WILL PARRISH, perhaps best known as a writer with the AVA, will next appear in court on Monday, January 27th, where he faces a wild array of misdemeanor charges — 17 of them — for three arrests in protest of the Willits Bypass.
ONE OF THE CHARGES arises from the eleven days Parrish spent aloft some 60 feet up where he'd locked himself to a piece of construction equipment. Represented by Omar Figerora, Parrish has demanded a jury trial.
THE DA'S OFFICE did a lot of woofing about putting Parrish in jail to do disproportionately improbable jail time as he also somehow paid off a half-million in fines. Caltrans, of course, claimed Parrish's demonstrations had cost Big Orange a lot of money in lost work time because the leased equipment Parrish had nested in had to be paid for whether or not it was operating. And the over-large CHP contingent also had to be reimbursed for standing around for days at a time telling hippie jokes.
THE DA'S LEAD PROSECUTOR, Paul Sequeira, now says the DA only wants Parrish to do some community service along with probation and agree to not interfere with Bypass construction.
ONE OF PARRISH'S arrests occurred as he stood across 101 merely looking at the Bypass construction when a couple of CHP officers hustled out from the site, charged across the highway and threw Parrish on the ground and arrested him for allegedly violating the terms of his release from custody for previous arrests.
BANNING PARRISH from proximity of the six mile swathe of destruction being wrought by CalTrans at Willits, means Parrish can't do his job as a reporter, further meaning he's being denied a whole bunch of theoretically inalienable rights he's been born into as an American.
DEPUTY DA Shannon Cox is presently assigned to the Parrish matter. She told Linda Williams of the Willits News, “We are not trying to chill free speech. We are trying to resolve this case.”
WHICH IS A LOCALLY unprecedented case. Parrish has refused to settle and demands a jury trial, which he might well win, hence, probably, the DA's neo-reasonableness — that and the notoriety DA Eyster's demand for years of jail time and a half-million in fines Eyster wanted when Parrish turned down a guilty plea deal.
CALTRANS has given the DA what it claims is a “detailed breakdown” of the money Parrish has cost them — over $480,000. How that preposterous figure was arrived at will be an interesting courtroom discussion.
PROSECUTOR COX told The Willits News: “To date we have had discussions, but so far, no meeting of the minds. It will be best for everyone if we are able to resolve this without a trial. We are trying to resolve it.”
ON HIS PART, PARRISH SAYS he rejected the original plea deal from the DA because he “was unwilling to accept the uncapped restitution stipulation” and, as reported, was also adamant about his right to receive a jury trial.
DA EYSTER is doing the usual DA thing, which, as he might put it, “The first offer is the best deal you're going to get. Turn that down and I'm going to try to max you out.”
BOYFIGHT, THE AFTERMATH: Or, the Wrath of Steinberg!
by Hank Sims
You see, Evans is a Mike McGuire fangirl. That don’t fly with Emperor Caligula State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, boss of the Senate Dems, who very early and publicly backed the candidacy of our boy Chris Lehman.
Well, we know how that turned out. Lehman/Steinberg have lost; McGuire/Evans have won. But Evans still has a full year to serve before freeing herself from the $100,000-year pittance she receives from the public, and Steinberg is ready to settle scores. You come at the king, you best not miss.
Evans, the Times tells us, can kiss her sweet committee appointments goodbye.
NEW YEAR ALREADY SETTING DROUGHT RECORD in Mendocino County
by Tiffany Revelle
Just two weeks in, officials are already calling 2014 Mendocino County's driest year on record, and saying no relief is expected in the near future.
Less than a quarter-inch of rain fell in the Ukiah Valley Saturday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Tonkin. That 0.18 inches is Ukiah's only rainfall this year, and it's less than a drop in the bucket to the valley's usual 37 inches of rainfall in a calendar year, he said.
The sprinkling came after more than a month of no rainfall that spurred the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to declare a drought emergency at its first meeting of the year.
“The rain you got Saturday is not going to do anything in terms of the current drought,” Tonkin said. “It may moisten up the grass so that there is not quite as much fire danger, but the creeks won't rise.”
