Blog round-up: Stripers and nature in the Delta, State Water Board playing favorites, BDCP slieght of hand, irrigated ag in the Colorado River Basin and more

Decline of stripers raises an interesting question: what is nature? The Inkstain blog responds to the recent story in the East Bay Express discussing the decline of stripers in the Delta: ” … Stripers aren’t native. As Bland notes, they were introduced via a small population in the 19th century. By the 1930s, according to Bland, their abundance supported a thriving commercial fishery, and they’ve long been a popular target of sport fishing. But there’s also been pressure to reduce their numbers because of the belief that they prey on endangered and threatened native fish like the delta smelt. … ” Read more from the Inkstain blog here: What is nature, striped bass edition

State Water Board playing favorites, and yet another plan, says Restore the Delta: The latest edition of the Delta Flows newsletter notes that the Central Delta Water Agency is calling on the State Water Board to uniformly enforce water quality standards: ” … At issue is the SWRCB decision this year to relax water quality standards in the Delta for exporters while holding extra water at Shasta Dam for later cold water releases to benefit migrating fish. The SWRCB “rebalanced” exports in anticipation of a critically dry year. But the CDWA notes that under Water Right Decision 1641 (D-1641), the agreement that governs State and federal rights to export water from the Delta, water year classifications already adequately accounted for variation in the amount of water available and for the ability of the water projects to meet water quality standards. Says CDWA, “There should be no further balancing and changes to the standards except through an appropriate SWRCB proceeding with CEQA compliance. . . . The flexibility is in the amount of surplus water available for export not balancing the degree of violation of the standards.” … ” And yet another plan … ? ” … We have a California Water Plan, a Delta Plan, a Bay Delta Conservation Plan, various water quality control plans, and a Central Valley Flood Control Plan. Why do we need another plan? Well, it looks like the Department of Food & Agriculture isn’t getting what it wants out of those other plans. … ” Read the Delta Flows newsletter here: Delta Flows: November 5, 2013

Gleick-Erlewine exchange just sleight of hand, says the Delta National Park blog:It is worth comparing the Peripheral Tunnel debating points that were presented this week in the Sacramento Bee. First there was Peter Gleick’s analysis of the state of the BDCP planning process. This was followed by State Water Project general manager Terry Erlewine’s response. First of all, let’s establish a basic fact about the exchange. What Erlewine doesn’t do is respond to Gleick’s core and well-reasoned arguments. Instead, he substitutes a magician’s trick for a direct response. … ” Read more from the Delta National Park blog here: Mastering the Sleight of Hand

Columnist comments on machinations of Santa Barbara and its State Water Project contract renewal: Covering the recent Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting, he writes: ” … Tuesday’s was one of those classic meetings where high-powered players with shiny bald heads, expensive suits, and chiseled features were talking about all kinds of things they weren’t really talking about, only they really were. Water’s like that. On the table was a proposal to extend the contract life between the Central Coast Water Authority (CCWA)  ​— ​which for 16 years has been delivering unto Santa Barbara County varying quantities of liquid life from California’s northern rivers via a network of 444 miles of aqueduct and 700 miles of pipes and pumps that’s known as the State Water Project ​— ​and the California Department of Water Resources. Given that the contract in question doesn’t expire until 2038, this seemed puzzlingly premature. … ” Read this column at the Santa Barbara Independent here: Hanging Out at the Poodle Dog Café

San Joaquin River Restoration soon to become a reality, says NRDC’s Monty Schmitt: ” … After seven years of planning and preparation, life along the San Joaquin River is about to change for wildlife, landowners and communities along its 150 mile course. Over the next few years, flows will be increasing, bringing new life to the dry river bed. Restoration projects will improve wildlife habitat and flood protection along the river. Water supply projects will improve water management to support the needs of farms and cities. Beyond the benefits to fish and farmers, the Restoration Program will create tangible economic and ecological benefits for communities in the San Joaquin River Valley and beyond by creating 11,000 jobs and making the San Joaquin River a community treasure and a destination for camping, fishing, bird-watching and other kinds of recreation. … ” Read more from Monty Schmitt at the NRDC Switchboard blog here: (Re)Discovering the San Joaquin River: Water flows and salmon coming soon.

Irrigated agriculture needs in the Colorado River basin explored in Pacific Institute Report: ” … Recently, the Institute released a report on irrigated agriculture called Water to Supply the Land: Irrigated Agriculture in the Colorado River Basin. Although information on irrigation in the Colorado River basin exists in different forms in various different reports and sources, this information previously was not available in one place. This deficiency was the primary motivation in creating Water to Supply the Land. Fundamental questions such as, Where is Colorado River water going? What’s being grown in the basin? And how much water is being used to grow these crops? could not be readily answered – Water to Supply the Land seeks to fill that gap. … ” Read more from the Pacific Institute’s Insights blog here: “Water to Supply the Land” Describes Irrigated Agriculture in the Colorado River Basin

Impacts of climate change being felt:  Across the U.S., growing demands for water are colliding with climate change, destabilizing water resources with different regional repercussions.  Tremendous pressure is being put on the communities and businesses competing for that water:  “Current climate change trends and a wide range of climate computer models point toward very difficult hydrological times ahead across the United States. While the West appears to be moving inexorably toward “super drought,” the Northeast is swinging in the opposite direction, with intense thunderstorms bringing more frequent, record-breaking flashfloods.   The Midwest and South appear to be heading in a third direction: into whiplash weather, seesawing between alternating years of extreme drought and deluge. The solution in all four U.S. regions is the same: conservation, preparedness and adaption—along with a real effort to curb fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. … ”  Read more from Living Green Magazine here: Waterworld USA: Climate Is Adversely Impacting Regional Water Resources

Growing conflict in Colorado between agricultural and urban water use: “Since the early 90s, the rate of population growth in Colorado has exceeded the national average, and since the year 2000, nearly one million people have migrated to the Centennial State. Demographers expect that trend to continue, reaching a total of nearly 6 million people by the end of the decade. This growth is expected mostly in the northern Front Range, and will continue to put even more pressure on an already scarce resource.  Jim Pokrandt with the Colorado River District doesn’t mince words in describing where growing cities are finding new water supplies.  “Agriculture has a big target on it,” said Pokrandt. “There are willing ranchers and farmers who are willing to sell their water to the cities.” … ”  Read more from KRCC here:  Buy & Dry: Selling Agricultural Water to Growing Cities
How water managers can get started with social media: The Pacific Institute’s Insight’s blog has some ideas for you here: Water Managers and Social Media: How to Get Started