Report: Delta and its Rivers Most Endangered in Nation

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

UC Davis geologist Jeff Mount admits it’s a bit of a stretch to combine the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the Delta they lead into.  But he points to two huge problems: the rivers’ flood risk from sub-standard levees and the Delta’s dwindling drinking water supply for 26 million Californians.  And when you add it all up?
Mount: “The large population that is affected by this can’t really be matched by any other system anywhere else – including the Mississippi.” 
Mount’s a board member of the environmental group that released today’s rankings, American Rivers.  The report calls on federal and state water officials to overhaul their approach to California’s largest watershed – especially with the Delta, where Mount says the state faces three very expensive options:
Mount: “We can continue doing what we’re doing – which will fail.  We can go ahead and wean the state of California from the Delta.  Or we’re gonna build a peripheral canal around the Delta.” 
That political debate continues at the State Capitol.  Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic U-S Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed a $9 billion water bond measure last year.  So far, it has stalled in the California legislature.