An ecosystem includes all of the living organisms (plants,
animals and microbes) in a given area, interacting with each
other, and also with their non-living environments (air, water
Ecosystems are dynamic and are impacted by disturbances such as a
drought, an extraordinarily freezing winter, and pests.
Longer-term disturbances include climate change effects.
Ecosystems provide a variety of goods and services upon which
people depend. Ecosystem management emphasizes managing natural
resources at the level of the ecosystem itself and not just
managing individual species.
The California Legislature was the first in the country to
protect rare plants and animals through passage of the California
Endangered Species Act in 1970. Congress followed suit in 1973 by
passing the federal Endangered Species Act.
Water and the question of what constitutes its sustainable use
is becoming an increasingly important subject everywhere with
each passing year, but in few places is it more crucial than in
the Carrizo Planning Area of California Valley
After an absence of many decades, Chinook salmon swim up the
Guadalupe River in San José most winters. The fish look for
places to lay eggs and often find them. If there’s enough water
left in the dry season, their offspring swim back down the
river in the spring to head out to sea. Surprisingly, given the
generally heated politics regarding fish in California, little
else is known about these salmon.
As the Salton Sea retreats, leaving the dry playa exposed, dust
particles become airborne and mobilize lung-damaging toxins
from agricultural runoff. Red Hill Bay, located near the
southeastern corner of the sea, would restore habitat by
flooding the area, but it’s one of several mitigation projects
that have taken flack for progressing so slowly.
The St. Helena City Council awarded a $3.2 million contact
Tuesday to an Arcata firm to remove the Upper York Creek Dam.
McCullough Construction will be charged with notching the dam,
restoring the creek’s aquatic habitat, and removing an illegal
barrier to fish passage that the city first agreed to remove in
The project — managed jointly by California Division of Fish
and Wildlife, the Department of Water Resources and the
Department of Parks and Recreation — seeks to make changes in
Franks Tract with the goal of improving water quality,
providing enhanced recreational opportunities and improving the
ecology for the benefit of native and desirable wildlife.
On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed
the lower court’s determination that the State Water Resources
Control Board lawfully adopted emergency regulations and
curtailment orders … in 2014 and 2015 during a period of
severe and persistent drought conditions.
All but one of these photographs of California by Jesse White
come from California Exposures, a book that he and I, his
father, did together. … They are part of a conversation, and
they are as apt to ask questions as give answers. The
photographs of California Exposures tell a history of
California, but not in the conventional sense.
Groundwater provides nearly 40% of the water used by
California’s farms and cities, and significantly more in dry
years. But what is groundwater? In this post based on the first
segment of the UC Davis shortcourse on groundwater, Dr. Thomas
Harter provides a basic understanding of groundwater – what it
is, how much groundwater is out there, how fast groundwater
moves, and where it comes from and where it goes.
The Environmental Protection Agency has again been sued over
its rollback of Obama-era waterway protections. On Thursday,
the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of four other
environmental groups, sued the agency, claiming that the new
rule conflicts with the Clean Water Act and “disregards”
science “without any rational, let alone ‘reasonable,’
The Delta is changing much faster than we can respond to, and
if we want to start to get ahead of things, we need to think
about what changes lie ahead and what managers and decision
makers will need to manage those changes. That was the topic
for the second Science Needs Workshop hosted by the Delta
Science Program which brought together Jennifer Pierre with the
State Water Contractors, Paul Souza with the US Fish and
Wildlife Service, and Campbell Ingram with the Delta
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the farm itself has become
part of the landscape that millions of birds rely on. Cannon
Michael, president of Bowles Farming Co., has partnered with
Audubon over the last decade to support birds on his farm by
restoring corridors and habitat, and finding new ways to manage
crops to protect wildlife. You know a farmer is serious about
birds when their Instagram includes highlights like the “Birds
of Bowles Farming”.
Last week, on the flanks of Mount Lassen, the partnership of
the Western Rivers Conservancy and the Lassen National Forest
completed a project that protects a crucial 1,150-acre
property, and a significant branch of South Fork Antelope
Creek, a rare stronghold for salmon and steelhead in the
Sacramento River system.
Major California cities say they’ll use their share of a $650
million settlement to clean up the now-banned chemical PCB from
bays, lakes and other waterways polluted for decades. The giant
chemical company Monsanto announced a tentative agreement
Wednesday with government entities that had filed suit since
2015 over waterways and estuaries they say were polluted.
In an innovative and cross-disciplinary remote-sensing
approach, engineering Professor Joshua Viers and colleagues aim
to develop a model to describe how lake visitors in California
adjust their recreation choices when outbreaks of harmful algal
blooms are announced.
The Solano County Board of Supervisors this week, in
partnership with the Solano County Water Agency, agreed to
purchase about 74 acres along the Solano side of Putah Creek.
The property is located … between the Monticello Dam and the
diversion dam at Lake Solano, and will be kept as conservation
land and for habitat restoration. About a half a mile of the
property fronts the creek.
The American Southwest provides a last stronghold for the
yellow-billed cuckoo, which was officially listed under the
Endangered Species Act as threatened in 2014. This February,
the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a list of proposed
protected areas that trace the curls and curves of rivers and
streams in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Texas, and
After being docked for three months due to COVID-19
restrictions, the Department of Water Resources relaunched its
research vessel monitoring program, the Sentinel. It was the
first time since the 1970s that DWR didn’t have a monitoring
vessel taking field samples in the waters of the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Estuaries.
With a global pandemic, a catastrophic economic recession and
record-high unemployment, one would think the state has enough
issues to tackle. But proponents of a state water grab that I
have been fighting since the day I was sworn into office in
2012 disagree. Where others see turmoil and anguish, they see
opportunity. Apparently, they believe in the adage, “Never let
a crisis go to waste.”
American Indian tribes in California’s Klamath Basin praised
Monday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court not to
hear the Klamath Project irrigators’ Fifth Amendment water
rights case, Baley v. United States. By not hearing the case,
the Supreme Court upheld the Klamath Tribes’ treaty water
rights as the most senior water rights in the Klamath Basin.
These water rights are critical to protect the tribes’
fisheries and traditional way of life.
The creation of the Council was, in many ways, an experiment in
governance by the California State Legislature and
Schwarzenegger administration to address years of gridlock over
how to manage the Delta’s limited natural resources and chart a
science-based path forward for future management. After ten
years with the Council, I can say, with conviction, the
experiment is working.
