Blog round-up: Friant pulling up trees, birds and rice, groundwater, BDCP, climate regs, drought and more …

pacific-flywayFriant’s “Zero” disaster mounts: Parched Trees Being Pulled As Senior Rights Water Releases Begin: The Friant Waterline writes: “Zero remains the frustrating word for Friant Division growers who continue to have no Central Valley Project water to use and, in many cases, little or no groundwater available to tap in their desperate efforts to save increasingly moisture-stressed permanent plantings along the south valley’s East Side.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s zero water supply declaration remains in effect for the Friant Division, even as Reclamation increases the Friant Project’s first-ever CVP supply releases to get water to the San Joaquin River’s senior water rights holders downstream, the Exchange Contractors, even though the Bureau has other sources from which to make the exchange supply available. … ”  Read more from the Friant Waterline here:  Friant’s “Zero” disaster mounts: Parched Trees Being Pulled As Senior Rights Water Releases Begin

Families Protecting the Valley sees the tree pulling a little differently: We direct your attention to the e-mail and letter from Citrus Mutual to Valley water agencies: … Gentlemen, on Tuesday I attended a very long committee meeting that was dominated by water issues on several fronts. A small group of citrus producers worked themselves into a frenzy and a bit of anger as they talked about tree removal. On Wednesday the Board met, 24 of 25 attended, and the discussion was repeated, enhanced leading to direction to staff, primarily myself.(See California Citrus Mutual Board of Directors) … ”  Continue reading at Families Protecting the Valley here:  Frustration!

Pacific Flyway Values Featured In New Infographic: The Northern California Water Association has developed a new infographic highlighting the Pacific Flyway lands in the Sacramento Valley. The Pacific Flyway is a prominent part of the land use and culture of the Valley. Every fall, the region transitions into prime habitat for the shorebirds, migratory waterfowl, raptors and other species that utilize the Flyway. This is only possible because water suppliers are able to deliver adequate, timely and high quality water supplies throughout the year to the varied lands providing habitat benefits. To learn more about the Sacramento Valley portion of the Pacific Flyway and to see the new infographic, visit the NCWA website at:

California rice part of new Critical Conservation Area – and we couldn’t be happier:  The California Rice Blog writes:  “Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made a very smart decision. By designating the Central Valley, and therefore all of its rice fields, as one of eight nationally recognized Critical Conservation Areas, they’ve paved the way for greater resource conservation investment in this great region that significantly serves both the needs of nature and humans. This designation was made under the provisions of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) in the 2014 Farm Bill.  … ”  Read more from the California Rice Commission blog here: California Rice part of new Critical Conservation Area and we couldn’t be happier

Groundwater: Our hidden asset: Jeff Mount and Ellen Hanak write:  “The drought has brought the term storage to the forefront of political debate over how to manage water in California. Water scarcity during this drought is perceived by many, including prominent elected officials, as a failure of government to build sufficient storage.  For most, storage refers to water kept in reservoirs behind dams. People tend to forget that we also store water underground, in the state’s many aquifers. And during a drought, this groundwater storage is usually much more important.  Managed well, groundwater is the state’s best hedge against drought. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Drought Watch: Groundwater, Our Hidden Asset

Groundwater and the public trust doctrine:  The Pacific Legal Foundation writes: “Earlier this month, the Sacramento Superior Court held a hearing in Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board, in which the environmentalist plaintiffs are seeking an expansion of the public trust doctrine to groundwater extraction that negatively affects navigable waters.  We filed an amicus brief on behalf of the California Farm Bureau Federation arguing that the court should decline to expand the public trust doctrine to avoid possible due process and takings concerns. ... ”  Read more from the Pacific Legal Foundation here: Groundwater and the public trust doctrine, continued

Water Advisory Committee Wastes Time and Money, says the Valley Citizen blog: If your accountant told you to keep spending money until you found out how much you had, you’d fire your accountant. But insanity about money doesn’t translate to insanity about water.  Spending without knowing how much you have is the rule with groundwater in California, and that’s why the state is over drafted almost everywhere. Up until recently, one of the few places that still had plenty of groundwater was eastern Stanislaus County. In typical fashion, local leadership is determined to make sure the county winds up as desperately overdrawn as most of the rest of the state. … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here: Water Advisory Committee Wastes Time and Money

Is land subsidence irreversible and is aquifer capacity lost forever once the groundwater is drawn down?  The FixCAWater blog discusses the issue:  “The correct answers, more or less, are YES and NO!  But the otherwise excellent report on land subsidence along the Delta-Mendota Canal by Michelle Sneed and others from the US Geological Survey and the also excellent newspaper article by Lisa M. Kreiger in the San Jose Mercury News California Drought: San Joaquin Valley sinking as farmers race to tap aquifer, from which the graphic to the left is taken, do not get the mechanisms involved quite right. Hence the following clarifications. ... ”  Continue reading at the FixCAWater blog here:  Discussion, Land Subsidence

