Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico; Photo by BLM/Sherman Hogue

BLOG ROUND-UP: Whither habitat for the imperiled delta smelt?; The San Joaquin Valley Blueprint helps everyone; Preparing for a dry year: Safe drinking water; and more …

Whither habitat for the imperiled delta smelt?

Dennis D. Murphy writes, “Conservation science has offered one widely appreciated truism above all others. Habitat loss and fragmentation is the primary cause of imperilment and extinction for very many species. This is certainly the case for the delta smelt, which has seen its habitat diminished and transformed by human activities dating back to California’s gold rush era. Congress recognized the importance of habitat when it enacted the federal Endangered Species Act nearly five decades ago, declaring as its purpose — “to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved” — in other words, to protect and restore the habitats that support imperiled species. The directive for the federal wildlife agencies to designate Critical Habitat for listed species is one of a suite of provisions in the Act that are intended to contribute to the conservation of endangered and threatened species by protecting their habitats. … ”  Read more from Delta Currents here:  Whither habitat for the imperiled delta smelt?

Can Japanese smelt replace Delta smelt?

Peter Moyle writes, “A question I get asked on occasion is: Why all this fuss about endangered delta smelt when there is another smelt that looks just the same that can takes its place? The smelt being referenced is the wakasagi (Hypomesus nipponensis), which is indeed similar to the delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus). In fact, both species were once thought to be a single species (H. olidus), the pond smelt, with populations scattered along the Pacific Rim, from California to Japan. In 1963, Don McAllister, a Canadian ichthyologist and smelt expert, examined all populations and concluded that the populations in Japan and California were different from the intervening populations. But he also concluded that the two comprised just one species, with the scientific name noting their trans-Pacific distribution. … ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here:  Can Japanese smelt replace Delta smelt?

The San Joaquin Valley Blueprint helps everyone

Don Wright writes, “There are fictionalized stories about what would happen without somebody or something’s influence. Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” comes to mind. In 2004 there was a movie released, “A Day Without a Mexican” in which a magical fog covers California and all the folks from Mexico disappear from the state wreaking havoc as the economy collapses from the lack of workers. Imagine a non-fiction scenario – a day without farmers. Or try a month or a year or forever – without farmers in the San Joaquin Valley.  Perhaps it would be better stated to say a time without from a fifth to a third of the farmers in the Valley. Surface water deliveries have been cutback for decades and ag has become more efficient in its use of water, but increased imports to offset the drawdown of the region’s aquifers is needed. There was a time when the conjunctive use of local water supplies met our needs. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint website here: The San Joaquin Valley Blueprint helps everyone

Butte Creek spring run salmon – status end-of-year 2020

Tom Cannon writes, “When I last reported in May 2017 on the status of Butte Creek spring-run Chinook salmon, the population had hit lows as a consequence of the 2013-2015 drought.  I am happy to report the run’s rebound after the drought with new reported and revised CDFW escapement estimates.  Following escapement in 2017 that was the lowest since 1998, the population estimate increased to 6253 in 2019 … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:   Butte Creek spring run salmon – status end-of-year 2020

Preparing for a dry year: Safe drinking water

Adam Robin writes, “As Sacramento River Basin water resources managers continue to prepare for a potential dry year, their efforts include a central focus on continuing progress toward the goal of ensuring that all communities across the region have access to safe drinking water.  Dry years can present new and different challenges in areas that may not have previously experienced issues with drinking water quality or accessibility. To help identify and address these issues, the Northern California Water Association has convened our Dry Year Task Force to coordinate efforts to respond to dry conditions, including work to identify and respond to any new issues related to access to safe drinking water. ... ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Blog here: Preparing for a dry year: Safe drinking water

Tuolumne River salmon runs in decline – end-of-year 2020 status

Tom Cannon writes, “After decades of dominating the overall salmon run in the San Joaquin River watershed, the salmon run in the Tuolumne River now lags behind the runs in her sister rivers. The Tuolumne River is a San Joaquin River tributary with no hatchery. Its salmon runs are declining. Unlike her sister rivers the Stanislaus and the Merced, the Tuolumne salmon run did not rebound as well after the 1987-1992, 2007-2009, and 2013-2015 droughts.  The Tuolumne run has had difficulty recovering from droughts because spawner numbers in subsequent years are too low.  … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here:  Tuolumne River salmon runs in decline – end-of-year 2020 status

Strong support exists for a bold 30×30 vision

Alison Chase writes, “Last week was a whirlwind of exciting climate action. And, after the past four years of climate denial and outright hostility, you’d be forgiven for not being able to take it all in at once. In fact, one item nestled into the Biden-Harris climate Executive Order—an item that didn’t often make the headlines—is an ambitious pledge to protect 30 percent of America’s lands and inland waters and 30 percent of its ocean area by 2030, also known as 30×30.    The 30×30 section of the climate Executive Order is small but mighty: a host of federal agencies led by the Department of the Interior have 90 days to develop a report for the White House’s new National Climate Task Force that recommends steps the U.S. should take, with stakeholders, to achieve 30×30. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: Strong support exists for a bold 30×30 vision

An open letter to President Biden on water

Jim Lauria writes, “Congratulations on your election, and on starting your term with a strong commitment to infrastructure, which you outlined during the campaign in your Build Back Better platform.  We in the water industry are certainly eager to build back better. You are our republic’s 46th president, following in the footsteps of several presidential leaders in infrastructure development and many others who neglected the foundation that has made our country great. Whether it was the 19th century boom in private water systems that began under President Jefferson, the U.S. Public Health Service Drinking Water Standards established under President Wilson, or the massive dam projects under President Roosevelt, we are still enjoying the benefits of attention to our water infrastructure.  However, some of the fingerprints of our past presidents are a little too closely associated with our current situation. … ”  Read more from Jim Lauria at LinkedIn here: An open letter to President Biden on water

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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