BLOG ROUND-UP: Bloggers on the new federal water law, the new administration, water movement in the Delta, Delta science, restoration, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and more …

“Beach Ball”, photo by Kev Lewis

blog-round-up-previous-editionsUnderstanding the new federal water law:  Jeff Mount, Brian Gray, and Caitrin Chapelle write, “A new law signed by President Obama in December alters federal water policy in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. These changes are complicated, and their likely effects on both future water supply and environmental stewardship are largely unknown.  The legislation is part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which authorizes water-related investments around the United States. It includes funding for an array of projects in California, such as flood protection in the Sacramento Valley, watershed restoration and water quality improvements in the Lake Tahoe Basin, infrastructure for water recycling and desalination, and new surface water supply projects. It also includes funds for new fish hatcheries, acquisitions of water and land to support aquatic habitat, and programs to control invasive species that exacerbate the threats to endangered species. Before these projects can receive these federal dollars, Congress will also have to appropriate funding for them. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Understanding the new federal water law

New administration brings new opportunities for solutions:  Tim Quinn writes, “Many people in the water community have been asking me the same question these past few weeks – What will a Trump Administration mean for California water? No one knows the answer for sure, but as we move forward, as always, ACWA will stick to its core values. And the template for those core values is the coequal goals of advancing a water policy that benefits both California’s economy and environment.  I have worked in California water under five governors and now – with the election of President Trump – six presidents.  These transitions are just part of life for those who work on public policy. ACWA, as an organization founded in 1910, has worked with many governors and presidents and with each administration, we worked to deliver reliable, safe water while preserving the environment. Now, we adhere to the coequal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem health, and use the 2009 Delta Reform Act and Gov. Jerry Brown’s California Water Action Plan as our road map for achieving those goals. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Voices on Water blog here:  New administration brings new opportunities for solutions

Episode 1: Unraveling the knot: Water movement in the Delta:  Bill Fleenor, Amber Manfree, and Megan Nguyen write, “In 2010, John DeGeorge of RMA, Inc used animated model results to illustrate specific flow and water quality issues in the Delta to the State Water Board. The Center for Watershed Sciences, working with John and using RMA software, has assembled a series of narrated animations to show some major forces acting on Delta flows and water quality. The goal is to “Unravel the Knot” of California’s Delta – at least some it – in terms of flow and water quality.  In Episode 1 we start with general background of California water and the role and significance of the Delta. … ”  Read more and watch the video from the California Water Blog here:  Episode 1: Unraveling the knot: Water movement in the Delta

Dr. Peter Moyle on the latest smelt numbers:  Alex Breitler writes, “Belatedly, here are some observations from native fish guru Peter Moyle about the latest Delta smelt surveys and the lack of a rebound last year, despite more water flowing through the system.  The bottom line: The numbers are low enough that any year-to-year differences that we might notice in the surveys “are not meaningful,” Moyle says.  He offers a shred of hope, noting that 200 smelt were found in a separate survey in December, “but one good sampling doth not a rebound make.”  Moyle’s words: … ”  Read more from Alex Breitler’s blog here:  Dr. Peter Moyle on the latest smelt numbers

More on Delta Science:  Tom Cannon writes, “I have written often on Delta science and what has been or could be learned from science to support water management.  Yet another biennial Delta science conference, the 9th, was held this past November.  This year’s conference theme was: “Science for Solutions:  Linking Data and Decisions.”  Another year has passed, and more has been studied and learned.  More dots have joined the dozens of previous dots in data charts from annual surveys of Delta organisms and habitat conditions.  More dots lament the loss of water and habitat.  The huge Delta Science Program has progressed yet another year.  In Phil Isenberg’s opening talk, “A Guide for the Perplexed”, the former legislator and former chair of the Delta Stewardship Council suggested that scientists learn to smile more.  He asked: “Why should science be involved in policy anyway?” … ”  Continue reading at the California Fisheries Blog here:  More on Delta Science

Flood control weir’d:  The NCWA blog writes, “If you have traveled I-5 between Woodland and the Sacramento River or I-80 between West Sacramento and Davis in the last week, you have witnessed something not seen in over a decade: an “inland sea” of water where seasonal wetlands and riparian vegetation usually dominate the winter landscape. As this California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) blog points out this was a common site before flood control projects were built.  “In order to control these storm flows, the Sacramento River Flood Control Project was created. And in 1916, the city built the Sacramento Weir to protect itself from excessive flood stages. In the following decades, the state added 5 more weirs upstream. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Flood control weir’d

