BLOG ROUND-UP: Misunderstanding the influence of dams and droughts on the availability of cold waters; Biden admin takes 1st step to undo Trump’s Delta destruction; Finding common ground in California on environmental regulations and infrastructure investment; and more …

As a reminder, viewpoints expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to Maven’s Notebook; inclusion of items here does not imply my endorsement of their positions. Items are chosen to express a wide range of viewpoints.

Misunderstanding the influence of dams and droughts on the availability of cold waters to support Central Valley salmon and steelhead

Bradley J. Cavallo writes, “California is at the southern boundary of the distributions of cold-water dependent fish species like salmon and steelhead. In many California rivers, flows and water temperatures challenge the performance and survival of salmonids even in years with average levels of precipitation. Drought and warmer summer air temperatures associated with climate change further exacerbate those stresses.   At and above the Sierra Nevada foothills, Central Valley rivers are heavily regulated.  The dams there provide a variety of benefits for humans — water supply, flood control, hydropower, and recreation — but have some predictable and well-understood adverse impacts on salmonid populations. … ”  Read more from the Delta Currents blog here:  Misunderstanding the influence of dams and droughts on the availability of cold waters to support Central Valley salmon and steelhead

Biden admin takes 1st step to undo Trump’s Delta destruction

Doug Obegi writes, “On October 1, the Bureau of Reclamation formally began the multi-year process to replace the Trump Administration’s blatantly unlawful biological opinions for the operation of the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project in California’s Bay-Delta watershed by requesting what is known as “reinitiation of consultation.” This is an important first step—after all, recognizing and admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. But reinitiation of consultation does not immediately change how these unsustainable water projects operate, and while the Biden Administration has recognized they need to change these operations they still have not yet admitted that these biological opinions are unlawful. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: Biden admin takes 1st step to undo Trump’s Delta destruction

Delta Flows: The Delta Conveyance Project, from bad to worse

Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes, “We didn’t think it could be possible – that the change from twin tunnels to a single tunnel could net a Delta Conveyance Project that is even worse for the Delta than California WaterFix. But alas, the Newsom Administration’s rogue agency, the Department of Water Resources, has managed to take a bad idea and make it even worse.  Before we share details of a recent coalition letter explicating how the Delta Conveyance Project fails in the present, let’s linger for a moment on why DWR is a rogue department in California government. … ”  Continue reading at Restore the Delta here: Delta Flows: The Delta Conveyance Project, from bad to worse

Finding common ground in California on environmental regulations and infrastructure investment

Edward Ring writes, “In California, environmental regulations have brought infrastructure investment to a standstill. Without expanding energy, water, and transportation infrastructure, it is nearly impossible to build housing, the cost-of-living is punitive, water is rationed and food is overpriced, the overall quality of life is reduced, and money that ought to be paying skilled workers to operate heavy construction equipment instead goes into the pockets of environmentalist lobbyists, bureaucrats, litigators, and activist nonprofits.  Californians nonetheless agree that infrastructure, as it is traditionally defined, needs new investment. Freeways, bridges, railroads, dams, aqueducts, seaports, airports, transmission lines, pipelines; all of this needs to be maintained and upgraded. … ”  Read more from the California Globe here: Finding common ground in California on environmental regulations and infrastructure investment

Reforming the California Endangered Species Act

Eric Biber writes, “California has a rich heritage of biodiversity, with many species found nowhere else in the world (including the iconic giant sequoia trees).  But California’s biodiversity faces grave threats – pressures from development that eliminates habitat; water shortages that harm aquatic species in California’s rivers; and climate change impacts that are shifting and altering habitats, among others.  Governor Newsom has made protection of California’s biodiversity a priority for his administration, issuing an executive order calling for aggressive efforts to protect the state’s biodiversity.  Yet, despite this context, the state’s primary legal tool to protect biodiversity, the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), has stayed mostly the same for over twenty years.  CESA could use an update, given the increased threats that face California’s biodiversity, and the increased understanding over the past two decades about effective policy approaches for advancing biodiversity conservation. … ”  Read more from Legal Planet here: Reforming the California Endangered Species Act

Winter Run Chinook Salmon 2021 – Update 10/15/2021

Tom Cannon writes, “When I last updated the status of the winter-run salmon population of the upper Sacramento River in an April 2020 post, trends in spawning escapement indicated the population was recovering in 2018 and 2019 after the poor runs in 2016 and 2017. That trend continued in 2020 and 2021 (Figures 1-3). These recent runs benefited from wet years in 2017 and 2019, and near-normal 2018 that contributed to better natural egg and fry survival as well as hatchery smolt survival. The only negative trend in the adult escapement is the higher proportion of hatchery-produced adults in the recent year returns that reflects the enhanced hatchery efforts1 during and after the 2013-2015 drought. The prognosis for the 2022 run remains good, as 2019 was a wet year and 2020 was near normal. Both years had flow and water temperature much better than during the 2013-2015 drought. ... ”  Read more from the California Fisheries blog here: Winter Run Chinook Salmon 2021 – Update 10/15/2021

Sometimes, studying the variation is the interesting thing

Andrew Rypel writes, “As scientists, we’re trained to key in on ‘response variables’. In my case, fisheries scientists often examine how fish physiology, populations, communities or whole ecosystems react to various environmental drivers or human alteration. Unfortunately, variation in data is too frequently looked upon as a nuisance, an after thought, or worse – a statistical hurdle distracting from presenting the cleanest possible pattern. Yet, what if the variation within the data was the interesting thing all along? Ecosystems are messy and dynamic, but in highly interesting ways. I continually return to this theme, and given that management is often a process of making decisions in the face of high uncertainty, studying variation on its own is probably worthwhile at some level. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Sometimes, studying the variation is the interesting thing

What might planning for an 11 million acre foot or 10 million acre foot Colorado River look like?

John Fleck writes, “One of the central questions dimly visible in the early discussions around the upcoming renegotiation of the Colorado River’s water operations and allocations rules is the question of how bad a “worst case” scenario should be considered.  This is crucial, because it constrains what sort of questions must then be confronted. The lower the future flows considered, the more likely it is that the negotiators will have to stare down the third rail question of how much water the Upper Basin can delivery hydrologically, and must deliver legally, at Lee Ferry, the dividing point between the Upper and Lower Basins.  For the century since the Colorado River Compact was signed, we’ve avoided dealing with that central question … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  What might planning for an 11 million acre foot or 10 million acre foot Colorado River look like?

SEE ALSO: October 2021 Colorado River 24-Month Studies Shift to a More Realistic, but Troubling Future for Lakes Mead and Powell, from John Fleck at the Inkstain blog

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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