BLOG ROUND-UP: Drought, fish, and water in California; Future climate change starts with steps now; Is Gavin Newsom just a slicker version of Jerry Brown on the environment?; Why is water temperature in the Delta so important?; and more …

Mother Nature by Juraj Patekar

This week in California water blogs: Drought, fish, and water in California; Future Climate Change Starts With Steps Now; Is Gavin Newsom Just a Slicker Version of Jerry Brown on the Environment?; Why is Water Temperature in the Delta so important?; DWR rushes to complete geotechnical drilling in WaterFix project alignment; Resilience to water scarcity: How Central Valley farmers can adapt to climate change; Interview with the Salton Sea, and more …

Drought, fish, and water in California:  Peter Moyle writes, “With a big collective sigh of relief, Californians rejoiced that we have largely recovered from 2012-2016 drought[1].  Streams are flowing.  Reservoirs are full. Crops are watered. Native fishes are reproducing   But this not a time for complacency; if the 2012-2016 drought, the hottest and driest on record, had lasted another year or longer, California ‘s farms, cities, and ecosystems would have been in a dire state, with water in short supply everywhere (Mount et al., 2017, 2018).  This should thus be a time to develop new and better strategies for reducing impacts of severe drought on both natural and developed systems, following the California Water Model (Pinter et al. 2019) of “resilience through failure.”  California has a history of learning from past failures of water management, especially floods, and of avoiding repeating mistakes as a consequence. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Drought, fish, and water in California

blog-round-up-previous-editionsFuture Climate Change Starts With Steps Now:  Jennifer Pierre writes, “As we wrestle with our rigid rules, imperfect science and diverse views on how to best manage today’s water system, climate change is the one certainty in our future. Climate change is all about adapting. And that, hopefully, starts with adapting right now.  This imperative was perhaps put best by a federal scientist attending a Delta workshop, “Adaptive management isn’t a spare tire. It is the steering wheel.” ... ”  Read more from the State Water Contractors here: Future Climate Change Starts With Steps Now

Why is Water Temperature in the Delta so important?:  Tom Cannon writes, “The rivers flowing into the Delta are generally cool.  The Bay is generally cool.  But the Delta gets warm (>20oC, 68oF) from late spring into early fall.  Rivers have a water quality standard limit of 68oF.1 The Delta should too.  Salmon, smelt, and steelhead are cool water fish that use the Delta for major portions of their life cycle.  Water temperatures above 68oF are stressful, leading to poorer growth, higher predation, lower survival, and early exits from Delta critical habitats. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here: Why is Water Temperature in the Delta so important?

Is Gavin Newsom Just a Slicker Version of Jerry Brown on the Environment?  Dan Bacher writes, “Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday reappointed three of Governor Jerry Brown’s most controversial, least popular and most environmentally questionable appointees – Karla Nemeth, Cindy Messer and Chuck Bonham – after in February refusing to reappoint Brown’s best appointee, Felicia Marcus, as Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.  He reappointed these three officials in spite of growing opposition to their reappointment by fishermen, conservationists and environmental justice advocates. … ”  Read more at Counter Punch here: Is Gavin Newsom Just a Slicker Version of Jerry Brown on the Environment?

DWR rushes to complete geotechnical drilling in WaterFix project alignment: Deirdre Des Jardins writes: “According to DWR’s May 22, 2019 environmental document for the drilling, the geotechnical work is being done is to complete geotechnical exploration in the WaterFix project tunnel alignment that began in 2010 and 2011.  The geotechnical work is part of ongoing work under contracts executed in January of 2019 for the WaterFix project.  The DCA signed a $93 million contract with Jacobs Engineering in January of 2019 for engineering design, and a $75 million contract with Fugro for geotechnical services. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: DWR rushes to complete geotechnical drilling in WaterFix project alignment

Napa River Smelt Sanctuary:  Tom Cannon writes, “The Napa River and its estuary are an important spawning and rearing area for longfin and Delta smelt, especially in wet years. Wet years, with their high Delta outflows (Figure 1) and modest Napa River flows (Figure 2) provide spawning habitat for the smelt in the Napa River and its estuary (Figures 3-6).  Wet year 2019 shows use by longfin (Figure 3), but little use by Delta smelt (Figure 7), which likely reflects their low population abundance. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here: Napa River Smelt Sanctuary

Resilience to water scarcity: How Central Valley farmers can adapt to climate change: Ann Hayden writes, “By January 2020, areas where groundwater demand far outstrips supply must submit plans to bring their groundwater basins back into balance within 20 years. These plans are required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, which was signed into law in 2014 during the state’s latest multiyear drought.  SGMA inevitably means less water for irrigating farms. Worst-case estimates forecast as much as 780,000 acres of farmland — out of more than 5 million acres of total irrigated land — will have to be taken out of production. How local decision makers and community members navigate this transition to sustainable groundwater management will significantly shape the future of the region, known as the country’s fruit and nut capital. … ”  Read more from EDF’s Growing Returns blog here: Resilience to water scarcity: How Central Valley farmers can adapt to climate change

