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