BLOG ROUND-UP: SB 1, The Munich Agreement on California Water, Delta outflow measurement; Providing flows for fish; Managing a non-native Delta ecosystem; Water myths of the San Joaquin Valley; and more …

Photo by Thomas Hawk

This week in California water blogs: Governor Newsom – California Needs SB 1; A bad look for the Newsom Administration; The Munich Agreement on California Water; Delta Outflow Measurement; Providing Flows for Fish; Managing a Non-Native Delta Ecosystem; Water Myths of the San Joaquin Valley; and more …

Governor Newsom – California Needs SB 1: Kate Poole writes, “Senate Bill 1, the California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act, passed the state legislature by an impressive majority in the wee hours of the morning of September 14th.  These legislators understand the need for California to provide clear direction to state agencies that the state can and must block reckless rollbacks of long-standing federal policies by an exploitative Trump administration hell-bent on undermining protections for California’s workers, air, water, wildlife and endangered species.  So it is particularly perplexing and deeply disappointing that Governor Newsom, who ran on a platform of defending against a reckless President Trump, quickly announced his  opposition to the very section of the bill that directly affects the federal Central Valley Project. … “  Read more from the NRDC here: Governor Newsom – California Needs SB 1

A bad look for the Newsom Administration:  On the Public Record writes, “Governor Newsom says he will veto SB1, which freezes CA environmental protections at the level they were at the end of the Obama administration. The water users have told him to, or they won’t be able to make any Voluntary Settlement Agreements with the Newsom administration.  This got me to thinking. What if Clinton’s victory had been honored? What if we were three years into the Clinton administration and presumably, she had never rolled back the Obama protections with some faked-up science that won’t survive a court challenge? Would the Voluntary Settlement Agreements be possible in those conditions? If not, are the VSA’s only possible when they occupy the space that Trump created? That is yet another indication that they are a real bad idea. … “  Read more from On the Public Record here: A bad look for the Newsom Administration

Newsom Says He Will Veto Bill Blocking Trump Rollback of Endangered Fish ProtectionsDan Bacher writes, “After Newsom’s announcement that he plans to veto SB 1, it is no surprise that the total contributions from agriculture in his 2018 campaign for Governor were $637,398. Newsom received $58,400 from Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick, $58,400 from Lynda Resnick and $58,400 from E.J. Gallo. Agribusiness tycoons are strident supporters of the voluntary agreements and the Delta Tunnel — and are among the strongest proponents of attacks on the Endangered Species Act, a landmark federal environmental law that SB 1 would help protect. ... ”  Read more at the Daily Kos here: Newsom Says He Will Veto Bill Blocking Trump Rollback of Endangered Fish Protections

The Munich Agreement on California Water:  Patrick Porgans writes, “The Trump administration is the greatest threat to the environment in modern history. Yet California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, is trying to broker Voluntary Settlement Agreements with the Trump administration that would substitute for Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Senate Bill 1, a watered-down attempt by the state’s democratically controlled Legislature to nullify Trump’s attacks on the environment, was passed on Friday.  However, Governor Newsom has announced he intends to veto the bill. … “  Read more from the Daily Kos here: The Munich Agreement on California Water

blog-round-up-previous-editionsDelta Outflow Measurement:  Tom Cannon writes, “Delta outflow has been estimated by state and federal agencies for over 50 years.  The Department of Water Resource’s Delta Total Outflow is a daily-average algorithm calculated in cubic feet per second (cfs) for Station DTO, a hypothetical location near Chipps Island in Suisun Bay.  The federal Bureau of Reclamation’s Delta Outflow estimate is calculated similarly and presented as a daily average flow in cubic feet per second on Reclamation’s website.  Now a third estimate of Delta Outflow is available from the federal US Geological Survey on one of its websites (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/inventory?agency_code=USGS&site_no=380245121532301).  This site has daily average estimates for a “gage” near Chipps Island since summer of 2016.  The estimate is from tidally filtered flow/stage data.Content here … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Delta Outflow Measurement

Providing Flows for Fish:  Peter Moyle writes, “A reality in California and the American West is that people are competing with fish for water. We humans are winning the competition.  However, because there are moral, aesthetic, and legal obligations to provide fish with water in streams, biologists like me often get asked the question “Just how much water do the fish need, anyway?” This, of course, is the wrong question because the best reply is  “all of it!” if you consider the stream flows under which each fish species evolved, that often varied from raging torrents to gentle summer trickles across a single year.   The question may then switch to, “well, what is the minimum flow we need to provide to keep the fish alive?”  This is also the wrong question because if you keep a stream fish assemblage on minimum flows for a long enough period, most native species will likely disappear. In their place will be trout raised in hatcheries and non-native species like fathead minnows and green sunfish; these fish will live in a highly degraded habitats, signified by dead riparian trees and stagnant pools. A more useful question is “what is the optimal flow regime that will allow a diverse native fish fauna and other biota to thrive, while providing water for use by people?” … “  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Providing Flows for Fish

