BLOG ROUND-UP: A tale of two fires, Drought forever!; Protecting our forest-meadow reservoirs; food-water footprints; unintended consequences of indoor water conservation; and more …

Mono Lake in the winter; Photo by CEB Imagery

A tale of two fires: How wildfires can both help and harm our water supply:  “Now that summer is over and rain has returned to California, it appears that the dramatic 2017 fire season is finally behind us. The effects of fire season can linger, however, with the possibilities of erosion and polluted runoff from burned areas. Napa County has even issued suggestions for how to protect waterways in burned landscapes.  Not all news is bad when it comes to the interactions between fire and water, however. These two seemingly opposite elements can actually work in tandem under the right circumstances, to the benefit of people as well as the environment. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  A tale of two fires: How wildfires can both help and harm our water supply

Drought forever!  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “We wrote in our July 2015 newsletter “100% Attention on a 3% Solution” that the State Water Resources Control Board just put out a news release with this headline:  “State reduces water use by nearly 29%”  What the headline meant was that of the 10% of water used by homes and business 29% was saved.  But, 29% of 10% is only 2.9% of all developed water use.  So with all the worry about washing cars and watering lawns we only saved 2.9% of the water.  And while environmentalists continue to tell Californians that farms, or Big Ag as they like to call farmers, use 80% of the water, what they don’t tell you is that over 85% of the water that flows to the Delta flows right out of the Delta and into the ocean.  … ” Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Drought forever!

blog-round-up-previous-editionsPassive restoration: Protecting our forest-meadow reservoirs:  Felice Pace writes, “It is late November in the Klamath Mountains Bioregion and snow has begun to accumulate in the high country. For the next six months snow will rule the high mountains and few humans will venture there. While martens hunt in the subnivian space and the snow grows deeper, water seeps into cracks and fissures in rocks, into the many downed logs which litter unlogged forests and into sponge-like forest and meadow soil, filling the millions of tiny spaces found there with water.  With the coming of springtime warmth, the snowpack begins to melt. Meltwater swells mountain streams and the rivers below enabling Spring Chinook salmon to reach the deep, cold pools in which they will spend the summer. The springtime flood also enables Steelhead and resident trout to spawn higher in our watersheds than would otherwise be possible. … ”  Read more from the EPIC blog here:  Passive restoration: Protecting our forest-meadow reservoirs

Delta coalition submits testimony for phase II of the State Water Board’s hearing on the Delta tunnels:  “Today Earthjustice, representing Restore the Delta, submitted detailed testimony from several environmental, recreational, tribal and public trust advocates for Part 2 of State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) hearings on the Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix), slated to begin January 18, 2018.  The SWRCB’s hearings will focus on whether the California Department of Water Resources’ and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s requested permits for new water intakes on the Sacramento River are in the public interest. These intakes would feed the tunnels and divert essential freshwater flows south, further damaging the water quality, ecosystems, and residents that rely on a healthy Delta. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Delta coalition submits testimony for phase II of the State Water Board’s hearing on the Delta tunnels

Producing our food-water footprints:  “California is a world leader in food and fiber production. Our state produces more than 400 different crops across a wide range of climates, soils, and topographies. Family farmers who are experienced with local conditions adapt to circumstances, using their expert judgement, innovative practices and technologies help to make California the nation’s leading farm state.  Innovative farming practices and technologies that are proven successful by California’s farmers are often implemented in other parts of the nation and the world. In recent years farmers in California have spent more than $3 billion just improving drip irrigation systems, while investing untold additional resources adapting to changing local conditions. These investments and efforts provide valuable experience for future adopters. … ”  Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here:  Producing our food-water footprints

The unintended consequences of indoor water conservation:  Lori Pottinger writes, “High rates of water conservation helped California manage limited supplies during the 2012–16 drought. But conservation can have a downside. New research shows that indoor water conservation can reduce the quality and quantity of wastewater, making it harder for local agencies to use treated wastewater to augment their water supply.  We talked to two members of the research team about their findings: David Jassby, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA; and Kurt Schwabe, professor of environmental economics and policy at UC Riverside and an adjunct fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  The unintended consequences of indoor water conservation

Sustainable groundwater management in Colusa County:  Mary Fahey writes, “These are historic times for groundwater management in California, with the onset of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), and recent extreme drought conditions that were followed by one of the wettest winters on record.  Prior to this last winter, a ten year stretch of generally dry conditions existed in the Sacramento Valley, creating many challenges for water managers. Challenges, yes, but these extreme conditions have also provided an excellent opportunity to evaluate the resiliency of the groundwater system. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Sustainable groundwater management in Colusa County

Teetering on the edge of disaster: What’s next for the Salton Sea?  Pablo Garza writes, “We’ve seen it coming for years. The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, has been in a slow and steady decline for decades. And things are likely to get worse at the end of the year.  That is, unless the state steps up and honors its commitment to manage and restore the sea.  The Salton Sea was created in 1905 when floods breached a levee on the Colorado River, sending a wall of water through Imperial Valley and to the Salton Sink, a natural desert bowl roughly 230 feet below sea level. Water accumulated there and ultimately created the Salton Sea. For decades after that Colorado River water continued to sustain the sea as it passed through Imperial Valley farms as irrigation runoff. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Teetering on the edge of disaster: What’s next for the Salton Sea?

Endangered Species Act bureaucrats are playing word games that costs billions of dollars:  Damien Schiff writes, “In the 44 years since the Endangered Species Act became law, federal officials have applied it to cover more than 2,000 plants and animals, spent billions of dollars in administering it and imposed tens of billions in economic costs by forcing vast areas of land out of productive use in the name of habitat protection.  Given these monumental impacts, one might think decision-making would be careful and scientifically rigorous. But it’s not. Quite the contrary: Endangered Species Act regulators have never even bothered to provide official definitions for their key criteria in adding plants and animals to the protected list. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Legal Foundation here:  Endangered Species Act bureaucrats are playing word games that costs billions of dollarsDaily 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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