Topic: Wetlands

Overview

Wetlands

Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems in the world. They produce high levels of oxygen, filter toxic chemicals out of water, reduce flooding and erosion and recharge groundwater. They also serve as critical habitat for wildlife, including a large percentage of plants and animals on California’s endangered species list.

As the state has grown into one of the world’s leading economies, Californians have developed and transformed the state’s marshes, swamps and tidal flats, losing as much as 90 percent of the original wetlands acreage—a greater percentage of loss than any other state in the nation.

While the conversion of wetlands has slowed, the loss in California is significant and it affects a range of factors from water quality to quality of life.

Wetlands still remain in every part of the state, with the greatest concentration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watershed, which includes the Central Valley. The Delta wetlands are especially important because they are part of the vast complex of waterways that provide two-thirds of California’s drinking water.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The sociology of science in environmental management: Reflections on “Fields and Streams”

We mostly blunder through sociological thinking on environmental management.  The book highlights the costs of this blundering in terms of environmental efficacy, distraction and waste of human time and resources, and expansions of controversy for already-hard environmental problems.

Aquafornia news CALMatters

Opinion: How to lead California on water

Too often, entrenched conflicts that pit water user against water user block efforts to secure a sustainable, equitable, and democratic water future in California. Striking a balance involves art and science, compassion and flexibility, and adherence to science and the law. Felicia Marcus is a public servant unknown to many Californians. But as she concludes her tenure as chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, we owe her a debt of gratitude for consistently reaching for that balance.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Fish in the fields

At the end of 2017, several local rice farmers teamed up with researchers for a pilot program known as “Fish in the Fields” through the Resource Renewal Institute, a nonprofit research and natural resource policy group, to see what would happen when fish were introduced to flooded rice fields. Now in its second year of experiments, researchers have concluded that it works, with methane – a climate-changing byproduct of rice agriculture much more detrimental than carbon dioxide – being reduced by about two-thirds, or 65 percent, in flooded fields that had fish in them.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump’s WOTUS: Clear as mud, scientists say

The Trump administration’s proposal might seem simpler to follow on wetlands because it wouldn’t protect those that are dry most of the time and don’t connect to larger downstream waters. But navigating the definition could be confusing when it comes to wetlands that do connect to streams that are dry during parts of the year.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Less talk, more action: It’s time to get serious about floodplain management

Many no longer recall the Great Midwest Flood despite its record-breaking precipitation, flooding and $13 billion price tag. Sure, 1993 seems like a long time ago, but I believe the reason the flood has left most people’s memory is because, over the last 25 years, the nation has experienced one devastating, record-breaking flood after another. Our memories are diluted by the frequency of such events.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

Banned pesticides and industrial chemicals found flowing from Tijuana into San Diego

There may be more in the sewage-tainted water that regularly spills over the border from Tijuana than many San Diegans realize. The cross-border pollution also contains potentially dangerous industrial and agricultural chemicals, according to a draft report compiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that was circulated to officials throughout the region on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Colorado River drought: Dispute puts Arizona piece of deal in jeopardy

Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community said in a statement Thursday that a decision by House Speaker Rusty Bowers to move forward with a contentious water bill threatens the community’s plan to support the drought agreement. The Gila River Indian Community’s involvement is key because it’s entitled to about a fourth of the Colorado River water that passes through the Central Arizona Project’s canal.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

Restoring the Colorado: Bringing new life to a stressed river

The Colorado River has been dammed, diverted, and slowed by reservoirs, strangling the life out of a once-thriving ecosystem. But in the U.S. and Mexico, efforts are underway to revive sections of the river and restore vital riparian habitat for native plants, fish, and wildlife. Last in a series.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Groundwater: Local agencies work toward sustainability

Farmers, water managers and government agencies agree: Groundwater sustainability is critical for California. But achieving it could bring significant changes to the state’s agricultural landscape, according to speakers at a Sacramento gathering of water professionals.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate approves major public lands, conservation bill

Lawmakers from both parties said the bill’s most important provision was to permanently reauthorize the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country. The program expired last fall after Congress could not agree on language to extend it.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Don’t miss opportunity to examine dire Salton Sea news firsthand

Ominous predictions about the desert lake’s ecological collapse are beginning to occur. You can see this sea up close during our Lower Colorado River Tour, Feb. 27-March 1, when we will visit the fragile ecosystem and hear from several stakeholders working to address challenges facing the sea.

