Above Lyons Dam by Bodey Marcoccia

BLOG ROUND-UP: Killing most endangered salmon is how the Trump biops “work”; If CA is facing a rare mega-drought, why is the state releasing water from reservoirs?; Recall Politics? No Thanks. The SF Bay-Delta keeps losing either way; and more …

Killing most endangered salmon is how the Trump biops “work”

Doug Obegi writes, “While this year is shaping up to be a catastrophe for salmon in California, it is not a surprise—it was anticipated and, shockingly, authorized under the Trump Administration’s final permits (known as biological opinions, or “BiOps” for short). State and federal agencies agreed in 2016 that protections needed to be strengthened to prevent the extinction of winter-run Chinook salmon and other endangered and threatened species in the Bay-Delta watershed. But then the Trump Administration took power, and instead of strengthening protections, they gutted protections for salmon and other endangered species in their final biological opinions issued in 2019. These biological opinions are nothing short of a plan for extinction, and this year highlights why it is so important that the Biden Administration quickly follow through on the President’s January 20, 2021 Executive Order and overturn these biological opinions and impose interim protections while new, scientifically-justified biological opinions are developed. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here:  Killing most endangered salmon is how the Trump biops “work”

If California is facing a rare mega-drought, why is the state releasing water from reservoirs?

Katy Grimes writes, “Last week, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom was in Oroville, with a 60% empty Oroville Dam Reservoir as his backdrop, he said he is not ready to declare an official drought emergency. “Instead, he promised he can manage the situation without resorting to an emergency declaration, which could help his administration clamp down on water use,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. They also reported that the threat of a recall election could be at the root of his decision.  Maybe someone can ask the governor why in the last two weeks, 91% of Delta inflow went to the sea. State pumps are at -97%, federal pumps at -85%. Outflows show 6,060,828,600 gallons. While he still has his emergency powers, can’t the governor order stoppage of this outflow if California really is on the precipice of severe water shortages and a “rare mega drought?” … ”  Read more from the California Globe here: If California is facing a rare mega-drought, why is the state releasing water from reservoirs?

Delta Flows: Recall Politics? No Thanks. The SF Bay-Delta keeps losing either way

Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “Today’s blog breaks my heart.  Why?  Because Restore the Delta is focused on water quality issues, flood control issues, future planning, and training the next generation of local water experts – for that is where hope exists.  We are focused on the future because in some ways we have become very cynical about any positive meaningful change to Delta management presently — from the lack of care at the highest levels of government to local pockets of Delta communities that will not acknowledge the deterioration of the estuary before their eyes.  Our Delta faces many threats. ... ”  Read more from the California Globe here: Delta Flows: Recall Politics? No Thanks. The SF Bay-Delta keeps losing either way

On the Delta Independent Science Board and Inconvenient Truths

Deirdre Des Jardins writesm “One of the most valuable contributions of the Delta Independent Science Board is when they speak inconvenient truths.  One example of this is the BDCP / WaterFix project, which is a “hard” adaptation to climate change. The locations for the North Delta intakes were largely decided in conceptual engineering work done between 2008 and 2010, when the high estimate of sea level rise by 2100 was about one meter, with an extreme value of 55 inches. But estimates of high sea level rise have since doubled, with a current high estimate of two meters of sea level rise, and an extreme value of 10 feet – 120 inches.  It is an inconvenient truth that the locations for the intakes chosen for one meter of sea level rise may have significant issues with salinity intrusion with 2 meters of sea level rise. Here the reviews of the project by the Delta Independent Science Board were invaluable. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: On the Delta Independent Science Board and Inconvenient Truths

Highlights of the 17th PSMFC Steelhead Management Meeting

The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) recently held their 17th Pacific Coast Steelhead Management Meeting from March 16–18. This year’s virtual meeting focused on the current status of steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations, as well as monitoring activities and research on steelhead ecology. With presentations from managers and researchers in California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia, the meeting covered steelhead work across the broad native range of the species. Talks discussed new and developing technologies and methodologies for studying and monitoring steelhead populations, which included exciting new applications of environmental DNA, pop-up satellite tags, and smartphone-based angler catch reporting systems. … ”  Read more from FishBio here: Highlights of the 17th PSMFC Steelhead Management Meeting

CSPA comments on FERC’s additional information request for Merced Irrigation District’s hydro projects

