A Look at the Delta through the years and the latest attempt to mess with Nature or Revise the Delta!

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Recent Timeline of the development of the New Delta Plan
(Page updated as more link pages are developed.  Last update 3/5/2014)

 
Timeline graphic below may help the viewer to understand just how complicated the issues are regarding water rights, transfers and the needs of the Delta and Northern California ecosystem.  It also helps to understand the main forces behind what some are called the 21st Centry water heist using 20th century plan:  Metropolitian Water District, Westlands Water District, Resnick-Paramount Farms, and developers of San Jose, San Bernardino, Oakland, Livermore, Irvine as well as oil and natural gas exploration and production companies.  The issue is not HOW the water is diverted from the Delta and Northern California, but HOW MUCH is diverted.  Who gets the "surplus" water and what does "surplus" mean in the 21st century?  
      
Note that you can click on the words and dates in the graphic below which will take you to other pages or documents related to that topic. 
You can also go through the deltahistory-links.pdf for links to even more related documents.  Graphic and comments by N. Suard published for the benefit of
Delta residents and supporters who want to understand the facts from a Delta perspective:
In-Delta water storage planning documents
     If you don't have the time to read, try our new video page...learn the facts fast!
 
   1998:  Horizontal fracking is invented by Texas oilman Mitchell. David and Lucille Packard Foundation sponsors a study by the National Heritage Institute to promote the CALFED "central canal" option as the environmentally optimal preferred conveyance alternative http://www.n-h-i.org  Take notice of the people on the board and who participated in creating the plan.  Some of these same people end up being the "independent scientists" or board members

   1999:  Behind closed doors meetings are conducted and plans are made to determine the approach to take to create a central conveyance canal without the nuisance of asking the California voter if he/she is willing to pay the eventual price and if he/she is willing to allow the historically freshwater Delta to be destroyed or replaced with a saltwater inland estuary.

   2000:  CalFED issues its "preferred alternative" central conveyance plan or Record of Decision.  2000 Census is used to redistrict California Assembly and State jurisdictions.  Population totals for the "Primary Delta Region", which excludes the major cities located within the true legal Delta boundaries, is compiled.  Rounded estimates of "Primary Delta Region" residents is about 500,000 while if the actual legal Delta region is totaled including the residents of West Sacramento, Antioch, Stockton, DiscoBay and similar towns, the total residents would be much higher.  Assembly representation of such little towns as Walnut Grove, Rio Vista and Clarksburg/Courtland are split between two different representative offices, perhaps further defining the land owners of the "primary" vs the "secondary" Delta region. 

January 2001:  Agencies studying ways to "restore the southern area of the Delta" are told to revise their focus to cover the WHOLE Delta region, as reflected in meeting minutes of government agencies with focus on the Delta.  Funding for fish studies, modeling water flows, and analysis of Delta islands is acquired from various general budgets. EIR/EIS processes for individual components or the "building blocks" of the central conveyance plan are started.  NDIP stands for North Delta Improvement Plan but also north "big dip".  SDIP stands for South Delta Improvement Plan.  A statewide map of the exact locations of natural gas reserves and crude oil is released, which gives a pretty good indication of where might be the best places to go fracking.  In the meantime, the EPA issues new drinking water guidelines for states, and California uses the EPA guideline to (without record of public hearing) require certain businesses that provide drinking water to the public to have to hire "certified water operators", chlorinate wells that never had any sign of bacteria, and the state start making rules to create reasons to put meters on all public and private wells in the state.  When the Ca HCD directs that all privately owned campgrounds and RV parks have to have certified water operators do the testing of the wells, which was a monthly requirement, there were only 2-4 persons in Northern California that had the new type of licensing.  The state had to quickly create classes and testing for levels 1, II, III and IV certified water operators.  In the meantime, there was a very clear focus on shifting drinking water resources from aquifers and groundwater which historically had been the cleanest and best drinking water, to surface water sources.

