BLOG ROUND-UP: Delta smelt remain on the brink of extinction; Decades of dedication; Regulations falling behind science; and more …

Delta smelt remain on the brink of extinction – We can change that

The California Farm Water Coalition writes, “Recent fish surveys confirm what many biologists, ecologists, and water experts have known for some time – Delta smelt remain on the brink of extinction. Zero Delta smelt were found in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recent Fall Midwater Trawl Survey. Even the Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring Program, which is specifically designed to capture the tiny fish, only successfully caught two Delta smelt from September 8 to December 11, 2020.  Improving the health of native species like Delta smelt is an imperative, as it is critical to the health of our environment and the reliability of our water supplies. As an indicator species, the Delta smelt’s absence tells a grim story about the health of the Delta ecosystem, making these recent findings all the more concerning. ... ”  Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here: Delta smelt remain on the brink of extinction – We can change that

2021: Is this the year that wild delta smelt become extinct?

Peter Moyle, Karrigan Börk, John Durand, T-C Hung, and Andrew L. Rypel write, “2020 was a bad year for delta smelt. No smelt were found in the standard fish sampling programs (fall midwater trawl, summer townet survey). Surveys designed specifically to catch smelt (Spring Kodiak Trawl, Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring Program) caught just two of them despite many long hours of sampling. The program to net adult delta smelt for captive brood stock caught just one smelt in over 151 tries. All signs point to the Delta smelt as disappearing from the wild this year, or, perhaps, 2022. In case you had forgotten, the Delta smelt is an attractive, translucent little fish that eats plankton, has a one-year life cycle, and smells like cucumbers. It was listed as a threatened species in 1993 and has continued to decline since then. Former President Trump made it notorious when he called it a “certain little tiny fish” that was costing farmers millions of gallons of water (not true, of course). … ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here:  2021: Is this the year that wild delta smelt become extinct?

Decades of dedication

Jennifer Harrison writes, “Can farming and fish co-exist in The Sacramento Valley? Absolutely, according to a group of collaborators who have been hard at work for decades.  Agriculture relies on water for survival, as do fish. In the past, as Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Green and White Sturgeon numbers declined in rivers, conventional wisdom stated that farming had to acquiesce to fish, and water, pumped out at times to irrigate crops, needed to remain in the rivers. As Nadine Bailey, Chief Operation Officer of Family Water Alliance recalled, this spurred water agencies and organizations to take an alternative approach to water management.  “They took a different tract, they said we can pump, and we don’t have to hurt fish. They got all these people together and said how can we make fish-friendly water? Let’s do it.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Valley here: Decades of dedication

Regulations falling behind science: the artificial distinction between rainbow trout and steelhead

Paul Weiland writes, “Oncorhynchus mykiss is perhaps the most popular freshwater sport fish in the United States. … Fly-fishing enthusiasts who live east of the Rockies might be surprised to know that the pan-size rainbow trout stocked in streams and rivers in diverse circumstances east of the Rocky Mountains are the very same species as the 20-pound steelhead that returning to spawn in rivers and streams along the west coast after several years out in the Pacific Ocean. An artificial line has been drawn by federal regulators between rainbow trout on the one hand and steelhead on the other that is inconsistent with our contemporary understanding of the species – a species that exhibits a dizzying array of life histories and astounding ecological and behavioral plasticity. For that reason, the time is ripe for the National Marine Fisheries Service to re-assess its approach to conserving populations of Oncorhynchus mykiss. … ”  Read the full post at the Delta Currents blog here:  Regulations falling behind science: the artificial distinction between rainbow trout and steelhead

Longfin Smelt – 2020

Tom Cannon writes, “In a February 2020 post on the status of longfin smelt, I lamented the poor 2019 population index and thus made a grim prediction for the future of the Bay-Delta sub-population of this state-listed endangered species.  The index in wet year 2019 should have been 10 times higher (one higher in log number).  Preliminary survey results suggest that the 2020 population index for longfin smelt will likely be as poor as those in 2018 and 2019. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: Longfin Smelt – 2020

Don Wright’s mixed bag of information (regarding white areas, Westlands)

Don Wright writes, “Things happen. There are lots of things happening. There are couple things that happened this week I want to share with you. After 20-years of attending water entity meetings I’ve seen a few things. I’ve attended meetings with armed guards. Water can get serious. I’ve seen directors flip each other off and exchange insults not fit to repeat in print. I’ve avoided writing down some pretty funny jokes because it would have been easy to take it out of context and use it unfairly against someone. The great playwriter Neil Simon had a line in Biloxi Blues about the power of writing something down. It can follow you around and influence others. Often in ways unintended. I rarely write about foibles that take place at districts because to do so would magnify them way out of proportion. … But two things have happened this week. I feel compelled to write about them. … ”  Read more from Water Wrights here: Don Wright’s mixed bag of information

Ground Water: The water budget myth

Michael Campana writes, “A while back I heard a state water official say that he would calculate a water budget to determine the number of wells that could be permitted in a particular basin. I cringed when I heard that. But it wasn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time, that I heard someone who should know better utter such a statement.  It did serve one useful purpose: I decided to post on the folly of using steady-state water budgets to determine ground water development. The cutesy title is not my own, but is from a 1982 paper by USGS ground water giants John D. Bredehoeft, Steve Papadopulos, and Hilton H. Cooper. I will let that paper, plus a seminal paper by C.V. Theis that is approaching 70 years old, do the talking. … ”  An oldie but goodie post from the Water Wired archives here: Ground Water: The Water Budget Myth

My 10 Cents: ‘SDG-6 – Useful, But What About Transformative Change?’ (Water Alternatives)

Michael Campana writes, “I came across this Water Alternatives blog post by Maria Rusca and  Klaas Schwartz. I am a sucker for  anything related to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6:  Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.  My six years’ service on the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership and the struggle to get a water SDG made quite an impression on me. Here is the entire post by Rusca and Schwartz: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda is considered by many to be truly global, inclusive and ambitious. However, are these global aspirations translating into progressive change and moving the water sector in the right direction? … ”  Read more from Water Wired here: My 10 Cents: ‘SDG-6 – Useful, But What About Transformative Change?’ (Water Alternatives)

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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