The drought that has dried up tributaries, springs and private wells throughout Mendocino County, is threatening water supply in many areas and has spurred the NWS to issue a Red Flag Warning for “increased fire danger above 2,000 feet” for inland and southeastern Mendocino County and Lake County.
The second driest year is 2013, with about 11 inches of rainfall, he said. Not far behind is 2008 with 14 inches, according to Tonkin, who added that the next driest year on record is 1976.
Saturday's rain won't make a dent in local drought conditions, but neither would a normal amount of rain through spring, according to Gregory Jones, a professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University.
“If we start to get a more normal amount of rainfall ... through April and May, it's never going to be enough to make it up, unless there's some extreme event that no one can predict,” Jones said.
There isn't even a chance of rain on the horizon for Inland Mendocino County in the coming week, according to the NWS, and Jones says long-term weather pattern prediction doesn't hold much hope, either.
“For California, it doesn't look likely,” he said, talking about a normal winter weather pattern that's sticking around longer than usual and blocking the Pacific Northwest's regular flow of storms.
If the high-pressure ridge that's pushing the storms north of California and Oregon breaks up and allows more rainfall, spring could come later than normal and be a bit colder, but not dramatically so, according to Jones. He said there is a chance that the fall of 2014 could see a more normal weather pattern for the Pacific Northwest.
What's causing the dry conditions across the West Coast is a tendency he says he's seen over the last 10 to 15 years for the jet stream that would normally be bringing in storm systems from the northeast to slow down and “meander.”
As it circles the northern hemisphere from west to east, the jet stream normally also travels north and south, but in a more gradual, gentle pattern than what those who study climate are seeing now, according to Jones. He said the jet stream looks now like a sharp zig-zag line around the globe, and travels north and south in much steeper arcs.
“Climate is so complex,” Jones said, “but we couldn't have this happen without a large-scale warming in the Arctic.”
That's caused the difference in temperature between the Arctic and sub-tropic regions to shrink, he said. Like a river on relatively flat ground, that creates ideal conditions for the jet stream to wander farther north and south, he said, slowing it and making weather systems stay in place longer.
The result is that low-pressure systems are pushed up over the high-pressure ridge and north to Washington and Canada, he said, and then pulled in a “horseshoe shape” south and east across the United States.
“We tend to see this every winter, but it's usually short-lived,” Jones said. “If it breaks down, we will see more normal storms.”
In a recent e-mail forecast, Jones wrote, “My scientific sense, and gut feeling, is for a cooler than normal second half of winter, with normal precipitation and snow, but nowhere near enough to catch up in most places.”
Tiffany Revelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
ATTENTION CRAFTS PEOPLE! Ward Hanes of Boonville is doing business as Mendo Central, and he's looking for Mendo-specific goods to sell out of his store in the center of Mendocino County's most happening town. If you want a solidly reliable guy, a long-time member of our fine community, to market your goods, including foods, call Ward at 707 489-9273.
THE SONOMA COUNTY WINEGRAPE COMMISSION is hoping to make all of SoCo's vineyards “sustainable” by 2019. By “sustainable” the Commission, according to its president, Karissa Kruse, means, “It's being a good steward, a good employer and a good neighbor.” More specifically, using fewer chemicals and less water. In Mendocino County, of course, the industry operates in a kind of free fire zone where the more conscientious, neighborly growers have gone organic and drip irrigation simply because it's the right thing to do. Others, particularly the outside-based operations, remain heavy industrial ag, replete with chemicals.
“HOW STUPID do you think I am?”
“I don't know, I just met you.”
- Jack McCall and 'Wild Bill' Hickok, “Deadwood”
MEDICAL PRICE GOUGING
The Skyrocketing Impact
by Ralph Nader
An epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with the process of pricing and providing health care.
The latest in this medical cost saga comes from new data released last week by National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest nurse’s organization. In a news release, NNU revealed that fourteen hospitals in the United States are charging more than ten times their costs for treatment. Specifically, for every $100 one of these hospitals spends, the charge on the corresponding bill is nearly $1,200.
