BLOG ROUND-UP: CA releasing water from reservoirs, claiming drought conditions; CA’s predatory water policy is billionaire farmer–friendly; Resource managers should consider the law of “limiting factors” to save Delta smelt; and more …

As a reminder … 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.

California releasing water from reservoirs, claiming drought conditions

Katy Grimes writes, “AccuWeather reports a snow survey in California revealed that the state only received about 50% of its average precipitation during the 2021 water year, tying it for its third-driest on record. … What they don’t say is that the state has been letting water out of reservoirs across California for months now. And it’s not going to farmers, growers, ranchers or urban use. Environmental policy says the water “flows” from reservoirs are necessary to produce a rebound of endangered Delta smelt and Chinook salmon. However, these policies are a failure as neither species have been collected in all of the latest trawling surveys, where they spend several days a month searching in more than 200 spots. This practice of releasing water and hoping fish improve, has been unsuccessful for nearly 30 years, according to Kristi Diener, a California water expert and third-generation Central Valley farmer. Both species are close to extinction. … ”  Read more from California Globe here: California releasing water from reservoirs, claiming drought conditions

California’s predatory water policy is billionaire farmer–friendly

Chriss Street writes, “Just as farmers are enjoying spiking demand and the best agricultural prices in almost a decade, the California Department of Water Resources is set to slash water deliveries that could force liquidation of family farms into the hands of billionaire buyers.  California since World War II has been America’s top agricultural state.  Family farms and ranches with an average 348 acres, about 100 acres less than the national average, control about 95 percent of the state’s 77,400 farms.  Despite relatively low prices, California agriculture generated $50 billion in cash receipts for the last crop year. … ”  Read more from the American Thinker here: California’s predatory water policy is billionaire farmer–friendly

Map shows 2021 farm water supply cuts

California farms are bearing the brunt of this year’s short water supply and have been forced to reduce the acreage of popular California crops, such as asparagus, melons, lettuce, rice, tomatoes, sweet corn, and others.  Water supply reductions mean fewer fresh fruits and vegetables for consumers, massive farm-related job losses, and billions in lost economic activity, impacts that go beyond rural and disadvantaged communities. … ”  Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here: Map shows 2021 farm water supply cuts

Resource managers should consider the law of “limiting factors” if they have any hope of saving the imperiled Delta smelt

Dennis Murphy writes, “It’s not lost on those concerned with the environmental health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and adjacent upper San Francisco Estuary that efforts to reverse declines of its imperiled fishes are failing. All the region’s fishes that are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act appear to have suffered reductions, some dramatic reductions, in abundance over the past two decades. The failure to respond to a native fishery in crisis falls in substantive part on the collective shoulders of the well-funded scientific community. From long-term surveys incapable of accurately monitoring the status and trends in numbers of those imperiled fishes to laboratory studies that can’t possibly mimic in-situ estuary conditions, much of the Delta’s “science” agenda has no clear application in conservation planning. For that matter, the many directed investigations that should have unambiguous relevance to the Delta’s conservation decision-makers seldom draw from ecological theory, few of them gather data in an experimental design, and fewer yet confront management-relevant hypotheses, leaving resource managers guessing at the conservation responses needed to save the Delta’s at-risk fishes. Academic researchers and agency scientists seem unable to provide expert guidance the resource managers and policy makers need to restore the native species that ply the Delta’s troubled waters. ... ”  Read more from the Delta Currents blog here: Resource managers should consider the law of “limiting factors” if they have any hope of saving the imperiled Delta smelt

Delta Tunnel: Geologist takes leadership of engineering and design

In March 2021, Kathryn Mallon resigned as Executive Director of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA.) The resignation came after labor negotiations with Metropolitan Water District’s representatives on the DCA Board. The official story is that Mallon decided to seek other opportunities after finishing the initial engineering and design work for the project. However, one of the initial engineering designs for the project is not yet finished. … ”  Continue reading from the California Water Research blog here: Delta Tunnel: Geologist takes leadership of engineering and design

