BLOG ROUND-UP: San Francisco teams up with Trump on the Tuolumne River?; The connection between groundwater and surface water; Delta Flows — WaterFix Alphabet Soup Edition; and more …

Mount Lassen and Chaos Crags by Wayne Hseih, September 2018

San Francisco teams up with Trump on the Tuolumne River?  Doug Obegi writes, “Did you know that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (“SFPUC”) has been working with the Trump Administration to try to stop the State of California’s efforts to restore the health of the Tuolumne River?   Despite San Francisco’s iconic fishing industry in Fishermen’s Wharf, this weekend’s story in the San Francisco Chronicle highlights how the SFPUC has been working with the Trump Administration to undermine Federal agencies’ recommendations regarding how much water should remain in the Tuolumne river.  For the past 10 years, the State Water Resources Control Board has been working to update water quality standards for the Bay-Delta, including the Tuolumne River. The State’s proposal would require that a minimum of 40% of the unimpaired flow – the water that would flow downstream in the absence of dams and diversions – to remain in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced rivers during the critical February to June months. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here:  San Francisco teams up with Trump on the Tuolumne River? blog-round-up-previous-editions

The connection between groundwater and surface water: Jeffrey Mount writes, “When the California Legislature created the “modern” water rights regulatory system more than a century ago, it focused exclusively on surface water, exempting groundwater from the permitting system. Yet in most watersheds, surface water and groundwater are closely linked. Actions that change one often have an impact on the other. The arbitrary legal divide has made it harder to manage the state’s water. But a recent law and a new court decision have done a better job of connecting surface water and groundwater.  When rain falls or snow melts in the foothills and mountains of California, water follows several pathways downhill and into rivers and streams. Some water moves across the land or through deep soils and weathered bedrock, arriving in rivers hours to weeks after rain or snowmelt. And some percolates deep into the ground, becoming groundwater. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  The connection between groundwater and surface water

Delta Flows — WaterFix Alphabet Soup Edition: JLBC; CBA; DCFA; WIFIA; Series AZ Revenue Bonds:  Restore the Delta writes, “After the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) Hearing last month for the State Water Contract Extensions Amendments, Restore the Delta joined in working with coalition partners on an analysis, and legislative follow up on outcomes from the hearing. While the “holding” of the hearing itself does indeed advance the WaterFix process, we were pleased with legislators, under the leadership of the Committee Chair, Senator Holly Mitchell, for asking tough questions and asserting their authority for further oversight of State Water Project Contract Extensions, specifically in relation to the Delta tunnels. In effect, it was the best possible outcome from a bad process. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Delta Flows — WaterFix Alphabet Soup Edition: JLBC; CBA; DCFA; WIFIA; Series AZ Revenue Bonds

To Recuse Or Not To Recuse, That is the Question: Delta Stewardship Councilmember Flip-Flops on Recusal from Upcoming Vote:  Restore the Delta writes, “Last month, Bethany Pane, Chief Counsel for the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) sent an email to DSC subscribers that three council members recused themselves from the Delta tunnels appeals proceeding, a process related to a vote on the consistency determination, due to potential conflicts of interest.  Ms. Pane noted that Council Member Maria Mehranian has worked “for a firm that has submitted a bid to work on a portion of the CA WaterFix project.”  On Friday, October 12, 2018, Ms. Pane notified DSC subscribers that Ms. Mehranian was now participating as a voting member in the WaterFix appeal hearing. Ms. Pane wrote, “The bid was not successful, thus removing the potential conflict and the need for her recusal. Ms. Mehranian will participate in the WaterFix appeals process effective today.” ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  To Recuse Or Not To Recuse, That is the Question: Delta Stewardship Councilmember Flip-Flops on Recusal from Upcoming Vote

70+ CA Groups Urge Support for WaterFix and its Consistency with the Delta Plan:The Southern California Water Coalition today submitted a letter alongside more than 70 groups urging the Delta Stewardship Council to align with the state’s determination that California WaterFix is consistent with the Delta Plan.  In submitting this letter, SCWC along with a powerful statewide coalition of business, labor, environmental, water and agricultural organizations are standing in support of California WaterFix as the only cost-effective solution that secures our state’s backbone supply while simultaneously improving the Delta ecosystem.”  Read the letter here: 70+ CA Groups Urge Support for WaterFix and its Consistency with the Delta Plan

