BLOG ROUND-UP: Out with the old drought, in with the new, Water Fix EIR/EIS, Tunnel construction in 2018?, Mainstream media, ‘Robust’ San Joaquin salmon runs; and more …

Connection by Don McCullough

blog-round-up-previous-editionsOut with the old drought, in with the new:  Jay Lund writes, “We are just a few months into this year’s wet season, and progress has been great.  Statewide, California is about 800,000 acre ft below average surface water storage for this time of year.  California’s water year began with surface storage about 3 million acre ft (3 full Folsom Reservoirs) less than historical averages for October 1.  This was already a great improvement from the previous year’s being 8 maf below average in January 2016.  While we are still in early days for this water year (October 2016-September 2017), California precipitation is above average for this time of year, 178% of average in Sacramento Valley, 145% in San Joaquin Valley, and 127% in Tulare Basin.  ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Out with the old drought, in with the new

Final WaterFix EIR/EIS Shifts Incremental Water Supplies from Central Valley Project (Farms) to State Water Project (Cities): Jeff Michael writes, “I spent some of my holiday break reviewing the recently released Final EIR/EIS for the California WaterFix.  My goodness, that is a long and boring report even when you are just skimming key chapters and tables.  However, I did find one important change from the 2015 Revised Draft EIR/EIS.  Compared to No Action, building the WaterFix is now projected to increase water supply to the State Water Project by an average of 186,000 acre feet per year, and decrease water supply to Central Valley Project south of Delta users by 14,000 acre feet per year.  While this is a slight decrease from the total exports estimated in the 2015 draft EIR, it is a large change in the distribution between agricultural and urban users.  The numbers in the table below are from Table 5-12 in the Final EIR/EIS and Table B1-3 of the 2015 Revised Draft EIR/EIS.  The Final EIR/EIS only presents one scenario, eliminating the range from earlier drafts. … ” Click here to continue reading at the Valley Economy blog.

Tunnel construction in 2018?  Alex Breitler writes, “A press release last week about the release of 97,000 pages of final environmental documents for the Delta tunnels says construction will begin “as soon as 2018.”  We’ve heard projections like that before. In January 2009, the Schwarzenegger administration said construction on a peripheral canal — the predecessor to the tunnels — would start in 2011. Nearly eight years later, here we are still talking. … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Tunnel construction in 2018?

Mainstream media, false narratives, and the big lie:  Dan Bacher writes, “As an independent journalist, I have learned that much of what you see in the mainstream media and some “alternative” media is at best false narratives and often nothing but more than complete and total lies.  I am very skeptical of information coming from the U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and NOAA Fisheries, as well as state agencies such as the California Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Conservation. The LA Times, Washington Post, LA Times and other media outlets are often nothing but spokesmouths for the agencies and the corporate interests they often serve. … ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Mainstream media, false narratives, and the big lie

‘Robust’ San Joaquin salmon runs:  Tom Cannon writes, “The San Joaquin River appears to be seeing a boon in salmon runs this year despite the recent drought. Editor Dennis Wyatt of the Manteca Bulletin suggested on December 14 that “robust” salmon runs on the San Joaquin River in recent years “discredit” state claims that more of unimpaired flow of the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced rivers should be passed to the Bay-Delta … This theory is circulating among supporters of water purveyors who draw water from the Stanislaus. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  ‘Robust’ San Joaquin salmon runs

Delta smelt status – end of 2016: The Delta smelt population in the Bay-Delta reached record or near-record low indices in 2016 (Figures 1-3), but ended the year with some promise of recovery (Figure 3). The December 2016 Kodiak Trawl Survey collected 214 Delta smelt in one of its nine trawls, and at least one Delta smelt was captured in each of the other eight trawls. Fall 2016 has been wet following a below normal water year 2016 (October 2015 – September 2016), which followed the 2012-2015 drought. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Delta smelt status – end of 2016

River Garden Farm’s video on salmon project: We are excited to present our new Salmon Rearing Habitat video.  When discussing the project, we have found that people sometimes have a hard time visualizing the structures and just how they will function in the river.  We decided to commission the above video in hopes of helping with that.  In the short animation, you will see the design and mechanics of the structures,  as well as the inhabitation of the salmonids as they take advantage of the cover the root wads provide from predators and velocity. The video also gives a little background as to the need for the structures in the first place.  We hope it informs and inspires!”  Click here to check out the video.

Have we halted Lake Mead’s decline?  John Fleck writes, “There’s a “half full/half empty” joke in here somewhere.  The reservoirs of the Colorado River Basin are 49 percent full/51 percent empty right now (data pdf). Despite another bad runoff year, that’s pretty much exactly where they were at the end of 2015.  Let’s go with half full then, shall we? We’ve come within a couple of inches’ elevation of halting Lake Mead’s decline. It still shrank, and absent further action it will continue to do so.  But we are close, and we can see what “further action” looks like. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Have we halted Lake Mead’s decline?

Trump’s silver lining: Make environmental infrastructure great again?  Mark Lubell writes, “There are many reasons to be dismayed about the outlook for environmental policy under the Trump administration. His potential appointees to the Environmental Protection Agency, and Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Energy not exactly environmental advocates. These political appointees will lead efforts to roll back many of the environmental initiatives of the Obama administration, although they may encounter resistance from career civil servants in management positions. Trump does not recognize the validity of climate science, or even “science” writ large, despite substantial research about the economic costs resulting from human damage to the environment. Overall, the Trump administration offers a gloomy forecast that will once again force the environmental community to play political defense.  However, does Trump’s infrastructure plan offer a silver lining for environmental policy within this new political reality? … ”  Continue reading at Mark Lubell’s blog here:  Trump’s silver lining: Make environmental infrastructure great again? 

The year the private sector stood up for land, water, and wildlife: David Festa writes, “By this time next year, I believe we’ll reflect back on 2017 as the year that the private sector stepped up to protect our land, water and wildlife for future generations.  I believe this because major retailers, food companies, agricultural businesses and farmers laid the groundwork in 2016, making sizeable commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), improve water quality and conserve habitat for imperiled wildlife.  President-elect Trump has made political theater by threatening to kill the regulations that protect our nation’s air and water. But in the real world, the private sector is going the other direction.  Forward-thinking businesses are rolling up their sleeves and finding ways to make those regulations work better by accelerating the uptake of practices that are good for the planet and the bottom line. … ”  Read more from Growing Returns here:  The year the private sector stood up for land, water, and wildlifeDaily 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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