The San Joaquin River, which helps
drain California’s Central Valley, has been negatively impacted
by construction of dams, inadequate streamflows and poor water
quality. Efforts are now underway to restore the river and
continue providing agricultural lands with vital irrigation,
among other water demands.
After an 18-year lawsuit to restore water flows to a 60-mile dry
stretch of river and to boost the dwindling salmon populations,
the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement is underway.
Water releases are now used to restore the San Joaquin River and
to provide habitat for naturally-reproducing populations of
self-sustaining Chinook salmon and other fish in the San Joaquin
River. Long-term efforts also include measures to reduce or avoid
adverse water supply impacts from the restoration flows.
In mid-April of 2020, Restore the Delta hosted a webinar where
they discussed the history of water planning and the voluntary
agreements, including their numerous concerns. … Before
addressing the main topic of the webinar, Executive Director
Barbara Barrigan-Parilla noted that there are many in the Delta
who aren’t on the webinar due to lack of reliable internet
service in rural communities, affordability issues, and/or lack
of access to devices.
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
With the realization that California has decades worth of
opposition to building reservoirs on its record, it now makes
sense to take the dam application, submitted and approved by
them, to the federal government for help instead.
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%.
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.
For the last four years, our team at UC Davis has been
conducting scientific studies on reintroduced spring-run
Chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River and we wanted to take a
minute to share some of what we’ve learned. Plus, everyone
loves a good comeback story right?
Voluntary agreements in California have been touted as an
innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions
in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed
it. … Yet, no one said it would be easy getting interest
groups with sometimes sharply different views – and some, such
as farmers, with livelihoods heavily dependent on water — to
reach consensus on how to address the water quality and habitat
needs of the Delta watershed.
California State Parks’ Division of Boating and Waterways on
Thursday announced plans to control aquatic invasive species in
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Beginning April 20, the DBW
will start herbicide treatments on floating aquatic vegetation
such as water hyacinth and alligatorweed, and submersed aquatic
vegetation such as Egeria densa and curlyleaf pondweed.
Voluntary agreements in California
have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve
environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
and the rivers that feed it. The goal is to provide river flows
and habitat for fish while still allowing enough water to be
diverted for farms and cities in a way that satisfies state
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.
A rare, wild green sturgeon was found on the San Joaquin River
upriver from the confluence of the Merced this past weekend by
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation crews checking salmon traps at Hills
Ferry. The discovery caused some excitement as this endangered
fish had not been seen that far up the San Joaquin in many
years, according to National Marine Fisheries Service staff.
The City of Lathrop built a well in 2003 near what is now River
Islands to serve future development in the Mossdale and River
Islands areas. But it has yet to function as a regular and
contributing part of the city’s water system – mired by water
quality issues and problems with the construction of the
original well itself.
In a recent announcement from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
(USBR), Friant Division contractors will be receiving an
increased water allocation. USBR has doubled the Class 1
allocation to 40 percent for Friant Division Central Valley
Project contracts for the 2020 contract year.
While the bulk of the $175 million goes toward addressing
seepage issues along San Joaquin River levees, a dry levee in
southwest Manteca plays a key role in making sure potential
breaks along the San Joaquin south of RD-17 or levee failures
on the Stanislaus River don’t flood portions of either city.
Congress began the process of providing relief to the San
Joaquin Valley when it comes to the Friant-Kern Canal and clean
drinking water in rural communities when a subcommittee held a
hearing on two bills sponsored by T.J. Cox.
Time and time again seemingly well-intentioned initiatives and
repeated attempts to develop a comprehensive water management
solution have failed, despite cautionary tales. However, 2019
witnessed the horizon of a new initiative called the Voluntary
Agreements that could do what few, if any, past plans, efforts,
or reports could do – unite water management and develop
We are on the brink of a historic accomplishment in California
water to resolve longstanding conflicts through comprehensive
voluntary agreements that substitute collaboration and creative
solutions for perpetual litigation. For anyone to abandon this
transformative effort in favor of litigation would be a tragic
The main focus of the program are the barriers to fish passage
for salmon from Friant Dam to the ocean and back again. There
are three key barriers: the East Side Bypass Control Structure
which is in the flood bypass; Sack Dam, which is the intake for
Arroyo Canal for Henry Miller irrigation system; and Mendota
Dam which controls Mendota Pool. The program also needs to
ensure enough habitat for the fish when they return to complete
their life cycle,