Mono Lake. Photo by Albert de Bruijn

BLOG ROUND-UP: CA decides to sacrifice salmon for agribusiness profits; Facing dry year, State Water Board is draining reservoirs; Endangered salmon dying before spawning; Examining federal irrigator claims in the Klamath; and more …

Just 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. –Maven

CA decides to sacrifice salmon for agribusiness profits

Doug Obegi writes, “Late Friday the State Water Resources Control Board appeared to tentatively approve a temperature management plan for Shasta Dam that sacrifices salmon and fishing jobs for agribusiness profits this year, violates water quality standards, and leaves California woefully unprepared if next year is also dry.  Specifically, the State Water Board indicated that they would approve a temperature management plan if it achieves 1.25 million acre feet of water in Shasta at the end of September.  As the State Water Board knows, allowing storage to drop that low is estimated to kill more than 50% of the endangered winter run Chinook salmon (see slide 5, pasted below) and results in water temperatures in October and November that are so hot that they are likely to kill the vast majority of the fall run Chinook salmon that spawn in the Sacramento River later this year — just like in 2014.  What’s more, it means that there will be very little water in storage at the end of the year, so California will be in far worse shape than this year if 2022 is also dry. … ”  Continue reading at the NRDC here:  CA decides to sacrifice salmon for agribusiness profits

Facing dry year, State Water Board is draining California reservoirs

Katy Grimes writes, ““In the last 14 days, 90% of Delta inflow went to sea. It’s equal to a year’s supply of water for 1 million people.  #ManMadeDrought,” Central Valley farmer Kristi Diener said.  Diener, a California water expert and farmer, has been warning steadily that water is unnecessarily being let out to sea as the state faces a normal dry year.  “Are we having a dry year? Yes,” Diener says. “That is normal for us. Should we be having water shortages in the start of our second dry year? No. Our reservoirs were designed to provide a steady five year supply for all users, and were filled to the top in June 2019. … Our reservoirs held enough water for everyone who relies on them for their water supply, for 7 years. We are barely into our second dry year. WHERE DID IT GO?” … ”  Read the full post at the California Globe here: Facing dry year, State Water Board is draining California reservoirs

Endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon are dying before spawning below Keswick Dam

Dan Bacher writes, “Thirty years ago, my boss, Hal Bonslett, and I went to meeting after meeting, along with other anglers and environmentalists, and wrote article after article demanding that winter-run Chinook salmon be listed under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts.  The post-Shasta Dam spawning escapement of the salmon that once spawned in the McCloud River had declined from 117,000 adults to just 200 by 1991. I even wrote a song, the Ballad of the Winter Chinook, about the collapse of this once-abundant species of salmon.  Finally, the fish was listed under both state and state law. Yet, three decades later, the salmon have still not recovered and winter Chinooks are now dying before spawning below Keswick Dam. … ”  Continue reading at the Daily Kos here:  Endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon are dying before spawning below Keswick Dam

Who is suffering from lack of Klamath water? Examining federal irrigator claims

Felice Pace writes, “This year the Klamath River Basin’s federal irrigators have declared that the US Bureau of Reclamation is taking away their ability to farm by keeping too much water in Upper Klamath Lake and allowing too much water to flow down the Klamath River. Low snowpack and inadequate inflow to Upper Klamath Lake have, in fact, limited the ability of the US Bureau of Reclamation to meet all its obligation to deliver irrigation water, while simultaneously also meeting the needs of threatened and endangered species in the Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake.   The protesting federal irrigators are represented by the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA). Here is how KWUA’s President Ben DuVal reacted to Reclamation’s announcement: “Family farms, rural communities, and wildlife are going to suffer beyond imagination.”  Beyond imagination? ... ”  Read more from the KlamBlog here: Who is suffering from lack of Klamath water? Examining federal irrigator claims

State Water Contractors objected to development of a drought operations strategy for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project

Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “Our May 10, 2021 blog post, DWR Chief Engineer warned of climate change draining Northern California reservoirs explained how Francis Chung, the Department of Water Resources’ Bay-Delta modeling chief, sounded the alarm in 2010 that climate change could drain major Northern California reservoirs. Chung recommended that DWR develop a reoperation strategy for the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) to mitigate the effects of climate change.  The Department of Water Resources ignored Chung’s recommendation.  The situation got worse in 2019 with the Bureau of Reclamation’s changes to the Long Term Operations of the Central Valley Project.  The changes basically eliminated requirements for carryover storage in Shasta Dam to ensure adequate cold water for salmon. … ”  Read more from California Water Research here:  State Water Contractors objected to development of a drought operations strategy for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project

Petition to request Delta smelt be declared extinct will be filed with Fish and Game

Katy Grimes writes, “California water expert Kristi Diener notified the Globe that a petition to request the Delta Smelt fish be declared extinct is going to be filed. Diener said this has never been done before, and currently there isn’t one single petition to have a species delisted under review in the United States. The U.S. and California Departments of Fish and Wildlife have been put on the required 30-day notice, with the petition to follow.  Diener explains: Only four smelt have been collected since July 2018, after thousands of Department of Fish and Wildlife trawling surveys. Nonetheless, pumping water into storage is always throttled back about Jan – May when it is thought smelt could be migrating. The problem is, this is also during the Spring thaw, and we are not able to take full advantage of the snow melt before it meets the ocean. A declaration of extinction would allow us to access massive amounts of new water for families and farmers that is currently being squandered to the sea for smelt in which these government agencies have failed to save for nearly 30 years. … ”  Read more from the California Globe here:  Petition to request Delta smelt be declared extinct will be filed with Fish and Game

California doesn’t have a plan for drought

Doug Obegi writes, “Shockingly, California does not have a plan for drought, even though droughts are a fact of life here and scientists have been warning for years that climate change will make them worse. Instead of planning for these predictable and predicted events, California’s “plan” is to declare an “emergency” and revert to the destructive approach of violating water quality standards and praying for rain, rather than curtailing unsustainable water diversions that are diverting millions of acre feet of water, devastating native fish and wildlife — and the thousands of jobs that depend on their health.  Instead of learning from the drought of just a few years ago, we’re on track to repeat the mistakes from 2014-2015. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: California doesn’t have a plan for drought 

Delta Flows: Met’s Kightlinger signing off, but his talking points linger

Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “We awoke Monday to the pleasurable sounds of the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) Jeffrey Kightlinger’s swan song interview with the Water Education Foundation. After 15 years in charge of an arrogant boys club with many issues, Kightlinger is stepping down.  Takeaway? We outlasted him! … ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here: Delta Flows: Met’s Kightlinger signing off, but his talking points linger

The forgotten green sturgeon

Tom Cannon writes, “The Southern Green Sturgeon is an anadromous fish species that spawns in the upper Sacramento River near Red Bluff CA.  It is a state and federal listed endangered species.  Adults migrate from the ocean to spawn in April-May in gravel/cobble riffles and pools.1  The eggs hatch in approximately 12 days.  The young larval or fry are susceptible to stress and mortality if water temperature warm too quickly into the 65-70oF range.  Optimal water temperatures for embryos and larvae are 60-65oF.2  Survival declines at higher temperatures, with 68oF considered lethal. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: The forgotten green sturgeon

Facing dry year, CA State Water Board is draining Folsom Lake Reservoir

Following the Globe article Friday about the state draining reservoirs even with the dry year California is facing, we noted that California’s largest reservoirs less than two years ago were absolutely teeming with water from 107% to 145% of average. Water expert Kristi Diener said California’s reservoirs held enough water in 2019 for everyone who relies on them for their water supply, for 7 years.  A longtime friend of the Globe, Graig Gottwals, an attorney and professional bass fisherman, reported another infuriating aspect of the draining of California reservoirs – specifically Folsom Lake in the Sacramento region.  “I’ve lived near and bass fished Folsom for 17 years now,” Gottwals said. “I’m in South Auburn, 4.5 miles from the Rattlesnake Bar ramp. Beginning roughly 10 to 12 years ago, the state decided that whenever the lake dropped under 400 feet in elevation, boaters had to abide by a 5 mph speed limit.  This was for purported safety reasons – more of the bubble wrapping of America.” … ”  Read more from the California Globe here: Facing dry year, CA State Water Board is draining Folsom Lake Reservoir

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT:  Mono Lake; Photo by Albert de Bruijn

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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