BLOG ROUND-UP: The folly of unimpaired flows, Recommendations for Newsom, State of the San Joaquin River, Operation FATFISH, Working with tribes, Why Colorado River drought plan won’t work, and more …

Photo by Allan Hack

The folly of unimpaired flows for water quality management:  Ann Willis writes,”Unimpaired streamflow has long been the benchmark against which current stream flows are evaluated for environmental purposes. The underlying assumption is that if there is water in a stream, the stream must be healthy.  A closer look shows why unimpaired flows is often a flawed basis for environmental management, particularly when water quality is the primary problem.  Environmental flow studies seem ubiquitous. In California’s Shasta River watershed, a tributary to the Klamath River, unimpaired flows have been the basis of recent Instream Flow Needs studies. Recently, another study uses unimpaired flows for a larger regulatory effort to address California’s Water Action Plan. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  The folly of unimpaired flows for water quality management

California water leaders offer recommendations for Governor-elect Gavin Newsom: “A friend complaining about her skyrocketing water bill. Parents worried about bathing their children in water known to be carcinogenic. Witnessing young salmon once again flourish on seasonal rice fields.  These are just a few of the water stories that colleagues and I, representing a range of sectors within the Central Valley and coastal region of California, shared in a new report that provides recommendations for incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom to create a healthier and more resilient water future for the state. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  California water leaders offer recommendations for Governor-elect Gavin Newsomblog-round-up-previous-editions

State of the SJ River: “So far this year, no salmon fry have been found, but it’s early yet.”  Families Protecting the Valley write, “We find it a little more than ironic that on the same day the Fresno Bee writes a story about the progress in bringing salmon back to the San Joaquin River (San Joaquin River salmon make big gains, but don’t call it a comeback yet) they also headline the latest story on global warming (Climate change could triple the frequency of large wildfires, says new federal report).  It's ironic because global warming is the biggest threat to salmon returning to the river because the fish need cold water.  Now, we don't care if you believe in global warming or not, but it's clear the leaders of California including the Governor, the legislators, the water bureaucrats, etc. all do.  It they believe global warming is real, why continue this fools errand? … ”  Continue reading at Families Protecting the Valley here:  State of the SJ River: “So far this year, no salmon fry have been found, but it’s early yet.”

Working with California tribes on upper watershed restoration:  ““Fish are very important to me, to my family, my culture.”  “It’s surprising how much you rely on traditional foods if you’re in a community like we are. You don’t necessarily realize it until you don’t have it . . . especially salmon.”  “If the water quality got better, rivers and creeks would be much better and it would bring back the fish.”  These are the voices of youth from the Karuk tribe in the Klamath River watershed, as heard in a new video that explores the connections between ecosystem health and tribal well-being. Healthy local waterways and the traditional foods they support are considered irreplaceable by indigenous peoples. A new program is seeking to tap into tribal understanding of natural resources to ensure their voices are being heard and to provide a more expansive approach to how state and tribal programs can align in the management of rivers, fisheries, and forests. … ”  Read more from the PPIC blog here:  Working with California tribes on upper watershed restoration

Operation FATFISH: Dave Eggerton writes, “A recent ACWA event jointly hosted by Region 2 and Region 4 vividly illustrated the value behind functional flows and science-based solutions for the Bay-Delta’s salmon population.  Just north of Sacramento, a 19-member partnership between growers, nonprofits, water districts, and state and federal agencies plans to flood agricultural land and connect it through waterways to the Yolo Bypass and Sacramento River. This collaborative effort is the Fish Food on Floodplain Farm Fields Project, which aims to recreate seasonal floodplains that once transformed much of the Sacramento Valley into a vast freshwater inland sea providing critical habitat for fish and wildlife. … ”  Read more from the Voices on Water blog here:  Operation FATFISH

Sacramento River salmon science:  Tom Cannon writes, “A recent paper in the prestigious Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science discusses Central Valley salmon. The paper concludes: “Wild stocks in several California rivers are now dominated by hatchery fish (Barnett-Johnson et al. 2007; Johnson et al. 2012; Quiñones and Moyle 2014), potentially eroding the long-term resiliency of wild, locally adapted populations by disrupting selection for heritable traits that improve lifetime reproductive success in variable environments.”  First, wild or naturally spawning stocks or runs of fall-run Chinook salmon in Valley rivers are all dominated by hatchery salmon. Without hatcheries and straying of hatchery salmon to non-hatchery rivers (e.g., Yuba, Cosumnes, etc.), there would be almost no salmon runs of significance. … ”  Continue reading at the California Fisheries blog here:  Sacramento River salmon science

Funding available – Drinking water for schools grant program:  “Water managers and leaders in the Sacramento Valley are fully committed to advancing solutions to help ensure that all Californians have access to safe and accessible drinking water. The lack of safe drinking water in some communities across the state has been the subject of deserved attention in recent years. To date, this problem has been addressed through a variety of initiatives that include new policies and programs at the state level as well as targeted efforts and action by local entities and non-governmental organizations at the local level. … ”  Read more from the NorCal Water Blog here:  Funding available – Drinking water for schools grant program

Why The Colorado River ‘Drought Contingency Plan’ Won’t Work: Gary Wockner writes, “Let’s get right to the point. Over the last 18 years, which has been the worst drought in history on the Colorado River, the amount of water in Lake Powell has declined from 20.99 million acre feet in the year 2000, down to 12.38 million acre feet in the year 2018[i]. That’s an average of 477,973 acre feet per year, which is 155 billion gallons of water per year.  All the “powers-that-be” – the states, federal government, various water agencies, and some conservation groups – are proposing a “Drought Contingency Plan” to try and save Lake Powell by buying water from farmers in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, using taxpayers’ money, to send that water down to Lake Powell. … ”  Continue reading at the Save the Colorado blog here:  Why The Colorado River ‘Drought Contingency Plan’ Won’t Work

Climate change is changing the politics of climate change:  David Doniger writes, “A pessimist could be forgiven for thinking the treadmill of climate denial and inaction is endless. For at least 50 years, senior oil company executives have known that burning their product was destabilizing our climate. President Lyndon Johnson called on Congress in 1965 to pass legislation to curb carbon dioxide pollution, and Congress enacted that law—the Clean Air Act—in 1970. Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned Richard Nixon, and every subsequent president has had his Jeremiah to sound the alarm. We made steps forward under Clinton and Obama only to suffer sharp reversals under the second Bush and—sharpest of all—Trump. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  Climate change is changing the politics of climate change

Report: Risks of climate change are vast but avoidable: Kim Knowlton & Vijay Limaye write, “Today, the Trump Administration released Volume II of the 4th National Climate Assessment. The report summarizes the state of the science on how climate change impacts many parts of American society, including energy, transportation, agriculture, water, infrastructure, communities, and human health. Across 29 chapters, the report lays out the evidence that climate change is happening, that its serious effects are being experienced across all regions of the United States, and that the time for ambitious action to curb carbon pollution is now. Action is urgently needed in light of a recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warning we have only about a dozen years to take unprecedented and far-reaching action to avoid widespread dangerous impacts. … ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here:  Report: Risks of climate change are vast but avoidable


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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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