Earlier this week, Members of Congress representing nearly every region of California sent to Governor Gavin Newsom a letter imploring the State administration to reconsider the incidental take statement issued on March 31, 2020, by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife for operations of the State Water Project.
Dan Errotabere, President of Westlands Water District, made the following statement in reaction to the Members’ letter:
“On November 21, 2019, when the State of California announced it would sue the federal government challenging the adequacy of biological opinions issued under the federal Endangered Species Act for operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, the State proclaimed that its plan to protect species listed under the California Endangered Species Act would “not seek to increase SWP exports.”
In their letter, Members of Congress correctly point out that “actions taken to protect both State and Federally listed species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and surrounding ecosystem must be based on the best science,” not an arbitrary cap on levels of export.
The Members also observed correctly that conflicting operations criteria imposed under the federal biological opinions and the State incidental take permit will frustrate coordinated operations of the CVP and SWP, will lead to new conflicts, and will make it impossible finalize Voluntary Agreements. Westlands hopes Governor Newsom will respond to the Members’ request positively so that we can work collaboratively to ensure the State’s long-term water resilience and ecosystem health. The District appreciates the Members weighing in on this important issue.”