The Newsom administration has released a new framework for voluntary agreements that could implement an update to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Plan. The Bay-Delta Plan is essential for protecting California’s native fish and wildlife in the San Francisco Bay, the Delta, and major California rivers and has not been substantively updated since 1995.
Statement from Rachel Zwillinger, Water Policy Advisor, Defenders of Wildlife:
"Defenders returned to the Voluntary Agreement process in early 2019 after Newsom administration officials promised conservation organizations that they would engage in an open and transparent process to craft a deal. Unfortunately, that promise was abandoned less than two years later with the release of a weak framework that was negotiated behind closed doors and without meaningful input from the conservation community.
"From what we can tell, this deal is built on quicksand instead of credible science. A key part of the Newsom proposal appears to focus on implementing the Trump administration's rollbacks to critical Endangered Species Act protections for salmon and other species in the Bay-Delta.
"While this deal appears to have something in it for those who are embracing it, it fails to do the one thing it is supposed to do: protect the Bay Delta’s fish and water quality.
"When negotiating a deal, an essential ingredient of any successful compromise is that it meets existing environmental protection laws. This deal will not and therefore will fail."