Monday, July 22, 2013

News articles and links from July 22, 2013

Water Supply

From: California Data Exchange Center, DWR

Data as of midnight, July 21, 2013

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

Water levels in Folsom Lake and the American River this fall will drop to levels not seen in five years as California verges on another extended drought period.

Other problems are emerging on the Klamath River. Last week, the bureau opened a public comment period on plans to release water from reservoirs on the Trinity River to help salmon runs downstream on the Klamath River. The run is expected to be large this fall, but without more water, another large-scale fish kill could occur like the one that left thousands of salmon dead in 2002.

From: Staff, Bakersfield Californian

We're seeing a lot more "beach" than we'd like at Lake Isabella. The historic average capacity for the mountain lake atop Kern County's western Sierra is 35 percent this time of year, but it's now at about 13 percent. If nothing changes, Isabella could bottom out at 8 percent by November.

From: Kaci Poor, Eureka Times-Standard

With a request from the Humboldt County Agriculture Commissioner's Office for a secretarial drought designation pending before the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local ranchers say they are feeling the burn of a dry year.

A drought survey sent out by the Humboldt County Agriculture Commissioner's Office to about 60 livestock producers in the area last month found that the lack of rain plaguing Humboldt -- and the rest of the southwestern United States -- this summer has led to an estimated 47 percent reduction in rangeland and grass growth in the county.

From: Staff, The Oregonian

The Klamath Basin straddles Oregon and California and comprises an area larger than nine American states. It is famous for its natural beauty and supports farms and ranches as well as tribal homelands and vast wildlife refuges. The Basin also is the center of the most contentious and consequential water struggle in the United States.

The Klamath Tribes this year exerted their newly affirmed senior rights to the upper Basin's water, joining a call for water by Klamath Project irrigators, and several upper Basin water shutoffs unwound like a game of Russian roulette. Income will be hobbled, some folks could go out of business. Thousands of migratory birds, meanwhile, have chosen not to land in wetlands that are dried up from drought. And the peculiar hydrology of the Basin, hammered in recent years by diminished snowpack levels, defies long-term projection.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Christopher Arns, Sacramento Business Journal

The federal government isn't happy with Gov. Jerry Brown's tunnel plan.

According to a story from the Los Angeles Times, biologists from the National Marine Fisheries Service have criticized a draft environmental impact report of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which calls for funneling water from the California Delta to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

From: Staff, Lake County News

On Friday, several U.S. Representatives from Northern California called on the Brown Administration to withdraw and fully revise their proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) in light of draft environmental documents being found "biased" and "insufficient" by federal agencies in public comments made available Thursday.

From: Eric Vodden, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Area Congressman John Garamendi is one of several Northern California congressmen who have weighed in against Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

However, it has drawn the ire of the group of Northern California congressmen in the wake of comments from federal agencies that commented the report is "biased" and "insufficient."

Trinity River 

From: Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle
Low water on the Klamath River has prompted the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to recommend a large release of water from Trinity Dam to help what is projected to be one of the best salmon runs in a decade, but farmers are all but jabbing pitchforks at the plan.

The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, representing agricultural interests in the Central Valley, has threatened to sue if the bureau proceeds with the plan to release 62,000 acre feet of cold Trinity River water into the Klamath between Aug. 15 through Sept. 21.

From: Devan Schwartz, Northwest Public Radio

Water struggles in the Klamath Basin are spreading to the Trinity River. Managers at the federal Bureau of Reclamation say by releasing extra water from the Trinity into the Klamath River, they may avoid a fish kill.

Shasta Dam

From: Mike Osbourne, KQED

Water planners are exploring the possibility of expanding Shasta Dam, a concrete slab across the Sacramento River that forms California's largest reservoir, Shasta Lake. A $1 billion proposal to raise the dam by as much as 18 and a half feet would expand the reservoir's capacity by 634,000 acre feet, enough to supply more than a million families for a year. (Though how the water would be parceled out between farms, families and fish is still up for debate.)

Colorado River

From: Associated Press, Casper Star-Tribune  

Government officials are urging Congress to consider solutions to deal with possible water shortages in the Colorado River basin that could include finding ways to reduce demand, conservation and better management of water supplies. Other solutions being considered include reuse of water and augmentation from other water sources.


From: Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record  

Hot weather predicted for today and tomorrow means more cold water from Philbrook Lake to Butte Creek.

PG&E began releasing the extra water Thursday morning, and within about 22 hours the temperatures should drop a bit along the 11 miles where threatened spring-run chinook salmon are waiting to spawn.


From: Staff, Hanford Sentinel

What is your position on the key issues facing agriculture, including water, food safety and farm labor/immigration issues?

VIDAK: Water is the number one issue for agriculture and for job creation in the Valley.

PEREZ: I support increased surface water storage. I support ground water recharge.

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