NNU’s key findings note that the top 100 most expensive U.S. hospitals have “a charge to cost ratio of 765% and higher — more than double the national average of 331%.” They found that despite the enactment of “Obamacare” — the Affordable Care Act — overall hospital charges experienced their largest increase in 16 years. For-profit hospitals continue to be the worst offenders with average charges of 503% of their costs compared to publically-run hospitals (“…including federal, state, county, city, or district operated hospitals, with public budgets and boards that meet in public…”) which show more restraint in pricing. The average charge ratios for these hospitals are 235% of their costs.
According to NNU’s data, the top 10 Most Expensive Hospitals in the U.S. listed according to the huge percentage of their charges relative to their costs are:
1. Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, Secaucus, NJ – 1192%
2. Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, Painsville, KY – 1186%
3. Orange Park Medical Center, Orange Park, FL – 1139%
4. North Okaloosa Medical Center, Crestview, FL – 1137%
5. Gadsden Regional Medical Center, Gadsden, AL – 1128%
6. Bayonne Medical Center, Bayonne, NJ – 1084%
7. Brooksville Regional Hospital, Brooksville, FL – 1083%
8. Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, Davenport, FL – 1058%
9. Chestnut Hill Hospital, Philadelphia, PA – 1058%
10. Oak Hill Hospital, Spring Hill, FL – 1052%
The needless complications of the vast medical marketplace have provided far too many opportunities for profiteering. Numerous examples of hospital visit bills feature enormous overcharges on simple supplies such as over-the-counter painkillers, gauze, bandages and even the markers used to prep patients for surgery. That’s not to mention the cost of more advanced procedures and the use of advanced medical equipment which are billed at several times their actual cost. These charges have resulted in many hundreds of millions of dollars in overcharges.
When pressed for answers, many hospital representatives are quick to defer to factors out of their control. It’s the cost of providing care they might say, or perhaps infer that other vague aspects of running the business of medical treatment add up and are factored into these massive charges. Cost allocations mix treatment costs with research budgets, cash reserves, and just plain accounting gimmicks. These excuses shouldn’t fly in the United States.
Few in the medical industry will acknowledge the troubling trend. One thing is undeniably certain however — the medical marketplace is not suffering for profits. Health-care in the United States is a nearly $3 trillion a year industry replete with excessive profits for many hospitals, medical supply companies, pharmaceutical companies, labs and health insurance vendors.
Americans spend more on health care than anywhere else in the world. One would hope and wish, at the least, that this enormous expenditure would provide a quality of healthcare above and beyond that found in the rest of the western world. The reality is that the results on average are no better than in France, Germany, Canada and elsewhere, which manage to provide their quality treatment without all the overcharges.
Much like our similarly wasteful, bloated military budget, the U.S. spends more on health care than the next ten countries combined — most of which cover almost all of their citizens. The United States spends $8,233 per person, per year according to a 2012 figure from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The average expenditure of the thirty three other developed nations OECD tracked is just $3,268 per person.
It gets worse. Harvard’s Malcolm Sparrow, the leading expert on health care billing fraud and abuse, conservatively estimates that 10% of all health care expenditure in the United States is lost to computerized billing fraud. That’s $270 billion dollars a year!
And unlike other commercial markets, where the advance of technology routinely makes costs lower, the reverse trend is in effect when providing medical care — the prices just keep soaring higher and higher. The flawed, messy Obamacare system will do little to help this worsening profit-grab crisis, which is often downright criminal in the way it exploits tragedy-stricken people and saddles them with mountains of debt.
Steven Brill’s TIME magazine cover story from February 2013 titled “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us” gives an in-depth and highly-researched rundown of the severity of the medical cost problem and provides some of the worst, most astonishing examples of profiteering off of the plight of the sick or injured.
Here’s a fact that puts the full scope of this troubling trend into perspective — Brill writes: “The health-care industrial complex spends more than three times what the military industrial complex spends in Washington”. Specifically, the medical industry has spent $5.36 billion on lobbying in Washington D.C. since 1998. Compare that expenditure to the $1.53 billion spent lobbying by the also-bloated defense and aerospace sector.
