Blog round-up: Federal drought legislation, predation on native species, drought’s hidden costs for agriculture, IBM Watson helping out in drought, and more …

Blue Heart by Thomas Hawk
Blue Heart by Thomas Hawk
Blog Round Up
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Eight reasons why Restore the Delta doesn’t support the Garamendi-Feinstein bills:As our readers are well aware Senator Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill (SB 2533) now has a companion bill in the House of Representatives. Congressman John Garamendi introduced HR 5247 this week which completely mirrors Senator Feinstein’s legislation. What our readers do not know is that Congressman Garamendi has attempted a full court press on Restore the Delta to support this legislation beginning back in February.  When Congressman Garamendi released his draft legislation, he approached Restore the Delta to support the bill. After reading the bill and being in conversation with environmental experts, fishery experts and Delta water district attorneys, we concluded that HR 5247 was another bad water extraction bill aimed at delivering water from the Delta to just 3 of California’s 58 drought stricken counties. This acceleration of water extraction for the Delta negates the conservation elements touted by Congressman Garamendi and Senator Feinstein. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Eight reasons why Restore the Delta doesn’t support the Garamendi-Feinstein bills

Senate bill represents an opportunity to redefine state, federal relationship on water:  Tim Quinn writes, “Since passage of historic water legislation in 2009, the core tenet of California water policy is managing for the coequal goals of improving both water supply reliability and ecosystem health.  Over the past quarter century, California water agencies have invested billions of dollars in conservation and local water supply resources to reduce demands for imported water. We have developed a voluntary water market and constructed local and regional storage projects to shift water deliveries from dry years – when conflict between environmental needs and water supply needs are greatest – to wetter periods when conflicts are significantly reduced.  In short, state and local water managers have effectively reinvented how we manage water to better accommodate the needs of both our economy and the environment.  … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Senate bill represents an opportunity to redefine state, federal relationship on water

It doesn’t appear the Democrats want a conference committee, say Families Protecting the Valley:  They write, “We keep being told that we should support the U.S. Senate’s version of the Drought Bill because it can then be taken to the Conference Committee with the House where a compromise can be worked out.  But, it doesn’t appear to us that Democrats want to get to a Conference Committee.  Why would we say that?  Because they keep telling us. ... ”  Continue reading at Families Protecting the Valley here:  It doesn’t appear the Democrats want a conference committee

Understanding predation impacts on native fishes: Peter Moyle, Andrew Sih, Anna Steel, Carson Jeffres, and William Bennett write, “Will endangered fishes, such as Chinook salmon, delta smelt, and longfin smelt, benefit from control of predators, especially of striped bass? This question is of interest because if the answer is ‘yes’, then predator control might increase the benefits of other actions, such as provision of environmental water for native species. In this blog we express our skepticism of large-scale predator control as a conservation tool, based on eight principles. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Understanding predation impacts on native fishes

Groundwork for a salmon revival: I thought human teen-dom was tough. My own experience of navigating mean girls, not having two Polo shirts to wear at the same time (80s kids called that doubling-up) and picking the wrong boy to kiss after school pale in comparison to the rites of passage nature inflicts on its non-human inhabitants. Take salmon, for example, as a case of one species’ rough initiation to adulthood. Orphaned as hatchlings, they make an epic journey from inland rivers to the sea and back again. It is an odyssey fraught with peril, as they learn to avoid predators and forage for food, only to have to find their way around manmade obstacles like dams, mining pits and pumping plants.  Of course, salmon may not be the most sympathetic creatures in the world. … ”  Read more from Lynn Lipinski here:  Groundwork for a salmon survival

Fixing California water: Felicia Marcus at the Helm:  Seth M. Siegel writes, “Felicia Marcus has a knack for accepting jobs just before crises occur. Just before the California drought hit, Marcus agreed to serve as Chair of the California Water Resources Control Board.  A philosophical person in a potentially bureaucratic position, Marcus has a lot of ideas about water governance and management. She is a believer in local control, and put the – just lifted – state regulations in place last year reluctantly. But even when playing “bad cop” to farmers, homeowners and others eager to use lots of water, Marcus sets out reasons for her actions that provide a Mary Poppins-like “spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.” Whether when I’ve met with her in person or, more recently, in an interview on the Let There Be Water Podcast series, Marcus is cheerful and intelligent. ... ”  Read more from the Huffington Post here:  Fixing California water: Felicia Marcus at the Helm

Despite drought, California agriculture is doing well, but there are hidden costs:  Scott Sellers writes, “According to a new World Bank report, regions around the world could gain or lose up to 6 percent of their GDP by 2050 depending on how they manage for climate-driven water scarcity.  I was curious about how the report’s findings might apply to California, where I live.  Here in the Golden State, water scarcity is a familiar threat. And while the World Bank found that climate-water costs to North American GDP should be minimal, many Californians have suffered acutely from sustained drought.  In some cases, however, it isn’t entirely clear what the impacts of water scarcity have been. … ”  More from EDF’s Growing Returns blog here:  Despite drought, California agriculture is doing well, but there are hidden costs

Troubled waters for California farmers:  Lori Pottinger writes, “California farmers have been coping with major water challenges during the latest drought. We talked with Dave Puglia, executive vice president of Western Growers and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center advisory council, about these challenges.  PPIC: What water uncertainties do California farmers face?  DAVE PUGLIA: It varies by region. In some areas, water reliability for the future is paramount. In other places, water quality requirements are more challenging. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Troubled waters for California farmers

The supercomputer that won Jeopardy is now helping California save water:  “IBM’s Watson is pitching in to tackle California’s drought.  The supercomputer, which may be best known for destroying human opponents in games like Jeopardy and Go, has been enlisted by environmental consulting firm OmniEarth to track water use across California.  OmniEarth announced the partnership on Friday. But for over a month, the company has been tapping into Watson’s computing power to scan satellite and aerial images of California’s lush valleys and barren deserts to figure out how Californians are using their dwindling water reserves. … ”  Read more from the Huffington Post here:  The supercomputer that won Jeopardy is now helping California save water

Oakdale Irrigation District fails transparency test, says Director Linda Santos:  She writes, “I ran for the Oakdale Irrigation District board to help bring transparency and accountability to the district, and I have spent tremendous effort to do just that.  Keeping our community’s water local is essential. With too many of our domestic wells going dry and water tables for our groundwater aquifers dropping, we must be conservative and prudent with water management.  Occasionally selling excess water to out-of-region buyers may not always a bad thing, but OID first must consider the environmental impacts and long-term effects to our local economy and all of our community members. … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  Oakdale Irrigation District fails transparency test, says Director

10 of the Greatest #WildlifeWin Stories of All Time:  “A #WildlifeWin can come in any shape or size. … Since 1973, the Endangered Species Act has helped preserve vanishing plants and animals for future generations — making it the ultimate tool in achieving a #WildlifeWin. For more than 40 years, Interior Department’s U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has worked with partners to protect imperiled species and their habitats, ensuring stable populations. And they’ve made remarkable progress — 34 species have successfully recovered and no longer need federal protection, while many more have rebounded to the point where their status can be downgraded from endangered to threatened. Many more species have had their downward population trends stabilized as well.  Here are 10 awesome wildlife successes through the years … ” Read more from the Department of the Interior here:  10 of the Greatest #WildlifeWin Stories of All Time

The week that was, May 15-21, 2016: From the week that was in water news: Lake Mead hit a record low, Lake Michigan a record high, Texas has a water plan and what Paul Simon thought about ‘Bridge over Troubled Water.‘”  Read Emily Green’s water news wrap up at the Chance of Rain blog here:  The week that was, May 15-21, 2016

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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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