America's Most Endangered Rivers™: 2009 Edition
Depended on by nearly 25 million Californians for drinking water, thousands of farmers, and the state’s commercial and sport salmon fishing industries, the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system is arguably California’s single most important natural resource. But the outdated water supply and flood management systems have put at risk the ecosystem and thousands of Californian families and businesses that depend upon it.
The California Department of Water Resources, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other water users and stakeholders must overcome decades of neglect, mismanagement and conflict to develop a workable, durable plan to restore the ecosystem, secure water supplies and reduce the risk of floods.
The current water supply system is a principle cause driving fish species to extinction and does not provide reasonable security for those who depend on water from the Delta. The current flood management system does not adequately protect communities from floods, and the threat is getting worse with climate change and sea-level rise.
The Delta Vision process produced a vision and recommendations for addressing the crisis, and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) process is intended to create an enforceable plan to recover the ecosystem and secure water supplies. I urge you to ensure that the BDCA includes strong enforceable standards to restore the Delta ecosystem.
Following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, California voters passed bonds providing $5 billion to upgrade flood protections for the Central Valley. I urge you to ensure that these funds do not simply build bigger levees, but rather go towards modern flood management techniques that work with nature. Green infrastructure approaches like creating flood bypasses and setting levees further back from the river's edge will reduce flood risks while providing benefits to fish, wildlife and water quality.
I urge you to incorporate river restoration in the foundation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Central Valley Flood Plan. California needs your leadership to ensure that 21st century solutions are adopted to address the state's most valuable and threatened natural resource, the Sacramento-San Joaquin system.
Thank you for considering my views. Please notify me in writing of your decision.