Managing a Non-Native Delta Ecosystem:  Lori Pottinger writes, “The Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta has more non-native species than native ones, and its estuary is considered the most invaded in the world. We talked to Jim Cloern—an emeritus scientist with the US Geological Survey and an adjunct fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center—about this challenge.  PPIC: How have non-native species changed the Delta?  Jim Cloern: The plant and animal communities are very different than they were 50 years ago. There are more than 200 non-native species of animals and plants in the Bay and Delta; all were introduced by people, many in the last half century. Some of these introduced species are relatively low in abundance, but some have emerged as “keystone species.” That means they now play a prominent role in the ecosystem, either by changing processes like food production for fish or by reshaping biological communities. … “  Read more from the PPIC blog here: Managing a Non-Native Delta Ecosystem

Principles for State Investment in Climate Adaptation: Dierdre Des Jardins writes, “The first priority of the state must be increasing resiliency of the existing built environment, and protecting vulnerable populations from catastrophic effects of climate change. Catastrophic climate change effects include severe droughts, river flooding, heat waves, fires, and inundation from sea level rise.  The state must also invest in increasing resiliency of ecosystems in the face of climate change. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: Principles for State Investment in Climate Adaptation

Reimagining our Water System: Utilizing Natural Infrastructure—Reactivating our Floodplains:  The Northern California Water Association blog writes, “The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) and water leaders in Northern California have appreciated the opportunity to engage with the Newsom Administration and our many partners to help develop and then implement “a water resilience portfolio (portfolio) that meets the needs of California’s communities, economy, and environment through the 21st century.”  Building on the Governor’s call to “utilize natural infrastructure,” there are unique opportunities in the Sacramento River Basin to enhance and expand utilization of natural infrastructure for multiple benefits such as “forests and floodplains,” as well as advancing “groundwater recharge” to help with sustainable groundwater management. … ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here: Reimagining our Water System: Utilizing Natural Infrastructure—Reactivating our Floodplains

Water Myths of the San Joaquin Valley:  Eric Caine writes, “Among the more persistent myths about water in the San Joaquin Valley, none is more durable than the canard that water shortages and land subsidence have been caused by, “an innumerable myriad of Endangered Species Act-related laws, mandates, opinions, rulings and settlements.” This latest addition to the catalogue of misinformation comes from Kristi Diener, in an OP/ED for the Modesto and Fresno Bee newspapers.  Diener, like everyone else who attempts to blame water shortages and subsidence on a “regulatory drought” runs into a logical cul-de-sac when she has to admit that “subsidence did not begin in 2014’s drought. It was an issue at least a century before.” … “  Read more from the Valley Citizen Blog here: Water Myths of the San Joaquin Valley

Groundwater wells: Missed opportunities:  Don Wright writes, “Mike and John stood back from the drilling rig, working on Mike’s ranch.  They’d been there about ten minutes, just watching the plastic casing being inserted into the test hole.  John turned to Mike, and asked how long the drilling had been going on, and when were they to be done?  “They started six days ago and should finish in about five.  Their building a group of monitoring wells, each one deeper than the other” Mike said.  John nodded, then asked why there were drilling these, and not a new irrigation well.  Mike pointed to a fellow in a different colored hardhat, and said “That fellow is an engineer, from the GSA.  This is what he explained to me.”  Mike began to explain to John, that most of the wells in the Valley are irrigation wells, and they are spread out all over. … “  Read more from Water Wrights here: Missed opportunities

Salton Sea +20:  Michael Cohen writes, “After decades of false starts and false hopes, progress might finally be within reach for California’s Salton Sea – the state’s largest and most maligned lake. California’s governor and natural resources secretary have demonstrated the commitment and political will needed to construct actual, on-the-ground habitat and dust control projects. California’s voters have approved hundreds of millions of dollars for Salton Sea projects. And the state and the largest local landowner recently completed land-use agreements to move the projects forward. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute blog here: Salton Sea +20

What Hath California Wrought? Dan Farber writes, “California’s climate policy have been a success, but quantifying the effects is complicated. It’s harder than it might seem to determine whether a climate regulation has succeeded. California has clearly hit or exceeded its target for overall carbon emissions reductions under its method of carbon accounting. But if we ask how much global emissions are lower now (or will be lower in the future) because of California, that metric is harder to assess.  It does seem pretty clear that emissions within the state’s borders are lower than they would have been if you held everything constant except California climate policy. … ”  Read more from Legal Planet here: What Hath California Wrought?

The Broken Safe Drinking Water Act Won’t Fix the PFAS Crisis:  Erik D. Olson writes, “We’ve known for years that 6 million Americans’ tap water is contaminated with PFOA and PFOS, just two of thousands in a class of “forever” chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) “Health Advisory.” We also know that tens of millions more Americans likely are consuming water that contains PFAS—by some accounts more than 100 million of us may be exposed merely by taking a sip of tap water or cooking with it.  Yet, EPA has not set an enforceable drinking water standards for a single PFAS. And if it decided to or were told to do so, would EPA set standards that protect our most vulnerable people like pregnant moms and children? … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: The Broken Safe Drinking Water Act Won’t Fix the PFAS Crisis

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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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