WEEKLY CA WATER NEWS DIGEST for May 3-8: The state of the salmonids in California; Update on Yolo Bypass fish passage project; Why not a western alignment for Delta conveyance?; Dr. Laurel Larsen, new Delta lead scientist
A list of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …
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This week’s featured articles …
FEATURE: The state of the salmonids in California
Webinar takes a deep dive into the state of salmon and steelhead, and provides recommendations for resiliency
In 2005, the California Legislature passed SB 857 requiring CalTrans to locate, assess, and remediate fish passage barriers on the State Highway System and to report progress annually to the legislature. In the October 2019 annual report, Cal Trans reported remediating 47 barriers, opening up an estimated 792 miles of improved access to salmon and steelhead habitat with five of those projects completed in 2018. CalTrans is currently developing projects to remediate 27 active fish passage barriers, which are estimated to improve access to an estimated additional 166 miles of salmon and steelhead habitat. …
In the spring of 2020, Cal Fish PAC sponsored a webinar covering the 2017 State of the Salmonids report reviewing the findings and discussing how to improve resiliency in salmonids moving forward.
CENTRAL VALLEY FLOOD PROTECTION BOARD: Update on the Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project
Two centuries ago, the floor of the Central Valley was largely a marshy wetland. In the springtime, the snowpack would melt, swelling the rivers beyond their banks and casting young fish out onto the floodplains where they would stay for months, fattening up on the abundant zooplankton and invertebrates until the floodplains drained, signaling the time to migrate to the ocean. However, the construction of levees – needed to control flooding of homes and farmland – also separated the rivers from their floodplains, denying access to native fish who have evolved to take advantage of floodplain habitat.
Recent studies have shown that juvenile fish reared on floodplains are larger, healthier and more robust than those that stay in the river; however, access to floodplain habitat in the Sacramento Valley is limited. So the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources are partnering on projects in the Yolo Bypass to reconnect floodplain habitat and improve fish passage for young salmon, as well as returning adults. The Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration Program is composed of several smaller projects that will reconnect the floodplain for fish during the winter season and improve connectivity within the bypass and to the Sacramento River.
At the April meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Board members heard an informational briefing on the Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project being planned for the Fremont Weir. Referred to as the Big Notch, this project will construct a gated notch at Fremont Weir that will allow a controlled flow from the Sacramento River into the Yolo Bypass to create seasonal floodplain habitat for juvenile fish as well as to improve migration for adult fish.
DELTA CONVEYANCE PROJECT: Why not a western alignment?
Congressman Garamendi pushes for consideration of a western alignment for Delta conveyance; DWR responds
In his scoping comments for the Notice of Preparation for the reformulated Delta Conveyance Project, Congressman John Garamendi expresses his disappointment that the State is not considering a potential western alignment for the tunnel. In his view, a western alignment could be less expensive and would certainly avoid impacts to the Delta’s historic communities, the ecosystem, and productive agricultural land. …
In the Department of Water Resources’ response to Congressman Garamendi dated March 27, Carrie Buckman, Environmental Program Manager for Delta Conveyance, references an upcoming meeting with Congressman Garamendi to discuss the issue, and provides a power point which summarizes the findings of a western corridor. … ”
DR. LAUREL LARSEN: Just pour water on it? Melting the Wicked Witch of the West and other challenges with restoration science
The USGS and Delta Stewardship Council have been recruiting the next Delta Lead Scientist who is appointed by the Council after consultation with the Delta Independent Science Board. As part of the process, each applicant will give a seminar presentation on their research and experience and how it applies to the position as well as their vision for the Delta Science Program.
On April 30, the Delta Stewardship Council appointed Dr. Laurel Larsen as the new Delta Lead Scientist. Dr. Larsen is an associate professor in the departments of geography and civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley. Her work focuses primarily on how flowing water structures the form and function of landscapes with emphasis on the Florida Everglades, Southern Louisiana, and stream and watersheds across the US, including intermittent streams in coastal California. Dr. Larsen’s Environmental Systems Dynamics Laboratory takes a complex systems approach to environmental problems, seeking to understand the set of interactions and feedbacks that produce surprising or unanticipated behaviors. Her research has helped to identify the most critical drivers of landscape-scale change and generate predictions about how landscapes will respond to climate change or changes in management.
Her presentation is titled, Just Pour Water On It: Melting the Wicked Witch of the West and Other Challenges with Restoration Science.
WEEKEND DAILY DIGEST: Ag groups ask Newsom to relax rules restricting water supplies; States sue EPA over rollback of Clean Water Rules; April Delta Conveyance Project update; Are almonds really as sustainable as we think, or just a waste of water?; and more … READ IT HERE: Weekend Daily Digest
MONDAY: Billions in coronavirus aid not enough, say farmers; Dan Walters: State budget will take a very big hit; Heat, winds later this week fuel wildfire concerns; and more … READ IT HERE: Monday’s Daily Digest
TUESDAY: Delta Blues; Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say; Including water investments in infrastructure package challenging; May temp and precip outlook; and more … READ IT HERE: Tuesday’s Daily Digest
WEDNESDAY: The state of the salmonids in California; Why not a western alignment for Delta conveyance?; Term 91 curtailments expected; other water rights curtailments unlikely; State Water Board adopts safe and affordable drinking water fund policy; and more … READ IT HERE: Wednesday’s Daily Digest
THURSDAY: While Calif.’s water wars head to court, Feds show they’re still at the table; Water rate hike in rural town becomes tax battle royale; Prediction tool shows how forest thinning may increase snowpack; Regulating microplastics in drinking water; and more … READ IT HERE: Thursday’s Daily Digest
FRIDAY: Judge throws water on California bid to slow Delta pumping; Fox Canyon water market goes live; How do salmon always find their way home?; Phosphorus in our pee — the new gold?; and more … READ IT HERE: Friday’s Daily Digest
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