Tuesday, June 26, 2012

News articles and links from June 26, 2012

Water supply

By Salvatore Salerno
From Modesto Bee - Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coalition response...This author presents an idealistic view of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program in comparison to the reality that encompasses the ongoing efforts. Implementing the Settlement of the 18-year lawsuit involving the Bureau of Reclamation's operation of Friant Dam is a significant undertaking with a complex mix of hard-to-achieve benefits and potential impacts. The Settlement calls for two goals:  restoring 150 miles of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam (including the reintroduction of salmon) and the recovery of water supplies to Friant contractors as a result of additional water releases from Friant Dam. Unfortunately, the author has mischaracterized the water supply impact to Friant contractors in dry years - it is in those years that giving up 15-20% of their water supplies will be the most difficult to mitigate.  To be successful, future federal and state funding, in addition to the substantial contribution already made by the Friant water contractors, will be necessary to implement the nearly $900 million effort and to mitigate the 200,000 acre-foot average annual water supply impact to Friant water contractors.
It is also important to note some of the many challenges to achieving the benefits cited by the author.  Major river improvements, including expanded river channel capacities and rearing habitat, elimination of fish passage impediments, construction of barriers (to prevent straying) and water diversion screening, all in a manner that takes into account impacts to third parties will be needed. 
In 2009 when Congress authorized the restoration program, no firm estimate of the costs was provided for the necessary infrastructure. This open-ended approach raised serious concerns about the ability to fully fund the program. Today, questions go unanswered in an attempt to determine future funding sources. Preliminary estimates released last week by the Bureau of Reclamation indicate that depending upon the final determination as to required actions, costs could exceed $1 billion. Those affected by the restoration program are still waiting to learn where this additional funding would come from.
It is not as simple as letting more water flow through the San Joaquin River that will result in a return of salmon. The report released last week reveals the program's continued illogical desire that spring-run salmon, an endangered species, will be reintroduced to the river at the end of 2013, this is in spite of the fact that none of the necessary fish passage and bypass channel projects at the Mendota Pool and Sack Dam will be accomplished. Therefore, these salmon will certainly die in the upper reaches of the river which is not in anybody's best interest.

From Fremont Tribune - Saturday, June 23, 2012
From Fresno Bee - Saturday, June 23, 2012
From Modesto Bee - Saturday, June 23, 2012
From North County Times - Saturday, June 23, 2012
From Sacramento Bee - Saturday, June 23, 2012
From SF Chronicle - Saturday, June 23, 2012
From San Diego Union-Tribune - Saturday, June 23, 2012
From SJ Mercury News - Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coalition response...Water used to grow rice provides an enormous benefit to migratory birds and other wildlife on the Pacific flyway. Rice farmers are sometimes unfairly criticized for allegedly wasting water but modern irrigation practices and careful management enable farmers to grow rice on similar amounts of water as other crops grown in the same region. California rice production is one of agriculture's many success stories. It provides bountiful food for people and wildlife-friendly habitat. That's a winning combination.


From Woodland Daily Democrat - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From ACWA - Monday, June 25, 2012

From Modesto Bee - Monday, June 25, 2012

From Marysville Appeal-Democrat - Monday, June 25, 2012

From Monterey County Herald - Monday, June 25, 2012


By John Fleck
From Inkstain - Sunday, June 24, 2012

By John Fleck
From Inkstain - Sunday, June 24, 2012

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