River Advocate |Volume 6, Issue 6 |August 22, 2016

Published 8/22/2016  |  Friends of the River

Volume 6, Issue 6

This issue includes:
  • FOR News
  • Action Alert–action need now!
  • Get Involved!
  • River Currents
  • Calendar
FOR News
  • FOR ‘points positive’ with the first annual Paddle to the Capital!
    Leg 1–Chili Bar Run

    Six days of paddling on the American River connected Coloma to the Capital through the work of over 100 paddlers. The event built our river community, exceeded the $10,000 fundraising goal and enables FOR to continue our work to ‘point positive’ for water solutions that protect rivers.

    Big thanks to our paddlers, supporters, volunteers and sponsors! Mother Lode, Adventure Connection and American River Raft Rentals donated shuttle services. Mystic Design created the event’s logo. Squally’s discounted dinner in Coloma and Rubicon hosted the ‘Pint Positive’ party in Sacramento. A shout out to our top fundraisers: Tom Biglione, Roger Akers and Ron Stork! 

Leg 5–River Fairies passing out cookies on the American
  • Friends of the River wins litigation against Delta Stewardship Council on May 18th, 2016The Delta Plan was invalidated by the Superior Court, County of Sacramento, in its 73-page ruling in the Delta Stewardship Council Cases. The court found the Delta Plan (adopted by the Delta Stewardship Council) violated the Delta Reform Act because it: 1) failed to include quantified or otherwise measurable targets associated with achieving reduced Delta reliance (Ruling p. 12), 2) failed to include quantified or otherwise measurable targets associated with restoring more natural flows (Ruling p. 36), and 3) failed to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems. (Ruling pp. 38, 72).

The lawyers defending the Council tried the old trick of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the guise of filing a motion seeking to “clarify” the court’s ruling. They got clarification all right. On June 24, 2016 the court “clarified” it’s earlier Ruling, by determining: “To be clear, the Delta Plan is invalid and must be set aside until proper revisions are completed.”

This was the first case filed (June 2013) to litigate issues involved with the government’s efforts to develop the Delta Water Tunnels greatly diminishing freshwater flows through the lower Sacramento River and San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. We won the first round but this is looking like a 15 round heavyweight championship fight.

  • California Water Commission hearings this week

The legislature and the voters of California have charged the California Water Commission (CWC) with handing out $2.7 billion in taxpayer subsidies for the supposed public benefits (real or otherwise) of dams or other water storage projects in California.

It wasn’t the best of ideas. Indeed, it was a spectacularly bad idea.

The Commission intends to finalize its regulations on handing out the money for studies and construction this year.   For those who want to sweat the details, the Commission will be holding some public briefings on an about-to-be-released 500-page technical-information document at the end of August, as well as briefing the Commission on the staff recommendations for the regulations and other associated documents at their regular meetings.

The August meetings are Aug 23 at 1 p.m. in FresnoAug 25 at 1 p.m. in Auburn (is Auburn dam coming back?), and Aug 30 at 10 a.m. in Pleasant Hill.   You can find the details of all of these meetings at the Commission’s website:   https://cwc.ca.gov/Pages/Meetings.aspx

Action Alert

Urge the Forest Service to choose Alternative C—write them now!

The future of some of the best whitewater rivers in the Sierra Nevada and more than 4 million acres of public land will be decided in the revised management plans for the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests.

Dinkey Creek near Dinkey DomeThe U.S. Forest Service has released for public review and comment draft management plans that address many different land and resource management issues—including the protection and management of rivers, streams, and watersheds.

At stake are unprotected segments of the Kings and Lower Kern Rivers, which provide outstanding whitewater recreation for thousands of visitors every year. In addition, the Forest Service management plans will decide how much development (road building, logging, mining, etc.) will occur in the unprotected watersheds of some of California’s most cherished Wild & Scenic Rivers, including the North and South Forks of the Kern River, the designated upper segment of the Kings, and the beautiful South Fork Merced.

The good news is the Forest Service has identified in the draft plans nearly 870 miles of streams eligible for Wild & Scenic River protection, including 633 miles on the Sierra Forest, 160 miles on the Inyo Forest, and 76 miles on the Sequoia. Kern River Lower Seq Forest

Public comments on the draft plans are due by August 25, 2016. To protect these rivers and their watersheds, we need hundreds of emails from concerned river lovers to the Forest Service urging adoption of an improved Alternative C. 

Tell the Forest Service to select Alternative C!

