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Million boat event protests California canal

August 16, 2009 - UNITED STATES

Despite the state's extreme budget woes, California's Department of Water Resources plans to start underwater drilling in September to find the best route for a controversial US $10-billion canal project in the inland river delta and estuary in the north of the state. Protesters plan to stage a Million Boat Float on the Sacramento River river to register their opposition, then float upstream to demonstrate the following day at the state's legislature.

Despite the state's extreme budget woes, California's Department of Water Resources plans to start underwater drilling in September to find the best route for a controversial US $10-billion canal project in the inland river delta and estuary in the north of the state. Protesters plan to stage a "Million Boat Float" on the Sacramento River river to register their opposition, then float upstream to demonstrate the following day at the state's legislature. The delta is formed by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers where the rivers enter an upper arm of the San Francisco Bay. The project calls for one completely-contained canal skirting one edge of the delta and a "through-delta" canal assembled from existing levees running down the estuary. Each canal would be at least 1000 feet wide and 40 miles long -; with unknown potential environmental effects. The canal project is a centerpiece of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which groups state and federal agencies, water users and environmental groups. It would divert a portion of the Sacramento River's flow directly to the delta's state and federal water export pumps near Tracy. Isolating freshwater in a canal would prevent the pumps from killing fish, and would protect the water from floods and earthquakes, according to the proponents of the project. California voters defeated a similar project in 1982, but California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration claims it doesn't need voter approval to build the new canal. Jul/09

Million Boat protest planned over Delta canal (Sacramento Bee 26 Jul 2009)

Date written/update: 2009-08-16