BLOG ROUND-UP: New development and SGMA; Almonds and tariffs; Indirect benefits of cannabis cultivation regulation; Colorado River: “We’re in uncharted territory”; and more …

San Simeon Sunset, by Mariano Cuajao

1.8-Million Homes: So as more ag land is taken out of production to balance the underground basin how does building more homes make sense?  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “We wonder if cities and counties are thinking about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) when planning for new housing developments.  The article below talks about Folsom Ranch, a new development of 3300 acres with “11,000 homes and apartments, seven public schools, a pair of fire stations, a police station, a slew of office and commercial buildings and 1,000 acres of parks, trails and other open space.  Expected population:  25,000.”  But state regulators aren’t sure they’ve secured enough water.  Whatever water they think they have will begin to change with the implementation of SGMA. ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: 1.8-Million Homes: So as more ag land is taken out of production to balance the underground basin how does building more homes make sense?

On the Public Record on almonds and tariffs:  “In December 2016, [On the Public Record] wrote: Thought 3:  I am not sure that water policy will be the dominant force on CA agriculture this year.  Immigration and labor could be big.  But I’m looking hard at trade.  Trump seems to be going out of his way to offend China and India, who are large markets for tree nuts.  If Trump provokes a trade war, or a real war, with China, I’m thinking that this post of mine will seem prescient.  Almond orchards are all the same asset; holdings in tree nuts are not a diversified portfolio. … ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here:  Have a great weekend.

Indirect benefits of cannabis cultivation regulation:  Kathleen Stone writes, “The external pressures for cannabis cultivation and the immediate need for water use regulation may provide opportunities for broader, long-sought environmental objectives in California. Specifically, legislation and state programs regulating water use for cannabis cultivation could produce collateral benefits for environmental instream flow and water quality management in general.  The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act included several state laws from 2015 and 2016. Of these, Assembly Bill 243 (AB 243) and Senate Bill (SB 837), passed in October 2015 and June 2016, respectively, include several provisions for regulating water use for cannabis cultivation (CDFA 2016). … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Indirect benefits of cannabis cultivation regulation

2016-2017 Salmon Crash Sacramento River Fall-Run Salmon Decline:  Tom Cannon writes, “In an April 2018 post, I revisited the 2007-2009 salmon crash and warned of the current 2016-2017 crash.  In an April 2017 post, I opined on the status of population and its future given the population crashes.  In this post, I update the population data with preliminary estimates of the 2016 and 2017 runs, including (1) the in-river estimate from the spawning grounds between Keswick Dam and Red Bluff (Figure 1), and (2) Coleman National Fish Hatchery (CNFH) and Battle Creek (Figure 2). ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  2016-2017 Salmon Crash Sacramento River Fall-Run Salmon Decline

blog-round-up-previous-editionsWhat’s behind the headlines: California’s new water use efficiency laws:  The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “Governor Brown recently signed AB 1668 (Friedman) and SB 606 (Hertzberg), two bills based on the Brown Administration’s 2017 “Making Conservation a California Way of Life” framework. These new bills include a number of provisions for agricultural and urban water suppliers that are intended to enhance water use efficiency and water management planning requirements statewide. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here:  What’s behind the headlines: California’s new water use efficiency laws

Top California environmental bills to watch this summer:  Victoria Rome writes, “The legislature is more than halfway through its session and California remains at the forefront in resisting the Trump administration’s environmental assaults. In addition to pursuing strong legislation for the environment and social justice, some of which have already been signed in to law, the legislature made history earlier this year by electing Toni Atkins as the first woman and the first LGBTQ person to lead the State Senate.  NRDC and our partners are advocating for several important environmental measures and hoping to pass them this session. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC Switchboard here:  Top California environmental bills to watch this summer

A balancing act for the Colorado River: Lori Pottinger writes, “The Colorado River―a critically important water supply for seven western states, including California―has been in drought for nearly two decades. We talked to Bonnie Colby, a professor of natural resource economics at the University of Arizona and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network, about conditions in the basin and next steps for improving shared management of the river.  PPIC: What concerns you most about the river’s condition?  Bonnie Colby: We’re in a more difficult situation than in previous droughts because the major reservoirs—Powell and Mead—are so low. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  A balancing act for the Colorado River

