Protect Northern California’s water

Its defense will keep California economically and environmentally sound

The author is retired from teaching biology at Chico State, where he was an expert on vernal pools.

California’s natural resources, topography and climate form the basis of our economic power and bring enjoyment to many, including visitors from around the world. Our way of life depends on protecting what is left of the interacting plants and animals of the San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Sacramento River Basin. Human modification includes retaining and diverting water for agricultural use at times and locations of low water availability. This water use is further impacted by land use, forest harvest, pollution and maintaining reservoirs.

The conservation of natural environments has increasing importance as global climate change imposes on us an unpredictable future. We must band together to preserve water essential for local businesses and native ecosystems, and resist attempts to move increasing quantities of water south.

Environmental problems in Northern California are worsened by top-down governmental attempts to shift water to other locations. The recent removal of groundwater to support water diversion that already overuses surface water is even more inappropriate. The costly and massive environmental modification that would result from building the twin tunnels is part of this program to harvest more water from Northern California. The demand that all Californians finance this highly expensive movement of water from Northern California to support inappropriate agriculture in dry environments at the expense of native environments is unacceptable.

Organisms from the High Sierra to San Francisco Bay are linked together by water in multiple ways. The Delta and the San Francisco Bay are intimately connected, and a water bypass of the Delta will reduce water quality and change essential living conditions of the plants and animals that live in and move between both areas.

Our plants and animals are adapted to survive under annual wet and dry seasons as well as a successive number of very dry or very wet years. As Northern Californians define and discover their place in the Sacramento River Basin, we realize much of our happiness comes from these marvelous natural ecosystems that are more valuable than the water sent south.

An increasing number of individuals and institutions are banding together to block actions challenging the California we love. I support AquAlliance, an organization legally qualified to defend Northern California waters. Also, if you have a well, join the AquAlliance well-monitoring program to further help the protection of your water rights.