The California Legislature was the first in the country to protect rare plants and animals through passage of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in 1970, Congress followed suit in 1973 by passing the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The federal ESA aims to, “protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.”
The state ESA states that, “all native species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, invertebrates, and plants, and their habitats, threatened with extinction and those experiencing a significant decline which, if not halted, would lead to a threatened or endangered designation, will be protected or preserved.”
Imperiled species are defined as follows: “Endangered” if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range and “threatened” if it is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.”
The first winter storm of 2017 to drop welcome rain over the rivers, pumps, pipes and canals that move California’s water north to south likely will open a new era of tension over how much water goes to fish or farms under a new U.S law.
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the biggest federal reset of California water use in a generation, setting the stage for easier dam-building, more recycling and potentially happier Central Valley farmers.
Two federal agencies are the target of a second lawsuit alleging they violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing up to 90 percent of juvenile Klamath River coho salmon to become infected by an intestinal parasite in 2014 and 2015.
A controversial California water bill that’s sparked years of fighting has been added to a fast-moving measure, boosting the chance the water measures will pass Congress but sharply dividing the state’s U.S. senators.
House Republican leaders and California’s senior senator announced Monday a new attempt to pass legislation that would increase water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and Southern California.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, teamed up Monday to slip a legislative rider into a giant end-of-year water infrastructure bill that would override endangered species protections for native California fish for the purpose of sending water to San Joaquin Valley farmers.
As vital as the Colorado River is to the United States and Mexico, so is the ongoing process by which the two countries develop unique agreements to better manage the river and balance future competing needs.
The prospect is challenging. The river is over allocated as urban areas and farmers seek to stretch every drop of their respective supplies. Since a historic treaty between the two countries was signed in 1944, the United States and Mexico have periodically added a series of arrangements to the treaty called minutes that aim to strengthen the binational ties while addressing important water supply, water quality and environmental concerns.
In the 1950s, California wildlife authorities used to fly over remote lakes and creeks in Yosemite National Park and deliver precious cargo: hatchery-raised trout. The policy was great for fishing enthusiasts.
In a ruling that has ramifications for land-use and water policy across the United States and California, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that scientists can draw on long-range climate projections to determine whether a species should be listed as threatened.
Several environmental groups returned to their natural habitat in the courthouse on Wednesday in hopes of securing Endangered Species Act protections for the Pacific fisher, a mink-like creature found partly in California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains.
It’s going to be a stressful time for about 1,500 desert tortoises, a species listed as threatened with extinction. They will be scooped up from their long-established home ranges in the Mojave Desert northwest of Landers and flown by helicopter miles away from live ammunition military training exercises.
A native California frog once on the brink of extinction is making an encouraging comeback in Yosemite National Park, raising hopes for amphibians like it worldwide that are dying off at an alarming rate, researchers said Monday.
Salmon are struggling to survive all along the West Coast, where runs that historically numbered in the millions of fish have dwindled into the thousands or even dozens. Environmental laws that have been put in place to see that these fish remain healthy and plentiful are not working in many places.
Critics of a permanent plan to curtail summertime flows in the Russian River blasted Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday, with many saying the long-anticipated shift in water management would devastate lower river communities and economies dependent on recreation and tourism.
Federal officials on Tuesday rejected greater protections for four species including the rabbit-like American pika, which researchers warn is disappearing from areas of the Western U.S. as climate change alters its mountain habitat.
Diving into the Devils Hole, National Park Service biologists have to focus on finding one of the rarest fish in the world, not every detail of the cave’s surroundings. … Devils Hole is a 500-foot deep cavern in Death Valley National Park known for its hot, oxygen-poor water that provides the only home for Devils Hole pupfish.
Federal land managers issued guidelines Thursday for restricting energy development, livestock grazing and other activities on public land in the West to protect the greater sage grouse, part of a broad effort to save the bird without resorting to listing it as an endangered species.
Less than 50 miles northeast of Chico, California, begins the 93-mile Butte Creek – a tributary of the Sacramento River. It is named after Butte County, which was in turn named for the nearby volcanic plateaus, or “buttes,” and travels through a massive canyon on its way southwest to the Sacramento Valley.
As a watershed, it drains about 800 square miles, both for agricultural and residential use. The upper watershed is dominated by forests, while the lower watershed is primarily agricultural.
Offering a ray of hope in the struggle to save a tiny fish enmeshed in California’s water disputes, state officials say they have found a way to move around river water to produce more food for hungry or starving Delta smelt.
