BLOG ROUND-UP: The floodplain forward; Winter pulsed flow for salmon needed now; Storms didn’t bring the winter of our drought-stricken discontent; and more …

The floodplain forward: Bypasses and fish habitat

David Guy writes, “Today, 95% of the Central Valley’s historical floodplains are cut off from the river by levees. Built in the early 1900s to combat devastating floods, levees and bypasses were constructed to corral mighty rivers and push water quickly through the system. Even before invasive species, large rim dams, and Delta water export facilities were introduced into the system, salmon populations started to dramatically decline with the construction of the levees. Simply put, the levees prevented Chinook salmon from accessing their primary food source. To address the problem of access, a diverse group of government agencies, conservation groups, growers and water suppliers came together to dream big – this group is now referred to as the Floodplain Forward Coalition. Their task, as illustrated in the document below: reconnect the fish with the food and provide them a safe haven. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Blog here: The floodplain forward: Bypasses and fish habitat

Winter pulsed flow for salmon needed now

Tom Cannon writes, “Winter pulse flows benefit fall-run salmon fry by helping them emigrate to the Delta and Bay nursery areas (see discussion in February 2019 post). The tailwater spawning reaches of dams need reservoir releases to stimulate emigration of fry (Figure 1). Such releases piggy-back on stormwater flows in downstream tributaries, such as those in late January 2021 (Figure 2).  Nearly all Central Valley reservoirs are capturing recent high precipitation from their upper watersheds. With forecasts of further substantial rainfall into mid-February 2021, modest reservoir releases would provide substantial potential benefits to Central Valley salmon populations. … ”  Read more from the Cal Fisheries blog here: Winter pulsed flow for salmon needed now

Storms didn’t bring the winter of our drought-stricken discontent

Kyle Roerink writes, “In the final days of January, many Westerners exhaled in relief as an atmospheric river gave us the gift of winter. Snow paraded throughout our communities, shimmying down on a bonedry landscape in need of rejuvenation.  From the nine feet that accumulated in the High Sierra to the few inches that fell in places like Las Vegas and St. George, the sight was a welcome one. The snow came at the right time for those of us in California, Nevada, and Utah. We desperately needed it. In celebration, my social media feeds erupted with snowmen, snow angels, and snowball fights.  Walking through my Reno neighborhood in a calm between last week’s storms, one homeowner appended a hat and arms to a new front-yard sculpture.  “You’re never too old for a snowman,” she said. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Nevada Ally here:  Storms didn’t bring the winter of our drought-stricken discontent

Striking new study suggests how deeply we’ll need to reduce our use of Colorado River water

Jon Fleck writes, “Stabilizing Colorado River reservoir levels under even moderate drought/climate change scenarios will require deeper water use reductions than basin managers have to date been willing to contemplate (at least publicly), according to a new analysis by researchers at the Futures of the Colorado River project, based at Utah State.  Led by highly respected veteran Colorado River modeler Kevin Wheeler, the team ran sophisticated new climate and river flow data through the computer modeling tools used by basin managers to try to answer basic questions about how various possible policy interventions might play out as climate change depletes the river.  Among their key findings ... ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Striking new study suggests how deeply we’ll need to reduce our use of Colorado River water

Protecting the Public’s Right to Know about Drinking Water Contamination

Aaron Colangelo writes, “Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, community water systems must send their customers annual reports about the source and quality of the drinking water they provide. These annual disclosures—called right-to-know reports—include information about contaminants in tap water and possible health risks from that contamination. The reports must be delivered to more than 300 million drinking water consumers every year.  The point of these reports is to give people meaningful information about health threats from their tap water. But in practice, the reports are often long, technical, full of jargon, and confusing. Many people never see them. As a result, the public may not get timely, clear information about potential risks from contaminated drinking water. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  Protecting the Public’s Right to Know about Drinking Water Contamination

President Biden’s climate order and clean water

Jon Devine writes, “As many of my colleagues have written over the last several days, there is much to like in President Biden’s January 27th executive order titled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” I’d like to highlight a few provisions that signal good things to come with respect to our streams, ponds, wetlands, and other important waters.  For starters, President Biden directs the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Management and Budget to “require that Federal permitting decisions consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.” … ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  President Biden’s climate order and clean water

Biden and regulatory review

Dan Farber writes, “President Biden seems to be poised to dramatically change how the White House reviews proposed agency regulations. I argued in a recent post that it would be better to expand the focus of regulatory review beyond cost-benefit analysis to include important values such as social justice and environmental quality. Biden may be moving in that direction.  Since Reagan took office, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has reviewed the cost-benefit analyses submitted for all significant proposed regulations.  Progressives have never bought the idea of OIRA as the technocratic guardian of value-neutral economic analysis.  This is partly because they view cost-benefit analysis as inherently biased against regulation, and partly because they view OIRA as a backdoor for industry lobbying. … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here: Biden and regulatory review

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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