Blog round-up: Tree mortality, instream flows, latest Delta lawsuit, tunnel talk, groundwater, water storage, and more …

DCA Old Entrance
The former entrance to Disney’s California Adventure … photo by Peter Lee
Blog Round Up
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Trees are dying in California, increasing the risk of fire.  What can we do about it?  “Scientists from the U.S. Forest Service estimate that as many as 26 million trees have died in the Sierra Nevada over the last eight months, creating a landscape at risk for massive wildfires.  Sierra Nevada forests require fire to maintain ecological integrity and periodic fires create patches of complexity that actually enhance biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. But tree mortality at this level creates an immediate risk to human communities and plant communities. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Trees are dying in California, increasing the risk of fire.  What can we do about it?

Instream flows: Five features of effective summertime strategies: Ann Willis writes, “As summer begins and stream flows drop throughout California, concerns resurface about whether there’s enough water to support critical ecosystems. Environmental flows have long been a contentious issue, often presented in conflict with existing water use. But there are five key ideas worth remembering as water users and regulators throughout the state consider how best to support environmental objectives during these periods of naturally low stream flows within the framework of existing water laws and desired water use. … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: Instream flows: Five features of effective summertime strategies

Read the latest Delta lawsuit:  Alex Breitler writes, “South-of-Delta water users say the federal government has failed to take a hard look at the human impact of reductions in water exports from the estuary.  Here’s a copy of the lawsuit that the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District filed on Friday. … ”  Continue reading at Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Read the latest Delta lawsuit

Restore the Delta rebuts the latest “Fast Facts” from tunnel backers:  “On June 30, 2016 the California Natural Resources Agency put out another “fact sheet” extolling the virtues of the proposed California WaterFix (Delta Tunnels).  This new effort is entitled “Fast Facts” and like most of the claims made by tunnel proponents, it plays fast and loose with the facts.  Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the claims made in this new public relations effort…  CLAIM: Secure clean water supplies for 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of farmland.  FACT: In reality, 70 percent of the water used from the Delta goes for large industrial agriculture in the Southwestern San Joaquin Valley that contributes just 0.3% to the state’s GDP. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Restore the Delta rebuts the latest “Fast Facts” from tunnel backers

California’s agriculture chief: Why can’t we all just get along? Among Nebraska’s best farm exports may be one of the country’s most important agriculture officials, California’s Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross. Raised on a Nebraska farm, Ross knows her way around fields and barns, but has spent much of her adult life focused on farm policy, including stints working for a US Senator and the current US Secretary of Agriculture before accepting her current post.  With water such an essential part of every farmer’s life and well-being, and with water wars being waged in drought-ravaged California, calm, even-handed Ross is in a perfect place to ensure that farmers get what they need today while water resources are marshalled and preserved for the future. … ”  Read more from the Huffington Post here:  California’s agriculture chief: Why can’t we all just get along?

Leave California’s “new” groundwater in the ground:  Juliet Christian Smith writes, “In the last couple of weeks, the California media have been heralding the discovery of “new water” in deep aquifers as a possible solution to the state’s ongoing drought and water shortages. Unfortunately, the updated estimate of available groundwater reported by Stanford University researchers isn’t that new—scientists have long known that there are many deep aquifers throughout the state—and more significantly, accessing these waters would be extremely expensive due to their great depth and poor quality.  As the Stanford researchers noted, the majority of the deep groundwater studied is neither drinkable nor usable for agricultural purposes due to its high salt content. Most of it would need to be desalinated, at an enormous cost. … ”  Read more from The Equation blog here:  Leave California’s “new” groundwater in the ground

The role and magnitude of storage in Northern California:  “As we move through the middle of summer, now is a good time to think about the important role of surface storage in Northern California and the longer-term solutions that will help California during dry years. To be sure, California currently has 39 million people and a spectacular landscape supporting various other species–all of which depend upon a managed water system to help provide drinking water and other domestic uses, the most diverse and high quality food grown anywhere in the world, the cold water and habitat for fish, and habitat for birds along the Pacific Flyway. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  The role and magnitude of storage in Northern California

Questions for the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “The SJVWIA (San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority) is a joint-powers group made up of five Central Valley counties (Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare) formed to administer the provisions of Prop 1, the Water Bond of 2014.  The primary goal of the group is to stay engaged with the Prop 1 process and advocate for funding of Temperance Flat Dam. This seemed like a good idea at the time, and still could be, but so far the group has come out opposed to a proposed ballot initiative that would take money away from high-speed rail and use it instead for water projects.  You would think if there’s something Valley farmers could agree on it would be this, but this JPA (joint-powers authority) group chose to divide the farm community instead of taking the lead in unifying all in a worthy cause.   … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Questions for the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority

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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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