SACRAMENTO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — Recreational Boaters of California warns boaters of the adverse impact a plan developed by state and federal regulators will have in existing Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta waterways utilized by all types and sizes of recreational boats.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan developed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Natural Resources Agency proposes to dramatically and forever alter the flow and level of water through existing Delta waterways, RBOC said.
In a release July 24 RBOC said that depending upon which actions and measures are implemented, there will be adverse impacts that constrain and in many instances even prohibit recreational boaters accessing and utilizing existing Delta waterways,
RBOC said that is has monitored the plan’s planning process since July of 2006, when the current plan commenced, and has submitted substantive comments on the plan, stressing it’s adverse impacts on recreational boating and urging full mitigation.
The public agencies supporting the plan say it is designed to restore and
protect ecosystem health, water supply, and water quality within a stable regulatory framework. As a habitat conservation plan and natural community conservation plan, they say the plan is a regional conservation plan meant to conserve ecosystems in a sustainable manner and contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species.
RBOC says the purpose of the plan is to endeavor to mitigate a host of existing endangered species impacts caused by the existing operational practice of exporting Delta water to other locations in California.
The plan in many ways results in irreversible changes to the Delta itself as well as to access and enjoyment of Delta waterways relevant to recreational boating and marinas and boat ramps visited by boaters and the general public.
RBOC said that the plan needs to fully mitigate-for and to guarantee assurances-of reliable access to all Delta waterways proposed to be altered in any manner under the plan. This must include, for example, constructing boat locks wherever Delta waterways are proposed to have any barriers or gates — whether short-term or long-term — and that all boat locks be constructed and operated at no cost or charge to recreational boaters.
RBOC said its position is based upon the fact that the burden of producing a comprehensible habitat conservation plan under federal law, supporting analysis and funding rests not on recreational boaters that navigate Delta waterways but that it is an obligation that rests solely upon the plan’s project proponents.
Further concerns of RBOC that are not mitigated include, but are not limited to:
Although the plans effects on Delta flows and water levels have the potential to have a very significant and highly negative impact upon boats, marinas and boat ramps and other access point to the waters of the Delta, no analysis appears to exist in the plan as to operational impacts and the mitigations for having altered and reduced Delta water levels. Thus no analysis exists as to the severity this impact will have upon recreational boating, marinas and other water-based recreational uses of the Delta. Also, it is clear that if there are reduced water levels in the Delta this will also have negative impact upon marinas and boats and access
points along the Sacramento and American rivers, RBOC said.
RBOC has posted the complete release on its website rboc.org and is requesting that recreational boaters contact their elected representatives expressing their concerns on the implementation of the plan.