Blog round-up: Sacramento Valley flows, amorous amphibians, hyacinth smoothies, tweeting drought lessons, and more, plus only 12 to 20 more of these storms and the drought is over!

Sac Valley fish flowsRe-managing flows in the Sacramento Valley:  “In the Sacramento Valley, water has been re-managed over the past several decades to provide essential pathways for spawning salmon and steelhead. Nearly every major watercourse in the Sacramento Valley has flow agreements that are designed to benefit salmon and steelhead, while balancing other uses of water for various beneficial purposes. Many of these agreements took decades of hard work by local and state leaders to develop and then implement. … ”  Continue reading at the NCWA blog here:  Re-managing flows in the Sacramento Valley

Reconciling fish and fowl with floods and farming:  “Floodplains are extremely productive habitats for native fish and birds, yet floodplains in California are cut off from rivers by levees and development. The loss of this severed habitat threatens many native species that evolved to take advantage of seasonal flooding.  Ecologists’ traditional approach to this problem would be to recreate some of the historical floodplain by restoring natural flows and vegetation. In much of California, however, levees, dams and riverside development make restoration impractical. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Reconciling fish and fowl with floods and farming

Bay Area Rainfall Ushers in Mating Season for Amorous Amphibians:We’ve had so much wonderful rainfall this week that’s been collecting in puddles, soaking into the ground and bringing our commutes to a slow crawl. Imagine the relief to wildlife, especially water-dependent amphibians in the hills around the bay. Though our native frogs, toads and salamanders are adapted to our Mediterranean climate — with some seeking shelter in moist places under rocks and logs and others entering estivation or “summer sleep” — the drought has been tough on all of them. Three years of low rainfall has brought our lack of water to the “extreme” point on the nation’s drought monitor and many amphibians have suffered or died. The Santa Cruz Sentinel featured a story, “Drought Overcomes Newts and Frogs in Ben Lomond” in October — one that mirrors the situation throughout the Bay Area. For species that are already suffering declines with nearly one-third lost around the world, the drought has hit them especially hard. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Bay Area Rainfall Ushers in Mating Season for Amorous Amphibians

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Hyacinth smoothie, anyone?  “The state’s latest plan appears to be to pulverize water hyacinth, as you can see in this video shot Friday by Calaveras River landowner Roger Kelly.  “The plan is to shred the hyacinth and then pick up remaining floating pieces with a harvester,” Kelly says. ... ”  For more from Alex Breitler’s blog, including video and pictures, go here:  Hyacinth smoothie, anyone?

Climate change and the downfall of California’s big agriculture: “It’s bone dry in California, and as I wrote in a recent print issue of CounterPunch magazine, it’s likely to remain that way for a long, long time thanks to our warming climate.  The melting ice in the Arctic is manipulating the jet stream off the coast, pushing winter storms out of California. By many accounts the California water crisis is in its infancy and we are only beginning to witness the many changes the state will face as a result.  Aside from the lack of water’s many impacts – a changing environment, dead lawns, empty swimming pools – California’s agricultural industry may well experience the largest and most immediate blow. … ”  Read more from See More Rocks blog here:  Climate change and the downfall of California’s big agriculture

Tweeting lessons from the California drought:  “A couple of new papers exploring California’s drought triggered what I thought this morning was some overly simplistic back and forth on the twitters about whether climate change is to blame. I think that’s the wrong question.  The first paper, which I wrote about last week, was the Griffin/Anchukaitis paleo look at the thing. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Tweeting lessons from the California drought

Salmon in North Stockton:  “It’s both terrific and tragic when salmon appear in our local creeks and streams. Terrific, because the folks who see them realize that even some of the degraded waterways around Stockton have the potential to harbor life and should be respected as such. Tragic, because in many cases the salmon that veer off into these smaller waterways and glorified irrigation ditches will become stranded and die, before finding a suitable place to spawn. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Salmon in North Stockton

Critical care for groundwater:  ““Sustainability is the 21st century IQ test,” said Brad Barker, “and you can’t keep postponing your way to sustainability.”  Barker, Conservation Chair for Yokuts Sierra Club, was speaking at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. The agenda item concerned approval of a newly-revised groundwater ordinance. ... ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Critical care for groundwater

Water goes to college:  “It was standing room only last Friday night in the Sierra Hall at Modesto Junior College West. Audience members included a former state Secretary of Agriculture, several members of the Stanislaus Water Advisory Committee, the President of the Central Valley Farmland Trust, and the Conservation Chair for the Yokuts Chapter of the Sierra Club*.  People had filled the room not to attend a celebrity appearance but to hear an introduction to a new groundwater model by Steve Phillips, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. ... ”  Continue reading from the Valley Citizen here:  Water goes to college

Only 12 to 20 More Of These Storms And the Drought is Over! “Looks like the storm is over now; there’s been negligible rainfall in SoCal today, but over the last three days (ending at 7 am [Thursday] morning), Downtown got 1.52 inches and a few areas got more than two inches. That’s great! But it is not a droughtbuster, which is what the area needs (if you have somehow not heard, California is an epic, years-long drought). Following the rains, DTLA is now just slightly above the average rainfall for the year, but the year only started in October. And, at the end of the day on Tuesday, the heaviest day of rain, water officials said “it will take at least four or five similar storms every year for the next three or four years to replenish sunken ground-water aquifers and to refill dwindling reservoirs,” according to the Daily News. ... ”  Read more from Curbed LA here: Only 12 to 20 More Of These Storms And the Drought is Over!

Yuk! Look what the storm dragged in:  Mark Gold writes:Our first major rain of the year was a mixed blessing. For most Angelenos, the rain brought a sense of renewal and a reminder that inexorable desiccation isn’t the only state of our Mediterranean climate. The rain brought a sense of hope that our three-year record drought–perhaps California’s worst drought in over a millennium according to a recent study from Woods Hole and University of Minnesota researchers–may come to an end some day. But this first storm of the season also reminded us that far too many Angelenos can’t drive in the rain, and that many people around LA live in canyons highly susceptible to mudslides, especially after headwaters have been scorched by wildfires.  … ”  Read more from LA Observed here:  Yuk! Look what the storm dragged in

Colorado River Research Group Delivers Message of Water Limits:I have been reporting on Western water issues – specifically the Colorado River Basin – since 2009. Over the past five years, the question of how to meet current and future water needs in the iconic watershed has taken on new urgency as a long drought and steady water consumption sap both reservoirs and aquifers. Typically the debate is one of bridging the gap between expected demand and a shortfall in supply.  But a refreshingly direct statement was released this week from a new university research group that is dedicated to Colorado River issues. In the second paragraph of the group’s first policy paper, the message about limits hits with force and clarity ... ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Colorado River Research Group Delivers Message of Water Limits

And lastly … A Photographer’s Evocative Portraits of Rivers in Flux: The art photographer Ansley West Rivers‘s “Seven Rivers” project began after a life-changing 25 days she spent floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 2011 — a trip that culminated with her drifting, under a full moon, to Lake Mead. As she recalls, “We had lived surrounded by the canyon walls for three weeks, so the abrupt transition was disorienting. The river we had developed such passion and love for over the last three weeks was now being choked into an eroding construction site. The dignity of the mighty Colorado was lost.” … ”  Continue reading and view a slideshow at the New York Times here: A Photographer’s Evocative Portraits of Rivers in Flux


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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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