From: Staff, SF Chronicle
A decade ago, thousands of dead salmon lined the banks of the Klamath River, killed because federal dam operators steered needed water to farmers. It's a mistake that shouldn't be repeated.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which controls the flows on the Trinity River, the Klamath's biggest tributary, is determined to learn from the fish die-off in 2002. Beginning next week, the floodgates at the Trinity Reservoir will gradually open, creating higher flows over the next month to accommodate a record salmon run headed upriver.
Coalition response...In 1988, under nearly identical flow conditions, twice as many salmon successfully migrated up the Klamath River than in 2002 with no die-off. In every other year that no supplemental water was provided, no fish die-off occurred. In the three prior occasions when supplemental flows were provided, no monitoring or analysis was conducted to determine whether the additional water provided any demonstrable benefit. The fact is, no one knows what caused the die-off in 2002 or why that terrible incident has never been repeated despite wide ranging flow and fish abundance conditions. And it is impossible at this time to say for certain whether or not such a similar event will occur again this year. What is certain is the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation knew of the request for these supplemental flows early enough this year to provide for them from the significant supply of water set aside specifically for environmental purposes. They chose not to. Rather, they chose to take more water from people that only have a 20% supply, make them pay for the action that is causing them greater harm and do so in a flagrantly illegal manner. This conflict is not about fish versus farms, there was water set aside for both.
Entirely avoidable, completely tragic.
From: Staff, Editorial, Redding Record Searchlight
Dry conditions are bad for farmers, but the publicity disaster might be even worse.
San Joaquin Valley irrigators feel so squeezed by severe federal water cutbacks that they're asking the federal courts to stop releases of extra water from Trinity Lake that aim to keep the lower Klamath River cool, flush out a fish-killing microbe, and ensure decent conditions for a bumper crop of chinook salmon.
Coalition response...The lawsuit filed by the water users seeks the Bureau of Reclamation to follow already established procedures relating to the proposed release of water down the Trinity River. Water is set aside each year by the Trinity River Diversion Record of Decision that is specifically designated for fish and the environment. Reclamation knew earlier this year that a large number of returning salmon were likely to swim up the Klamath River and could have preserved the needed water. But that water was used for other purposes and now Reclamation seeks to take water from others whose supply has already been cut 80 percent.
In 1988, under nearly identical flow conditions, twice as many salmon successfully migrated up the Klamath River than in 2002 with no die-off. In every other year that no supplemental water was provided, no fish die-off occurred. In the three prior occasions when supplemental flows were provided, no monitoring or analysis was conducted to determine whether the additional water provided any demonstrable benefit. The fact is, no one knows what caused the die-off in 2002 or why that terrible incident has never been repeated despite wide ranging flow and fish abundance conditions. And it is impossible at this time to say for certain whether or not such a similar event will occur again this year.
This conflict is not about fish versus farms, there was water set aside for both.
Bay Delta Conservation Plan
From: Staff, Chico Enterprise-Record
Our view: The economic study on the delta tunnels is nothing more than a sales pitch that we aren't buying.
Backers of a plan to bury a couple of huge pipes under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta continue to provide self-justification for their proposal.
Coalition response...Fears that the Plan will take more and more and more water from the Sacramento Valley is unfounded. The recognition of existing water rights and protection of areas of origin are written into the Plan. California law also states that no new project may negatively impact an existing water right, thus providing more assurance for Sacramento Valley water users. Individuals should seek the facts regarding the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and not rely on rhetoric.
From: Tom Elias, Redding Record Searchlight
Backers of the water tunnels at the heart of the proposed $25 billion plan for updating and replumbing the Delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers thought they had played a trump card the other day when they presented a 244-page economic impact report.
Coalition response...The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is an effort to obtain a 50-year conservation permit that will improve the Delta through habitat restoration and protection of species. This environmental permit should also improve water supply deliveries to about 4,000 farms and 25 million Californians. This author fails to recognize the importance of a dependable supply of water. For farmers, this means they will not be forced to abandon their fields following planting after learning their water supply will be reduced. It also means that the safe and healthy food supply farmers provide to consumers will continue.