A coalition of tribal governments, environmentalists and labor
advocates has sued to stop implementation of a new federal rule
that weakens protections for streams and wetlands. The
Environmental Protection Agency’s new Navigable Waters
Protection Rule, which which took effect on Monday, rolls back
clean-water regulation of intermittent waterways, arroyos and
As crews continue to battle a human-caused wildfire that has
become one of the largest in Arizona history, state agencies
are concerned about the potential impact on wildlife and water
resources. The Bush Fire, now the fifth-largest fire on record,
had burned 186,086 acres in the Tonto National Forest as of
Monday morning… The Tonto National Forest encompasses some of
the main water sources for Phoenix residents.
Each year millions of liters of fire-retardant chemicals are
applied to wildfires across the nation. The use of these
retardants could have significant effects on downstream
nutrients. The aim of this study will be to determine which
nutrients are likely to increase in concentration in areas
affected by wildfire in the western U.S., and whether the use
of fire retardants may exacerbate the situation.
The suit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Sierra Club, other
environmental groups, and a number of tribes, argued the Trump
administration erred in removing protections for wetlands and
streams that result from rainfall.
On June 22, 1980, Lake Powell reached its capacity for the
first time, marking a grim milestone for environmentalists who
have never forgotten the loss of Glen Canyon. Before the waters
began pouring in, it was a maze of towering sandstone cliffs
and spires, with thousands of indigenous ruins now mostly lost.
While these remarkable giants have been only a distant memory
in most of their range, recently, fish carrying the ancestral
genes of Pyramid Lake Lahontan cutthroat trout migrated to the
waters of the Truckee River in 2014 to spawn for the first time
in 80 years. The return of these fish … represents the
culmination of years of conservation efforts by local, state,
and federal agencies, as well as the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.
Living in cold streams fed by underground springs, the Shasta
crayfish is California’s last native crayfish. Listed as
endangered in 1988, the once prolific crayfish have declined
over the past 20 years to the point where only about 500
individuals remain. But a project jointly developed by the
Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Spring
Rivers Ecological Sciences, and the Pacific Gas and Electric
Company could change the fate of the crayfish.
As winter rains intensify with climate change, flooding will
worsen in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area’s largest by
population… The Coyote Creek system — 1,500 miles of
waterways that drain a 350-square-mile watershed — connects
half a dozen elements that are key to climate adaptation, from
reservoirs to creek confluences to the Bay shore.
Saying in a project description that there is a demand for
high-quality construction supplies, … the company proposes to
modify the cement plant and quarry on Friant Road and use
explosives to mine hard rock that sits below the gravel, sand
and rock that’s currently mined a half-mile from the river. …
But, the project is at odds with the vision of organizations
like San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust that
prioritize recreation over industry for future use along the
The recovery from the COVID shutdown gives us a rare
opportunity to rethink our relationship with the global
ecosystems on which we depend. Like so many others, I long for
a return to normalcy. But that’s not what we need. We must come
out of this pandemic looking to address other looming crises.
Our unsustainable agricultural system, along with climate
change, are at the top of the list.
With dry conditions resulting in low flows and threatening the
survival of coho salmon, the State Water Board today sent
notices of water unavailability to110 junior water right
holders in the Scott River basin in Siskiyou County, urging
them to stop diverting.
A federal Judge in California on Friday rejected a request for
a nationwide injunction of the rule. Hours later, a federal
Judge in Colorado agreed to freeze the federal rule within that
state. The California court’s decision is a major blow to
environmentalists and states that had hoped to block the
Navigable Waters Protection Rule across the country before it
takes effect Monday.
After years of planning, McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring house
replacement project will get underway soon as the Department of
Water Resources has selected this project for the draft
recommended funding list. The current wooden structure with
corrugated roof will be replaced with a concrete vault to
insure protection from erosion and habitat contamination.
The most common complaint about Clear Lake is the algae. …
Actually, the algae problem was a lot worse 40 years ago. Clear
Lake is getting clearer. According to scientists the lake is
now clearer that it has been in the last 50 years. There are
also side effects from the clearer lake and that is aquatic
In recognition of the immense opportunity for recovery in Elk
River, CalTrout, the North Coast Regional Water Board, and
several project partners joined together to form the Elk River
Watershed Stewardship Program. The purpose is to engage with
the Elk River community to develop a landowner supported
recovery plan to reduce nuisance flooding, address the severe
sediment impairment, and rehabilitate habitat for native
Mount Shasta is a community that prides itself on clean water.
In the past when water-related issues have come before City
Council, meetings are often crowded to the point of
overflowing. It is surprising, then, that one of the most
important water topics in our city receives so little
attention. I’m talking of course about Mount Shasta’s storm
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.
A smidge over 200 acres, the Wright Wetland Preserve is easily
the largest in the trust’s portfolio. Its terrain ranges from
lake to valley oak woodland with everything from native
wetland, freshwater marsh and upland pasture included. The
property is partially bordered by Manning Creek, an important
breeding ground for an endemic and threatened fish species, the
Clear Lake hitch.
Burrowing owl homes maintained by the Otay Water District
received a modern makeover this year. As part of its ongoing
environmental mitigation efforts, the District managed
construction of new nesting burrows to encourage breeding. Ten
acres of the 240-acre, District-owned San Miguel Habitat
Management Area reserve and mitigation bank in eastern Chula
Vista is a dedicated native grasslands area where the new
artificial burrows are located.
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate has passed
a sweeping public lands package that both addresses the
ballooning maintenance backlog at national parks and provides
full, permanent funding for the popular Land and Water
Conservation Fund, a program established in 1964 to protect
natural areas and water resources.
Roland Knapp, research biologist at the University of
California Sierra Nevada Aquatic Laboratory, explained that a
fish-less habitat along with increased resistance to chytrid
fungus can allow populations to rebound and increase. Knapp’s
research findings have shown the frogs being able to adapt to
the disease over time. … “I have a lot of hope. I wouldn’t
have said that 10 years ago.”
In October 2019, the Public Policy Institute of California
(PPIC) released the report, Priorities for California’s Water,
which outlined California’s water management challenges and
their top priorities for addressing those challenges. At the
May meeting of the California Water Commission, Alvar
Escriva-Bou, a PPIC research fellow, gave a presentation on the
findings and how they align with the actions of the draft water
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging
anglers and other recreational water users to be vigilant about
checking for harmful freshwater algal blooms, also called HABs,
while out enjoying California’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers,
streams and creeks this year.