Low spring flows reduce survival of spring-run salmon – lessons 14 and 15

Tom Cannon writes, “NMFS acknowledges that low spring flows may lead to low survival of juvenile spring-run Chinook salmon during their emigration to the sea. NMFS also suggests that disease may also cause poor survival in dry years.  Some additional observations regarding outmigration are appropriate. Most wild spring-run fry, fingerling, and pre-smolts emigrate in winter, although spring smolt emigration also occurs. Another thing to consider is that while disease may be more prevalent in spring of dry years, it may be due to extended rearing in the poor habitat of the upper river in drier years (less food, warmer water, and more stress). Increased predation by striped bass and other predators under these same habitat conditions is almost certainly another factor. Lower flows make predators more effective because of lower turbidities, warmer and shallower water, less cover, and slower transport rates. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: Low spring flows reduce survival of spring-run salmon – lessons 14 and 15

Vickie Ortiz works for clean drinking water for the Fairmead community

While most Californians enjoy the convenience of having water to drink, cook and clean, many communities, including the small underrepresented communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley, face water scarcity challenges. In Fairmead, CA, an unincorporated community 12 miles north of Madera, CA, there are approximately 1,400 residents, with 200 residents connected to the community well and the remaining residents on domestic private wells. Though demographics have shifted, Fairmead continues to be a predominantly community of color. In the 1950’s and 1960’s Fairmead was primarily African American. Today, the community is approximately 70% Hispanic and 7% African American.  The community of Fairmead was hard hit by the last statewide drought which lasted between 2012 and 2016. To this day, Fairmead continues to experience the impacts of declining groundwater levels. … ”  Read more from the NGO Collaborative here:  Vickie Ortiz with Fairmead Community & Friends

Managing water for multiple benefits: Why spring diversions on the Sacramento river are important

Todd Manley writes, “As we begin spring in the Sacramento Valley, the region illuminates – we see the brown landscape turn verdant, and the Valley bustles with activity as people share the hope of a new year and collectively cultivate a shared vision in the region for a vibrant way of life. With the dry year in Northern California, the water resource managers are working overtime to carefully manage our precious water systems including rivers, streams, reservoirs and diversions to serve multiple benefits. To effectively do this, water resources must be managed in an efficient manner, with the same block of water often used to achieve several beneficial uses as it moves through the region’s waterways. As such, water managers are focusing on operations to balance the important needs for water and thus avoid redirecting impacts to the environment, species, farming, groundwater, and local communities in the Sacramento Valley. ... ”  Read more from the NorCal Water Association blog here: Managing water for multiple benefits: Why spring diversions on the Sacramento river are important

Is the NASDAQ water futures market transparent enough?

Richard McCann writes, “Futures markets are settled either physically with actual delivery of the contracted product, or via cash based on the difference in the futures contract price and the actual purchase price. The NASDAQ Veles California Water Index future market is a cash settled market. In this case, the “actual” price is constructed by a consulting firm based on a survey of water transactions. Unfortunately this method may not be full reflective of the true market prices and, as we found in the natural gas markets 20 years ago, these can be easily manipulated. ... ”  Read more from Economics Outside The Cube here: Is the NASDAQ water futures market transparent enough?

The Most Common Question: What is up with those crazy colors around the edges of the Bay?!?

Dave Halsing writes, “In my job as Executive Project Manager of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, I do a lot of media interviews, public appearances, presentations to elected officials, and site tours with groups of students and other interested groups. I also meet a lot of people socially. In those settings, the “what do you do?” question comes up a lot. I then get to try to explain what the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is and what work I do on it.  The most common question I get as part of either of those two scenarios is “What is up with those crazy colors around the edges of the Bay?!?” … ”  Read more from Salty Dave’s Wetlands blog here: The Most Common Question: What is up with those crazy colors around the edges of the Bay?!?

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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