The U.S. government agreed Tuesday to decide over the next several years if federal protections are needed to help a small, fanged predator of the Northern Rockies, massive alligator snapping turtles in the South and seven other troubled species that in some cases have awaited action for years.
Federal wildlife authorities on Tuesday said that a review of genetic tests has led them to conclude that the coastal California gnatcatcher is a valid subspecies and therefore worthy of protections that have barred development on tens of thousands of acres of prime Southern California real estate for two decades.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has stuck to its guns and is designating 1.8 million acres of mostly public California land as habitat critical for the preservation of the Yosemite toad and two frog species peculiar to the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Two types of yellow-legged frogs, and a kind of toad found in Yosemite National Park, won extra protection Thursday when federal authorities declared nearly 3,000 square miles in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains as critical habitat for the endangered animals.
Scientists from two federal agencies are about to overhaul the rules governing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, potentially increasing protections for endangered fish populations and limiting the amount of water pumped to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.
A group of commercial fishermen won a potentially significant court ruling in the seemingly endless battle over California’s water supply and the volumes of water pumped south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Two federal agencies could face a third legal challenge over alleged Endangered Species Act violations on the Klamath River after a group of environmental and fishing organizations filed a notice of intent to sue this week.
The Los Angeles County Flood Control District needs permission from a state environmental agency to destroy an endangered bird and its habitat in order to remove 2.4 million cubic yards of sediment from behind Devil’s Gate Dam.
Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and Lake Tahoe National Forest will see the return of two rare species. The San Francisco Zoo is helping reintroduce the California red-legged frog and Western pond turtle, both native species.
A type of frog made famous by Mark Twain will soon be hopping and swimming through California’s Yosemite National Park after a decades-long absence, officials said Wednesday. … This is the latest effort to restore native animals to Yosemite.
Unless the Santa Ana sucker is returned to a healthy population, water agencies planning for the needs of more than 600,000 people between Yucaipa and Rialto will not be able to rapidly move ahead with needed water recapture projects and wastewater recycling plants like the proposed $128 million Sterling Natural Resource Center in Highland, which officials say will create 1,400 jobs.
U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris said Tuesday that she would not support efforts to weaken the federal law governing endangered species, breaking with fellow Democrat and rival Loretta Sanchez, who has said she would be open to amendments to help address the state’s protracted drought.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, campaigning for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday that she would consider amending the federal law governing endangered species to help improve the water supply across the parched state of California.
Wild fish, including the endangered Delta smelt and Sacramento winter-run salmon, have been hurt by a series of 20 state water board decisions over three years to relax Delta water flow and quality standards, according to the lawsuit by the National Resources Defense Council, the Bay Institute and Defenders of Wildlife.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped its consideration to give the West Coast fisher — a small, weasel-like mammal predator whose population has nearly disappeared across the West Coast for decades — federal protections under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to scrap a proposal to list a population of sage grouse found along the Nevada-California border as threatened was arbitrary and made despite findings that some populations of the bird may be wiped out, according to a lawsuit by environmental groups.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service followed the law when it designated more than 187,000 square miles – an area larger than California – as critical habitat for threatened polar bears in Alaska marine waters and its northern coast, an appeals court ruled Monday.
Environmental groups sued Thursday to force the Obama administration to impose more restrictions on oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities blamed for the decline of greater sage grouse across the American West.
A years-long battle over habitat protections for the Santa Ana sucker fish came to an end Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a case brought by a dozen Inland water agencies. The water districts have been fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of 9,331 acres along the Santa Ana River in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and a few waterways in Los Angeles County, as critical habitat for the fish.
Two environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday for not listing the Humboldt marten as a federally endangered species in April, according to an Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) news release.
A federal judge in Nevada refused Tuesday to temporarily block new U.S. rules intended to protect the greater sage grouse, leaving the land use planning amendments intact at least until a trial expected to begin early next year.
Situated on nearly 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River, the planned community would house 58,000 people and offer stores, golf courses, schools and recreational centers. … But the plans hit a major roadblock Monday when the California Supreme Court rejected the environmental report …
The last hurdle in relicensing the Oroville Dam facilities may be only a few more months away, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. The agency has been working on a biological opinion to determine how the dam and facilities downstream could impact endangered and threatened fish and other issues.
Our major environmental laws are a generation or more out of date — written for conditions of the past, not the present. … The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, has not been updated since 1987. The Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973, was last amended in 1982.
What’s holding up the relicensing of Oroville Dam facilities? Fish. Specifically, an opinion on how three threatened species might be affected, according to local Department of Water Resources officials.
Eight California species, including two in the San Bernardino Mountains, have taken a step closer to being protected as either threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced.
Quick quiz: What do Joshua trees and polar bears have in common? The answer: They’re both threatened by climate change. And at least one environmental group thinks both should receive federal protection as rising temperatures make their habitats increasingly uninhabitable.
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that the greater sage grouse, a flamboyant bird that roams across 11 Western states, does not warrant a listing as an endangered species, an action that could have damaged oil and natural gas interests and the economies of many local communities.
In the latest round in a 15-year legal battle to keep the California spotted owl safe from U.S. Forest Service logging policies, federal wildlife authorities have agreed to reconsider an earlier decision to deny the timid raptor protection under the Endangered Species Act.
After more than a century of urbanization, drilling for oil and gas, mining, farming, ranching, drought, disease and wildfire, the greater sage grouse has declined so dramatically — from millions of birds decades ago to as few as 200,000 now — that the federal government will soon decide whether to protect it under the Endangered Species Act.
Federal wildlife officials on Thursday, Sept. 17, announced they have rejected a petition from the Riverside County Farm Bureau that demanded the Stephens’ kangaroo rat no longer be listed as an endangered species.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she’s hopeful that her agency will decide the sage grouse does not warrant listing as an endangered species, a decision with major implications for Idaho and other Western states.
Two endangered species have returned to a nearly lifeless former salt pond in the southern San Francisco Bay, the first proof that the ambitious 30-year South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is helping nature heal.
A recent study by Pew Charitable Trusts found that greater sage grouse numbers decreased by 56 percent from 2007 to 2013. Because of that decline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been tasked with determining whether the greater sage grouse needs protections under the Endangered Species Act by the end of the month, a deadline that’s led to hand-wringing across the West.
Fish concerns will force Tulloch Lake to drop sooner than water agencies had announced in a milestone spring accord, while construction work meant to ensure that 7,000 people won’t run out of water for drinking and fire protection has not yet begun.
As streams holding rare native fish dry up, it will put more pressure on the Department of Fish and Wildlife to choose between two distinct and sometimes competing mandates: sheltering endangered species to prevent their extinction, while simultaneously producing ample fish stocks for recreational anglers.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell reversed the government’s proposed federal protection for a type of sage grouse specific to California and Nevada on Tuesday, and said it shows it’s still possible to head off a bigger, looming listing decision for the greater sage grouse across 11 western states.
At the southern edge of the Delta, past a newly planted almond orchard, a vineyard and another young almond grove, 24 tanks are filled with roughly 400 tiny fish each, among the last of the Delta smelt.
Los Angeles-based Cadiz Inc. has created a 7,400-acre sanctuary in the eastern San Bernardino County desert for protection of desert tortoise and its habitat — the largest such set-aside in California. Under a California Department of Fish and Wildlife program, this land deal is structured as a conservation bank.
The Bureau of Reclamation was honored at the 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers Region 9 (California) Infrastructure Symposium and Awards Dinner on March 6, 2015. The Mid-Pacific Region was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Project Award for the development of the Red Bluff Pumping Plant and Fish Screen Project.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has released the initial plan for a new wildfire-fighting strategy to protect a wide swath of intermountain West sagebrush country that supports cattle ranching and is home to a struggling bird species.
Four endangered subspecies of fox on the northern Channel Islands off the California coast have recovered so well over the past 11 years that the Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing Wednesday that it is starting to consider taking them off the endangered list.
As the morning light gently shines through brush, illuminating some sections of the Santa Ana River, biologists representing a consortium of water agencies slowly wade through the gently flowing waterway.
Caltrans has traded one wildlife problem for another in its dismantling of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge — finding a solution to pesky cormorants that refuse to leave the bridge, but facing the possibility it is threatening a state-protected fish.
A state panel’s decision this week to approve $365,000 in grants to help buy undeveloped land in southwest Riverside County will help preserve habitat for six animals increasingly pressured by development.
New regulations designed to protect spawning steelhead and salmon during exceptionally low stream-flow conditions already are putting a crimp in the fishing season, prompting closures of most coastal freshwater fisheries in Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties beginning today, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
This winter, a large sandbar planted itself in front of the Salinas River, not an unusual phenomenon on waterways throughout the Central Coast. But as the waters rose behind it — threatening and, once heavy rains hit, eventually flooding crops — county water officials could not push the wall of sand aside.
In June, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list wolves under the California Endangered Species Act, a decision that gives conservationists some measure of comfort. … The federal government is now considering a proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protection from gray wolves throughout their range.
The decades-long struggle to free several hundred acres of land halted from development by the breeding rights of a one-inch fly on the endangered species list has finally ended after 21 years, unlocking a major economic engine for the city, but not without a hefty personal and financial cost to some landowners.
In this panel from last fall’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite, Chris Beale with the Resources Law Group, Loren Clark with the Placer County Planning Department, Clark Morrison, Cox Castle & Nicholson, Kim Delfino with Defenders of Wildlife, Cay Goude with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, discuss the promises and pitfalls of regional planning under the federal Endangered Species Act and the state’s Natural Communities Conservation Planning Act, focusing on the promises that such plans hold for both development of communities and conservation of species, as well
Less than three months after California voters approved a water bond that contains $2.7 billion for new water storage, one of the leading projects under consideration has suffered a potentially fatal setback.
It took all of, oh, a couple of minutes for big water districts in the San Joaquin Valley to criticize the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday for choosing fish over people. If only the question were that easy.
Another adult gray wolf is roaming territory in Oregon near the California border, joining the famous wolf known as OR7, which has established a pack in the area. … Under federal law, all dispersing wolves, including those in Oregon and any that enter California, are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt Monday by farmers and water utilities to overturn restrictions on water taken from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to protect a threatened and rare fish.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to consider appeals by Central Valley farmers and California water districts that want to pump more water from a delta that serves as the only home of a tiny, threatened fish.
The federal government is considering whether to list fishers as a threatened species in California because of the harm being done by rat poison and other toxic chemicals used on illegal pot farms on public land.
On New Year’s Eve 2012, the Sierra had 140% of the normal December snowpack and rivers swelled with storm runoff. But strangely, a crippling reduction of water pumping had already begun in Northern California. The muddy Sacramento River and mammoth water pumps had created a death trap for the protected delta smelt.
Tricolored blackbirds, once one of the most abundant birds in California, now depend largely on Central Valley dairy farmers for their survival. Millions of the gregarious birds used to build their nests in wetlands.
The dairy industry across the San Joaquin Valley is worried about California’s new endangered species protection for the tricolored blackbird, which nests in dairy silage fields here. And dairy leaders are disappointed because they had been trying to help save the bird for years.
Wildlife officials took unprecedented emergency action Wednesday to protect the tricolored blackbird, a once-prolific songbird that declined 78 percent in the San Joaquin Valley over the past six years.
While home alone and waiting for his parents to return with carrion for dinner, an energetic young male California condor played games on the floor of the cave … Scientists watching through a hidden video camera were smitten.
Collaboration among federal and state agencies, rice growers and industry has created federally enforceable restrictions of the pesticide thiobencarb to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead trout in California.
State water regulators have slapped California Water Service Co. with a proposed record-setting $3 million penalty for an October 2013 leak of chemically treated drinking water that killed more than 270 fish in San Mateo and Polhemus creeks.
Hundreds of grape growers and farmers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties are girding for the implementation of new state rules aimed at protecting imperiled fish in the Russian River by regulating stream diversions for frost protection.
Federal officials say their decision to protect dwindling Gunnison sage grouse populations in Colorado and Utah has no bearing on next year’s highly anticipated ruling on the far more widespread greater sage grouse — but advocates on both sides already are placing their bets.
The U.S. Forest Service this week designated about 10,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest off limits to motorized vehicles and development following lawsuits claiming a 2006 land-use plan failed to adequately protect wildlife habitat.
The Bureau of Reclamation today [Nov. 3] released the Final Environmental Assessments and Findings of No Significant Impact for three projects funded by the Central Valley Project Conservation Program and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act Habitat Restoration Program.
This drought year, as in those past, California water regulators have given away to cities and farms some river flows critical to fish and wildlife. … There are, however, legal backstops to prevent harmful reductions in fish flows, even during a drought as severe as this one.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given the Rocklin, Calif.-based Wildlands the go-ahead to create a 182-acre habitat bank for the imperiled rodent and plant just north of the Vulcan Materials Co. gravel-mining operation.
The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”
This summer, California’s water authority declared that wasting water — hosing a sidewalk, for example — was a crime. Next door, in Nevada, Las Vegas has paid out $200 million over the last decade for homes and businesses to pull out their lawns.
Voicing frustration at past failed attempts to keep elderberry bushes alive at Riverbend Park, the Feather River Recreation and Park District board of directors approved a plan to try again. … The plants provide a habitat for the endangered Sacramento Valley longhorn elderberry beetle.
Sonoma County planning officials on Monday unveiled the most significant changes in nearly 40 years to the county’s underground well ordinance, which sets in place rules property owners must follow when drilling a new water well.
A coalition of advocacy groups on Monday challenged the government’s denial of federal protections for the snow-loving wolverine, arguing in a lawsuit that officials disregarded evidence a warming climate will eliminate denning areas for the so-called “mountain devil.”
California’s roughly 375 game wardens, each of whom patrols on average more than 400 square miles, have been called the “thin green line.” They are all that stand between poachers and their prey. They are trying to preserve what’s left.
Western snowy plovers, the small shorebirds that range along the Pacific Coast, are set to spend winter on the beach, where their sparrow-like size and white and brown patches can make them hard to spot as they nestle in the sand. The birds, which will arrive around the middle of this month and stay through March, are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Citing a threat from rat poison used on illegal marijuana plantations, federal biologists on Monday proposed Endangered Species Act protection for West Coast populations of the fisher, a larger cousin of the weasel.
Biologists strode along the cracked, dry mud surrounding this evaporating north Los Angeles County lake last week, pausing periodically to pick up an emaciated turtle and wash alkaline dust off its head and carapace.
Water use and other actions by the marijuana industry in the Emerald Triangle of Northern California and Southern Oregon are threatening salmon already in danger of extinction, federal biologists said Tuesday.
Construction crews that have spent more than two years reconfiguring a mile-long stretch of Dry Creek outside Healdsburg are about to mark completion of the critical first leg of what, by 2020, is to be a six-mile project designed to create new habitat for threatened and endangered fish.
This 28-page report describes the watersheds of the Sierra Nevada region and details their importance to California’s overall water picture. It describes the region’s issues and challenges, including healthy forests, catastrophic fire, recreational impacts, climate change, development and land use.
The report also discusses the importance of protecting and restoring watersheds in order to retain water quality and enhance quantity. Examples and case studies are included.
20-minute version of the 2012 documentary The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues related to complex water management disputes in the Klamath River Basin. Narrated by actress Frances Fisher.
For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and California border has faced complex water management disputes. As relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp, farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists – all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water. After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the documentary here.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, features a map of the San Joaquin River. The map text focuses on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, which aims to restore flows and populations of Chinook salmon to the river below Friant Dam to its confluence with the Merced River. The text discusses the history of the program, its goals and ongoing challenges with implementation.
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Watershed. The map text explains the many issues facing this vast, 15,000-square-mile watershed, including fish restoration; agricultural water use; and wetlands. Also included are descriptions of the separate, but linked, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement, and the next steps associated with those agreements. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability. The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many of these issues.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how non-native invasive animals can alter the natural ecosystem, leading to the demise of native animals “Unwelcome Visitors” features photos and information on four such species – including the zerbra mussel – and explains the environmental and economic threats posed by these species.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.
The Colorado River provides water to more than 35 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex and competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.
The federal government passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, following earlier legislation. The first, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, authorized land acquisition to conserve select species. The Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 then expanded on the 1966 act, and authorized “the compilation of a list of animals “threatened with worldwide extinction” and prohibits their importation without a permit.”
This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying California’s long-term water supply reliability.
This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they might be provided.
This printed issue of Western Water examines science – the answers it can provide to help guide management decisions in the Delta and the inherent uncertainty it holds that can make moving forward such a tenuous task.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the native salmon and trout dilemma – the extent of the crisis, its potential impact on water deliveries and the lengths to which combined efforts can help restore threatened and endangered species.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the Delta through the many ongoing activities focusing on it, most notably the Delta Vision process. Many hours of testimony, research, legal proceedings, public hearings and discussion have occurred and will continue as the state seeks the ultimate solution to the problems tied to the Delta.
In California and the West, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a critical issue. Development and agricultural interests say the law should not be used to unjustly block new projects, while conservationists view the law as a major bulwark against the destruction of vital habitat. In the water world, municipal and agricultural interests say there is room to streamline the ESA’s application to prevent undue interruption of water delivery.
Two events that transformed the West, population growth and the dominance of agriculture, are inextricable parts of the battles fought over its most vital resource, water. Throughout the 19th century, as settlers sought to tame the rugged landscape, momentum built behind the notion of a comprehensive, federally financed waterworks plan that would provide the agrarian society envisioned by Thomas Jefferson. The Reclamation Act of 1902, which could arguably be described as a progression of the credo, Manifest Destiny, transformed the West into an economic powerhouse while putting an exclamation mark to the tide of American migration.