Poppies, by Rennett Stowe

BLOG ROUND-UP: Return to the solution table; Feinstein’s letters; Ag lender’s view of SGMA; Central Valley salmon; and more …

A time for forward progress: a return to the solution table:  “This week various Sacramento River Basin water suppliers were compelled to intervene in a federal court lawsuit filed by the State of California against the federal agencies that recently adopted the federal Biological Opinions (2019 BiOps) regarding the coordinated long-term operations of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP). Many of these same water suppliers had previously intervened in a separate federal court lawsuit filed by certain fishery industry groups and environmental organizations in December 2019 challenging those same BiOps.  The Northern California Water Association and the various Sacramento River Basin water suppliers (collectively, NCWA) have been deeply disappointed with the State of California’s decision to resort to litigation against the BiOps. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Blog here: A time for forward progress: a return to the solution table

The Trump admin wants to steal more water for big agribusiness, and that’s fine with Feinstein:  Dan Bacher writes, “On April 15, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Members of the House of Representatives, including Representatives Jim Costa, TJ Cox, John Garamendi, and Josh Harder, sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom imploring him to reach an agreement with federal agencies through negotiation, rather than judicial action, on increasing water pumping from the Delta to San Joaquin corporate agribusiness interests.  A coalition of fishing groups, Tribes, environmental organizations, family farmers and elected officials opposing the reaching of this agreement between the state’s flawed incidental take permit and the federal government’s even more flawed federal biological opinion because maximized water deliveries to agribusiness will drive imperiled salmon, Delta smelt and other species even closer to extinction. ... ”  Continue reading from Red, Green, and Blue here:  The Trump admin wants to steal more water for big agribusiness, and that’s fine with Feinstein

Feinstein sends crappy letters.  On the Public Record writes,  “These letters are exactly what I’d expect for something coming from Feinstein, which is to say, totally [messed] up. That woman hasn’t improved a water policy in my adult memory. Cannot wait until she’s gone.  Anyway, they’re two parallel letters, one to the feds and one to the state, saying time is running out, they better find some way to cooperate on the different ways to run the pumps in the federal biological opinion and the state incidental take permit. However, the letters are asymmetrical, with more pressure on CA to conform to the federal permit and while they’re at it, to get those voluntary agreements done. … ”  Read more from On the Public Record here: Feinstein sends crappy letters.

SGMA Through the Lens of an Agricultural Lender:  Jerred Davis, Conterra Ag AVP Relationship Manager writes:  Surface water supplies and weather conditions in California lack predictability. Over time the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range has shown a boom and bust pattern. The one constant historically relied upon by agricultural operations, and those financing them, was groundwater, either as a primary or supplemental supply. Entire operations may have depended on 100 percent groundwater, and that method was not considered high-risk.  As many aquifers, especially within the San Joaquin Valley and some coastal areas continued to be over drafted due in large part to regulatory constraints in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and other key watersheds, subsidence, water quality issues and other issues arose again. It was to resolve these issues (among other reasons) that the Federal and State surface water projects were developed decades ago. … ”  Read more from Water Wrights here: SGMA Through the Lens of an Agricultural Lender

The project formerly known as WaterFix: Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “Although the Department of Water Resources rescinded all approvals of WaterFix project in May of 2019, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority has been continuing engineering and geotechnical work on a single tunnel project under supervision of the Department of Water Resources.  In June of 2019, Delta Defenders, the Delta Chambers and Visitor’s Bureau, North Delta Cares, and other Delta community-based organizations sent a letter to the Department of Water Resources asking that DWR cancel the Notice to Proceed on the Delta tunnel contracts.  In response DWR’s Deputy Director Gary Lippner stated: ... ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: The project formerly known as WaterFix

Wild Central Valley salmon: Managers missing an opportunity:  Tom Cannon writes, “This winter and early spring of 2020 have been drier than normal in the Central Valley. However, precipitation in January, March, and now April provided opportunities to greatly enhance this year’s brood of fall and spring run salmon success. Water managers missed these opportunities by capturing all the water in reservoirs. What happened to prescribed spring flow pulses for salmon in state and federal plans? Is holding the promised water back the “best science”?  No. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Wild central valley salmon: Managers missing an opportunity  SEE ALSO: Increasing Salmon Production in the Central Valley

