RBOC Opposing California WaterFix, Citing Negative Impact on Boating

RBOC has adopted a position in opposition to the proposed WaterFix project, a massive construction project that could seriously impact boaters’ access to the Delta for years to come.

“RBOC has, for decades, been at the forefront of opposing proposals that would impair the ability of boaters to access to the 1,000 miles of waterways in the Delta,” said Peter Robertson, president of the organization.  “We successfully opposed permanent barriers that would have blocked navigation to popular Delta destinations.  We have supported legislation that would increase funds for fighting invasive species such as the water hyacinth,” stated Robertson.

According to RBOC, the proposed WaterFix project is the latest threat to boating in the Delta.  The project, which could take 14 years or more to complete, involves digging huge, 47-mile long tunnels under the Delta to facilitate movement of water.  During construction, major waterways and tributaries could be closed to recreational boaters.

At an August 1 meeting of its Board of Directors, RBOC identified specific, boater-related concerns with the Notice of Determination (NOD) for the California WaterFix environmental analysis.  These include:

  • The significant, negative impact that will occur with the closure of waterways to navigation during the lengthy construction period.
  • The absence of a plan to ensure that the Delta infrastructure will not only be preserved, but improved.

  • The lack of surety that the plan will address the threat that climate change and increased water transfer pose to the amount and quality of water in the Delta.

“We are encouraging the state to consider other sources of water such as increased storage and desalination,” stated Robertson.

RBOC Works to Protect Boating, Files Concerns with California WaterFix EIR/EIS

RBOC has filed its concerns with the negative impact that the California WaterFIx would have on the ability of recreational boaters to navigate and recreate in the Sacramento—San Joaquin Delta.  Of particular note:

1. There has been insufficient time to review the responses to RBOC and other comments that were submitted as far back as 2013.

RBOC is therefore urging that the public comment deadline on the 2016 Final BDCP/California WaterFix EIR/EIS be extended.

Based on our initial review of the responses to RBOC’s comments, our organization believes that many responses are insufficient, ambiguous and/or unresponsive.

2.    As discussed in the 2016 Final BDCP/California WaterFix EIR/EIS, the California WaterFix would severely restrict navigable waterways during construction of the twin tunnels.

This is contrary to the California State Constitution, Article 10, Section 4 of which provides that “No individual, partnership, or corporation, claiming or possessing the frontage or tidal lands of a harbor, bay, inlet, estuary, or other navigable water in this State, shall be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water whenever it is required for any public purpose, nor to destroy or obstruct the free navigation of such water; and the Legislature shall enact such laws as will give the most liberal construction to this provision, so that access to the navigable waters of this State shall be always attainable for the people thereof.”

3.  The planned temporary closure of significant recreational waterways including Twin Sloughs and Mildred Island are unacceptable, unmitigated and unconstitutional.

RBOC's concerns have been filed within the public comments on the 2016 Final BDCP/California WaterFix EIR/EIS. This is in addition to extensive comments that RBOC has submitted within this proceding in an effort to protect the ability of recreational boaters to navigate and recreate in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.