Sent this e-mail today to Assemblymembers Chesbro & Evans.  I urge others to do the same. — Jim
SUPPORT FOR SB565 (PAVLEY) – My wife and I live on Mark West Creek, major tributary to the Russian River, We have been here for 42 years.  In their 1965 Stream Flow Assessment and Fish Count, CDFG reported 9,500 fish/mile and is still listed by CDFG & NOAA (NMFS) as a major coho salmon spawning area.  Recently two vineyards were planted, 9 wells installed and virtually overnight our famous robust creek went to a trickle.  I am a retired Hydrologist and have excellent historical data.  Flows never went below 2 cfs with a normal dry flow of 4 cfs.  Two years ago, the flow dropped to .06 cfs or about 3% of past minimum flows.  In other words, a garden hose.  All the fingerlings (1,000’s) died, and last year the same scenario and even after a very rainy winter 2009/2010 all my fish will again die this year which includes coho salmon. We are tree farmers, member of Forest Landowners of California, Farm Bureau.  We farm responsibly.  We do everything to protect the water, a very precious resource, that we all need including the fish and city dwellers.
These illegal diversions and overappropriation, especially of the acquifers, must stop.  This isn’t about greed, money & politics.  This is about doing the RIGHT THING.  I have been asked by many of my neighbors to send this to you.
Some of you have received this message.  I was asked by Jim Metropolis to distribute this urgent message to try and garner some support for this bill that will help stop illegal diversion and maintain instream flows.
Please Call Please call:
Assemblymember Chesbro at (916) 319 – 2001.
Please call Assemblymember Evans at (916) 319 – 2007.
Please tell them that:
We need this bill to help stop illegal water stealing – to maintain instream flows – protect water rights of those who legally hold them (including cities) – and protect beleaguered fisheries.
Assembly Floor Alert – SB 565 – SUPPORT – Read Below
Dear water, fish and river friends:
Senator Fran Pavley’s SB 565 would give the State Water Resources Control Board new penalty and investigative powers dealing with water rights.
SB 565 is sponsored by Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) and co-sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael. It is supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and Planning and Conservation League (PCL). Major ag water users have opposed the bill.
Here’s the deal: Fran Pavley’s water rights enforcement bill (SB 565) is getting fierce opposition from big ag, including Western Growers, Farm Bureau, ACWA and the Wine Institute. Their lobbying (and characterization)against the bill has caused some normally rock solid enviro/fisheries members, including several in Northern CA, to go soft on the bill. This includes Wes Chesbro and Noreen Evans.
As we all to well know, illegal water diversions are a huge problem for fisheries restoration efforts up and down California and in the Delta. The bill has been improved to provide more due process and fairness to small diverters who worry about SWRCB running amok (such as waiving penalty for first time offense, added hearing/process rights, and creating a de minimus exception for the serious fines).
Please send a quick note TODAY of strong support for this bill to our representatives: Noreen Evans and Wes Chesbro. The bill is being heard for the final time in the next 2 days, and their support is critical for its passage. Time is of the essence. The bill faces an Assembly floor vote as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.
So far, the only people these members have heard from so far is Ag.
Noreen Evans email via website:
Wes Chesbro email via website:
SUPPORT SB 565 (Parley)
Water Rights Administration and Enforcement
The conflicts between water for farms and water for fish are well known.  Farms need water to irrigate crops, fish need water to survive.  The water rights system is designed to accommodate the needs of both farms and fish.  When the State Water Board grants water rights, it specifically reserves water for the needs of fish.  But that system falls apart when people take water they don’t have a right to take.
The problem is real.  In a recent study of illegal diversions on North Coast streams, the State Water Board found that at least 45 percent of the diversions are illegal.  Meanwhile, the commercial salmon fishery has been devastated, and reports of fish becoming stranded due to water diversions are becoming more and more common.
SB 565 would:
Provide the SWRCB with adequate authority to investigate and stop unlawful diversions of water; · Modernize the penalties for unlawful use and illegal diversion of water, which have not been significantly updated in nearly 20 years;
SB 565 has been substantively amended numerous times to strengthen protections for legal water right holders – protections to ensure that SB 565 contains appropriate checks and balances on the State Water Board’s authorities, reinforced due process protections, and special consideration for small water users.
SB 565 helps ensure that the water that is supposed to be there for the environment and lawful water users is there.
We urge your “Aye” vote on SB 565 (Pavley) to end the illegal use of California’s scarce water resources and protect lawful water users. For more information contact Dennis O’Connor, Senator Pavley’s Office (916) 651-4116 / Alan Levine Coast Action Group P.O. Box 215 Point Arena, CA 95468
Phone: Week Days 707 542-4408 Weekends 707 882-2484