Monday, August 26, 2013

News articles and links from August 26, 2013

Trinity River 

From: Editorial Staff, SF Chronicle  

Until this week, a record salmon run swimming up the Klamath River faced soupy-warm water, high bacteria levels and low flows that add up to deadly conditions. But a federal court bowed to scientific testimony and bitter history in choosing fish over farms and released extra water to smooth the spawning migration.

From: Editorial Staff, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A federal agency, under pressure to supply water to irrigators, diverts a North Coast river, creating a killing field for tens of thousands of chinook salmon and other fish.

Sound familiar?

It's the Cliff's Notes version of events 11 years ago on the Klamath River - an unnatural disaster with disastrous consequences for coastal communities and Indian tribes that rely on salmon fisheries for their livelihoods.

(The following comment is submitted in response to the above editorials.)
Coalition response...This editorial does not include the complete information surrounding the court ruling that allows supplemental water to be sent down the Trinity River from Trinity Reservoir.  During the court proceedings, the U.S. Department of Interior reduced the amount of water they wanted from up to 109,000 acre-feet to just 20,000 acre-feet. It was evident that the scientific arguments they had put forth for the higher amount were not justified.

In his ruling, Judge O'Neill wrote that "all parties have prevailed in a significant, responsible way."

All parties must now work together in reaching a long-term approach to managing requests for supplemental water that is balanced and scientifically supportable.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan 

From: Editorial Staff, Redding Record Searchlight

The question of the day was simple enough: When it comes to the state's multibillion-dollar proposal to build tunnels diverting Sacramento River water around the Delta to points south, "How will Sacramento Valley interests be addressed?"

Coalition response...Those who claim that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan will simply "preserve the status quo" refuse to acknowledge the benefits contained in the Plan. BDCP is an effort to obtain a 50-year endangered species permit that will improve the Delta through habitat restoration and protection of species. In doing so it is expected that water supply reliability will improve for users who have a legal right to use existing water supplies.

The BDCP does not increase the average amount of water that has been delivered through the Delta over the past 20 years. This permit should improve water supply reliability for almost 4,000 farms and 25 million Californians. The importance of a dependable supply of water to farmers means California consumers can depend on a variety of safe, healthy and affordable food products from local sources.

Restoring thousands of acres of habitat for fish and providing a reliable supply of water so farmers can grow crops are benefits that do not exist today.

Water Supply

From: Valerie Gibbons, Visalia Times-Delta

The ditches of the Tulare Irrigation District haven't been dry at this time of year since 1990 - and district managers don't think water will flow any time soon.

The water that usually flows out to growers as far west as Corcoran and as far south as Delano was sold in January to go to other irrigation districts throughout the Valley.

From: Eric Vodden, Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Curt Aikens: The National Marine Fisheries Service has been focused on fish passage and has included the idea of removing or modifying Englebright Dam. That could have a substantial, socio-economic, environmental impact in our area. How can you help us work

with the fisheries service to do a science-based collaborative process to improve fishery habitat in the Yuba River?

Garamendi: National Marine Fisheries was pushed by a court order to issue a biological opinion "far faster than was appropriate.

"The result was a bad opinion."


From: Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press

For the Maddox family, early innovation has been something of a trademark for their farming operation. Whether it has been the innovations in the dairy breeding program for Holstein cows to those which support the dairy, new programs and efficiencies remain a vital part of the business.

Last October Maddox began the move away from the typical and into a practice of utilizing subsurface drip irrigation (SSDI) in the alfalfa and Maddox is happy. The yields speak for themself.

From: Antoine Abou-Diwan, Imperial Valley Press  

There is no shortage of Imperial Valley farmers who oppose the Quantification Settlement Agreement, the nation's largest agriculture to urban-area water transfer.

Many have challenged its validity in court over the last 10 years. Brawley farmer Mark Osterkamp is one.

And while the court recently upheld the validity of the agreement after 10 years of lawsuits, accusations and bitter rhetoric, Osterkamp came to realize some time before that the water conservation measures at the heart of the transfer are an opportunity for farmers like him.

Water Bond 

From: Ellen Hanak, Sacramento Bee

In recent weeks, work has begun in earnest in the Capitol to revamp the water bond that will go before California voters in November 2014. Everyone seems to agree that the new bond needs to be smaller than the $11 billion bond currently slated for that ballot, which polling suggests is more than the voters are likely to approve. But agreeing on what the new bond should include is proving harder. Our advice? This is an opportunity to put California on a more sustainable water funding diet - with a balanced portfolio that relies less on periodic injections of general-fund-backed debt.


From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record

In the age of Google Earth and GPS, century-old hand-drawn maps of the Delta would seem irrelevant.

Not so.

In fact, recent state actions in the Delta had so many lawyers and engineers rifling through documents at the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum that now officials there have put some of that material online.

From: Alex Breitler, Stockton Record

Legislation that would have forced water agencies to reduce their reliance on the fragile Delta - or risk losing out on state funding - has been significantly weakened.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

From: Susan Meeker, Glenn County Transcript

Water wars are expensive and most often fruitless, but U.S. Rep. John Garamendi said he is willing to throw down the gauntlet to stop the governor's plan to build two underground tunnels that have the potential to suck the Sacramento River dry.

Salton Sea

From: Kim Delfino, Desert Sun

Right now, the California Legislature is discussing the next statewide water bond. Key issues are being decided: How much money should California spend to provide safe and reliable drinking water for people and healthy aquatic ecosystems for fish and wildlife? Toward what activities should the state direct the bond funding?


From: Editorial Staff, Bakersfield Californian

Three out of four Californians surveyed in "key legislative districts" said they fear hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique used to extract oil from hard-to-reach areas, such as the Monterey Shale, could pollute the state's ground water.

The polling data released last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council might have some meaning if popularity contests were used to set public policy. But we are talking about regulating an industry with the potential of creating thousands of jobs and bolstering the state's economy.

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