Solano County

Solano residents can comment on Delta plan

By From page A1 | January 24, 2014

FAIRFIELD — California’s road show for its proposed $25 billion plan to reshape the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will roll into Fairfield on Tuesday.

The Fairfield stop is from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Court. Participants can see displays on the plans and comment on the more than 34,000 pages of draft documents.

Solano County has a stake in what happens to the state’s rescue plan for a Delta facing pressing challenges to the environment and the water delivery systems for millions of Californians and Central Valley farms. The eastern county contains 86,000 acres of the 730,000-acre Delta.

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is a proposed 50-year habitat conservation plan covering 56 rare species of fish, birds, mammals and plants.

A controversial feature is a reworked water delivery system. Existing state and federal water projects pump water from the south Delta near Tracy into aqueducts for shipment to Southern California cities and Central California farms. But pumping gets restricted at times under the Endangered Species Act to avoid killing the rare Delta smelt.

The proposed solution is to pump the water from the Sacramento River before it enters the Delta. The water would then be transported to the aqueducts in two 40-foot-diameter tunnels traveling 30 miles under the Delta.

Another major component of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is restoring thousands of acres of tidal wetlands to benefit the Delta smelt and other rare fish. The state is looking at eastern Solano County in the Cache Slough area and Suisun Marsh for much of this restoration work.

Officials with Solano County and four other counties containing parts of the Delta have been wary. Local concerns range from the twin tunnels water conveyance system allowing more salt water to intrude into local waterways, to tidal wetlands restoration coming at the expense of farmland.

Supervisor Skip Thomson’s 5th District includes part of the Delta in eastern Solano County. He plans to attend Tuesday’s open house in Fairfield, though he is skeptical of the event’s purpose.

“I think it’s their attempt to put a good light on the BDCP . . . I don’t think it’s really of any value,” Thomson said.

He may be proven wrong, Thomson said. He will see what information gets rolled out Tuesday, he said.

“Most people are smart enough to figure what is a dog-and-pony show and what are truly facts,” Thomson said.

The open house will have no presentation or panels. Visitors will be able to see displays explaining the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and to talk with Bay Delta Conservation Plan project team members. They will be able to give verbal comments to a court reporter and to submit written comments.

People have through April 14 to submit comments on the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan and environmental documents. Go to http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Home.aspx for more information on the plan and the open house.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

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