highest environmental honor, administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable, voluntary contributions in conserving California’s precious resources, protecting and enhancing our environment, building public-private partnerships and strengthening the state’s economy.

This award recognizes Delta Diablo for its commitment and achievements in sustainability. At Delta Diablo, sustainability is not just one project or program, but rather a mindset that is holistically expressed throughout the entire organization. This can be observed through the recycled water and renewable energy projects that we implement, the innovative technologies we pilot, and the regional coalitions we lead.

These projects and programs reflect how Delta Diablo embodies sustainability and excellence throughout the organization, achieving 12 consecutive years of 100% permit compliance, and awards at every level in the organization for public education, safety, financial reporting, human resources, labor relations, procurement, engineering, leadership and innovation. Delta Diablo is proud to help maintain sustainable facilities, practices, and communities, and desires to be a Utility of the Future to advance the state of the industry for water resource recovery, helping to create a sustainable California.

Delta Diablo’s Board of Directors’ Chair Pete Longmire confirms: “This award recognizes every aspect of Delta Diablo’s services and the efforts of all our dedicated employees across every department. It is a recognition of the daily work they do providing critical public health and resource recovery services to 200,000 people in Antioch, Bay Point and Pittsburg, as well as their leadership with several regional industry coalitions.”

Each year GEELA recipients are chosen from five categories and Delta Diablo was recognized under the “Sustainable Practices, Communities or Facilities” category.

Delta Diablo (District) provides water resource recovery services for the City of Antioch, the City of Pittsburg, and the unincorporated community of Bay Point, serving a population of nearly 200,000. The water resource recovery services consist of conventional treatment of wastewater, recycled water production and distribution, pollution prevention, energy recovery, beneficial reuse of biosolids, street sweeping, and household hazardous waste collection. For more information visit www.deltadiablo.org.

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Discover Diablo, new Free Public Hike Series offered by Save Mount Diablo, beginning this weekend

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
Hikers enjoy the trails on Save Mount Diablo’s Four Days Diablo Group Camping Trip, a 30-mile trek along the Diablo Trail over 4 day leading you on an adventure through rarely seen Mount Diablo landscapes. Photo by Scott Hein, Director, Save Mt. Diablo

Hikers enjoy the trails on Save Mount Diablo’s Four Days Diablo Group Camping Trip, a 30-mile trek along the Diablo Trail over 4 day leading you on an adventure through rarely seen Mount Diablo landscapes. Photos by Scott Hein, Save Mt. Diablo Board President

Discover Diablo is Save Mount Diablo’s new free public hike series, offering an annual schedule of guided walks, hikes and interpretive tours open to any and all trail blazers. Generously sponsored by the Shell Martinez Refinery, the Discover Diablo Free Public Hike Series will launch in early 2017. Discover Diablo will offer two events per month for the entire year (please see schedule, below) – one taking place and focusing on a Save Mount Diablo property and one designed for families on other public parks.

Hosted by Save Mount Diablo, the new Discover Diablo program seeks to build awareness of local land conservation efforts and to convey the importance of protecting open space for habitat and recreation. With the launch of Discover Diablo, we intend to reach new audiences, build our membership base of adventurers, explorers and outdoor enthusiasts, and spark a passion for the Diablo Range.

George leads us back out on the trail after lunchWe invite you to join us in exploring the Bay Area’s beautiful wild lands and open spaces. We hope that with two events per month in various locations, there will be something for everyone to enjoy and learn from. Save Mount Diablo’s Family walks are for hikers of all skill levels and will take place on other portions of open space on and around the mountain. Save Mount Diablo’s Property tours will illustrate the importance of preserving wildlife habitat, building corridors between existing parks, and of course, all the beauty that the Diablo Range has to offer.

To honor Save Mount Diablo’s mission, we aim to display both our current property holdings as well as those we have helped protect over the years. Hosting monthly hikes is an effective way to engage and grow communities invested in the sustainability of local open space. SMD properties aren’t usually open to the public, so these are rare opportunities.

To complete the land conservation picture in the Diablo Range and pay homage to collaborating agencies, we also host monthly outings on Mount Diablo State Park, East Bay Regional Park District, and Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation lands. Save Mount Diablo’s new hike series, Discover Diablo, ties these outings together by offering an annual schedule of free public hikes to explore these diverse lands – with the added bonus of being guided by staff and experienced volunteer hike leaders.

According to Ted Clement, Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo, “It is the goal of the Discover Diablo program to build connections between people and land, helping communities develop a strong sense of place and a deepened appreciation for our collective backyard. Most importantly, we want to cultivate a love of the land in participants – so as to grow the land ethic and stewardship for our precious Mount Diablo area.”