   2002:  Several nonprofit organizations fund studies related to the Delta which will be used to support the 2000 CalFed preferred alternative.  Yes, there were fish studies.  But also genetic rice testing, carbon sequestration investigations, island flood modeling using new computer technology, and more.  Nonprofits funding studies include the David & Lucille Packard Foundation, Wood Foundation, Bill & Linda Gates Foundation, Ducks Unlimited.  PPIC, National Heritage Institute, Natural Heritage Institute, Bay Delta Estuary project, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford University, Cal State Chico and Sacramento will receive funding for various studies over the next several years.

   2003:  Gray Davis reelected governor but soon thereafter looses his post to an actor hired to play the role of a governor, with the goal of building the new canal during his tenure as governor.  Several newspaper articles of 2003 recount that Washington DC political activists initiated the recall of Gray Davis and promoted our current governor.  Someone has a sense of humor!  Arnold is best known for the phrase "I'll be back" and his stated goal has been to bring back the canal issues of the late 1970's and early 1980's of California political and water history.  In the meantime, the EPA issues an exemption to allow for fracking; the exemption lets fracking companies  potentially toxic chemicals into the ground.  The concern is that drinking water aquifers will be cross-contaminated by the fracking actions or by the residue injection wells left behind.

     By the end of 2003, the new "Governator" and several SoCal water district representatives discuss at a water district meeting  the idea of trying once again for a Delta canal.  The perhaps private discussions were later summarized in other water board meetings.  The assumption was made that the current California Governor was popular enough to make it happen.    Even before the governor was sworn in, he was sending letters to Senators Feinstein and Boxer, encouraging funding of the CALFed project, the program overseeing many of the studies, with the new focus to restore the whole delta while assuring reliable water supply.  But planning and timing were needed.  Plus good PR.  A group of megafarmers, developers and water districts from outside the Delta region meet to plan how to take additional water out of the Delta by expansion of existing facilities, with the expansion plans all cloaked as fish & environment preservation or restoration efforts.  One writer from a group called Public Citizen called the meeting the "Napa Proposition" because the agreement and meetings were held in Napa.  See article "Water Heist" or do a search of Yahoo.  The ownership of California newsprint media begins a huge transition.  NorCal counties jump on board the concept to revise the Delta, and state and federal agencies go full steam ahead with studies to validate what they want to do to the Delta.  Bottom line is ALWAYS to take more water from the Delta to export to places that want that fresh water.  Key NorCal players or interests:  American River-Sacramento County; San Joaquin County; Contra Costa County-Oakland area.

     By 2004, the "stakeholders" or those outside the Delta that want to take more Sacramento River water and validate the taking by leaving just enough for ecological revision of the Delta have come to an agreement and the following "call to action" slideshow by the Metropolitan Water District seems to sum up the plans for a central canal.  The last slideshow lists the coordinators of the plan, including the PR firm. ( see 2004 MWD slideshow)  In the meantime, the Delta Protection Commission has published a report showing how much of the Delta lands the government and conservancy agencies have purchased so far in the Delta region, moving towards the plan for re-engineered use of the Delta Cross Channel, Yolo-Bypass, in-Delta storage islands and habitat restoration.  DWR funds several studies assessing likelihood of Delta islands flooding using criteria not used before.  DWR also funds studies to emphasize earthquake risk to levees.  wptf20040408_deltapack.pdf  Yes the reality is that fracking may "INDUCE" seismic events, so the state and federal government's politicians knowingly give exemptions to fracking companies to explore in areas of California even though some of those areas have known active faults.  Another major event of 2004 has been called the "Napa Amendment" and it relates to transfer of water rights and groundwater banking developed and paid for with taxpayer dollars and then simply handed over to the private control of lower central valley water districts (Westlands, Paramount Farms) and MWD also.

