BLOG ROUND-UP: Trump’s water solutions, Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan amendments, Water well bill, Increasing salmon runs, River management in the Anthropocene, Whiter WOTUS, and more …

Sunset at Snug Harbor

blog-round-up-previous-editionsTrump provides California water solutions as Governor Brown focuses on his legacy:  Aubrey Bettencourt writes, “On May 13, 2017, Governor Brown outlined his revised budget proposal focusing the state’s financial resources on his High Speed Rail legacy project and renewing its efforts to fight the Trump Administration on multiple fronts. While he may have dropped the mic with an antagonistic $183 billion budget, points on the scorecard went to the Trump Administration that day.  As Governor Brown unveiled his budget, Interior Secretary Zinke authorized grants awarding California $21 million for the state’s “planning, designing and constructing water recycling and reuse projects; developing feasibility studies; and researching desalination and water recycling projects.” ... ”  Read more from Fox and Hounds here:  Trump provides California water solutions as Governor Brown focuses on his legacy

Delta Stewardship Council stalls vote on Delta Plan amendments: Restore the Delta writes, “Despite public outcry, the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) continues moving forward with amendments to the Delta Plan. The DSC decided, in response to the Delta community’s comments, to postpone the vote until June and to instead use the 5/25/17 meeting to further consider revisions to the amendment.  Delta activists and lawyers find the revisions even worse.  On April 28, 2017 more than 200 Delta residents voiced their opposition to the proposed Delta Plan amendments for making dual conveyance (also known as the Delta Tunnels proposal) the preferred alternative for moving water through the Delta. The Delta Stewardship Council claimed the revision to the proposed plan amendment that promoted dual conveyance—rather than promoting the CA WaterFix project verbatim—somehow made the amendment less controversial. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Delta Stewardship Council stalls vote on Delta Plan amendments

California’s water well bill will tell us who is tapping depleted groundwater basins:  Juliet Christian-Smith writes, “Groundwater is a shared resource between communities and landowners, much like a joint bank account is a shared resource between individuals. Except in one key way: groundwater users often don’t know who they are sharing water with or how much others are saving or spending.  This might not be a problem when there is plenty of water, but such loose accounting can become very problematic when water is scarce. A new report shows that California’s Central Valley farmers created a groundwater deficit large enough to fill an empty Shasta Lake seven times over during California’s epic five-year drought. This report follows a Sacramento Bee investigation last year that found San Joaquin Valley farmers dug about 2,500 new wells in 2015 alone in “critically overdrafted basins.” … ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here:  California’s water well bill will tell us who is tapping depleted groundwater basins

How do we increase salmon runs in 2017?  Tom Cannon writes, “Over the past few months, I have written posts on the status of specific runs of salmon in rivers throughout the Central Valley.  In this post, I describe the overall status of salmon runs and  recommend general actions to take to increase runs as well as commercial and sport fishery harvests.  The subject is timely given a poor prognosis for the 2017 salmon runs.  It was just a little more than a decade ago at the beginning of the century that there were nearly one million adult salmon ascending the rivers of the Central Valley (Figure 1).  At the same time, there were a million more Central Valley salmon being harvested each year in sport and commercial fisheries along the coast and in the rivers of the Central Valley.  Improvements in salmon management in the decade of the 1990s by the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, CALFED, and other programs had paid off handsomely with strong runs from 1999 to 2005.  New and upgraded hatcheries, combined with the implementation of  trucking hatchery smolts to the Bay, significantly increased both harvest and escapement to spawning rivers. ... ” Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  How do we increase salmon runs in 2017?

River management in the Anthropocene:  John Fleck writes, ““A lively debate, provocatively labeled ‘conservation in the Anthropocene,’,” my University of New Mexico colleague Ben Jones and collaborators wrote last year,  “has been taking place over what conservation, and related notions of naturalness and preservation, means where large natural systems are increasingly inter-connected or coupled to human systems.” In particular, Jones et al. were interested in the Colorado River and Glen Canyon Dam, and the proper incorporation of the range of communities and values that must be incorporated in decision making regarding the dam and its relationship to the larger “coupled human and natural system.” … ”  Continue reading at the Inkstain blog here:  River management in the Anthropocene

The time to act is now!  Salmon restoration in the Sacramento Valley:  The Northern California Water Association Blog writes, “A recent report by CalTrout and U.C. Davis–SOS II: Fish in Hot Water—describes the status of California’s salmon and other species and then offers important and practical “return to resilience” strategies.  Although the report at first blush appears to be very pessimistic, a closer read reveals a more optimistic view that “most of these fishes can continue to persist if appropriate actions are taken.” The authors have stated that they “are optimistic that positive change is imminent and that if the solutions are fully implemented, many of the species reviewed in the…report will thrive in the future.” Importantly, “the time to act is now” according to CalTrout. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  The time to act is now!  Salmon restoration in the Sacramento Valley

Butte Creek spring run chinook salmon: “Butte Creek supports the largest population of spring-run Chinook salmon in California’s Central Valley.1  The recovery of Butte Creek spring-run salmon is one of the few modern success stories in the Sacramento River watershed. Efforts to restore fish passage and river habitats over the past several decades have paid off quite remarkably, but those efforts are now in jeopardy due to the recent drought and impending changes in water management in the Central Valley and Butte Creek. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Butte Creek spring run chinook salmon

Water rights adjudication, Utah style:  John Fleck writes, “Here in New Mexico, in the relatively populous Middle Rio Grande Valley, we have no expectation that water rights – the legal question of who is entitled to the use of how much water – will ever be clearly determined, at least not in the lifetimes of anyone involved in water management today. The institutional transaction costs – the time and money and resources required to sort out the water rights – are prohibitive as our law is now structured. Far small adjudications – fewer water rights holders, less water – have taken more than half a century in New Mexico.  One school of thought holds that this lack of clarity cripples our ability to manage water. The other school of thought (toward which I lean) holds that we’ve muddled through to date, and that we’ll continue to do so with ad hoc management tools that route around this problem. ... ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Water rights adjudication, Utah style

Whither WOTUS?  Dan Farber writes, “President Trump ordered EPA and the Army Corps to review the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule, which sets expansive bounds on federal jurisdiction over water bodies and wetlands. The agencies have sent the White House a proposal to rescind the WOTUS rule and revert to earlier rules until they can come up with a replacement. In my view, either the agencies will have to dive deep into the scientific thicket in the hope of justifying a new rule, or they will have to gamble that Trump will get another Supreme Court appointment before their action gets to the Court.  To set the stage, WOTUS (short for “Waters of the United States”) is a response to the Rapanos decision, in which Justice Scalia and three others judges argued for a very narrow definition of federal jurisdiction over streams and wetlands, while Justice Kennedy adopted a more generous interpretation based on the existence of a nexus with traditional “navigable waters” – waterways that are suited to some kind of transport. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet blog here:  Whither WOTUS?

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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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