Colorado River: “We’re in uncharted territory”:  John Fleck writes, “Luke Runyon had a piece over the weekend about the latest Bureau of Reclamation 24-month study, the increasingly bleak monthly modeling run that shows Colorado River reservoir levels dipping and diving in a way that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Jeff Kightlinger described thus: “We’re in uncharted territory for the system,” says Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the water wholesaler for the greater Los Angeles area, which relies on the Colorado River for a portion of its supplies.  “Everything is new, and it is all bleak. None of it is positive,” Kightlinger says. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  “We’re in uncharted territory”

New USBR modeling suggests a bigger risk of Colorado River shortage than y’all might think:  John Fleck writes, “The conventional calculation of Colorado River shortage risk, which people like me frequently report, shows a 51 percent chance of Lake Mead dropping into “shortage”, below the magic trip line of elevation 1,075 at which mandatory cutbacks kick in, in 2020. But a new approach to modeling risk, which lots of folks (*cough* me *cough*) think more accurately represents the changing climate, shows a significant risk of a much quicker drop in Lake Mead’s levels, blowing quickly past 1,075, with a greater than 50 percent chance of dropping below 1,050 sometime in 2020. Absent actions to reduce water use, Lake Powell has a greater than one in four chance of dropping near power pool (the level at which it could no longer generate electricity) by the mid-2020s. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  New USBR modeling suggests a bigger risk of Colorado River shortage than y’all might think

When people find out how cheap their water is, they use more of it:  John Fleck writes, “The conventional wisdom (and by “conventional wisdom” I guess I mean “what Fleck thought until just now”) is that giving water users better information about their usage and the price they’re paying could be a useful water conservation tool.  Well, maybe not, according to some interesting new research by Daniel A. Brent of Pennsylvania State University and Michael Ward of Monash University. Brent and Ward ran an experiment with Yarra Valley Water, which serves greater Melbourne, to see how better informing customers about their water use and cost might change their behavior.  Melbourne, water nerds will remember, became kinda famous for its conservation behavior during the Millenium Drought. So this isn’t some water-wasting high GPCD test case like Beverly Hills or St. George. This is a place where people have been taking water conservation seriously. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain Blog here:  When people find out how cheap their water is, they use more of it

The environmental impact of food has huge variability:  Jason Daley writes, “There’s no way around it—everything in the grocery store, from nuts and kale to beef and apples, has an environmental impact. Fertilizer causes water pollution, farm fields can encroach on habitat, and a lot of carbon gets released when food is transported from one place to another. But it turns out not every stalk of broccoli or pound of Gouda has the same ecological footprint. A new study of food systems in the journal Science shows the same items sitting next to each other on the shelf can have radically different impacts.  … ”  Read more from the Sierra Magazine here:  The environmental impact of food has huge variability

Water education in afterschool programs: Building future scientists and engaged youth: “A group of 4th and 5th graders sat in a line on the floor of the school cafeteria, quietly waiting for the guest to set up his model. “Hello, everyone,” Dr. Sandoval began. “¡Hola! ¿Cómo están?,” he continued, and immediately a boy sprang to his knees. “You speak Spanish?” the boy asked, both with surprise and delight. “Sí,” Sam responded, “yo hablo español.”  So began Samuel Sandoval’s presentation on groundwater science to students at Sierra Enterprise Elementary School’s afterschool program. The youth, guided by their afterschool program leader, had completed their 4-H Water Wizards project and were rewarded with a visit from Dr. Sandoval, a University of California (UC) Cooperative Extension Specialist in Water Resources. … ”  Read  more from The Confluence blog here: Water education in afterschool programs: Building future scientists and engaged youth

Department of Interior Buries Communications Policy After Attempting to Justify Muzzling Scientists:  Michael Halpern writes, “Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times broke the story about the new policy at the U.S. Geological Survey requiring scientists to get permission before speaking to reporters about science. In an attempt to justify the muzzling, a department spokesperson said they were just following an Obama-era communications policy (sound familiar?). After reporters linked to the policy, it was removed from its previous location and buried deep in the DOI website. You can find it there as a Word document; I’ve made a PDF available here.  ... ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here:  Department of Interior Buries Communications Policy After Attempting to Justify Muzzling Scientists

And lastly …

How one man is using an amphibious vehicle to enjoy Sacramento summer ... (source here)

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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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