California spends $178 million per fish to bring back salmon

In California, the water wars are continuing to boil.

Leftie greenies recently hailed the return of ... five ... salmon, swimming upstream to the San Joaquin river to spawn. Paradise restored! In water-starved California, that was quite an achievement, given that each salmon required 50,000 gallons of water to get the job done, coming at a price tag of $890 million at the low end and $2 billion at the high. And that water came out of the hides of California's farmers, who got very little of the water they were promised, and paid for, as a result. That's some use of resources to get those five salmon to swim upstream.

Wayne Western, Jr., at The Sun, writes how this clown show spend-fest came to be:

In 1988, then-Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) developed the first version of the Central Valley Improvement Act (CVPIA). That same year, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit claiming that Friant Dam violated environmental laws.

In 1992, Congress pushes through the CVPIA. This action single-handedly shifted water and money from Valley farmers by driving money to environmental organizations and sending water to the ocean.

In 2006, a Settlement is reached and by 2009, the Democrat-led Congress and President Obama enact the Settlement.

Cost estimates of this effort range from $890 million to $2 billion to restore 153 miles of the river from Friant Dam to the confluence of the Merced River.

Between 250,000 and 360,000 acre-feet of water are specifically dedicated to fish habitat on the San Joaquin. Based on this week’s news, it appears to be working.

Taking the conservative cost estimate, each of the five fish caught cost taxpayers and water users $178,000,000.

And each of those fish needed 50,000 acre-feet of water per year.

I won’t even stress the cost of pumping, aquifer consequences, fallowed land, and – lest we forget – lost jobs. Many politicians aren’t either.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif), who represents some of the agricultural districts that got stiffed on the water, tweeted this:



$178 million per fish and that's on the low end, not the $2 billion end.

It certainly is in line with California's bullet train boondoggle, which saw Californians shelling out $82 million per rail mile before the entire money-eating nightmare was scrapped por ahora. But the amount spent per salmon more than double the amount spent per rail mile figure.

Salmon fishing is a rich man's sport, well beloved of the Northern California Pacific Heights set. If they wanted salmon streams, by golly, they would get salmon streams, and cost was no object, so they did. Balancing interests was never a part of this equation. Never mind the farmers stiffed on their water or the agricultural ruin that has followed, they wanted that riffraff gone anyway, the better to make the Central Valley their rich-people recreational ground.

The history of the ill-begotten project had its roots in the machinations of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as Western notes in his piece here:

Yet a stonewall from the United States Senate blocked the flow of water to our communities. The Senate’s only offering, courtesy of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, produced zero acre-feet of water for the San Joaquin Valley.

Environmental groups have been ruthlessly effective in working to diminish Valley agriculture and, by extension, the people of the region.

Those efforts extend to the State of California, with groundwater legislation that will deliver a double dose of consequences in January 2020.

In light of that, the Public Policy Institute of California has publicly said that at least 500,000 acres must be retired from growing food and fiber.

 By a creepy coincidence, Feinstein's water-policy man, T.J. Cox, managed to ballot-harvest his way into a congressional seat in Central Valley's worst-hit water district, the lower western San Joaquin valley, taking the slot from the GOP's David Valadao by less than 1,000 votes after the Republican showed a commanding 5,000-vote lead on election night. Cox, who was born in the wealthy San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, hasn't condemned the boondoggle of course, and his congressional website doesn't offer anything in the way of water to farmers (he says he's hired a staffer connected to Feinstein who will work on it, which doesn't sound promising, given Feinstein's record). As for the water-starved farmers. he's introduced for them a bill to offer easier bankruptcy proceedings, the better to get them out of there.

As for the salmon, whose interests he does represent, $178 million per fish doesn't seem to bother him a bit.

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