5 Questions about the new proposed Delta Voluntary Agreement:  Doug Obegi writes, “While the State’s newest proposal for voluntary agreements in the Bay-Delta leaves a lot of unanswered questions, the initial analysis reveals a deeply troubling direction.  Decades of unsustainable water diversions have left several salmon runs and other native fish species on the brink of extinction, with climate change – more frequent and severe droughts, higher temperatures, reduced runoff — worsening the challenge we face as a State. … ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here: 5 Questions about the new proposed Delta Voluntary Agreement

Voluntary Agreements: The funny thing about the voluntary deals they want farmers to enter into don't mention very much about farm water.  Families Protecting the Valley writes, “The article below from Western Farm Press (State agencies propose voluntary water agreements) gives you just about every reason you need not to support them.  Of course, when the State of California, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the entire water bureaucracy is in control of the water, there aren't a lot of other options other than agreeing to ‘voluntary' deals.  The funny thing about the voluntary deals they want farmers to enter into don't mention very much about farm water.  But, there's a whole lot of talk about restoring fish flows and environmental projects.  The key in the article is the phrase “…expands on previous commitments of FLOWS.”  Translation:  900,000 acre feet less water for people and farms. ... ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Voluntary Agreements: The funny thing about the voluntary deals they want farmers to enter into don’t mention very much about farm water.

Pointing positive for voluntary agreements:  “The Northern California Water Association appreciates the positive energy shown by the Governor yesterday in his commentary California must get past differences in water. Voluntary Agreements are the path forward.  The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) and water leaders throughout Northern California are fully committed to this collaborative approach and we appreciate the Governor and his state team advancing Voluntary Agreements as a new way forward for California. NCWA has been working closely with conservation organizations, water suppliers in other parts of the state, and both our state and federal partners to advance the science-based Voluntary Agreements as a more comprehensive, effective and immediate solution to the vexing challenges in California’s Bay-Delta watershed than the traditional regulatory approaches.  … ”  Read more from the NorCal Water Association blog here:  Pointing positive for voluntary agreements

Delta Flows: The Trump-Newsom, Newsom-Trump Water Plan for the Delta:  Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “One of Restore the Delta’s primary functions has been to rally people to advocate for comprehensive policies that would be protective of water quality and quantity for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.  For years, meeting that objective included fighting the Schwarzenegger and Brown Administrations’ various conveyance projects ending with the twin tunnels.  During the last year, with a brief respite in tunnel planning, we were able to begin working on plans for greater overall environmental protections for the region. We created a comprehensive analysis of the flood threat to the Delta and made sound, researched recommendations to the Newsom Administration about next steps for dealing with climate change impacts manifesting in the Delta. Part of this effort included documenting the problems with Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the Delta – and making the connections to how this water quality challenge leads to air quality problems and numerous public health problems. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here: Delta Flows: The Trump-Newsom, Newsom-Trump Water Plan for the Delta  

Delta Tunnel EIR Scoping Comments Part 1: Finance drives operation, so feasibility study should come first not last:  Jeff Michael writes, “The EIR scoping meetings for the single-tunnel delta conveyance facility (DCF) began this week. My comments focus on two critical areas where DWR appears to be repeating their mistakes of their past despite the Newsom administration's stated intention of taking a fresh approach: 1) postponing financial feasibility and benefit-cost analysis to the end instead of the beginning, and 2) ignoring known alternatives with higher and more broadly distributed benefits and likely lower costs. … ”  Continue reading at the Valley Economy blog here: Delta Tunnel EIR Scoping Comments Part 1: Finance drives operation, so feasibility study should come first not last

The first law of holes is: stop digging:  Chris Schutes writes, “Water in California is overallocated and overappropriated. Too much is promised, too much is delivered, and not enough is left in rivers and in the ground. The result is ecosystem collapse, sinking land and dry wells, and dying communities in diverse parts of the state.  The Governor directed in April 2019 that three of his cabinet secretaries create a California Water Resilience Portfolio. He directed that they start with an inventory and assessment of California’s present and future water supplies and demands. But the Draft Portfolio that the state issued on January 6, 2020 makes no basic accounting of California’s structural and systemic water debt. The Portfolio with no water budget presents a limited, confusing inventory and no assessment. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  The first law of holes is: stop digging

Newsom Water Resilience Portfolio – Restore the Delta Comments:  “Restore the Delta has submitted comments on Governor Newsom’s Draft Water Resilience Portfolio. The portfolio was developed in a process that included public meetings and comments gathered during his first year in the governor’s office. The draft report was written by various departments within the Natural Resources Agency of the Newsom Administration.  Everyone in California has a stake in this plan.  Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said:  “SF Bay-Delta advocates are not seeing many of the good ideas they brought to the table. Also, the plan is mute on strategies to help environmental justice communities adjust to new climate change burdens. We proposed a water resilience strategy that serves our children and future generations in a more equitable manner than this plan. We plan to keep fighting for that.” … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Newsom Water Resilience Portfolio – Restore the Delta Comments

New federal biological opinions in action:  Tom Cannon writes, “New federal biological opinions (BO’s) for the long-term operation of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project in the Delta have been “protecting” salmon and smelt for several months. The record in practice is not good.  The ostensible purpose of the new BO’s is to protect native fishes, including ESA-listed salmon and smelt. A key focus in the new BO’s (as in prior BO’s) is on regulating reverse flows in Old and Middle River channels of the central Delta (Figure 1). Reverse or negative net upstream flows are caused by south Delta federal and state exports. Rules limiting negative OMR flows limit south Delta exports. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: New federal biological opinions in action