One line summarizes the breadth of Brill’s enormous piece: “If you are confused by the notion that those least able to pay are the ones singled out to pay the highest rates, welcome to the American medical marketplace.”
Americans who can’t pay and therefore delay diagnosis and treatment are casualties. About 45,000 Americans die every year because they cannot afford health insurance according to a peer-reviewed report by Harvard Medical School researchers. No one dies in Canada, Germany, France or Britain because they do not have health insurance. They are all insured from the time they are born.
Obamacare, which has already confused and infuriated many Americans — and even some experts — with its complexity made up of thousands of pages of legislation and regulations is clearly not the answer to the problem. Long before the internet, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months using index cards. Canada’s single-payer system was enacted with only a thirteen page bill — and it covers everyone for less than half of the cost per capita compared to the US’s system. (Check out 21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better Than Obamacare)
Enacting a single payer, full Medicare-for-all system is the only chance the United States has of unwinding itself from the spider web of waste, harm, and bloat that currently comprise its highly flawed health insurance and health care systems. It’s time to cut out the corporate profiteers and purveyors of waste and fraud and introduce a system that works for everybody.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)
MENDO’S CRIMES FOR THE WEEK ENDING MONDAY THE 13TH
UKIAH POLICE DEPARTMENT
WHEELCHAIR IN CREEK — Caller in the 1100 block of Mulberry Street reported at 10:22 a.m. Sunday that a wheelchair was in the creek bed just north of the footbridge. An officer responded and took a report.
Transients Camping — Caller in the 1200 block of Airport Park Boulevard reported at 2:03 p.m. Sunday that two transients were camping in tents and might have stolen property. An officer responded but did not find anyone.
Fire In Park — Caller in the 500 block of Oak Manor Drive reported at 2:36 p.m. Sunday that a large group was starting a fire with a large branch. An officer responded and the group left upon request.
Sister Refused Lighter — Caller in the 300 block of North Main Street reported at 8:50 p.m. Sunday that her sister was refusing to give her a lighter because she was using an oxygen tank.
Transient In Blanket — Caller in the 300 block of West Henry Street reported at 7:14 a.m. Monday that a person wrapped in a blanket was sleeping in the doorway. Before an officer responded, the caller reported that the person had left.
Vandalism — Caller in the 1000 block of Low Gap Park reported at 8:38 a.m. Monday that the Ukiah Skate Park had been vandalized. An officer responded and took a report.
Tree Cut Down — Caller in the 1100 block of Mulberry Street reported at 8:49 a.m. Monday that a tree had been taken down.
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.
DUI Arrest — Caller in the 300 block of Walnut Street reported at 12:01 a.m. Monday that a man in a white GMC was driving recklessly. An officer responded and arrested Ian Freeman, 38, of Fort Bragg, on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:
DUI — Wallace A. Stone, 60, of Willits, was arrested at 9:25 p.m. Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail.
Domestic Violence — Steven J. Morales, 43, of Laytonville, was arrested at 9:29 p.m. Friday on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
Vehicle Theft, Gun — Shawn M. Spiller, 25, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 7:25 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of vehicle theft, theft from a vehicle, receiving stolen property, being armed with a gun and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $80,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
Domestic Violence — Terry L. Richmond, 32, of Willits, was arrested at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of domestic assault, witness intimidation, child endangerment and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $55,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
Battery With Injury — Noah M. Luranhatt, 23, of Ukiah, was arrested at 7:17 p.m. Sunday on suspicion of battery causing serious injury, being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and violating his parole terms, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.
Marijuana Sales — Jessy R. Johnson, 21, of Ukiah, was arrested at 5:15 p.m. Monday on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the California Highway Patrol:
DUI Arrest — Stephen M. Smith, 47, of Mendocino, was stopped on Lansing under the influence.
DUI Arrest — Ryan J. Carter, 27, of San Rafael, was stopped on Highway 101 at Frog Woman Rock (formerly Squaw Rock) at 10:05 a.m. Dec. 3 and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license.
