Lincoln Park steps in San Francisco. Photo by David Yu.

BLOG ROUND-UP: Healthy headwaters after wildfire, voluntary agreement, measuring irrigated water use, best alternatives to toilet paper, and more …

When the Smoke Clears: Taking Action for Healthy Headwaters

Adam Robin writes, “As California enters the traditional late summer beginning of wildfire season, the state is already grappling with a wildfire emergency of unprecedented scale. As of mid-September, more than 3.2 million acres—over 5,000 square miles—have already burned statewide. Smoke from these fires has smothered the entire state, with many major urban centers experiencing their worst air quality on record.  The staggering start to the 2020 wildfire season adds to the heavy toll imposed by fires in recent years. The increasing scale, frequency and intensity of wildfire has had tragic impacts on communities and imposed substantial costs on all Californians. … ”  Continue reading at the Northern California Water Association blog here:  When the Smoke Clears: Taking Action for Healthy Headwaters

Partnership Shares Science to Find Fish and Water Solutions

Tom Cannon writes, ” … The time when anyone thought that the problems confronting Central Valley salmon could be solved with more science is long gone. The problems and solutions have not really changed in the 40+ years I have been involved.  And the problems are only getting worse. Why is it so hard to address them? ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Partnership Shares Science to Find Fish and Water Solutions

CSPA asks San Francisco water agency to withdraw voluntary agreement

Chris Shutes writes, “CSPA and thirteen other conservation and fishing organizations wrote a letter to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on September 9, 2020 requesting that the Commission withdraw its support for a proposed Tuolumne River Voluntary Agreement.  CSPA and others also presented the request to the SFPUC meeting the same day.  The request follows a scientific peer review of the fish population models that provide much of the purported basis for the Voluntary Agreement.  The review by Anchor QEA of Seattle reached the following conclusion about the salmon population model developed by the Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts … ”  Continue reading at the CSPA here:  CSPA asks San Francisco water agency to withdraw voluntary agreement

Measuring irrigated water use has been a challenge for decades. This new tool will change that.

Maurice Hall writes, “Over my nearly 30 years of working on water issues in the West, I have repeatedly thought there has got to be a better way to measure how much water is used to grow the food we eat. This data is surprisingly complex, and up until now, it has been expensive to calculate.  That’s why it’s difficult to contain my excitement as this “better way” comes to fruition in the form of a new web platform called OpenET that EDF is developing with NASA, Google, the Desert Research Institute, the U.S. Geological Society and dozens of other partners. … ”  Read more from EDF’s Growing Returns blog here:  Measuring irrigated water use has been a challenge for decades. This new tool will change that.

Winter-Run Salmon Update – August 2020

Tom Cannon writes, “In my last update, March 2019, I summarized the population trends of winter-run Chinook salmon through 2017. In this post I include run estimates for 2018 and 2019. The trend indicates the population is recovering from the poor runs in 2016 and 2017 (Figures 1and 2), which were the consequence of poor spawning and rearing conditions.  The improvement is the result of more hatchery contributions and better natural contributions. The strong spawner-recruit relationship continues (Figure 3), with an improved 2019 run that spawned (in hatchery and wild) in summer of normal year 2016 and reared and emigrated during wet water year 2017. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Winter-Run Salmon Update – August 2020

The wild west must remain wild….and free

Craig Shirley writes, “When Teddy Roosevelt ascended to the presidency after the assassination of William McKinley, a big business GOP political opponent exclaimed in disgust, “Now that damned cowboy is in the White House!”  This same reaction was widespread among the Republican establishment when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, as he was a conservative, a conservationist and yes, a cowboy. Much like TR, Reagan also celebrated the outdoors, especially the American West. … ”  Read more from Townhall here: The wild west must remain wild….and free 

Striving for sustainability on the Colorado River

Brian Richter writes, “My personal connections to the Colorado River run long and deep.  I grew up in San Diego during a time when virtually all of that city’s water supply came from the Colorado River. Given that two-thirds of the human body mass is comprised of water, I carried a lot of Colorado River water around in those days, connecting me physically to the river.  Subsequently, during three decades of work with The Nature Conservancy, the plight of ancient but now highly endangered species was always at the center of our deliberations about restoring the river. When you contemplate the fact that some of these species like the Colorado pikeminnow have been navigating the river’s currents since the Grand Canyon began to form, you can’t help but feel a natural heritage connection — and a moral obligation — to do whatever you can to ensure their persistence.  All of which is to say that I care a great deal about the fate and future of the Colorado River. … ”  Continue reading at Sustainable Waters here:  Striving for sustainability on the Colorado River

Why does the West keep burning? Here are 3 key factors.

““Climate change sucks.” This was the text I sent to a friend last Monday as we griped about the many fires burning throughout the West — from Oregon and Washington to Idaho and my home state of California. The fires have filled the air with visible smoke and invisible fine particulate matter making it unsafe to spend any significant time outside.  My quick text exchange was not the right forum for a detailed articulation of the many causes of this year’s heavy fire season. Neither is the politicized verbal tennis match that has taken off on Twitter and in the news. … ” Read more from the Growing Returns blog here:  Why does the West keep burning? Here are 3 key factors.

What Are the Best Alternatives to Toilet Paper?

Hey Ms Green!  In a recent column, you mentioned “sanitary alternatives” to toilet paper. What are they, and why aren’t we using them?  A:  Americans are hooked on toilet paper, as the pandemic has made clear. But is it our best option when nature comes calling? Spoiler: It’s not! … ”  Read more from the Sierra Club here:  What Are the Best Alternatives to Toilet Paper?

Fighting Global Warming in a Chilly Judicial Climate

Dan Farber writes, “With Romney’s announcement this morning that he would support consideration of a nominee before the election, it now seems virtually certain that Trump will be able to appoint a sixth conservative Justice. How will that affect future climate policy? Here is a preliminary threat assessment.  The answer varies, depending on what policies we’re talking about. Overall, the implications of a 6-3 Court are bad. But they’re probably not as dire for environmental law as for other issues like racial equality or reproductive rights.  As a quick preliminary take on this, I’ll sort heightened legal risks of climate actions into high, medium, low, and wildcard. The wildcard risks actually worry me the most. ... ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Fighting Global Warming in a Chilly Judicial Climate

The Kavanaugh Court and the Environment

Dan Farber writes, “A new appointment by Trump would shift the Supreme Court well to the right, making Brett Kavanaugh the swing voter in many cases. Kavanaugh has clear views about the powers of agencies like EPA. With him as the swing voter, the main strategy used by Obama to make environmental progress would be off limits for future Presidents.  When Obama was stymied by congressional deadlock, he turned to the administrative process. Through broad interpretation of the authority of agencies like EPA, the Obama Administration tackled problems like carbon emissions from power plants and protection of the nation’s wetlands. The Obama Administration looked for ambiguities in existing laws and then interpreted them in favor of broader environmental action. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  The Kavanaugh Court and the Environment

FEATURED IMAGE: Lincoln Park steps in San Francisco. Photo by David Yu.

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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