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July 24, 2012: Vol. 2, #8

In This Edition
State hides the ball on Delta tunnels costs & Join FOR and others at a July 25th Delta Rally at the state Capitol
Help protect wild rivers in Tahoe
Wild & Scenic River Efforts Continue to Advance
Suction Dredge Mining Moratorium Extended
FOR Gear Swap: Sept 8-9, 2012
River in the Spotlight: The East Carson River
Pool covers - save time, money, and a river!

   

STATE HIDES THE BALL ON DELTA WATER TUNNELS UPSTREAM IMPACTS AND COSTS
Bob Wright, Senior Counsel, Friends of the River

EDITORS NOTE: Join FOR and our partners at a public rally to save the Delta.  Show up at the west steps of the state Capitol at
12 noon on Wednesday, July 25th!

The Governor and the Interior Secretary still plan to make a joint announcement on July 25, 2012 that the Government will build the two 35 mile-long tunnels to divert up to 15,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) of water out of the Sacramento River, to wheel around or through the Delta to satisfy already subsidized corporate interests in certain water districts far south of the Delta. That quantity of water is approximately the entire average summer flow of the Sacramento River near the proposed diversion points near Clarksburg.

The Peripheral Canal was voted down by the people of the State of California when it was fairly and openly put on the ballot in 1982. Now, the State is hiding the ball by not placing the project on the ballot for a fair and open up or down vote by the people. Instead, the State has been trying to put only good sounding items on the ballot such as the water bond. The water bond, which is designed to green wash the construction of the Delta tunnels, was taken off the November 2012 ballot on July 5th by the Legislature, because the project proponents are afraid it would be voted down.  They are trying to start construction before, not after, such basic processes as environmental and economic full disclosure and analysis, and hearing from the voters.

The State is hiding the ball with respect to impacts upstream from the diversion points. As pointed out by federal agencies in their "Red Flag" comments on this truly bad project, "reductions [in river flows] are most pronounced in the mainstem of the Sacramento River downstream of the Fremont Weir and the proposed northern Delta intakes, but occurrences of substantial flow reductions are also predicted in more upstream river reaches." The project "is predicted to expose green Sturgeon larvae to substantial reductions in July-September Feather River flows in most years."  "The preliminary proposal shows a reduction in the end of September storage (cold water pool storage) which is unacceptable and needs to be addressed."

In addition to causing but not analyzing or disclosing in advance changes in upstream reservoir operations and flows, the Delta Tunnels would also enable the construction of more dams by allowing transport of more water south of the Delta than is presently the case.

The State has also been hiding the ball with respect to cost benefit analysis. The key question in the July 11, 2012 letter from 11 congressional representatives including John Garamendi and George Miller to Secretary Salazar and Governor Brown says it all: "Is the State planning on engaging in a thorough, peer-reviewed cost-benefit analysis? If so, when can we expect that report? If not, why?" The reason the State is hiding the ball, is because the State knows that the Delta Water Tunnels boondoggle fails any legitimate cost-benefit analysis. That has been demonstrated by the analysis released on July 12, 2012 by the University of the Pacific. "A proposal to build water conveyance tunnels under the Delta is not economically or financially justified according to a benefit-cost analysis released today by the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific. The report finds that the cost of the tunnels are about $7 billion higher than the benefits, or about $2.50 in costs for each dollar in economic benefits. The water conveyance tunnels are proposed as the centerpiece of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). . . . The economic costs include capital costs, operating and maintenance costs, and the costs to in-Delta and upstream areas that would be negatively affected. . . . Benefit-cost analysis is an essential and normal part of assessment and planning of large infrastructure projects such as the 13 billion water conveyance tunnel proposal, but has not been part of the BDCP. . . . This report fills an important information gap for policymakers, taxpayers, and water ratepayers who will ultimately bear the multi-billion costs of the BDCP." (Release, University of the Pacific, July 12, 2012).

Friends of the River along with other defenders of our rivers and the Delta will stage a counter press conference and demonstration, at the Capitol, west steps, noon -2:30 pm, in Sacramento, on July 25, 2012 to get the truth out on this massive double nightmare of river destruction and fleecing of taxpayers to benefit some special interests.  We anticipate that some Congressional Representatives will be present supporting our position at the event.

Finally, in a less crisis driven mode, you can attend one of the showings of the 45 minute documentary on the threat to the Delta, "Over Troubled Waters", narrated by Ed Begley, Jr.,  showings at the Crest Theater, Sacramento on August 8, the Empire Theater, Stockton on August 20, and the Landmark Theater, Los Angeles on August 28, all showings at 7 pm.