Want water? Here’s a better alternative to the twin tunnels:  The Valley Citizen blog writes: “Governor Jerry Brown proposes to build two tunnels under the San Joaquin River Delta at a cost of billions of dollars. The tunnels’ sole purpose would be to move water. They would have no effect on storage capacity. We’ve already advocated desalinization plants to make water instead of building tunnels to move water. There’s also a better way to control floods and store water in the Great Valley.  In 1846, you could take a riverboat from San Francisco to Bakersfield via the San Joaquin and Kern Rivers. Then, the valley had numerous lakes, ponds and wetlands.  Some were year round and others existed seasonally. In the wettest years, the San Joaquin River sometimes became as wide as ten miles! … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here:  Want Water? Here’s a Better Alternative to Tunnels

DWR is busy bailing out the BDCP EIR/EIS from oblivion, says Burt Wilson:  “The BDCP has been so screwed up that its cobbled-together EIR/EIS was recently trashed by the Delta Stewardship Council’s Independent Science Board. And if you haven’t noticed, getting the EIR/EIS done in time for public comments necessitated the BDCP offering an incomplete and wholly inaccurate Implementing Agreement (AI). The AI describes how the tunnels will be built, who’s in charge and who is going to operate them. It’s probably the most important factor in the whole messed-up BDCP plan. ... ”  Continue reading from Burt Wilson at the Public Water News Service Blog here:  DWR is busy bailing out the BDCP EIR/EIS from oblivion

Mono Lake decision at 20:  The Mono-Logue Blog writes: “It goes by many names. The Water Board Decision. D1631. The ruling to save Mono Lake. Implementation of the Public Trust Doctrine. The day we took a bite out of the moon. Whatever name you choose, what happened on September 28, 1994 was a momentous day for California and a truly revolutionary one for Mono Lake. For the prior half-century, excessive water diversions to Los Angeles had put Mono Lake into steep decline, cutting its volume in half, doubling its salinity, drying its streams, and threatening to turn one of the planet’s unique biological wonders to dust.  … ”  Read more from the Mono Lake Committee here: The State Water Board decision at 20

Will New Climate Regulations Destroy the Economy? (Hint: No.): Peter Gleick writes:  “No. On the contrary, they might just save it by helping stimulate new technologies and industries and by reducing the risks of climate disruption.  There is a long history of claims that new rules to protect the environment or human health will seriously harm the United States economy. These claims are political fodder, they are provocative, and they are always wrong. In fact, the evidence shows the opposite: environmental regulations consistently produce enormous net benefits to the economy and to human health. In 2008, for example, the United States’ environmental technologies and services industry supported 1.7 million jobs. The industry at that time generated approximately $300 billion in revenues and exported goods and services worth $44 billion. … ”  Read more from Peter Gleick here:  Will New Climate Regulations Destroy the Economy? (Hint: No.)

The Solution to California’s Drought: Wind: “It’s not winter that’s coming. It’s summer, and with it, homeowners are dusting off the sprinkler systems to ensure that their lawns are lush and green during the next few months. Officials may be less enthusiastic, however, curbing the extent to which the water stays on. The problem is that half of the country is currently experiencing some sort of drought conditions, with nearly 15% of the country suffering from extreme to exceptional drought.  One industry stands to potentially profit from the crisis: the wind industry. ... ”  Read more from the Motley Fool (and get some investing advice, too) here: The Solution to California’s Drought: Wind

Lake Mead at its lowest end of May level in history:  The Inkstain blog writes: “Unless tropical depression Amanda does something miraculous, and quickly, Lake Mead will end May at its lowest level for this point in the year since Elwood Mead and his buddies filled the reservoir in the 1930s, 20 feet in surface elevation below last year at this time.  The “tropical storm Amanda” thing was a joke. It would take enough rain to raise Mead’s surface elevation 6 feet to avoid the ignominious record. That will not happen. We are headed into new territory this year in the management of the Lower Colorado River, or “LOCO,” as my new favorite acronym would have it. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Lake Mead: lowest end-of-May levels in history  See also: That thing I wrote about Lake Mead being the lowest ever turned out to be true

Why we all should care about the drought in the West:  The Hydrowonk blog writes: “Last week, I wrote a post about how water politics helped to shape the primary elections in Nebraska. Nebraska, like many areas in the Western and Midwestern United States is facing a prolonged drought. The drought has an effect on everything from fracking policies to the prices that you pay in the grocery store. In today’s world, we are more inter-connected than ever – a change or a hiccup in one region or market can quickly have ripple effects in another area. We have to look no further than the housing crisis that led to the recession in 2008 for an example of this phenomenon. A crash in the US housing market caused much more global pain due to the incredible interconnectivity our modern financial systems have. The water industry and related fields such as agriculture and oil services are no different. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  Why we all need to Care About Drought in the West


About the Blog Round-up: The Blog Round-up is a weekly journey through the wild and varied tapestry of blog commentary, incorporating the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes just plain bizarre viewpoints existing on the internet.  Viewpoints expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily my own; inclusion of items here does not imply my endorsement of their positions. Items are chosen to express a wide range of viewpoints, and are added at the editor’s discretion. While posts with obvious factual errors are excluded, please note that no attempt is made on my part to verify or fact check the information bloggers present, so caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.

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