BLOG ROUND-UP: A look back at the year in water policy; Will the Delta smelt have a happy new year?; Farming in California: What it takes to feed a nation; and more …

Blue Lake by Marshal Hedin

A look back at the year in water policy:  Ellen Hanak writes, “A year of extreme events—from heavy rains that strained dams to high heat and massive wildfires—revealed the many ways California’s variable climate can impact water management. In 2017 the PPIC Water Policy Center explored how the state is managing such extremes and suggested improvements to help us prepare for an even more volatile future climate. Here are a few highlights. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  A look back at the year in water policy

Will the Delta smelt have a happy new year?  James Hobbs and Peter Moyle write, “The results of 2017 surveys of Delta fishes are coming in. Already, the results are clear:  it was an unhappy year for Delta smelt.  The wet year with high outflows should have created an increase in the population, as happened in 2011.  Instead numbers stayed extremely low.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) estimated abundance of adults from January to February 2017 at approximately 48,000 fish. (The USFWS completed a revised adult delta smelt abundance estimation based on the CDFW’s SKT data for January and February; the point estimate was 47,786 but with confidence intervals from 22,000 to 92,000.) While this might seem like a lot of fish, for a pelagic forage species this is really low. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Will the Delta smelt have a happy new year?

Measures to save the Delta and Delta smelt:  Tom Cannon writes, “The key to saving the Bay-Delta Estuary and its native fish community is keeping the Low Salinity Zone (LSZ) and its brackish water out of the Delta, especially the south Delta where the federal and state project pumps are located.  The native fish of the estuary, both in the Bay and Delta, depend on potency or productivity of the LSZ.  Much research has shown that low Delta freshwater outflow allows the LSZ to move into the Delta, to the detriment of overall ecological productivity and of the survival and production of native fish (and most pelagic species and their food supply).  Allowing the LSZ to move into the Delta allows the export of the LSZ from the south Delta, to the detriment of native fish and their critical habitats.  Increased salinity also harms agricultural and municipal water supplies. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Measures to save the Delta and Delta smelt

Restore the Delta issues statement on Brown Administration’s smaller single tunnel approach:  “This afternoon, environmental reporter Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News published a story declaring that the Brown Administration is revising their plan for CA WaterFix—a $17 billion water conveyance system that would move freshwater flows in the Northern Delta to the south—opting for a smaller single tunnel instead. … Executive Director of environmental watchdog group Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan-Parrila said, “The Brown Administration’s effort to scale back to a single tunnel project—a project that has not been evaluated, scoped, or discussed with Delta stakeholders—smacks of desperation. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Restore the Delta issues statement on Brown Administration’s smaller single tunnel approach

blog-round-up-previous-editionsFarming in California: What it takes to feed a nation:  Caryn Bailey writes, “The sun is setting over the Coachella Valley, and the desert warmth has long been replaced with the region’s evening chill. It is almost winter in Southern California, and in any other region of the country, it is unlikely that farmer Jeff Percy would be pulling fresh, ready-to-eat artichokes from the farm (peak season traditionally runs March through May). The business of agriculture is complex, and those who delve into it quickly realize that only the steadfast survive. My latest venture brought me back to the Imperial and Coachella Valley regions in Southern California, in partnership with California Farm Water Coalition. What I learned about the delicate balance between economics, conservation, and agriculture gave me a greater appreciation for the food we often take for granted. ... ”  Read more from the Rockin Mama blog here:  Farming in California: What it takes to feed a nation

California rice country is home each winter to millions of migratory birds: Todd Fitchette writes, “Winter in California Rice country is hardly slow, even though farmers might be taking a break.  For photographers and bird watchers it’s an excellent time to view millions of birds taking a break from their commute along the Pacific Flyway. Rice fields flooded to enhance decomposition of stubble make excellent habitat for wildlife. … ”  Read more and view slideshow from the Western Farm Press blog here:  California rice country is home each winter to millions of migratory birds

Restore the Delta releases official response to Governor Brown’s proposed state budget:  “This morning, Governor Jerry Brown released the proposed California State Budget for 2018-19. At the official press conference, the Governor emphasized the importance of building up the state’s “rainy day fund” in preparation for the next recession and any statewide environmental emergencies similar to those that plagued California in 2017.  The budget includes a proposed $4 billion water bond (SB 5) that would go to California’s parks, water and flood control infrastructure, ocean and coastal protection, safe drinking water, groundwater management and climate preparedness and resiliency if approved by voters this June. ... ”  Continue reading at Restore the Delta here:  Restore the Delta releases official response to Governor Brown’s proposed state budget

Making sustainable more than word:  Glenn County:  The Northern California Water Association writes, “The driest years on record since 1895 were recorded between 2011 and 2014 causing a statewide drought of emergency. This was a driving force for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) which will build upon the coordinated efforts to manage groundwater sustainably in Glenn County. The drought was followed by a historic wet year. The 2016-17 season, surface water was at its highest levels in some areas since 1997. Between October 1 and April 12, 49 atmospheric rivers made landfall on the West Coast. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  Making sustainable more than word:  Glenn County

Floods, fires, and LA’s future:  Corinne Bell writes, “Once the flames have been extinguished, forest fires have a second opportunity to devastate landscapes through flooding and water pollution.  This week, large areas of Southern California were again subject to evacuation orders. Some residents in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara counties that were recently evacuated due to the Thomas, La Tuna, and Creek fires were again asked to leave…but this time because of the potential for flooding and mudslides.  That’s because land that has been burned has much higher rates of stormwater runoff when it rains. This is due in part to the fact that soils that have been subject to fire are typically less able to absorb rainfall. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here:  Floods, fires, and LA’s future

Initial forecast: Lakes Mead and Powell heading for record low in 2018:  “With an underwhelming snowpack right now, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s initial 2018 forecast (pdf here) projects combined storage in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two primary reservoirs on the Colorado River, will drop to 21.7 million acre feet by the end of 2018. That would be the lowest Mead/Powell combined year end storage since Powell was first filled in the 1960s. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  Initial forecast: Lakes Mead and Powell heading for record low in 2018


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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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