BLOG ROUND-UP: Pumping out the inland sea – Delta exports in a time of plenty; Even in flood, smelt captured at the Delta pumps; Banking on groundwater; Climate science and water decisions; and more …

Pumping out the inland sea – Delta exports in a time of plenty:  Jay Lund writes, “This is northern California’s wettest year of record, so far.  The Yolo Bypass has been flooded for most of this wet season, and is still flowing.  Are Delta water exports going to exceed the previous record exports from 2011 (6.5 maf)?  The figure above compares this year’s Delta water exports compare with other years before and after the 2007 Wanger Decision, and the drought years (2012-2016).  So far, the State Water Project and Central Valley Project together have pumped a little less than in 2011, 2006 (another wet year), or 2007. They are all pretty close (with most of these highest-export water years falling after CVPIA and Endangered species restrictions on Delta pumping). ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Pumping out the inland sea – Delta exports in a time of plenty

Even in flood, smelt captured at the Delta pumps:  Alex Brietler writes, “State and federal water exporters are approaching a key limit to the number of imperiled Delta smelt that can be “salvaged” (read: killed) at the south Delta pumps.  Make no mistake, it’s been a great water year for people and fish alike. Conditions in the Delta for smelt and other species are the best they’ve been in years.  But for reasons experts can only theorize about, smelt have been showing up at the pumps off and on since January. As of today, 57 smelt have been counted there; this year’s “take” limit, as determined by scientists, is 64 fish.  If you bust through your take limit you risk getting shut down. So the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has asked its counterpart, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to consider raising the limit. (The state’s not pumping right now because of damage at Clifton Court Forebay.) ... ”  Read more from Alex Breitler's blog here:  Even in flood, smelt captured at the Delta pumps

Efforts to understand Delta smelt salvage:  Tom Cannon writes of the Collaborative Adaptive Management Team (CAMT), ” … First, it is surprising that CAMT would apply “new” approaches and “insights” given that so much has been studied and learned about Delta smelt salvage at the south Delta pumping plants. The salvage problem had been addressed by limiting exports in winter and spring with OMR limits3 and active management by the Smelt Working Group (SWG), an effort that is both highly sophisticated and effective. The working group’s measures have markedly reduced salvage losses but have failed to curb the population decline. The measures came far too late, and managers often did not take the SWG’s advice. ... ”  My apologies if that doesn't make sense, this post is hard to excerpt, but you can read the entire post at the California Fisheries Blog here:  Efforts to understand Delta smelt salvage

blog-round-up-previous-editionsBanking on groundwater:  Lori Pottinger writes, “California’s groundwater basins can store much more water than surface reservoirs. After years of unchecked depletion of many groundwater basins, communities are now coming together to figure out how to manage them sustainably. We talked to Helen Dahlke, a hydrologist at UC Davis and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network, about efforts to recharge groundwater basins to help bring them back into balance.  PPIC: Where do we stand with groundwater recharge?  Helen Dahlke: California has huge potential to store water underground. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Banking on groundwater

People still care about science: California commits to using climate science in water decisions:  “People still care about science even in today’s anti-truth, post-fact political maelstrom. And it’s not just scientists (who will soon be marching in the streets). It’s also the people entrusted with ensuring basic services, like clean drinking water. People like California’s State Water Board members, who passed a resolution this month to embed climate science into all of its existing work.  California represents the cutting-edge on many environmental issues so it often comes as a surprise to people that a significant part of my job is focused on incorporating existing climate science into California’s water policy. Water management is backwards-looking in many ways, using the past to plan the future – even when we know the past will be wrong. … ”  Read more from The Equation blog here:  People still care about science: California commits to using climate science in water decisions

Can rice fields help save endangered salmon?: Tom Cannon writes, “A recent article in the LA Times asked: can rice fields help endangered salmon in the Central Valley? Because that article really did not answer the question, I thought I would try in this post. The answer is: absolutely.  A significant portion of the endangered winter-run and spring-run salmon populations are now made up of hatchery fish. Hatchery fish are important in keeping the populations from falling further toward extinction and in helping toward recovery. To make the hatchery tool in the tool-box of recovery more effective, it is essential that a greater percentage of hatchery eggs become smolts that reach the ocean. Studies show that hatchery smolts released at or near hatcheries have a very poor survival rate to the Golden Gate. Trucking the hatchery smolts to the Bay increases survival, but results in significant straying to other Valley rivers. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Can rice fields help save endangered salmon?