CSPA and several allied conservation groups[1] filed comments on April 1, 2021 responding to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff’s February 19, 2021 Additional Information Request (AIR) for the Merced River Hydroelectric Project and the Merced Falls Hydroelectric Project (collectively, Projects). These two hydroelectric projects are owned by the Merced Irrigation District (Merced ID) and have been undergoing relicensing since February 2012. … ”  Read more from the CSPA here: CSPA comments on FERC’s additional information request for Merced Irrigation District’s hydro projects

The pillars for sustainable water management in the Sacramento River Basin

On Wednesday, March 3rd, the Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Board of Directors officially adopted our 2021 Priorities. The water leaders in this region look forward to working with our many partners in 2021 to cultivate a shared vision for a vibrant way of life in the Sacramento Valley. We will continue to re-imagine our water system in the Sacramento River Basin as we also work to harmonize our water priorities with state, federal, and other regions’ priorities to advance our collective goal of ensuring greater water and climate resilience throughout California for our communities, the economy, and the environment. We encourage you to review our 2021 Priorities and share any thoughts. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here: The pillars for sustainable water management in the Sacramento River Basin

Are Sacramento River water temperatures related to flow: lessons learned – #4

Tom Cannon writes, “NMFS’s lesson #4 states that the summer water temperatures in the 10-mile reach of the Sacramento River downstream of Keswick dam, the most heavily used reach for spawning by winter-run salmon, are not “correlated with flow.” The lesson is important in that if generally true, high summer flow releases are not important in managing summer water temperatures for the salmon spawning and egg-embryo incubation that takes place close to Keswick Dam. The magnitude of flow releases from the dam appears to have minimal effect on how much summer water temperatures increase in the upper 20 miles of river. Rather, water temperature in this river reach is more a function of distance from the dam and the temperature of the water when released from Keswick. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: Are Sacramento River water temperatures related to flow: lessons learned – #4

MORE FROM THE CALIFORNIA FISHERIES BLOG:

Suisun Marsh fishes in 2020: Persistence during the Pandemic

Teejay O’Rear, John Durand, and Peter Moyle write, “Suisun Marsh is central to the health of the San Francisco Estuary. Not only is it a huge (470 km2) tidal marsh in the center the northern estuary, but it is an extremely important nursery area for species such as splittail, striped bass, longfin smelt, and, formerly, delta smelt. Since January 1980, a team from The University of California, Davis, in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), has systematically monitored the marsh’s fish populations. The team had been sampling the fish and invertebrates every month with trawls and beach seines, with a nearly unbroken record. Then Covid-19 restrictions settled in, making it hard to continue sampling with a crew of four people in a 19-ft boat. How does one maintain a six-foot distance and still operate the boat and sampling nets? ... ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here: Suisun Marsh fishes in 2020: Persistence during the Pandemic

Lake Mead likely to drop below elevation 1,040 by late 2023

John Fleck writes, “I’m choosing my words carefully here. The “likely” in this blog’s post’s title means “based on my analysis of the Bureau of Reclamation’s current ‘most probable forecast’ Colorado River water supply model runs.”  The Bureau’s current “most probable” modeling suggests that in both 2022 and 2023, the annual release from Lake Powell will only be 7.48 million acre feet. This is based on a provision in the river’s operating rules that, under certain low storage level conditions, the Upper Basin gets to hang onto water in Powell.  The last time and only time we had a 7.48 release, in 2014, Mead dropped 25 feet in a single year. We’ve never had two consecutive 7.48 releases. … ”  Read more from Inkstain blog here: Lake Mead likely to drop below elevation 1,040 by late 2023

There is finally light at the end of the lead pipe

Lynn Thorp writes, “President Biden proposed a lot of money for funding of lead pipe replacement in the American Jobs Plan. This could be a game changer. Removing the largest source of lead in drinking water is an enormous and expensive task. The cost of lead service line replacement has been the biggest barrier to both decisive federal regulation and proactive water system and community action. In addition to the President’s plan, significant funding has been included in several bills introduced or in the works in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House this year. With allies, we have advocated for $45 billion in funding to enable nationwide replacement. Inclusion of this amount in the American Jobs Plan signals that we might be closer to addressing the cost issue than ever before. ... ”  Read more from We All Live Downstream blog here: There is finally light at the end of the lead pipe

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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