BLOG ROUND-UP: Can Congress prevent state and federal courts from hearing WaterFix lawsuits?, What about the nonnative species that we like?; Expanding groundwater recharge in the San Joaquin Valley; How Lake Mead could crash; and more …

Tuolumne Meadows, photo by Don J. Schulte

Attempting to close the floodgates of litigation: Can Congress prevent state and federal courts from hearing WaterFix lawsuits?  Kathleen Miller writes, “The journey of California’s proposed delta tunnels project (also known as California WaterFix) has been anything but straightforward and already faces a slew of ongoing legal challenges.[i] Last week, Congress added a different kind of twist when the proposed Department of Interior budget for FY 2019 was introduced in the House Appropriations Committee. The relevant language is found in Section 437, on the second-to-last page of the bill draft:  “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Final Environmental Impact Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California Water Fix … and any resulting agency decision, record of decision, or similar determination shall hereafter not be subject to judicial review under any Federal or State law.” Let’s break that paragraph down. … ”  Continue reading at the Legal Planet blog here:  Attempting to close the floodgates of litigation: Can Congress prevent state and federal courts from hearing WaterFix lawsuits?

Guest species: What about the nonnative species that we like?  “Conservationists worry about a host of nonnative species, and with good reason. Nonnative species cause north of $120 billion per year in damages in North America alone, and they present the primary extinction risk for roughly half of the threatened or endangered species in the United States.  The worst offenders are well known – aquatic species like zebra mussels and Asian carp, and terrestrial species like kudzu, yellow star thistle, and myriad rat species. But there’s another category of nonnative species, species that we celebrate and enjoy.  “Guest species” describes naturalized nonnative species that humans have introduced, intentionally or accidentally, and which we actively conserve because we benefit from having them in the wild. This isn’t just semantics; the terms we use to describe a species play a central role in determining how we think about that species. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Guest species: What about the nonnative species that we like?

Now is the time to solve drinking water problem without a tax:  Tim Quinn writes, “The debate over funding sources that can ensure safe drinking water for every Californian continues in the state’s Capitol. Everyone agrees on the goal. But what should be the funding source? The Brown Administration is trying to advance a budget trailer bill that is proposing a tax on drinking water. ACWA and a broad coalition oppose the proposed tax and are suggesting alternative funding solutions. ... ” Read more from ACWA’s Voices on Water blog here:  Now is the time to solve drinking water problem without a tax

Expanding groundwater recharge in the San Joaquin Valley:  Jelenda Jezdimirovic writes, “The San Joaquin Valley is ground zero for groundwater management challenges. While agriculture is the region’s predominant water user, its cities are more likely to rely on groundwater as their primary source of water. For this reason, the urban sector will need to play a bigger role in the regional effort to balance groundwater use and replenishment.  Our recent research indicates that cities in the valley lag behind agricultural districts in the intentional recharge of groundwater. That’s primarily because most have limited access to two things necessary for storing more water underground: extra surface water and unpaved land on which to spread it so it can percolate into the ground. But some cities have had success with recharge activities. Here are three methods that can serve as models. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  Expanding groundwater recharge in the San Joaquin Valley

DWR, Great job on WAFR! Now add R2G.  Verna Jigour writes, “Before getting into the “meat” of this post, I want to alert the reader to the Rainfall to Groundwater Executive Summary report now available for free download.  California Department of Water Resources (DWR) deserves major complements on their final Water Available for Replenishment (WAFR) report, published last month. From the perspective of Rainfall to Groundwater there is one huge error of omission, but setting that omission aside for the moment, DWR has done an admirable job of quantifying and articulating water resources and surface water availability by hydrologic region. … ”  Read more from the Rainfall to Groundwater blog here:  DWR, Great job on WAFR! Now add R2G.

Flood safety, infrastructure, and the feds:  Dan Farber writes, “The federal government is responsible for responding to major floods and runs the federal flood insurance program.  It also has millions of dollars of its own infrastructure at risk from floods. Yet the government is failing to deal effectively with flood risks before the fact.  Let’s begin with the levees that are the main defense against flooding. There are over 100,000 miles of levees across the United States, including about a fifth of all U.S. counties, many of which owned or operated by states, localities, or private entities. Safety regulation is spotty. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Flood safety, infrastructure, and the feds

Pacific herring and Bay productivity:  Tom Cannon writes, “In past posts I have focused on salmon, smelt, sturgeon, and striped bass, even zooplankton, but have yet to discuss Pacific herring. Pacific herring are the Bay-Delta estuary’s most abundant fish and like the other fishes previously mentioned also depend on the estuary for spawning, rearing, or migration. They also support an important commercial fishery in the Bay. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Pacific herring and Bay productivity

Partners install signs to protect salmon redds in Redding:  “This spring, a diverse group of partners worked together to install informative signs at popular access points along the Sacramento River in Redding to inform those entering the river that stepping on redds can destroy salmon eggs. This is of particular concern in Redding as it is the spawning area of the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Partners install signs to protect salmon redds in Redding

Late spring rain – a complicated story:  Dan Macon writes, “I awoke early Friday to the boom of thunder and the spatter of raindrops through our open bedroom window. I love rain any time of year; rain in late May generally allows me to take a break in my otherwise busy schedule. In fact, I’m sitting at my kitchen table writing rather than using a planned vacation day to do ranch work. But rain at this time of year has complicated repercussions for farmers and ranchers, including foothill sheepherders! ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Valley website here:  Late spring rain – a complicated story

How Lake Mead could crash:  “Speaking last week before the Imperial Irrigation District board, Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman showed this remarkable slide. It is remarkable for obvious reasons – it shows how easily we could crash Lake Mead! But it’s remarkable in a more subtle way that reflects a shift in our approach to the hydrologic analysis of the Colorado River’s flow, and how we think about risks, probabilities, and the worst case: … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  How Lake Mead could crash


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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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