The view from Sherman Island, June 19, 2013 Photo by Maven

Blog round-up: Bloggers on Delta Plan lawsuits, the BDCP, and regional issues, plus data visualizations, Aquapedia, a super cool party trick, and more!

The view from Sherman Island, June 19, 2013 Photo by Maven
The view from Sherman Island, June 19, 2013
Photo by Maven

Welcome to Tuesday’s blog round-up!  This week’s round-up is action packed, so let’s get started.

So why did the exporters sue over the Delta Plan?  Alex Breitler says the topic has come up:  “The question came up at yesterday’s local Advisory Water Commission meeting: Why did water exporters sue over the Delta Plan? Delta-area folks think they’re clearly getting the short shrift; what can the folks down south have to complain about? … ”  Alex ponders the possible reasons on his blog here:  Why did the water exporters sue?

Yesterday, the State Water Contractors issued their own fact sheet explaining why, giving several reasons, including this:  “While SWC supports how the California Legislature directed the Delta Stewardship Council to create a comprehensive management plan for the Delta, the legislation did not give the Council power to influence or establish future water delivery quantities for public water agencies. However, the Environmental Impact Report for the Delta Plan assumes that its implementation will reduce export levels. Such assumptions are beyond the DSC’s legal jurisdiction. This over-reach of legal authority threatens the delicate balance of Delta oversight. Establishing export levels in relation to outflows is a highly-regulated process involving three agencies with state and federal Endangered Species Act jurisdiction as well as the State Water Resources Control Board.”  Read the full fact sheet here:  BDCP-Delta Plan Lawsuit SWC Fact Sheet

New Legal Library page:  Speaking of lawsuits, check out the new and hopefully useful “Legal Library” page on the Notebook blog where I have located all the court documents that I’ve posted so far.  Do you have relevant court documents that should be added?  Please send them to me!

The Fresno Bee News Blog on Mark Cowin’s meeting with the editorial board:  Reporter Mark Grossi shares his thoughts from Cowin’s visit:  ” … Mark Cowin, director of the state’s Department of Water Resources, said the controversial plan is more than tunnels and arguments. Nonetheless, he had to spend time explaining the two huge water tunnels being proposed at the sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  The tunnel idea is to move Sacramento River water south in tunnels so the water doesn’t pass through the delta. The idea is the epic issue for California natural resources these days, easily on a par with the Peripheral Canal fight I covered 30 years ago. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee News Blog here:  Bay Delta Conservation Plan more than tunnels, state leader says

Interactive map for BDCP EIR Alternatives:  I don’t know if this is new or not, but I stumbled upon this map for the first time which shows the four different conveyance alternatives analyzed for the BDCP’s EIR.  Check it out here:  Interactive BDCP EIR/EIS Map

Is there a provision in the water code to send water south?  Burt Wilson at Public Water News Service says yes:  “My contribution is to put forward a section of the State Water Code that, to me, has the ability to negate any and all actions to prevent a conveyance from being built in the Delta. Below is the section of the State Water Code I referred to. Remember the State Water Code is State Law, fixed and passed by the state legislature. … ”  Read the water code and Burt’s commentary here:  How a provision of the Water Code can guarantee water sent south  Also from Burt, A brief history of attempts to put conveyance in the Delta

How safe is it to eat that fish you caught?  The Fishbio blog has the good and bad news:  ” … This question is at the heart of a study recently released by the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP), which is part of the State Water Resources Control Board. The group conducted the first statewide study of contaminants in sport fishes from rivers and streams across California. The good news is that contaminants such as pesticides, PCBs, and selenium rarely reached levels of safety concern in freshwater fish fillets. However, the report does raise a notable red flag: the level of methylmercury is alarmingly high in sport fishes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region, in keeping with the Delta’s mercury legacy. … ”  Read more from Fishbio here:  Sport fishes and food safety

