BLOG ROUND-UP: Sac Valley water managers prepare for a dry year; A Swiss cheese model for fish conservation in California; A tale of two movies: Brave Blue World and Dark Waters; and more …

Water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley are preparing for a dry year

Fritz Durst, Reclamation District 108; and Brent Hastey, Yuba Water Agency, write: “While they remain hopeful the rest of winter will provide much more rain and snow, water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley are preparing for the potential for a dry year.  While the prospect of a dry year is always jarring and challenging, we have confidence in the experience and knowledge that our water resources managers gained in 2014-15, and the strategies this region has implemented since that time to prepare for a dry year. Additionally, the Northern California Water Association has convened our Dry Year Task Force to coordinate our efforts throughout the region.  In evaluating what’s ahead – it’s important to focus on what is, instead of fearing what could be. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here:  Water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley are preparing for a dry year

Central Valley Steelhead 2021

Tom Cannon writes, “The Delta Science Program plans to host a Steelhead Workshop on February 17 – 19, 2021.  The purpose of the workshop is to “identify challenges to managing and monitoring Central Valley steelhead with the goal of identifying collaborations that are needed to improve the monitoring and science network for the species in the San Joaquin basin.”  While commendable and needed, such a workshop could and should cover the entire Central Valley Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU), all of which must pass through the Delta on the way to and from the Pacific Ocean.  Although Central Valley steelhead science and management can succinctly be described as a mess, there are a few basic facts and misconceptions worthy of note that are useful in considering steelhead management in the Central Valley. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here: Central Valley Steelhead 2021

A Swiss cheese model for fish conservation in California

Andrew L. Rypel, Peter B. Moyle, and Jay Lund write, “We read with great interest Nicholas Chistakis’s piece outlining a “Swiss Cheese Model For Combating Covid-19” in the Wall Street Journal. Christakis presents a model for considering the individual steps needed to achieve a larger goal, and how each step should fit into a larger strategy. He points out that each action used to limit the spread of Covid (handwashing, mask wearing, social distancing) creates a layer of imperfect defense akin to a slice of Swiss cheese. No action alone is 100% effective – there are holes. Yet in combination, multiple layers of the Swiss cheese become increasingly effective in limiting virus spread. This powerful analogy might be applied to other problems, from drinking water quality to fish conservation. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: A Swiss Cheese Model for Fish Conservation in California

Finally…

Don Macon writes, “I must admit; the first part of 2021 has felt an awful lot like 2020. COVID-19 has continued to rage. Anxiety about politics (regardless of one’s party affiliation) seems to be the norm. Dry, warm, and windy weather sparked wildfires in the mountains and foothills to our east and south – in January! And as we approached late January, our drought conditions here in Northern California seemed to intensify. And then it rained. Finally.  Drought is a different phenomenon for ranchers than it is for our urban and suburban neighbors, and even for our irrigated crop farming colleagues. Since we rely on the grass and other plants that Mother Nature provides, a late start to the rainy season (as we saw in 2020), as well as below normal precipitation once the rainy season begins, presents an immediate problem. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Valley here:  Finally…

CSPA defends cold water for North Fork Feather River & Lake Almanor

Cindy Charles writes, “The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and American Whitewater (AW) submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on January 5, 2021 in support of two “must-have” license conditions for the Upper North Fork Feather Hydroelectric Project (Project 2105).  If these conditions are left out of the project’s new license, summer water temperatures in most of the North Fork Feather River will remain too warm for trout for the next forty to fifty years, while trout in Lake Almanor will have too little oxygen. ... ”  Read more from the CSPA here: CSPA defends cold water for North Fork Feather River & Lake Almanor

A tale of two movies: Brave Blue World and Dark Waters

Jim Lauria writes, “It was the best of water, it was the worst of water, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the year of COVID and Brave Blue World and the year of Dark Waters. Two films on water bridged the gulf between Charles Dickens’ spring of hope and darkness of despair, showing audiences two sides of the ongoing evolution of the water industry.  Dark Waters takes the gloomier turn, shining a light on one of the more disturbing stories of corporate hubris. Producer Mark Ruffalo stars as Robert Bilott, a Cincinnati chemical-industry lawyer drawn into two decades of legal combat by a farmer whose cattle died of mysterious ailments. … ”  Read more at LinkedIn here: A tale of two movies: Brave Blue World and Dark Waters

The covid-19 pandemic’s continued toll on drinking water systems and their customers

Darcy Bostic, Morgan Shimabuku, Mike Cohen, Lillian Holmes, and Walker Grimshaw write, “Water systems across the country are facing budget shortfalls as a result of the pandemic and need assistance. For small water systems (systems serving 10,000 people or fewer) total budget shortfalls are estimated to be $4 to 6 billion, primarily caused by decreased demand, delayed payments, and additional costs for protective equipment and sick time. At the end of 2020, an estimated 12 million workers still remained unemployed due to job loss or other impacts from the pandemic. These individuals, in addition to those already unemployed or struggling to make ends meet prior to the pandemic, are unlikely to be able to afford regular monthly bills, such as for water. This only adds to utility revenue challenges. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here:  The covid-19 pandemic’s continued toll on drinking water systems and their customers

Biden’s first order of business was the environment

Paul Rauber writes, “Well that was quick. Within hours of Joe Biden’s inauguration, he had signed a stack of executive orders countermanding the stack of executive orders signed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, over the course of a long four years.  Just like that, US environmental policy was broadly returned to the status quo ante, the state of affairs at the end of the Obama-Biden administration. Apart from the tremendous waste of time, taxpayer money, and opportunity—a precious commodity as we struggle to avoid the worst of climate chaos—it will almost be as if Trump had remained a B-list television personality.  Here’s a rundown of Biden’s executive actions in his first days in office: … ”  Read more from Sierra Magazine here: Biden’s first order of business was the environment

The controversial Congressional Review Act

Dan Farber writes, “The Trump administration dedicated itself to deregulation with unprecedented fervor. It rolled back scores of regulations across government agencies, including more than 80 environmental rules.  The Biden administration can reverse some of those actions quickly – for instance, as president, Joe Biden can undo Donald Trump’s executive orders with a stroke of the pen. He plans to restore U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement that way on his first day in office.  Undoing most regulatory rollbacks, however, will require a review process that can take years, often followed by further delays during litigation.  There is an alternative, but it comes with risks. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  The controversial Congressional Review Act

Here’s how Biden can help conserve 30 percent of U.S. land by 2030

Arthur Middleton writes, “To slow extinctions and climate change, President-elect Joe Biden has embraced a plan to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and 30 percent of its ocean waters by 2030. It is perhaps the most ambitious commitment to conservation by a U.S. president. How he proceeds will determine whether he unites or further divides Americans in a pivotal decade for the planet.  The plan is known as “30 by 30.” ... ”  Read more from the Berkeley Blog here: Here’s how Biden can help conserve 30 percent of U.S. land by 2030

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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