The California legislature voted Monday to keep the Salton Sea
in its budget proposal sent to Governor Gavin Newsom.
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia said he’s pleased the legislature
found a way to allocate some funding for the Salton Sea despite
the fiscal challenges created by the pandemic.
California’s top water regulator on Tuesday approved a
definition of microplastics in drinking water, setting the
stage for the state to investigate the extent of contamination
from the tiny plastics that have been found in fish, waterways,
and other habitats. … The action makes California the first
government in the world to define microplastics in a drinking
President Trump’s wall now stretches along 200 miles of
U.S.-Mexico borderland. Progress hasn’t slowed during the
coronavirus pandemic; in some places it’s even accelerating.
But there’s a tiny swath of tribal land on the Colorado River
where that’s not the case.
The Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program was designed to
improve water quality and to restore and sustain habitat for
federally-listed threatened species like Chinook salmon and
steelhead trout. In a stunning victory for fish, farming and
our environment, Fish Friendly Farming has already certified 90
percent of all Napa grape vineyards.
Aaron Thomas arrived back in Paradise Valley just in time to
christen the Ambiente Course, which proved a sort of launching
pad for all manner constructive, on-course experimentation. …
Thomas confirms the new design saves between 45 million and 55
million gallons of water annually, compared to pre-2013 levels.
That is the platform from which Thomas has worked these past
Nevada is in a new era of water management. As the driest state
in the nation, responsible and sustainable management of
Nevada’s limited water resources is the foremost priority of
the Nevada Division of Water Resources. As part of this
commitment, Monday the Nevada State Engineer issued Order No.
1309 for one of Nevada’s most important and unique hydrographic
basins called the Lower White River Flow System.
Beginning June 11, the Bureau released flows to help sustain
juvenile salmon, but it plans to provide only 16,000 of the
40,000-acre feet promised in the plan developed with the Yurok
Tribe, fishing groups and irrigators in March. And nearly a
month passed without augmented flows when young salmon were
being infected and dying from disease-causing parasites and 1.5
million hatchery fish were released and ready to pass through
the infection zone.
Supreme Court justices today declined to consider whether
moving — but not adding — rocks, sand and other debris within a
regulated waterway is subject to Clean Water Act restrictions.
The court’s decision not to take up the Eastern Oregon Mining
Association’s petition came as a disappointment for operators
that use suction dredge mining, an industrial process similar
to panning for gold in a river.
In order for the Chinook and steelhead to rebound in the Eel
River, there should be at least 26,400 fish returning from the
ocean to spawn annually… Although the Eel salmon population
was larger this year than last, Fish and Wildlife’s June 1
report shows the population fell far below the margin for
species recovery. Only 8,263 made the journey, they wrote.
Oil, logging, mining, and grazing will be the priorities of
national forests and grasslands, with expedited environmental
oversight, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the U.S.
Forest Service Friday. His memo announced a “blueprint for
reforms” that refocuses the Forest Service to produce products
and services from the 193 million acres of forests, grasslands,
and wilderness areas it oversees.
Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and
the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State
reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that
stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a basin that
serves 40 million people, and responding to the water needs of
the economy, productive agriculture, a robust recreational
industry and environmental protection takes expertise,
leadership and a steady hand. Colorado has that in Becky
Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board
Although the Clean Water Act will still protect heavily used
waterways in Nevada, including the Colorado River and the
Truckee River, it excludes many wetlands and most seasonal
streams. As a result, the rule has set off a flurry of legal
challenges from environmental groups. And in recent months,
several Democrat-led Western states, including Colorado,
California and New Mexico, have sued the Trump administration
to challenge the final rule. Nevada has not joined those suits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way families, educators
and students can experience state parks — through expanded
online programs. … Education coordinator Anne Marie Tipton
says the Tijuana River National Estuarine Reserve’s
virtual field trips teach classrooms around the state about the
estuary’s role in the environment.
“In short, the city is looking to sell/transfer up to 5,000
acre-feet of water in 2020. This water is in excess to what the
city would need to meet demands in 2020 and would not impact
any existing customers north or south of Highway 50…” said
Christine Brainerd, city of Folsom communications director. …
The city retains the rights to the water.
San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast, and
in recent years much effort has been put into restoring tidal
marsh habitat in the Bay. … FISHBIO was recently invited to
tour one such project in the North Bay, where we had the
opportunity to use our ARIS sonar camera to examine the fish
community in the restored area.
The Sonoma County Water Agency filed a Temporary Urgency Change
Petition with the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce
Russian River minimum in-stream flows this summer. With the
Ukiah region facing its third driest water year on record, Lake
Mendocino’s water supply is projected to reach critically low
levels due to dry conditions and reduced water transfers from
the Potter Valley Project.
Both United States and Mexican officials announced separate
plans Tuesday to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities.
The international river has been a longtime problem for
residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash
from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades,
often closing beaches near the border and damaging natural
habitats along the river.
Farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Project are breathing a
sigh of relief after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced
Tuesday it will not further reduce this year’s water allotment,
which is already less than half of demand. … On the other
hand, tribal members that depend on ample salmon runs for their
way of life argue the runs will continue to suffer in warm, low
rivers without enough flow for them to migrate and spawn.
Hundreds of studies on nature-based solutions to extreme events
show that “green infrastructure” is often cheaper and more
effective than engineered projects like dams, levees and sea
walls, according to a new analysis. Experts say federal and
state governments should heed those findings and increase
funding for natural landscapes and systems to reduce climate
disaster risk. Solutions include floodplain restoration and
“living shorelines” along vulnerable coasts and rivers.
While the budget for next year has yet to be passed, the
Central Valley Water Quality Control Board is already taking
drastic steps to prepare for a significant reduction in
staffing. Farmers could face a potential fallout further down
the road. “All told, the board is looking at around a 30 to 35%
reduction in productivity,” said Patrick Pulupa, executive
officer for the regional board, during a meeting Thursday.
Water pollution in San Francisco Bay, California has reduced
significantly due to the reduction in traffic, according to a
recent study in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
The toxic particles emitted by cars, in fact, fall into the
surrounding waters, inlets and on the coast for miles.
Over the years, much attention has been given to California’s
drought, but less is known about the more than one million
Californians in more than 300 communities who don’t have access
to clean drinking water. To address this crisis, CSU faculty
and students are performing community assessments, conducting
research and assisting local engineering projects, often with
support from Water Resources & Policy Initiatives. Take a look
at some of the CSU’s ongoing work.
