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A critical number of rural IA nursing homes close; TX lawmakers consider measures to restrict, and expand voting in 2023 Session; and CT groups, and unions call for public-health reforms.


Attorney General announces enforcement actions on ransomware, Democrats discuss border policies, and the FDA is relaxing rules for gay and bisexual men to donate blood.


"Brain Gain?" Research shows rural population is actually growing, especially in recreational areas; other small towns are having success offering relocation incentives like free building lots, cash, complimentary dinners and even internet credits; and researchers say the key is flexibility and creativity.

Conservation Groups Criticize State Water Board's Side Deals for Delta Water


Monday, January 23, 2023   

The State Water Board now says it will take another two years to finalize the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta water management plan, and it is proceeding with voluntary agreements with water agencies in the meantime.

Conservation groups spoke out at a workshop held by the board late last week - and some are asking the board to scrap the voluntary agreements.

Ashley Overhouse - California water policy advisor with Defenders of Wildlife - said a new plan to put more water into the estuary is crucial since four species of native fish have made the federal endangered species list since 1992, bringing the total to 6.

"At this point, we're trying to avoid extinction for most native fish populations that rely on the Bay-Delta," said Overhouse. "We're talking about not just delta smelt, we're talking about all runs of salmon, longfin smelt, and sturgeon. They would be completely wiped out."

Over-pumping of freshwater, pollution and climate change contribute to poor water quality. Multiple water agencies pump water from the delta and send it to the farms of the Central Valley and to cities in Southern California.

Other agencies are resisting entreaties to release more water into the delta. The group representing public water agencies, the State Water Contractors, spoke out in favor of the board's decision to move forward with the voluntary agreements.

Overhouse said the whole process has dragged on far too long.

"One of the reasons why this has been held up is due to political reasons," said Overhouse. "Water agencies have delayed the planning process significantly in order to negotiate the amount of water that they would have to release."

The water board is taking public comment on the report that establishes the scientific basis for the voluntary agreements, now through February 8.

The Bay-Delta plan is supposed to be updated every three years but the last major update took place in 1995.

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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