BLOG ROUND-UP: Newsom’s water resilience plan, Delta flow needs, Expensive fish, Importance of Delta estuary to salmon, Artificial legal distinctions; and more …

Singapore’s “Supertrees”; Photo by Rod Waddington

A fresh approach to water management in California:  The Northern California Water Association writes, “The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) appreciates Governor Newsom’s call for a fresh approach to California’s water challenges and his Executive Order today urging his administration “to think differently and act boldly by developing a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system in California.”  “The future prosperity of our communities and the health of our environment depend on tackling current pressing water challenges while positioning California to meet broad water needs through the 21st century.” … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here: A fresh approach to water management in California

Governor Newsom takes a deep dive into CA water:  Kate Poole writes, “California has long been a leader in battling the causes of climate change. Today, Governor Newsom takes the helm of leadership in another critical battle:  preparing California for the inevitable impacts of a changing climate on California’s water resources. Water is where many Californians experience the impacts of climate change. Our most recent drought broke records for its severity, and the response to drought led to drinking water wells for entire communities drying up, massive mortality of native fish and wildlife, farmers’ fields lying fallow, and reduced water supplies for urban communities across the state. Climate scientists tell us to expect more intense and frequent droughts in the future. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here: Governor Newsom takes a deep dive into CA water

California’s water resiliency strategy should include greenhouse gas emissions:  Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “On Monday, April 29, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-10-19, “directing the secretaries of the California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to identify and assess a suite of complementary actions to ensure safe and resilient water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the state’s communities, economy and environment.”   The executive order also states that “climate change is having a profound impact on water and other resources.” … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here:  California’s water resiliency strategy should include greenhouse gas emissions

blog-round-up-previous-editionsBeyond the pumps: Can we study flow needs?  Jennifer Pierre writes, “Every day during the winter and spring, pumping operations for the state’s two largest water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are fine-tuned to comply with detailed regulations via the Endangered Species Act. These same regulations provide no similar guidance on what flows are appropriate through the Delta and out to San Francisco Bay during this critical time in the lifespan of species such as salmon.  Over the years, a backwards way has developed for creating Delta outflow for the environment. Layers of pumping restrictions added since the 1990s have altered the path of water in this ecosystem. The resulting change in flow patterns is incidental to the actual pumping regulations. … ”  Read more from the State Water Contractors here:  Beyond the pumps: Can we study flow needs?

Fish are born free, but are everywhere in cages this spring:  Carson Jeffres, Eric Holmes, and Andrew Rypel write, “State, federal, and local governments, water users, and the public are all concerned with the survival of salmon. Over decades, and especially recent years, most salmon runs have severely declined in California.  Part of sustaining salmon populations is improving the survival and fitness of young salmon as they grow for weeks to months before out-migrating to the Ocean. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Fish are born free, but are everywhere in cages this spring

The Importance of the Bay-Delta Estuary to the Recovery of Wild Chinook Salmon:  Tom cannon writes, “Common sense says salmon recovery efforts should focus on the most important factors that control fish population dynamics. In reviewing Central Valley population dynamics, I have seen each life stage and each individual controlling factor become important at one time or another. In my experience, the estuarine rearing and migrating stage is an essential component that is not given enough attention.  Central Valley salmon populations are nearly all “ocean-type” Chinook salmon, meaning they move to the ocean usually during their first six months of life, with substantial estuary rearing as fry, fingerlings, and pre-smolts. That is not to say that yearling smolts contributions are not important. It is that they are a minor contribution in “ocean-type” Chinook (note that late-fall-run are “river-type”). ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  The Importance of the Bay-Delta Estuary to the Recovery of Wild Chinook Salmon

Expensive Fish! Taking the conservative cost estimate, each of the five fish caught cost taxpayers and water users $178,000,000:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Scientists are excited that “five adult Chinook salmon have been discovered in the same area of the San Joaquin River for the first time in decades.”  So are we.   We would hope after all the water we’ve sent down the river we would get some salmon in return.  The Fresno Bee story A big first for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program: Spring-run Chinook salmon return, however, has a lot of iffy phrases like “indication of the possibility” or “scientists could determine”…seems like a lot of maybe’s, leaving us to wonder where exactly we are in the restoration program.  The fish were some “of more than 38,000 juvenile spring-run Chinook released into the river two years ago, in March 2017.” … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Expensive fish!

