BLOG ROUND-UP: God sent the rain, but we need an angel to build the infrastructure to manage it; Zooplankton: Not just for [fish] breakfast anymore!; The elusive imperative of adaptive management in the Delta; and more …

God sent the rain, but we need an angel to build the infrastructure to manage it

Edward Ring writes, “If Californians are to avoid a future where they have to endure permanent water rationing because of inadequate water infrastructure, a few members of the economic elite will have to break with the pack. As it is, in the wealthiest, most innovative place on earth, ordinary citizens are being conditioned to accept algorithmically monitored lives of scarcity, supposedly to save the planet. But in reality, scarcity is a convenient way to consolidate political power and economic resources in the hands of existing elites, who count on the multitudes to assuage their downward mobility with online Soma.  So who will break with the pack? Who will be an Angel? For a few million dollars, a sum that any one of California’s hundreds of mega millionaires might throw down the way normal people buy a latte, an initiative to fund water infrastructure could be placed on the ballot. This, at least, would give Californians a choice. … ”  Continue reading at the California Globe here: God sent the rain, but we need an angel to build the infrastructure to manage it

Zooplankton: Not just for [fish] breakfast anymore!

Lots of Interagency Ecological Program (IEP) scientists research fish. Of the 22 surveys in IEP’s Research Fleet, 17 are primarily focused on fish. But fish in the San Francisco Estuary are hard to catch these days. Over the past thirty years, Delta Smelt, Longfin Smelt, and even the notoriously hardy Striped Bass have declined precipitously (CDFW FMWT data). To figure out how to reverse these declines, we need an understanding of the “bottom-up” processes that exert control on these populations—we need to study fish food. Therefore, we need to increase our understanding of what pelagic fish eat: zooplankton. … ”  Read more from the Interagency Ecological Program here: Zooplankton: Not just for [fish] breakfast anymore!

Adaptive resource management in the Delta and Bay – it’s proving to be an elusive imperative

Dennis Murphy writes, “Adaptive resource management is widely acknowledged as the de rigueur approach to the management of natural resources. It is a form of structured decision-making that facilitates use of the best available scientific information by resource managers, and it draws approval from the involvement of stakeholders in its design and implementation. So, when the Delta Reform Act of 2009 identified adaptive management as the format and approach to resource management, the State of California showed a commitment to ensuring that the best professional standards of resource-management practice would be used to address the damaged ecosystems and imperiled species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and adjacent San Francisco Bay.   The Act is anchored by co-equal goals “providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.” … ”  Read more from the Delta Currents blog here: Adaptive resource management in the Delta and Bay – it’s proving to be an elusive imperative

A Fishmas Carol: Ghosts of salmons’ pasts

Here is a story not quite like the one you have heard before, but echoes a similar tune as traditional lore. California salmon are at a precipice with conservation attempting to mitigate threats of climate change, habitat loss, and genetic simplification. Yet today, we have the knowledge and tools to create a future for California’s salmon.  All California native fishes are tied to the region’s unique hydrology. Over evolutionary time, our salmon have diversified in return run timing, egg hatching, and juvenile stage seaward migration to create the Central Valley Chinook Salmon complex (Herbold et al. 2018, Figure 1). This bet-hedging strategy results in an ecological “portfolio effect” for salmon species that minimizes boom-bust cycles in population dynamics (Carlson et al. 2011). … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: A Fishmas Carol: Ghosts of salmons’ pasts

Winter-run salmon spawn near Redding

Tom Cannon writes, “The summer of 2021 was a real mess in the Sacramento River downstream of Shasta and Keswick dams near Redding.  The winter-run salmon there had to contend with so many stresses it is a wonder any of these salmon survived.  The 2021 cohort will have to rely on hatchery production and, hopefully, a few fish produced through a new program in Battle Creek.  A strange stressor rarely if ever discussed was river turbidity in the lower portion of the 20-mile spawning reach near Redding.  For several days in September, the reported level of turbidity there was well into the range that scientific literature identifies as lethal for eggs and sac fry salmon in gravel beds. … ”  Continue reading at the California Fisheries blog here: Winter-run salmon spawn near Redding

