Los Angeles Times

If only salmon could vote


Re “Newsom puts almond farms ahead of salmon industry,” Feb. 27

If there was any doubt about his presidenti­al ambitions, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to favor billionair­es growing highly exported, water-intensive crops over native salmon reveals the answer.

Salmon don’t vote, make political contributi­ons or confer with business interests nationally. They depend on our state leaders to protect them.

Newsom’s decision to cut river flows in favor of storage even after recent storms is a disappoint­ing prioritiza­tion of profits for a few over the long-term needs of a declining natural resource that feeds California­ns healthy protein.

Think about this as the next drought restrictio­ns for Angelenos are imposed by the Colorado River negotiatio­ns, and remember that water is the other word for politics in our beloved state.

Carrie Chassin Encino

Thanks to Skelton for his continued coverage of our water shortage, or what Newsom calls the “drought.”

The signs in the Central Valley that declared “food grows where water flows” became annoying when I realized they were talking about overseas almond lovers’ food. It was enough to make a guy become an “America firster.”

Having lived in California almost 60 years, and having driven north many times every year, I’ve watched the way agricultur­e has changed. The first few years after the 5 Freeway opened, one drove through desert in the San Joaquin Valley. Available water changed that.

But for me, the most remarkable change was the miles and miles of almond trees I increasing­ly began to pass. I’ve come to believe using so much water for nonessenti­al cash crops is wasteful, and the salmon that depend on river flows aren’t the only creatures suffering.

Robert Von Bargen Santa Monica

On behalf of the Southern California Water Coalition, I applaud Newsom’s swift action to keep more water in reservoirs by suspending a 1999 regulation temporaril­y.

We see this as a commonsens­e, prudent action to allow California to adapt in the face of changed climate conditions and severe pressure on the state’s other main source of supply, the Colorado River. Let’s hold on to this water now in case drier times are ahead.

That 1999 regulation, a fairly rigid rule tied to water-year type, was correctly suspended this February and March. It is incumbent on us all to support balanced, beneficial uses and time the release of water supplies to ensure we have the water that is needed for health and safety water for our urban communitie­s, to sustain our economy and farms, and to protect our ecosystems and natural habitats.

Charles Wilson


The writer is executive director of the Southern California Water Coalition.

 ?? Allen J. Schaben Los Angeles Times ?? RESEARCHER­S approach dead salmon in the Sacramento River in Redding on Jan. 20.
Allen J. Schaben Los Angeles Times RESEARCHER­S approach dead salmon in the Sacramento River in Redding on Jan. 20.

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