BLOG ROUND-UP: Resurrecting the Delta for desirable fishes; The misapplication of “Best Available Science”; Water Fix tunnels and gas wells; Are California’s cities prepared for the next drought?; What makes a ruin; and more …

Photo by Isolino Ferreira

Resurrecting the Delta for Desirable Fishes:  Peter Moyle, Carson Jeffres, and John Durand write, “The Delta is described in many ways.  When extolling the Delta as a tourist destination, it is described as a place of bucolic beauty; islands of productive farmland are threaded by meandering channels of sparkling water, a place to boat, fish, view wildlife, and grow cherries and pears.  But when its future is discussed, especially in relation to big water projects, this heavenly place is often portrayed as being on its way to an aquatic Hellscape.  The Sacramento Bee recently (April 8, 2008) published a reasonable editorial advocating a holistic approach to solving Delta problems.  But the editors chose language to describe the Delta such as:  it is “dying as the planet warms” and it is on the verge of “ecosystem collapse.” This language tracks that of groups that want to “save the Delta,” especially from proposed changes to its human-dominated plumbing system. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Resurrecting the Delta for Desirable Fishes

Restore the Delta Points to Misapplication of “Best Available Science” in Recent Letter to Delta Stewardship Council: “Yesterday, Restore the Delta submitted a comment letter to the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) criticizing three synthesis papers seeking to support eventual amendments to a Delta Plan chapter addressing ecosystem restoration. Specifically, the letter identifies gaps in the DSC’s attempt to apply “best available science” to ecological stressors in the Delta, climate change affecting the Delta, and ecosystem and habitat restoration efforts in the Delta.  The DSC has indicated that this amendment process will conclude sometime in 2019. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Restore the Delta Points to Misapplication of “Best Available Science” in Recent Letter to Delta Stewardship Council

Water Fix tunnels and gas wells:  Deirdre Des Jardins writes,  “The WaterFix/Delta tunnels go through parts of the Rio Vista gas field, the largest natural gas field in California.  The map below, a closeup from the map on page 155 the WaterFix 2015 Final Draft Conceptual Engineering Report, shows the high density of gas fields and gas wells in the Delta tunnel alignment near Walnut Grove. The purple shaded areas are gas fields, and the purple dots are gas wells – either producing or abandoned.  The Rio Vista gas field has been in continuous operation since 1936.  The 2010 internal DHCCP engineering document for the Delta tunnels discusses precautions recommended by an Independent Review Committee, which were never publicly disclosed by DWR or MWD: … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: Water Fix tunnels and gas wells

San Diego Water Authority Confirms MWD’s Projected Ratepayer Costs of Twin Tunnels Are Significantly Underestimated: Restore the Delta writes, “Yesterday, General Manager of San Diego Water Authority (SDWA), Maureen A. Stapleton sent a strongly worded response letter to Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager of Metropolitan Water District (MWD), critiquing MWD’s projected ratepayer costs of the Delta twin tunnels project.  In her letter, Ms. Stapleton highlights that MWD has relied on false assumptions and incorrect baselines that no longer accurately reflect Metropolitan’s current $10.8 billion stake in the tunnels project. In other words, SDWA does not believe that ratepayers will pay less than $5 per month as was stated this past October when MWD was expected to contribute $3.5 billion to the project. As a means to compare and contrast projected costs to ratepayers, SDWA staff analyzed the project’s estimated household impacts for San Diego using the same assumptions staff has used to evaluate all considered alternative supply projects. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  San Diego Water Authority Confirms MWD’s Projected Ratepayer Costs of Twin Tunnels Are Significantly Underestimated

Are California’s cities prepared for the next drought?  Ellen Hanak and David Mitchell write, “California’s urban areas—where more than 90% of residents live—managed the last drought quite well. How well prepared are cities and suburbs to weather the next long dry spell? Here are two things to know about urban drought preparedness.  Are we backsliding too much on water conservation?  While it’s true that urban water use is not as low as it was at the height of the latest drought in 2015, it is still much lower than in 2013, before Californians were asked to significantly limit their water use. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Are California’s cities prepared for the next drought?

Proposal to put new state fee on water returns: Chris Reed writes, “A proposal to add new fees to water bills to help pay for improvements to water systems in rural areas with tainted supplies is back before the Legislature, and this time it has the support of the Brown administration.  Last year, activists sought to build support for the concept of a new levy on water after reports came out that at least 300 communities in California had water supplies that were at least as unsafe as those in Flint, Michigan – a city that has gotten national attention for years for its lead-tainted water. Most of the communities were in Central Valley farm areas. … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog here: Proposal to put new state fee on water returnsblog-round-up-previous-editions

