#2 Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, California
Threat: Outdated water and flood management
California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta supplies drinking water for 25 million people, irrigates the most productive agricultural land in the country, and provides critical habitat for the Pacific salmon fishery and millions of migratory birds.
However, outdated water supply and flood management systems have decimated the ecosystem and closed the commercial salmon fishery all while leaving Californians ever more vulnerable to droughts and floods.
Now two separate efforts to reengineer the state water supply and flood control system threaten to increase water diversions and preclude floodplain restoration that is essential for salmon recovery and public safety.
Decisions by Governor Schwarzenegger in the last months of his term could advance river restoration, public safety, and water supply reliability through these plans, but only if powerful interests do not prevail in perpetuating the failed policies of the past.