RTD Letter: Pump Operation Plans Must Address Harmful Algal Blooms and Delta Salinity 4/15/20:  “Yesterday, Restore the Delta sent a comment letter to the State Water Resources Control Board criticizing the Comprehensive Operations Plan (COP) and Monitoring Special Study (MSS) submitted to the SWRCB by the California Department of Water Resources and the United States Bureau of Reclamation.  The COP and MSS are planning and regulatory documents that are to meet the requirement set forth in the 2018 amendments to the Bay-Delta Plan. However, the submittal to the SWRCB failed to develop modeling studies and flow responses that mitigate harmful algal blooms and the impacts in the South Delta in regard to salinity from operation of the state and federal pumping systems. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  RTD Letter: Pump Operation Plans Must Address Harmful Algal Blooms and Delta Salinity 4/15/20

Maximizing the habitat values for our Central Valley wildlife refuges:  “The Northern California Water Association, working with our Pacific Flyway habitat partners, has developed a new summary document outlining the water and infrastructure funding needed for each of the Central Valley refuges to maximize their habitat values for fish and wildlife.  The summary was developed with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, California Waterfowl Association, Audubon California, Grassland Water District and others. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: Maximizing the habitat values for our Central Valley wildlife refuges

Funding shovel-ready water projects can help California recover more quickly:  The California Farm Water Coalition writes, “As the news cautiously turns to a discussion of getting back to work, we’re all trying to envision, and plan for, what our new world will look like.  In California, one issue we still must deal with is ensuring an adequate water supply for people, farms and the environment.  And while there are hopeful signs of a new, cooperative path forward between all water users, putting a new policy structure in place is just part of the solution. The good news is, there are things that can be done to improve our existing infrastructure that could produce benefits now. ... ”  Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here: Funding shovel-ready water projects can help California recover more quickly

When utilities shut off water for the poor, we are all at riskLaura Feinstein, Morgan Shimabuku, and Greg Pierce write, “When a household fails to pay its water bill in full for more than a given period of time – typically one or two months – its water service may be shut off by the water utility serving the household. Until recently, there was little information on shutoffs in the United States, including for California. In 2018, the Pacific Institute was only able to find information from 15 drinking water utilities, and the data quality was poor. This left the state flying blind on one of the most important equity questions in California water – how many people don’t have running water because they (or a landlord) failed to pay the bill? … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here: When utilities shut off water for the poor, we are all at risk

Los Angeles County Water Quality: Good News:  “Finally, some good news. Well, this report is nearly 2 months old, but I think we need some good news right now.  As I mentioned before, I am the Natural Resources chair for the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County. I write a monthly roundup about environmental issues for LWV voters and opportunities for action. The LWV LA County board meets on the first week of each month, so I wrote this roundup at the end of February/beginning of March. If you want to get on the dissemination list for the monthly reports, leave a comment with your email address. This is just the part that pertains to water. ... ”  Read more from Bad Mom, Good Mom here: Los Angeles County Water Quality: Good News

An infrastructure stimulus will make America more resilient, if we get it right:  David Festa writes, “Congress is currently focused on passing a series of stimulus relief bills to support medical professionals, hospitals, individuals and small businesses in an attempt to mitigate the worst effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.  Policymakers must prioritize human health and safety. But the hope is that, sooner than later, the spread of the virus will slow and Congress will be able to turn its attention to kickstarting the economy. … ”  Read more from the Growing Returns blog here: An infrastructure stimulus will make America more resilient, if we get it right

Las Vegas abandons proposal to pump rural Nevada groundwater:  John Fleck writes, “When I was writing Water is For Fighting Over five years ago, I built a little analytical model of Las Vegas water – projections of per capita demand and population growth, current patterns of water use and banking, risk to Colorado River water supply. At the time, the Southern Nevada Water Authority was aggressively pursuing construction of a pipeline to rural Nevada, to pump groundwater to augment the rapidly growing metro area’s supplies.  My model suggested to me that they didn’t really need the water. ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Las Vegas abandons proposal to pump rural Nevada groundwater

Featured image credit: Poppies, by Rennett Stowe 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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