The Solano County Water Agency has filed an appeal with the
Delta Stewardship Council regarding the consistency
determination submitted by Westlands Water District for the
Lower Yolo Ranch Restoration Project. The letter points out
that there are numerous existing agricultural and municipal
water supply intakes in the Yolo Bypass Cache Slough Complex
that will be impacted…
Any potential alignment of the Lake Powell pipeline would pass
through lands that hold spiritual and cultural significance to
Southern Paiutes, who fear the project would jeopardize their
culture and upset the balance of nature.
To assess the range of pandemic-related issues confronting the
sector, the PPIC Water Policy Center held a series of
conversations with representatives from state and federal
agencies, water utilities, environmental nonprofits, and
businesses that specialize in restoration. The pandemic’s
impact falls into three categories: disruption of monitoring
and research programs, delays to restoration projects, and the
threat posed by the economic downturn to funding for this work.
Here are some key takeaways.
Imagine taking a kayak out on the water all day as a full-time
job. Well, that’s exactly what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service employees from the Red Bluff office do for a portion of
the year. The work is critical for surveying Clear Creek for
the presence of steelhead, rainbow trout and late-fall Chinook
salmon nests known as redds.
The group aims to counter the narrative that the outdoors
aren’t for Black people, educate people about challenges people
of color face, and to encourage diversity. “I think Black
Birders Week shows that the Black experience is more than
trauma, that it is about pride, is about joy. It is about
resilience, strength and style,” says Tykee James, a Black
Birders Week organizer and the National Audubon Society’s
government affairs coordinator.
In his time with the commission, which has the responsibility
for applying the boundary and water treaties between the United
States and Mexico, the two nations have taken huge steps
forward in assuring that commitments to the primary binational
water agreement in the Southwest – the 1944 Mexico-U.S. Water
Treaty – were faithfully upheld.
In 1984, a small group of California surfers were fed up with
the development and water pollution at their favorite break,
Malibu’s Surfrider Beach. They took their environmental
concerns to California State Parks officials — and prevailed.
The Surfrider Foundation was born.
On May 21, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of
directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater
development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water
grab.” The unanimous vote brought an end to more than three
decades of acrimonious battle with the Great Basin Water
The first slide of Daybreak Power’s first-ever presentation to
potential investors quotes Paul Allen, the legendary co-founder
of Microsoft, asking what he calls the most exciting question
imaginable: “What should exist? … What do we need that we don’t
have?”. The answer I reached in the years leading up to
co-founding Daybreak in 2018 is this: A bunch of big-honkin’
pumped storage hydropower projects
This spring marked the fifth anniversary of the California
EcoRestore initiative, a coordinated effort across state
agencies to deliver 30,000 acres of restored fish and wildlife
habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, an immensely
important landscape that five years ago only had 5 percent of
its native habitat remaining.
Three months after federal dam safety regulators ordered
Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Santa Clara
County, to be drained due to earthquake concerns, new details
are emerging on what will happen to all that water, the fish
that depend on it, and the water supply for Silicon Valley.
Situated between Bethel Island and False River and accessible
only by boat, Franks Tract is primarily used by fishermen,
boaters and waterfowl hunters. But, over the past several
years, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has been studying
ways to restore part of the 3,523-acre underwater state park to
its original marshland in the hopes of reducing saltwater
intrusion into the Delta and more.
As big corporations consume mass amounts of water, the smaller,
local communities near the plants, factories and corporate
offices have fewer resources. Water shortages then become
prevalent as the corporation continues to use up the nearby
sources. … In order to make a meaningful change for smaller
communities, big corporations will need to work on
EPA’s final rule that curtails states’ authority over Clean
Water Act permitting of pipelines, hydroelectric dams and other
energy projects could run afoul of a 1994 Supreme Court ruling
that originally granted states that oversight power.
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.
When most people think of sea otters, they picture these
charismatic creatures wrapped in kelp as they float on their
backs in the ocean. But this iconic image is only part of the
story. Sea otters also once abounded in the San Francisco Bay
and other coastal estuaries. Now, a team of sea otter experts
is raising the idea of bringing sea otters back to our bay.
The Department of Water Resources urged people to avoid
physical contact with the water at San Luis Reservoir in Merced
County until further notice due to blue-green algae. Boating is
allowed, but swimming and other water-contact recreation and
sporting activities are not considered safe under the warning
advisory due to potential adverse health effects.
The water rights behind the proposed Lake Powell pipeline are
not actually coming from the project’s namesake lake, but
rather from the major reservoir upstream on the Green River.
Now, Utah water officials’ new request to overhaul those rights
has handed opponents a fresh opportunity to thwart the proposed
pipeline just as federal officials are about to release a
long-awaited environmental review of the $1.2 billion
Georgia, West Virginia, and 21 other states moved to intervene
in litigation in order to help defeat challenges to the
Navigable Waters Protection Rule—a joint regulation from the
Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers
that narrows the types of wetlands and waterways subject to
federal Clean Water Act restrictions.
The $65.8 million in grants will help fund projects such as
groundwater replenishment and habitat restoration within the
Colorado River, Lahontan, San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Ana
Proposition 1 funding areas. More than $12 million of this
amount targets projects that also help disadvantaged and
underrepresented communities, including Tribal governments.
A long-sought compromise has been approved that will open the
stagnant, reed-filled Buena Vista Lagoon to the sea and restore
its native coastal marine habitat, but years of work remain
before the transformation begins.
Researchers analysed the records of nearly 3 million births in
California to women living within 6.2 miles (10km) of at least
one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015. … Active and
inactive oil and gas sites create myriad environmental hazards
including air and water pollutants, noise and excessive
lighting, which have all been linked with poor health outcomes.
After only 6 months post-construction completion and levee
breach at the Tule Red Tidal Restoration Project, longfin smelt
have returned. The 420-acre restoration site converted wetlands
managed primarily for waterfowl to tidal wetlands for the
benefit of dwindling native fish populations including Delta
smelt, longfin smelt, Chinook salmon and the food web that
The proposals from the Bureau of Land Management would
eliminate a 15-day protest period afforded to the public to
comment on timber sales and other forest management decisions.