Sacramento River salmon and Water Right Order 90-5:  Tom Cannon writes, “Operation of the Central Valley Project’s Shasta-Trinity Division is governed in part by the State Water Board’s Water Right Order (WRO) 90-5. Issued in 1990, this Order prescribes reasonable protection for Sacramento River salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon even under today’s conditions. The problem in recent years is that “requirements” are not being met by the Bureau of Reclamation.  Even in the past three non-drought years, including record wet 2017 and this year’s normal classification, Reclamation has not met requirements. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Sacramento River salmon and Water Right Order 90-5

Jerry Brown disses the Central Valley – again:  Senator Andy Vidak writes, “Many of my Central Valley legislative colleagues are furious that the staff at Governor Jerry Brown’s Water Commission have rigged the system so the recently announced proposed funding for Temperance Flat Reservoir is just that – flat.  It’s not surprising that environmentally-oriented staff at the California Water Commission (and other state agencies such as the State Water Resources Control Board or the multitude of regional water boards) would come down in favor of fish over people. ... ”  Read more from Fox and Hounds here:  Jerry Brown disses the Central Valley – again

A family farmer looks back on 30 years in the field:  Amber Turpin writes, “Mike Madison wants to make it clear from the get-go that his new book, Fruitful Labor: The Ecology, Economy, and Practice of a Family Farm is not meant to be a guide—even if it does at times veer into granular detail about his farming practices. Instead, he refers to it as a “report card” to himself, a 30-year journal of the small family farm he created in California’s Sacramento Valley with his wife Dianne.  The 21-acre piece of land is a diverse patchwork of native forest, wild plants, and annual and perennial crops, but the majority of the organic farm is planted to orchards, mainly olive trees. They sell their fresh fruit, vegetables, cut flowers, olive oil, jam, and soap at local farmers’ markets. … ”  Read more from Civil Eats here:  A family farmer looks back on 30 years in the field

What makes a ruin:  On the Public Record writes, “On Erik Loomis’ recommendation, I’m reading Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s fantastic book: The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins.  I haven’t gotten very far, but it has already provided me with this (pg 5-6):  …[T]here is one connection between economy and environment that seems important to introduce up front: the history of the human concentration of wealth through making both humans and nonhumans into resources for investment. … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here:  What makes a ruin  ALSO from On the Public Record: A separate entity to run the SWP and CVP

What can happen when NEPA is ignored:  Oroville Dam:  Scott Slesinger writes, “The Oroville Dam Case Study is a good example of the harm that can be caused when courts, agencies and developers fail to take the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) seriously.  Passed into law with an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress and signed by President Nixon on January 1, 1970, the National Environmental Protection Act is often characterized as an environmental impact review law, and it is that—but it is much more than that. It is a law that has made informed decision-making about the environment a key component of every major federal action. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  What can happen when NEPA is ignored:  Oroville Dam

New salmon habitat project completed in Redding:  “Trout Unlimited Shasta Trinity Cascades Chapter just completed our large-scale Conservation Project on the Sacramento River in Redding on Thursday and Friday, April 5-6, 2018. The project was coordinated in cooperation with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the US Bureau of Reclamation, and the City of Redding, with support and approval from both the Kutras Family and the McConnell Foundation. During the two day work event, we had volunteer help and support from an incredible array of different groups: Trout Unlimited Shasta Trinity Cascades Chapter, Shasta Trinity Fly Fishers, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District, City of Redding, The Fly Shop, Aqua Golf, even a CalFire Inmate Crew. ... ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: New salmon habitat project completed in Redding

There is no ‘sweet spot’ – what the Colorado River needs is real balance, says Jeffrey Odefey:  He writes, “Over the last week, those of us who eat, sleep, and drink Colorado River issues have watched with alternating measures of surprise, concern, and alarm as water users from the Upper Basin states publicly called out the operators of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) for “gaming” reservoir levels to maximize water deliveries to Arizona. The worry is that CAP’s efforts to find a “sweet spot” in managing the Colorado River has the effects of undoing nearly a decade of collaborative conservation successes and threatens to pull the entire Basin into shortage more quickly than is already likely. ... ”  Read more from the American Rivers blog here:  There is no ‘sweet spot’ – what the Colorado River needs is real balance

What the Everyone Else in the Colorado River Basin v. Central Arizona Project fracas is really all about:  John Fleck writes, “It’s reasonable to ask whether the fracas over Colorado River water management, which has pitted the Central Arizona Project against just about everyone else in the basin, is evidence that the thesis of my book – that we are in an era of unprecedented collaboration in Colorado River governance, that water is not really for fighting over – was wrong.  I think it’s the opposite. There would have been a time when it would have simply been assumed that of course the Central Arizona Project would optimize its water orders (a smart friend has steered me away from some of the more incendiary language I had used – “manipulated” or “gamed”) to maximize releases from Lake Powell. The uproar this month is striking precisely because the uproar is happening at all – that in a new era of collaboration, what CAP was doing is an offense to a new cooperative, collaborative norm. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  What the Everyone Else in the Colorado River Basin v. Central Arizona Project fracas is really all about

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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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