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Actor Ed Begley Jr. Narrates Restore the Delta Documentary
by by Dan Bacher
Tuesday Jan 10th, 2012 3:29 PM
Begley's role in the film was announced as the Brown and Obama administrations are fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral canal.

Actor Ed Begley Jr. Narrates Restore the Delta Documentary

by Dan Bacher

Ed Begley Jr., a renowned actor and environmental advocate, will narrate Restore the Delta's groundbreaking documentary film Over Troubled Waters.

"The story of the Delta as told by Delta locals is a must-see for all Californians," said Mr. Begley, working with Media Creations, a regional production company.

"We need to know why this area is worthy of protection. It is a hidden treasure, and with enough water it is a place where fisheries and sustainable agriculture can thrive together once again," said Begley.

Begley's role in the film was announced as the Brown and Obama administrations are fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral canal. Delta advocates oppose the peripheral canal's construction because it would likely result in the extinction of imperiled Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and Sacramento splittail populations.

Ed Begley Jr., a veteran stage, television, and film performer, first came to public attention for his portrayal of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the long-running hit television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six Emmy nominations. A few of his feature film credits include Batman Forever, The Accidental Tourist, The In-Laws, and most recently Pineapple Express (a movie that I loved!)

"Having served as the past chair of the Environmental Media Association, Mr. Begley's response to pressing environmental issues is one of action and engagement personally and publicly," according to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.

A winner of several environmental awards from national and regional conservation groups, Ed Begley Jr. has endorsed Restore the Delta's work and mission.

"While I am a resident of Southern California, I support the work of Restore the Delta, a broad coalition of Delta residents, farmers, environmentalists, concerned citizens, and business people from throughout California," said Begley. "Restore the Delta is a grassroots organization that advocates for adequate water flows into the Pacific Coast’s largest estuary – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta."

"Restore the Delta is fighting to protect the primary nursery for California’s coastal fisheries, including salmon fisheries that support the food chain for Orca whales. Restore the Delta is also fighting to protect water needed by thousands of small family farmers within the Delta – including some of California’s oldest farming families who helped to build this state," stated Begley.

Begley emphasized that over the last thirty years, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a once thriving ecosystem that sustains salmon and other fish populations up and down the California Coast, has been in steady decline.

"One of the main causes of the Delta’s decline has been the excessive export of water to other areas in the state," he explained. "A great deal of this water has been sent to large-scale corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and in Kern County. But this part of the story regarding the Delta’s decline is often overlooked by mainstream media."

As a Southern California resident, Begley noted that there are "many potential programs and resources" that can be put into place to increase their water supply reliability while reducing their dependence on water taken out of the Delta - and he pointed to his own personal efforts to conserve water.

"At my home, I have installed catchment basins so that I can collect rain water each winter for reuse in my garden throughout the year. But we also need to support larger scale water conservation and recycling programs that will enable us to have the water that we need while protecting one of California’s most important ecosystems," Begley added.

Over Troubled Waters, the story of the Delta told by Delta locals, is scheduled for release in Spring, 2012. "This project has been initially endorsed by over a dozen individuals and groups, spanning from John McCrae with the rock group CAKE to Congressional representatives, from California legislators to Delta business leaders, and from professional fishermen to regional musicians," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

For more details on Cake's endorsement of Restore the Delta, go to my article in the Sacramento News and Review:

To see the endorsements and learn more about Over Troubled Waters visit Staff with Restore the Delta and Media Creations are available for interviews. For more information, contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 10100 Trinity Pkwy, Suite 120, Stockton, CA 95219, Email: Barbara [at], Phone:209-479-2053

2011: a record year for water exports and fish kills

The announcement by Restore the Delta follows a record year for Delta water exports. The annual export total, including water diverted by the Contra Costa Canal and North Bay Aqueduct, was 6,633,000 acre-feet in 2011 – 163,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,470,000 acre-feet set in 2005, according to DWR data.

The annual export total, excluding water diverted by the Contra Costa Canal and North Bay Aqueduct, was 6,520,000 acre-feet in 2011 - 217,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre-feet set in 2005.

The record pumping from the Delta - used to fill the Stewart Resnick-controlled Kern Water Bank and southern California reservoirs - resulted in a huge, unprecedented fish kill at the Delta pumps in 2011. Agency staff “salvaged” a total of 11,158,025 fish in the Delta water pumping facilities between January 1 and September 7, 2011 alone.

A horrific 8,985,009 Sacramento splittail, the largest number ever recorded, were "salvaged" during this period, according to DFG data. The previous record salvage number for the splittail, a native minnow found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system, was 5.5 million in 2006.

The fish “salvaged” at the “death pumps” of the state and federal water projects also include hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad, striped bass, American shad, white catfish and other species. DFG data reveals that 742,850 threadfin shad, 514,921 American shad, 496,601 striped bass and 100,373 white catfish were “salvaged” between January 1 and September 7 of this year.

Agency staff also "salvaged" 35,560 Sacramento River spring run and fall run chinooks, 1,642 Central Valley steelhead and 14 green sturgeon in the project facilities during the same period.

Although the salvage counts are certainly alarming, the overall loss of fish in and around the State Water Project and Central Valley Project facilities is believed to be much greater than the salvage counts. The actual loss could be 5 to 10 times the salvage numbers, according to “A Review of Delta Fish Population Losses from Pumping Operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta,” prepared by Larry Walker Associates in January 2010 for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (

At the same time Governor Jerry Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird are forging ahead with the plan to build the peripheral canal after a year of record fish kills and water exports, they are continuing Arnold Schwarzenegger's privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a process overseen by a big oil industry lobbyist, marina developer, coastal real estate executive, agribusiness hack and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest.