Reclamation has done everything it could to kill off salmon this summer. Now it plans to finish the job.
Tom Cannon writes, “The Bureau of Reclamation’s plan for Shasta-Trinity operations in summer of drought year 2021 was founded on killing off the salmon in the upper Sacramento River to sustain hydropower and water deliveries. So far, it has been wildly successful. Now Reclamation plans to finish the job on winter-run, spring-run, and fall-run salmon. First, in late April and early May, Reclamation released an extraordinary amount of warm water from Shasta Reservoir for contractor water deliveries. These early releases compromised and delayed early winter-run spawning and late season smolt migration to the ocean. The early releases also unnecessarily reduced already critically-low Shasta storage, compromising the summer storage and cold-water-pool supply. … ” Continue reading at the California Fisheries blog here: Reclamation has done everything it could to kill off salmon this summer. Now it plans to finish the job.
Delta smelt monitoring malpractice – a disaster for the fish, impactful to California’s economy
Dennis D. Murphy writes, “Monitoring serves two essential purposes when it comes to fish and wildlife conservation. First, it informs our understanding of the status and trend of populations that we want to conserve and recover. Second, it informs the design and implementation of conservation measures to benefit those populations and allows resource managers to assess the effectiveness of such measures. Absent monitoring, we are guided by intuition, surmise, or plain faith in determining whether we should intervene to protect a species and how we should go about doing so. While delta smelt have been protected under the California and federal Endangered Species Acts for almost three decades and federal and state regulatory agencies have implemented many millions of dollars of management actions intended to protect the species, a monitoring scheme to fulfill those two core purposes has proven inexplicably elusive. It is high time to overcome institutional resistance and move ahead with the development of a monitoring scheme for delta smelt, both for the sake of the imperiled species and to stop wasting our limited conservation dollars on ill-informed measures. … ” Continue reading at the Delta Currents blog here: Delta smelt monitoring malpractice – a disaster for the fish, impactful to California’s economy
CA Attorney General Bonta Wants EPA to Grant State Water Use Authority
Evan Symon writes, “California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Monday that, along with Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and New York Attorney General Letitia James, he sent a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for a repeal of state-limiting authority under the Clean Water Act. Specifically, he wants state restrictions to end under Section 401 of the Act that would give states more control over what they can do to “prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution” of water within their state. Currently, the Section requires federal approval for water discharge permission. … ” Read more from the California Globe here: CA Attorney General Bonta Wants EPA to Grant State Water Use Authority
Feather River Salmon Recovery:Responsibilities, Commitments, and Recommendations
Tom Cannon writes, “The State Water Project (SWP) is not protecting salmon in the Feather River. The Feather River’s once-prolific populations of wild spring-run and fall-run salmon have been replaced by smaller numbers of hatchery fish of inferior genetic composition. The fact that the replacement of wild fish by hatchery fish plagues all salmon stocks in the Central Valley Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) is no excuse. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has many responsibilities and commitments to protect Feather River salmon under the SWP’s project’s hydropower license, water rights, and other permits, and more generally under the public trust doctrine and the reasonable use doctrine in the state constitution (Article X, Section 2). ... ” Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: Feather River Salmon Recovery:Responsibilities, Commitments, and Recommendations
The California Water Model: Resilience through failure
Nicholas Pinter, Jay Lund, and Peter Moyle write, “A review of 170 years of water-related successes in California suggests that most successes can be traced directly to past mistakes. California’s highly variable climate has made it a crucible for innovations in water technology and policy. Similar water imperatives have led to advances in water management in other parts of the world. A close look at California’s water model suggests that “far-sighted incrementalism” is a path to progress. Given the complexity of water management systems, better scientific information and new policy tools must be developed coherently and collaboratively over time. A history of learning from previous failures can guide progress towards stable, secure, and resilient water systems worldwide. This includes learning from other regions and other “water models” – the one option clearly superior to innovating in response to your own mistakes is learning from the errors of others. … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: The California Water Model: Resilience through Failure
The Garcia: A river in strong recovery after a 30-year effort
Craig Bell writes, “The strong recovery we are witnessing today in the Garcia River is thanks to a 30-year effort that began in 1991 when Mendocino County Supervisors approved the Garcia River Watershed Enhancement Plan (GRWEP, Caldon, Monschke, Higgins 1991). The GRWEP was the first watershed plan in the county (and maybe the state) that was produced by community stakeholders. The Garcia River has benefited from the involvement of some of the best restoration practitioners and planners in California. … When I first started fishing the Garcia River 40 years ago, the lower river was choked with mud and very fine sediment. If you walk the lower Garcia and the lower Gualala River, you can see how far the Garcia has recovered and how far the nearby Gualala River has to go. ... ” Read more from the Trees Foundation here: The Garcia: A river in strong recovery after a 30-year effort
Local, state, and federal governments failing to protect Delta residents from HABs
“As reported by California State Water Resources Control Board staff, as of 7/27/21, there are more than two dozen outbreaks of harmful algal blooms (HABs) presently in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Most of these reported levels of cyanobacteria range between “cautionary” to “dangerous.” The majority of the outbreaks are occurring in San Joaquin and Contra Costa Counties, with two outbreaks identified in the Sacramento County portion of the Delta. Restore the Delta’s Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said: “We commend State Water Resources Control Board staff for their extensive work and assistance in tracking the multiple HABs outbreaks in the Delta. Our disappointment lies with the Newsom Administration’s Department of Water Resources and the Biden Administrations’ Bureau of Reclamation for continuing to pursue water export policies that fail to acknowledge the need for cool freshwater flows in the estuary. … ” Read more from Restore the Delta here: Local, state, and federal governments failing to protect Delta residents from HABs
Drought resilience requires a holistic approach
Stefanie Smallhouse writes, “My husband and I took over operating the family ranch in 2000 after the sudden passing of his father; I remember it was an especially dry year. In the desert that is not much in the way of news, but more of a tendency. Even so, we were forced to liquidate two-thirds of our cattle herd because we did not have the necessary infrastructure to manage what became a longer-term situation. We now know that what started in 2000 and continues today is considered a megadrought with no end in sight, one of the driest periods in the Colorado River Basin in 1,200 years according to tree-ring data. Feeding hay, hauling water and a poor calf crop combined with low prices will put a rancher out of business quickly in the arid Southwest. A few dry years sprinkled within a decade are expected and recoverable, but 20-plus years of well below-average precipitation creates long-term consequences that accumulate over time and exacerbate existing resource concerns. … ” Read more from the American Farm Bureau here: Drought resilience requires a holistic approach
Comments to the White House Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee
Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “On January 27, 2021, President Biden issued a Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking. The Memorandum directed the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to convene an interagency task force to review the effectiveness of scientific integrity policies of federal agencies in preventing improper political interference in the conduct of scientific research and the collection of data and preventing the suppression or distortion of findings, data, information, conclusions, or technical results. The OSTP issued a Request for Information on June 28, 2021 and the OSTP’s Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee held listening sessions on July 28-30. … ” Continue reading at the California Water Research blog here: Comments to the White House Scientific Integrity Fast-Track Action Committee
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.