Press Release

Monday, September 10, 2018

As excerpted from: The Modesto Bee

Currently, the water board acts as prosecutor and judge in any dispute. Staff creates plans (like increasing flows to save salmon) then the board blesses them. If you don’t like the plan, you can appeal – to the board that just blessed it. Seems pointless.

Last year, Assemblyman Adam Gray wrote a bill to create an independent review panel for water disputes. Improbably, Gray’s bill passed but Gov. Brown vetoed it.

This year, Anna Caballero pushed through a similar bill, AB 747, which passed 69-5 and now awaits Gov. Brown’s signature. Though it was similar to his bill, Gray took a knee.

“It didn’t go far enough,” Gray said. The hearing panel would be within the water board structure, not independent.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Friday, August 24, 2018

BY MIKE DUNBAR

mdunbar@modbee.com

August 24, 2018 01:27 PM

Dear Editor of The Los Angeles Times:

We know opinion journalists often draw different conclusions from the same facts. But we have some problems with both the conclusions you’ve drawn and the “facts” you cited in your editorial, “Letting California’s rivers run isn’t a ‘water grab’.

After chiding San Francisco over insufficient environmental karma, you turned your pious gaze on us Valley yokels. You chastised us for being unwilling to save the rivers that have nourished us – and you, through our vegetables, melons, wines, nuts, cheese, tree fruit, etc. You portrayed us as part of a villainous “agribusiness,” perhaps not realizing the average farm size in Stanislaus County is 175 acres, and three quarters of all farms here are under 100 acres. For that matter, why is “big ag” any greedier than big movies, big bio-tech or big banking, some of your big industries?

Relying on your great knowledge of farming economics, you advised us to grow “less thirsty” crops – a cheap shot at all the almonds we grow. Did you realize that two crops of corn (the norm) requires more water than a single crop of almonds? That it takes more water to produce your $100 jeans than it does to fill a bag of almonds of the same weight?

Then you blame diversions from the Tuolumne for crippling “the state’s once great ocean fishing fleets and seafood processors.” That’s my favorite. Usually, your writers accompany such statements by citing a study that said commercial salmon fishing was a $1.4 billion per year business. That number came from a company specializing in studies for environmental groups. In the year cited, California commercial fishers caught 1,032,000 pounds of salmon. You think a pound of salmon generates $1,400 in economic activity?

Apparently, you take everything said by the State Water Resources Control Board as gospel. Chairwoman Felicia Marcus is smart, quick-witted and was once one of your city’s bureaucrats before going to work for the oh-so-altruistic Natural Resources Defense Council (never mind allegations of sue-and-settle tactics and a $50 million payroll). She and former water board staffer Tam Doduc wouldn’t possibly color the facts, leave out pertinent data, discard valid peer-reviewed science and link one arm with professional environmentalists and the other with Beverly Hills farmers and developers to move water south.

Then you bow your head and admit Los Angeles once sinned against nature, draining Owens Valley and the Mono basin. You don’t mention that you’ve only recently been forced to stop taking more than your share of the Colorado River.

Is that why you want more from the Delta? You said as much in April when you insisted Gov. Jerry Brown’s tunnels be built. By portraying some of California’s poorest and hardest-laboring people as greedy fish-killers, do you figure you’ll use the water more wisely?

If you really, truly want to help the Delta and save salmon, you can. All you have to do is turn off those Delta pumps once in awhile.

Instead, you complain that our rivers are sometimes reduced “to a mere trickle.” Did you bother to check? At the height of summer, the “mere trickle” coming out of Tulloch Reservoir on the Stanislaus was 1,642 cubic feet (12,282 gallons) per second on Thursday; it was 1,891 cfs (14,441 gallons) on the Tuolumne, and 1,696 cfs on the Merced. Some of that is going for irrigation, but most is staying in the rivers.

If we increased the instream flows by 60 percent tomorrow, only around 2,100 cubic feet per second of additional water would enter the Delta. Sounds like a lot, until you compare it to the amount leaving the Delta.

Since 1991, your giant pumps have been sending up to 15,000 cubic feet per second down two man-made rivers toward Los Angeles. That’s when the Delta started getting saltier. By 2009, the National Marine Fisheries Services was blaming water exports for killing the fish.

By the way, how’s the fishing in that cement ditch you call the Los Angeles River?

We are restoring our riversusing wastewater for farming and vastly improving irrigation techniques. We don’t mind reasonably increasing flows, but that alone won’t work.

Just ask renowned scientist Peter Moyle, who blogged in the midst of the water board hearings, “increased flows are not likely to increase (salmon) survival.”

Or ask equally renowned scientist Jay Lund, who said relying on flows to fix any river’s problems is “scientifically lazy.”

Read the peer-reviewed study that found salmon prefer mid-range, not massive, river flows.

Check the irrigation districts who built restoration projects on the Stanislaus that already have resulted in a three-fold increase in salmon without additional flows.

Or ask the state regulators who want to control our rivers how they managed to kill thousands of salmon on the Sacramento River in 2014 and trout on the Stanislaus in 2016.

Next time you set about burnishing your green cred by attacking us, check the facts. They’re fascinating.

Mike Dunbar is editorial page editor of The Modesto Bee and Merced Sun-Star. 209-578-2325mdunbar@modbee.com.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Assemblymember Gray Leads Rally to “Stop the State’s Water Grab” (Sacramento) - Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced), along with hundreds of farmers, laborers, students, and concerned citizens, rallied at the State Capitol to protest the State Water Board’s proposal to divert water from the San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Delta. Assemblymember Gray says the Water Board’s proposal will devastate farming communities, cost thousands of jobs and endanger drinking water, while still failing to improve water conditions in the Bay-Delta.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

ASSEMBLYMEMBER ADAM C. GRAY
21ST ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

For Immediate Release: August 15, 2018
Contact: Megan Belair – (209) 726-5465

 

500+ Rally to “Stop the State Water Grab”

Ahead of Pivotal Water Board Decision
Drinking Water, Farms, and Food at Risk

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – More than 500 farmers, laborers, students, and citizens opposed to a state plan to disrupt the water supply of more than three million northern Californians will demonstrate on the North Steps of the State Capitol on Monday, August 20, starting at Noon.

 

The Stop the State Water Grab Rally comes just days ahead of the State Water Resources Control Board’s hearing to consider a plan to sharply curtail water flows to nearly 3 million people from the North San Joaquin Valley to the Bay Area. Besides threatening drinking water supplies, the plan would jeopardize a multibillion-dollar farming industry, while providing little proof of environmental benefit.

 

The Water Board’s plan would initially divert 40 percent of flows from the Tuolumne, Merced, and Stanislaus rivers despite dozens of scientific studies showing there are alternatives that would do more to help native fish populations. State regulators have ignored the research and the voice of the people who depend on this water to survive.

 

Families, businesses owners, water officials and other Californians will head to the State Capitol to highlight the far-reaching and devastating impacts of this misguided State Water Grab and urge the state Board to reject the proposal as currently written.

 

WHAT:            Stop the State Water Grab Rally

DATE:              August 20, 2018

TIME:               12 Noon

LOCATION:     State Capitol, North Steps

VISUALS:         500+people, signs, banners, marching band

 

For more information, contact the office of California Assemblyman Adam Gray at (209) 726-5465.

 

Stop the State Water Grab Media Advisory.pdf