The largest estuary in the West, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, has been in trouble for many years. Yet policy-makers have been unable or unwilling to undertake major projects. That may change in 2008.
"Ecological warning bells and buzzers have been going off so continuously and for so long in the Delta that they've taken on the quality of blaring car alarms in a congested urban neighborhood: part of the background noise, ignored by passers-by even though they're loud enough to wake the dead," writes California Planning & Development Report's John Krist.
"But there's a good chance that 2008 will be the year, after more than a decade of policy paralysis, that California finally responds in a comprehensive and pragmatic way to the Delta alarms."
Most important is a federal judge's ruling that curtails water pumping from the Delta to protect fish, a decision that could lead to water rationing, fallow farm fields and larger water bills. Those impacts could force real action on the Delta.