How many Delta smelt remain?  Tom Cannon writes, “Because Delta smelt are now rarely being captured in regular CDFW fish surveys, the US Fish and Wildlife Service began the Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring Program (EDSM) in 2017.  Results for the first four years show adult Delta smelt are still around in winter spawning season – barely (Figure 1).  They continue to be found throughout the northern Delta and Suisun Bay/Marsh (Figure 2).  Hotspots (likely spawning concentrations) were in west Delta near Rio Vista and the Deepwater Ship Channel.  Juveniles continue to show up in EDSM summer surveys in the usual places (Figure 3).  There may be a few thousand adult Delta smelt left as of 2019/2020 based on US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: How many Delta smelt remain?

Delta exports reduced in winter 2020 to protect salmon and smelt:  Tom Cannon writes, “One of the ramifications of dry conditions in winter 2020 has been the need to cut Delta exports to protect salmon and smelt listed under the state and federal endangered species acts. Lack of rain has led to reduced Delta inflow and outflow (Figure 1), which in turn has required reductions in south Delta exports (Figure 1), per the state’s 2009 incidental take permit and the 2019 federal biological opinions.  The state permit requirement is prescribed to protect longfin smelt, which need protection under the present circumstances. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Delta exports reduced in winter 2020 to protect salmon and smelt

Environmental flows in California:  Alyssa Obester, Sarah Yarnell, and Ted Grantham write, “The California Environmental Flow Framework was recently highlighted in the 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio to address the seemingly impossible task of establishing of how much water our rivers and streams need to support healthy ecosystems. While many methods for setting environmental water needs exist, the Framework provides a unique and flexible approach that is applicable statewide.  What is the California Environmental Flows Framework? Developed by a workgroup of researchers and agency staff from across the state, the Framework is a guidance document for developing ecological flow criteria, which describe the timing and magnitude of streamflow required throughout the year to support native species and their habitat. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Environmental flows in California

A new film on the Sacramento valley: sharing Butte Creek:  “For more than two decades, Butte Creek salmon numbers have been strong, thanks to an innovative, wide-ranging collaboration between landowners, urban and agricultural water managers, conservationists and state and federal officials. This was a groundbreaking effort that helped guide and contribute to a larger, concerted program to enhance our environment by improving spawning and migratory corridors for salmon and reconnecting them to historic floodplains in the region.  A film unveiled last week, Sharing Butte Creek, showcases the spirit of Butte Creek and the efforts that have led to an environment that supports spring run salmon, farms, birds and other species along the Pacific Flyway and recreation. Here’s a link to more information and to watch the film. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  A new film on the Sacramento valley: sharing Butte Creek

Delta tunnel engineering design rushes forward as major disaster declared in California:  Dierdre Des Jardins writes, “On Wednesday, March 19, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority ((DCA) held their monthly Board meeting via web conference. For the meeting, DCA engineer Phil Ryan presented maps of a modified WaterFix project, with two intakes, a single tunnel, and new access roads. A second set of maps for a potential eastern alignment of the main tunnel was also presented. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: Delta tunnel engineering design rushes forward as major disaster declared in California

Restore the Delta submits comments on Delta conveyance:  “Restore the Delta (RTD) advocates for local Delta stakeholders to ensure that they have a direct impact on water management decisions affecting the water quality and well-being of their communities, and water sustainability policies for all Californians. We work through public education and outreach so that all Californians recognize the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta as part of California’s natural heritage, deserving of restoration. We fight for a Delta whose waters are fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable, supporting the health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, and the ocean beyond. Our coalition envisions the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as a place where a vibrant local economy, tourism, recreation, farming, wildlife, and fisheries thrive as a result of resident efforts to protect our waterway commons.  This letter conveys our comments on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Delta Conveyance Project (DCP) issued January 15, 2020, by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). This letter also seeks to put before you a few key questions and our discussion of them ... ”  Read the comments from Restore the Delta here:  Restore the Delta submits comments on Delta conveyance

Lawsuit forces reckoning on groundwater authorities:  Eric Caine writes, “In a suit listing dozens of defendants, including Groundwater Sustainability Agencies for the Oakdale Irrigation District, Stanislaus County, and the cities of Stockton, Lodi, and Manteca, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance  (CSPA) has alleged that in adopting their Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), the various agencies and authorities involved failed to follow procedures required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) which was signed into law September 16, 2014.  More critically, CSPA claims that, “the GSP does not achieve sustainable groundwater management…and “is not likely to achieve the sustainability goal established by the GSP within 20 years.”  For anyone watching groundwater use in the San Joaquin Valley over the last decade, the lawsuit comes as no surprise. ... ”  Read more from the Valley Citizen here: Lawsuit forces reckoning on groundwater authorities

Water management as farming practice:  Faith Kearns writes, ““Water management is one of the most important farming practices you or your clients should be practicing, full stop,” wrote Phoebe Gordon, UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor in Madera and Merced counties.  Born and raised in California, Gordon is excited to share her knowledge with growers to improve orchard production and sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Her research and extension program focuses on water quality, soil salinity, plant nutrition, and pests and diseases in tree crops including almonds, pistachios, figs, and prunes. … ”  Read more from The Confluence blog here:  Water management as farming practice

Northern California Water Association’s 2020 priorities:  “The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Board of Directors recently approved its 2020 Priorities, which describes a water portfolio for the Sacramento River Basin and describes ten priority areas for 2020. NCWA and water leaders in Northern California look forward to working with our many partners in 2020 to further develop and implement a water portfolio to meet the needs of California’s communities, economy, and environment. There are tremendous opportunities this year to re-imagine our water system and to align a Sacramento River Basin water portfolio with state, federal, and regional resilience portfolios to help advance our collective desire for water and climate resilience throughout California. ... ”  Read more from the NCWA blog here: Northern California Water Association’s 2020 priorities

Undefined waters:  Holly Hayworth writes, “After I read that Trump and his administration have removed protections for wetlands and streams across the country, I go out and walk my wet land.  My wet land is a seven-acre scrap of farmland—blueberry orchard and fruit trees—and woods in the Georgia Piedmont. It edges the road and slopes down to a low-lying place where several ephemeral streams gather and pool; at the boundary, a small creek runs. It’s rained all night, heavy winter rains. My boots squish into the spongy ground. My wet land is positively sopping. It’s lands like these that will be grabbed with regulations removed, even though one news story I read spun the original Clean Water Rule as a “power grab” by the federal government. The phrase conjured the famous tape of the President saying what he grabs. No wonder the wet places of the country are unsafe too. ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Club here:  Undefined waters

Featured image credit: Sunset at San Simeon Beach by Rennett Stowe via Flickr.

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