Daniel Brasuell kayaks down the Tuolumne River. Photo by BLM.

BLOG ROUND-UP: Captive breeding of Delta smelt: Worthy experiment or well-intended folly?; Delta Council guts independent peer review in the Delta Science Program; Mojave Pistachios on SGMA issues; and more …

Captive breeding of Delta smelt: Worthy experiment or well-intended folly?

Paul S. Weiland writes, “Delta smelt have nearly ceased to appear in “pelagic” fish surveys carried out in their narrow geographic range in the upper San Francisco Estuary. As trawl-generated index values for delta smelt have declined over the past quarter century – understand there is no reliable estimate of the size of the delta smelt population — the chorus of voices advocating for captive rearing and releases of the species has grown louder. When in 2019 the Bureau of Reclamation proposed to include development of a conservation hatchery as a component of its ongoing operation of the federal Central Valley Project, it was building on work to culture delta smelt that was initiated in the early 1990s, just after the fish was listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   While the conservation community has a long history of developing and implementing captive breeding programs, the effort to develop a successful captive breeding program for delta smelt is ambitious and faces significant challenges. … ”  Read more from Delta Currents here:  Captive breeding of Delta smelt: Worthy experiment or well-intended folly?

Delta Stewardship Council guts independent peer review in the Delta Science Program

Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “The seven members of the Delta Stewardship Council were seated in 2010. The Council appointed ten prominent scientists to the Delta ISB. Over the next decade, the Delta ISB produced over 30 scientific reviews, averaging over 3,000 hours of work per year.  But in 2020, the work of the Delta ISB stalled. The Delta Stewardship Council reduced funding for the Delta ISB by over 90%. Contracts which had funded individual board members at professional scientific rates were abruptly replaced by $100 per diem payments. As a result, work on pending reviews was greatly delayed. Unlike any other state board, the Delta ISB had no staff that reported to the board. Requests by the Chair to fund senior staff positions were refused, as were requests to hire independent scientists through short-term contracts to assist with active reviews. … ”  Read more from California Water Research here:  Delta Stewardship Council guts independent peer review in the Delta Science Program

To those interested in water in the Southern San Joaquin Valley (SSJV) and SGMA Issues

Rod Stiefvater writes, “I wish to inform and update those interested in water issues in the SSJV—including SGMA implementation—of events in the Indian Wells Valley (IWV), near Ridgecrest and China Lake, where I am heavily involved under my company, Mojave Pistachios (Mojave). In 2020, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (GA) adopted a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) and follow-on actions that gives all of the IWV Groundwater Basin’s purported average annual recharge to the Navy. The GA then instituted extraordinarily high new fees of $2,235/acre-feet (AF) on all groundwater pumped by any groundwater user that was not awarded an annual pumping allocation and that did not sign the GA’s “Transient Pool” Agreement, as explained below. These are by far the highest pumping fees in California charged under SGMA. For groundwater users elsewhere in the State this is a cautionary tale—and perhaps a sign of things to come in your basin. ... ”  Read more from Mojave Pistachios here:  To those interested in water in the Southern San Joaquin Valley (SSJV) and SGMA Issues

When predicting less leaves room for more

Page Buono writes, “When the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) released their standard 24-month study in April 2021, the reaction from media was swift: this is bad news. These regular forecasts project factors of water management—like inflow, releases, power generation and storage levels—for the Colorado basin, and the forecast’s “most probably” model predicts two back-to-back years of 7.48-million-acre-feet releases from Powell. According to John Fleck’s recent transmission, the last time there was a release that low in 2014, Lake Mead dropped 25 feet. And that was just one year. Now, the BOR is anticipating two years in a row.  It is, of course, worth noting that these warnings are not new. Scientists, non-profits, and concerned citizens have been sounding the alarm for decades, ringing that the compounding impacts of demand, over-allocation, and climate change will stress an already overstressed resource. And the predictions of shortfalls in deliveries to Mead aren’t altogether “new”, either. … ”  Read more at the American Rivers blog here: When predicting less leaves room for more

New USBR model run suggests 2021 is on track to be the second-worst year in history for the Colorado River’s reservoirs

The latest US Bureau of Reclamation “24-month study” – the monthly update to projected reservoir storage on the Colorado River – shows the bottom dropping out of Lake Powell inflows after a starkly dry April. … ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here: New USBR model run suggests 2021 is on track to be the second-worst year in history for the Colorado River’s reservoirs

 

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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