Comparing the proposed tunnels to the Peripheral Canal of 1982 is an effort that is absent in facts. Capacity of the tunnels is only 9,000 cubic feet per second and the canal would have transported 21,800 cfs. Learn more about the differences at www.farmwater.org/p-canalcomparison.pdf .
The $84 billion identified in the cost-benefit analysis is a statewide number, not one that will benefit only one region and not the next. The up and down fluctuations in California's economy is felt throughout our state and an $84 billion boost will be felt by all.
From: Bruce Ross, Redding Record Searchlight
If you're a rafter or kayaker who enjoys whitewater, the ramp-up of Trinity River releases -- which is set to begin early tomorrow -- might make for a late-summer treat, but irrigation groups from the San Joaquin Valley are suing to block the water surge, even though it won't affect their water deliveries this year. Why so urgent?
Here's a hint, in a letter from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to Sen. Dianne Feinstein calling for more farm-friendly rules on water delivery:
"Westlands Water District has projected that if California has average precipitation in October, November, December, and January, the initial allocation for CVP water service contractors will be zero, and if the remainder of the winter and spring is dry or average, the final allocation will be from zero to 10%."
From: Phil Larson, Fresno Bee
This year Fresno County was able to balance its budget while restoring programs and positions. After years of tough budgets and painful decisions, I wish I could say it was a relief, but instead I am fearful of what could happen next year.
Agriculture is our economic engine, and it is something we need to celebrate. Our soil and climate create ideal growing conditions. Not only is agriculture a true economic asset, it is a renewable resource that provides the world with a safe and life-sustaining product while providing jobs for thousands and adding to our county's tax rolls. The terrifying thing is that our prosperity is being threatened and most are unaware of the fact that a potentially cataclysmic tidal wave is fast approaching.
From: Maven, Maven's Notebook
The five Fresno County supervisors have written Senator Feinstein, asking her to introduce legislation to aid the Central Valley in avoiding the same conditions that the Valley suffered through in 2009 when water allocations were low and 300,000 acres of land was fallowed, unemployment rates were in excess of 40%, and there was an increase in crime as well as an increase in mental health problems. "This situation cannot be allowed to repeat itself," they say.
From: Dennis Wyatt, Manteca Bulletin
South San Joaquin Irrigation District is pushing a plan to increase annual water storage by enough to serve the entire population of Sacramento and Stockton combined without costing a cent to do so.
The SSJID board Tuesday is expected to back an effort by Congressman Jeff Denman, R-Turlock, to get House of Representatives Bill 2554 passed.
The crux of the legislation is to allow SSJID and Oakdale Irrigation District to activate the two districts' combined conservation account that's part of the New Melones Reservoir storage as negotiated with the Bureau of Reclamation in 1988.
From: Press Release, Delta Stewardship Council
The State Office of Administrative law (OAL) has approved the 14 regulations to implement the Delta Plan, which will take effect on September 1. The Delta Stewardship Council (Council) adopted the Delta Plan on May 16, and then submitted the proposed rules for review to the OAL, the state agency that ensures that proposed regulations are clear, necessary, legally valid, and available to the public.
From: Maven, Maven's Notebook
This just in from the Delta Stewardship Council: the Office of Administrative Law has approved the Delta Plan's fourteen regulations, paving the way for their implementation to take effect on September 1st. The new regulations apply to projects undertaken by state and local agencies that occur at least in part in the Delta.
From: Keith Carls, KCOY-TV 12
Turning on the tap in the kitchen, flushing the toilet or watering the lawn. They are sights and sounds most of us take for granted in our daily lives. There's growing concern in northern San Luis Obispo County the taps may actually run dry.
But even imported water can also run dry.
"Next year they are talking about entering the year at a 20 percent (of capacity for the year), Sweet says of State Water Project estimated allocations, "which would be a very, very low number, one of the lowest opening numbers ever."
From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press
A petition filed by the Imperial Irrigation District and San Diego County Water Authority to substitute environmental mitigation initiatives for water at the Salton Sea is unlikely to proceed.
From: Agenda Announcement, Delta Stewardship Council
The August 22, 2013 meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.