DUI Arrest — Anthony J. Melia, 23, of Point Arena, was stopped on Highway 1 at mile marker 46.05 at 9:49 a.m. Dec. 24 and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
DUI Arrest — A 15-year-old Redwood Valley girl was stopped In the 700 block of South State Street at 2:50 a.m. Jan. 1 and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. (That's all?)
DUI Crash, Arrest — Patricia Jorgensen, 69, of Point Arena, was in an accident on Highway 1 at Curly Lane and was arrested at 9:54 p.m. Jan. 6 on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Drug Transport Arrest — Kerra Stillwell, 23, of Covelo, was stopped in the 7000 block of North State Street at 4:20 p.m. Saturday and arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, transporting marijuana for sale and possessing a controlled substance. According to the Sheriff's Office booking log, she was also booked at the County Jail on suspicion of evading a peace officer.
DELTA FISH SURVEY REVEALS AN ECOSYSTEM IN COLLAPSE
By Dan Bacher
A Delta fish survey released by the California Department of Wildlife this month confirms the continuing collapse of the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
The survey's release takes place at a crucial time for the survival of salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt and other fish populations in California and the West. 2013 was the driest year on record in California and no relief from the drought is in sight.
Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown is promoting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels as the “solution” to the co-equal goals of “water supply reliability” and “ecosystem restoration.”
The results of the Department's 2013 Fall Midwater Trawl (FMWT) reveal that populations of Delta smelt, striped bass and American shad declined from the disastrous levels of last year, while longfin smelt and threadfin shad showed little improvement from last year’s lows, according to a news release from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). The survey records population “indices,” a relative measure of abundance.
The 2013 indices for Delta smelt and American shad were the second lowest in the 46 years of the survey. The striped bass index was tied for third lowest, while the longfin smelt and threadfin shad indices were the eighth and fifth lowest, respectively, according to Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director.
The survey results were documented in a January 2 memo to Scott Wilson, Regional Manager, Region 3, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, from Dave Contreras, DFW Environmental Scientist.
The surveys were initiated in 1967, the same year the State Water Project began exporting water from the Delta, They show that population indices of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and American shad have declined 95.6%, 99.6%, 99.8%, 97.8%, 90.9%, respectively, between 1967 and 2013, according to Jennings.
The 2013 indices for Sacramento splittail, a native fish found only in the estuary, were not released, but results from 2012 reveal that splittail indices have dropped 98.5% from 1967 levels. In 2011, the Brown administration presided over a record “salvage” of 9 million splittail in 2011, a record year for exports by the federal and state projects.
A DFW official described the results of the survey as “disappointing.”
“It's disappointing to see the numbers of fish so low,” said Carl Wilcox, a Delta policy adviser at the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The results of the survey reflect the water year type conditions; we've just been through the driest calendar year on record. If you look at the data, the results are consistent with what we've seen in the past in these conditions.”
Jennings had harsh words for the state agencies responsible for protecting fish species in the Delta and Central Valley, characterizing the fish population collapse as a “biological holocaust.”
“Excessive water diversions from the Delta by the State and Federal Projects and the failure of state agencies to enforce water quality standards have created an extended fish drought that can only be characterized as a biological holocaust,” said Jennings. “And the same agencies that orchestrated and chaperoned this biological meltdown are not only proposing a scheme to divert massive quantities of fresh water flows via tunnels under the Delta, under the guise of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), but they ask us to trust them to build the tunnels now and figure out how to operate them later.”
Jennings said BDCP proponents suggest that the two 35-mile tunnels under the Delta will not lead to an increase in total Delta exports.
“However, actual operations will be determined after completion of the project through a decision-tree adaptive management process by the same agencies that have historically failed to protect the estuary,” he said. “Examination of the four alternative decision tree operational scenarios in the BDCP EIR/EIS reveals that all of them decrease Delta outflow and three of them substantially increase exports.”
Jennings also said BDCP modeling conducted for the State Water Resources Control Board demonstrates that BDCP could only export about 3.1 MAF of water if reasonable fishery protection measures are included (increased outflow, bypass flow, coldwater pool management, etc.).