Restoring side channels in the upper Sacramento River:  Dave Vogel writes, “In a prior blog entry on this site, the importance of restoring juvenile salmon rearing habitats in the upper main stem Sacramento River downstream of Keswick Dam was described:  The main river channel is actually a harsh environment for young salmon upon emergence from the river gravels after hatching.  The weak-swimming fry are immediately exposed to very high water velocities and most of the riverbed lacks structure to provide those fish with velocity and predator refugia.  One hypothesis, albeit very difficult to prove, is that insufficient rearing habitats in the upper river may be a significant limiting factor for the salmon runs, particularly for the endangered winter-run Chinook. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Restoring side channels in the upper Sacramento River

Fundamental needs of Central Valley fishes, part 1C: Spring river flows:  “In the coming months and years, regulatory processes involving water rights, water quality, and endangered species will determine the future of Central Valley fishes.  To protect and enhance these fish populations, these processes will need to address four fundamental needs: River Flows; River Water Temperatures; Delta Outflow, Salinity, and Water Temperature; and Valley Flood Bypasses.  In this post, I summarize a portion of the issues relating to River Flows:  spring flows.  Previous posts covered fall and winter flows. ... ”  Continue reading from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Fundamental needs of Central Valley fishes, part 1C: Spring river flows

How to endanger a species:  Eric Caine writes, “To hear Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) management tell it, 3000 acres is a mere pittance. The acreage is what OID estimates would be fallowed in a program it calls the “On-Farm Conservation Program.” OID claims the area is so small and environmental impacts so low that there’s no need for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  The program is currently part of a lawsuit by the Oakdale Groundwater Alliance. Attorneys for the alliance claim OID has failed to perform an EIR in violation of requirements imposed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). … ”  Read more from The Valley Citizen here:  How to endanger a species

The importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge when examining climate change:  “It all started with a simple conversation over lunch. The fuse had been lit, the spark began, and the first step had occurred in my journey, unbeknownst to me at the time. Later that day, I realized, for the first time in my life, I had experiences that were unique. And, I realized I held knowledge. Knowledge that was different from others; knowledge that went beyond the scientific or academic type, and that ran richer, deeper, more extensive. Sitting over sandwiches, sitting with culture, sitting with knowledge.  Truth be told, it had begun much further back, as far back as I can remember, but blissfully unaware. Lunch with a friend brought it all barreling to the forefront of my destiny, and my ancestors’ wishes.  … ”  Read more from The Equation blog here:  The importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge when examining climate change

Excellent Colorado River snowpack so far:  John Fleck writes, “At this critical time of year for Colorado River snowpack, things are looking very good. For the first time this year, the April-July runoff forecast has climbed above 10 million acre feet.  The snowpack among the sites above Lake Powell where the federal government maintains real-time monitoring equipment is 57 percent above the long term median for this point in the year.  The amount of snow does not translate directly into river water because of a number of mediating factors … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Excellent Colorado River snowpack so far

Leasing water – a novel idea to combat ‘buy and dry’ in Colorado:  Brian Jackson writes, “As populations in Colorado and the West continue to grow, water is moving from farms to cities. The current practice of “buy and dry” in Colorado – buying farmland only for its water – is bad for farmers, bad for rural communities and bad for critical ecosystems across the state.  That’s why EDF and WestWater Research have been studying alternative methods for managing water in Colorado. In a new report released this past week, we analyzed Alternative Transfer Methods (ATMs) and developed recommendations that will allow for their implementation on a broader scale. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Leasing water – a novel idea to combat ‘buy and dry’ in Colorado

The water haves and have-nots in the winter of 2017:  Jeff Simonetti writes, “In my last post, I wrote about how long-suffering California is having a good start to the water year as weather patterns have changed and so far, ample rainfall has fallen across the Golden State. A series of powerful storms last week already caused flooding and widespread damage across parts of California. In Sacramento, last week marked the first time in ten years that officials opened the Sacramento Weir to divert floodwaters to the Yolo Bypass and prevent further damage downstream. Strong winds also toppled the iconic Pioneer Cabin Tree, a hollowed-out sequoia large enough for cars to drive through. Further “atmospheric river” storms are expected to hit across the state as the week continues.  The rains have been a boon for the state’s reservoirs. … ”  Read more from the Hydrowonk blog here:  The water haves and have-nots in the winter of 2017

Webinar: Water is for fighting over and other myths about water in the West:  “John R. Fleck, Director of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program, argues in his new book, ‘Water is for Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West’ that the ‘water is for fighting over’ mantra is actually a myth in the western US. When people have less water, they actually use less water. Using the over-allocated Colorado River as an example, Fleck shows that collaboration and cooperation among the seven basin states is far more prevalent than the media accounts would have us believe. He weaves a compelling tale, one that will have us more carefully scrutinize the ‘Western water wars’ headlines that are all too common today.”  Watch below: 


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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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