BLM said the comment period they are proposing to cut is
repetitive, as people can already submit their thoughts when a
project is undergoing review under the National Environmental
U.S. policymakers understand quite well the impact of Mexico’s
wastewater management on American communities. What they fail
to comprehend is that the ongoing border sewage crisis is
rooted in a longer history of U.S. imperialism and private
enterprise in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
By the thousands, they rolled through the Southern Oregon
countryside in tractors, hay trucks, log trucks, pickups and
minivans, their hand-painted signs greeted by supportive
passers-by who agreed with the message of Friday’s “Shut Down
and Fed Up” rally: the water problems that for decades have
plagued the region and its farmers must be resolved.
In a stark reminder that drought has once again taken hold on
the North Coast, Sonoma County is preparing to ask state water
regulators for permission to reduce water levels in the Russian
River this summer to conserve water stored in Lake Mendocino
and ensure minimal late-season flows for fish.
The National Audubon Society has reached an agreement with the
Arizona Department of Water Resources to help fund the Colorado
River Indian Tribes’ on-going efforts to conserve 150,000
acre-feet of water in Lake Mead over the next three years.
The report could revive past attempts to mine uranium in the
Los Padres National Forest in San Luis Obispo and Ventura
counties, including a tract of land near Lake Casitas in the
Ojai Valley, a source of drinking water for Carpinteria Valley
Water District. Many of the report’s recommendations will
require additional action before taking effect, such as changes
to agency rules or regulations, or passage of legislation.
At its May quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board
approved approximately $36.2 million in grants to help restore
and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California.
Some of the 31 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife
— including some endangered species — while others will provide
public access to important natural resources.
Restoration of the 500-plus acres of wetlands has been a goal
for literally decades of both city officials and environmental
advocates. Since the discovery of oil there in 1926, combined
with the channelization of the San Gabriel River, the once
2,400-acre wetlands complex has been landfilled, graded and
activated as a working oil field. Much of the remaining
wetlands is controlled by Beach Oil Minerals Partners (BOMP).
A recent study published in the journal Science helps explains
why, revealing that the south-western US is in the grip of a
20-year megadrought – a period of severe aridity that is
stoking fires, depleting reservoirs and putting a strain on
water supplies to the states of the region.
A major UK government-funded research study suggests particles
released from vehicle tyres could be a significant and
previously largely unrecorded source of microplastics in the
marine environment. The study is one of the first worldwide to
identify tyre particles as a major and additional source of
Two factors are believed to weigh heavily on the Delta smelt’s
fate. The biggest is the reduction in fresh water in the Delta
since water started flowing southward via the California
Aqueduct in the 1960s. … The other threat to Delta smelt are
larger fish particularly non-native striped bass and largemouth
bass that were introduced to the Delta by man.
The extraction methods that these operations use today are not
drastically different from processes that miners employed in
the California gold rush in the mid-1800s. Today we see history
repeating itself in places like the Peruvian Amazon, where
small-scale gold mining threatens to leave behind long-lasting
social, economic and environmental consequences.
Anticipating where a fire is likely to ignite and how it might
spread requires information about how much burnable plant
material exists on the landscape and its dryness. Yet this
information is surprisingly difficult to gather at the scale
and speed necessary to aid wildfire management. Now, a team of
experts in hydrology, remote sensing and environmental
engineering have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel
moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states
Marine life mitigation, the need for desalinated water in
Orange County and the overall merits of Poseidon Water’s plan
to build a $1 billion desalination plant in Huntington Beach
were some of the main talking points of a 10-hour virtual
workshop, held on May 15. Highlighting the marathon of a
workshop: pointed questions about the merits of Poseidon’s
The $100m debt facility will cover the costs of finishing
projects including the Stockton data center which is expected
online in late 2020. The barge-borne data center will use the
company’s signature cooling system, cold water, and a system of
heat exchangers that use the water surrounding the building as
In 2014, the Cleveland National Forest (CNF) initiated an
effort to restore the migratory corridors for fish and other
aquatic species in the San Juan and Santiago Watersheds by
removing the remnants of small (approximately 2 – 15 ft) dams
constructed by Orange County (California) between 1940-70s.
It was during the drought in the late-1980s that Robin Kulakow
and her fellow birdwatchers began noticing that Putah Creek was
running dry. The same observation was being made at places such
as Camp Davis, a popular site near the university where youth
paddled their canoes and participated in other activities.
Clear Lake is one of the richest lakes in the state when it
comes to nutrients. That is one reason we have algae blooms as
well as a massive amount of aquatic weeds. Some of the species
of aquatic weeds have been in the lake for more than a million
years and others only a few years. These new arrivals are
classed as foreign invasive weeds.
Citing conservation gains and a third straw to the bottom of
Lake Mead, the Southern Nevada Water Authority on Thursday
voted to shelve a proposal for a multi-billion pipeline that
would have moved water from Northern and Eastern Nevada to Las
Vegas. The vote means the pipeline staunchly opposed by rural
communities, American Indian tribes and conservationists is
dead – or at least going into a long, deep coma.
Thursday, the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy announced that it
has received three grants totaling over $2.1 million for the
Gualala River Mill Bend Conservation Project that they are
stewarding for the community.
The Klamath Project, a U.S. government-operated waterworks that
steers runoff from the towering Cascades to more than 200,000
acres of potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, onions and other produce on
both sides of the state line, is running low on supplies. The
local water agencies served by the project say they may not
have water to send to farms beyond next month.
When a Phoenix company floated a proposal last year to build
two hydroelectric dams on the Little Colorado River, it faced
an outpouring of opposition. … Taking note of the criticisms,
the two businessmen who run the company have pivoted to a
different approach. They propose to move the project off
the Little Colorado River to an adjacent canyon to the east,
where they would build four dams.
Construction crews will soon begin work to restore Marsh Creek
along a nearly one-mile, treeless stretch near downtown
Brentwood. Crews are expected to close off the trail in the
area from Sungold Park to Dainty Avenue on Tuesday in the first
phase of a project to improve habitat and water quality for
fish and birds and to create a shady, natural creek corridor
for residents while keeping the community protected from floods
The Hi-Desert Water District opposes the proposed new status,
noting that the Joshua tree is already protected locally with
both city and county ordinances. They also said that, if the
listing was approved, it could deter people from building in
the Morongo Basin because most undeveloped plots in the area
have Joshua trees that developers will have to transplant or
The Southern Nevada Water Authority voted Thursday to withdraw
all pending groundwater importation applications, return a
right-of-way associated with groundwater importation plans to
the Bureau of Land Management and take other actions to move
the multibillion-dollar groundwater development project —
sometimes referred to as the water pipeline project — into
“indefinite deferred status.”
Outbreaks of E. coli illness that sickened 188 people who ate
romaine lettuce grown in California probably came from cattle
grazing near the farms, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
said in a report released Thursday. … Investigators concluded
that the illness was centered on ranches and fields owned by
the same grower and that were located downslope from public
land where cattle grazed.
ACWA retained Probolsky Research to conduct a bilingual
statewide survey of 900 California voters during March. The
results showed that a majority of respondents – 62% –
support Voluntary Agreements as an approach under development
by a coalition of California interests including cities,
conservation organizations, farmers and state and federal
In letters addressed to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and
Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Association of California Water Agencies
is urging state and federal officials to rejoin talks on
voluntary agreements to address ecosystem needs in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
For Indians, confronting economic uncertainty and food
shortages has been part of life since Europeans arrived in our
lands. … This is why the Yurok Tribe is fighting so hard to
remove Klamath River dams and restore the salmon runs that have
fed our people since the beginning of time.
The agreement between property owners, nonprofits and multiple
governmental agencies outlines a plan to remove the weir, or
low wooden dam at the mouth of the lagoon, and excavate the
entire 220-acre preserve to restore tidal flushing. … Without
intervention, the lagoon would continue to fill with sediment
and vegetation until it eventually disappears.
Increased frequency and severity of droughts threatens
California’s endangered salmon population — but pools that
serve as drought refuges could make the difference between life
and death for these vulnerable fish, according to a study by
researchers from UC Berkeley and California Sea Grant…
The authors provide an overview of how water supports Earth’s
resilience and propose an approach for analyzing and better
understanding global water cycle modifications focused on three
central questions: What water-related changes could lead to
global tipping points? How and where is the water cycle
particularly vulnerable? And how do local changes in water
stores and fluxes affect regional and global processes and vice
A new study led by Adam Schreiner-McGraw, a postdoctoral
hydrology researcher at University of California, Riverside,
modeled shrub encroachment on a sloping landscape and reached a
startling conclusion: Shrub encroachment on slopes can increase
the amount of water that goes into groundwater storage. The
effect of shrubs is so powerful that it even counterbalances
the lower annual rainfall amounts expected during climate
Facing uncertain revenues in the year ahead, state officials
said they would prioritize programs aimed at improving air
quality in disadvantaged communities, providing safe and
affordable drinking water and improving forest health
and fire protection.
Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs have begun to spawn, laying small
snow-globe sized egg masses in streams and rivers. They are one
of the few stream-breeding frogs endemic to California and
Oregon. This species is a good indicator of stream health
because they link aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and are
strongly tied to natural seasonal cues associated with local
The Trump administration’s long-anticipated water jurisdiction
rule has already drawn a half-dozen legal challenges since its
April release, with more on the way. The Navigable Waters
Protection Rule narrows which types of wetlands and waterways
trigger federal Clean Water Act oversight, replacing
interpretations by Obama-era officials and earlier
administrations. … Here’s a breakdown of key legal arguments:
This interdisciplinary study by plant biologists and physicists
is important because it potentially explains how plants take up
water in very dry soil — such as drought-tolerant plants in
Southern California and in the desert — and survive, said Cal
State Fullerton plant biologist H. Jochen Schenk, a co-author
of the paper.
For decades, sediment buildup in California’s Butano Creek
caused an array of issues for both fish and people. It flooded
roads and local communities, prevented steelhead and coho
salmon from migrating, and contributed to substantial die-offs
of fish. In October 2019, the NOAA Restoration Center and
partners finished a $7 million effort to remove the sediment
and restore the creek.
My colleagues and I worked with Assemblymember Rudy Salas
(D-Bakersfield), to craft AB 2642, which will create the
Multibenefit Land Conversion Incentive Program… This new
program will provide incentive payments to farmers and
landowners who voluntarily repurpose their agricultural land to
other less water-intensive uses for a minimum of 10 years.
The Round Valley Indian Tribes, California Trout, Humboldy
County, the Mendocino Inland Water and Power Commission and
Sonoma Water have formed a group called the Two-Basin
Partnership and announced the filing of a feasibility report
with FERC on Wednesday.
A partnership of numerous Northern California agencies intends
to file an initial plan to acquire the Potter Valley project
from the Pacific Gas and Electric Co., multiple sources
confirmed. The coalition will submit a document to the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission for its consideration. If
approved, the group may be able to form a partnered ownership
of complex water infrastructure dividing the Eel and Russian
An intense, long and dangerous fire season is projected.
Degraded north state watersheds threaten California’s water
supply and reliability, and northern rural counties rank among
the highest in the nation for unemployment. This combination of
risks is daunting, but if addressed together can yield benefits
and outcomes far greater than addressing each problem
A spring storm had retreated inland during the night, leaving a
canopy of unbroken clouds over San Diego’s Mission Bay. About
20 engineering students and others gathered in the morning
chill to launch a cockeyed-looking vessel, mechanical guts
fully visible, into the still water.
All animals leave traces of genetic material in their
environment, and for those organisms living in water, this
means their DNA is constantly being shed into the rivers or
lakes where they reside. Like something out of Star Trek,
scientists can essentially scan for lifeforms by filtering this
environmental DNA (eDNA) out of the water and utilizing
molecular techniques to either detect a certain species or to
assess the composition of the entire aquatic community.
The University’s Adrian Harpold recently led a team in
developing a modeling tool to focus on the issue of water
quantity. The tool predicts how different approaches to
thinning the forest impact snowpack accumulation in Lake Tahoe,
which controls how much water is available for downstream
communities such as Reno.
Following passage of SGMA, The Nature Conservancy received a
$1.8 million Conservation Innovation Grant from USDA’s Natural
Resources Conservation Service to develop the Fox Canyon Water
Market. TNC, supported by project partners Fox Canyon
Groundwater Management Agency and California Lutheran
University, sought to establish a market-driven approach to
reduce groundwater pumping.
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced
today the availability of up to $5 million for wetland
mitigation banks. This funding through the Wetland Mitigation
Banking Program is available to help conservation partners
develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural
producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.
