Blog round-up: Stripers and nature, State Water Board’s water quality standards, BDCP, San Joaquin River restoration and more

L.A. Aqueduct Cascades
Photo by Maven

Decline of stripers raises an interesting question: what is nature?  The Inkstain blog responds to the recent story in the East Bay Express discussing the decline of stripers in the Delta:  ” … Stripers aren’t native. As Bland notes, they were introduced via a small population in the 19th century. By the 1930s, according to Bland, their abundance supported a thriving commercial fishery, and they’ve long been a popular target of sport fishing. But there’s also been pressure to reduce their numbers because of the belief that they prey on endangered and threatened native fish like the delta smelt. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  What is nature, striped bass edition

State Water Board playing favorites, and yet another plan, says Restore the Delta:  The latest edition of the Delta Flows newsletter notes that the Central Delta Water Agency is calling on the State Water Board to uniformly enforce water quality standards:  ” … At issue is the SWRCB decision this year to relax water quality standards in the Delta for exporters while holding extra water at Shasta Dam for later cold water releases to benefit migrating fish. The SWRCB “rebalanced” exports in anticipation of a critically dry year. But the CDWA notes that under Water Right Decision 1641 (D-1641), the agreement that governs State and federal rights to export water from the Delta, water year classifications already adequately accounted for variation in the amount of water available and for the ability of the water projects to meet water quality standards.  Says CDWA, “There should be no further balancing and changes to the standards except through an appropriate SWRCB proceeding with CEQA compliance. . . . The flexibility is in the amount of surplus water available for export not balancing the degree of violation of the standards.” … ”  And yet another plan … ?  ” … We have a California Water Plan, a Delta Plan, a Bay Delta Conservation Plan, various water quality control plans, and a Central Valley Flood Control Plan. Why do we need another plan? Well, it looks like the Department of Food & Agriculture isn’t getting what it wants out of those other plans. … ”  Read the Delta Flows newsletter here:  Delta Flows: November 5, 2013

Gleick-Erlewine exchange just sleight of hand, says the Delta National Park blog:  “It is worth comparing the Peripheral Tunnel debating points that were presented this week in the Sacramento Bee. First there was Peter Gleick’s analysis of the state of the BDCP planning process. This was followed by State Water Project general manager Terry Erlewine’s response.  First of all, let’s establish a basic fact about the exchange. What Erlewine doesn’t do is respond to Gleick’s core and well-reasoned arguments. Instead, he substitutes a magician’s trick for a direct response. … ”  Read more from the Delta National Park blog here:  Mastering the Sleight of Hand

Sandhill crane questions continue:  “North Delta Water Agency’s Melinda Terry doesn’t pretend to be an expert on the biology of sandhill cranes. But she is pretty well an expert, at this point, on the voluminous reports documenting the environmental impacts of the governor’s twin tunnels project. And with that in mind, Terry has the following questions for state officials, who have said they believe the cranes and the tunnels project can coexist. … ”  Find out what they are here from Alex Breitler’s blog:  Questioning sandhill crane impacts

Stockton elementary school children build ‘ofrenda’ to the Delta:  My apologies,I forgot to post this a few weeks ago:  “Day of the Dead altars (ofrendas) are built to honor the lives of those who have passed. This alter is designed to honor the life of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and caution of its possible demise if the proposed diversion tunnels are built and water is diverted under, rather than through the Delta. … ”  More from Restore the Delta here:  The Death of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – R.I.P.

