Blog round-up: Bloggers on the Westlands lawsuit, BDCP, the Delta Plan, drinking water, an awesome interactive Delta map and more!


I hope your holiday weekend was a real splash!  Here’s what bloggers had to say last week:

The Delta National Park blog on the Westlands lawsuit … is one coequal goal more equal than the other?  The Delta National Park finds the Westlands press release announcing the lawsuit a little confusing:  ” … On the one hand, they claim that the DSC overstepped the management role given it by the Delta Reform Act – coordinating agencies, levee maintenance programs, yes – but also managing the development of and the appeals process coming out of the Delta Plan.  And on the other hand, the announcement criticizes the DSC for producing a Plan that “undermines the coequal goals of water supply reliability by seeking to reduce water conveyed through the Delta for existing needs.”  Does the Delta Reform Act forbid the DSC from producing a Delta Plan, or require it to develop one? … ”  Read more here from the Delta National Park blog:  Tenacious water lawyers needed immediately

What were they thinking? Commentary takes Mercury News to task for condemning the BDCP:   Henry Miller says the Mercury News editorial condemning the BDCP shows a surprising lack of reasoning:  ” … The Merc’s editorial cited few facts, and the few that were there were wrong. But facts don’t really matter since the Merc was tapping into two of the most sacred tenets of modern environmentalism: a boundless belief in conspiracies and an abiding hatred of anything that would make life better for people. Or as the Merc succinctly put it, BDCP must be stopped because it is “a classic water grab with the goal of channeling as much Northern California water as possible to Central Valley Big Ag and Southern California urban sprawl.”  (Never mind that the Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions on the planet: On less than 1 percent of the total farmland in the United States, the Central Valley produces 8 percent of the nation’s agricultural output by value.) … ”  Continue reading the commentary at Forbes here:  Skullduggery In The Water Pipes: Newspaper Condemns California’s Plot To Solve State’s Water Problems

The BDCP leaves out critical components necessary to achieve the coequal goals, says commentary:  William Reilly, former administrator of the EPA and board director of the Delta Vision Foundation, writes that while the BDCP contains several elements that will address the Delta’s challenges, it still falls short of what is necessary to achieve the coequal goals:  ” … The Governor’s Administration continues to focus solely on conveyance and habitat restoration in BDCP without sufficient attention to the linked and integrated actions outlined in the Delta Vision Strategic Plan. These actions are supported by scientific evidence that, to ‘fix’ the Delta, fish need more water at the right time and the right temperature than conveyance alone will provide. And, unless additional facilities are provided to capture water when it is truly surplus to the environment, both fish and farms are going to continue to suffer shortages in most years. … ”  Continue reading from the California Majority Report here: Finding Common Ground in the Delta

Delta Protection Commission votes to oppose the BDCP:  Alex Breitler provides some details on his blog: ” … After the vote, Michael Machado — in perhaps his final meeting as the commission’s executive director — asked to whom he should address the letter announcing the commission’s opposition to the project.  “The world,” replied commissioner and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Notolli. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler here:  Interesting moments  Restore the Delta weighs in here:  Delta Protection Commission Opposes Peripheral Tunnels

3 million acre-feet is all that can be taken from the Delta, says Restore the Delta:  Why 3 million acre-feet?  ” …  In 1992, the State Water Resources Control Board found that Delta pumping in wet years should not exceed 2.65 MAF in order to provide the necessary outflows to protect fish and the Bay-Delta and Estuary ecosystems. And in fact, as exports from the Delta rose above 2.5 MAF a year, the health of multiple species of fish declined.  Those planners 50 years ago were right:  3 MAF a year is the maximum that should be taken from the Delta. … ”  Read more here from Restore the Delta:  3 million acre feet??? Really???

