Wednesday, August 21, 2013

News articles and links from August 21, 2013

Trinity River

From: John McManus, Sacramento Bee

A massive tug of war for water on the Trinity River needed to keep a bumper crop of salmon alive is playing out in a Fresno federal court this week. Officials expect more than 271,000 adult salmon to return to the Klamath and Trinity River within days. In many stretches of the rivers, warm water temperatures lethal to spawning salmon await their return. The Bureau of Reclamation, not wanting a massive fish kill on its hands again, planned to release at least 62,000 acre-feet of cold water from Trinity Lake to cool the rivers. But San Joaquin Valley growers, led by Westlands Irrigation District, said no, that they should be given that water - and they sued to get it.

Coalition response...The court decision will determine whether the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is required to follow the law. The intent of the lawsuit is force Reclamation to abide by the 2000 Trinity River Diversion Record of Decision that set aside water for fish protection. When it came time to use that water this year, Reclamation had already used it and they turned to water that was designated for other users.

Reclamation must follow the laws and regulations just like everyone else. That is what the judge is ruling on.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan 

From: Editorial Staff, Modesto Bee
From: Editorial Staff, Merced Sun-Star

(This editorial was previously printed in the Sacramento Bee.)
Kudos are in order for Mark Cowin, the director of the California Department of Water Resources. For months, Cowin has taken seriously the concerns of farmers and landowners whose lives and businesses could be upended by a gargantuan water tunnel project the state wants to build through the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta.

Coalition response...The changes announced last week to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as outlined by this editorial is a continuation of changes that have taken place with the planning process. People may forget, or may not even be aware that at one time the proposal called for three tunnels. These and other changes have been the result to listening to comments and conducting studies and analyses to determine if they would benefit the Plan.

It is puzzling why the editorial continued to question how the project will be operated during different times of the year or in wet or dry years. The BDCP Conservation Measure 1 - Water Facilities and Operations brochure has been on the BDCP web site for five months with an easy-to-understand diagram of variable export rates based on Sacramento River flow conditions. When water levels are high in the Sacramento River, more water will be available to move through the tunnels. When river levels are low, less water will be diverted. Individuals seeking to learn more about the flow of water through the tunnels can read it themselves at

It is also important to remember that the objective of BDCP is to obtain a 50-year endangered species permit that will improve the Delta through a long-term conservation strategy. These improvements should also increase the reliability of water supply deliveries to almost 4,000 farms and 25 million Californians from the Bay Area to San Diego.

Trinity River  

From: Catherine Wong, Eureka Times-Standard 

The Board of Supervisors and local tribal officials said Tuesday they are hoping a declaration asserting Humboldt County's rights will be their trump card in a legal battle over Trinity River water after releases to protect Klamath salmon were halted by a Fresno judge.

That's if a scheduled hearing goes forward.

From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee 

Members of two Northern California tribes Tuesday demonstrated at Westlands Water District, asking district officials to drop their lawsuit against water releases that would protect a large run of salmon.

From: Tom Birmingham, Westlands Water District

No one wants to see a repeat of the loss of Chinook salmon in the lower Klamath River that occurred in 2002. However, achieving a reasonable balance among competing uses of water involves more than simple slogans that can be fit easily on a protest banner.

Water Supply

From: Rep. Jeff Denham, Manteca Bulletin

As our children head back to school and the fall harvest begins, the rivers coming into our reservoirs slow and they empty out. Unfortunately, this past winter and spring failed to bring us the amount of water we need, and the water supply situation for the Central Valley is shaping up to be a dire one. As a community, we face great uncertainty for next year.

From: Editorial Staff, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Is it Southern California's lot to be cast forever as the villain when it comes to water? Maybe. Probably, in fact.

But that doesn't mean it's fair or right.

Water Bond 

From: D.L. Taylor, Salinas Californian

With legislators worried about public reaction to an $11.4 billion water bond slated to go before California voters in June 2014, a dramatically slimmed down version was introduced last week.

But a senator representing the Salinas Valley says the reduced bond will be dead on arrival.

From: Maven, Maven's Notebook

From 2000 to 2008, voters approved nearly $100 billion in general obligation bonds to fund the state's infrastructure needs with about a quarter of that being approved for water infrastructure projects. However, not all of those bond funds have been spent, and there has been much speculation as to how much remains uncommitted and how those funds could possibly be used for near-term projects in the Delta or other water infrastructure needs. The total is now in:  according to data compiled by the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife, the amount of remaining uncommitted bond funds is over $1.2 billion.

Water Quality

From: Kate Campbell, Ag Alert

Managing water has always been a priority on farms and ranches across California, but the job could become more complex and costly under newly proposed federal food safety rules.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Janis McLean, Sacramento Bee  

Re "At Tahoe summit, Brown defends accord" (Capitol & California, Aug. 20): In defending the Tahoe accord, Gov. Jerry Brown dismisses critics of both the accord and his Bay Delta Conservation Plan as being opposed to any plan that isn't "absolutely perfect."

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