     It was also recognized that a good portion of the private lands of the Delta would need to be purchased or put under conservation easements to discourage uses that hindered export of fresh water.  The 2004 MWD slideshow quotes over 200,000 acres of Delta land will need to be acquired or changed into restoration uses.  Land values were rising dramatically in the area as all over California there was more demand for recreational opportunities, especially water-focused ones.  Some SoCal water districts began quietly purchasing sensitive farm lands.  The Nature Conservancy, with funding support from many different Government Agencies, effects the purchase of Statten Island for use as an "IDS" or in-delta  water storage area during flood years and to aid in increased water conveyance to the South Delta pumps.  And Lower and Upper Jones Tract flooded at a very convenient time, to encourage the Federal funding of studies to validate REvisions to the Delta levee system.  Planning and funding for many different studies and reports is secured, so that the studies and land purchases can go forward.  Delta properties in select areas are quietly being purchased.  The Jones Tract  "accidental" flood provides a convenient media opportunity to push for some federal funding and to create an impression of the Delta as "unsustainable".  Data gathered by DWR is used for "proofing" of the modeling to verify in-delta water storage of islands like Webb Tract and Bacon Island can work.  Oddly enough, the Delta Cross Channel Gates were closed on June 1, 2004 for "Jones Tract levee failure" according to the gate logs (which meant boaters trying to use the Mokelumnke River to get back to their berths after a fun week end at the Sacramento Jazz Festival had to go down to 3 Mile Slough and up the San Joaquin River to get home).  But the media and DWR say the levee failed on June 3, 2004.  How did USBR know about the Jones Tract levee incident 2 days before it happened?  DWR hasn't answered this one yet.   See DCC gate logs.

     The CalFed central canal plan is divided into different "building blocks" to be completed by different "stakeholders" or private water companies that want more water.  "DIP" or Delta Improvement Project" becomes SDIP and NDIP splitting the conveyance projects of the North and South Delta.  Project names are revised to reflect some "restoration" aspect, but the reality is the projects further the building of the CALFED preferred alternative-the through-Delta conveyance expansion of the Mokelumne River and reoperation of the Delta Cross Channel gates, with new intake pump on the Sacramento River, down by Empire tract, and other projects.  Some public agencies and and counties also jump on the band wagon to get more water for future uses.  Examples:  Dredging of the Mokelumne River to assist in Sacramento River conveyance is renamed as a "flood protection" project or the "North Delta Improvement Project".  EBMUD takes on the building of new water pump and fish screen on the Sacramento River at Hood.  EBMUD will get a portion of the water and the extra capacity of the new pump will be parceled out to other water agencies.

     2005 is the year the volume of studies, reports and personnel are dedicated to the New Delta Plan.  By this time, studies of the value of each island, based only on the agricultural value, ignoring the recreation values, commercial uses, home values, etc.  Island value is use to determine which islands should be "saved", which should be repaired if flooded, and which ones to use for in-Delta storage.  The SoCal water districts come up with a plan for "Eco-Crescent Central Canal Conveyance", which is part of the "dual conveyance" plan we all hear about.  The governor fires the entire reclamation board and puts in new people who are not familiar with levee maintenance and history of the Delta, according to news sources.  UC Berkeley gets a grant to host the Delta Charterette and later "Reinvisioning the Delta".  Google gets involved in mapping Delta islands, and confuses the locations of the the islands...Grand Island, Tyler Island, Ryer Island, Sutter Island, Andrus Island are all confused on Google maps but not on Google Earth, for some odd reason.

     In 2006, the Governor uses his "emergency powers" to declare the state is in a drought and at risk from earthquakes in the Delta.  He uses some of the emergency funding to help pay for studies to support the New Delta Plan.  Funding also goes for upgrades to levees from islands deemed worth saving.  Some California legislators express concern that the planning process ongoing does not appear to include the people most affected by the  new plan-Delta land owners!  The governor sends a letter to the legislators in response.  All the while, many studies and resulting reports had already been funded and were ongoing.  2006 studies

     The Governor, as guided by the astute PR firm hired to handle the "New Delta Plan", utilized the events of our times as logical reasons to reintroduce the concept of a canal around the Delta:  fear of Katrina-like flooding, court-limited water flow, and updated seismic reports have been cited and used at the perfect time and advantage.   Even the unforeseen decline in the economy is being used as an excuse to revise the Delta...hence the "infrastructure projects" proposed for California to stimulate the economy include major projects for the Delta region which were already in planning stages anyway.

