BLOG ROUND-UP: Agencies planning a disaster for CA salmon if 2022 is dry; Why is it so hard to be a California farmer?; The window dressing of environmental justice in Delta tunnel planning; and more …

Agencies planning a disaster for CA salmon if 2022 is dry

Doug Obegi, Director of California River Restoration for the NRDC, writes, “If next year is dry in California, modeling from the Bureau of Reclamation (linked here, dated July 6, 2021) shows that Shasta Reservoir would store nearly 750,000 acre feet less water in April 2022 than it did in April 2014 – a year that was an unmitigated disaster for fish and wildlife.  The operations presented in Reclamation’s modeling could lead to extinction for winter-run Chinook salmon and other threatened and endangered fish populations if next year is dry. But that outcome is not inevitable, as the modeled results are the combination of dry hydrology with unsustainable water allocations by the CVP and SWP, particularly water allocations for the projects’ settlement and exchange contractors.  Now is the time for the State Water Board to take action to ensure that if 2022 is dry, we do not repeat the disaster for fish and wildlife that was 2014 (or the disaster that is 2021). ... ”  Read more from the NRDC here: Agencies planning a disaster for CA salmon if 2022 is dry

Why is it so hard to be a California farmer?

James Burling and Bob Vice write, “In August, California’s State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to drastically reduce farmers’ rights to draw water from the state’s two largest rivers. The decision was just the latest in a series of blows to thousands of California farmers who are struggling to keep their farms alive, thanks to shrinking water allocations and hostile regulations.  While California’s recent drought was the impetus for the latest water rights reduction, it wasn’t the sole factor: Farmers’ water rights have been increasingly marginalized in recent years by conservationists, who demand that more water be set aside for fish such as salmon and the minnow-like delta smelt. Rights to water that stretched back generations are now subject to new requirements that rivers run at high levels to allow more fish to migrate and spawn. Such demands only compound the supply shortages caused by drought. … The state’s decision to take away farmers’ water allocations may also violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment: Robbing farmers of their farms’ value constitutes a “taking” of private property without just compensation. … ”  Continue reading from the Pacific Legal Foundation here: Why is it so hard to be a California farmer?

The window dressing of environmental justice in Delta tunnel planning

Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta, writes, “If the California Department of Water Resources says it, it must be official: “Most of the Delta qualifies as an environmental justice community,” said DWR environmental program manager Carrie Buckman at last Thursday evening’s Delta Conveyance Project Environmental Justice webinar. It was a welcome statement of a fact that Restore the Delta documented five years ago.  The event was sponsored by the DWR and was the last of four such webinars this summer. More than 100 people attended mid-program, and there were still about 75 by the start of the Q&A portion of the agenda ninety minutes in.  It was clear from the webinar that DWR intended to limit the scope of environmental justice (EJ) analysis of the Delta Conveyance Project (Tunnel) as narrowly as it possibly can, and that this Spring’s environmental justice report and upcoming EJ chapter in the Tunnel environmental impact report (EIR) next year will strive for as much decoration of the Tunnel and as little substance as possible about its impacts on Delta EJ communities. … ”  Continue reading at Restore the Delta here: The window dressing of environmental justice in Delta tunnel planning

On scientific confluence and the challenges of avoiding a ghastly future in California water

Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “Seventy years ago, psychologists Fritz Perls, Paul Hefferline, and Richard Goodman defined confluence as considering different viewpoints and assimilating them into one’s own worldview [1]: At the end of any successful experience – one that is not interrupted but allowed to complete itself – there is always a confluence of energy or energy producing materials. For example, when food has been savored, chewed and swallowed, one is no longer aware of it… The stored energy of the food is assimilated – literally, made similar to – what is already present in the tissues and organs of the body… It is now new strength added to the resources of the organism. It and the organism flow together, that is, what was food and what was organism are now in confluence. … ”  Read more from the California Water Research blog here: On scientific confluence and the challenges of avoiding a ghastly future in California water

SGMA in Tulare County September 2021

Don Wright writes, “The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is here. SGMA is an attempt by the legislature to fix a problem partly caused by the legislature and it is a reality, it is here and will impact everyone in the San Joaquin Valley in one way or another. Reduced surface supplies, decreased flood irrigation and a large expansion of tilled acreage have placed an overwhelming burden on our aquifer. Groundwater pumping has exceeded groundwater recharge for many parts of the Valley resulting in overdraft. …  We asked the managers of the three GSAs in the Kaweah Subbasin for their opinions on how the SGMA process is going. Aaron Fukuda is the manager of the Mid Kaweah GSA; Michael Hagman is the manager of the East Kaweah GSA and General Manager of Lindmore ID; and Eric Osterling is the General Manager of the Greater Kaweah GSA. … ”  Read the full post at Water Wrights here:  SGMA in Tulare County September 2021

Addendum to the state drought plan – august 31, 2021, part 3: Reclamation’s bad plan left fish agencies with September Hobson’s choice

Earlier this summer, the Bureau of Reclamation’s operations of Shasta Reservoir, under its Drought Plan jointly developed with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), caused high water temperatures that delayed spawning of winter-run Chinook salmon to early summer (mid-June through mid-July).  Winter-run salmon leave the redds after 2-3 months, which in 2021 will mean a mid-August through September peak emergence.  In their Addendum to the State Water Project and Central Valley Project Drought Contingency Plan issued August 31, 2021, Reclamation and DWR state how an increase in September releases responded to a request from fisheries agencies … ”  Continue reading from the California Fisheries blog here: Addendum to the state drought plan – august 31, 2021, part 3: Reclamation’s bad plan left fish agencies with September Hobson’s choice

Water solutions in our soil

Sustainable Conservation writes, “We can support healthy soils – and the water quality and climate solutions they provide – by bringing a time-worn method back into vogue: cover crops. We’re happy to report that, thanks in part to Sustainable Conservation’s advocacy, the Central Coast Water Board’s new agricultural order includes an incentive for growers to use cover crops to mitigate nitrogen leaching from irrigated farmland.  Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants and this tricky chemical is applied to crops via synthetic and organic fertilizers. If we apply too much nitrogen, however, it can flush into our aquifers, polluting them and contaminating a critical source of drinking water. ... ”  Read more from Sustainable Conservation here: Water solutions in our soil

Risk Rating 2.0: A first look at FEMA’s new flood insurance system

Ryan Miller, Peter Hansen, and Nicholas Pinter write, “Risk Rating 2.0 has been called the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA)’s most significant reform in 50 years.  Roughly 77% of customers of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) nationwide will see increases in their premiums, while the other ~23% will see reductions or no change.  FEMA will formally introduce Risk Rating 2.0 on October 1, 2021, and most premium increases will kick in on April 1, 2022. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Risk Rating 2.0: A first look at FEMA’s new flood insurance system

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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