Preview the Letter

June 20, 2024

Gavin Newsom
Governor, State of California
State of California
State Capitol #1114
Sacramento, CA 95814

Subject: Stop the Destruction of our Central Valley Salmon

Dear Governor Newsom,

I am one of the 250,000 Northern California salmon fishermen and/or one of the thousands of citizens in California who are deeply concerned that our wild Central Valley salmon population is nearing extinction.

I am joining thousands of other citizens in writing you because the salmon of the Central Valley are rapidly approaching extinction and actions you have taken or have not taken are responsible for most of the damage. You and your administration have supported the removal of the dams on the Klamath River to save those salmon and we appreciate that. But, you have ignored the laws and projects that would help the Central Valley fish and your administration has intentionally implemented actions that compound these problems. We are asking for explanations and the needed changes. Here are some of the issues:

1. You have not required that the Water Board do their job and complete the Bay Delta Plan which protects the salmon and allocates water to the different beneficial users.

2. In the last two years you either directed or allowed the Water Board to give the cold water behind Shasta Dam to the water contractors in the spring and through the summer instead of saving it into the fall for the endangered winter-run and fall-run salmon. The result of that action and the drought caused a near 100% fatality of the winter-run fish and a 50% fatality of the fall-run. This was devastating to both of the runs and the salmon industry all the way into Oregon. We are asking you to see that the necessary cold water is held from now on for the salmon.

3. In 2017, you allowed the Trump Administration to cancel the protections in the Delta that were needed to avoid salmon extinctions. You also stood aside when his administration fired the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) scientists who were working on new Delta protections. They replaced them with Trump followers that then increased the pumping by 600,000 acre feet annually. The salmon interests have filed a lawsuit to bring the salmon Delta protections back to the 2008 levels until NMFS can complete the science for new protections. You have not supported that action and the salmon losses grow every day. We are asking for your support of our request.

4. You have supported the disastrous Tunnel Project which will not create one drop of new water and will further compound the Delta salmon losses. We request that you oppose the project and help stop it. Following are some of the Tunnel problems:

• The Tunnel will deprive the Delta residents of badly needed freshwater leaving them only contaminated water.
• The contaminated agricultural runoff water supports highly toxic harmful Algae Blooms in the Bay and Delta which can be deadly to both wildlife and people.
• In drought years, the Sacramento River will flow backwards disorienting the out-migrating juvenile salmon.
• It will slow the western flow of the Delta water which currently helps the juvenile salmon migrate west to the ocean.
• The slower moving water will also increase entrainment at the Delta pumps.
• Removing Sacramento water from the Delta leaves the remaining water hotter in the fall. Large numbers of migrating salmon are already dying in the 70 degree water in the fall of the year. The Project would destroy many more.

5. You supported the water contractors in creating the back-room one sided Voluntary Agreement plan which does nothing for the salmon but allows more agricultural pumping. The original concept was that the contractors would fund habitat projects and take more water in return. No meaningful habitat projects have emerged from that agreement. The main problems that the salmon face are inadequate water flows and high temperatures. Unless those are solved, habitat projects are useless. We request your support in cancelling this agreement.

6. You have repeatedly supported the wishes of the water contractors and have taken water away from the salmon and given it to them. We ask that you begin reversing those decisions in the interest of avoiding salmon extinctions.

The big question is: Are you going to do anything about these problems or are you going to continue with the unacceptable status quo? Please respond to this question. We urge you contact some of the salmon leaders and move forward with salmon solutions before it is too late.

Yours Truly,

City, State Zip