From News Line, a daily compilation of farm water news distributed to CFWC members and others upon request. To receive News Line, click here.
Coalition response….Your readers should understand that the estimated cost for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program now exceeds $1.1 billion and could climb over $2 billion, according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s 2012 framework document. This means the final cost could more than double the reported $900 million. Funding for the restoration efforts have been difficult to obtain from the federal budget.
While more than $100 million has already been spent for studies, monitoring, application expenses and overhead, not one infrastructure project identified in the Program has been started. These projects are considered necessary to reroute the river channel and provide protection for salmon.
These projects would also safeguard against negative impacts to farmland adjacent to the river. In 2010 when interim flows sent increased levels of water down the river, seepage occurred and farmland was flooded. The federal government was required to pay for the damages encountered by the farmers.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to complete these projects before building a hatchery and releasing salmon into the river? Currently, there is no clear path for the fish to reach the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Without these projects it is doubtful that the fish will survive their journey.