A major response to the state’s biodiversity challenge has been
the California Biodiversity Initiative of 2018, which was
supported by Governor Brown and continues to be supported by
Governor Newsom. … However, it also has a major flaw: it is
so focused on terrestrial ecosystems and native plants that it
overlooks the needs of native aquatic (freshwater) species,
habitats, and ecosystems. California’s aquatic biodiversity is
particularly imperiled, as it is worldwide…
For us, better science is the only path that can achieve those
two important goals. Unfortunately, as the state completed its
new permitting effort at the end of March, a decade of research
was largely ignored in favor of political objectives that
impose unjustified restrictions on the State Water Project …
The Truckee Town Council has approved a resolution to accept
$2.31 million in funds from the California Department of Fish
and Wildlife for the restoration of Trout Creek The money will
be used as part of the project extending Church Street, which
is part of the larger Truckee Railyard Master Plan.
The U.S. Department of Interior started a water experiment
along the Colorado Friday, May 1, at the Glen Canyon Dam,
located near Page Arizona. The experiment is meant to improve
the egg-laying conditions for insects that live at least some
part of their lives in the water, which are the primary food
source for endangered Colorado River fish as well as native
By examining the carbon isotope composition of tree-rings,
researchers from Swinburne and the University of California,
Davis have compiled the first comprehensive global database for
water-use efficiency. Water-use efficiency is a key measure of
how much water trees are sending back to the atmosphere.
On a recent sunny, windy March day – just before COVID-19 sent
the [San Francisco] Bay Area into lockdown – Dave Halsing stood
on the trails at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and
pointed out what used to be old industrial salt ponds. He noted
how they’re gradually being restored into a rich mosaic of
tidal wetlands and other ecosystems in the South Bay Salt Pond
Dr. Laurel Larsen, an expert in hydroecology, landscape
dynamics, complex environmental systems, and environmental
restoration, was unanimously appointed by the Delta Stewardship
Council on Thursday as lead scientist. Most recently, Dr.
Larsen has served as an associate professor in the Department
of Geography and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UC
Point Blue Conservation Science is excited to share a new
climate-smart resource for Sierra meadow restoration: the
Sierra Meadow Planting Palette Tool and Tool User Guide . The
purpose of this tool is to help restoration practitioners plan
for climate change by identifying plant species that have
traits that will increase the likelihood that they will
survive, recruit, and continue to provide additional
co-benefits under projected future conditions.
Solano County will receive $750,000 from the state Department
of Water Resources for the development of a Cache Slough
Habitat Conservation Plan. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday
approved the agreement with the state…
Two separate coalitions of environmental advocacy groups filed
litigation on Wednesday against the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers challenging
the Trump Administration’s rollback of the Clean Water Act.
South Bay leaders are once again calling for action to fix
cross border pollution. … Tuesday, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge
Dedina told FOX 5 that the Tijuana sewage system has collapsed
and is spewing about 60 million gallons of untreated sewage
each day in the river.
The largest wetland restoration project in the history of the
Lake Tahoe Basin is now underway in the Upper Truckee River
Marsh. The major project to restore the marsh in South Lake
Tahoe has been years in the making to fix the environmental
damage done by the creation of the Tahoe Keys.
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.
To prevent flooding and manage water levels in a Sonoma creek,
a pond leveler will be installed where a family of beavers is
living, Sonoma County Water Agency officials said. The pond
leveler will help water transfer through the beaver dam so that
the pond doesn’t cause flooding. It will also assist with
maintaining the habitat for the beavers…
The Court decision introduces the concept of a “functional
equivalent of a direct discharge” as a guideline for when a
point source discharge must obtain a permit. It cites the case
of an injection well receiving pollutant discharge that then
travels a few feet through groundwater into navigable waters as
a clear case of “functional equivalent” to direct discharge.
A fundraising campaign is underway for a salt marsh restoration
effort near Martinez that a local nonprofit preservation group
sees as both an educational opportunity and a small component
in improving the ecology of the Contra Costa County shoreline.
Oregon Water Resources Director Thomas Byler sent a letter to
Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office manager Jeff Nettleton
on Thursday, confirming it has taken exclusive charge of Upper
Klamath Lake… The order said it prohibits U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation from diverting stored water in Upper Klamath Lake
through Link River for purposes of a 50,000 acre-feet flushing
flow without a water right.
At the 2020 California Water Law Symposium, a panel discussed
the project. Seated on the panel was Richard Roos-Collins, a
principal with the Water and Power Law Group and General
Counsel for the Klamath River Renewal Corporation; Paul
Weiland, lawyer for Siskiyou County; and Mike Belchik, Senior
Fisheries Biologist with the Yurok Tribe.
The Department of Water Resources announced $7 million in
grants to restore streams, creeks, and rivers to more natural
environmental conditions and reduce flood damage risks across
multiple communities in California.
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Clean Water Act
applies to some pollutants that reach the sea and other protected
waters indirectly through groundwater. The case, County of Maui
v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260, concerned a wastewater
treatment plant on Maui, Hawaii, that used injection wells to
dispose of some four million gallons of treated sewage each
When the Water Forum Agreement was officially signed 20 years
ago, the occasion marked an unprecedented show of regional
cooperation. For years, interests representing business, the
environment, water suppliers and others had sparred over the
water needs of people vs. the environment of the lower American
Although it is clear that river discharge is the major source
of plastic pollution entering the oceans, there remains
uncertainty around how plastic pollution is transported through
rivers and coastal marine waters. How important is stormflow
for delivering plastic pollution from rivers to the coastal
ocean? How are microplastics transported through coastal
environments? How much is eventually sinking and settling on
Lewis MacAdams, a poet and crusader for restoring the concrete
Los Angeles River to a more natural state and co-founder of one
of the most influential conservation organizations in
California, has died. He was 75.
Now, just as the first Earth Day in 1970 gave U.S. policymakers
a chance to chart a fresh course for conservation, this year’s
50th anniversary offers lawmakers an opportunity to act on a
growing body of evidence that free-flowing, well-protected
rivers serve the greater public good.
Today, the Bureau of Reclamation updated the water supply
allocation for Friant Division Central Valley Project contracts
for the 2020 contract year. The Friant Division provides water
for 15,000 family farms and several cities in the Central
Valley. … Given the current hydrologic conditions,
Reclamation is increasing the Class 1 allocation from 40% to
55%; Class 2 remains at 0%.
Pulling the plug on the eve of Earth Day, the Environmental
Protection Agency eliminated critical pollution rules from the
Obama era that had safeguarded at-risk ecosystems and drinking
water across the country. The new Navigable Waters Protection
Rule, in the works since President Donald Trump’s inauguration,
was finalized Tuesday.
