You might recall hearing about candidate Trump's statement to Central Valley irrigation districts: “We’re going to solve your water problem...It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea.”


And the well-publicized visit by US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to the San Joaquin Valley last spring to meet with legislators about the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan.  Congressman Jeff Denham from Modesto stated, “This is going to be an ongoing fight until we have a federal government nexus to stop this,”

Read more here:


Well, after months of intensive lobbying of the Trump Administration by the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the shoe has dropped.  Secretary Zinke ordered the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to rescind its flow recommendations for the Tuolumne and instead embrace the water agencies’ proposal based on non-flow measures that are destined to fail.  Imagine being an employee of the USFWS, putting in years of work to develop science-based recommendations, and then being forced to flip-flop while being gagged from discussing the issue.  The pressure applied to federal agencies to undermine science is shameful, and the SFPUC has been at the heart of it.  You can read a front page article about this in yesterday’s Chronicle here.


USFWS staff pushed back a little, and made it clear their decision was not based on science, but rather on politics.  They stated, “The Service proposed [back in January] a set of recommendations...based on studies from multiple river systems, including the Tuolumne River, successes achieved in other areas and on best available science. However, following discussions with License Applicants, the Service recognizes that the flow proposal included in the USDOI Response Letter for Don Pedro includes proposed volumes of water as a license condition that are difficult for the License Applicants to manage…”


The SFPUC and its allies in the Trump Administration also are putting pressure on the State Water Board to weaken its position on the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan, which could be voted on as soon as November 7, the day after we’ll know the fate of Congress.


From the Chronicle article, you will see that SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin is outraged by the SFPUC’s behavior, and is considering sponsoring a resolution to put the City on record supporting the Bay Delta Plan (as did the City of Palo Alto).  This resolution could be introduced as soon as tomorrow.


Please take action immediately to notify San Francisco’s Mayor and Supervisors that you are outraged by the SFPUC's behavior — Mayor


In your own words, let them know:


1) You are outraged that the SFPUC is working against the values of its constituents.  A recent survey of San Francisco voters demonstrated tremendous support for restoration of the Tuolumne River and Bay Delta, and that people conserve water expecting their actions to benefit the environment.  In 2016, 77% of San Francisco voters elected to tax themselves to restore the Bay’s wetlands (Measure AA).

2) Encourage them to watch this brief video to learn the truth about the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan —  We can have a reliable water supply AND healthier Tuolumne River and Bay Delta ecosystems.

3) Encourage them to read the San Francisco Chronicle article, and support Supervisor Peskin’s attempts to make San Francisco’s position on the Bay Delta Plan congruent with the values of its constituents and based upon the best available science.


And if you’re available tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2pm, please consider attending and speaking at the Board of Supervisors meeting.  If you think you can make it, please let me know and I’ll send you any updates in advance and can help with talking points.


Your action today is critical to restoring the Tuolumne River and San Francisco Bay Delta.  Please help!


Many thanks!





Peter Drekmeier

Policy Director

Tuolumne River Trust

(415) 882-7252