03.19.10 Rep. Costa Response to National Academy of Sciences Review of Bay Delta Water Issues

“Our Valley needs water to survive,” Costa said. “We have made real progress lately, but we can’t win this fight completely until the one-sided and flawed biological opinions being used to cut off our water are revised to reflect what is actually happening in the Delta. For too long, critics of our Valley have pointed fingers at our farmers, workers, and communities for the decline in Delta health.  It is time for the science community, along with the Administration, to join me and the people of our Valley in saying, ‘Enough is enough.’”

According to the report: “[…] No scientific study has demonstrated that pumping in the south delta is the most important or the only factor accounting for the delta-smelt population decline. Therefore, the multiple other stressors that are affecting fish in the delta environment as well as in the other environments they occupy during their lives must be considered, as well as their comparative importance with respect to the effects of export pumping.”

Costa added, “One of the first steps to ensuring an increased and more reliable flow of water to the Valley is to recognize that there are multiple stressors degrading the health of the Delta. I am pleased that the National Academy of Sciences has acknowledged that other factors like nonnative species, runoff, and the dumping of nitrates and ammonia have a large impact on Delta health.”

“Flawed policies are endangering our livelihoods and local economy,” Costa said. “I remain confident that we can further increase this year’s supply. I also look forward to reviewing the Academy’s full findings on this critical issue.”

On top of the drought crisis, Valley farmers have suffered under devastating water restrictions aimed at protecting Delta fish. Congressman Costa has long said that these restrictions are based on flawed science and that a multiple stressor approach must be taken to restoring the Delta’s health.

Most recently, Congressman Costa joined with Congressmen Cardoza and Radanovich to call on the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to address non-native striped bass that are preying on salmon and Delta smelt.