BLOG ROUND-UP: Bloggers weigh in on Prop 1 water storage project benefit scores; Lessons for SGMA from other state-local collaborations; Can spring run salmon rebound on Butte Creek?; The reservoir tucked inside a hillside; and more …

Sausalito, Photo by Miwok

blog-round-up-previous-editionsWhat does the California Water Commission’s review of water storage projects mean?  “[Last Friday], the California Water Commission will publicly release its initial reviews of the 11 remaining applications submitted by water storage projects seeking funding from the 2014 water bond (Proposition 1).  As the San Jose Mercury News reported earlier this month, Commission staff have explained that these initial reviews found significant problems with all of the applications.  We don’t yet know the specific issues raised by Commission staff in their reviews of the applications, and it is likely that some of the reviews identified relatively minor problems that are easy to fix, rather than major flaws.  But the fact that Commission staff did not rubber stamp these applications and appear to have rigorously reviewed the applications suggests that the process is working as designed by Proposition 1.  … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press Blog here:  What does the California Water Commission’s review of water storage projects mean?

When did water become irrelevant in California?  Todd Fitchette writes, “Four years ago Californians were asked to approve a little over $7 billion in borrowing for a variety of water quality and supply needs. The bond measure, called “Proposition 1,” passed, which suggests that voters thought spending money on water is a good thing.  The measure included $2.7 billion for water storage projects, dams, and reservoirs. The law was carefully written so that portion of spending was not reliant on annual legislative appropriations, but would be available pending approval by the California Water Commission. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press blog here:  When did water become irrelevant in California? 

What the snow survey says about Prop 1:  Tim Quinn writes, “The state Department of Water Resources today reported that the snow pack remains far below average, with a snow water equivalent of 14%. While an improvement over January’s measurements, it is still a cause for concern – but certainly not a case for overreaction. And there is good news.  California’s reservoirs currently contain an above-average amount of stored water at this point. Also, water managers throughout the state have developed a wide range of contingency plans for any possible outcome. California’s water suppliers are among the most resilient in the nation, if not the world. They are seasoned strategists and ready for pretty much anything, whether drought conditions again require conservation measures or a “March Miracle” makes finding more storage capacity an immediate priority. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Voices on Water here:  What the snow survey says about Prop 1

California reaches new milestone on path to water security:  Maurice Hall writes, “The release of the public benefit ratio scores for proposed California water storage projects is an important milestone on the path to a secure water future for the state. I commend the California Water Commission for all of the hard work that has been done to get to this point.  “Additional water storage will be necessary to make California more resilient to drought and changing hydrology. Yesterday’s dismal snowpack survey – 27 percent of ‘normal’ for this time of year – only reinforces that the state needs to change how it manages water to meet the needs of our communities, the economy and the environment. … ”  Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund here:  California reaches new milestone on path to water security

Ag is a public benefit!  Families Protecting the Valley write, “We think most people would agree that we all want Temperance Flat to provide water for agriculture.  The 2014 Prop 1 Water Bond will provide public money for proposed projects that have the necessary ‘public benefits’.  The probem Temperance Flat has is that the state no longer regards farming as a public benefit.  So to convince the California Water Commission that they should fund part of the project, supporters have to put together a proposal that doesn’t give water to agriculture.  That’s right.  To try to get water for ag supporters have to make a proposal that promises that ag won’t get the water. ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Ag is a public benefit!

Lessons for SGMA from other state-local collaborations:  Dave Owen writes, “California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is known primarily for establishing statewide requirements for sustainable groundwater management.  But the statute did another important thing: it introduced an intriguing yet relatively rare model of state and local governance into groundwater management.  Typical state and local governance models involve delegating authority to local governments, with state intervention occurring on an ad-hoc basis (if at all); or, alternatively, keeping all authority at the state level.  SGMA, however, mandates local planning and implementation and state-level administrative review. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Lessons for SGMA from other state-local collaborations

Water: Time for a fresh look at what works, what doesn’t, and what to do about it:  The California Farm Water Coalition writes, “For decades, California has been stuck in a Groundhog-Day-like water debate that pits fish and the environment against humans, farms and other water needs. Presented as a zero-sum game, we are told it is necessary for one set of water-users to lose in order for another to win. As the argument goes, if farms and cities are getting the water promised to them, fish and the environment must suffer.  Having long rejected the winners and losers approach to water we applaud the current effort by the Bureau of Reclamation to review why, when, and where California’s two main water delivery systems – the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) – allocate our water. .... ”  Read more from the CFWC blog here:  Water: Time for a fresh look at what works, what doesn’t, and what to do about it See also: No Chicken Little, the sky is not falling