We intend to reach audiences from all over the Bay Area to improve awareness of and advocacy efforts for the Diablo Range. There is something for us all to discover in the nooks and crannies surrounding Mount Diablo. Please join us on the trails to find your own individual inspiration!

Visit us on Eventbrite to our full schedule of upcoming hikes: Discover-Diablo.eventbrite.com. RSVP required.

What: Save Mount Diablo’s Discover Diablo Free Public Hike Series

When: Two monthly events throughout 2017. (See schedule, below)

Where: CONTRA COSTA COUNTY – Walnut Creek, Clayton, Concord, Livermore, Pittsburg.

Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, non-profit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. To learn more and support Save Mount Diablo please visit www.savemountdiablo.org.

Discover_Diablo_-_2017_Hike_Schedule_Poster_Web_

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Guest Commentary: Single tunnel option not a quick fix for the Delta

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore The Delta

These are not good times for Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnels (WaterFix) proposal.

The twin 40-foot-diameter, 30-mile-long tunnels would harvest Sacramento River water before it flows through the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. A vast majority of this water would be sent to Big Ag operations like The Wonderful Company in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. It will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.

But as the San Francisco Chronicle recently editorialized, “The tunnel project, now marketed to Californians as WaterFix, lacks community trust and political will and is saddled with a $16 billion (and growing) price tag that appears much larger than water agencies are willing to pay.

“Water districts, rural users, and entire cities like San Diego and Santa Monica are starting to question the wisdom or affordability of such a big project that does not deliver one new drop of new water.
“This November, a coalition of conservation and public interest organizations sent a letter to the Obama administration asking them to terminate the proposal so his legacy isn’t dragged down by a financial and environmental nightmare. The groups explain how the next administration will blame the boondoggle on Obama. They will say:
“We inherited the WaterFix from the previous administration and presumed that they knew what they were doing and had fully evaluated the project in good faith when they determined it should go forward.”
As environmental and financial obstacles continue to mount for the proposal, California water policy wonks are now scrambling for a viable Plan B.

The influential Public Policy Institute of California recently took a step back from support for the Twin Tunnels and offered a scaled back, Plan B. In an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee they offer, A Grand Compromise for the Delta.
PPIC now proposes a smaller plan they believe can settle the water wars over the Bay-Delta. Their proposal includes one-tunnel, managing water flows for entire ecosystems not just specific species, strengthening Delta levees, and letting communities tap into tunnel water supplies where local water is salty.

Restore the Delta is certainly encouraged the Public Policy Institute of California has backed down from support for the highly destructive Twin Delta Tunnels proposal. But the scaled-back project the PPIC now proposes is a completely different and new project. Before it can be analyzed, we still need to figure out how much water the Delta needs to maintain ecological health for the communities who live there and the species who depend on a healthy estuary.

The State Water Board’s flow hearings for the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers must be completed before any project can be analyzed.

Independent fishery experts now say that the San Joaquin River needs at least 50 percent unimpaired flows to stop extinction and achieve legally required doubling goals for salmon.

Any new tunnel proposal would, we hope, include a more comprehensive public scoping process so as to include Delta environmental justice communities, made up of hundreds of thousands of residents. We would also hope for a more transparent environmental and economic review process with better science and better public debate than what was put forth for the current Delta Tunnels proposal. CA WaterFix touts hundreds of meetings over the last ten years, but most were never properly noticed to Delta communities for meaningful participation.

If, indeed, support for the Big Twin Tunnels project is fading, let’s kill that proposal once and for all. Californians who voted in 1982 against the Peripheral Canal assumed we had made that decision long ago.
In an era of climate change and shrinking snowpack in the Sierra, less snowmelt means that by the time the expensive Twin Tunnels project would be finished, it may sit empty most of the time. The same may be true for one tunnel.  We don’t know yet.

Instead, we should invest in California’s water future. Southern California already taking the lead on the cutting edge of a water technology. Stormwater harvesting, conservation, water recycling, and groundwater recharging are reducing the need for imported water to the Southland. Many of these ideas can be found in a report titled A Sustainable Water Plan for California by the Environmental Water Caucus.

The Delta Tunnels, even a scaled back version, may not be the best use of limited funds. Let’s kill off the big Delta Tunnels plan once and for all. Then we can redirect those funds to create local jobs that build water sustainability by adding new water into the system. That is the path to provide real security for California’s future.

Originally published by KCET, December 19, 2016. Republished with permission. Commentaries are the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of KCETLink.

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