Interior Secretary Visits Reservoirs and Discusses Water Plans and Timber Removal

  • Aug 03, 2018

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke joined Representatives Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove at Don Pedro Lake and New Melones Reservoir to tour the area and discuss the importance of water storage and the impact the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan proposed updates — which would divert 30 – 50 percent of “unimpaired flows” to the ocean — would have on the agricultural industry.

A recent article in AgAlert summarized the visit. Zinke noted the importance of the federal government serving as a partner in finding solutions for water districts, relayed his desire to streamline the permitting process and stated the importance of prioritizing agricultural needs and addressing the health of the water systems. According to ZInke, “I think the heart of the matter is, you have different bureaus of our government who have different regions, different missions, different biological opinions, different conclusions and that’s unhelpful.”

According to the California Farm Bureau Federation, the updates to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan proposed by the State Water Resources Control Board would cause people dependent on these watersheds to “lose as much as 800,000 acre-feet of water per year.”

In light of the recent California wildfires, Zinke, Denham and McClintock also discussed the need to harvest dead and dying timber as a means of forest management and wildfire prevention. According to McClintock, onerous permitting processes had led to the decline in timber harvest on federal lands while fires have destroyed increasing acreage.

The entire article summarizing this visit can be found online.

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