Believing voluntary agreements hold the best potential for benefiting fisheries without severe losses to people, the California Farm Bureau Federation welcomed the state water board action to postpone a vote on a contested river-flows plan.
Acting on a request from Gov. Brown and Gov.-elect Newsom, the State Water Resources Control Board decided to delay until next month a decision on a plan to reallocate flows in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. Brown and Newsom said the additional time would allow for further negotiations on voluntary agreements with affected water users.
“Voluntary approaches that combine habitat improvements with well-planned, functional river flows offer the best hope for helping fish while maintaining the water rights people depend on,” CFBF President Jamie Johansson said. “Those voluntary approaches also provide the best hope for solutions that avoid long, drawn-out court cases that would only prolong the uncertainty for both people and the environment.”
Farm Bureau and 53 other organizations urged the water board this summer to reject a proposal from board staff to redirect flows in the rivers, and to pursue voluntary agreements that would lessen flow amounts but be more beneficial to fish populations.
“We’re pleased the governor and governor-elect recognize the clear benefits of voluntary actions,” Johansson said. “Imposing stringent regulatory requirements based on policies that have failed in the past would damage an important region of California without helping fish. We will work with the governor and governor-elect to assure that any future agreements lead to success for the environment and the economy.”
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 40,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.