Governor Newsom and Legislative Leaders Advance Funding for Safe Drinking Water Solutions for All Californians:  The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “The Northern California Water Association applauds Gov. Newsom and the Legislature’s decisive action to advance a secure funding source for the drinking water needs of communities statewide. This week, Governor Newsom signed the 2019-2020 state budget which includes over $160 million in combined funding to help ensure that all California communities have access to safe drinking water. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here: Governor Newsom and Legislative Leaders Advance Funding for Safe Drinking Water Solutions for All Californians

How does groundwater get there?  Verna Jigour writes, “In the Introduction to his text, Groundwater Hydrology, the late David Keith Todd offers a brief history of groundwater development from ancient times and groundwater theories dating back to Greek and Roman philosophers, whose theories ranged “from fantasy to nearly correct accounts” (Todd 1980).  “An important step forward . . . was made by the Roman architect Vitruvius. He explained the now-accepted infiltration theory that the mountains receive large amounts of rain that percolate through the rock strata and emerge at their base to form streams. . . . … ”  Read more from the Rainfall to Groundwater blog here: How does groundwater get there?

State Water Board report documents oil industry pollutants in Kern County water supply:  Dan Bacher writes, “California officials have allowed the oil and gas industry to pollute drinking water wells while expanding drilling in recent years, exposing the constant touting of the state as the nation’s “green leader” by state officials and many media outlets as an unsupportable false narrative.  A new report released by the State Water Resources Control Board, entitled “2018 Annual Performance Report: Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring in Areas of Oil and Gas Well Stimulation,” documents the presence of oil industry pollutants in water-supply wells in Kern County. … ”  Read more at the Daily Kos here: State Water Board report documents oil industry pollutants in Kern County water supply

Interview with the Salton Sea, Part II:  The Salton Sea Saw Blog writes, “Q: How did you become the Voice of the Salton Sea?  A: How did you become Woodward and Bernstein? What kind of question is that? I don’t think people care how I got my job; what’s important is that when you’re talking to me, it’s just as if you’re talking to the Salton Sea.  Q: Is it fair to say that the Salton Sea has an image problem? A: Image problems don’t happen in a vacuum. They either burst onto the scene or build up over time, but they are always preceded by an actual problem. It is the actual problem that creates the image problem, not the other way around. ... ”  Continue reading at the Salton Sea Saw Blog here: Interview with the Salton Sea, Part II

New USBR modeling shows substantial reduction in Mead, Powell risk over the next five years:  “The unusually wet winter (with an assist from new Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan water reduction rules) has substantially reduced the near-term scare-the-crap-out-of-me risks on the Colorado River for the next few years, according to new Bureau of Reclamation modeling.  Modeling done in January showed significant risk – a nearly one in three chance – of Lake Mead dropping below elevation 1,025 by 2024, a level that would place the reservoir’s long term ability to make deliveries at risk. That has dropped to a one-in-30 chance, according to the new USBR modeling. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: New USBR modeling shows substantial reduction in Mead, Powell risk over the next five years

Twenty years of dam removal successes – and what’s up next:  Amy Souers Kober writes, “Twenty years ago, the annual run of alewives (a migratory fish essential to the marine food web) up Maine’s Kennebec River was zero. Today, it’s five million — thanks to the removal of Edwards Dam and additional restoration measures upstream. The Kennebec and its web of life have rebounded in many ways since Edwards Dam came down in 1999.  The removal of Edwards Dam was significant because it was the first time the federal government ordered a dam removed because its costs outweighed its benefits. The restoration of the Kennebec sparked a movement for free-flowing rivers in the U.S. and around the world. ... ”  Read more from the American Rivers blog here: Twenty years of dam removal successes – and what’s up next

A Wake-Up Call to Save and Protect the Natural World: Jonathan Hahn writes, “For Nick Brandt, the animals always came first. Photography, he realized later in life, was merely the best medium through which he could express his longtime fascination with the natural world.  Born and raised in London, Brandt was obsessed with animals from a young age. “I spent many years trying to find stories in the fictional context to express my love for animals,” he told Sierra. Brandt went on to study painting and film at the Saint Martin’s School of Art in London before turning to photography.  A breakout career as a music-video director took him to Tanzania in 1995 to shoot a video for Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song.” There, he soon became transfixed by the many different species of animals, began exploring the best ways to capture animal sentience on film, and found himself gravitating back to photography.  ... ”  Read more from Sierra Magazine here: A Wake-Up Call to Save and Protect the Natural World

Plastic, Insects, Salmon and Climate Change: The 13 Best Environmental Books of July:  John R. Platt writes, “Summer is officially upon us, which means it’s time to pick the season’s best beach reads. And there’s no rule that says beach reads have to be frothy and lightweight. Why not choose compelling and informative instead? We’ve picked the best new environmentally themed books coming out this July, with titles covering everything from insects and salmon to climate change and plastic pollution. There are even a few eco-poetry collections for those of you who’d like a little art with your inspiration. … ”  Read more from The Revelator here: Plastic, Insects, Salmon and Climate Change: The 13 Best Environmental Books of July

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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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