     By 2007 most of the major newspapers in California have been sold, and just three companies control the majority of newspaper print in California, and therefore also the online content that California voters and their representatives read.  It is interesting to note that the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation was listed as the lender for the McClatchy purchase of the Knight-Rider owned California newspapers.  The McClatchy news media has been THE primary outlet for state dissemination of false and misleading information regarding the Delta, its history and its sustainability.  California Media summary at: http://snugharbor.net/images2010/media2010-players.JPG  A major report called DRMS Phase 1 is issued by the California Department of Water Resources.  It contains incorrect and false historical information about the Delta.  DWR acknowledges the incorrect information but fails to issue an updated report with correct Delta island histories.  DRMS Phase 1 technical data was used by many other organizations to publish reports all based on false baseline data.  PPIC is one of the organizations.  UCD reports on levees and seismic risk is another example of use of false baseline data for Delta levee and risk from flood or seismic event.  Perhaps the push to falsify history is made to hid the fact fracking may cause future seismic events in the Delta where they don't have earquakes, or in the SF Bay, where earthquakes do happen.  One thing for sure, the next big earthquake that happens in California, virtually anyone who is aware of fracking effects will look strait at the oil and gas exploration companies and the politicians who have allowed the fracking and water aquifer contamination to move forward without safeguards in place.

     There was a tremendous push by the Governors and his team of legislators in 2009 to pass a set of 5 bills that combined would create the groundwork for building the new canal.  The bills were not ready to be voted on by the end of the 2009 legislative session, but as this is being written it is rumored the governor will call a special session to try to get the water bills passed.  Since the biggest hindrance to the New Delta Plan is how to pay for it, the writer would not be surprised to see either Senator Feinstein or President Obama come in the "save the Day" and pledge infrastructure monies so Californians will be happy because they perceive they are getting the benefit of more water down South, paid for by Federal tax dollars (ignoring the fact its all our own tax dollars anyway).  We've seen this type of Federal/State cooperation-that's where the "Project Levees" came from in the 1930's!

     2008.  The more visible attack on the Delta begins with meetings reviewing findings of the Delta Vision group.  People who work, live and play in the Delta receive notice of Delta Vision meetings right during the busiest time of year in the Delta, in August.  Local farmers are to busy to get involved, and the ones who do become aware of the latest plans to revise the Delta don't believe it will happen because the state "has no money".  Drafts of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan also start surfacing, found online by those who are curious about planning for the Delta.  In the meantime there are even more changes to media ownership in California.

     2009.  Yikes!  What a year!  More than 1/3 of the newspapers in California are in bankruptcy, the media news group that started in 2005, borrowed the $$ to buy up all the major newspapers is in "reorganization" which will result in the lenders owning the papers including the online media news sources, and all this explains WHY all the media sings the same song simplifying the Delta water wars into a "fish vs. farmer" ballad.  California's Department of Water Resources, including Delta Vision and the DRMS or Delta Risk Management Strategy (Study) publish false and incorrect maps and data about the Delta.  The governor and his band of watermen push through water legislation towards the end of the year that authorizes a new commission called the "Delta Stewardship Council" which hands over the decisions on Delta revisions to a group of appointed persons.  This group of seven are given the authority to approve an "interim" plan while a long term plan is developed.  The huge water legislation package authorizes many other important actions, including moving forward with the BDCP process.  The legislation calls for a bond to fund restoration projects to coincide with building of two canals or "dual conveyance" as its called.  No one thinks a bond would be passed by California voters because the economy is so bad.

