Winnemem Wintu Reject Bay Delta Conservation Plan: Death Sentence for Salmon & Violation of Indigenous Rights

Chief Sisk during a fast

Chief Sisk during a fast

SACRAMENTO — Winnemen Wintu Chief Caleen Sisk will speak at rallies in Sacramento today and Friday and re-­‐affirm the Tribe’s opposition’s against the construction of the peripheral water export tunnels and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), as Governor Jerry Brown’s administration releases the preliminary Environmental Impact Report and the BDCP plan to the public today.

As California’s State Water Project currently operates far too much water is sucked from the San Francisco / Sacramento Delta, the largest on the Pacific Coast, and sent to the state’s water brokers, who support unsustainable industrial agriculture,  destructive hydraulic fracking for oil extraction and municipal developments in the desert.

The proposed peripheral tunnels, with a conservatively estimated price tag of $54 billion, undoubtedly kill the sensitive Delta, a delicate mix of salt and freshwater, that is vital to the life cycle of California salmon, as well as thousands of other fish and species.

“There is no precedent for the killing of an estuary of this size, so how could any study be trusted to protect the Delta for salmon and other fish? How can they even know what the effects will be?” asks Chief and Spiritual Leader Caleen Sisk.

“The end of salmon would also mean the end of salmon would also mean the end of  Winnemem, so the BDCP is about the threat to our very existence as indigenous people.”

As one of the many traditional salmon tribes in California, the Winnemen rely on access to  salmon to maintain our cultural and religious practices. The peripheral tunnels if ever constructed would therefore be in violation of our indigenous rights to maintain our cultural practices with salmon, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Recently at a public meeting in Redding, Governor Brown’s Deputy Director of the Natural Resources Agency Jerry Meral, disclosed that the peripheral tunnels are connected to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s plan to raise the Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet, a project that would destroy or submerge nearly 40 sacred sites and destroy potential salmon spawning areas. We are currently working on plans to re-introduce our salmon above the dam into the McCloud River.

The planned Delta tunnels will require more water be taken from the Trinity River and the Shasta Dam, which is fed by the Upper Sacramento, McCloud and Pit Rivers.

This will add even more stress to the struggling ecology of these rivers.

This plan is not meant to benefit the public of California, Native or non-Native. The peripheral tunnels are a violation of the public’s trust in Governor Brown, and not the answer to dealing with the state’s forthcoming water shortages. There are better solutions.

The Winnemem  are  proud to announce that that was will be standing with their allies during a press conference today and a rally Friday, December 13 at the west steps of the state Capitol building in Sacramento.

Chief Sisk will attend today’s press conference, which are sponsored by Californians for a Fair Water Policy and dozens  of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.


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