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Peripheral tunnel plan will hurt Trinity River also
by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Mar 6th, 2013 11:13 AM
"There is absolutely no protection for Trinity River interests from this project," the peripheral tunnels, said Tom Stokely of the California Water Impact Network.

Photo of Trinity River courtesy of Wikipedia.
Peripheral tunnel plan will hurt Trinity River also

by Dan Bacher

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels not only threatens the Chinook salmon, steelhead and other fish species of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, but also the fish and communities of the Trinity River, the largest tributary of the Klamath River.

“The project will harm Trinity County and Trinity River interests by drawing down Trinity Lake even more," said Tom Stokely of Mt. Shasta, a former Trinity County natural resources planner now with the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN, online at "There is absolutely no protection for Trinity River interests from this project. Water export amounts and fishery protection flows are being put off until after the project is constructed, a ʻplumbing before policyʼ decision to misinform the public about the true costs and benefits."

"Cost estimates are significantly underestimated," stated Stokely. "While Peripheral Tunnel proponents claim that the beneficiaries of the project will pay for it, they are planning on substantial subsidies from state and federal taxpayers amounting to billions more borrowed dollars. There are much more cost effective, job-producing and locally-based ways of providing water supply reliability including recycling, conservation, stormwater capture and groundwater desalination.”

You can find out more about the threat posed to the Trinity River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by the tunnels at a showing of a documentary film and slide show in Weaverville, California in April. Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (SAFE, online at is sponsoring “Over Troubled Waters”, a documentary about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that will premiere at the Weaverville Fire Hall, 125 Bremer Street on Tuesday April 2 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Stokely will give a slide show with a question and answer period to discuss the implications of Governor Brownʼs “Peripheral Tunnels” project on Trinity County and all of California.

The documentary, “Over Troubled Waters," by Restore the Delta ( and the C-WIN slideshow are part of a statewide public education effort to stop the building of Peripheral Tunnels. In this visually rich documentary, Ed Begley Jr. narrates the story of how the people of the Delta are fighting to protect the region they love and to encourage saner, sustainable water policies for all the people of California

Larry Glass, President of Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (S.A.F.E.), emphasizes, "Trinity County is a major and uncompensated source of much of this water and so Trinity should have significant say about how much water should be taken and and how that water should be used. These considerations must be important parts of this effort and the overall education of the California public before decisions are made to borrow billions for questionable projects such as the Peripheral Tunnels."

On July 25, 2012, Governor Brown and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a controversial plan to drill two 30ʼ-40ʼ diameter tunnels 150 feet for 35 miles under Californiaʼs Delta to siphon northern California water to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and Southern California cities, according to Stokely. Previous plans to build a “Peripheral Canal” were defeated by two thirds of California voters in 1982 during Brownʼs first tenure as governor of California.

Kayla Carpenter, a Hoopa Valley Tribe member who is pursuing her PHD in linguistics at U.C. Berkeley, attended a rally with members of the Winnemem Wintu and Pit River Tribes and other Delta advocates at the State Capitol to protest the BDCP on the same day that Governor Brown and Secretary Salazar unveiled their "water conveyance" plan. Carpenter emphasized that "the peripheral tunnels plan is tied up with Trinity River water going south."

“The Trinity is pumped into the Sacramento via Whiskeytown Reservoir and we already have to fight hard to get water that we should be getting by law for fish," said Carpenter. "A bigger tunnel to suck California dry isn’t going to help our fish.”

The peripheral canal or twin tunnels won't create any new water - they will only take more water from the Delta and Trinity River, at a tremendous cost to fish, fishermen, Indian Tribes and family farmers. "If I took a cup of snow from Washington, DC back home with me and dumped it in the Delta, it would create more new water than the peripheral canal," quipped Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove).

The peripheral tunnels will likely lead to the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other imperiled fish species. For more information, you can read the briefing paper by the Bay Institute and Defenders of Wildlife:

The link to the event press release is:

Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (SAFE) is dedicated to promoting healthy ecosystems through education, community involvement, organizing, demonstrations, activism and legal remedies. For more information, go to:

The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) promotes the equitable and environmental use of California's water, including instream uses, through research, planning, public education, and litigation. For more information, go to:

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Unity Jack
Thursday Mar 7th, 2013 10:52 AM
Simply put the contradictions of no water are anachronistic or old style thinking. Plenty of fresh water can be had simply by using solar power to suck the water out of the ocean, without harming the ecological organic balances of life, and then flowing the salt water into a saline plant and dropping out the sea salt, then pumping the fresh water into a water pipeline to the areas needing fresh water.

The water pipeline would be lined in its entire length with solar panels which could and would provide all the electric power necessary to refresh the organic agricultural communes needs, and also replenish any amount of fresh water into the source areas of the rivers if they suffer water depletion for any reason. Problem solved without destroying mother nature.

That is the futuristic way of doing things and can ever turn deserts into productive communal balanced ecological areas that end scarcity of fresh water forever. Workers of the world unite. End pollution depletion and destruction of mother natures ecologcial organic balances of the web-of-life on the planet and locally. You yet have a world to win!!
by Annie Smith
Thursday Mar 7th, 2013 12:55 PM
No more water will be taken than is already being wasted by flowing out to the Pacific.

The Delta (really an Estuary) is historically a seasonally fresh and brackish water environment. The peripheral canal will restore it back to this environment rather than the man-made all-year fresh water environment it is now.

No upstream users will be impacted at all because the canal will just redirect a portion of the water that is already flowing out to the ocean to be allowed to reach our fellow man in southern california (currently it is just wasted in order to keep back the intrusion of saline water). This is the way it should be. The Delta (really an Estuary) should be brackish in the summer and fresh in the winter, that is how it was before man was here and that is what would be most natural.

In addition to that; if you don't allow the san joaquin farmers a relible source of water (water that is just wasted anyway) the economy will plumet and grocery prices will skyrocket.

Quit fearmongering and look at the science, the need, and the risk.