Blog round-up: Water as seen through dolls and wine barrel fountains, lifeblood, groundwater, almonds and more …

Sybil's fountain

Sybil Wertheim has quite the fountain … !

Sybil Wertheim has the most wonderful fountain, don't you think?  It's the creation of artist David Cudney, who's affiliated with Factory on 5th group of artists in New Mexico.  It rather reminds me of this photoblog post from Keeler.  My hypothesis is that desert heat makes people really good at repurposing things … I have to give a shout-out to my blogger buddy John Fleck over at the Inkstain blog, who graciously gave me permission to use this picture for today's round-up.  It just happens to be the perfect segue to our first blog item …

Water as seen in a wine barrel fountain: Shifting gears from water flowing through doll parts to water moving through a different sort of fountain … “I was having a glass of wine the other day talking with some friends about water and agriculture: certainly a hot topic in this third year of drought. As usual, I was finding it hard to explain how water rights work and how water flows in the Sacramento Valley. In all honesty, it is about the most obtuse and boring topic imaginable. Predictably my friends were losing interest. Not because it wasn’t important but simply because it’s so hard to visualize. Then it hit me – water rights and water flow in the north are not unlike a fountain fashioned from wine barrels seen in many Sierra Foothills wineries and local cafés. … ”  Read more from the California Rice Commission blog here:  Water as seen in a wine barrel fountain

Keeping Better Track of Water:  Ellen Hanak and Jeff Mount write:  “In most years, the arrival of May signals the end of the rainy season. As California transitions from hoping for rain to managing its absence, it is appropriate to assess how we have handled this drought so far. In a recent blog post, we, along with our colleagues at UC Davis, UC Hastings, and Stanford University, identified several key lessons from the current drought. One of these is the need to modernize the way we track water supply and use.  To illustrate, just this past week the State Water Resources Control Board released a series of graphs that summarize the gaps between projected supply and demand for this year. These graphs form the basis for determining who may be told to curtail the amount of water they take out of rivers when supplies are scarce.  … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Drought Watch: Keeping Better Track of Water

The only stronger law is that you must say “lifeblood” when you discuss California water: Dude. These are as true as any words ever written:  ‘It’s often said that California is the only state that doesn’t regulate groundwater, but that’s not exactly true. In California, one rule always applies. Though unwritten, it exists in the form of dogma more powerful than words graven in stone: Any official, at any level, whenever speaking of groundwater, must assert emphatically that local control is the best of all possible alternatives.' Does one have to be a tenured professor, primarily in another field, to call this out? … ”  Continue reading from On the Public Record here: The only stronger law is that you must say “lifeblood” when you discuss CA water.

Kiss control of your groundwater goodbye:  Families Protecting the Valley writes: “These are just some of the quotes from articles about the future of groundwater control. We know who has it now, and you can see below who will have it in the future.  Assembly Committee Approves Groundwater Legislation: define a “backstop” role for the state in cases where a local or regional agency is unable to protect and manage a basin.” … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Kiss Control of Your Groundwater Goodbye!

Planning for the inevitable in the Suisun Marsh:  “In Suisun Marsh, it seems, you can go back in time. You get a haunting sense of the vast marshes that once dominated central California’s lowlands. Sloughs flush with tule perch and Sacramento splittail bend back on themselves. Flocks of red-winged blackbirds rise from thickets of cattails and rushes with whirring wings and musical trills.  Shorebirds dart across mudflats while tule elk graze nearby. Ducks arrive by the thousands in fall to paddle the still backwaters. Fog spilling over the Coast Range adds to the illusion of timelessness. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Planning for the inevitable at Suisun Marsh

A Calaveras River success story: Check out this new six-minute documentary about the Caprini fish-passage improvement project on the Calaveras River. The video stars landowners Vince and Linda Caprini, river activist Jim Marsh, Stockton East Water District’s Scot Moody and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Donnie Ratcliff, among others. … ”  More from Alex Breitler's blog here: The Calaveras gets some love