     Note the very basic change in approach to Delta water use:  The question that used to be asked was "How much water can the state take out of the Delta and still preserve the historical freshwater ecological environment?"  Now the question is "How much water has to be left to flow through the Delta to create or "restore" ecological "function", and that function can be a saltwater estuary instead of a fresh water inland Delta.  In 1960 the voters approved the transfer of "surplus" water from the North to use in the South.  Now the shift is to take ALL water to sell to the highest bidder, ignoring original water rights, farming needs, land values, or what is best for California as a whole.

     In the meantime, as the whole country is struggling with a major rescission, it is interesting to note that Stockton and Elk Grove and Sacramento are three of the areas most affected by the loan/mortgage fraud and bankruptcy statistics.  A company call Countrywide, which originated out of the state of Washington, greatly contributed to the mortgage industry meltdown, which further devalues the Delta-related cities.  And the "bailout" of the banks just put money in the bankers' hands to buy properties-not to help the citizens of the USA.  On the fracking front, Tulare County fracking company requests and is granted an exemption to use the aquifer for fracking water and the exemption specifically states the area has sufficient other drinking water resources.  This is at the exact same time as Tulare, Kern and lower Central Valley megafarms are staging "protests" in the media claiming not enough water and a "congresss made dust bowl" never explaining it is fracking that is using up the aquifer nearby.  (Note Owens Valley on the east side of the hills of Tulare County begins a deline of its aquifer once the fracking exemption was granted)

     2010.  It now appears 2/3 of California newspapers when through reorganization, and control was handed over to the lenders, for the most part.  Publisher names stay the same in some instances. 

     The Delta Stewardship Council is made up of appointees from around the state who collectively have very limited knowledge of the complexities of the Delta and its history.  The DSC has monthly two day meetings at a minimum.  After just a few months, the Delta "interim plan" draft is proposed and the first draft is approved, and the DSC agrees to a very short time frame to come up with a final interim plan.  The interim plan is to basically allow state agencies to move forward with restoration, conveyance and  dredging projects that would create the central canal per the 1998 and 2000 documents referenced above.  With just the interim plan, most of the Delta's fresh water flowing down the Sacramento River will be diverted into the Mokelumne River system to transport the water into the central Delta area, so the water can be exported to other areas of the state.  No other canal will be needed, so the "Interim Plan" IS the plan for our lifetimes at least!  A second canal will not be needed because the water will already all be diverted.  The second canal is supposed to provide flexibility in case of a huge disaster, but no one really believes California voters will be willing to pay for that very expensive second canal or tunnel once the water is already being diverted via the "interim plan" to be approved by the DSC.

    See the Central Conveyance Interim Plan

     In the meantime, the media in California and in the US in general, appears to be controlled by just a few individuals by 2010.  See summary of the monumental change in California media compiled by a Delta business owner.  Did the shift in media ownership have an impact on the election results in November?  The rest of the country seems to have turned right while California took and even harder left than the last elections!  State budget woes, unemployment, rising health care costs, school cutbacks, continued housing crisis, and lets not forget global warming are keeping the media and government pretty busy.   So its not just about the water in California.  But water is the top target, no doubt.  Without more water diverted to the San Francisco Bay area, the higher density housing proposed for the area around UC Berkeley and for the waterfront Oakland housing, per that county's general plan update, will not be able to more forward.  The future housing developments in the Irvine and San Bernardino areas, per those updated general plans, will not be able to more forward without finding reliable new water resources.  The expansion of industrial use of Central Valley lands, where more water will be needed, would not be able to move forward.  And then there's the 2003 "hydrogen highway" plans of the governor which does not seem to be mentioned in the media but would require water.  Other needs of the water:  expansion of California's rice growing region, which would be a convenient use of the extra water planned to be annually diverted into the Yolo Bypass.  And then the Delta would be left with to much salt water intrusion from the Bay to allow traditional farming of many of the Delta islands, so those islands will convert to "tule" farms, which is purported to be good for the atmosphere, according to the "carbon sequestering" projects as supported by yet another internet giant ((Google))  to reduce their "carbon footprint".