Fall-run salmon spawning near Redding 2021

Tom Cannon writes, “Fall-run salmon spawn in the fall in the 20-40 miles of the Sacramento River downstream of Keswick Dam near Redding. Numbers of in-river fall-run spawners have declined severely over the past several decades. Declines were worst three years after drought periods (2007-2009, 2013-2015), due to poor egg and fry survival during droughts. A February 2021 post discussed the role of redd dewatering and fry stranding from severe drops in flow and water level (stage) as major drought-related factors in the escapement declines. A 2018 post listed a broader range of factors, including high water temperatures during droughts in addition to stranding. … ”  Continue reading at the California Fisheries blog here: Fall-run salmon spawning near Redding 2021

Fall Shasta Reservoir Pulse Flow Release – needed for winter run salmon in 2021

Tom Cannon writes, “Flow pulses released from Shasta Reservoir are badly needed in fall to match up with downstream tributary flow events.  Such flow pulses are needed to support the emigration of young winter-run salmon from the spawning reach near Redding.  The Redding reach receives no flow pulses because fall-precipitation inflows to Shasta are retained as storage in the reservoir, even in wet years.  In a December 2018 post, I described the lack of these badly needed and widely recommended fall flow pulses.  The problem occurred in fall 2021.  Because water year 2021 was a critically dry year with near record low end-of-September Shasta storage, there was understandably a common interest in retaining inflows to the reservoir.  But since water year 2022 began on October 1, there were major Valley-wide storm events, including significant inputs into Shasta Reservoir. … ”  Continue reading at the California Fisheries blog here: Fall Shasta Reservoir Pulse Flow Release – needed for winter run salmon in 2021

Mono Lake: Ringing in 2022: Enduring collaborations

Karen A. Hegtvedt writes, “Twenty-two (nonconsecutive) years of Mono Lake calendars sit on a shelf in the hallway closet. Over 264 visual reminders of the unique landscape of the Mono Basin—as it was and as it is becoming. Although I grew up on the west coast, I had never heard of Mono Lake until 1984 when I met attorney Patrick J. Flinn, then an associate at Morrison & Foerster working on a case for the National Audubon Society and the Mono Lake Committee. For the next 36 years of our personal “collaboration,” Pat regaled me with stories of the efforts to save and restore Mono Lake and its tributary streams. …  I have visited the area only a handful of times and our young adult children note that one of our failures as parents involved never taking them there (not fully true as we have photographic evidence of Patrick carrying our son as a toddler on his back at the lake shore). Nonetheless, Mono Lake became a touchstone for our Atlanta-based family life—not simply because the calendar adorned our kitchen wall yearly—but owing to the enduring collaborations it wrought. ... ”  Continue reading at the Mono Lake Committee website here: Mono Lake: Ringing in 2022: Enduring collaborations

New from Anne Castle and myself – a moment of both peril and opportunity on the Colorado River

John Fleck writes, “In the wake of a Colorado River Water Users Association meeting that was by turns exuberant (We got to see one another for the first time since the Before Times!) and stark (The reservoirs are nearly empty!), Anne Castle and I have a new paper out this week in a special issue of the journal Water with some suggestions for what needs to happen next.  Our key bits: Hydrology matters. (Well duh!) We document how, repeatedly over the last two decades, dropping reservoirs have created openings for steps that are harder when the reservoirs are rising. The state of perpetual negotiations on the Colorado River since the 1990s has led to a bunch of already-thought-out policy options – but they have costs and consequences, and are unlikely to be adopted until things get bad. … ”  Continue reading at the Inkstain blog here: New from Anne Castle and myself – a moment of both peril and opportunity on the Colorado River

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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