Delta Smelt, Politics and the 710


Just as California was about to be privy to some rare rainfall, Thursday night’s Crescenta Valley Community Association meeting addressed, among other things, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

CVCA member Bill Weisman summarized some of the Delta’s big issues raised at a recent meeting regarding the plan entitled “Managing California’s Water Crisis.” Weisman said the Metropolitan Water District wants to dig two tunnels under the Delta in order to move water from the north part of the Delta to the south, diverting water from the Sacramento River. The proposed tunnels would be 40 feet in diameter and 35 miles long.

It is unclear how much impact the tunnels would have upon wildlife, particularly the Delta smelt, salmon and other fish that live in the Delta. Per the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, $10 billion will go to habitat restoration projects, but critics are concerned of the effect that pumping freshwater into the Delta will have on fish populations. The Delta smelt, for example, is an endangered species whose population has decreased steadily year by year.

Other concerns included the potential for seismic activity in the area, with the San Andreas Fault and several others lying just beneath the Delta. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s Environment Impact Report (EIR) indicates that there are risks of seismic activity in the Delta. The report states, “Continued operation and management using current procedures will yield continuously declining water supply reliability and quality and ever-changing ecological conditions. In addition, the likelihood of catastrophic levee failures due to a seismic or hydrological event increases each year.”

Regarding Glendale’s June election, the CVCA will be hosting a candidates’ forum on May 1 to feature the candidates for Glendale City Council. Cindy Cleghorn of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council will moderate the forum. The Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council will be holding its election on March 8 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m, including a free barbecue at noon to meet the candidates prior to the election.

According to Weisman, among the announced candidates for Glendale City Council are Chahe Keuroghelian, Vartan Gharpetian, Mike Mohill and Rick Barnes. March 7 is the deadline for candidates to petition enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.

Susan Dolan of the No 710 Action Committee informed the CVCA of the latest regarding the 710 freeway extension, another of the state’s long running controversial topics. Though the 710 controversy is no closer to a resolution, Dolan told CVCA members of the latest developments. Members of the No 710 Action Committee from five cities (Sierra Madre, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Glendale and La Cañada) are reviewing different sections of the EIR in hopes that a collaborative effort will lead to a more organized response to proponents of the tunnel project.

“They’re [the other cities] going to be looking at it from a different perspective than we are. We’re going to support them as much as we can by sharing information and vice versa,” said Dolan.

Recent changes in Metro personnel left some Metro executives out of work, though it is unclear how this may or may not affect the 710 study.

Dolan encouraged anyone interested to attend Metro’s monthly meetings and to visit