Note: in this post, I am not positing that voluntary agreements would be as successful as instream flow requirements.
- I welcome a court fight over instream flow requirements. It is time to do this. Why have F&G §5937, the Public Trust doctrine and the Reasonable Use doctrine if we never use them or if we use them after the fish are extinct? If they are no good, let’s find that out. They are equally no good if they are never used.
II. This is exactly the role that the State should play. Decisions of this sort will necessarily feel ‘unbalanced’ within the regions that have gotten used to using 80% of the flow of the river. But it is right and proper for the State to balance the preferences of the entire state, including the 38 million people in other regions who want our salmon runs to continue to exist. No one regional entity can take that perspective, and they are too close to their electorate to make a sacrifice like that even if they wanted to. It requires authorities at the State level to see the statewide picture.
c. I hope we are seeing the pendulum swing back from the State’s emphasis on “regional management”. That always looked more like an abrogation of responsibility than a governing philosophy to me.
4. I was pretty bummed about this letter from Gov. Brown. I attribute it to a sense of urgency on advancing the tunnels before his administration ends. But his single-minded focus on the tunnels has been a real shame. It made his water policies risk-averse. I believe he could have advanced water management in the state far more if his agencies hadn’t been absorbed by the tunnels. Now I have to wonder whether the progress that the State Board made wasn’t because of Gov. Brown, but despite him. (To my eye, the only thing he really viscerally cared about was turf removal. We made a great deal of progress on turf removal.)
Anyway, we should hear back about whatever ‘voluntary agreements’ the Resources Agency was able to find in the near term. That’ll be interesting.