Science Governance: Closing the Data to Decision-Making Gap: Jessica R. Pearson and John Callaway write:  “How can government best support and protect the independence, credibility, and legitimacy of science? How can management and funding strategies ensure that scientific findings are relevant to decisions? How, in an age of information overload, can scientists ensure that their findings are not just useful, but also usable? What is the pathway of information from data collection to decision-making? And how can decisions better match the accelerating pace of environmental change?  Exploring solutions to these questions has been a central theme of activities at the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) and the Delta Science Program over the past several years. A core part of our mission is to provide the best possible unbiased scientific information to inform decision-making in the Delta – a mission that depends on strong science governance. ... ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here:  Science Governance: Closing the Data to Decision-Making Gap

Reactivating the Floodplain Improves Conditions for Delta Smelt:  The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “Various partners in a program to provide food for Delta smelt joined together yesterday along the Yolo Bypass levee to present of the program’s monitoring this year, which showed promising results. This is the second year state and federal agencies, water resources managers, and landowners have collaborated to grow and transport food into the north Delta for smelt.  This program is part of a larger effort to re-imagine a 21st century water system where the Yolo Bypass and the floodplain in the Sacramento Valley are reactivated to improve conditions for fish and wildlife, including smelt, salmon and birds. The effort also supports the Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here: Reactivating the Floodplain Improves Conditions for Delta Smelt

Prop 3 water bond facing unexpectedly strong opposition:  Chris Reed writes, “At a time when many Democrats and Republicans alike believe often-drought-stricken California needs more water storage projects and infrastructure, an $8.9 billion bond measure that earlier this year seemed to be a sure thing now faces a somewhat less certain fate.  The odds of passage are still strong. As a Bay Area News Group analysis noted, state records show that over the last quarter-century, voters have approved 80 percent of bonds put before them – 24 of 30.  But Proposition 3 – which was placed on the ballot after a signature-gathering campaign – is facing unexpectedly vigorous pushback on several fronts. … ”  Read more from the Cal Watchdog blog here:  Prop 3 water bond facing unexpectedly strong opposition

California’s rural counties support Prop 3:  Rex Bohn writes, “Early this year, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) Board of Directors took a support position on a bond proposal to invest in California’s water infrastructure.  Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018, is a citizen’s initiative water bond that will appear on the November 2018 statewide California ballot.  This initiative provides us a unique opportunity to invest in projects that will serve our local communities, with specific funding dedicated to areas of the state that, historically, have been under-resourced. ... ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Blog here:  California’s rural counties support Prop 3

No Funding Help for Central Valley Salmon Hatcheries: Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program and Proposition 3 Strike Out:  Tom Cannon writes, “California’s salmon hatchery programs badly need major projects and upgrades.  The future of wild and hatchery salmon runs, as well as commercial and sport fisheries in California, depends on these programs.  However, hatchery programs are operated and funded under antiquated water project mitigation programs that lack a progressive approach (and funding) for hatcheries in salmon ecosystems in California.  And neither the Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program (SVSRP) nor Proposition 3 includes investments in hatcheries. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: No Funding Help for Central Valley Salmon Hatcheries: Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program and Proposition 3 Strike Out

Creating a conservation storage pool in Lake Powell:  John Fleck writes, “It’s apparently Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan week! Documents here. This is when we all gather around and try to make sense of the sweeping effort to ratchet up efforts to reduce Colorado River water use to keep the system from crashing.  The plan you see before you is really not that different, at the interstate level, from what was essentially agreed to nearly three years ago – Arizona and Nevada agree to bigger reduction in their Colorado River supplies earlier, based on the elevation of Lake Mead. If Mead drops far enough, California joins the party, where by “party” I mean “sees its Colorado River supplies cut as well”. So this is one of those parties you really don’t want to go to, because you’re super introverted, but…. ”  Continue reading at the Inkstain blog here:  Creating a conservation storage pool in Lake Powell

Sustainable water management in an unsustainable world:  Melissa Rohde writes, “This week, I had the privilege to participate in the 10th Biannual Rosenberg International Water Forum in San Jose to discuss a path forward to achieve sustainable groundwater management. The message from the forum was clear – global groundwater depletion is increasing at an exorbitant rate, and the need to act was decades ago. Nevertheless, we are where we are, and radical changes in how we produce and consume food and energy are necessary to reduce water demand with our global population. We cannot sustainably manage water in an unsustainable world. … ”  Read more from the Reflections on Water blog here:  Sustainable water management in an unsustainable world

New water infrastructure bill: A positive step:  The U.S. Senate has just approved “America’s Water Infrastructure Act,” which was also passed by the House of Representatives in September, clearing the way for Presidential signature. While much of the bill focuses on traditional water projects to be carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers, it includes several provisions directly addressing drinking water infrastructure.  Overall, these measures take some steps forward by authorizing (or reauthorizing) several drinking water programs. While these steps tend to be modest in themselves, there are many of them and they help to outline where larger investments must be made in the future. These measures could ... ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here:  New water infrastructure bill: A positive stepDaily emails

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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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