 

 

Help protect wild rivers and wilderness in the Lake Tahoe Basin area.
Steve Evans, Wild & Scenic Project Coordinator

The public has the opportunity to comment on the future of wild and scenic rivers and wilderness on 150,000 acres of National Forest lands surrounding beautiful Lake Tahoe. The Forest Service is soliciting written comments until August 30 in response to its Lake Tahoe Basin Draft Forest Plan Revision. The plan will determine the future management of the federal public lands that ring Lake Tahoe for the next 15-20 years.

Click here to send your email to the Forest Service.

Background

The Forest Service is the largest land manager in the Lake Tahoe Basin. How much of this public land is allocated to uses that allow new road building, logging, and ski area development, and how much is protected as Wild and Scenic Rivers or Wilderness will be determined in the new revised forest plan.

John Muir thought Lake Tahoe should have been a National Park. Instead, much of the Basin was logged over in the 1800s to provide timber for Nevada’s mines. In more modern times, Lake Tahoe has suffered from helter-skelter development of casinos, ski areas, strip malls, and commercial resorts. Most of the remaining natural land surrounding the lake is National Forest. With the release of the draft forest plan, the public now has the opportunity to ensure that at least the federal public lands surrounding this national icon are protected for the enjoyment of present and future generations and to protect the lake’s outstanding clarity.

The Forest Service considers four different alternatives to manage the public lands around Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, none of the alternatives, including the agency’s preferred management plan, go far enough in protecting Wild & Scenic Rivers and Wilderness. In addition, none of the alternatives provide sufficient protection for ancient forests and threatened and endangered species in the Basin. In addition, the plan does little to control snowmobiling and other activities that threaten natural resources.

Snowmobile enthusiasts in particular have mobilized to pressure the Forest Service to open more public lands around Lake Tahoe to their noisy and intrusive recreation, including sensitive wetland areas that provide crucial habitat for the Sierra yellow-legged frog. The impacts of snowmobile noise alone on wildlife have been well documented by scientists. In addition, snowmobiling is incompatible with Wilderness and Wild Rivers and ruins the outdoor experience of less intrusive winter pursuits like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Speak out in favor of protecting more Wild and Scenic Rivers, Wilderness, ancient forests, threatened and endangered species, and non-motorized recreation on the public lands around Lake Tahoe by sending an email TODAY to the Forest Service. Email comments may be sent to comments-pacificsouthwest-ltbmu@fs.fed.us. The deadline for written comments is August 30, 2012.

<Click> here to send your email to the Forest Service.

For more information about this issue, please contract Steve Evans, Wild Rivers Project consultant for Friends of the River, phone: (916) 442-3155 x221, email: sevans@friendsoftheriver.org.

 

So much to see so little timeFOR Gear Swap: Sept 8-9, 2012
Greg "Big Bird" Gilmore, Gear Committee

Who wants to have a little fun & help support FOR. We are having the FOR GEAR SWAP on Sept. 8 & 9. We need y'all to come out with your old gear or you could even volunteer. Please email me - ggilmores@yahoo.com or gearswap@friendsoftheriver.org. If you can volunteer or just come out and shop, it is a great day. For FOR's and the Festival volunteers there usually a free dinner Friday night at the River Store.

So save the date !!!!!!

Hope to see you.
River luv, - g

Volunteer shifts at the Gear Swap: Saturday, Sept. 8: 8 am – 5 pm and Sunday, Sept. 9     8 am – 1 pm. Volunteers please indicate if you can volunteer in the Morning or Afternoon Shift.

NOTE: We are also looking for volunteers to collect gear on a case-by-case basis (we don't want to fill your garage) that has been donated to FOR and bring it up to the swap.  If you live outside Sacramento and have a bit of room to store some gear we’d like to connect you to folks  for gear that FOR gets to keep 100% of the proceeds of.  If you may be able to help collect donated gear email gearswap@friendsoftheriver.org .

FOR Gear Swap Page (details on how to sell and what to do)

Festival Link: http://www.americanriverfestival.org

 

Visit FOR's homepage

 

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Click below to learn the 50+ ways you can help save your river now!

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Give your river a voice and join FOR or give an additional gift today!

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San Antonio RiverSave A River - Use A Pool/Spa Cover

If you have a pool (or spa), keep a cover on it when not in use. This will prevent evaporation and keep your pool cleaner. Covering your pool can save up to 250 gallons a week plus the cost that chemicals would have been to clean it more frequently, and there will less debris blown or dropped in so you will spend less time cleaning out your pool too. http://www.sandiego.gov/water/conservation/tips.shtml

Learn more about the 50 Ways to Save Your River on our website!

 

 

 

Don't drive the wreck INTO the River - donate it TO the River!