Aquafornia news CALMatters

Opinion: Newsom can confront climate change by restoring rivers, habitat

Our floodplain reforestation projects are biodiversity hotspots and climate-protection powerhouses that cost far less than old-fashioned gray infrastructure of levees, dams and reservoirs. They provide highly-effective flood safety by strategically spreading floodwater. Floodplain forests combat the effects of drought by recharging groundwater and increasing freshwater supply.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: They’re big, furry and could destroy the Delta. California has a $2 million plan to kill them

California’s San Joaquin River Delta is in danger of being overrun by voracious beagle-sized rodents. The state has a plan to deal with them, but it’s going to take a lot of time and money. Nutria, a large South American rodent, have become an invasive species in several states, including Louisiana, Maryland and Oregon.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea fish and birds wiped out this winter

A year after Colorado River imports were diverted to urban areas from farms draining into the lake, dire predictions about what would occur are coming to pass. A long-predicted, enormous ecological transition is occurring this winter.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Plugging holes in the Clean Water Act: EPA and Army Corps release their proposed replacement rule defining “WOTUS”

According to the government, the proposed rule is also consistent with the statutory authority granted by Congress, legal precedent, and executive orders. Notably, the proposed definition would eliminate the process of determining whether a “significant nexus” exists between a water and a downstream traditional navigable water. 

Aquafornia news Times-Standard

Jared Huffman to head up oceans and water subcommittee in House

On Tuesday, the Democratic members of the House Committee on Natural Resources elected Huffman to serve as chair for the newly established Water, Ocean and Wildlife Subcommittee. The chair is the result of a long career championing environmental protections and, for Huffman, it’s both an honor and a welcome added responsibility.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump taps ex-California water lobbyist for Cabinet

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated David Bernhardt, the former top lobbyist for a powerful Fresno-based irrigation district, to run the Department of the Interior, raising renewed questions about whether he’d try to steer more California water to his former clients. … Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for Westlands Water District, which serves farmers in Fresno and Kings counties and is one of the most influential customers of the federal government’s Central Valley Project.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Wetlands: Calif. clinches new regs just in time for federal rollback

After more than a decade of drafting and editing, California is poised to finally update its wetlands regulations this spring. The effort, which began after a pair of Supreme Court decisions limited federal wetlands protections, could be finalized just in time to insulate the state from a Trump administration proposal restricting which wetlands and waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: Upgrading the water grid

In September of 2018, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the report, “Managing Drought in a Changing Climate: Four Essential Reforms”, which asserted there are five climate pressures affecting California’s water… The report recommends four policy reforms: Plan ahead, upgrade the water grid, update water allocation rules, and find the money.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

After a long boom, an uncertain future for big dam projects

The rise of wind and solar power, coupled with the increasing social, environmental and financial costs of hydropower projects, could spell the end of an era of big dams. But even anti-dam activists say it’s too early to declare the demise of large-scale hydro.

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Climate resilience: Reconnecting creeks to tidal baylands

A new approach to flood management around the San Francisco Bay could trim maintenance costs for water agencies, restore habitat for endangered species, and help protect against rising seas. What links the three? Sediment. Winter storms push sediment down creeks that flow into the Bay and, long ago, these waterways fanned out when they reached the edge. Sediment settled there, nourishing tidal baylands — salt marshes and mudflats that are rich in wildlife, and also buffer the shore from storm surges, the highest tides, and sea level rise. Today few of these low-lying tidal baylands remain.

Aquafornia news The Bend Bulletin

Oregon rule would limit use of chemical that killed trees

A proposed statewide rule would curb the use of a controversial weedkiller linked to the death of more than a thousand trees near Sisters, but some environmentalists are concerned it doesn’t go far enough. The rule, which could be in effect by spring, would prohibit using herbicides containing aminocyclopyrachlor in wildlife management areas, swamps, canals, sage grouse habitat and many other natural environments, while maintaining temporary restrictions on use in right-of-ways for roads, highways, railroad tracks, bike paths and more. 

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Monday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers push for oversight of Delta tunnels project

A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature. The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office.

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

Republican governors focus on water

These red-state GOP governors are not taking aim at greenhouse-gas emissions like their blue-state Republican counterparts. Still, environmentalists should not dismiss their momentum on water. In several states won by Trump, water, literally a chemical bond, is also proving a bond that brings disparate people, groups, and political parties together around shared concerns for the Everglades, the Great Lakes, the Colorado River, and other liquid life systems.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Scott Dam in Lake County listed by CalTrout among top 5 dams to remove to benefit fish, habitat

Five dams across California – including one in Lake County that forms Lake Pillsbury – have been listed as key for removal by an advocacy group in the effort to stop the extinction of native salmon and steelhead. In response to what it calls a “statewide fish extinction crisis,” which indicates 74 percent of California’s native salmon, steelhead and trout species are likely to be extinct in the next century, the fish and watershed conservation nonprofit organization California Trout on Tuesday released its list of the top five dams prime for removal in the golden state.

