Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Supervisors oppose state over surface water

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors is urging the Governor and attorney general to drop their lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s easing of water restrictions on the San Joaquin River used to protect endangered fish. At its March 17 meeting, the Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution opposing California’s lawsuit, titled “The California Natural Resources Agency, etc. vs. Wilbur Ross, etc., which was filed on Feb. 20 in federal court. Ross, who is the secretary of commerce, is named in the lawsuit because President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum in October 2018 directing Ross and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, who oversees the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, “to minimize unnecessary regulatory burdens and foster more efficient decision-making so that water projects are better able to meet the demands of their authorized purposes.” The Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) oversees the operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project, which together provide water for more than 25 million Californians and millions of acres of California farmland. The CVP is a network of dams, reservoirs, canals, hydroelectric powerplants extending 400 miles through Central California. Among those is Friant Dam at Millerton Lake near Fresno, which provides surface water to 17,000 eastside farmers and several cities through the Friant-Kern Canal. The result of the President’s memorandum was a Record of Decision signed by USBR on Feb. 19. The nearly 900-page document called for modernizing Central Valley Project operations based on the latest science to provide greater water reliability for California farms, families and communities while balancing protections for endangered species and their habitats. USBR, as well as the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), stated that the decision is based on robust modern science and rigorous scientific input and review. For example, by incorporating real-time monitoring into the CVP, the decision enables better decision making and flexibilities to quickly respond to agricultural, environmental and endangered species conditions...MORE

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