IMG_8271On the Public Record drives up the 5 and marvels at the expansion in almond acreage:  “I knew that almond acreage had expanded since the 2006-2009 drought. I knew that almond acreage went from 825,000 acres of almonds in 2010 to 940,000 acres in 2014. But it was still striking to see all those new trees. I thought some things.  a. I heard a completely unsubstantiated rumor that during the 2006-2009 drought, growers in Westlands deliberately didn’t plant acreage close to the 5 and even harrowed that soil so that it created more of a dust storm. I couldn’t support that rumor one bit, but I did muse that planting almonds all the way up to the freeway would make similar image management more difficult in this drought. … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here: I drove up the 5 on Sunday.

What's with the Friant Water Authority, asks Families Protecting the Valley:  “”Should Friant determine that the Settlement needs to be revisited, Friant will take the appropriate steps to address the issues of concern and protect its interests.” – Ron Jacobsma, General Manager, Friant Water Authority.  We continue to be baffled by the Friant Water Authority's reluctance to revisit the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement. According to Mike Hornick in The Packer, talking about the citrus industry, “some are bulldozing trees, some are topping trees so they don’t produce but stay alive.”  ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  What’s with the FWA?

Modesto Irrigation District Water Policy Unfair to Farmers: “If you were a farmer during a drought, wouldn’t you like to have an unlimited supply of water? Wouldn’t you also like access to river water and have the privilege of selling it?  In Stanislaus County, some farmers have special privileges given to them by the Board of Directors of the Modesto Irrigation District (MID). ... ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here: MID Water Policy Unfair to Farmers

Mono Lake dropping to an 18-year low:  “The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) has issued its Mono Lake level forecast for the 2014 runoff year. The forecast, running from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, has Mono Lake reaching 6379.0 feet above sea level by December. This will be the lowest level we have seen since March 1996. … ”  Read more from the MonoLogue here: Mono Lake forecast: Level dropping to 18-year low

Richard Frank: Turning Water Into Wine: An “Unreasonable Use” of Water in California?  Today a California appellate court in San Francisco heard arguments in a case that is likely to affect how broadly–or narrowly–California’s State Water Resources Control Board can apply the state’s most powerful water law.  The case, Light v. California State Water Resources Control Board, involves a challenge by wine grape growers in the Russian River watershed of Northern California to a SWRCB rule limiting growers’ ability to divert water from the Russian River in order to spray their vineyards for frost protection purposes.  The Board adopted its “Frost Protection Regulation” in 2008, following complaints from federal wildlife officials that the grape growers‘ water diversions during cold spells resulted in rapid lowering of Russian River water levels and the resulting death of migrating salmon in the river.  (Federal biologists estimate that the growers’ 2008 diversions resulted in the deaths of 25,000 salmon, several species of which are threatened with extinction.) ... ”  Read more from the Legal Planet blog here: Turning Water Into Wine: An “Unreasonable Use” of Water in California?

Federal Judge gives Westlands and Reclamation six more months to pursue settlement talks on drainage problem: Federal Judge Lawrence O’Neill in Fresno has signed an order allowing the Westlands Water District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation another 6 months to pursue settlement talks without any further implementation of the 2007 Record of Decision regarding Westlands' long-standing farm drainage water problem.  The key final paragraph of O'Neill's order reads as follows: … ”  Continue reading at the Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood blog here: Federal Judge gives Westlands and Reclamation six more months to pursue settlement talks on drainage problem

Recent events uncover plan to deliberately kill fish in the Delta: Burt Wilson writes:  “The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is on record as endeavoring to conserve the fisheries. Habitat restoration is one of the so-called “co-equal” goals of their twin tunnels plan. But their actions do not follow their words. In fact, one can well conclude that there are deliberate conditions set up that will result in the extinction of the Delta Salmon–and other fish–and make it look like a natural occurrence.   Why?  If the BDCP plan goes through and three intakes are built along the Sacramento River near Hood, we will see Sacramento River water pumped into the tubes where it will go directly south under the Delta to a new Forebay next to the Clifton Court Forebay. Alright. But that means all that water that goes through the tubes will not flow into nor go through the Delta. Fish need water, but the BDCP plan is to take their life's needs away while proclaiming just the opposite to the public. … ”  Read more from Burt Wilson here:  Recent events uncover plan to deliberately kill fish in the Delta