Get Involved!
  • California River Awards |October 21st, City Club, SFPlease join Friends of the River on Friday, October 21st at the spectacular City Club of San Francisco. This year’s event will benefit FOR’s campaign to ‘Point Positive’ towards solutions that create a dynamic and resilient water future for California. As always, you can expect delectable food, fine wine, and all too tempting silent & live auctions.TICKETS ON SALE — Friday, Sept. 2nd  www.friendsoftheriver.orgBecome an event sponsor! Phone: 916-442-3155 x214 Email: Mandi@friendsoftheriver.org
  • Amazon Wish List
    Did you know Friends of the River has a wish list? Purchasing items from our Amazon wish list is a great way to support Friends of the River! Your gift will keep our costs down and is fully tax-deductible.
    What can you give? Look now! https://amzn.com/w/2F2YNMA94DHEK
  • ‘Float our Boat!’
    Ever joined FOR for a day rafting? We are glad you did! FOR needs to purchase a new raft to continue to share the experience with people next year.NRS is offering us a new boat at almost wholesale, but is still a whole lot of money ($3500) to get a whole new boat (look at it!)! We raised $750 this summer. Donate now!Please share the magic by making a donation.  Think of it as helping create the next river lover by making sure there is a seat in the boat for them.
River Currents by Ron Stork

Traveling and Talking 

Ron muses about some completed and scheduled speaking engagements on the topic of Big Storage (big dams). He’s not a big fan. Big Storage is also on the minds of the California Water Commission as they prepare to finalize the rules for giving away billions to the big dam supplicants. It should be on our minds too.

I’ve been getting around the state a bit recently.  Naturally, folks are asking about the “bounteous blessings” that will come from the billions of taxpayer dollars that will be spent on “new storage” in the coming years.

Well, they’ve come to the right person for that. So I refurbished the PowerPoint presentation we gave to the legislature this spring, titled it “Big Storage,” and addressed a recent gathering at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Among the listeners were my fellow panelists, the chair of the California Water Commission and the head of the California Department of Water Resources’ water storage investigations.

The best part about these presentations is the questions. And the dialog started right away with a statement from one of the audience. “We’ve got to do something about the embarrassment of spending so much and getting so little water from these dams.”

What he meant is that we’ve got to find a way to tweak the operations to jack up the water yield numbers — and a lot.

Understandable, but I had to reply that the arithmetic had already been done. The yield estimates were what they are. That’s the problem with the tyranny of arithmetic, it can expose the sales hype of the aspiring dam builders.

It’s only too bad that those questions weren’t asked by the legislature before they put Proposition 1, the California Water Bond, on the ballot. But enough of that.

More of us need to get out on the speaking and public-discussion circuit and committing truth. One of the important messages is pretty simple — but fundamental: you just can’t dam your way to Paradise in California anymore. Once we all understand that, a more realistic water management public dialog can begin.

Oh, and maybe rivers should be valued for more than the water that can be diverted from them.

So taking my own advice, I’m scheduled for a September 15th presentation at the Merced Group of the Sierra Club, United Methodist Church, 899 Yosemite Parkway, Merced, 7 p.m. 

I’m also scheduled to join Peter Gleick from the Pacific Institute and Daniel Curtin, member of the California Water Commission, at this year’s environmental law conference in Yosemite National Park on “Water Storage, Conservation and Optimization: What is Most Needed for California’s Future.” It’s on Friday, October 21st, from 9:15am to 10:45am. It could be fun.

Take a peek at Ron’s PowerPoint slides–a great way to learn more.

  • August 25th | Last day to comment on the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forest EIS. Write a letter now!
  • September 2nd | California River Awards tickets go on sale
  • September 10th & 11th |  FOR Gear Swap, Friday 6-9 pm (gear drop off), Saturday 8 am (gear drop off) and 9 am- 4 pm Gear Swap, Sunday 8 am-12 pm.
  • September 15th | 7 pm, United  Methodist Church, 899 Yosemite Parkway, Merced, CA  Ron Stork gives a presentation at the Merced Group of the Sierra Club.
  • October 21st 9:15am to 10:45am, “Water Storage, Conservation and Optimization: What is Most Needed for California’s Future.” Ron Stork is speaking. Environmental Law Conference, October 20-23.
  • October 21st |California River Awards, City Club, San Francisco
  • November | Salmon Run: a 5K run to Spawn the Next Generation | info coming soon…

Thank you for supporting rivers by staying informed.   We can’t wait to see you at our next event or talk!


the FOR Staff–Eric, Ron, Mandi, Bob and Toby

The post River Advocate |Volume 6, Issue 6 |August 22, 2016 first appeared on Friends of the River.

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