BLOG ROUND-UP: Water Resilience Portfolio: A genuine step forward or just another waste of time?; Kings v. Kern water districts and Boswell v. Resnick and Vidovich; Ringing in 2020: The capacity to care; Ashes to ashes and into trees; Trump’s proposed big changes to CEQ regs may not matter.; and more …

Punta Del Año Nuevo, California. Photo by Jim Maurer.

In California water blogs this week: Water Resilience Portfolio: A genuine step forward or just another waste of time?; Kings versus Kern water districts and Boswell versus Resnick and Vidovich; California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hampers Shasta Reservoir Project; Ringing in 2020: The capacity to care; Ashes to ashes and into trees; Project>Mono: Tree stories; Trump’s proposed big changes to CEQ regs may not matter.; and more …

Water Resilience Portfolio Review:  On the Public Record writes, “After all that, all the listening sessions and all the public input, what the Newsom administration came up with was a program-by-program list of Budget Change Proposal justifications. This is what the departments do every year internally and then submit to Finance, but apparently this year, they got put together into a glossy report and called the Resilience Portfolio. I mean this literally; I recognize the language of the BCPs we submit every year. In some ways, this is good. It means that when it comes time to report on how we are achieving the Resilience Portfolio, we will be able to report lots of progress. I suppose it is also interesting that after all the input, the Newsom administration went with “what our own agencies are currently doing plus new laws”. … ”  Continue reading at On the Public Record here: Water Resilience Portfolio Review

California’s Water Resilience Portfolio: A Genuine Step Forward or Just Another Waste of Time?  Robert Shibatani writes, ” … This brief note reviews the various directions provided in E.O. N-10-19, examines the various inventories and evaluations that are to be undertaken, reflects upon the set of principles upon which the water resilience portfolio is to be based, and attempts to identify any inconsistencies or potential troublesome areas, either within the portfolio elements themselves or in relation to other ongoing actions elsewhere. At this point, the E.O. can best be described as a quick overview of what is generally required; it does maintain its distance at a fairly broad level.  Accordingly, several key requirements, many of which will be ultimately necessary to complete the portfolio are not yet identified. ... ” Continue reading here: Water Resilience Portfolio – step forward or waste of time

blog-round-up-previous-editionsKern v Kings: So, we have Kings versus Kern water districts, and we have Boswell versus Resnick and Vidovich:  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “It’s hard to believe a water district in the Central Valley could have more water than they could use, but that’s apparently the case with the Kings River Water Association that let over a million and a half acre feet of water flow down the Kings River to the San Joaquin River to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and out to sea.  That’s according to the Semitropic Water Storage District of Kern County that did not let it go unnoticed and have applied to the State Water Resources Control Board to get their hands on the water under one of the first rules of water rights…use it or lose it.  They didn’t use it, so will they lose it? … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Kern v Kings: So, we have Kings versus Kern water districts, and we have Boswell versus Resnick and Vidovich

California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hampers Shasta Reservoir Project:  Brian Gray and Jeffrey Mount write, “California’s Wild and Scenic rivers have been in the news of late. The US Bureau of Reclamation and its cost-sharing partner, Westlands Water District, proposed to raise Shasta Dam to increase storage capacity in the state’s largest reservoir. They believe that the project would increase water supply reliability and enhance cold water storage to support salmon downstream.  Opponents of the project—including the State of California, environmental organizations, fishing groups, and Native American tribes—argue that the project would flood prime fish habitat and inundate tribal religious sites on the McCloud River, which is protected under the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Given current federal and state laws, it is unlikely that the bureau will be able to raise Shasta dam anytime soon. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC here: California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hampers Shasta Reservoir Project

Ringing in 2020: The capacity to care:  Caelen McQuilkin writes, “Born and raised in Lee Vining, I have lived and breathed Mono Lake, and the Eastern Sierra, from before I learned to walk. I remember family backpacking trips to Cascade Lake, where I would sit on the cooling granite and watch the sun sink below the Sierra crest, staining the swooping granite pinnacles with rosy pink. I remember floating in Mono Lake on warm summer days, gazing up at the soft blue sky and letting the sun soak into me.  As the years slipped by and I began adding more peaks to my summit list and learning the names of wildflowers, I became more and more curious about the world around me. … ”  Read more from the Mono-Logue here: Ringing in 2020: The capacity to care

A change of plans:  Jay Lund writes, “The 1957 California Water Plan was ambitious for its time, and successful in its own way for a time. This plan was the ultimate major water project development plan arising from a century of struggles to orient and organize a society transplanted from the humid eastern US to California’s highly variable Mediterranean climate – a poor society experiencing abrupt climate change due to relocation.  The direction of water planning in California changed decades ago. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: A change of plans

San Joaquin Fall-Run Salmon – Status Fall 2019:  Tom Cannon writes, “In previous updates in 2016 and 2017, I remarked on progress toward increasing San Joaquin watershed salmon runs during the recent 2013-2015 drought period.  I attributed the improvements to several positive factors … In this post, I update the previous assessments with new information on the 2016-2018 runs.  … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: San Joaquin Fall-Run Salmon – Status Fall 2019

The Final Straw for Delta Smelt; Another Dagger for Longfin:  Tom Cannon writes, “Delta smelt and longfin smelt were not protected in the Delta in November-December 2019. High south Delta exports (Figure 1) and associated highly negative Old and Middle River (OMR) flows (Figure 2) pulled the spawning adult smelt toward the export pumps, likely significantly compromising what is left of the two populations. High exports and negative flows also pulled saltwater from the west Delta into the central Delta (Figures 3 and 4). This forced smelt to spawn further upstream in the fresher water of the central, east, and south Delta, sealing the fate of the numerous larval longfin smelt spawned there to the export pumps this winter. Young Chinook salmon, especially listed winter-run and spring-run entering the Delta in December, were also jeopardized. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries here: The Final Straw for Delta Smelt; Another Dagger for Longfin

