The Delta, My Home

The Delta is my home. For more than 30, years Patti and I have had the privilege of living and farming in the Delta. This is where we raised our children and where we enjoy the incredible beauty and diversity of nature. This is where we gossip with farmers over a cup of coffee at the local café.

We have fought floods in 1986 and droughts in between. When we moved to Walnut Grove, the river was full of fishing boats alternating between the salmon runs and the stripped bass runs. It was once a rich aquatic habitat. It still is the largest and most important estuary on the West Coast of the Western Hemisphere; today it is a very sick estuary. 

A Water Plan for All California

In California today, there is a major push for a $24 billion boondoggle known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which would create two massive twin tunnels to ship water from the Delta south for the benefit of a few well-connected businesses. This plan wouldn't create a drop of new water for the state, would undermine senior water rights, would imperil the Delta, and would be a bad investment for the state.

Instead of reigniting a water war through a water grab, we should work together as a state to make more water for everyone. My comprehensive water plan for all Californians would improve California's water situation by:

  • Investing in more water conservation, recycling, and storage;
  • Improving the Delta through levee improvements, habitat restoration, and right sized conveyance;
  • Protecting existing water rights, and
  • Using the best science.

You can read more about my comprehensive water plan here.

Sites Reservoir

In March, I joined my Republican colleague to the north, Congressman Doug LaMalfa, in introducing legislation that is helping move the proposed Sites Reservoir forward. Our bill, H.R. 4300, the Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act of 2014, would authorize construction of the Sites Reservoir (near Maxwell in Colusa County) upon completion of a feasibility study.

Our legislation would boost needed water storage in California, and I’ve also cosponsored several other bills to expand storage throughout the state. More storage, along with more water recycling and conservation, is the key to developing a more reliable water supply in California that can better manage our growing population, the ravages of climate change, and the needs of communities and farmers.

Federal Support for Levees

The 3rd District desperately needs more levees. While we’re in a drought now, we know flood risk is in our future. 

Congressman LaMalfa and I have also worked together on this issue, helping to secure federal funds for levee construction at the Shanghai Bend along the Feather River, the Marysville Ring Levee, and the J Levee Project in Hamilton City. More needs to be done, but after years of delay and inaction, I’m proud that we’re finally moving forward on these vital projects.

A Lifetime of Experience

As a lifelong rancher and pear farmer, I've always known how important water is to our state, to farmers, and to our economy. As a State Legislator, I led the fight against the peripheral canal in the 1980s. As President Bill Clinton's Deputy Interior Secretary, I helped administer the Administration's western water policy. As a current Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure and Agriculture committees and former member of the Natural Resources Committee, I've been actively involved in water policy in Congress. This issue will always be of the utmost important for California and the 3rd District specifically, and I'm honored to be in a position to guide our state toward a more sustainable water future.

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