FAIRFIELD — Rio Vista resident Eddie Woodruff will remain the county’s representative on the state’s newest conservancy that oversees habitat restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, including in eastern Solano County.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appointed Woodruff to another four-year term on the Delta Conservancy board. But the reappointment came with some debate.
Other Delta counties – San Joaquin, Sacramento, Contra Costa and Yolo – have appointed a supervisor to the conservancy board. A county report raised the possibility that Solano might want to do the same.
Supervisor Skip Thomson, who has spearheaded the board’s efforts on Delta issues, asked that Woodruff be reappointed. He noted such milestones are happening as the state releasing draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan documents.
“I think it’s problematic when we start changing our appointment in midstream,” Thomson said.
Woodruff has four years of experience on the conservancy board. As a former Rio Vista mayor, he has a history with Delta issues, Thomson said.
Supervisor Linda Seifert said Solano County needs to make it clear that Woodruff has the same standing as the other conservancy board members who are supervisors. Thomson said he will tell this to the conservancy.
The Board of Supervisors also named Thomson to serve as Woodruff’s alternate on the conservancy.
The state Legislature in November 2009 created the Delta Conservancy to be the primary state agency that does restoration projects in the Delta and Suisun Marsh. The conservancy is also to support efforts for Delta environmental protections and the economic well-being of Delta residents. It can own and manage land, but does not have eminent domain powers.
California has a big interest in restoring Delta tidal wetlands and other habitat. Such restoration is a key element of evolving state plans to improve the Delta environment and comply with Endangered Species Act laws, while also keeping Delta water supplies flowing to Central Valley farms and about 25 million Californians in cities.
Gov. Jerry Brown has made a controversial, $24 billion plan to build twin tunnels to move water under the Delta a key to his Delta plans. The idea is to pump water allocations out of the Sacramento River before it reaches the Delta, which is home to rare fish that have led to pumping restrictions in the southern Delta.
But Solano County officials have expressed wariness over the state plans. County officials fear that habitat restoration projects in eastern Solano County will take thousands of acres of farmland out of production.
The Delta Conservancy is governed by a board with 11 voting members and 23 members altogether. Woodruff is among the voting members.
The conservancy has had a limited role because of money constraints, but this could change greatly depending what the Bay Delta Conservation Plan determines about habitat restoration, a county report said.
Woodruff said the conservancy wants to strengthen the Delta economy and agriculture. It wants to make sure that anything done in the Delta benefits the people who live and work in the Delta and rely on the Delta.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.