Press Release: San Joaquin Tributaries Authority Adopts Resolution Opposing State Water Board’s Proposed Flow Changes on San Joaquin River

Sacramento, CA – Adding to the growing opposition surrounding the State Water Resources Control Board’s controversial proposal to require increased flows on the San Joaquin River, the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority (SJTA) has adopted a resolution criticizing the plan and offering sensible and more cost-effective alternatives.

In a series of ongoing meetings with concerned community and business organizations, the SJTA and its member agencies are collecting signatures for the resolution, which says the Water Board should pursue a comprehensive solution that will provide measurable benefits to native fish species, rather than demand flow increases which have historically provided minimal improvement to native fish populations.

The resolution was adopted by the SJTA Commission on March 7, 2013, just two weeks before the Water Board’s scheduled public hearing on the proposed flow changes. The multi-day hearing begins March 20 at the California Environmental Protection Agency building in downtown Sacramento.

“Water is one of the most valuable resources in California,” said Allen Short, Executive Director of the SJTA. “We cannot afford to let the State Water Board devastate the economies of Stanislaus, Merced, and San Joaquin counties without providing a scientific rationale for the actions proposed. This resolution puts the State Water Board on notice that they cannot simply take our water without explaining how our sacrifice will benefit salmon.”

As word of the State Water Board action spreads through the Central Valley, opposition to the proposal grows. The SJTA resolution has been endorsed by numerous businesses, community groups and government leaders, including the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, Hilmar Cheese Company, Stanislaus Farm Bureau, and Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen (R-Modesto). Other groups considering the resolution or taking a similar stance in opposition to the proposal include City of Modesto, City of Hughson, Latino Community Roundtable, Merced County, and many others. Citizens from all over the region are also writing letters to express their disapproval of the proposal. Additionally, the SJTA is expecting an overwhelming show of opposition to the flow changes at the Water Board’s public hearing on March 20 in Sacramento.

The resolution is the latest effort by the SJTA to urge the Water Board to consider non-flow alternatives to restoring the salmon population. A recent study prepared as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s relicensing of the Don Pedro Project, found that 93 percent of juvenile salmon on the Tuolumne River are consumed by predators before they can leave the river to start their journey to the ocean. As a result, the SJTA proposes predator suppression as one essential program to ensure the salmon population has a reasonable chance at survival before taking such drastic flow actions as the Water Board proposes.

For more information on the SJTA’s comprehensive approach to restoring the salmon population and ways to have your voice heard, go to http://calsmartwater.org/sed-resolution/