Bloggers on the water bond, the “Porterville Problem”, the tunnels, the Endangered Species Act, water subsidies and more …

Blog Round Up
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Will the water bond deliver?  Families Protecting the Valley writes:  “Some of our friends don’t understand our reluctance to show enthusiasm for Prop 1, the Water Bond. Why not support it? What do we have to lose, they say. Before we answer those questions we would like to tell you why we have some of the same reservations about the bond as the Chico Enterprise-Record in their editorial below where they recommend a no vote.  The editorial points out that they think the bond is their best chance to build the Sites Reservoir, but “we can’t bring ourselves to believe that will happen, based on how the bond is written.” We also believe Sites is the more likely to be built, more so than Temperance Flat, but share the same misgivings about the bond language. … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Will the water bond deliver?

Saving for California’s future:  Bryce Lundberg writes: “There are two important measures on the November 4 ballot that will affect California’s future. The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Board of Directors urges you to consider and then vote “Yes” on Propositions 1 and 2. By voting “Yes” for these measures, we can guide California in a positive direction for the next several decades. In sum, these measures allow California to plan for the future and save our precious resources when there is a surplus (both water and revenues), so that we will be able to access them for important uses during both hydrologic and fiscal droughts. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Saving for California’s future

The water bond and the Klamath dams:  Families Protecting the Valley writes:  “There is $475-million in the California Water Bond for environmental enhancements that may very well include the destruction of the Klamath dams.  You wouldn’t think that a bond that claims it might-maybe give us one dam would include money to tear down four dams, especially in the drought situation we’re now enduring.  … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  The water bond and the Klamath dams

Understanding California’s drought: The “Porterville Problem”:  John Fleck writes: “I imagine that if I was a reporter in California, trying to cover the drought, I’d end up in Porterville too. It’s the little community in Tulare County where the taps have gone dry. Jennifer Medina of the New York Times took us there this week, and for residents of a nation used to running water and flushing toilets in our homes, it’s a striking story.*  Type “Porterville” and “drought” into Google News and you’ll find the story being told again and again, so much so that the local paper did one of those “meta” stories describing the attention when two TV crews showed up on the same day: ‘The dire situation many East Porterville residents have found themselves in from three years of drought got the attention Tuesday of the CBS Evening News, as well as an Australian television crew.’ ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  Understanding California’s drought: The “Porterville Problem”

Amid drought, Jewish groups push conservation agenda:  “Devorah Brous’ San Fernando Valley home is shaded by green trees, studded with 19 fruit trees and patrolled by a pair of affable chickens that strut around the backyard. But at the moment, she is eager to show a visitor her dying lawn.  Comparing the withering grass to a thriving orange tree a few feet away, Brous, the founding executive director of the Jewish environmental organization Netiya, says, “It’s survival of the fittest.”  For Netiya — Hebrew for “planting” — and other Jewish environmental groups, California’s debilitating drought has tied together a number of issues that have been gaining prominence in the Jewish activist community: sustainability, social justice, and ethically and environmentally responsible food production. Their efforts range in size and scope. … ”  Read more from the United Jewish Federation blog here:  Amid drought, Jewish groups push conservation agenda

Brown Proclaims “Water Is Sacred” As He Promotes Tunnels: Dan Bacher writes: “While members of Indian Tribes from across the state, including many wearing traditional garb and regalia, gathered to celebrate the 47th “Annual Native American Day” at the State Capitol in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown issued a proclamation declaring Friday, September 26, 2014, as “Native American Day” in California. The press release announcing Brown’s proclamation stated, “The theme of this year’s celebration at the Capitol is ‘Water is Life, Water is Sacred.’” Many at the event noted the irony of the “Water is Life, Water is Sacred” theme at a time that the Governor is promoting the destruction of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and Chinook salmon, a fish that is sacred to many Tribes, through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels. ... ”  Read more from Dan Bacher at IndyBay.org here:  Brown Proclaims “Water Is Sacred” As He Promotes Tunnels

The BDCP is NOT dead:  Restore the Delta writes:  “On September 23, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) got an update on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) from Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin, Delta Stewardship Council Chairman Randy Fiorini, and MWD’s own Bay-Delta Committee.  Cowin told MWD that DWR is making progress on three fronts:  (1) Resolving the final issues on terms of the BDCP proposal, especially details of adaptive management (who decides, who pays, who’s on the hook), (2) scoping work necessary for a recirculated CEQA/NEPA document, primarily because of physical changes to the proposal (alignment of tunnels and facilities), but also addressing other public comments, including those by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (3) developing scope of work and organization for Section 7 consultation for federal agencies. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  The BDCP is NOT dead