The whole San Francisco Bay ecosystem—that enormous estuary
with its maze of bays, rich delta, and associated rivers and
streams—is in the midst of an ecological calamity. Decades of
dam building and water extraction to quench the thirst of
California’s growing population and the needs of its mighty
agriculture industry have starved the state’s waterways, as
well as the bay itself, of crucial freshwater supplies. As a
result, the entire estuary is under enormous stress.
On March 13, 2020, water users in the Klamath Reclamation
Project (Project) petitioned the United States Supreme Court to
review the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Baley,
et al. v. United States, et al. (Baley). The decision denied
the water users’ takings claims for the 2001 Project water
shutoff on water law grounds.
Yolo Basin Foundation’s Board of Directors announced this week
that Chelsea Martinez has been named the Foundation’s new
executive director. … Martinez joined the Foundation in 2017
as the Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator and has grown
and sustained the Foundation’s volunteer base to over 200
volunteers as well as helped to increase community involvement
in its programs.
In the past decade, environmental groups have had success
bringing back patches of life in parts of the river delta. In
these green islands surrounded by the desert, water delivered
by canals and pumps is helping to nourish wetlands and forests.
Cottonwoods and willows have been growing rapidly. Birds have
been coming back and are singing in the trees.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority is ending a decades-long
effort to build a controversial 300-mile pipeline to pump rural
groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. On Thursday
afternoon, the water authority confirmed in a statement that it
would not appeal a recent court ruling that denied the agency a
portion of its water rights.
Since this year marked the first since 1862 that not a single
drop of rain fell in Santa Cruz County during the month of
February, efforts to sustainably manage water were at the
forefront of the conversation. The symposium kicked off with an
introduction from County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who
discussed the ongoing work to develop sustainable groundwater
The U.S. Forest Service has suspended controlled burns on
public lands in wildfire-prone California because of the
coronavirus pandemic, upsetting officials who see the program
as key to preventing seasonal infernos like those that
devastated parts of the state in 2018.
The flagship of DWR’s Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP),
the Sentinel is used as a floating laboratory that monitors
water quality and ecosystem biology in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Estuaries.
Ted Grantham is a Cooperative Extension Specialist at UC
Berkeley and the CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow with the Public
Policy Institute of California. … In this presentation, Dr.
Grantham discussed environmental flows and the policy context
in California in which environmental flows are managed and how
that has evolved over time.
California’s top environmental agency said it would “fill any
enforcement gaps” left by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency’s decision last month to relax oversight in the wake of
the coronavirus pandemic.
Federal and state officials are scrambling to develop plans to
fight the West’s wildfires during a pandemic, before a fire
season forecast to be worse than normal flares up next month.
One thing is clear: The coronavirus will put a “hard stop” to
the traditional way federal agencies attack wildfires, with
large groups in close quarters, said Kerry Greene, public
information officer for the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting
Opponents of the mine expansion in Elko County are worried
about phase two of the Long Canyon Mine near Wells that
includes a dewatering plan that would pump billions of gallons
of water annually from an aquifer deep below the Pequop Range
and Goshute Valley.
The Kern River can’t seem to stay out of California’s
courtrooms — even in a pandemic. … On Friday, April 9, North
Kern Water Storage District unsuccessfully sought to have a
Ventura County court slap a temporary restraining order on the
City of Bakersfield to force it to hold 20,000 acre feet of
water in Lake Isabella to sell to the ag water district later
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation’s plans to remove four
dams on the Klamath River in the US has taken a major step
forward with the issuance of key documents from the California
State Water Board. The plan – the largest dam removal project
in the US – would re-open 360 miles of the Klamath River and
its tributaries to salmon.
Southern California Edison, the operators of the San Onofre
Nuclear Generating Station, is still investigating what caused
the release of 7,000 gallons of sewage into the ocean last
month but it appears the culprits were a blockage in the
facility’s sewage treatment plant and a worn out pump switch.
Our guests discuss what the WOTUS rule is and how it was
developed, what was formerly protected under the Obama era rule
and what water bodies and ecosystem services have lost federal
protection under the new rule. They also discuss whether state
level protections are sufficient and whether science backs the
new rule (it doesn’t).
Southern Resident killer whales have long pursued the biggest
and most nourishing Chinook salmon from coastal Pacific waters.
Chinook salmon fishing is also a mainstay of the West Coast
economy, generating nearly $72 million in income last year. Is
there room for both? The answer is yes, with safeguards.
Big Chico Creek is an ideal stream to monitor fish populations
for a number of reasons. For one, the creek’s flow patterns,
especially in the area we surveyed, have hardly been altered
from their natural state, as there are no dams or large
diversions. As such, data from Big Chico Creek can provide
insights on how populations of threatened fish fare under
The largest dam removal project in U.S. history came one step
closer to fruition this week, as California issued permits for
breaching the four dams on the Klamath River. The State Water
Resources Control Board issued a Clean Water Act certification
and environmental assessment for the proposal to remove three
dams in Northern California and one in southern Oregon.
In the fall of 2018, a six-member independent Social Science
Task Force was charged by the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta
Science Program to develop a strategy for strengthening and
integrating social sciences into the science, management, and
policy landscape of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This
document summarizes the findings and recommendations of the
Los Angeles County can move forward on plans to develop 2,000
acres along the Santa Clara River without conducting a new
assessment of the project’s impact on local water supply, a
California appeals court ruled.
Three years ago, Dimitri Deheyn noticed intensely blue stringy
shapes as he examined jellyfish samples through a microscope in
his marine biology lab at the Scripps Institution of
Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
The Los Angeles River is special to Ed Reyes, who considers it
an integral part of his childhood. Reyes, 60, the executive
director of River LA and a former Los Angeles City councilman,
grew up about a half-mile from the river. He remembers playing
chicken with the rail cars and using his Stingray bike to dodge
the cars coming and going.
The Wildlife Conservation Board has approved approximately
$24.3 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams
throughout California. … The approved projects will lead to a
direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or
quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special
status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to
provide resilience to climate change.
As the climate changes, forests have figured out a way to adapt
to drought, a new study shows. … The results indicate that
tree communities, particularly in more arid regions, have
become more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of
less hardy trees.
The rules take the form of a state Fish and Wildlife Department
permit that will govern State Water Project deliveries from the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… But the permit does not
explicitly control the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central
Valley Project, which exports Delta water to San Joaquin Valley
farms. That means the two big government pumping operations
will likely adhere to different standards — possibly allowing
the federal project to boost deliveries at the expense of the