Taking a stand for the future we want in California:  Tim Quinn writes, “With California water at a tipping point once again, ACWA’s Board of Directors is taking a public stand in favor of collaborative, comprehensive solutions that protect and promote both water supply reliability and ecosystem health.  The policy statement on Bay-Delta flow requirements adopted by the Board on March 10 carries a powerful message about a path to a better future. It also makes it clear that the State Water Resources Control Board’s singular focus on “unimpaired flow” is incompatible with that path.  Local urban and agricultural water managers share a vision for the future that includes a vibrant California economy as well as healthy ecosystems. Unfortunately, the unimpaired flow approach proposed by State Water Board staff as part of the Bay-Delta Plan update undermines that vision. … ”  Read more from ACWA's Voices on Water blog here:  Taking a stand for the future we want in California

More than a slogan: The urgent need to work together for a better water future: Earlier this week I joined people representing a diverse group of interests for a panel discussion about water. The event, in Clovis, was organized by Sustainable Conservation, and its title, The Common Good: Working Together for a Secure Water Future, represents much more than a simple, optimistic slogan. As our discussion made clear, working together is absolutely essential to maintain and build sustainability for California agriculture as well as the state’s ongoing development in all facets. … ”  Read more from the Planting Seeds blog here:  More than a slogan: The urgent need to work together for a better water future

To help the environment, we must first help the people:  Audrey Archer writes, “I grew up in the high and dry panhandle plains of Texas, where trees are scarce, wind is always blowing, and the smell of feedlots lingers in the air. Needless to say, I was not overly inspired by my surroundings – at least not at the time I lived there.  Had I not traveled with my family growing up, I wouldn’t have known what I was missing. Throughout these travels, I became enraptured by the biodiversity and lushness of other ecosystems and felt compelled to learn as much as I could about them.  But the stark contrast between some of the natural ecosystems and working landscapes I was exposed to led me to develop a pretty pessimistic view of humans’ impact on the environment. … ”  Read more from Growing Returns here:  To help the environment, we must first help the people

Farmers and environmentalists want the same thing:  Rebecca Haynes writes, “I’m spending time on this year’s National Ag Day thinking back gratefully to a recent meeting I had with farmers.  I was attending the annual farm exchange program offered through the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, which facilitates learning opportunities on California farms. This year’s program brought together state environmental policy professionals and growers from the Central Coast, an epicenter for growing the nation’s specialty crops, such as lettuce, broccoli, and strawberries. My aim was “to see sustainability through the eyes of farmers.” We toured various agricultural operations, had thoughtful discussions, and stayed with host families in the local farm community. … ” Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Farmers and environmentalists want the same thing

Another water book – this one by Pat Mulroy:  Michael Campana writes, “Oh, boy! Another water book! This one is edited by Pat Mulroy, erstwhile head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and now with the Brookings Institution and a few other organizations.  To hear an interview with her click here. …  The chapter I most want to read? The Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta: Resolving California's Water Conundrum. The author? Pat Mulroy. ... ”  Read more from the Water Wired blog here:  TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 18 – 24 March 2017

Smith Canal petition in the works:  “Levee engineer Dominick Gulli, who is suing to block the proposed Smith Canal flood-control gate, told officials last week that he has also started a petition.  “It brings up many of the issues of the way you’re collecting this assessment” to pay for the gate, Gulli told the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency’s Board of Directors. “I don’t think that, once the people hear these facts, there will be many of them who want to pay them.”  Gulli declined today to send me a copy of the pending petition. ... ”  Read more from Alex Breitler's blog here:  Smith Canal petition in the works

More claims of lies on Oakdale Irrigation District recall:  Eric Caine writes, “To hear Deanne Dalrymple tell it, Oakdale farmers Louis Brichetto and Bob Frobose are a couple of bullying “frauds” who are opposed to the attempted recall of Linda Santos from the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) Board of Directors for purely personal reasons—Frobose because he’s Santos’ business partner and friend and Brichetto because he hopes Santos will help him obtain OID surface water for his out-of-district almond orchards. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here:  More claims of lies on Oakdale Irrigation District recall

Inclusion and collaboration: Arizona has a new strategy for water:  Sinjin Eberle writes, “Last week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey illustrated his strong and consistent leadership in addressing Arizona’s pressing water supply needs with two significant announcements. First, Governor Ducey appointed long-time water attorney and Gila River Indian Community member Rodney Lewis to Central Arizona Water Control Board. This appointment was widely applauded across the region as a positive step, most notably as a sign by Governor Ducey that including diverse voices within the management of the water district is a key component in moving the state towards improved sustainability and collaboration, both within Arizona and with regional partners in the Lower Colorado River Basin.  Also announced last week was an innovative long-term water management agreement between the State of Arizona, the Gila River Indian Community, City of Phoenix, and the Walton Family Foundation. ... ”  Read more from the American Rivers blog here:  Inclusion and collaboration: Arizona has a new strategy for water

Climate change and the collision between human and geologic time:  Peter Gleick writes, “Geologic time scales are long – far too long for the human mind to easily comprehend. Over millions, and tens of millions, and hundreds of millions of years, the Earth has changed from something unrecognizable to the planet we see on maps, plastic globes, and photos from space. The Atlantic Ocean didn’t exist eons ago and it will literally disappear in the future as the continental plates continue to shift inch by inch. A visitor from outer space millions of years ago would have looked down upon land masses and land forms unrecognizable today. As John McPhee notes in his book, Assembling California, “For an extremely large percentage of the history of the world, there was no California.” Or North America, China, Australia, Hawai’i, Mt. Everest, Grand Canyon, or any of the other landforms and natural symbols we think of as immutable. … ”  Read more from Significant Figures here:  Climate change and the collision between human and geologic time

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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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