    The BDCP is supposed to issue their final Draft, the Delta Stewardship Council has approved some interim projects, lots of contractors are looking for Delta construction work,  the Federal government has stepped in to work with the state to "intertie" the state and federal water projects and canal, and Senator Feinstein wants to make the Delta a "National Heritage Area" which is the federal government's way of limiting use, controlling use, but not having to pay for the land that is privately owned.  We're told there are already hundreds of lawsuits filed against DWR by farmers, environmentalists, developers and sport fishing organizations.  And where is the state getting the money for all of this?

2011  November 4, 2011 a draft Delta Plan is issued for public comment period.  In the meantime, the central conveyance canal of the 2000 ROD is actively under construction.  Go ahead and take a drive around the Delta...note the levee improvements along the river routes designated by the 2000 CALFED ROD, as modified in 2004.  Take a look at the "armored pathway" plans from 2006 as repeated in the DRMS 2 report issued fall 2011.  Looks familiar, doesn't it?

http://www.deltacouncil.ca.gov/draft-eir

http://www.water.ca.gov/floodmgmt/dsmo/sab/drmsp/phase2_information.cfm  see section 8

deltalinks.pdf

January 2012...thousands of pages of documents are released for public comment all at once or within days of each other.  In the meantime, construction of the CALFED central conveyance option, and portions of the "chunnel" which is part channel-part tunnel plan to take even more water away from the Sacramento River watershed.  Links showing Delta History (pdf)
2012 docs/deltahistory-links.pdf 

 
2013.  It becomes clear that ALL of California is undergoing replumbing or "reoperation".  Apparently someone high up must have realized that the old cement main water tunnels for EBMUD and other water agencies should be replaced.  Those pipes were made of abestos mixed with cement, as abestos is a natural fiber that added strength to the mix and some flexibility.  However, over time the pipes get corroded and particles might get into the drinking water system.  By 2013 the huge pipes from Hetchy-Hetchy to San Francisco have been enlarged and replaced, new water transport tunnel has been installed under the bay, and new water pipes are seen being installed along major highways...12, 80, 101, 29, 84 in Northern California, to name a few.
Central Valley Flood Control Plan is approved, which is a component of water conveyance plan, just with a more acceptable name to the document.
Delta Plan is approved which is a component of water conveyance plan, and this group is currently designated to carry out the overall implementation of the new water conveyance plan statewide
BDCP is posted for public review in mid-December.  It is over 25,000 pages and basically makes up science to fit the plan.  It does acknowledge that the declining fish species might not be helped, which was supposed to be the purpose of CALFED...yes that plan that was approved in 2000 based on the 1998 N-H-I preferred alternative.
 
2014:  BDCP is in comment period.  In the meantime, DWR is much more bold about items of the BDCP that are already built, and about the water that has already
been diverted from the Delta.  All fish species of the Delta appear to be in substantial decline according to some news sources.  Review of US news media ownership indicates all mainstream media is owned or controlled by just 3 to 6 entities (individuals), who clearly are all part of the choir singing the same song in favor of the water heist and fracking, despite the potential long term effect on California and its people.
 
         
         
         
    2006:  Governor uses his emergency authorization powers to appropriate funding for many different reports related to the Delta   2006:  UC Berkley conducts a summer program regarding reenvisioning the Delta.
2005:  Grants are provided to UC Berkley and several different scientists or research groups to conduct specific studies or projects.  UC Davis, PPIC, CalState Chico are also provided project funding related to Delta issues. CA Fish & Game begins a major Salmon migration study   2004:  Meeting with Governor is discussed at a meeting of the   2003:  Governor and several So Cal water company executives and possibly land developers meet.
 Index Summary 
Compiled by Delta citizens and Delta Voices Last Modified :01/15/14 04:34 PM Copyright 2009-2013 ,