BLOG ROUND-UP: Oroville damages and the State Water Project; Farmers can help with weather whiplash; The Delta as salmon nursery; Dairies and water; and more …

Could damages from Oroville Spillway case bankrupt the State Water Project?

Delta Legacy Communities writes, “In February 2018, Michael Ramsey, the Butte County District Attorney, filed a claim for environmental damages against the Department of Water Resources arising from the Oroville Spillway Incident. Ramsey filed under an 1875 mining law that charges $10 a pound for dumping debris in rivers. The disintegration of the Oroville spillway sent 3.4 billion to 5.1 billion pounds of debris into the Feather River, so damages could be as high as $34 to $51 billion. The Butte County DA’s claim against DWR was consolidated with other Oroville Spillway cases, which are currently scheduled to go to trial in April of 2021. … ”  Read more from the Delta Legacy Communities blog here:  Could damages from Oroville Spillway case bankrupt the State Water Project?

From wildfires to drought to floods, Californians seek relief from weather whiplash – farmers can help

Mike Wade writes, “Californians rightfully feel they are living at the epicenter of the globe’s changing weather patterns. Following a crushing 5-year drought, 2017 and 2019 brought torrential rain and flooding. And 2020 is already on record as the worst fire season in recorded California history.  The good news is that California farmers lead the nation in innovative, smart stewardship practices as well as new, science-backed solutions that will better protect our people and our environment. ... ”  Read more at Fox & Hounds here:  From Wildfires to Drought to Floods, Californians Seek Relief from Weather Whiplash – Farmers Can Help

The Delta as salmon nursery

The Delta is an important nursery area for Central Valley Salmon. This fact continues to be ignored or under-appreciated. The phenomenon is fully consistent with the general science on salmon in their southern range in the eastern Pacific. Nearly all California Chinook salmon are “ocean-type,” meaning that juveniles reach the ocean in their first six months after rearing for extended periods in estuaries. To grow, young salmon fry need to rear in winter in warm productive areas of floodplains and tidal estuaries (Bay and Delta). Flood control infrastructure limits floodplain habitat except in wetter years. Water management, mainly reservoir storage, limits transport of fry to the Bay except in wetter years. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: The Delta as salmon nursery

State investing in Sacramento Valley salmon recovery

Todd Manley writes, “The State of California has recently made significant investments in Sacramento Valley salmon recovery under voter-approved Propositions 68 and 1. The California Natural Resources Agency recently announced the investment of almost $50 million in Proposition 68 funding for projects to promote salmon recovery. More than $220 million in Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 funds have also been dedicated for multi-benefit flood protection projects in the past two years that will benefit salmon.  Most of this investment will support projects located in the Sacramento Valley.  These projects will advance objectives contained in the California Natural Resources Agency’s Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Central Valley Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: State investing in Sacramento Valley salmon recovery

Mokelumne River Hatchery 2017 Releases

Tom Cannon writes, “In previous posts over the past two years, I remarked on the progressive management of the Mokelumne River Hatchery, a mitigation hatchery operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Hatchery production over the past several decades has led to the recovery of Mokelumne River fall-run Chinook salmon (Figure 1 and 2). There were remarkable returns to the Mokelumne in 2017, despite the 2013-2015 drought. Returns from 2016 hatchery releases in 2018 were also good. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Mokelumne River Hatchery 2017 Releases

New Sacramento Valley salmon recovery project will aid salmon in the upper Sacramento River

Todd Manley writes, “Construction began this week on the latest habitat project to promote Chinook salmon recovery in the Sacramento Valley.  The South Cypress Island Side Channel Restoration Project provides 4.8 acres of much needed spawning and rearing habitat in the upper reach of the Sacramento River. This area is of critical importance because it is the primary spawning habitat for the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here: New Sacramento Valley salmon recovery project will aid salmon in the upper Sacramento River

Dairies and water: An update

Geoff Vanden Heuvel writes, “Water availability is a big deal to a dairy. Without an accessible and relatively clean water supply, dairy farming is not possible. Much of California enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate, where precipitation is not a year around expectation. And yet California is home to the largest dairy industry in the United States. Part of my responsibilities for Milk Producers Council is to be the dairy industry’s eyes, ears and advocate on water supply issues. As you might imagine, California has lots of water issues. So how are we doing? … ”  Read more from Water Wrights here:  Dairies and water: An update

Reclamation is signaling potential for a big drop in Lake Mead over the next several years

John Fleck writes, “Eric Kuhn points out some pretty striking numbers in the latest monthly Bureau of Reclamation Colorado River projections – a million-plus acre foot drop in expected flows on the river as we head into winter. Because of the river’s rules for coordinated operation of Lake Powell and Lake Mead, this translates into a big loss in Lake Mead next year – a 8 foot drop as compared to the numbers just a month ago.  Perhaps more importantly is the way this hydrology spills into 2022, with a clear chance that Mead could drop to elevation 1,060 by the end of the 2021-22 water year. The last time Mead was that low was April 1937, when it was first being filled. … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Reclamation is signaling potential for a big drop in Lake Mead over the next several years

Reinventing Cost-Benefit Analysis

Dan Farber writes, “One key issue facing Biden on January 20 will be the role of the White House regulatory czar. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is a tiny White House agency that is virtually unknown to the public. Yet it exercises outsized influence. OIRA is charged with screening all proposed government regulations using a strict cost-benefit analysis.  Biden may want to rethink that role a little.  Obviously, when making a decision, you generally want to know the positives and negatives. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Reinventing Cost-Benefit Analysis

Three key environmental priorities for the Biden administration

Holly Doremus writes, “Like many others, I breathed an enormous sigh of relief when the presidential race was called for Joe Biden. Like many others, I will not entirely relax until Biden is actually sworn in. The failure of our current norm-breaking President (and his enablers) to accept the election results is both frustrating and frightening. It also helps explain why the most important early steps the Biden administration can take to protect the environment and restore environmental law are not directly environmental. Effective environmental policy requires effective government.  Here are my top three priorities for the new administration: … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Three key environmental priorities for the Biden administration

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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