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Announcement

Virtually Explore the Delta; Remembering Bob Johnson; Grab a Spot While They Last for Upcoming Tours & Events
Seize a Coveted Sponsorship for Our Tours & Events

Check Out Our Growing Delta Digital Library 

We’ve expanded our digital Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta library. You can now virtually visit the Delta by watching a series of short videos that show its multiple dimensions: a hub of California’s water supply, an agricultural cornucopia, a water playground and a haven for fish and other wildlife.

You can check out the video series here. You can also explore our interactive story map to the Delta.

Announcement

Learn About California Water Basics & Beyond at Water 101 Workshop April 5
Jump on the Bus for an Optional Groundwater Tour April 4; Seize a Coveted Sponsor Spot!

Water management at the local level in California increasingly requires a firm grasp of issues across the state, so take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to attend our Water 101 Workshop on April 5 and gain a deeper understanding of the history, hydrology and law behind California’s most precious natural resource.

Top policy and legal experts will be presenting at our annual workshop held at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, with an optional groundwater tour the day before.

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Here’s how much California’s snowpack has improved after recent storms

After a slow start to the year, the Sierra Nevada snowpack has grown by leaps and bounds in recent weeks, thanks to a series of heavy storms with especially big impacts in the northern Sierra.  The latest measurements from the California Department of Water Resources places the statewide snowpack at 85% of normal for this time of year, according to data as of Tuesday. In comparison, the snowpack was just 52% of average on Jan. 30 and a paltry 25% of average on Jan. 2. But the gains haven’t been evenly distributed. “Recent storms have provided a boost (to) the snowpack, but the Central and Southern Sierra still have not caught up from the deficit accumulated earlier this season,” said Michael Anderson, DWR’s state climatologist.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news USA Today

‘Extremely rare event:’ Satellite images show lake formed in famously dry Death Valley

Kayakers and nature lovers are flocking to Death Valley National Park in California to enjoy something exceedingly rare at one of the driest places in the United States: Water. A temporary lake has bubbled up in the park’s Badwater Basin, which lies 282 feet below sea level. What is typically a dry salt flat at the bottom of Death Valley has for months been teeming with water after record rains and flooding have battered eastern California since August. In the past six months, a deluge of storms bringing record amounts of rain led to the lake’s formation at the park.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Daily Kos

Blog: For the sixth year in a row, no Delta smelt were found in CDFW fall midwater trawl survey

For the sixth year in a row, no Delta smelt were collected in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fall Midwater Trawl (FMWT) Survey in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from September through December 2023. Once the most abundant species in the entire estuary, the Delta smelt has declined to the point that it has become virtually extinct in the wild. The 2 to 3-inch fish, found only in the Delta, is an “indicator species” that shows the relative health of the San Francisco Bay/Delta ecosystem. When no Delta smelt are found in six years of a survey that has been conducted since 1967, the estuary is in a serious ecological crisis. The Delta smelt is listed as “endangered” under both the federal Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news CBS - Colorado

Projects funded to prevent tons of salt from entering Colorado River each year

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently awarded $20.9 million for six projects along the Colorado River aimed at reducing the costly amount of salt in its water. Five of the projects are in Colorado. In a Feb. 12 press release, the BLM estimated economic damages currently caused by excess salinity in the Colorado River water at about $332 million per year. That economic damage mostly comes from the inability to plant certain types of crops which need the river’s water for irrigation, as well as costs associated with treating the river’s water for residential and commercial usage, according to a BLM report released six years ago. ”This funding will prevent approximately 11,661 tons of salt each year from entering the Colorado River,” the BLM announced in its press release.

Related articles: 

Online Water Encyclopedia

Aquapedia background Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map

Wetlands

Sacramento National Wildlife RefugeWetlands are among the world’s most important and hardest-working ecosystems, rivaling rainforests and coral reefs in productivity. 

They produce high levels of oxygen, filter water pollutants, sequester carbon, reduce flooding and erosion and recharge groundwater.

Bay-Delta Tour participants viewing the Bay Model

Bay Model

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bay Model is a giant hydraulic replica of San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It is housed in a converted World II-era warehouse in Sausalito near San Francisco.

Hundreds of gallons of water are pumped through the three-dimensional, 1.5-acre model to simulate a tidal ebb and flow lasting 14 minutes.

Aquapedia background Colorado River Basin Map

Salton Sea

As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its elevation of 237 feet below sea level.

Lake Oroville shows the effects of drought in 2014.

Drought

Drought—an extended period of limited or no precipitation—is a fact of life in California and the West, with water resources following boom-and-bust patterns. During California’s 2012–2016 drought, much of the state experienced severe drought conditions: significantly less precipitation and snowpack, reduced streamflow and higher temperatures. Those same conditions reappeared early in 2021 prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom in May to declare drought emergencies in watersheds across 41 counties in California.