Blog round-up: Holding out for a hero, Is there a plan B to the tunnels?, How much water does nature need?, Targeting public funds for habitat restoration, and more …

Fort Ord by BLM
Fort Ord, photo by Bob Wick, BLM

Holding out for a hero: Faith Kearns writes, “So often in life, we want to be saved. We want miracles. We want to be rescued by a parent, by a prince, by a god, by technology, by science — by a hero. And, who can blame us? It’s the stuff of myth and legend and the stories we were all raised with. Over the past many years of California drought, the want for a savior come up repeatedly. Last fall, it was the hope that El Niño would bail us out (and, well, we all know how that turned out). The latest manifestation is being called a “water windfall” — a newly described store of deep groundwater underneath the Central Valley. In short, a research study done by Mary Kang and Rob Jackson at Stanford was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy this week. … ” Read more from the Science Unicorn here: Holding out for a hero

The big lie: There is no Plan B to the Delta tunnels:  “Yesterday, Restore the Delta, AquAlliance, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Impact Network,  Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, Planning and Conservation League, and Sierra Club California submitted a letter to the Santa Clara Valley Water District regarding better plans for the Delta:   Our public interest organizations write out of concern that once again, the Big Lie has been repeated that there is no Plan B to the California Water Fix Delta Water Tunnels. In fact, there is an outstanding Plan B, and for that matter, other alternative Plans as well to the Water Tunnels. The self-serving refusal of the proponents of the Water Tunnels to listen to or consider alternative Plans does not mean there is no Plan B. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  The big lie: There is no Plan B to the Delta tunnels

How much water does nature need?  Lori Pottinger writes, “California’s water-dependent ecosystems are stressed even in normal times, and the latest drought has made matters worse. We talked to Mike Sweeney—the executive director of the Nature Conservancy’s California chapter and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s advisory board—about the troubled condition of our natural environment and how to improve it.  PPIC: How much water does nature need?  Mike Sweeney: In most places, the answer is “more than it’s getting now.” But it’s as much about timing and temperature as it is about quantity. Research shows that taking more than 20% of a river’s natural flow at any given time can negatively impact the river’s function and ecosystem. Today, our rivers receive about half of their historic natural flow. Clearly, we have a problem. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  How much water does nature need?

Drought? Looks like everyone has their water except the farmers: If you’re trying to figure out if there’s a drought in California it can be a little confusing.  According to the U.S. Drought Monitor 43% of the state suffers from extreme or exceptional drought.  However, the Governor asked the State Water Board to relax the strict conservation standards imposed last year.   The L.A. Dept. of Water and Power says their conservation restrictions are no longer in place.  In the Coachella Valley, home to Palm Springs and 124 golf courses, their 36% reduction target last year is now 0%.  Beverly Hills is also shooting for 0%.  Beverly Hills gets their water from the Metropolitan Water District that also supplies much of SoCal’s water.  MWD also says it has enough water for its customers needs.   … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Drought? Looks like everyone has their water except the farmers

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How can we better target public funds for restoration?  Look to Elliot Ranch:  Dan Kaiser writes, “This week, the Delta Conservancy, a California state agency, awarded Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) a grant of $380,000 to implement a habitat enhancement project for the state-listed Swainson’s hawk on Elliott Ranch in West Sacramento, near the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The grant is part of California’s public water bond funding being managed by the Delta Conservancy to restore wildlife habitat in the Central Valley.  The Elliott Ranch project will enhance Swainson’s hawk habitat on 300 acres. Specifically, the project will expand the hawks’ hunting grounds by restoring habitat for their prey and converting existing crops to bird-friendly pasture. … ”  Read more from EDF’s Growing Returns blog here:  How can we better target public funds for restoration?  Look to Elliot Ranch

Dude, where’s my dam?  Dave Puglia writes, “Where are the new dams?  That question has been asked, often quite loudly, by many Californians in the months since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1, the 2014 water bond that authorized $7.545 billion in funding for various projects and needs, and specifically allocated $2.7 billion for storage projects.  Some have questioned whether the Brown Administration is holding things up by creating a long regulatory process that will guide the California Water Commission’s decisions on where and how the $2.7 billion will be spent.  We have legitimate reasons to criticize the Brown Administration these days, but this isn’t one of them.  Here are two reasons why … ”  Read more at the Western Growers Association here:  Dude, where’s my dam?

Who gets the water?  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “We’re somewhat baffled by the recent story announcing ‘an agreement to begin a feasibility study of the project (Temperance Flat).  After all, there was already a draft feasibility study done in 2014.  Wouldn’t that logically evolve into the official feasibility report.  But, who are we to question how government works?  As a matter of fact, we welcome a new feasibility study since the draft didn’t treat farmers with much respect.  We wrote about it back in March of 2014 with a newsletter entitled “Is Temperance Flat the Answer?”   … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Who gets the water?

Drought and equity in the San Francisco Bay area: California’s ongoing drought has wide-reaching impacts, from how we grow crops to the price of electricity. Often overlooked is its impact on disadvantaged communities. The Pacific Institute and The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW) conducted community-based participatory research with eight Bay Area community-based groups to explore and document the drought’s impacts on low-income people in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Through a series of collaborative meetings, surveys, and in-depth analyses of data, the group produced a groundbreaking report that sheds light on specific drought-related hardships faced by low-income residents and offers recommendations for mitigating those impacts. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here:  Drought and equity in the San Francisco Bay area

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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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