BLOG ROUND-UP: Will California save the last winter run salmon this year?; Spring flow pulses in drought years can help salmon. So, what’s stopping us?; The “greedy” strategy for SWP and CVP reservoir operations; and more …

Will California save the last winter run salmon this year?

Kate Poole writes, “California’s State Water Board can save this year’s population of endangered winter run chinook salmon eggs and fry from cooking to death in too-hot river temperatures, as the fish did in 2014 and 2015. And they can improve the chances for later-spawning fall run chinook – the backbone of the salmon fishery – to survive below Shasta Dam as well. But they have to act now.  New modeling from the National Marine Fisheries Service shows that, if the State Water Board fails to act, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operates Shasta Dam as it plans to this year, about 80% of endangered winter run salmon will die from temperature-dependent mortality alone … ”  Continue reading at the NRDC here: Will California save the last winter run salmon this year?

Delta Flows: Actions over words

Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “Last week, an important workshop took place at the State Water Resources Control Board about dam operations and how water temperatures would be controlled with water releases for Sacramento River salmon during this year’s drought conditions.  Today, at the beginning of a significant drought, we are holding less water in our reservoirs than we did at the beginning of the 2013-14 drought. This is not a good place to begin conservation efforts from.  The workshop also included detailed information on current water quality conditions for the South Delta as a result of releases, or rather lack of adequate releases, on the San Joaquin River. … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here:  Delta Flows: Actions over words

Spring flow pulses in drought years can help salmon. So, what’s stopping us?

writes, “Increasing Central Valley salmon populations in a highly regulated river system is a complex undertaking. Restoring habitats and ecosystem processes, augmenting fish passage, screening diversions, hatchery reform, and improved harvest management are integral components of successful conservation efforts. But restoring a semblance of a natural flow regime — sometimes termed “functional flows” — is often the focus of efforts to improve the status of salmon in Pacific Coast rivers. While it might seem straightforward to reestablish a natural hydrograph in efforts to encourage the ecological and biophysical processes to sustain salmon life stages — well, it’s not. … ”  Continue reading at the Delta Currents blog here:  Spring flow pulses in drought years can help salmon. So, what’s stopping us?

The “greedy” strategy for SWP and CVP reservoir operations

Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “Current operations of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project reservoirs in the Sacramento Valley are an example of a greedy strategy.[1] Under the greedy strategy, the system operators export as much water as possible in any given year. The strategy results in maximum water deliveries in a given year, but with the risk of catastrophic shortages in droughts.   The risks of the greedy strategy have little impact on Southern California urban water agencies who have developed millions of acre-feet of South of Delta storage. But the strategy does create major shortages and costs for South of Delta agricultural water users who don’t have multiyear storage. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: The “greedy” strategy for SWP and CVP reservoir operations

Do largemouth bass like droughts?

Andrew Rypel writes, “As we rapidly enter another drought, long-standing questions on ecological impacts of increased temperatures, reduced water levels and flows re-emerge. This reality recently reminded me of some of my own previous work looking at growth rate variations of largemouth bass in response to droughts in the southeastern USA (Rypel et al. 2009). Results from this work may be useful/interesting for biologists and managers in California considering similar questions.  While droughts elsewhere occur, they do so on different time tables and climatic cycles than in CA. Yet many of the species and underlying ecological dynamics remain similar (Marchetti et al. 2001, Scott and Helfman 2001, Rahel 2002, Moyle & Mount 2007). The homogenization of ecological communities on Earth is one of our greatest challenges, and parallels human modifications to landscapes, cities and food systems. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Do largemouth bass like droughts?

Facing reduced funding, Delta Independent Science Board considers changing scientific reviews

Dierdre Des Jardins writes, “At the Delta Independent Science Board’s May 4, 2021 meeting, the board members will discuss potentially restructuring Delta Delta Independent Science Board’s scientific reviews. Due to a lack of funding for board members to do the scientific reviews themselves, the board is considering changing the structure of reviews to rely more on staff. … In fall of 2020, the Delta Stewardship Council changed the compensation of Delta ISB members to a per diem salary of $100 per day. Delta ISB members were previously compensated by contracts which paid typical academic consulting rates, so this was a major loss of funding. … ”  Continue reading at the California Water Research blog here:  Facing reduced funding, Delta Independent Science Board considers changing scientific reviews

Sites Reservoir: California’s drought insurance policy

Jeff Sutton writes, “Millions of people across our nation, and countless millions throughout the world depend on California’s farms and ranches for the food they eat every single day. California leads the nation as the country’s largest agricultural producer and exporter and serves as a vital link in the world’s food supply chain.  However, a resilient and reliable water supply is essential to ensure that California farmers and ranchers can continue to provide a safe and reliable food supply to our nation and the world. The state’s water infrastructure is getting older and stressed beyond its capabilities, and our water demands have increased far beyond what the system was designed to support, particularly in dry years or during times of drought. While water supplies for everyone are stretched to the limit during drier years, they are always especially tight for California farmers, who need the right amount of water at the right time of year to grow their crops. A combination of inadequate infrastructure, longer dry periods and droughts, and less snowpack make our water supplies uncomfortably uncertain. A more reliable water future is both necessary and possible if we deploy a broad portfolio of solutions – including both above and below ground water storage. ... ”  Read more from Sites Reservoir here: Sites Reservoir: California’s drought insurance policy

San Joaquin Valley water systems need major repairs, and U.S. Funding should help

William Bourdeau, Director, Westlands Water District, writes, “When Californians in other parts of the state think about infrastructure, they think about the roads and bridges that take them to school and work.  When they think about their water supply, they think about the water that flows out of the faucet or the shower.  When they think about drought, they think about the local ordinances that force them to turn off the sprinklers that keep their lawns green.  But here in the Central Valley, infrastructure, water supply and drought mean so much more — after all, they don’t just impact our quality of life, but our very livelihoods.  That’s the reason there’s so much at stake for our region when it comes to maintaining and improving our state’s aging water infrastructure, which is in desperate need of the kind of financial investment that only the federal government can provide. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint here:  San Joaquin Valley water systems need major repairs, and U.S. Funding should help

Watching for harmful algal blooms in a dry year

Kylie Fryar writes, “With the dry year facing California, there is increased awareness about water quality issues and particularly harmful algal blooms. The Natural Resources Agency in its Report To The Legislature on The 2012–2016 Drought provided that “the drought’s most visible water quality impact was harmful algal blooms (HABs), which were reported more frequently during the 2012–2016 drought than during prior droughts.” ... ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: Watching for harmful algal blooms in a dry year

CSPA comments on State Water Board’s response to climate change

Cindy Charles writes, “CSPA, the California Water Impact Network and California Water Research submitted a comment letter on March 31, 2021 to the California State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights on the Water Board’s Recommendations for an Effective Water Rights Response to Climate Change: Identification of Data Needs and Recommendations to Incorporate Climate Change into Water Rights Permitting Policies, Procedures, and Methodologies (Recommendations). … The report outlines staff recommendations to make water availability analyses for permitting new water rights more robust. It also suggests actions to support an effective water rights response to climate change. The report describes the rapid rate of climate change in California and the inadequacy of reliance on past hydrology to predict future conditions. The report outlines new data needs, opportunities, and potential approaches for an effective water rights response. … The CSPA et al. comment letter supports the report’s discussion of the impacts of climate change on stream flows and the need for better estimations of unimpaired flows. However, the letter expresses concerns about the several elements and omissions ... ”  Read more from the CSPA here: CSPA comments on State Water Board’s response to climate change

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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