BLOG ROUND-UP: The Yolo Bypass: It’s a floodplain! It’s farmland! It’s an ecosystem!; What does groundwater have to do with the Delta? A lot; Delta Science Plan – It’s not that complicated; “The plans are so vague as to be worthless.”; and more …

Sunset at Half Moon Bay; Photo by Rick Schwartz

In blogs this week:  The Yolo Bypass: It’s a Floodplain! It’s Farmland! It’s an Ecosystem!; What Does Groundwater Have to Do with the Delta? A Lot; Delta Science Plan – It’s not that complicated; “The plans are so vague as to be worthless.”; State Water Contractors seek to dictate Delta tunnel capacity and configuration; Why Should Trump Help?; and more …

The Yolo Bypass: It’s a Floodplain! It’s Farmland! It’s an Ecosystem!:  “California’s biggest river—the Sacramento—needs a lot of room to spread in big water years. A floodplain project called the Yolo Bypass allows it to flood naturally, while also providing habitat for waterbirds, fish, and other aquatic species. We talked to Ted Sommer, lead scientist for the Department of Water Resources (DWR), about this versatile landscape.  PPIC: What is the Yolo Bypass, and what does it do?  Ted Sommer: It’s California’s primary floodplain. The Sacramento River drains a massive portion of the state, and the bypass gives it a large area—about 60,000 acres—to spill in high flood events. … ”  Continue reading at the PPIC blog here:  The Yolo Bypass: It’s a Floodplain! It’s Farmland! It’s an Ecosystem!

What Does Groundwater Have to Do with the Delta? A Lot:  Susan Tatayon writes, “California has a vast water supply not just in its lakes, rivers, and estuaries, but also underground. For years, California’s cities and farms have depended on this unseen resource, especially in the southern part of the state where rainfall is low, surface water is scarce, and demand is high. In fact, underground aquifers provide about 40 percent of California’s water supply in a normal year and significantly more in dry years.  Groundwater is also something that, until recently, was largely absent from the state’s water management oversight; this changed in 2014 with the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). For the first time in its history, California established minimum standards for sustainable groundwater management. If local resource managers fail to meet these standards, this legislation authorizes the state to intervene to protect groundwater basins. SGMA is an earth-shaking move toward managing California’s groundwater and surface water as an interconnected system. … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council’s blog here:  What Does Groundwater Have to Do with the Delta? A Lot

Delta Science Plan – It’s not that complicated:  Tom Cannon writes, “The new Delta Science Plan (Plan) is a “call” for more collaborative science to improve government decision making affecting the Delta ecosystem.  The first page announces the vision for the plan as being “One Delta, One Science.”  Really?  Science is not just one thing; it is many things.  Science is knowledge.  Delta science is knowledge on what makes up the Delta and how it all works together.  There is science for all Delta social, economic, and ecosystem components.  There is Delta smelt science.  There is Sandhill Crane science.  There is science on water quality, water supply.  There is science on roads, farming, and flood control.  There is science on large ship movement through the Delta.  The Science can be good, bad, or simply inadequate; it is only as good as the predictions and decisions that one can make from it. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Delta Science Plan – It’s not that complicated

“The plans are so vague as to be worthless.”  On the Public Record writes, “The Chico Enterprise-Record isn’t much impressed with the Water Plan Update 2018. My impression is that the Water Plan played it so safe that it became a meaningless list of every good thing, and my fear is that the Resilience Portfolio is headed down the same path. Fortunately, we will know as soon as the Resilience Portfolio is released, by locating it on the spectrum from safe to controversial. ... ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here: “The plans are so vague as to be worthless.”

State Water Contractors seek to dictate Delta tunnel capacity and configuration:  Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “Governor Gavin Newsom stated in his February 12, 2019 State of the State address that he did “not support the WaterFix as currently configured.  Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.”  The meaning of Governor Newsom’s statement is the subject of active negotiations between the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Contractors (SWC.)  DWR and the SWC have begun negotiations on a potential State Water Project contract amendment to pay for a single Delta tunnel.  Under a settlement agreement with Planning and Conservation League over the Monterey amendments, the negotiation meetings are required to be public. The first negotiation meeting was held on July 24, 2019. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research Blog here: State Water Contractors seek to dictate Delta tunnel capacity and configuration

Why Should Trump Help?When Donald Trump came to the Valley while he was running for President he promised to get more water for farmers.  His administration is doing its best to the biological opinions that govern the delta pumps so they can deliver on that promise.  He’s doing his best to keep his promises.  But on the Valley’s west side where farm water allocations are the lowest in the entire state some farmers still don’t get it.  John Harris, Chairman of Harris Farms, just hosted a fundraiser for Governor Newsom.  Maybe he and the other Ag donators didn’t see the article referenced above or all the articles about SB1 which will negate all the progress the Trump administration is making.  Maybe he’s trying to get the governor to change his mind. … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Why Should Trump Help?

Late-Fall-Run Salmon – Latest Update:  Tom Cannon writes, “In a January update on late-fall-run salmon, I noted record low runs of late-fall-run Chinook salmon to the upper Sacramento River in 2015 and 2016. That trend continued in 2017 (Figure 1), as shown in recent data published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Spawning runs from 2015-2017, the product of runs from the 2013-2015 drought, were three lowest since year 2000.  As it was for spawning run 2013, the rate of return for 2014 spawning run of tagged late-fall-run hatchery smolts was very low (Figure 2). ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Late-Fall-Run Salmon – Latest Update

4 Reasons Why Urban Landscapes are a Linchpin for Climate Resilience: Cora Kammeyer writes, “When it comes to water sustainability and climate resilience, urban outdoor landscapes represent a wealth of opportunity.  Outdoor landscapes are a vital component of our cities. Whether it’s outside a home, a store, an office, or a manufacturing plant, the landscape is a property’s primary interface with the community and the environment. Properly designed and managed using sustainable landscape strategies, these outdoor areas can help communities weather droughts, mitigate floods, sequester carbon, improve human well-being, and more. ... ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here: 4 Reasons Why Urban Landscapes are a Linchpin for Climate Resilience

Floods on the Colorado: If It Has Happened in the Past, It Can Happen:  Eric Kuhn writes, “Last week I had the pleasure of exploring the banks the Colorado River near Moab, Utah with two of our most accomplished river scientists, Jack Schmidt (Utah State) and Vic Baker (U of Arizona), and hear a presentation by Dr. Baker on the science of studying past floods on the Colorado River system. When a flood occurs, the river leaves evidence of the flood by depositing materials that are carried by the river high on the banks of the river or in caves adjacent to the river. His basic message is “if it has happened in the past, it can happen,” therefore, if we can use the evidence nature has provided to estimate the peak discharge of past floods, we can use that knowledge to be better prepared for future floods. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Floods on the Colorado: If It Has Happened in the Past, It Can Happen

Video of migratory phalaropes at Mono Lake:  “On Saturday morning canoe tour participants were treated to a spectacular show by migratory phalaropes, which are arriving to the lake by the thousands! … ”  More from the Mono-logue blog here:  Video of migratory phalaropes at Mono Lake

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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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