“BDCP proponents are not going to spend some $67 billion to receive the same or less water and reduced outflow for an estuary already hemorrhaging from a lack of water is a death sentence,” Jennings said. “Given the agencies abysmal track record, there can be no trust and no tunnels until Jerry Brown takes affirmative steps to end his fish drought.”
Jennings noted that the vast majority of record low indices have occurred over the last decade, when record exports to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies took place.
“Comparing the average indices of the first six years of the survey (1967-72) with the average of the most recent six years shows that the six-year average indices of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, American shad and splittail have declined by 91.7%, 98.6%, 99.3%, 99.9%, 69.6% and 88.7%, respectively,” stated Jennings.
Excessive water exports by the state and federal export projects in 2013 led to degraded water quality and habitat conditions in the Delta, noted Jennings. The projects exported some 826,778 acre-feet more water than they had projected they would be able to deliver.
“Consequently, water quality standards were violated in the South Delta in June and July through 15 August and at Emmaton in April, May and June and at Jersey Point in June,” said Jennings. “Emmaton and Jersey Point are in the western Delta. Sharply increased exports coupled with a sudden reduction in Delta outflow in late June and early July caused the low salinity zone and pelagic species like Delta smelt to be drawn into the western Delta where they encountered lethal temperature conditions created by a combination of warm water released from reservoirs and high ambient temperatures.”
He said another likely factor in the killing of Delta smelt was high exports leading to excessive Old and Middle River reverse flows during the critical 15-April–15 May San Joaquin pulse flow period.
2013 was also a bad year for Central Valley Chinook salmon populations. Jennings said many as half of this year’s up-migrating winter-run Chinooks were stranded in the Yolo Bypass and Colusa Basin in April-June and Sacramento River temperature requirements to protect spawning winter-run were relaxed in June.
Meanwhile, large releases of water from Shasta Dam into the Sacramento River, Oroville Dam into the Feather River and Folsom Dam into the American River throughout the summer resulted in the virtual draining of these reservoirs. Folsom Lake is only 18% of capacity now and the Bureau of Reclamation will reduce flows to only 500 cfs today, furthering imperiling steelhead and salmon on the river.
The massive export of water to corporate agribusiness also left little water for Sacramento River fall-run Chinooks, the driver of West Coast fisheries.
“In November, abrupt reductions in Sacramento River flow exposed spawning redds, killed up to 40% of Sacramento River fall-run salmon eggs and stranded newly emerged fry,” said Jennings. “And low reservoir levels will likely lead to inadequate flows for young salmon out-migration this coming spring.”
“The decline of Central Valley salmon populations over the last 46 years is similar to the declines of Delta pelagic species. But the full consequences of this year’s debacle will only become fully apparent when this year’s young salmon return to spawn in three years,” Jennings stated.
Jennings emphasized, “We have seen a broad collapse of the ecosystem since the State Water Project begian exporting water in 1967. There are 5-1/2 times water rights claims as there is water available in the system.”
If action isn't taken to reverse the collapse, Delta smelt and other imperiled fish species could become extinct.
“We are getting down to the point where a series of drought years may send some fish species to extinction,” said Jennings. “We have no idea where the points of no return in Delta smelt, winter run Chinook and other fish species are. We are playing Russian Roulette with God here. Greed is destroying fisheries that evolved and prospered over millenia in a matter of mere decades.”
Jennings proposed three main solutions to restoring the ecosystem:
• Delta exports need to be decreased to less than three million acre feet of water per year and outflows to the estuary need to increased.
• The Central Valley river system needs to return to a more natural hydrograph.
• The agencies need to replace the 1950's inadequate technology fish screens on the South Delta pumping facilities with current state of the art fish screens.
The Responsible Exports Plan proposed by the Environmental Water Exports sets a cap on water exports of 3 million acre feet: http://www.aqualliance.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/RESPONSIBLE-EXPORTS-PLAN-MAY-2013-update.pdf
Further information, including DFW’s FMWT Memo with graphs, the BDCP alternative comparison and the State Board’s quantitative comparisons can be found at: http://www.calsport.org.