California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson today commented on the California State Water Resources Control Board’s release of its Bay-Delta water quality control plan update staff report. The document, in the works since 2018, analyzes alternatives to maintain healthy ecosystems for fish.

 ‘“We want to thank Gov. Newsom for his continued leadership and commitment to using collaborative voluntary agreements between water users and public agencies to support water quality and fish populations throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” Johansson said. “Maintaining the health of the delta and protecting the viability of farming in that region are top priorities for Farm Bureau and are part of the state water board’s charge to balance and protect all beneficial uses of water.”

 In 2016, the state water board proposed updating the Bay-Delta Plan to require increased flows in delta tributaries to protect fish populations. California Farm Bureau has contended that such an action would provide limited benefits at best for fish while negatively impacting communities, water supplies, farms and the economy.

 A state water board staff report analyzed both that proposal and the voluntary agreements plan, known as the “healthy rivers” proposal. This alternative is supported by water agencies, cities, Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups. It includes targeted flow increases paired with habitat restoration, scientific monitoring and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for implementation.

 “It’s long been clear that flow increases without other supportive actions won’t bring back fish. Utilizing voluntary agreements under the ‘healthy rivers’ alternative is California’s best opportunity to protect the future of the Delta watershed and those who depend on it,” Johansson said. “This plan would usher in a new era of collaboration, providing healthy ecosystems and water- supply reliability for millions of Californians.”

 Johansson added, “This document is the culmination of countless hours spent by farmers, ranchers, water board staff and other stakeholders. We are grateful to all of them for their work.”

 The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 29,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of 5.3 million Farm Bureau members.