Burt Wilson says BDCP plans to raid bond funds:  Noting ICF’s David Zippen’s testimony in which his slide presentation included identifying Prop 1E and Prop 84 funds as possible sources, he says: ” … Adding up the two left-over balances we come up with a grand total of $880-million which could be available for the BDCP to steal and use for habitat restoration in the Delta. This is money that really should go to fix the problems it was designed to fix! All those who think your drinking water is safe, raise your glasses! … ”  Read more from Burt Wilson at the Public Water News Service here:  BDCP to raid DWR for funds from previous water bonds 

Privatize the universe? Dan Bacher says that’s where we’re heading:  ” … When you add the current campaign to privatize the prisons, public education, health services, military operations and public services in the U.S. and around the world, it is so clear that the Wall Street 1 percent and corporate leaders, in collaboration with corrupt government officials, are indeed well on their way to “privatizing everything.” To save the country and the planet, everybody who cares about democracy, human rights and the environment must resist and stop the insane plan to “privatize everything!”   To resist the privatizers, help to stop the Corporate Water Grab in California by opposing the peripheral tunnels. … ”  Read more from Dan Bacher at here:  Privatize everything in the universe?

Columnist comments on machinations of Santa Barbara and its State Water Project contract renewal:  Covering the recent Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting, he writes: ” … Tuesday’s was one of those classic meetings where high-powered players with shiny bald heads, expensive suits, and chiseled features were talking about all kinds of things they weren’t really talking about, only they really were. Water’s like that. On the table was a proposal to extend the contract life between the Central Coast Water Authority (CCWA)  ​— ​which for 16 years has been delivering unto Santa Barbara County varying quantities of liquid life from California’s northern rivers via a network of 444 miles of aqueduct and 700 miles of pipes and pumps that’s known as the State Water Project ​— ​and the California Department of Water Resources. Given that the contract in question doesn’t expire until 2038, this seemed puzzlingly premature. … ”  Read this column at the Santa Barbara Independent here:  Hanging Out at the Poodle Dog Café

San Joaquin River Restoration soon to become a reality, says NRDC’s Monty Schmitt:  ” … After seven years of planning and preparation, life along the San Joaquin River is about to change for wildlife, landowners and communities along its 150 mile course. Over the next few years, flows will be increasing, bringing new life to the dry river bed. Restoration projects will improve wildlife habitat and flood protection along the river. Water supply projects will improve water management to support the needs of farms and cities. Beyond the benefits to fish and farmers, the Restoration Program will create tangible economic and ecological benefits for communities in the San Joaquin River Valley and beyond by creating 11,000 jobs and making the San Joaquin River a community treasure and a destination for camping, fishing, bird-watching and other kinds of recreation.  … ”  Read more from Monty Schmitt at the NRDC Switchboard blog here:  (Re)Discovering the San Joaquin River: Water flows and salmon coming soon.

Hidden Valley Ranch purchase, completed in 6 months, shows new era is upon us, says NRDC’s Monty Schmitt:  “Something happened this week that probably would not have even occurred just five years ago – a farmer worked with conservation groups to sell his 497 acre dairy at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin Rivers to the state of California to be restored to floodplain habitat and provide flood protection for cities downstream. And from beginning to end, the process took less than six months. What is even more incredible about this accomplishment is that there are countless flood protection projects all over the Central Valley that have languished for decades – and at a time when it is widely recognized that California has a growing flood protection crisis with millions of residents at risk of being flooded and the state potentially liable for billions of dollars in damages.  … ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog here:  A New Era of Flood Management: Farms, Fish and Flood Protection

Irrigated agriculture needs in the Colorado River basin explored in Pacific Institute Report:  ” … Recently, the Institute released a report on irrigated agriculture called Water to Supply the Land: Irrigated Agriculture in the Colorado River Basin. Although information on irrigation in the Colorado River basin exists in different forms in various different reports and sources, this information previously was not available in one place. This deficiency was the primary motivation in creating Water to Supply the Land. Fundamental questions such as, Where is Colorado River water going? What’s being grown in the basin? And how much water is being used to grow these crops? could not be readily answered – Water to Supply the Land seeks to fill that gap. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute’s Insights blog here:  “Water to Supply the Land” Describes Irrigated Agriculture in the Colorado River Basin

How water managers can get started with social media:  The Pacific Institute’s Insight’s blog has some ideas for you here:  Water Managers and Social Media: How to Get Started

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