35 million pile-driving strikes, 25 million cubic yards of muck, 22 million cubic yards of concrete: Check out these scary BDCP Stats from Restore the Delta here:  Scary BDCP stats

Senate hearing doesn’t give opportunity for opposition to be heard, says Restore the Delta: The panelists all had their chance to talk, but when it came to public comment, everyone was held to just two minutes each:   ” … Melinda Terry of the North Delta Water Agency (NDWA) says she saw no genuine interest – and in fact, no respect – from legislators regarding what critics of BDCP had to say.  There was no opportunity for panelists to respond to issues raised in public comment. … ”  Ms. Terry gets her say here, though: Institutional voices heard, other voices silenced

What about those exports – going up or down?  Alex Breitler explores the issue on his blog:  ” …  Technically, exports could go up — or they could go down. Exports have averaged 5.3 million acre-feet per year over the past two decades; project officials say construction of the tunnels, and restoration of Delta habitat, could allow for water exports ranging on average from 4.8 million acre-feet to 5.6 million acre-feet per year. (See Page 5 of this Q&A released by project proponents earlier this spring.)  So there is a range. And at the end of the day, exports might indeed remain the same — or they might land somewhere between a 9 percent decrease and a 5 percent increase. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  A note on water exports

And back to that other plan … what do the Delta representatives on the Delta Stewardship Council think about the Delta Plan Alex Breitler asks Council members Nottoli and Johnston what they think about the plan here: What they said

Wow! This interactive Delta map really drills it down:  From EPA Region 9 and the folks at ArcGIS, check out this map that shows you mercury-contaminated mines, impaired waters, wastewater treatment plants and more.  (Hat tip to Wholly h2o for the find!)  Click here for the interactive Delta map.

Paul Helliker’s BDCP Power Point presentation at the ACWA Conference:  You can check it out here.

And now for some blog notes from other places in California …

DWP and streamflows in the Mono Basin:  The 1994 decision settled some issues regarding water in the Mono Basin, and now it’s decision time for the next step.  Writes the Mono-Logue: ” …  Now, after a decade of study and with the summary report from the State Water Board’s expert stream scientists in hand, the physical aqueduct infrastructure has become the focal issue of the day. How can the limitations of the pipes, dams, ditches, structures, and valves be overcome in order to release the ecologically beneficial amount of water the streams need at the times of year they need it most?  The good news is that solutions are available that provide both healing for the streams and benefits to DWP. Principled win-win solutions are the hallmark of water issue history at Mono Lake, and the Committee expects nothing less for the critical issue of stream restoration. … ”  Read more from the Mono-Logue here:  Solutions at hand to modernize LA Aqueduct & heal streams … will DWP choose the win-win path?

The Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood dives into drinking water issues:  Mismanagement of drinking water funds is not limited to the Department of Public Health, says the blog:   ” …   Under the revolving fund, the State Water Board is supposed to provide financial assistance through various State and federal loan and grant programs to help local agencies, businesses, and individuals meet the costs of water pollution control, development of locally available sustainable water supplies, and cleanup.  But what has happened is that significant portions of those federal funds have been expended on band-aid attempts to deal with the discharge of billions of gallons of highly contaminated wastewater and runoff resulting from agricultural drainage; one of the State’s major unresolved sources of pollution of both surface and ground water supplies. This farm drainage water discharged into the lower Delta contains pesticides and the trace element selenium, which caused the poisoning of fish and birds at Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge in Merced County three decades ago. … ”  Read more from the Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood here:  Dirty Water, Dirty Tricks

Forces of Nature:  Environmental Elders Speak:  This website features short interviews with notable environmentalists on a variety of topics.  A project of the Resource Renewal Institute, this website aims to record and share first-person accounts of key decisions, case studies and stories that can assist today’s decision makers defend our natural heritage.  Check it out here:  Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak

And lastly …  Take a photo tour of Hoover Dam and the Colorado River Aqueduct, or a photo tour of a walk around Lake Poway reservoir and dam with Groksurf’s San Diego blog, or check out a video of the Shasta River from the Trout Underground blog.

Programming note:  The blog round-up is now posted on Tuesdays.  Science news and reports will be posted on Thursdays.

Photo credit:  Photo by flickr photographer Steve Garner.

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