The Merced-area community will have one local opportunity to speak directly to officials from the State Water Resources Control Board about the controversial Bay-Delta plan, and that one chance will come Monday.
The Merced County Board of Supervisors, Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, and other elected officials are urging residents to attend Monday’s meeting and speak out against the plan.
As proposed, the Bay-Delta plan would increase flows on the Merced River in an effort to revive declining salmon populations. Critics, however, say more water flowing into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would mean less for irrigation, forcing farmers to continue pumping groundwater, sending less to groundwater replenishment, impacting local drinking water and, ultimately, taking a huge toll on Merced County’s economy.
During Monday’s hearing at the Merced Theatre, water board officials will hear about two hours of presentations before accepting public comment. (The venue has changed from the Merced Multicultural Arts Center.)
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The Merced Irrigation District has proposed an alternative to the Bay-Delta proposals, called the S.A.F.E. Plan. The plan proposes supporting salmon populations by increasing water releases to support migrating salmon, targeting predatory bass, restoring river habitat that was dredged a century ago and modernizing the Merced River’s salmon hatchery.
“It’s absolutely imperative that the state water board see a strong presence from the community and MID growers,” John Sweigard, MID’s general manager, said in a statement. “Once this water is lost from our community, it will never return. This will harm everything from mortgage and car payments to college education and retirement plans.”
“I ask that you please join me in person at the hearings to voice your opposition to the water board’s plan,” Gray said in an emailed statement. “As you know, this plan will have devastating effects on our economy, our drinking water, and our quality of life. It is imperative that we make a strong showing at the meetings. Members of the public will be able to make brief comments and those comments will become part of the official record.”
If you go
When: 9 a.m. Monday
Where: Merced Theatre, 301 W. Main St. in Merced
Submit a written comment
Those who are unable to make the public hearing can submit written comments to the water board until Jan. 17, 2017.
Letters can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by regular mail to:
Jeanine Townsend, clerk to the board
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I St., 24th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814-0100