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.
Throughout his research, Simon Ferrigno has seen the statistic
range from 2,000 to 20,000 liters of water needed to make a
T-shirt. Instead of numbers, Ferrigno said the focus
should be on whether or not the water that’s used in the
process can be cleaned and repurposed for other needs.
San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust has purchased
another stretch of riverside land — an important piece of a
puzzle needed for a 22-mile public-access regional park
envisioned in north Fresno. The newly acquired Sumner Peck
Ranch boasts oak forest and riparian vistas alongside acres of
foothill vineyard, citrus, berries and landscaped event space.
… Ranch roads and meandering trails cut through habitat
used by deer, beaver, bobcat and migrating geese…
The local region’s current water year is shaping up to be one
of the driest on record according to Turlock Irrigation
District, with below-average rainfall amplifying California’s
existing state of drought. Data provided by TID
Hydrologist Olivia Cramer during Tuesday’s Board of Directors
meeting showed that from September 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021,
the Tuolumne River Watershed has so far received 5.55 inches of
precipitation. Compared to TID’s historical average of 19.02
inches for those same dates, the recent 2020-2021 rainfall
numbers account for just 37.9% of normal.
California has lost more than 90% of its wetlands since the
arrival of European settlers. Wetlands play an increasingly
crucial role in absorbing excess water and protecting coastal
and inland communities from flooding. They also provide
critical habitat for wildlife, including a variety of species
found nowhere else on Earth, some of which are at risk of
blinking out of existence…. we’ve identified three critical
lessons California has to offer the world to improve
restoration on a global scale… -Written by Julie Rentner, president of River Partners, and
Manuel Oliva, CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science.
A plan to bring water from the South Fork of the Kern River
through Isabella Lake and down 60 miles to farm fields west of
Bakersfield was unanimously approved by the Rosedale-Rio Bravo
Water Storage District board of directors on Tuesday. If the
environmental documents supporting that plan survive what is
sure to be a barrage of lawsuits brought by other Kern River
rights holders, Rosedale-Rio Bravo farmers could see South Fork
water in their furrows as early as this spring …
The Governor’s proposal for how to spend California’s $15
billion surplus includes $60 million in direct grants to help
replenish groundwater in the valley’s most depleted basins. The
measure specifies the money is to be used in “critically
over-drafted basins,” which lie mostly in the San Joaquin
Valley. Water managers were pleasantly surprised, but not
overwhelmed, by the amount.
Vicky Espinoza is on a mission. Vicky is passionate about
making sure rural, low-income communities and small-scale
farmers have a say in land-use and water-management decisions
in the San Joaquin Valley.
The San Joaquin River is the longest in Central California and
now residents have a chance to see a part of it up close after
the San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust acquired the
Sumner Peck Ranch off Friant Road and its river-accessible
Backers of a $3 billion project to construct the tallest dam in
California swear the project isn’t dead, despite the Temperance
Flat Reservoir Authority returning money and canceling
applications. After it became clear that the reservoir project
on the San Joaquin River west of Auberry would not reach
upcoming deadlines for studies and funding, Temperance Flat
Reservoir Authority declined $171 million designated by the
California Water Commission and withdrew its application for
additional funding, according to a resolution signed by the
Authority on Oct. 30.
After a record-setting season of catastrophic wildfires in
California, no single fire in 2020 burned more than the Creek
Fire in the Upper San Joaquin River watershed east of Fresno.
The Creek Fire, the largest single-source fire in California
history, ravaged nearly 380,000 acres from September to
November. Now, with 35% of the watershed burned, hydrologists
want to better understand what impact the Creek Fire may have
on spring runoff – essential to the San Joaquin Valley’s water
supply and to the welfare of a burgeoning salmon population.
Over the past three years, a team of scientists from
universities, NGOs, and state agencies across California have
been working to provide guidance on how to better manage river
flows for freshwater ecosystems throughout the state. A key
product of this effort is the California Environmental Flows
Framework (Framework), a guidance document and set of tools to
help managers and stakeholders develop environmental flow
recommendations for California’s rivers.
Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.
This virtual experience focuses on the San Joaquin Valley, the southern part of the vast region, which is facing challenges after years of drought, dwindling water supplies, decreasing water quality and farmland conversion for urban growth. The tour gives participants an understanding of the region’s water use and issues as well as the agricultural practices, including new technologies and water-saving measures.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has signed a record of decision,
finalizing an environmental impact statement that gives
clearance for the Friant-Kern Canal project to proceed. The
canal needs repairs as a result of land subsidence.
To protect smelt and salmon, there need to be reasonable water
temperature standards in the Delta. The existing water
temperature standard in the lower Sacramento River above the
Delta is 68oF, but managers of the state and federal water
projects pay it almost no heed.
At the October meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection
Board, Elizabeth Vasquez, Deputy Program Manager for the San
Joaquin River Restoration Program for the Bureau of Reclamation
and Paul Romero, Supervising Engineer with DWR’s South Central
Region Office, updated the board members on the ongoing
implementation of the program.
Environmental groups’ challenges to agricultural waste
discharge requirements for the eastern San Joaquin River
watershed have been denied by a judge in Sacramento, which a
California Farm Bureau Federation attorney described as a legal
victory for affected farmers and for farmers statewide.
Protecting the health of California’s rivers, estuaries, and
wetlands has been the grandest—and perhaps thorniest—of the
many challenges facing the state’s water managers. The San
Joaquin River watershed, the state’s third largest and an
important water source for irrigating farmland in the San
Joaquin Valley, epitomizes this challenge. Yet California is
making progress here, bringing a glimmer of hope.
At the October meeting of the California Water Commission,
Aaron Fakuda representing Temperance Flat Authority and Bill
Swanson, Principal Engineer with Stantec discussed the
project’s status with the Commission.
Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast
tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors
within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain
though it into the Pacific Ocean. Lately, however, scientists
say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive…