This week in California water blogs: Finally, after decades in the business, On the Public Record has found an appropriate use for gallons; Preparing California’s Rivers for a Changing Climate; SB 1 a roadblock to voluntary agreements or protective measure against Trump’s enviro assault?; Trump eviscerated the ESA or endangered insanity?; Can Water Agencies Work Together Sustainably?; The shady politics of urban greening in Los Angeles; Colorado River water reduction rules: not quite voluntary, not quite mandatory – “vandatory”!; and more …
Finally, after decades in the business, On the Public Record has found an appropriate use for gallons: “We all know that in CA water, gallons are a bullshit unit, used to make a tiny amount of water sound big, like skajilliyons and frapilliyon gallons. (I will admit the use of gppd.) But I have finally found the right place to apply gallons. Perhaps you saw that last year, people in his district realized that Nunes went straight from college to Congress and has never actually farmed. He has never drawn any on-farm income. He is what he looks like: a salaryman in a suit. They sued to get the designation “farmer” off Nunes’ ballot description, seeing as how he doesn’t earn farm income, nor own a farm, nor work on a farm. Since last year, Nunes bought $15K worth of farm in his district. That turns out to be about 100sq-ft of farm (10 feet by 10 feet). … ” Continue reading at On the Public Record here: I worry about his edge effect.
On the Public Record dives into the San Joaquin Valley blueprint in a series of posts too hard to excerpt. Start here at The San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint? What’s that? Looks important and use the links at the top right to page to the next post.
Preparing California’s Rivers for a Changing Climate: Lori Pottinger writes, “California’s rivers and streams have experienced enormous changes over the past 150 years, and a warming climate brings new challenges. We talked to Ted Grantham—a river scientist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about the state of the state’s rivers. Grantham was recently appointed as the first PPIC CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow. Thanks to the donors that helped us launch this program: Gary Arabian, the Morgan Family Foundation, Nick Graves, John Osterweis, and the Rosenberg Ach Foundation. PPIC: Talk about the changes affecting California’s rivers and streams. Ted Grantham: California’s rivers and streams have experienced so much change since European settlement that they’re considered “novel ecosystems.” Gold mining and logging brought a massive amount of sediment into rivers. Riparian forests that lined Central Valley rivers and extensive wetlands on the valley floor have mostly been converted to farming. … ” Read more from the PPIC blog here: Preparing California’s Rivers for a Changing Climate
Legislature Must Remove Roadblocks to Voluntary Agreements on Water: Mike Wade writes, “San Diego’s historic community swimming pool, “The Plunge,” in Mission Beach, recently reopened following years of disrepair, safety concerns, and maintenance issues. A $5.2 million public-private partnership made the renovation project possible and residents are once again splashing in the water. But what if, at the last minute, the City of San Diego said the pool would remain empty…no water…despite the private investment that enabled the project? ... ” Read more from Fox and Hounds here: Legislature Must Remove Roadblocks to Voluntary Agreements on Water
Will CA Pass SB 1 to #Resist Trump’s Environmental Assault? Doug Obegi writes, “The Trump Administration is stepping up its attacks on California’s rivers, salmon, and other native fish and wildlife, and the thousands of fishing jobs that depend on these environmental protections. Undermining the Endangered Species Act is only a part of their assault on our nation’s bedrock environmental protections for clean air, clean water, and fish and wildlife. In response, the State legislature has been considering critically important legislation (SB 1 by Senators Atkins, Portantino and Stern) that helps protect against these Trump rollbacks by directing state agencies to #resistTrump by incorporating existing federal environmental standards in state rules, actions and policies. But Central Valley agribusinesses are furiously lobbying the Governor and Legislature to oppose SB 1 and support Trump’s efforts to gut environmental protections. ... ” Read more from the NRDC blog here: Will CA Pass SB 1 to #Resist Trump’s Environmental Assault?
Trump Administration Attempts to Eviscerate the Endangered Species Act: Richard Frank writes, “The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, has for most of its history been the most controversial and politically-charged of all the foundational environmental laws adopted by Congress in the 1970’s. But despite its contentious history, opponents of the ESA have been unsuccessful in their efforts to weaken the law, either through significant Congressional amendments or regulatory changes. Until now. … Stated simply, these regulatory changes represent the most dramatic erosion of the ESA’s protections for threatened and endangered animal and plant species in the 46-year history of the statute. … ” Read more from Legal Planet here: Trump Administration Attempts to Eviscerate the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Sanity! If protecting an endangered species will cause economic harm to a community, they have a right to take that into consideration: Families Protecting the Valley writes, “What horrible thing was done? What did Trump do to kill off endangered species? “The regulations call for greater emphasis on economic impact analysis, even as environmental groups note the law forbids anything except science from influencing a listing decision.” All that means is that if protecting an endangered species will cause economic harm to a community, they have a right to take that into consideration. Is that so terrible? Remember, when environmentalists de-watered the west side of the San Joaquin Valley to protect the Delta Smelt, there could be no consideration of how this economically impacted farmers and cities in our Valley. That would now be part of the equation on how to proceed. We think that’s a good thing. … ” Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Endangered Sanity!
Can Water Agencies Work Together Sustainably? – Lessons from Metropolitan Planning: Jay Lund writes, “It is said that, “In the US, we hate government so much that we have thousands of them.” This decentralization has advantages, but poses problems for integration. Integration is easy to say, and hard to do. Integration is especially hard, and unavoidably imperfect, for organizing common functions across different agencies with different missions and governing authorities. (Similar problems exist for organizing common functions across programs within a single agency.) … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: Can Water Agencies Work Together Sustainably? – Lessons from Metropolitan Planning
New CA Lawn Sprinkler Standards = Huge Water & Energy Savings: “California officials today adopted one of the most important and consequential water-saving measures ever implemented by any state, establishing an efficiency standard for new spray sprinklers that will reduce irrigation system misting and overspray that is common around urban landscapes. It’s a huge step given that nearly half of all of California’s drinking water is used outdoors, primarily for landscape irrigation. The California Energy Commission estimates the water savings will be enormous from this standard—over 400 million gallons per day statewide within 10 years—more than enough to supply all the water used in San Diego, the state’s second-largest city. … ” Read more from the NRDC blog here: New CA Lawn Sprinkler Standards = Huge Water & Energy Savings
They’re back at it: KBRA 2 aims to trade water for restoration funding: “KlamBlog has learned that some of the same characters who brought you the first Klamath River Basin Restoration Agreement, KBRA 1, are at it again; they are even calling their effort KBRA 2. But this time is a bit different. Not only are those folks once again negotiating to limit Klamath River flows in order to maximize federal irrigation deliveries, it now appears, based on documents leaked to KlamBlog, that “relief from regulatory burdens” of the Clean Water Act may also be on the KBRA 2 table. … ” Read more from the Klam Blog here: They’re back at it: KBRA 2 aims to trade water for restoration funding
Los Angeles: The shady politics of urban greening: Emily Green writes, “Glare defines Los Angeles. So squinting was inevitable when the city announced the appointment of arborist Rachel Malarich as its “first-ever” forest officer. Her job, part of the city’s Green New Deal, is to plant 90,000 trees in the next two years. Creation of an estimated 61.3 million square feet of new shade in tree-poor communities is to be done just as the city weans itself from half of its imported water, with a lion’s share of savings expected from landscape irrigation budgets. Those of us rooting for Malarich may still wince at the numbers. While not as implausible as the Villaraigosa million tree goal, promising 90,000 new trees is little more than a pledge and a number. What’s not visible is a long-term plan, which is needed because trees are the very definition of a long-term investment. … ” Read more from the Chance of Rain blog here: The shady politics of urban greening
New Lake Mead forecast spares Arizona – for now. Here are four critical steps to water security: Kevin Moran writes, “Arizona just got another temporary reprieve from water cuts in Lake Mead, for the second year in a row. However, sustainable water management — of both the Colorado River and groundwater — remains crucial for communities in the Southwest to become resilient to increasingly arid conditions. A new, closely watched 24-month study of water levels on Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, means Arizona has managed to avoid substantial water cuts next year. On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicted Lake Mead’s elevation will be 1,089.4 feet on Jan. 1, thanks to an unusually wet winter and seven states reaching a historic agreement on how to conserve Colorado River water. … ” Read more from the EDF Growing Returns blog here: New Lake Mead forecast spares Arizona – for now. Here are four critical steps to water security
A decent (not great, but decent) water year on the Colorado was not enough to stave off mandatory cuts: John Fleck writes, “Walking across the University of New Mexico campus yesterday afternoon on my way to orientation for our incoming UNM Water Resources Program students, at precisely 3:10 pm MDT, a friend sent me a historic text message: “1089.4”. Translated from the native language of the Colorado River Water Nerd, “1089.4” means “The surface of Lake Mead in the Bureau of Reclamation’s August 24-month study is forecast to end the year at less than 1090 feet above sea level, triggering the first mandatory cuts in the long history of the Law of the Colorado River.” … ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here: A decent (not great, but decent) water year on the Colorado was not enough to stave off mandatory cuts
Colorado River water reduction rules: not quite voluntary, not quite mandatory – “vandatory”! John Fleck writes, “After Friday’s blog post and some intemperate tweeting about whether the Colorado River Drought Contingency plan cuts about to go into effect were voluntary or mandatory, a friend involved in the negotiations explained that they actually came up with a word for this: “vandatory”. ... ” Continue reading at the Inkstain blog here: Colorado River water reduction rules: not quite voluntary, not quite mandatory – “vandatory”!
Intelligence Thieves: How Toxic Pollutants Are Robbing Communities of Color: Tara Lohan writes, “Flint, Michigan, may now be synonymous with environmental health disasters, but Flint is no anomaly, says science writer and ethicist Harriet Washington. We are a nation of Flints. From small towns like Anniston, Alabama, to big cities like Washington, D.C., environmental health dangers are widespread and communities of color are the people most likely to be assaulted by heavy metals, pesticides and other poisons. … We spoke to Harriett Washington about why the dangers to mental capacity from environmental pollution are so often overlooked, why communities of color bear the brunt and what can be done about it. … ” Read more from The Revelator here: Intelligence Thieves: How Toxic Pollutants Are Robbing Communities of Color
Comparing Apples to Apples: Towards Better Communication using a Common Language for Water: Karina de Souza writes, “Writing this as I return from my family summer holiday, I am reminded of a trip to Siena, Italy where I visited the Piazza del Campo, home to the famous Palio di Siena horse race. I surveyed the view from a piazza café and in my best Italian ordered two lattes. The waiter returned with… two glasses of hot milk. No espresso in sight. After some exchange, I re-ordered two café lattes and realized if I had simply communicated using the ”universal” description of my drink, rather than the British vernacular, I would have gotten my drinks much sooner! In a similar way, leading companies wanting to engage on water issues across their business have discovered significant fragmentation in water terminology and metrics across contexts, stakeholders, and regions. And this has led to some confusion. … ” Continue reading at the Pacific Institute blog here: Comparing Apples to Apples: Towards Better Communication using a Common Language for Water
Principles of Climate Governance: Dan Farber writes, “There’s a lot of discussion about the substance of climate policy today. That’s obviously critical, but we also need to think about the procedural and institutional issues involved in making climate policy. For instance, we need to think about how to divide authority between the states and the federal government. I thought it would be helpful to pull together some of the ideas that others (as well as I) have been discussing. Having a brief compendium of governance principles could help crystalize some of that discussion. A larger effort along these lines should be considered. The American Law Institute (ALI), a body of distinguished judges, lawyers, and scholars, issued a lengthy document on principles of corporate governance. A similar effort could be usefully undertaken regarding climate governance, whether by the ALI or some other institution. … ” Read more from the Legal Planet here: Principles of Climate Governance
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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.