California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions: Dave Owen and Michael Kiparsky writes, “One of the many noteworthy features of California’s  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water. That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources.  The requirement also is part of a larger story about evolving science and policy in a changing world. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here: California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

David Bernhardt Wants your Water:  Eric Caine writes, “Trump appointee Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt may already have set new standards for an administration where turnover and scandals have become norms. Bernhardt’s predecessor, Ryan Zinke, left office in December after a “resign or be fired” edict from the White House, which viewed his real estate deals with Halliburton too much even for a government where conflicts of interest are just business as usual.  Given Zinke’s problems and ouster, Bernhardt’s appointment is doubly puzzling. Bernhardt entered office under a cloud for his past history as a lobbyist for entities like Westlands Water District. ... ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen blog here: David Bernhardt Wants your Water 

Forum Helps Ensure Safe Drinking Water Across California:  “Mark Twain is often credited with saying “whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting.” Certainly, in drought prone-California, water is a complex and contentious issue. And according to Wesley Nicks, Placer County Environmental Health Director, nothing is more critical, more imperative than safe drinking water for California’s communities.  However, with 7,600 different public water systems in California and only a small percent serving entire cities, explains Placer County Water Agency Technical Services Director Brent Smith, small water systems face many challenges to comply with regulations and oversight at the federal, state and county levels. … ”  Read more from the California State Association of Counties here:  Forum Helps Ensure Safe Drinking Water Across California

More Salmon Spawning Habitat Underway in Redding: The Northern California Water Association blog here: “A collaborative effort was initiated by local, state and federal agencies earlier this week to improve spawning habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in the upper Sacramento River under Market Street Bridge in Redding. Approximately 9,400 cubic yards of gravel, or 12,000 to 15,000 tons, will be placed into the river at this location to provide new spawning habitat.  Partners in the effort include the Bureau of Reclamation, the California State University – Chico Foundation, California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Sacramento River Forum, and SRSC. The following districts specifically contributed personnel and equipment for the project: Reclamation District 108, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Sutter Mutual Water Company, River Garden Farms, Provident Irrigation District, Princeton-Cordora-Glenn Irrigation District and Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here: More Salmon Spawning Habitat Underway in Redding

A growing problem for California Gulls: Invasive weed rapidly encroaches on nesting habitat: Bartshé Miller writes, “Last century’s water diversions from the Mono Basin greatly changed the ecosystem of Mono Lake, and that legacy continues to test successive generations of California Gulls. A falling lake level, the first emergence of the landbridge in 1979, coyotes crossing to Negit Island, and gulls abandoning their once-secure breeding colony—these were tragic events. California Gulls (Larus californicus) became one of the rallying points for saving Mono Lake, and while the colony suffered, the birds adapted and shifted nesting to the newly-emerged islets adjacent to Negit that provided refuge from coyotes because they were still surrounded by water. … ”  Read more from the Mono-Logue here: A growing problem for California Gulls: Invasive weed rapidly encroaches on nesting habitat

Santa Ana River Commemorates 50 Years of Collaboration and Celebration: “This month commemorates the 50th anniversary of a momentous water rights and management agreement between four water agencies in the Santa Ana River Watershed, which was made possible thanks to two 1969 court judgements for the water rights of the Santa Ana River.  “These two judgements have had a positive and lasting effect for all residents in the Santa Ana River Watershed,” said SAWPA’s General Manager Richard Haller. “Communities in the watershed enjoy a reliable water supply while ensuring both upstream and downstream water interests and rights are protected.” … ”  Read more from the SoCal Tap Water Blog here:  Santa Ana River Commemorates 50 Years of Collaboration and Celebration

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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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