Functional streamflows key to recovering salmon and steelhead:  Sam Davidson writes, “California’s Bay-Delta, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers converge to form the largest estuary on the West Coast, is the hub of both the state’s water supply and the second largest runs of salmon and steelhead south of Alaska.  The Bay-Delta is also the hub of the struggle over how to provide enough water for both people and the environment in California. TU, through our Science Team, is playing an important role in addressing the challenges of this struggle.  In recent years, TU’s California Science Director Rene Henery has led this effort. … ”  Read more from Trout Unlimited here: Functional streamflows key to recovering salmon and steelhead

The disappearance of the CALFED environmental water budget:  Dierdre Des Jardins writes, “The 2000 CALFED Programmatic Record of Decision (ROD) was celebrated as a “new way forward” for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The collaborative CALFED framework was the foundation for the Water Board’s implementation of the 1995 Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, and the finding that the WQCP flows would be adequate to protect Delta fisheries.  The cornerstone of the CALFED ROD was a 1.18 MAF environmental water budget, which has largely disappeared. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here:  The disappearance of the CALFED environmental water budget

Storage Reality: So, that was 2014, and it's now 2020, and we're still just talking, not building. Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Remember “The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014”, otherwise known as Prop1? At last month's meeting of the California Water Commission, staff d the commissioners on the status of the projects in the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP).  Those are the storage projects in Prop 1.  So, that was 2014, and it's now 2020, and we're still just talking, not building.  This process has gone on and on and on and on…So, here's what's happening.  Accordng to the California Water Commission in “2018, the Commission completed the application review process and made Maximum Conditional Eligibility Determinations or MCEDs for the eight projects under the Water Storage Investment Program.”  Don't know about you, but we love the bureaucratic lingo. … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here: Storage Reality: So, that was 2014, and it’s now 2020, and we’re still just talking, not building

DWR’s no good, very bad definition of “sustainability” of California water supplies:  Dierdre Des Jardins writes, “The 2018 California Water Plan Update, the Department of Water Resources defines sustainability as follows:  “Sustainability of California’s water systems means meeting current needs — expressed by water stakeholders as public health and safety, healthy economy, ecosystem vitality, and opportunities for enriching experiences — without compromising the needs of future generations.”  The 2018 California Water Plan Update also proposed the use of “sustainability outlook indicators,” to reflect these societal values.  In May of 2019, DWR proposed a set of “sustainability outlook indicators” for developing desired outcomes for water management in the state. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: DWR’s no good, very bad definition of “sustainability” of California water supplies

Del Puerto Canyon: Then and Now, a Controversy:  Elias Funez writes, “Nestled among the rolling hills of Northern California’s Diablo Range, along the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley, lies the narrow entrance to a unique canyon long known for its geological, biological, archaeological and paleontological significance.  Of late, however, Del Puerto Canyon is becoming better known for some very fast- tracked and heretofore little-known plans to build a 260 foot high dam and reservoir in an area with unstable seismic fault lines—but more on that later. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here: Del Puerto Canyon: Then and Now, a Controversy

Del Puerto Canyon: The birds, the flowers, the dam:  Eric Caine writes, “Probably the best argument against damming Del Puerto Canyon is based on its fragile geology; the site where the dam would be built is seismically unstable, on a fault line, and has frequent landslides and slumps. Located above and just west of the City of Patterson, the canyon would seem an unlikely site for a dam, given the volatile nature of the landscape.  The canyon itself has long been a relatively unpublicized gem for nature lovers, including geologists, fossil hunters, herpetologists, botanists and biologists. Long famous for its spectacular variety of wildflowers, Del Puerto Canyon has also been a favored destination for birders for decades. … ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here:  Del Puerto Canyon: The birds, the flowers, the dam

From the Grand Canyon to contaminated cantaloupes – and more:  Dan Farber writes, “Law reviews make little effort to track new books, unlike other journals in other disciplines . So it’s pretty much hit-or-miss whether you learn about relevant new books. I wanted to share some interesting finds that have crossed my desk, joined a growing pile of unread books, and then slowly left the pile.  The subjects of these books range from the challenges of preventing food poisoning to the creative response of the Dutch to the “Little Ice Age” (1300-1870 AD). As you’ll see from the publication dates of some of these books, sometimes it takes a while, for me to bridge the gap between getting a book that looks interesting and actually diving into it. The books aren’t beach reading, but they all have something interesting and distinctive to say. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here: From the Grand Canyon to contaminated cantaloupes – and more

When a petition to list fails but the species is still listed:  Ben Rubin writes, “On February 5, 2020, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued its 12-month finding on the petition to list summer-run steelhead in Northern California (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), concluding that listing is not warranted because the summer-run steelhead does not qualify as a distinct population segment of the Northern California steelhead. Despite the negative finding, the summer-run steelhead is still protected under the ESA. How is that possible, you ask? … ”  Read more from the Endangered Species Law blog here: When a petition to list fails but the species is still listed

Speeding up environmental reviews is good for the economy and the environment, says Jonathan Wood:  He writes, “In 2011, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum urging federal agencies to “take steps to expedite permitting and review,” including “setting clear schedules for completing steps in the environmental review and permitting process.” Such bureaucratic delays, Obama explained, interfered with the “engine of job creation and economic growth[.]” … ”  Continue reading at PERC here: Speeding up environmental reviews is good for the economy and the environment

Featured image credit:  Redding's Sundial Bridge, photo by Ron Lute via flickr

 

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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