BLOG ROUND-UP: Trump, tunnels, & enviro policy; San Joaquin flow objectives; Predator removal in the Central Valley; Water grabs in Stanislaus County; and more …

Colorful Splash by Theophilos Papadopoulos

blog-round-up-previous-editionsGovernor Brown, Donald Trump, and the tunnels:  Restore the Delta writes, “Today, Restore the Delta called on Governor Brown to advocate for the full protection of San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries and river flows for the estuary, as he establishes his working relationship with President-elect Trump’s transition team and administration.  Restore the Delta’s executive director Barbara Barrrigan-Parrilla said:  “It is striking to us that Governor Brown did not mention protecting the Clean Water Act for drinking water supplies, or the Endangered Species Act in regard to fishery protections, in his statement about the incoming Trump Administration. While we oppose Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnels project, we know that all Californians, expect him, like every governor before him has done, to fight to enforce the federal Clean Water and the Endangered Species Acts to protect the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Governor Brown, Donald Trump, and the tunnels

Delta Deception: Let’s review some recent West Coast tunnel history: The State Water Contractors write:  “Today’s Delta Deception comes from a November 3 opinion editorial, “Delta Tunnel Planners Should Learn From Seattle’s Expensive Goof,” by Conner Everts of the Southern California Watershed Alliance published on KCET’s website. In his op-ed, Everts states:  “Let’s review some recent West Coast tunnel history.”  Truth Be Told: Everts’ review omitted the most important chapter in that history, a new large water tunnel under San Francisco Bay that came in on time and on budget. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) did a series of upgrades to modernize and repair its Hetch Hetchy system that spans from Yosemite National Park to the Bay Area Peninsula. California WaterFix seeks to prevent water outages from earthquakes by transporting water supplies under the Delta in a new twin tunnel pipeline system. Likewise, the SFPUC looked to protect its supply by retiring an aging tunnel on the floor of southern San Francisco Bay and replacing it with a 15-foot tunnel. … ”  Continue reading at the State Water Contractors website here:  Delta Deception: Let’s review some recent West Coast tunnel history

What does a Trump presidency portend for California’s environmental policies?  Richard Frank writes, “Sensing political storm clouds ahead, California Governor Jerry Brown yesterday issued a statement on the presidential election results that concludes: “We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time–devastating climate change.”  Several of my Legal Planet colleagues have recently posted thoughtful commentary on what Donald Trump’s election as the nation’s 45th president signifies for national environmental law and policy.  By contrast, I’d like to focus on the potential for significant political dissonance between the incoming Trump Administration and the State of California. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here: What does a Trump presidency portend for California’s environmental policies?

Trump appoints enemies of salmon, the Delta, and environment to transition team:  Dan Bacher writes, “If anybody had the illusion that incoming President Donald Trump would appoint somebody who cares about the Delta, Klamath River, fish and wildlife and the environment to his transition team, it was quickly dispelled with the appointment of two anti-environmental extremists to his team after he was elected.  On Friday, Representative Devin Nunes (CA-22), one of the most aggressive Congressional proponents of increasing Delta water exports to agribusiness and opponents of fish and wildlife restoration in California and the West, joined the 16-member executive committee of Donald Trump’s transition team. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Trump appoints enemies of salmon, the Delta, and environment to transition team

The next governor?  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Is it too early to think about our next California Governor?  Probably, but the candidates are announcing their intentions (Steyer May Not RunFirst Latino GovernorThe Governor’s Race Begins).  We’re going to make a wild guess.  We think the winner will be a Democrat.  Should Republicans sit it out?  Should farmers?  Should you?  Or, should people who don’t think they can vote for a Democrat take a look at the differences between the candidates?  There is a good chance that water will be an issue between these Democrats, and they won’t be singing off the same page.  We have been told that Antonio Villaraigosa sees water as an important issue in the Latino community in our Central Valley and especially in the Latino communities of Southern California.  … ” Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  The next Governor?

Allocating a share of San Joaquin River water to the environment shows promise:  The California Water Blog writes, “In September 2016, the State Water Board released its draft plan for new environmental flow requirements in the San Joaquin River watershed. The board’s proposal contains a novel—and controversial—recommendation. Instead of following the traditional approach of setting minimum flows to meet specific environmental needs at specific times of the year, the board proposes to allocate a block of water each year to improve habitat for fish and wildlife in the lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries—the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced.  As we have argued in several recent reports, assigning a block of water to the environment has numerous advantages over the traditional regulatory approach. Done well, it could improve ecosystem performance and the efficiency of environmental water use, while reducing uncertainty for other water users. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Allocating a share of San Joaquin River water to the environment shows promise

Does the Central Valley need a predator removal program?  Tom Cannon writes, “The Columbia River Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program just finished another year.  A near-record 200,000 adult pikeminnow were harvested and $1.7 million rewards paid.  The goal of the program is to harvest 10-20% of the population each year to reduce the population about 50%.  Harvest rates in recent years reached as high as 17% as compared to this year’s 11%.  So why after 25 years is the program still harvesting near-record numbers of pikeminnow?  The likely reason is that the program is not based on sound science.  … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Does the Central Valley need a predator removal program? 

California’s snow droughtSnow—or the lack of it—has been making headlines lately. California has had unusually low snowpack for the past several years, and the winter of 2015 was the all-time lowest snowpack in recorded history. Low snowpack brought major challenges to water managers.  Snow plays a disproportionately large role in water and environmental management in California. About a third of our average annual water supply starts out as snow. It flows into our major reservoirs in spring and early summer, when water demand on farms starts to ramp up. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here: California’s snow drought

Another Sacramento River salmon rearing project underway: The NCWA blog writes, “As part of the ongoing Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program , another project started construction today near Redding to improve rearing habitat for salmon and steelhead.  The project will excavate material from an existing side channel complex to provide juvenile rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and Steelhead trout at all flow levels.  The area is currently disconnected from the river at lower flows and strands juvenile fish when river flows drop.  The side channels run along a 1/3 mile stretch of the river upstream of the east end of the Cypress Avenue Bridge in Redding. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Another Sacramento River salmon rearing project underway

The real water grabs in Stanislaus County:  Eric Caine writes, “The signs are up all around Stanislaus County. “Worth your Fight,” they say, and the “o” in “worth” is in the shape of a water drop. Local media and political leaders are shouting, “water grab,” and have plenty of support in their opposition to the state’s proposal to increase flows along Valley rivers.  Water, of course, is worth everyone’s fight, and that’s just where the state’s problems begin. King Solomon had a much easier task; all he had to do was discover the truth. With water, the truth is everyone needs it and everyone can justify the demand for it. ... ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  The real water grabs in Stanislaus County

The risks of overestimating future water demand:  John Fleck writes, “Laura Paskus has a new piece touching on an issue that is one of the most important policy problems in western US water management – the tendency of water managers to overestimate future demand. In this case, it’s the Gila River basin in southwestern New Mexico, where planners are considering significant investment to build a new water diversion for use by the region’s communities. But will that water be needed in the long run? She’s quoting here Craig Roepke, prior to his retirement as the state of New Mexico’s manager for the Gila project … ”  Read more at the Inkstain blog here:  The risks of overestimating future water demandDaily emails

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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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