Conservancy Submits Concerns in Bay Delta Conservation Plan
Plan would not meet stated goals and would undermine existing conservation efforts
San Francisco, California | July 30, 2014
The Nature Conservancy has actively engaged in review of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) in its role as a conservation organization and a Delta land owner and yesterday submitted comments on the Plan and its environmental documents.
Based on scientific analysis and our own conservation work in the Delta, we do not believe the current BDCP will meet the defined conservation goals and objectives, and that construction of the tunnels could undermine existing conservation efforts and legal responsibilities we hold as the land owner of Staten Island.
Given the level of scientific uncertainty about the effectiveness of conservation measures in the BDCP, the success or failure of the Plan will be determined on the basis of how adaptable it can be to export the right amount of water at the right times while preserving necessary flows to meet conservation needs. The roles and responsibilities for long-term conservation actions are unclear, and responsibilities of the water contractors should be more clearly defined consistent with California’s Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act. . Further, the current alignment of the BDCP tunnels would bisect Staten Island, which is essential for the preservation of Sandhill Cranes on the Pacific coast. It is the Conservancy’s responsibility to protect wildlife-friendly agriculture on the island, and the mitigation offered in the environmental impact documents is insufficient.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is the hub of the California water system and serves as critical habitat for endangered and threatened wildlife. We support the dual goals of restoring the Delta estuary and upstream habitats while reducing reliance on the Delta as the source of California’s water supply. However, we cannot support the BDCP as written.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org