Last Day for Comment Letters!

The Merced River, pictured here flowing through Yosemite National Park, will receive greater protection under new proposed standards by the State Water Resources Control Board.

TODAY AT NOON is the last opportunity to comment on the proposed water quality standards on the lower San Joaquin River and the Merced, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne rivers. These standards have been proposed to protect endangered runs of Chinook salmon from extinction and to help these rivers recover from decades of over-pumping. These rivers typically lose 60-80% of their water—even more at certain times—to Central Valley agriculture and cities of the San Francisco Bay Area. Low flows in these rivers have contributed to toxic algal blooms, invasions of non-native water plants, poor water quality laden with runoff of pesticides and fertilizers from the Central Valley, and lethally high water temperatures for salmon.

The State Water Resources Control Board has proposed marginally better protection for these rivers through the establishment of standards that would keep a range of 30-50% of the water (called ‘unimpaired flow’) in the rivers, with a starting point of 40%.

This is still less than half a river.

Water districts that rely on these rivers have protested these proposed new protections, while fishing groups and biologists have pointed out that the proposal falls far short of what is needed to meet legally-mandated goals for salmon recovery. The comment period has stretched out for the past 6 months, as the State Water Resources Control Board extended it twice to allow for more expert testimony and to encourage progress toward a voluntary agreement among the various parties.

As State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus urged in December, it's time for San Francisco to rise to the occasion and use "its unique position, skills and values to help bridge divides between communities, farms and fish, and find creative ways to help all three thrive."

San Francisco Bay Area residents are firmly committed to a healthy environment, and Bay Area elected officials have spoken in agreement. See comment letters from the following elected officials, as well as our own comment letter and that of San Francisco Estuary Partnership, on our website: To submit your own comment, send to with the subject line: "Comment Letter – 2016 Bay Delta Plan Amendment & SED" or visit NRDC’s website for their handy template.

Watch Films on California/Western Water Politics

Think water is boring? Watch these films and you'll change your mind!

Saturday, March 18, 10:30am: 'Water & Power: A California Heist' on the National Geographic Channel
(and see response from the Executive Director of the Association of California Water Agencies)

Sunday, March 19, 12:30pm: 'Damnation' @ The New Parkway (tix)
Copyright © 2017 Friends of the San Francisco Estuary, All rights reserved.

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