Friends of the River now accepts donations of cars, boats, trucks, jet skis and more! In a cooperative effort between Donation Line and FOR your vehicle can be donated to help save our rivers! You must have a clean title. Free Towing & No Hassles. Pick up ASAP.

Call 1-877-227-7487 extension 2811

 

 

 

EastCarson2River in the Spotlight: East Carson River

The East Carson River is fed by the melting snows from the Sierra Nevada, flowing eastward for more than 57 miles through California and into the Nevada desert. The river is considered only one of two major eastern Sierra streams that are free flowing and un-dammed over much of their length.

The East Carson transitions through a visually and biologically distinctive mosaic of vegetation; from high alpine meadows, to sub-alpine fir and white pine forests, to the dominant eastside forests of Jeffrey pine, and then to the pinyon-juniper-sagebrush ecosystem of the true desert. A diverse assemblage of wildlife species, including mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, golden eagles, and Canada geese, live in the river canyon. The river also provides habitat for the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout, as well as trophy-sized non-native rainbow and brown trout prized by anglers.

Visit FOR's East Carson River Page

 

 

 

 

Support Rivers by Giving at Work! To find out more email us at: workplacegiving@friendsoftheriver.org

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National Wild & Scenic River Efforts Continue to Advance
Steve Evans, Wild & Scenic Project Coordinator

Los Padres Wild Rivers Bill Considered By House Committee: The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in June on Rep. Elton Gallegly’s bill, H.R. 4109 – the Los Padres Conservation And Recreation Act of 2012. The bill proposes to protect 89 miles of Wild & Scenic Rivers, including segments of upper Sespe and Piru Creeks, Indian Creek, and Mono Creek in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. In addition, the bill proposes to protect 63,000 acres as new Wilderness additions.  Friends of the River played a key role in developing the Wild & Scenic Rivers component of the bill and submitted joint testimony with our allies supporting the river and wilderness provisions. The prospect for further congressional action in 2012 on this important bill is uncertain, but Friends of the River and its conservation allies will continue to lobby to improve the bill and secure its passage through Congress.

Los Angeles County Supervisors Support San Gabriel National Recreation Area: In early June, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors endorsed the idea of protecting public lands in much of the San Gabriel Mountains and along the downstream urban segments of the San Gabriel River as a National Recreation Area (NRA). The federal NRA proposal is the subject of a study by the National Park Service, which is expected to release later this year its final recommendation to Congress about establishing the area. Friends of the River is working closely with a coalition of groups to establish the NRA, which would include much of the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. In addition, Friends of the River and its allies are lobbying for NRA legislation that would provide Wild & Scenic River protection for segments of the San Gabriel River, San Antonio Creek, Middle Fork Lytle Creek, and Little Rock Creek. The idea of protecting this area as an NRA with Wild Rivers and Wilderness is hugely popular with local residents. Hundreds of people attending public meetings last Fall held by the National Park Service in support of the NRA study.

Northwest California Activists Consider Wild Rivers and Wilderness Campaign: The newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District in northwest California may open the door to a new campaign to protect wild rivers and wilderness in this incredibly scenic and diverse region of the state. The district now includes Trinity County, which possesses extensive opportunities to protect new wild rivers and wilderness. Representatives of Friends of the River and the California Wilderness Coalition recently met with activists in Humboldt and Trinity Counties to discuss a potential new campaign for northwest California, which will have a new Representative in Congress after the November election. Further meetings are planned in Del Norte and Mendocino Counties. Just a few of the rivers that could be potentially be protected as Wild & Scenic in the new district include the upper South Fork Trinity River and Hayfork Creek (a tributary) in Trinity County, the South Fork and Little South Fork Elk River in the Headwaters Forest Reserve, the Mattole River and Bear Creek in the King Range, the Garcia River estuary on the Mendocino Coast, and the upper Middle Eel River and Balm of Gilead Creek (a tributary) in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness. 

 

 

 

Suction Dredge Mining Moratorium Extended
FOR Staff

In June, the California Legislature adopted budget language that makes it clear that the moratorium on state permits for suction dredge mining will continue until the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) issues new mining regulations that fully mitigate all significant impacts caused by this harmful practice. In place for the last three years, the current moratorium was scheduled to expire June 2016. CDFG issued proposed new regulations this year but admitted that those regulations failed to mitigate significant impacts on water quality, fish and wildlife, and cultural resources. Friends of the River also criticized the proposed regulations for allowing destructive suction dredge mining on sensitive state and federal Wild & Scenic Rivers, in State and National Parks, and in streams providing critical habitat for threatened and endangered fish and amphibians. The new budget language removed the 2016 sunset language for the moratorium, which means that no suction dredge mining is allowed on California streams until CDFG revises and adopts new regulations that fully mitigate significant impacts. When that may be is up to CDFG. 

 

 

 

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