The Mission of the Environmental Water Caucus is to achieve comprehensive, sustainable water management solutions for all Californians. EWC and its members employ political, legal and economic strategies to restore ecological health, improve water quality and protect public trust values throughout the San Francisco Bay-Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta estuary and the Central Valley/Sierra Nevada watersheds.
The EWC was formed in 1991. Active members include most groups advocating for equitable and sustainable California water resource use. The major policies advocated by the EWC are described in the "Strategic Goals and Recommended Actions" of the EWC California Water Solutions Now report and in the actions described in the updated solutions plan titled "A Sustainable Water Plan for California."
The Environmental Water Caucus submitted comments on the partially recirculated draft EIR/EIS of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan's tunnels project on October 30, 2015. You may read them here.
The EWC continues to object to the Tunnels Project: it should be neither approved, financed, built, nor operated. The Tunnels Project will accelerate deterioration of the Bay-Delta Estuary by starving it of freshwater flow badly needed for the health of both the Delta and the Bay. It will starve California cities, counties, and local water agencies of resources that could fund local and regional water self reliance projects including investments in water use efficiency, water recycling, advanced water technologies, local and regional water supply projects, and improved regional coordination of local and regional supply efforts and decades of detrimental aquatic ecosystem impacts. It will unwisely encourage continued mismanagement of California's state and federal water systems that have already failed to steward its water resources through four years of drought. The RDEIR/SDEIS violates the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to disclose impacts and evaluate a reasonable range of alternatives, and for promoting "myth-information" on behalf of project advocacy, rather than provide a science-driven analysis of Tunnels Project effects.Environmental Groups Blast Delta Tunnels Plan
On July 22, a coalition of California conservation groups Including the Environmental Water Caucas, warned state and federal regulators that the rush to approve the construction of Governor Brown's massive water diversion tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta violates a multitude of state and federal laws. The groups argued that the state and federal agencies have ignored repeated requests to develop and consider real alternatives, including those that increase freshwater flows through the Delta, in order to "stack the deck" making it easier to adopt the Water Tunnels alternative. Read the letter here.Federal biologists slam proposal to raise Shasta Dam
Biologists at the main federal agency that oversees the Endangered Species Act have concluded they cannot endorse a $1.1 billion plan to raise the height of the dam at California's largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, because of its impact on endangered salmon. In a 349-page draft report completed in late November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that it is "unable to support" any of the project's five options being considered. See the Mercury News story, January 27, 2015.EWC states its opposition to H.R. 5781, the so-called "Federal Drought Bill"
The EWC urges a no vote on H.R. 5781, to avoid harming rural, agricultural, fishing, and tribal communities. In a 12/5/2014 letter to Senators Feinsein and Boxer, the EWC states its opposition to fast-tracking export of more Delta water in the short term to select interests of the San Joaquin Valley.The increased exports will neither make it rain more nor provide immediate drought relief supplies to communities in need there.The EPA Blasts the Draft EIS for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan
The Environmental Protection Agency's 8/26/2014 comment letter on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan found that the plan could violate the federal Clean Water Act and increase harm to endangered fish species.EWC Calls BDCP Plan for the Twin Tunnels Misleading and Disingenuous
The EWC characterizes the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and EIR/EIS which have been seven years in the making, as contrary to law, full of cherry-picked science and biased analysis, lacking in assurances for Delta ecosystem and fish recovery, and without a required plan for financing the $50 to $60 billion costs, a good share of which will be shifted to the public taxpayer. In our press release and comment letter, and supplemental comments, the EWC tells BDCP that it is not a legal document and that the plan cannot go forward.Support for Wild & Scenic River Status For the Mokelumne River
The EWC and its affiliated organizations are supporting SB 1199 by state Senator Loni Hancock to grant 37 miles of the Mokelumne River state Wild & Scenic status. See the EWC support letter.Censored BDCP Comment Letters
Friends of the River (FoR) was able to obtain the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) public comments that the BDCP is no longer posting on their web site. Those letters are now posted at FoR's web site.Dams are NOT the Answer to Drought Opposition to HR 3964 Shasta Reservoir Study is a Sham
The Bureau of Reclamation has published a plan to increase the storage capacity of Shasta Reservoir by raising the dam height 18.5 feet, according to their recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The California Environmental Water Caucus finds the project to be a waste of the $1.2 billion cost. It would provide little additional water yield for an exorbitant price tag and would be a travesty for American taxpayers. See our comments submitted September 30, 2014, and the press release.