BLOG ROUND-UP: Westlands drainage settlement, Cal Water Fix, groundwater recharge, are discharges to groundwater subject to the Clean Water Act?, and more …

Sutro Baths; Photo by Rick Schwartz

Committee rejects Westlands drainage settlement rider to NDAA, but big ag vows to keep fighting:  Dan Bacher writes, “In a victory for salmon and the Delta, a Conference Committee rejected Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to add H.R. 1769, Representative David Valadao’s rider approving the Westlands Water District settlement on toxic irrigation drainage, to the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).  A Conference Committee is a temporary, ad hoc panel composed of House and Senate conferees that is formed for the purpose of reconciling differences in legislation that has passed both chambers. Conference committees are usually convened to resolve bicameral differences on major and controversial legislation, as in the case of this bill.  The San Luis Drainage Resolution Act rider was not included in the final bill, thanks to political pressure on Senate and House Democrats by the Hoopa Valley Tribe, fishing groups and environmental organizations. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Committee rejects Westlands drainage settlement rider to NDAA, but big ag vows to keep fighting

blog-round-up-previous-editionsFurther thoughts on the California Water Fix:  Tom Cannon writes, “The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, commonly known as MWD, recently released a series of information papers on the California WaterFix (Delta Tunnels).  In this post, I further address MWD’s “assessment” of what will happen to the Bay-Delta environment and fish community if the WaterFix is built and operated.  Excerpts from MWD’s papers and my comments follow. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Further thoughts on the California Water Fix

Something fishy happened here:  Alex Breitler writes, “Last week’s write-up about the discovery of a green sturgeon in the Stanislaus River got a lot of clicks. I suspect that’s because it’s so unusual these days to hear “good news” about Central Valley fisheries.  One thing you might have missed in the guts of that story was how biologists were able to definitively identify the fish.  The Cramer Fish Sciences technician who first spotted the 4- to 6-foot long sturgeon returned to the Stan to dive and look for it again. And he got some great pictures. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Something fishy happened here

Managed groundwater opportunities in the Sacramento Valley:  The Northern California Water Association writes, “The State Board of Food and Agriculture today held a public forum on “Managed Groundwater Recharge to Support Sustainable Water Management.” The purpose of the forum was to identify benefits, opportunities and barriers; gather momentum; and expand the implementation of managed groundwater recharge projects at all scales on agricultural lands and working landscapes for flood rick reduction, drought preparedness, and aquifer and ecosystem restoration. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Managed groundwater opportunities in the Sacramento Valley

The state of groundwater recharge in the San Joaquin Valley:  Ellen Hanak writes, “When strong winter rains finally ended the recent five-year drought, many water districts seized the opportunity to recharge depleted aquifers. How did they do, and what barriers did they face? A public forum brought more than 30 experts together to discuss the benefits, opportunities, and barriers to groundwater recharge. The event was hosted by the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and the state Department of Water Resources.  My presentation focused on recharge in the San Joaquin Valley—a region that is home to more than four million people, half the state’s agricultural output, and most of its critically overdrafted groundwater basins, where pumping exceeds replenishment. Consequences include dry wells, sinking lands, and reduced supplies to weather future droughts. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  The state of groundwater recharge in the San Joaquin Valley

When is a discharge to groundwater subject to the Clean Water Act?  Can you say ‘significant nexus’?  Seth Jaffe writes, “Whether the Clean Water Act regulates discharges to groundwater has been a topic of significant debate.  At this point, there seems to be something of a trend in the cases towards concluding it does, but it remains true that all of the courts of appeal that have addressed the issue have concluded that it does not.  As I have noted, the problem with the “yes” answer is that pretty much all groundwater eventually discharges to surface water, making all such discharges subject to the CWA.  How can that be, given that groundwater is not considered to be “waters of the United States?” … ”  Read more from JD Supra here:  When is a discharge to groundwater subject to the Clean Water Act?  Can you say ‘significant nexus’?

Celebrating 60 years of water resources research and extension at the University of California:  “Doug Parker is the director of the California Institute for Water Resources and Strategic Initiative Leader for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Water Quality, Quantity, and Security Strategic Initiative. I interviewed him as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the water institute.  Can you explain what the California Institute for Water Resources is?  It’s a bit of complicated, but fun, history. In 1956, the state legislature passed a bill to allocate $100,000 to the University of California to create an institute that would help solve water issues facing California. A year later, those funds were matched by the university, which established a multi-campus research unit that became the UC Water Resources Center. It was originally housed at UCLA and directed by Dr. Martin Huberty. Over the years, it moved between the UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Riverside campuses. It has been a part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) during most of this time. We are now located at UC ANR’s headquarters in Oakland. ... ” Read more from The Confluence blog here:  Celebrating 60 years of water resources research and extension at the University of California

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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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