A Busy End-of-Year for CSPA:  Bill Jennings writes, “As we wait for the Newsom Administration to unveil the details of its proposed Portfolio Project, with a single Delta tunnel, results of the “Voluntary Agreement” process to replace/argument the existing Water Quality Control Plan proceeding and efforts by the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to increased exports from the Delta, it’s been a hectic period for submitting numerous comments on an array of other critical projects.  CSPA and a coalition of environmental, fishing and tribal organizations have submitted extensive comments on an array of pending projects affecting fisheries and water quality.  There is a common thread: they all have to do with Central Valley Project (CVP) water diverted from the Delta and/or the discharge of polluted drainage water to the San Joaquin River and Delta.  For example ... ”  Read more from CSPA News here: A Busy End-of-Year for CSPA  SEE ALSO: CSPA and Tuolumne advocates answer San Francisco on water supply

Restore the Delta Issues Comment Letters on Federal and State Water Operation Planning:  “Restore the Delta has filed comment letters on two major planning decisions that impact the health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta. The two processes are the Long Term Delta Operations plan for the State Water Contractors and the Westlands Water Contract. RTD sees problems with both state and federal plans as they impact the Delta. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here: Restore the Delta Issues Comment Letters on Federal and State Water Operation Planning

Ashes to ashes and into trees:  Austyn Gaffney writes, “Five miles inland from the rocky coast of Mendocino County sits 20 acres of forest. The trees—redwoods, Douglas firs, tan oaks, madrones—line old logging roads. Ferns and rhododendrons soften the forest floor. On a clear day, from a crest in the wooded parcel, there’s the blue snap of ocean.  It’s near this crest that Sandy Gibson, founder and CEO of Better Place Forests—a company whose mission is to conserve land by turning it into natural cemeteries—showed me his gravesite. Trees marked by orange, pink, or blue ribbons were available for burial plots, but Gibson’s redwood, towering above a dry creek bed, was ribbonless, signifying its purchase. Nearby trees with small copper plaques at their base, reminiscent of US Geological Survey markers, served as people’s tombstones. … ”  Read more from Sierra Magazine here: Ashes to ashes and into trees

Coyote Valley, a story of hope:  Obi Kaufmann writes, “Tonight, we celebrate. Coyote Valley, a last-chance frontier, a critical, habitat corridor of 1,000 acres between the Santa Cruz mountains of the San Francisco peninsula and the Diablo Range will remain protected from development thanks to the efforts of the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. This victory represents the way forward on so many fronts. This victory represents a triumph at the confluence of good science and good policy that generated a good strategy and coalesced into a story that fueled a community-driven, grassroots efforts to not waste the preciousness of what has been given, the preciousness of our natural world. Coyote Valley is a symbol of stewardship that the Bay Area can be proud of. Not only do we all own this victory, but so too do our grandchildren of tomorrow. … ”  Read more from the Coyote and Thunder blog here: Coyote Valley, a story of hope

Project>Mono: Tree stories … Bob Berwyn writes, “When I returned to Mono Basin in October for the first time in nearly 20 years, one of the first things I did was to visit a giant Jeffrey pine standing along the banks of Lee Vining Creek, near where the glacier-fed stream flows into Mono Lake.  I doubt the tree remembered me, but I certainly remembered it, reaching for the sky, straight, tall and powerful, its bark scented with a mysterious mix of vanilla and butterscotch. It looked pretty much the same as it did 20 years ago, although I’m sure it has grown several feet taller and a few inches wider. … ”  Read more from Medium here: Project>Mono: Tree stories … 

California’s 2019 use of Colorado River water lowest since 1950:  John Fleck writes, “While Colorado River water management eyes were focused elsewhere this year – on the big snowpack up north, or the chaos success of the Drought Contingency Plan – California has quietly achieved a remarkable milestone.  Its use of Colorado River water in 2019 will be 3.858 million acre feet. The last time it was below 4 million acre feet was 1950, as the state’s big diversions – the All-American Canal and the Colorado River Aqueduct – were ramping up. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: California’s 2019 use of Colorado River water lowest since 1950  SEE ALSO: How big was Lake Mead’s “structural deficit” in 2019?

A Paper Tiger?  Trump is proposing big changes to CEQ regs. But they may not matter.  Dan Farber writes, “The Trump Administration is trying to gut the current White House rules on environmental impact statements.  Some people view this move as a death blow to an important environmental tool. Here’s what Trump is trying to do and why it may not matter as much as people fear.  As to what Trump & Co. are trying to do, the same statute that created environmental impact statements also created a White House agency called the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). CEQ has issued guidelines about how other agencies should prepare impact statements.  According to the NY Times, a leaked draft makes some dramatic changes to the existing guidelines … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here: A Paper Tiger?

Welcome to 2020: 8 Important Environmental Stories to Follow This Year:  John R. Platt and Tara Lohan write, “Let’s be honest, 2019 was a rough year for the planet. Despite some environmental victories along the way, we saw the extinction crisis deepen, efforts to curtail climate change blocked at almost every turn, and the oceans continue to warm. We also heard new revelations about ways that plastics and chemicals harm our bodies, saw the political realm become even more polarized, and experienced yet another round of record-breaking temperatures.  So what should we expect for 2020? Here are eight of the big environmental topics we think will capture headlines in the year ahead. … ”  Read more from The Revelator here: Welcome to 2020: 8 Important Environmental Stories to Follow This Year

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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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