Diving into the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (warning, water politics neepery)

One of the things I’ve been doing the last few weeks instead of important things like posting selfies or writing for this blog is trying to understand the implications of the drought on California. Researching the wildlife refuges for my refuge project just as the drought was really hitting its stride this winter brought the water issue to the center of my attention, and I’ve been trying to get a handle on how the drought is going to affect us (as residents of Silicon Valley and California), and about the birds I’m studying and photographing. That has dropped me knee deep into California water politics without a pair of hip waders. At the center of these politics is the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which is politics-speak for a pair of tunnels to be dug under the delta to transfer water from north of the delta (where it is) to south of the delta (where it’s needed). Back in the 1980’s there was a plan called the Peripheral Canal to do something similar at ground level that was quite controversial and eventually rejected. Water is a major issue in the state. Want to start a fight between northern and southern california? mention water. The northern half of the state looks at what southern california did to the Owens Valley and says “over my dead body”. The southern half of the...

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