Clean Water

Salmon Speak to Governor Brown: The Full Series

By Dan Bacher

Bruce Tokars of Salmon Water Now has completed his top-notch series about salmon speaking to Governor Jerry Brown on how to save California's salmon populations.  

"What if salmon could speak?" said Tokars. "We imagine that they would have a lot to say about how difficult their lives have been because of the way humans have treated their environment. The past decade has not been kind to salmon but it is not too late to fix the problems that have pushed wild California salmon to the edge of extinction."

"The person who can have the greatest impact on reversing salmon’s march to oblivion is California’s past and current governor, Jerry Brown. The people he hires or appoints to manage and repair California’s water system can make a difference. But they need to follow sound science and reject the hysterical political grandstanding of those who only care about their own greedy ambitions," he stated.

Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Benefits California’s Environment and Economy

By Warner Chabot
California League of Conservation Voters

The Marine Life Protection Act makes California a leader in smart and forward-thinking management of valuable ocean resources. In a time when we’ve already taken 90 percent of the world’s big fish, our state is looking ahead, and investing in the long-term health of our economically and ecologically vital coastal waters by creating a network of marine protected areas along the length of the coast. And we’re doing it using the best available marine science.

Scientists Investigate Death of Over One Million Sardines

By Dan Bacher
The Fish Sniffer

State fishery biologists are conducting tests on a dozen dead sardines from the Redondo Beach Harbor in southern California to determine the cause of a massive die-off on Tuesday, March 8, according to Andrew Hughan, Department of Fish and Game (DFG) spokesman.

Approximately one million dead sardines were discovered in the Redondo Beach harbor Tuesday morning, raising concerns about possible water contamination among area residents, fishermen and environmentalists. The concern over increasing water pollution on the California coast highlights the alarming fact that the so-called "marine protected areas" slated to go into effect in southern California waters under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative will do nothing to protect the ocean from pollution.

Dead Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico

By Michael Jasny

It’s always sobering, with our federal reps struggling to foreclose new drilling off California, to check on conditions in the befouled Gulf of Mexico.  Six months after the Deepwater Horizon was capped, biologists in the Gulf are still trying to understand what has happened to their region. One thing they’ve noticed recently is an unusually high number of strandings of bottlenose dolphin calves.

MLPA's Public-Private Partnership Protects Oceans During Lean Budget Times

By Ray Hiemstra

From the lemons-out-of-lemonade department: California is working to create the nation’s first science-based, statewide ocean park system as part of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). A group of non-profit foundations is helping to pay for the public planning process to ensure the state can move ahead with critically needed ocean protections during these tight times.

Now, some fishing groups are trying to block approved protections because they are too shortsighted to recognize that preserving fish breeding and feeding grounds is good for their bottom lines. Rather than complaining about private funding for this important effort, they should be celebrating our progress!

Northern California Rejects Long-Term Water Transfer Agreement

By Traci Sheehan  
Planning and Conservation League

Just days away from a program scoping process comment deadline, northern California water irrigation districts stand firm behind their February 2nd letter, which states they will not agree to sell their water to Central Valley water contractors.

The proposed U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s 10-year “Long-Term North to South Water Transfers” program, would ship up to thousands of acre-feet of water from northern California to the San Luis&Delta-Mendota Water Authority; which represents agricultural water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The realization of this program is contingent on the willingness of northern California sellers and that willingness has yet to be seen.

New Study Reveals Dangers of Prenatal Pesticide Exposure

By Poornima Weerasekara

Endless rows of lettuce, celery and broccoli, covered by silver plastic sheets, surround the Natividad Medical Center, a community clinic located in the heart of this agricultural town, often called the salad bowl of America.

At about 10:30 a.m., Salinas Valley resident Marie, a Mexican-American farm worker who didn’t want to give her real name because she is participating in a research study, troops into one of the center’s research labs housed in an old trailer with her two children.

She has brought her 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter in for their routine blood and urine sampling. The research station is littered with toys, kids DVDs and various puzzles and activities. While her daughter grabs some crayons and a coloring book, Helen Aguirre, a research worker, gently prods Marie’s son onto a scale to record his weight.

New Report Targets Unreasonable Water Use in California

By Dan Bacher

Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson will present a highly anticipated report to the State Water Resources Control Board on January 19 suggesting that a particularly contentious area of California water law, the California Constitution’s “Reasonable and Beneficial Use Doctrine," be applied more broadly.

In his report, Wilson recommends that the State Board employ this doctrine to promote agricultural water use efficiency. The doctrine states a water right does not include the right to waste water and mandates that “the water resources of the state be put to beneficial use," according to the Planning and Conservation League Insider.

A small percentage of increased agricultural water use efficiency adds up to significant water savings in California, according to Wilson. The report recommends that the State Board convene a "Reasonable Use Summit" to develop specific actions to improve efficiency and create a “Reasonable Use Unit” within the Division of Water Rights.

East Bay Municipal Utility District Triumphs Again - This Time on National Level

By Traci Sheehan
Planning and Conservation League

Four years after the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors tirelessly fought and passed California’s “Get the Lead Out” bill, President Obama on Thursday signed into law the national version. 

The toughest drinking water plumbing lead content standard in the world, California Assembly Bill 1953 (Chan, D-Oakland), reduced the lead content standard for drinking water plumbing from 8 percent to 0.25 percent and required manufacturers to remove lead from faucets and other water fixtures.

Open Letter to Jerry Brown: My Plan to Restore California Fisheries

By Dan Bacher

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has received awards for his "green" leadership from NRDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the "Beautiful Earth Group" and others in recent weeks in a carefully orchestrated campaign to greenwash his environmental legacy before he leaves office.

In spite of the claims of his collaborators, Schwarzenegger's true legacy is the unprecedented collapse of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, young striped bass, Sacramento splittail and other fish populations spurred by record water exports out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from 2004 to 2006.