Cool data visualizations:  The new Cal Water Atlas blog has some interesting data visualizations, such as this interactive chart on how California cities use their water and this interactive Thirsty Cities tool that shows per capita use by city.  Seriously fun stuff!  More here:  Cal Water Atlas Blog  And if you liked that, check out Peter Gleick’s Significant Figures blog for an interesting visualization of the nation’s rivers, scaled by flow

Water Education Foundation’s new “Aquapedia” has answers to your water questions:  New online tool is intended to answer your questions about California water:  “ centers on resource articles supplemented with photos, graphics, videos, interactive maps and other online tools, which provide background and context to understand California’s complex water issues.” Click here to check it out:

Klamath River dam removal and hatchery operations:  The Klamath River may present the best opportunity for restoration of wild salmon and trout populations in California, writes the California Water Blog:  ” … Central to the agreements is the removal of four dams on the Klamath, which would open up hundreds of miles of rearing and spawning habitat.  Hatcheries were built to mitigate for the loss of spawning grounds upstream of dams. Removing four dams gives hatcheries at the Iron Gate Dam and on the Trinity River that much less reason to continue supplementing the Klamath fisheries – at least not at the current rate of 12 million juveniles a year. … ”  So how should hatchery operations be changed?  More from the California Water Blog:  Time to rethink fish plantings in the Klamath

DWP is not keeping promises at Mono Lake, says the Mono Lake Committee on their blog:  “A May 13, 2013 report to the State Water Board revealed that the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) failed to keep its promise to monitor the health of Mono Lake. DWP unilaterally took over operations of the lake monitoring program in August 2012, displacing the independent expert scientists who had run the program for 30 years. Since then a litany of issues has ensued. As a result, critical data—such as the salinity of Mono Lake—are not being collected, and key portions of the data that are being gathered are not usable. These failures are violations of the rules set in 1998 by the State Water Board. … ”  More from the Mono-Logue here:  DWP promise at Mono Lake unkept

LA Mayor Villiaragosa’s record on water conservation:  The Chance of Rain blog notes:  ” … The environmental lobby Climate Resolve recently congratulated outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in an e-mail blast by exhorting Angelenos to “Look at the record. Today, Los Angeles uses 20% less water than a mere three years ago.” In a companion text that fleetingly appeared on Climate Resolve’s website, the record became even more impressive. “Today, Los Angeles is using 20% less water than just two years ago.”  I admire Climate Resolve, not least for its cheerleading for the best of good causes, but both claims seemed incredible, so I checked them. … ”  And what did Chance of Rain’s Emily Green find?  More here:  The mayor’s record on water conservation

San Clemente dam removal project good for wildlife, good for public safety, notes Sandra Postel at National Geographic’s News Watch blog:  ” …  Built in 1921 to store drinking water for the burgeoning population of Monterey County, the San Clemente Dam is a concrete arch structure located 18.5 miles (29.8 kilometers) upstream from the Pacific Ocean.  While built for a good cause, the dam’s reservoir has lost 95 percent of its original water storage capacity due to the build-up of silt and sediment carried in by the Carmel River.  Historically, the river carried that sediment load downstream, keeping its channel functioning well and replenishing coastal beaches.  But the dam trapped the sediment in the reservoir, causing it to fill – a common problem with dams worldwide.  … ”  Read more from National Geographic here:  Fish, Frogs, and People to Benefit from Biggest Dam-Removal Project in California History

IID/San Diego transfer litigation reaches milepost on a long and torturous litigation journey:  The Water Strategist Community Blog writes about the decision:  ” … In the end, legal theories and interpretations crafted by transfer opponents did not carry the day.  Two old adages of litigation—throw the “kitchen sink” at the wall and see what sticks, and construe if not misconstrue language to maximize advocacy benefits—were casualties (although one should not expect them leaving the practice of law anytime soon).  For those who find this judgment harsh, read Judge Connelly’s opinion. … ”  More from the Water Strategist Community Blog here:  IID-San Diego Transfer/QSA Opponents Strike Dry Hole in CA Litigation Lottery

And lastly … Just in time for those hot summer parties, impress your friends with this icy cool trick!  Learn how to freeze water in about a half a second (really!)

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