Building community to support healthy forests:  Henry McCann writes, “California’s mountainous headwater forests are in crisis, and an all-hands-on-deck approach is needed to improve their health. A combination of factors—dense forests with too many small trees, abundant ground fuels, and large patches of dead trees―leaves them increasingly vulnerable to severe wildfire. The best way to address the impacts of tree mortality and improve forest health is with strategic use of fire and mechanical thinning.  A big challenge to increasing the pace and scale of forest management is the patchwork nature of California’s headwaters. Implementing forest management is particularly challenging for many people who own family forests (parcels less than 5,000 acres in size), which make up about a quarter of the Sierra Nevada headwater forests. The high cost of forestry work on these small land holdings is a major barrier for many owners. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  Building community to support healthy forests

Podcast: What does it take to recover salmon in the Sacramento Valley?  The Northern California Water Association writes, “The Rice Radio podcast, which is produced by Kurt Richter, recently took an in-depth look at the work being conducted in the Sacramento Valley to enhance salmon recovery.  The podcast includes interviews with fisheries biologist Dave Vogel, Les Canter and Roger Cornwell with project proponent River Garden Farms, RD 108 General Manager Lewis Bair and NCWA President David Guy.  Listen to Saving Salmon in the Sacramento Valley from Rice Radio in Podcasts.”

Can Spring Run Salmon Rebound on Butte Creek?  Allan Harthorn writes, “On the heels of the worst run of Spring Run Chinook in over twenty years, the current state of the DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric project sale/transfer/decommissioning is not looking good for the salmon on Butte Creek. Pacific Gas and Electric, it would seem, would prefer to shut it all down, decommission all the project parts and walk away. This was made clear last year when PG&E first announced their intentions to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to surrender the license. Almost everything included in the project is more than 100 years old with decades of deferred maintenance, including several components that have failed and are far too costly to repair, refurbish or rebuild. The price they receive for the small amount of power it produces is steadily going down due to other renewable energy sources. The costs of maintaining the far reaching tentacles of the project are high. It is not the most attractive of businesses to consider purchasing. … ”  Continue reading from the Friends of Butte Creek here:  Can Spring Run Salmon rebound on Butte Creek

Hidden in a hill: The Perris Hills Reservoir:  The SoCal Tap Water blog writes, “First built in 1949 to provide water to Community Hospital of San Bernardino, the Perris Hill Reservoir serves as drinking water storage for the people in the City of San Bernardino. This hidden reservoir is not visible to the naked eye; it was intentionally constructed inside an existing hill, east of Perris Hill Park. A popular hiking spot for locals, the Perris Hill Reservoir is hidden deep in the earth. From the top of the hill, only the beautiful surrounding mountains of San Bernardino are seen.  … ”  Take a peek inside from the SoCal Tap Water blog here:  Hidden in a hill: The Perris Hills Reservoir

Climate-resilient agriculture requires both global and local action.  Here’s how:  “2017 saw 16 weather and climate disasters that cost a billion dollars or more, from freezes and hail, to fires and flooding. Agricultural losses from Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria and California wildfires alone totaled more than $5.7 billion – and counting.  With extreme weather becoming more common, we all have a stake in building a food system that can absorb and recover from such stress. A resilient food supply equips farmers with the tools and incentives to find climate-smart solutions, and that requires action globally and locally. ... ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Climate-resilient agriculture requires both global and local action.  Here’s how

The 9th circuit weighs in: Discharges to groundwater are subject to the Clean Water Act:  “As I’ve previously discussed, whether a discharge to groundwater may be subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction is currently in dispute.  Now the 9th Circuit has weighed in, finding that point discharges to groundwater are subject to the Clean Water Act, so long as an ultimate discharge of pollutants to surface waters of the United States is “fairly traceable” to the discharge to groundwater.  My advice to the County of Maui? File a certiorari petition. ... ”  Read more from JD Supra here:  The 9th circuit weighs in

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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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