Preview the Letter

May 21, 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 250,000 Northern California salmon fishermen and/or one of the millions of citizens in California who are deeply concerned that our wild Central Valley salmon population is nearing extinction. Out of the four distinct runs in the Sacramento River, the winter-run is classified as endangered while the spring-run is listed as threatened. The current salmon season has been closed due to a paltry return of the fall-run, not only further endangering the species, but also devastating a $1.4 billion dollar industry for communities in California and Oregon along with 26,000 California jobs with half as many lost jobs in Oregon.

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 not taken, are responsible for most of the damage.

Here are some of the issues:

1. You have not required that the State Water Board do their job and complete the Bay/Delta Plan which protect salmon and allocates water to the different beneficial users.
2. In the last two years, you either directed or allowed the State Water Board to dedicate 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 this action combined with the drought has resulted in nearly 100% fatality of the winter-run fish and 50% fatality of the fall-run. This was
devastating to both runs and the salmon industry all the way into Oregon. We are asking you to see that this necessary cold water is held into the fall months 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 were replaced with substitute personnel who responded by increasing south Delta pumping by 600,000 feet annually.
4. 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.
5. 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 with only contaminated water.
• The contaminated agricultural runoff water supports highly toxic harmful algae blooms (HAB’s) 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 juvenile salmon migrate west to the ocean.
• The slower-moving water will also increase entrainment at the Delta pumps.
• Removing Sacramento River 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 during the fall of the year. The Tunnel Project would destroy many more.

6. You have supported the water contractors in creating the backroom one-sided Voluntary Agreement plan which does nothing for salmon but allows more agricultural pumping. We request your support in cancelling this agreement.
7. You have repeatedly supported the wishes of the water contractors in the allocation of water away from the salmon in favor of agricultural interests. We ask that you begin reversing those decisions in the interest of avoiding salmon extinctions.

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

Respectfully submitted,
City, State Zip