Beavers in the Colorado River Delta:  “When Daniel Trembley MacDougal of the New York Botanical Garden rode a flood pulse through the Colorado River Delta in 1905, he found a puzzling landscape – one of the most arid regions of North America sliced through by “swampy jungles”. At a time when beaver was being trapped into oblivion elsewhere, it was a landscape that seemed to MacDougal to offer hope: ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Beavers in the Colorado River Delta

With Colorado River water, growing Brussels sprouts: “Imperial County in the desert of southeastern California is the nation’s leading producer of Brussels sprouts.  According to the newly released U.S. Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture, there were 2,237 acres of Brussels sprouts in Imperial in 2012, growing on 6 farms. For reasons unknown to me (c’mon, you’ve tried ‘em, right?) Brussels sprouts are growing in popularity, with total U.S. acreage up from 3,874 in 2007 to 7,586 in 2012, most of them shipped direct to market. In 2007, Brussels sprouts acreage in Imperial on just two farms was so small that it wasn’t disclosed. Lissa points out that Trader Joe’s sells Brussels sprouts on the stalk as a decorative item. Maybe that explains the Brussels sprouts boom?  I say this not because of a particular fascination with Brussels sprouts (c’mon, you’ve tried ‘em, right?), but rather because if I want to understand water in the Colorado River Basin, I have to understand farm water use in the Colorado River Basin. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: With Colorado River water, growing Brussels sprouts

Arizona's long-term water future:  Jeff SImonetti over at the Hydrowonk blog writes:  “In my last  Post, I wrote about how a part of California’s water future is inextricably linked to the health of the Colorado River’s water supply. As I mentioned, the Colorado River currently is enjoying the benefits of a slightly above average snowpack in the mountains that feed the River. Further, the Colorado River has two of the largest reservoirs in the West in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. These two reservoirs help to stabilize the water reserves for the states that rely on the River’s bounty and aid in planning for future drought years. But lately, both scientists and policymakers have grown increasingly concerned that we will not be able to rely on the Colorado to supply as much water in the future. One state that these decreased water supplies could affect critically is Arizona. In this piece, I will discuss the challenges that Arizona faces from dwindling Colorado River supplies, and highlight the steps that the state is taking to address these long-term supply challenges. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here: Arizona’s Long-Term Water Future

And lastly …  Another dead whale washed up on the beach … so what to do?  for those who might have missed this in the Daily Digest:  Well, history has a few things to say about what NOT to do.  About every five or so years, I get an opportunity to pull out the YouTube classic because there's a story about a some whale washing up on the beach, which, after a few days rotting in the sun, tends to make its presence well-known, and people need to figure out what to do with it. Seems that has happened now to the north in Newfoundland. Aaay, she's a beaut, ain't she … So what to do with the rotten, smelly mess?  Well, In 1970, a town in Oregon tried dynamiting the creature with, uh, less than ideal results – a YouTube classic!  Another town sent in a poor soul to lance the rotting beast, an experience which ILFS describes as “a whale-sized fart/cat pee/egg bomb with blood and entrails flying at your face” … good thing he was wearing a raincoat.  Ick!

Photo credit:  Photo by John Fleck at the Inkstain blog.  Fountain design by David Cudney, part of the Factory on 5th artist group somewhere in New Mexico.

One Response

  1. Dan Ray

    I was amazed to see the video of the whale exploded on the beach in Florence. When I 1st started out I worked for the Coastal Commission is Eureka, and that tale was already the stuff of legend, although I think we ascribed it to Del Norte County. When over the years a whale would wash up on the beach and someone would ask about its disposal, we would always advise “Don’t use explosives!”. Who knew it was available on line?


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: