Topic: Central Valley Project

Overview

Central Valley Project

Constructed long ago by federal effort to help create farmland, the Central Valley Project is one of the biggest water and transport systems in the entire world.

In years of normal precipitation, it stores and distributes about 20 percent of the state’s developed water through its massive system of reservoirs and canals.Water is transported 450 miles from Lake Shasta in Northern California to Bakersfield in the southern San Joaquin Valley. 

Along the way, the CVP encompasses 18 dams and reservoirs with a combined storage capacity of 11 million acre-feet, 11 power plants and three fish hatcheries. As part of this, the Delta Mendota Canal and Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River deliver water to farms in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Delta Cross Channel gates to close for five days starting Tuesday, Oct. 20

The Bureau of Reclamation plans to temporarily close the Delta Cross Channel gates at 4 p.m. on Oct. 13. The closure is related to a lower Mokelumne River pulse flow to help prevent adult fall-run Chinook salmon from being diverted off their migratory route… The gates are scheduled to re-open at 10 a.m. on Oct. 24.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Prospective Westlands water board members look past legal challenges to get water, focusing on innovation

Unbeknownst to many, some voters will pick five new members of the Board of Directors of the Westlands Water District. GV Wire had a chance to speak with two of those… Both offered insights into how Westlands can change its reputation, how farmers can change their approach, and what their biggest adversaries are in the fight for water.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Delta Cross Channel gates to close for five days starting Tuesday, Oct. 13

The Bureau of Reclamation plans to temporarily close the Delta Cross Channel gates at 4 p.m. on Oct. 13. The closure is related to a lower Mokelumne River pulse flow to help prevent adult fall-run Chinook salmon from being diverted off their migratory route… The gates are scheduled to re-open at 10 a.m. on Oct. 17.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020: Encore Event
A Virtual Journey - November 10

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Serving multiple benefits along the Sacramento River: A look at fall operations

As we have transitioned from summer to fall in the Sacramento Valley, we are finishing the agronomic season and there is now a focus on fall and winter operations on the Sacramento River. Water resources managers and fish and wildlife agencies continue to work together in the Sacramento River watershed to serve water for multiple benefits, including two salmon runs and the essential time for birds (and other species) migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

Aquafornia news The Current

Blog: Supporting reintroduction of Sacramento winter-run Chinook to the Battle Creek watershed

The day the gates closed on the Shasta Dam in 1943, approximately 200 miles of California’s prime salmon and steelhead spawning habitat disappeared. Although devastating for all four distinct runs of Central Valley Chinook salmon, the high dam hit the Sacramento winter-run Chinook the hardest.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom vetoes Friant-Kern Canal fix bill

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have provided funding to fix the ever-sinking Friant-Kern Canal. SB 559 would have required the Department of Water Resources to report to the legislature by March 31, 2021, on federal funding for the Friant Water Authority or any other government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal. The bill would also have required DWR to include a proposal for the state to pay up to 35 percent of the cost of the project.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Feds release environmental review for Friant-Kern Canal project

The project would restore capacity from 1,600 cubic-feet-per second to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per second at what the Bureau has determined to be the most critical area — the Deer Creek check structure in Tulare County. … Estimates to fix the canal range from $400 million to $500 million, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: 20-mile replacement canal is preferred fix for the sagging Friant-Kern Canal

A rapid-fire review of potential fixes to the Friant-Kern Canal favors building a replacement canal for 20 miles alongside the existing canal where land subsidence has caused it to sag, severely restricting water flow, according to final environmental documents released Friday.

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Aquafornia news Congressman John Garamendi

News Release: Garamendi bill unlocks federal financing for Sites Reservoir and Central Valley Project pumps modernization

This bipartisan legislation (H.R.8217) would amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014 to make public water projects like the off-stream Sites Reservoir Project eligible for low-interest, longer-term federal loans from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces virtual open house and public comment period extension for Shasta Dam proposal

Reclamation announces a virtual open house website for the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Website visitors will be able to learn more about the project, review summaries of Draft Supplemental EIS chapters, and submit comments.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

EcoRestore update: Five years in, program makes big gains on Delta habitat restoration

California EcoRestore is an initiative started in 2015 under the Brown Administration with the ambitious goal of advancing at least 30,000 acres of critical habitat restoration in the Delta and Suisun Marsh by 2020. … At the August meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Bill Harrell, gave an update on the Eco Restore program and the progress that has been made over the past five years.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

San Luis Reservoir, O’Neill Forebay open after California fires

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay are open in Merced County, after being shuttered by regional wildfires. However, state Department of Water Resources officials say that’s not an invitation to go in the water. DWR on Tuesday issued a harmful algal bloom warning advisory at the O’Neill Forebay, plus a caution is in effect for the San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In a California landscape defined — and divided — by water, a single issue unites people who live in the Delta: Digging in against the tunnel

Gov. Gavin Newsom, like governors before him, wants to overhaul how water moves through the delta. He’s proposing a 30-mile tunnel that would streamline the delivery of water from the Sacramento River, a bid to halt the ongoing devastation of the delta’s wetlands and wildlife while ensuring its flows continue to provide for the rest of the state. The pressures of climate change on water supplies have only increased the urgency to act. And the coronavirus pandemic and months of shelter-in-place orders haven’t slowed the planning. ….The tunnel, as much as anything, is the very symbol of the state’s never-ending water wars.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Farmers: California drainage project violates Constitution

Major California farmers last week revived a long-standing lawsuit challenging a politically tenuous federal irrigation drainage plan that has never been fully implemented.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Legislature kills last-ditch bill with funding for Friant-Kern Canal

A bill that would have provided funding for the Friant-Kern Canal was abandoned by the California State Legislature on Sunday. It’s route to abandonment is a short, but confusing one centering on California’s wildfires

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Delivering dollars for Central Valley water

Water is the lifeblood of our region and there are immense challenges to providing and maintaining a reliable and resilient water supply for both farms and communities in the Central Valley. As your congressional representatives, we’ve been working together to bring resources back home to address our collective needs.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Trump Administration advances plan to increase water reliability in Bay Area and Central Valley

The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Final Feasibility Report, which documents potential costs and benefits of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project. … Reclamation and the Contra Costa Water District worked together on the project to increase capacity to 275,000 acre-feet and add new conveyance facilities.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces 30-day public comment period for Central Valley Project Friant Water Authority operation, maintenance and replacement contract

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday a 30-day public comment period for a 35-year contract renewal of the transfer of operation, maintenance and replacement activities related to Friant-Kern Canal and other associated works to the Friant Water Authority.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration studies raising the height of Shasta Dam

The decades-long battle over an effort to raise the height of Shasta Dam took another turn Thursday when the Trump Administration released a new environmental report on the plan, just five years after completing a similar study.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA Conference: Commissioner Brenda Burman: “We are keeping our promises, and we are doing what we said we would do. And we are not done.”

At the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) virtual conference last week, one of the keynote speakers was Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. In her keynote address, Commissioner Burman ran down the list of the Bureau’s accomplishments as well as what is in the works for the rest of 2020.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Ecosystem-based management in the Delta

The Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee is comprised of high-ranking members of 18 state, federal, and regional agencies… At the July 2020 committee meeting, members heard presentations on the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the state’s new Incidental Take Permit and how those programs utilize principles of ecosystem-based management.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Feinstein bill would fix SJ Valley canals

Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior may shift projects to former Bernhardt client

Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in the San Joaquin Valley … is seeking ownership of 1,034 miles of buried pipeline, multiple pumping plants and canals, and two field offices. The Bureau of Reclamation confirmed it is moving forward with the transfer.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Could “angel investors” buy a piece of the Friant-Kern Canal?

An investor funding proposal that could substantially increase the Friant-Kern Canal’s historic flow capacity is gaining interest among the Friant Water Authority’s member districts.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds may cover half of Friant-Kern Canal fix

On July 6, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees the canal, finalized a feasibility report for Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. Under section 4007 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, the bureau’s report means up to 50% of the total project costs can be requested from the U.S. Department of the Interior and subsequently appropriated by Congress for construction.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation launches prize competition seeking innovative sediment removal solutions for critical water infrastructure

The “Guardians of the Reservoir” challenge seeks ideas to remove or transport the amount of sediment building up in the reservoirs, replacing available space for water storage, that provide critical water supplies for the country. There will be up to a total of $550,000 in cash prizes available for the three-phase the competition.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says she’d like to see more cooperation from California officials as talks aim to resolve a legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Money to repair Central Valley canal in House bill. A large funding gap remains

South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. The bill also includes funding to repair the Delta-Mendota Canal and for two Northern California reservoirs.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Ruling avoids additional CVP supply cuts

U.S. District Court Judge Dale Drozd of the Eastern District of California, who is based in Fresno, denied environmental groups’ request for an injunction that would have required the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the CVP, to reduce water allocations as needed to manage water temperatures in the Sacramento River below Shasta Dam. The groups sought more cold water for spring- and winter-run chinook salmon.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

More funds may flow to Friant-Kern Canal fix

More federal funds may be flowing to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. On June 22, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sent a letter to Congress requesting $134 million for water storage projects be funded through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. More than half of the funding, $71 million, was requested for preconstruction and construction of the Friant-Kern Canal Capacity Correction project.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Moving Forward Act provides funding for Central Valley water, Friant-Kern Canal

The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has approved H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The legislative package would provide $1.5 trillion for the nation’s infrastructure needs. Included in the bill is funding for Central Valley water needs and Friant-Kern Canal repairs. The package is expected to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives next week.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

$71 million would be allocated for Friant-Kern Canal

The Department of Interior has requested $71 million be spent on improvements for the Friant-Kern Canal for the 2021 fiscal year. The funding for the Friant-Kern Canal accounts for most of the $108.7 of funding for water storage projects in California the Department of Interior is requesting. Congress will now consider approving the funding in the 2021 fiscal year energy and water appropriations bill.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: How Friant Water Authority recaptured its water destiny

The issue of subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, the attention it has garnered, and accompanying solutions are apparently void of the usual partisanship experienced in California’s water world as both state and Federal legislation has been introduced to authorize significant funding for the project.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Clear Creek salmon habitat restoration project begins construction

The Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, plans to begin construction of the Lower Clear Creek Floodplain and Stream Channel Restoration Project Phase 3C on the week of June 22. This project is funded through the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds seek input on Friant-Kern Canal fixes

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Friant-Kern Canal, is seeking public input on plans to repair a 33-mile stretch of canal between Lindsay and McFarland. This stretch of the canal has lost 60% of its original conveyance capacity due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction – which was accelerated during California’s historic drought from 2012-2017.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Blog: Spring-run Chinook return to San Joaquin River despite low water year

If there’s one certainty in these uncertain times, it’s that nature is resilient, and one needn’t look further than the San Joaquin River as an example. For a second year in a row, and for only the second year in over 65 years, spring-run Chinook salmon have returned from the ocean to spawn in the river and bring forth the next generation.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation rescinds ‘Shasta-critical’ designation for CVP deliveries

Projected higher inflows to Shasta Lake caused the Bureau of Reclamation earlier this month to rescind its “Shasta Critical Year” designation after hydrologic conditions changed sufficiently. … For growers with senior water rights under the Exchange and Settlement contracts with the Central Valley Project, this means full allocation water deliveries will be forthcoming.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Farmers to get more water, but not enough

Tulare County farmers will get more water than expected from a dry winter but far less than needed to avoid depleting an aquifer that is already drying up. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project announced the Friant Division … will receive 60% instead of 55% of its Class 1 water supply thanks to improved hydrologic conditions and the forecasted snowmelt runoff in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Delta dispute casts shadow on water supplies

With supplies curtailed from California’s largest water projects, farmers have been reducing acreage, water districts have been working to secure additional supplies, and everyone has been keeping an eye on the continued dispute between state and federal governments on managing the Delta.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation completes additional Central Valley Project contract conversions

The Bureau of Reclamation executed another set of congressionally-mandated contract conversions with Central Valley Project contractors pursuant to the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. … These completed contract conversions include the City of West Sacramento and four contract assignments for Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation selects nine water recycling and reuse projects to receive $16.6 million

The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $16.6 million to nine congressionally authorized Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse projects in California and Hawaii. This funding, part of the WaterSMART Program, is for the planning, design, and construction of water recycling and reuse projects in partnership with local government entities.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State, feds in talks over water

California and federal water regulators are trying to quickly resolve their legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects, a top state official says. The talks are proceeding after Gov. Gavin Newsom filed suit in February to nullify new federal opinions that would ease restrictions on surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Legislation seeks to address San Joaquin Valley canals

New legislation was recently introduced that will address several issues facing San Joaquin Valley canals. The Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein as a means for repairing water conveyance damaged by subsidence.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Westlands Water District is again eyeing San Joaquin River water

Westlands Water District sent shockwaves through the Central Valley water world recently after it alerted several districts that it intends to apply for rights to flood flows on the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Blog: What’s at the heart of California’s water wars? Delta outflow explained

The latest dustup In California’s water wars, as noted in Dan Walters’ commentary, revolves principally around the federal government’s efforts to increase the amount of water supplied to farms and cities by the Central Valley Project, and a breakdown in cooperation between the state and federal government. It seems like everyone is suing each other. But what are they really fighting over?

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink

The gravity-fed Friant-Kern Canal that is key to survival for 15,000 east side San Joaquin Valley farms continues to be impacted by subsidence. Land near Porterville appears to be most worrisome where the land has sunk so much due to adjacent water pumping that the canal has lost 60% of its capacity. As of July 2018, it was estimated the canal is approximately 12 feet below the original constructed elevation.

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Aquafornia news Action News Now

North-south water transfer lawsuit filed

A local non-profit is suing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and a Southern California water district, over a long term water transfer program. AquAlliance works to protect the Sacramento River watershed. It is the main plaintiff in a lawsuit that charges the proposed transfer would send too much water out of Northern California and would cause severe impacts on area communities, farms, and the environment.

Aquafornia news Center for Biological Diversity

News Release: Lawsuit challenges federal water contracts that imperil Delta, fish, wildlife

Three environmental groups sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Wednesday to dispute the award of permanent federal water contracts to water users supplied by the Central Valley Project. The suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Restore the Delta and Planning and Conservation League challenges the Trump administration’s moves to make permanent 14 existing short-term Central Valley Project contracts and ongoing work to convert dozens of others.

Aquafornia news Glenn County Transcript

Water providers file lawsuit to protect Central Valley Project

A coalition of water providers recently filed a lawsuit to protect the Central Valley Project and the farms, businesses, residents and wildlife refuges it serves in 17 counties, including Glenn.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocations

Following spring storms, the Bureau of Reclamation today issued updated allocations for Central Valley Project contractors for the 2020 contract year. … The allocation for south-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors is increased from 15% to 20% of their contract total. Municipal and Industrial water service contractors south-of-Delta are now allocated 70% of their historic use, up from 65%, or health and safety needs, whichever is greater.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

After rolling out $19b in cuts, Calif. seeks funds for Trump water lawsuit

On the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $19 billion in budget cuts to his 2020-2021 budget, two of California’s environmental protection agencies filed a request to fund a lawsuit against the Federal government over its boost in water supplies sent to the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Opinion: After losing several key battles over water, Delta advocates see hope in the last option remaining: The law

The conflict over California water, often compared to a war, rather resembles a geological process. As along an earthquake fault, surface spasms come and go. The latest twitch is an injunction momentarily halting some Trump Administration water plans. But the underlying pressures are a constant. They never stop exerting themselves.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Judge temporarily blocks Trump’s California water plan

A judge issued a preliminary injunction in two lawsuits brought against the administration by California’s Natural Resources Agency and Environmental Protection Agency and by a half-dozen environmental groups. The order bars the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation until May 31 from going ahead with expanding the amount of water it pumps from the San Joaquin Delta through the federal Central Valley Project.

Related article:

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation seeks input on proposed Friant-Kern Canal capacity fixes

The Bureau of Reclamation and Friant Water Authority seek public input on alternatives to repair a 33-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal in California’s eastern San Joaquin Valley. This stretch of canal has lost over half of its original capacity to convey water due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Blog: B.F. Sisk Dam safety modification design package completed remotely

Bureau of Reclamation employees from its Technical Service Center were able to use visual and digital technology as they worked remotely to complete and transmit the 60% design specifications and drawings for the B. F. Sisk dam safety modification. This modification, estimated to cost $1.1 billion, is the largest in the history of Reclamation’s Dam Safety Program.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: Judge throws water on California bid to slow Delta pumping

During the marathon hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd hinted the environmental groups’ requests for a ruling by May 11 will be a tall task. Not only is the case complex and involves dozens of parties, he said the chaos caused by the pandemic is impeding the court’s ability to move swiftly.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Millions in public works projects set to begin in Tulare County

A long awaited $74 million project to enlarge the Success Reservoir­­ will expand water storage along the Tule River from 82,000 to 110,000 acre feet and provide additional flood protection for residents of Porterville and surrounding communities.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Funding opportunity available to build drought resiliency through WaterSMART

The Bureau of Reclamation has released a funding opportunity for communities to take a proactive approach to drought through building projects that increase water supply reliability, improve water management, or provide benefits for fish, wildlife and the environment.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Delta Blues

The battle over water has been fought to a standstill, but there’s hope that science and technology will make voluntary agreements by all sides possible.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump opens floodgates, and acrimony swamps California

On the campaign trail in 2016, President Trump swung into California’s agricultural hub and vowed to deliver more water to the drought-ridden state’s farmers. … Three years into his administration, Trump is now opening the floodgate to deliver on that promise, setting up the most intense water war between the federal government and California in the state’s history.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

150 ag and water groups call for water relief

Two separate letters sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress highlight the importance of providing support for enhancing water management, particularly in light of the tumultuous conditions created by COVID-19.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Dems call for state, feds to coordinate water rules

U.S. Representative T.J. Cox, Senator Dianne Fenstein and Represenatives Jim Costa, Josh Harder and John Garamendi on Thursday called on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom to come up with a coordinated effort to manage the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

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Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Framework for Agreements to Aid Health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a Starting Point With An Uncertain End
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Voluntary agreement discussions continue despite court fights, state-federal conflicts and skepticism among some water users and environmental groups

Aerial image of the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaVoluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. The goal is to provide river flows and habitat for fish while still allowing enough water to be diverted for farms and cities in a way that satisfies state regulators.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lawsuits vowed as feds, California take divergent water routes

The state recently got a new permit for water delivery operations from its wildlife agency. In the past, that kind of authority came from adhering to federal rules. Now, with a dispute between the state and federal government over water management and endangered species act protections, the state issued its own permit. Critics of the state’s move say they plan to file lawsuits.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: Newsom accomplishes rare feat: A water plan no one likes

In the century-long “us-versus-them” mentality of California water, a plan released by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Department of Water Resources last week achieved something perhaps never accomplished before in the Golden State’s water industry. It incited universal scorn.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: The lawlessness of the Trump administration hits #CaWater

According to the Washington Post’s fact checker, as of January, 2020, President Trump had made 16,241 false or misleading claims during his first three years in office. Sadly, this lack of regard for truth seems to be trickling down and infecting the Trump Administration’s management of the federal Central Valley Project in California, one of the largest water storage and diversion projects in the country.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Judge urged to close gates on federal water grab in California Delta

Taking advantage of recently approved rules, the federal government is quickly following through on President Donald Trump’s promise to quiet environmentalists and “open up the water” to California farmers. … The pumps in the south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta aren’t just whizzing during what will likely end up being classified a “critically dry” hydrological year, they are churning — and killing — endangered salmon during a critical migration period.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation issues record of decision on long-term water transfer program

The water transfers could occur on an annual basis sending water from willing sellers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to water users south of the Delta and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Based on annual approvals, the transfers could occur through 2024. In addition, the transfers could occur by various methods, including groundwater substitution, cropland idling, reservoir releases and conservation.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Friant Division contractors getting more water

In a recent announcement from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), Friant Division contractors will be receiving an increased water allocation. USBR has doubled the Class 1 allocation to 40 percent for Friant Division Central Valley Project contracts for the 2020 contract year.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Hoopa Tribe strikes at Interior’s coveted Westlands Water District corporate deal

The Hoopa Valley Tribe applauded Fresno County Superior Court’s refusal to validate a proposed contract between Westlands Water District and the Bureau of Reclamation. … The contract would have allocated up to 1,150,000 acre-feet of water annually to Westlands, most of which would be imported from the Trinity River, which has sustained the Hupa people since time immemorial.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation, DWR to perform exploratory work near B.F. Sisk Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources are conducting exploratory work, including clearing, excavation and controlled blasting of rock material in the Basalt Hill area near B.F. Sisk Dam, located between Los Banos and Gilroy, between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during April and May. The exploratory findings on Reclamation lands will help identify size and quality of granular material for the planned Safety of Dams Modification project.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California water pumping suits moved to Eastern District Court

Two lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s authorization of plans to increase water pumping from the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds will be moved from the Northern District of California to the Eastern District of California, a federal judge ruled.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Trump’s attack on California salmon fishing jobs

The new rules allow the federal Central Valley Project to kill 100 percent of baby winter run Chinook salmon below Shasta Dam for three years running.  Chinook salmon live for three years, so authorizing the Bureau of Reclamation to kill every endangered winter run for three years amounts to an extinction plan for this species.  

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Is the Sacramento splittail an endangered species?

The Sacramento splittail is a lovely, silvery-white fish that lives primarily in Suisun Marsh, the north Delta and other parts of the San Francisco Estuary (SFE; Moyle et al. 2004). The name comes from its unusual tail, in which the upper lobe is larger than the lower lobe. It is a distinctive endemic species that for decades has fascinated those of us who work in Suisun Marsh.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Bay Delta Committee: Update on the voluntary agreements post-Trump and an update on the State Water Project contract amendment for Delta conveyance

It was a busy time for California water issues last month when Trump visited the San Joaquin Valley, signed the Record of the Decision on the biological opinions which govern the operations of the state and federal water projects (along with another Presidential memo), which was promptly followed by the state filing of a lawsuit the next day. … So not surprisingly, the voluntary agreement was top of the agenda the following week at the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay Delta Committee.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: State Water Contractors stand with Trump administration

If you live in Southern California or Silicon Valley, you might be surprised to learn that your local water district (a member agency of the State Water Contractors) is siding with the Trump Administration, and defending Trump’s plan to increase water diversions, despite the widespread acknowledgement that this plan is likely to drive salmon and Delta smelt extinct.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Feds ink deal with water district tied to Bernhardt

The Trump administration on Friday awarded a permanent water delivery contract to the country’s largest agricultural district, brushing aside environmentalists’ concerns about California’s uncertain water future in the face of climate change. At issue is irrigation water that flows through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project to the Westlands Water District, a Rhode Island-sized agricultural powerhouse and former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Westlands Water District gets permanent U.S. contract for massive irrigation deliveries

The Interior Department on Friday awarded the nation’s largest farm water district a permanent entitlement to annual irrigation deliveries that amount to roughly twice as much water as the nearly 4 million residents of Los Angeles use in a year. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the federal project, also signed permanent contracts on Friday with a handful of municipal districts that it supplies.

Related article:

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California files challenge to federal decisions governing operation of California water projects

California’s complaint challenges the biological opinions issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as well as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s EIS and record of decision completed pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump promised CA farmers water. But he can’t overrule weather

Turns out President Donald Trump is no match for another California drought. Less than a week after Trump told San Joaquin Valley farmers in Bakersfield that he was taking bold steps to increase their water supply, his administration announced Tuesday farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley may only receive about 15 percent of their contracted water supply for the upcoming growing season.

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

El Dorado Irrigation District to consider $42.7 million project at Folsom Lake

The Folsom Lake Intake Improvement Project delivers district water supplies available at Folsom Lake to the El Dorado Hills Water Treatment Plant and is critical to service reliability for the El Dorado Hills service area. In service since the late 1950s, significant portions of the pump station have reached the end of their useful life.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Huffman vows at town hall to protect North Coast water rights

Protecting the North Coast’s waters and the communities that depend on them is a top priority, Congressman Jared Huffman told a town hall at the Eureka High School auditorium Friday night. Making sure fishermen get timely compensation when they’re barred from fishing and ensuring there is enough water in the area to protect fisheries are two key issues, the San Rafael Democrat said.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Subsidence of the California Aqueduct in the San Joaquin Valley

Recently, the Department of Water Resources released a report to supplement the 2017 California Aqueduct Subsidence Study that addresses specific issues within a 10-mile-wide study corridor… At the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Ted Craddock, DWR Assistant Deputy Director of the State Water Project, provided an overview of the report.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump delivers on water pledge for wealthy California farmers

Hoisting the spoils of victories in California’s hard-fought water wars, President Donald Trump is directing more of the state’s precious water to wealthy farmers and other agriculture interests when he visits their Republican Central Valley stronghold Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Costa, Cox vote to OK subpoenas to probe Valley water boost

Reps. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) and TJ Cox (D–Fresno) joined fellow Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee to grant wide-ranging subpoena power to the committee’s chair, Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.)… A key inquiry likely to be explored by Grijalva … is to dig into the Trump administration’s issuance of new biological opinions governing the Central Valley Project.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump heads west, with California water in mind

President Trump will splash into California’s perpetually roiled water world next week when he drops by the southern San Joaquin Valley city that’s home to his biggest House booster and proximate to some of the state’s biggest dilemmas. With his expected visit to Bakersfield, Trump can affirm support for increased irrigation water deliveries, troll Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and reward House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in his hometown.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Two valley congressmen have a say in whether House Dems probe water boost

Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on a resolution granting Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.) wide-ranging subpoena power over the Interior Department. One inquiry in the hopper: a closer look at the process that yielded the Trump Administration’s freshly-released biological opinions governing the federally-operated Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Extra $11M coming for Friant-Kern Canal repairs

Repair work on the Friant-Kern Canal is getting $11 million in new federal funding, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday. The funds are coming from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. … McCarthy also announced $8 million in funding for design and other pre-construction work to raise Shasta Dam in northern California by 18.5 feet at a cost of $1.4 billion.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Efforts to raise the Shasta Dam continue despite Westlands’ drop out

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last year lost a major partner willing to help pay for raising the height of Shasta Dam, but that hasn’t stopped the agency from going forward with the project. The federal agency continues to look for new partners after the Fresno-based Westlands Water District backed out, and the bureau continues to do “pre-construction” and design work on the dam.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California canals damaged by sinking soil, groundwater pumping. New bills aim to help

Democratic congressman from Fresno introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to repair aging canals and water infrastructure in California that’s been damaged by sinking ground levels – called subsidence, caused by groundwater pumping.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Friant-Kern, drinking water reviewed: Subcommittee hearing on two Cox bills

Congress began the process of providing relief to the San Joaquin Valley when it comes to the Friant-Kern Canal and clean drinking water in rural communities when a subcommittee held a hearing on two bills sponsored by T.J. Cox.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

The main focus of the program are the barriers to fish passage for salmon from Friant Dam to the ocean and back again. There are three key barriers: the East Side Bypass Control Structure which is in the flood bypass; Sack Dam, which is the intake for Arroyo Canal for Henry Miller irrigation system; and Mendota Dam which controls Mendota Pool. The program also needs to ensure enough habitat for the fish when they return to complete their life cycle,

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gov. Newsom must stand up to Trump on latest attack on Delta

Now Trump’s team is set to impose new environmentally damaging Bay-Delta water diversion and pumping rules. … These new rules would wipe out salmon and other wildlife by allowing wholesale siphoning of water from Northern California rivers to a few agriculture operators in the western San Joaquin Valley. 

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation’s California-Great Basin office hires two deputy directors

Deputy Regional Director of Business Services Michelle Williams will oversee five California-Great Basin divisions… Jeff Payne joins as the new Deputy Regional Director of Technical Services…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Stewardship Council: Briefing on the 2019 update to the State of the Estuary Report

At the December meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Caitlin Sweeney, Director of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, briefed the Council on the 2019 update to the State of the Estuary report. She began with some background on the Partnership.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation ends decades of financial uncertainty for water and power users of the Central Valley Project

The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Central Valley Project Final Cost Allocation Study, which determines how to distribute costs of the multipurpose CVP facilities to project beneficiaries. … This final cost allocation study will replace the 1975 interim allocation to reflect additional project construction, as well as regulatory, operational, legal and ecological changes that have taken place over the last half century.

Aquafornia news KCET

State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply

With virtually no public notice, state officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018. One year later, it remains unclear why the California Department of Water Resources signed the agreement…

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Striped bass: An important indicator species in the Delta

The factors causing the decline of many fish and fisheries in the upper San Francisco Estuary have made their management controversial, usually because of the correlation of declines with increased water exports from the Delta and upstream of the Delta… To address this problem better, the California Fish and Game Commission is developing new policies for managing Delta fish and fisheries, with a special focus on striped bass.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: 2 bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?

A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley growers and ag communities.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom is being played by Big Ag on Delta water

The governor’s apparent willingness to play into the hands of monied, agri-business players at the expense of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta remains the biggest mystery of his short tenure. It also threatens to trash his reputation as a strong protector of California’s environment.

Aquafornia news KSRO

Audio: New federal guidelines for diverting California water to take effect soon

The new guidelines call for diverting more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to agribusiness and urban areas further south. Barbara Barrigan-Parilla with the group Restore the Delta, says despite Newsom indicating he was going to sue over the new federal guidelines, that hasn’t happened yet.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Foes seek to block permanent water contract for Westlands

Environmental groups, tribes and upstream water users in California yesterday sought to block a permanent water delivery contract between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District. At issue is a proposed deal between Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and the Bureau of Reclamation in which Westlands pays off its debt to the government to guarantee deliveries in perpetuity without future contract renewals.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversight

House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona wants his committee to give him subpoena authority for multiple possible investigations, but California Democrat Jim Costa may vote against that as the panel considers whether Interior Secretary David Bernhardt improperly influenced a decision to send more water to his district.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Who pays for the Friant-Kern repairs? It should be farmers, but most likely, taxpayers

I understand the need to convey water via canals in our Central Valley within a systematic, well-regulated and properly managed system. But there are so many unanswered questions…

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package

The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final days.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Progress on canal repairs sparks hope but funding questions loom

It was welcome news for Kern County farmers, but word last week that the process of fixing the Friant-Kern Canal has finally begun may have obscured the fact that a great deal of work lies ahead — including finding money to complete the job.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Reclamation seeks to restore sinking California canal

Federal authorities are considering a plan to repair a California canal in the San Joaquin Valley that lost half its capacity to move water because of sinking ground. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Dec. 3 published an environmental assessment detailing plans to repair, raise, and realign the Friant-Kern Canal, which it began building in 1949.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fishing groups sue federal agencies over latest water plan for California

The fracas over California’s scarce water supplies will tumble into a San Francisco courtroom after a lawsuit was filed this week claiming the federal government’s plan to loosen previous restrictions on water deliveries to farmers is a blueprint for wiping out fish.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Conservation groups sue feds over California water project opinions

The complaint says the Trump administration did not fully consider scientific facts or logic, and arbitrarily concluded that the projects would not have a damaging effect on endangered fish species, including salmon and steelhead. … The projects at issue divert water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers to the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, primarily for agricultural and municipal uses.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: Newsom picks fish over farms, but still gets brickbats

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has given environmentalists much of what they presumably want as it released a 610-page draft Delta environmental report recently that calls for $1.5 billion in habitat restoration among other environmental projects. … But as much as they cheered the lawsuit announcement, environmentalists were aghast at the report because the state plan will allow some additional water for farms.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: It’s time to secure California’s water supply by raising Shasta Dam

Reliable water is critical to every aspect of the economy as more than 40 percent of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown in the Central Valley, much of that using water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and its largest reservoir — Shasta Lake.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: Trinity River under threat — will our county fight back?

Lots of stories circulate about the unethical actions of Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom’s reluctance to fight Trump on water — stories about Bernhardt’s effort to get rid of scientists who concluded the new Trump Water Plan jeopardizes endangered species in the Delta. Then there’s his work to give Westlands a permanent water contract to irrigate poisoned selenium-ridden lands… What’s not being covered: the impact these projects will have on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, and Newsom’s reluctance to stop them.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’

Join the crowd of California water officials if you are confused by the mixed message Gavin Newsom offered Thursday on the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. 

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom administration sends mixed signals on Delta endangered species protections

California officials sent mixed signals Thursday when they said they will sue to block a Trump administration rollback of endangered species protections for imperiled fish — while also proposing new water operations that mimic parts of the Trump plan. The state moves reflect political pressure the Newsom administration has been under as it confronts one of California’s most intractable environmental conflicts — the battle over the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Westlands nearing a permanent federal water contract. What does that mean?

Westlands Water District, Fresno-based agricultural water district, is set to convert its temporary, renewable water service agreements with the Federal government into a permanent contract. And while Westlands is the first of its class to make the switch, it certainly won’t be the last water agency to do it.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab and save the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Initially, federal scientists wrote a draft report that found increasing water exports would harm California’s native salmon population, a species already imperiled. Those scientists were reassigned. Now, the Trump administration and David Bernhardt have released a new proposal, and guess what? Westlands can grab even more water from the Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Westlands contract shakes the waterscape

California’s perpetual, uber-complex conflict over water progresses much like the tectonic plates that grind against one another beneath its surface. In much the same way, interest groups constantly rub on each other in political and legal venues, seeking greater shares of the state’s water supply, which itself varies greatly from year to year. And occasionally, there’s a sharp movement that shakes things up.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: California must help kill sleazy Westlands water deal

The Westlands Water District has engaged in some sleazy maneuvers over the years, but this one, which threatens the Bay Area’s water supply, tops them all.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

USFWS regional director Paul Souza explains the biological opinions

Paul Souza is regional director of the Pacific Southwest division of the US Fish and Wildlife Service… At the November meeting of Metropolitan Water District’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Mr. Souza gave a presentation on the recently released biological opinions for the long-term operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Trump’s Bay-Delta biops are a plan for extinction

As we continue to read through the biological opinions, here are detailed reasons why these biological opinions are a plan for extinction in the Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Feather River Fish Hatchery meets salmon harvest goal; 12 million chinook eggs collected

This fall run, while late, is about average in terms of the number of fish coming up the river. And, in terms of their condition, Crawshaw said the fish are “very healthy” and “good sizes.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Big California water district backs away from Shasta Dam expansion

The nation’s largest water agency signed an agreement that legally bars it from participating in a controversial plan to raise Shasta Dam, a move applauded by environmental groups that fiercely opposed the proposal out of fears enlarging the state’s biggest reservoir would swamp a stretch of a protected Northern California river and flood sites sacred to a Native American tribe.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Interior chief’s lobbying past has challenged the agency’s ethics referees

On the morning of Aug. 21, 2018, David Bernhardt, then the deputy interior secretary, wanted to attend a White House meeting on the future of a threatened California fish, the delta smelt — an issue upon which Mr. Bernhardt had been paid to lobby until he joined the Trump administration a year before. … “I see nothing here that would preclude my involvement,” he wrote ahead of the meeting…

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District

Westlands has had water service contracts with the Central Valley Project since 1963. But they were subject to renewal, when the reclamation bureau could, at least in theory, renegotiate terms. In contrast, the so-called repayment contract the bureau now proposes to award Westlands would not expire, permanently locking in the terms, including the amount of 1.15 million acre-feet of water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Trump Delta water policy threatens Stockton as well as salmon

The city’s fate is linked inextricably with the San Joaquin River… Much of the water upstream is diverted for agriculture, although a legal settlement ensures that the river no longer runs dry. Additional diversions at the downriver end … greatly reduce the amount of water that actually makes it through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the San Francisco Bay and then the Pacific. It is as if one of the state’s two great arteries … is detached from its heart.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Interior proposes coveted California water deal to ex-client of agency head

The Interior Department is proposing to award one of the first contracts for federal water in perpetuity to a powerful rural water district that had employed Secretary David Bernhardt as a lawyer and lobbyist. … Environmental groups say a permanent deal would let California’s water contractors forgo future negotiations before the public and environmental groups, further threatening the survival of endangered native fish and other wildlife that also need the water.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Feds’ California water project must charge customers equitably

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation can’t charge Central Valley Project power customers disproportionately more than water customers in order to fund its environmental efforts, the Federal Circuit said Nov. 6. The law requires the Bureau to charge customers in proportion to what they pay to fund the network of dams, reservoirs, canals, and water power plants as a whole, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said.

Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

Tuolumne Utility District to request New Melones water supplies

Plans to exercise federal county-of-origin rights to tap New Melones waters are in the works. According to documents for next Tuesday’s Tuolumne Utilities District board of directors meeting, staff will be recommending the board authorize General Manager Ed Pattison to submit a formal letter of request to the United States Bureau of Reclamation for a water supply contract.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Trump administration plan allows Delta water managers to kill off winter-run Chinook salmon

Eight-hundred pages into the text of a lengthy new report, federal biologists have quietly granted government water managers permission to nearly exterminate an endangered run of Sacramento River salmon so they can send more water south from the river’s delta to farmers in the arid San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gavin Newsom must stand up to Trump’s water grab

In October, the Trump Administration released politically manipulated “biological opinions” under the federal Endangered Species Act that dramatically weaken protections for the Bay-Delta, endangered fish species and commercially valuable salmon runs. … However, in an uncharacteristically subdued response, the Newsom Administration stated that it “will evaluate the federal government’s proposal, but will continue to push back if it does not reflect our values.”

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Democrats’ Bernhardt probe has California’s Cox in a tough spot

Freshman Democratic Rep. TJ Cox represents some of the farmers who would likely benefit from the additional water. … Facing what could be a tough reelection fight in 2020, Cox’s future in Congress could depend on whether Bernhardt’s former client gets what it wants.

Aquafornia news Counterpunch

Opinion: When justice delayed means extinction: The case of the Delta smelt

The glaring light of extinction of the Delta smelt reveals decades of treachery and deceit by corporate agribusiness, metropolitan water districts, politicians and their collaborators in the resource agencies charged by law to protect wildlife species from extinction. The moral squalor that has permitted this crisis is contemptible.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Delta group critical of federal move to change water priorities

An environmental group, highly critical of a federal agency’s newly proposed recommendations to protect endangered species in the Delta, states that they would seriously harm those species and their habitat. The new recommendations, released Oct. 22 by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, are to be used as guidelines for operating the federal pumping plant in the Delta.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Newsom must fight Trump’s Delta fish extinction plan

The Trump administration last week launched an attack on the health of San Francisco Bay and Delta and California’s salmon fishing industry with new rules allowing big increases in water diversions from this teetering, vulnerable ecosystem. … The new Trump administration rules replace prior ones that weren’t strong enough to protect salmon and other wildlife in the last drought. They only make the situation worse.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Trump’s gift to California

Amid horrific wildfires and rolling blackouts, the Trump Administration this week brought welcome relief to the Golden State by allowing more water to be sent to farmers and folks in the south. Will California liberals accept the deregulatory gift?

Aquafornia news Politico

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California fights Trump on everything — except water

California is providing health care to undocumented immigrants while President Donald Trump wants to build a border wall, and Gov. Gavin Newsom circumvented the White House with a side deal on auto emissions standards. But when it comes to water, Trump and California are closer than you might think.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump rewrites Delta rules to pump more California water to Valley. Will Newsom fight him?

President Donald Trump’s administration rolled out an aggressive plan Tuesday to ship more water from the Delta to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, a move that’s certain to trigger lawsuits by environmentalists concerned about endangered fish species.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump team weakens Delta protections for California smelt, salmon

In a move that would boost water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and Southern California cities, federal fishery agencies are weakening decade-old endangered species protections for some of the state’s most imperiled native fish populations.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

San Francisco Estuary health report offers mixed review

The health of North America’s largest estuary, the San Francisco Estuary, is showing some signs of improvement, but much of the historic damage caused to the massive watershed has either not improved or worsened, according to a new report.

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Aquafornia news National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

News release: Federal action plan focused on improving water prediction for western U.S.

The Action Plan identifies four areas for improvement: enhance weather forecasts to improve water prediction; improve and expand the use of water forecast information to benefit water management outcomes; improve science and technology for water prediction; and implement integrated water availability assessments at national and local basin scales.

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

California’s Delta smelt are dying: How this affects the state’s water

The Delta smelt is such a small and translucent fish that it often disappears from view when it swims in the turbid waters of its home in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. However, it’s also been disappearing from the Delta entirely.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Change in California water will prevent catastrophe, build a more resilient valley

Change is hard. It’s human nature to resist it. So it’s not surprising that some Central Valley farmers and water managers are raising alarm bells about the most sweeping change to state water law in a century, saying in a recent Fresno Bee series that the consequences will be “excruciating” and “catastrophic.”

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Agencies release Delta-conveyed water transfer environmental reports

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority announced the environmental reports, which “analyze potential impacts of approving water transfers to increase water reliability for those suffering shortages during dry times.”

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: Newsom’s veto of Delta water bill best for California residents, farms

Agriculture is part of what makes our state’s economy strong and helps provide for all our families, which is why it is crucial that we do absolutely everything we can to protect our state’s farms and allow them to operate without the fear of major obstacles. California agriculture nearly faced such an obstacle with Senate Bill 1, which would have placed harsh regulations on water pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Northern California Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - November 12

Join us as we guide you on a virtual exploration of the Sacramento River and its tributaries and learn about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.

All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Click to register!

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Chinook salmon flocking to revitalized San Joaquin River

A staggering number of Chinook salmon are returning to a California river that hasn’t sustained salmon for decades due to agricultural and urban demands, giving biologists hope that threatened fish are finally spawning in their native grounds without human help.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The next big California vs. Trump fight is over water and endangered species

Just how far will Gov. Gavin Newsom go in his high-profile fight with the Trump administration over environmental protections? The next few months will provide an answer, as Newsom is forced to take a stand on Trump rollbacks in a long-contested battleground — the Northern California Delta that helps supply more than half the state’s population with drinking water and fills irrigation canals on millions of acres of farmland.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

A ‘chilling message’: Trump critics see a deeper agenda in California feud

President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Shasta Dam fight with water district ends in California

The Westlands Water District on Sept. 30 formally stopped its environmental review of a $1.4 billion U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plan to raise the 602-foot dam by another 18.5 feet. It is unclear what Westlands’ decision will mean for the future of the project…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration surrenders to California, backs off on Delta water fight

The Trump administration has retreated on a plan to push more water through the Delta this fall after protests from California officials on the harmful impacts on endangered Chinook salmon and other fish.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The Interior secretary wants to enlarge a dam. An old lobbying client would benefit

For years, the Interior Department resisted proposals to raise the height of its towering Shasta Dam in Northern California. The department’s own scientists and researchers concluded that doing so would endanger rare plants and animals in the area… But the project is going forward now, in a big win for a powerful consortium of California farmers that stands to profit substantially…

Aquafornia news Seattle Times

In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next?

If there is a hell for salmon, it probably looks like this. There were many more golf balls in the water than salmon this summer, whacked there by enthusiasts at Aqua Golf, a driving range on the bank of the Sacramento River. Below the surface, the gravel salmon need to make their nests had been mined decades ago to build Shasta Dam, 602 feet tall and with no fish passage. The dam cut off access to all of the cold mountain waters where these fish used to spawn.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Revealed: Trump’s Wildlife Service pick has ties to anti-animal protection groups

Aurelia Skipwith, who is already a top official at the interior department, formerly worked at the agrochemical giant Monsanto. New revelations show she also has ties to the Westlands Water District, a political powerhouse with a history of chafing against Endangered Species Act regulations that can interfere with farmers’ demands for water in California.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California fights Trump over Delta water, fish, environmental rules

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said the federal plan would harm the nearly-extinct Delta smelt and other species. The state said the plan would also hurt the mostly urban water agencies that belong to the State Water Project, which might have to surrender some of its supplies to compensate for the federal plan.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water year 2019 leaves reservoirs with good storage

California Farm Bureau Federation Senior Counsel Chris Scheuring said the strong 2019 water year should not distract from “the public-policy issues that never go away in California water.” Scheuring said he thinks water deliveries may remain good for the next year or two, but farmers should be prepared for another multiyear drought.

Aquafornia news Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

California’s chronic water overuse leads to sinking towns, arsenic pollution

When you walk through Jeannie Williams’s sunny orchard, you don’t notice anything wrong. But the problem’s there, underfoot. The land around her — about 250 square kilometres — is sinking. “It’s frightening,” Williams says. “Is the land going to come back up? I don’t know.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: To avoid environmental genocide, Gov. Newsom must sign SB 1

I’m writing to express our tribe’s dismay at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he plans to veto Senate Bill 1. … Vetoing this bill will green-light President Trump’s plan to divert even more water from our struggling rivers for industrial agriculture. Many well-respected fish biologists and environmentalists have concluded Trump’s attempt to ignore the best science and rewrite the rules will essentially be an “extinction plan” for Chinook salmon and other threatened fish.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Demise of key environment bill could escalate California’s water wars

Newsom has said he won’t approve Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ bid for a legal backstop against environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. And Washington is poised to reduce protections for endangered fish species in the state’s largest watersheds. The result may be the heightened regulatory uncertainty that opponents of the bill said they hoped to avoid…

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Aquafornia news ABC30

Drought tolerant crop being studied in the Valley

Big research is happening at the Kearney Agriculture and Extension Center in Fresno County. Sorghum, a crop that looks similar to corn, is under a microscope.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration threatens jail time for California officials over river project

The threats came in a dispute over reintroducing winter-run Chinook salmon into the McCloud River, a pristine river above Shasta Dam, as part of a federal plan approved under the Obama administration to try to stave off extinction for the critically endangered fish.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Editorial: Newsom must keep his promise on California SB1

Whatever satisfaction might be gained by telling the president to pound sand is nowhere near as important as protecting the water supply of Modesto and thousands of farmers depending on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: A fight with Trump that Gavin Newsom doesn’t want: Why he’s vetoing environmental bill

Newsom saw SB 1 as a mortal threat to something he’s been supporting since shortly before he took office: a tentative truce in California’s longstanding water wars. The truce revolves around the flow of water in and out of the Delta from California’s most important river systems, the Sacramento and San Joaquin.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Full water allotment helps Fresno County reach record crop value

Commodity prices across some crops, record cotton yields and ample water supplies combined to catapult Fresno County’s gross crop value to a record $7.88 billion in 2018, eclipsing last year’s figure by over 12 percent, and besting the previous record by nearly as much.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Farmers are not to blame for Valley subsidence, but they can help solve it with water

Why do farmers pump the water under their land (which California law clearly states belongs to them) in the first place? Unfortunately, you’ll rarely read the answer to this question in the press, but it is the most important part of the story.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Friant-Kern’s $400 million fix sunk by state legislature

In March, newly-elected Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) proposed a $400 million windfall to finance repairs for the canal under Senate Bill 559… But the bipartisan bill, much like canal it was designed to fix, is sunk — for now. The bill failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote before the Sept. 13 legislative deadline.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Shasta Dam case appealed to California Supreme Court

Westlands Water District has filed an appeal with the California Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn a lower court ruling and get on with assessing the effects of raising the height of Shasta Dam.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Audio: The Friant-Kern Canal is sinking. Thirty-mile parallel canal proposed

The Friant-Kern Canal, which delivers water to farms and communities on the east side of the Valley, is literally sinking in some areas due to groundwater pumping. And with one week to go before the California legislature wraps up its 2019 session, many hope the state will help fund the canal’s repair.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star-News

Opinion: Science shunned by Trump once more

When the salmon are healthy, the world is healthy. That means the waters are clean and fast-running and the bottom gravel is clean. It means the rivers … are pouring as they should into our oceans, bringing nutrients and sediments into the salt- and fresh-water interplay.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why SB 1 must ensure that CESA applies to the federal CVP

Now, some are arguing that the bill should be stripped of its longstanding provision applying the State’s own Endangered Species Act to the operations of the federal Central Valley Project. Here’s why that’s a terrible idea.

Aquafornia news ABC30

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Water deliveries are plentiful for Valley farmers thanks to a healthy snowmelt

Water deliveries in the Fresno Irrigation District typically end in September, but they could last until November this year. The extra deliveries will allow growers to not only irrigate but also to bank some water for future use.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Trump’s Delta assault threatens Bay Area water supply

The latest assault on the Delta, which supplies roughly one-third of the Bay Area’s water, is the Trump administration’s efforts to gut the federal Endangered Species Act. Removing protections in existence for nearly 50 years threatens not only the Delta’s wildlife but also the quality of its fresh water.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Base water plans on science, not politics

Trump started promising more water to Central Valley growers before he was elected. During a campaign stop in Fresno three years ago, he dismissed the drought, then in its fifth year, as a hoax and snorted at legal protections for endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dead fish and starving whales: What Trump’s hidden report on water means to California

Federal scientists pulled no punches in their report: The Trump administration’s plan to send more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers would force critically endangered California salmon even closer to extinction, and starve a struggling population of West Coast killer whales.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Suppressed federal report shows how Trump water plan would endanger California salmon

The July 1 assessment, obtained by The Times, outlines how proposed changes in government water operations would harm several species protected by the Endangered Species Act, including perilously low populations of winter-run salmon, as well as steelhead trout and killer whales, which feed on salmon.

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Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Fresno water district appeals ruling to stop work on Shasta Dam study

Westlands Water District says a preliminary injunction ordering it to stop work on an environmental impact report may prevent it from helping to pay for raising the height of the dam, according to the appeal filed last week.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Westlands strikes back at AG Becerra over studying Shasta Dam raise

Westlands Water District isn’t giving up on raising Shasta Dam… The district, stopped in late July by a Shasta County judge from conducting an environmental study on the impact of raising Shasta Dam, filed a petition with the Sacramento-based Third District California Court of Appeal on Monday to vacate the trial court’s injunction.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California’s Shasta Dam project hits financial, legal snags

A plan to raise and expand California’s largest reservoir is on hold as federal officials look for partners to share in the $1.4 billion cost. The federal Bureau of Reclamation also must grapple with opponents who have sued, saying the Shasta Dam project violates state law.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces grant funding opportunity for drought resiliency projects in 2020 and 2021

Funding is available for projects that: Increase the reliability of water supplies through infrastructure improvements; improve water management through decision support tools, modeling and measurement; provide protection for fish, wildlife and the environment. Up to $300,000 per agreement is available for a project that can be completed within two years. Up to $750,000 per agreement is available for a project that can be completed within three years.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Cox working on Friant-Kern Canal issue

It’s hard for U.S. Representative T.J. Cox to understand why the Friant-Kern Canal is just at 40 percent capacity. … Cox said funding is provided to maintain the Friant-Kern Canal that’s supposed to be reimbursed by the Federal Government, but those reimbursements haven’t been coming.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Appetite for California almonds still growing, but farmers feel squeeze from new water rules

In California, money does grow on trees. Almonds constitute a $5.6 billion industry, and 2.26 billion pounds were shipped from California last year to be roasted and salted, or turned into anything from frothy, barista-friendly almond milk to marzipan sold on the streets of Berlin.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Officials post warnings near New Melones Reservoir about potentially harmful algae bloom

People may want to think twice before taking a dip in the green-tinted water near the Parrotts Ferry Bridge at New Melones Reservoir, according to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials. The water’s greenish hue is due to a cyanobacteria bloom that was first detected in the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River upstream of the reservoir on July 17.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: What does groundwater have to do with the Delta? A lot.

While it may not be obvious to some, sustainable groundwater management is inherently connected to the long-term survival of the Delta. Not only does the state’s most significant groundwater use occur in regions that also rely upon water from the Delta watershed, reduced reliance on the Delta and improved regional self-reliance are central to many of the goals outlined in the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Three-way wrangle over plan to expand Shasta Dam

On Monday, the state of California and a coalition of fishing groups and environmentalists asked a judge to bar Westlands from completing a crucial environmental report in hopes of stalling the project. “Everything we see looks to be illegal,” said deputy attorney general Russell Hildreth. At issue is a stretch of the McCloud River that both sides agree would be inundated by the project.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Getting it right on water rights

If credibility were measured like rainfall, the Trump administration would be in the midst of a prolonged drought — as evidenced most recently in its handling of plans to send more water to California’s Central Valley.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Earthquakes can disrupt California water supply. We must prepare

An earthquake doesn’t have to happen in your neighborhood or city, or even your region, for it to have an impact, especially on Southern California’s water supply. According to UCLA Professor Jon Stewart, the three main water systems that bring water to Southern California each cross the San Andreas Fault at least once.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Coleman Hatchery expresses optimism for future fish returns

The Coleman National Fish Hatchery is expecting good returns of their fish in the foreseeable future after a few lean years of comebacks. … Mother Nature worked with the hatchery this year providing high water levels and spring storms, said Galyean. When nature was not working in the hatchery’s favor was during the recent drought.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: California’s struggle for water certainty continues

For many years, federal “biological opinions” for delta smelt and winter run chinook salmon have dictated restrictions on operations of the pumps, reservoirs and canals of the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project… Informed by a decade of science and on-the-ground experience with what we know has not worked, long-awaited new federal biological opinions are finally nearing completion.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Water Blueprint proposes parallel waterway for the sinking Friant-Kern Canal

The Friant Water Authority is confident a parallel canal is the best solution. This new one will be built in a way that prepares for subsidence. A new canal would also benefit from the Ground Water Management Act of 2014, which will regulate how much and when water is pumped out of the ground, preventing what some believe is the main cause of subsidence.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Shasta County judge rejects effort to move Shasta Dam lawsuit to Fresno

A judge has rejected a San Joaquin Valley irrigation district’s request to move a lawsuit against raising the height of Shasta Dam to Fresno County. Westlands Water District, based in Fresno, wanted to move the lawsuit against it to its home county, but a judge has ruled the case will remain in Shasta County.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: San Luis Reservoir algal bloom at danger level: Public urged to avoid water contact

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) urged people to avoid physical contact with the water at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae. DWR increased the advisory from warning to danger after detecting an increased amount of microcystins.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Salmon study may foil Trump’s plan to boost water deliveries to Central Valley farms

Federal biologists worked frantically this year to meet a deadline to assess the environmental impacts of Trump administration plans to send more water to Central Valley farmers. But the biologists’ conclusion — that increased deliveries would harm endangered Chinook salmon and other imperiled fish — would foil those plans.

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