A new approach to species protection: Ethan Blevins writes: “Laws can worsen the problem they aim to fix. For example, in colonial India, the British government placed a bounty on cobras to rid Delhi of a snake infestation. When entrepreneurs began to breed cobras to cash in on the bounty, the government scrapped the program. So the snake breeders released their cobras into the streets. The net result: more cobras.  Based on forty years under the Endangered Species Act, it looks like government doesn’t just help the creatures it wants to hurt—it often hurts the ones it tries to help. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Liberty Blog here: A new approach to species protection

San Francisco receives a free pass on the Endangered Species Act: The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta writes: “In 2013, Endangered Species Act (ESA) restrictions directly resulted in the loss of more than 800,000 acre-feet of water that could have been delivered to San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area and Southern California businesses and residents. This would have been enough water to supply 1.6 million homes with water for a year or to irrigate 400,000 acres of farmland.  In 2013, San Francisco, which garners its water supplies from the same Delta watershed, received its entire water supply, with no restrictions. ... ”  Continue reading from the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta here: Delta Watch – SF Receiving Free Pass on Endangered Species Act

Fact checking water price subsidies:  Wayne Lusvardi writes:  “Water subsidies are the focus of much controversy in California, with farmers commonly bearing much of the blame. The waters can be cleared a little by examining two positions held by David Zetland, a well-known water economist, currently at Leiden University in Holland. Among other things, he previously was an instructor at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching Environmental Economics and Policy. ... ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Fact checking water price subsidies

Water subsidies are ancient history:  Wayne Lusvardi continues his series in this post:  “Prior articles in this series showed there are no real water subsidies. But if there are no real water subsidies to farmers from taxpayers, what about all those crop subsidies?  According to Mark Borba, owner of Borba Farms in Monterey County, “The days of being paid to not produce crops are gone” due to the worldwide agricultural market.  Borba said farm subsidies for corn, wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton are “ancient history.” ... ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Water subsidies are ancient history

Stanislaus County’s Water Committee on Borrowed Time:After months of dithering and ducking, the Stanislaus Water Advisory Committee (WAC) may have finally lost its lease. It’s becoming ever more apparent the WAC’s purpose is exactly what Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini said it was when he resigned as chair.  DeMartini said almost immediately after its formation that the purpose of the committee was to provide “political cover” for supervisors unwilling to take action on the groundwater pumping crisis caused by thousands of acres of new orchards on the county’s east side. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here: Stanislaus County’s Water Committee on Borrowed Time?

Starve the lawn, not the tree: A treeless Los Angeles would be a harsh, hot and bleak place:  Emily Green writes:  “It’s encouraging to see residents of greater Los Angeles cutting back on lawn irrigation and/or switching to less thirsty ground-covers. But there has been an unintended consequence. Civic-minded homeowners have been under-watering — or not watering — their trees. While deciduous trees register the stress palpably enough that many homeowners are alerted to the need to irrigate, most evergreens can’t wilt.  ... ”  Continue reading at the Chance of Rain blog here:  Starve the lawn, not the tree

Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”: “In my world, the 1976 tree ring analysis of the Colorado River’s long term flow done by Charles Stockton and Gordon Jacoby stands as one of the great works of policy-relevant science. But by the time I came on the scene, “Stockton and Jacoby”* (pdf) was just a marker, a signpost along our path to understanding the mistakes we made in allocating the Colorado River’s flow. I’d never looked at the details of how the work came about until we got news today of Jacoby’s death, and some reminiscing by some of Jacoby’s colleagues sent me down the rabbit hole of history to the wonderful story Jacoby told to oral historian Ronald Doel in 1996. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Gordon Jacoby and the Colorado River: “predicting hydrologic bankruptcy”

What a Difference a Word Can Make: The US EPA, “Other” Waters, and the Debate Over the EPA’s Role in Water Quality: Jeff Simonetti writes: “This summer, a CNN contributor named John Sutter traveled the entire length of California’s 417-mile San Joaquin River that American Rivers named the country’s “most endangered river”. During his journey from the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada to the famous Golden Gate Bridge, Sutter saw the river in its many different forms. He saw the rapids, dams, farms, and water diversion points for one of the most important water supplies in California. However, what struck me most about his trip was that although he planned to use a kayak for (most of) the trip, the middle section of the river regularly runs dry. In a year of severe drought like this, the San Joaquin runs dry for about 60 miles (see the map below). The current state of the river is a far cry from the 1850s when riverboats regularly traversed its waters to bring passengers from the coast inland and vice versa. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here: What a Difference a Word Can Make: The US EPA, “Other” Waters, and the Debate Over the EPA’s Role in Water Quality

Photo credit: Fjord Reflection 2 by Ken Douglas.

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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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