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Area congressmen introduce Flood Insurance for Farmers Act

Congressmen John Garamendi and Doug LaMalfa have reintroduced legislation to provide farmers access to discounted rates under the National Flood Insurance Program. The  bipartisan Flood Insurance for Farmers Act of 2019 (H.R.830) would also lift the de facto federal prohibition on construction and repair of agricultural structures in high flood-risk areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

With water leasing vote, Colorado River Indian tribes will seek consequential legal change

The Colorado River Indian Tribes, or CRIT, have lands that stretch along 56 miles of the lower Colorado River. The tribe’s right to divert nearly 720,000 acre-feet from the river is more than twice the water that is allocated to the state of Nevada. By law, that water is to be used on the reservation. But if CRIT convinces Congress to allow off-reservation leasing, the change would free up a large volume of water that would be highly desirable for cities and industries.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: State board’s wetlands proposal needs to be clarified

It took more than a decade to create, but a revised state definition of wetlands and procedures to protect them from dredge-and-fill activities requires still more work to make the plan more clear and to reduce its impact on farmers, ranchers and foresters.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

When the levee breaks: A new approach to managing rivers

Early last year, construction started on a $90 million project to build seven miles of setback levees and floodplains to protect Hamilton City from floods on the Sacramento River. … The new barriers are much farther from the riverbanks—as far as a mile away in places. In some respects, the concept is absurdly simple: During heavy rains or spring snowmelt, rivers need room to expand; moving levees back from riverbanks provides it. Setback levees not only reduce the need for newer and larger dams and levees, but also restore the natural habitat. 

Aquafornia news Places Journal

The land where birds are grown: Engineered wetlands in California’s Central Valley

Maintaining functional wetlands in a 21st-century landscape dominated by agriculture and cities requires a host of hard and soft infrastructures. Canals, pumps, and sluice gates provide critical life support, and the lands are irrigated and tilled in seasonal cycles to essentially farm wildlife. Reams of laws and regulations scaffold the system.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Hoopa Valley Tribe wins lawsuit against feds

A federal court of appeals ruled Friday that PacifiCorp, which currently owns and operates several dams along the Klamath River, can no longer continue to use a controversial tactic which has allowed the company to avoid implementing mandatory requirements meant to protect the health of the Klamath River for over a decade. The decision marks a victory for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, who filed the lawsuit, and may expedite the removal of several Klamath River dams.

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Aquafornia news San Diego Community News Group

Wild wilder and wildest plans for wetlands in Mission Bay

Mission Bay is a microcosm of the worldwide battle being waged to save remaining dwindling wetlands. That battle is being played out locally with ReWild Mission Bay, a project of San Diego Audubon and its partners to enhance and restore wetlands in Mission Bay’s northeast corner. ReWild Mission Bay’s proposal is to enhance and restore more than 150 acres of wetlands in the northeast corner of Mission Bay, including the enhancement of 40 acres of existing tidal wetland habitat. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Explore ecological challenges facing the Salton Sea on our Lower Colorado River tour Feb. 27-March 1

On our Lower Colorado River Tour, Feb. 27-March 1, we will visit this fragile ecosystem that harbors 400 bird species and hear from several stakeholders working to address challenges facing the sea, including managers of the Imperial Irrigation District, the Salton Sea Authority and California’s appointed “Sea Czar,” assistant secretary on Salton Sea policy Bruce Wilcox.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Groundwater shortage takes on added importance in the Colorado River Delta

The restoration site is one of three south of the U.S.-Mexico border, in the riparian corridor along the last miles of the Colorado River. There, in the delta, a small amount of water has been reserved for nature, returned to an overallocated river whose flow has otherwise been claimed by cities and farms. Although water snakes through an agricultural canal system to irrigate the restoration sites, another source is increasingly important for restoring these patches of nature in the delta’s riparian corridor: groundwater.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Jackson commissioners ask state to block proposed pipeline

Citing impacts to water, soil and people, Jackson County commissioners are asking the state to block a proposed natural gas pipeline through Southern Oregon. The Oregon Department of State Lands is taking comments until Feb. 3 as it considers whether to grant a key permit for the controversial 239-mile pipeline that would stretch through Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties to a proposed export terminal north of Coos Bay.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Bureau of Reclamation names Ernest A. Conant Mid-Pacific Region director

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman today named Ernest A. Conant director of the Mid-Pacific Region. Conant has nearly 40 years of water law experience and previously served as senior partner of Young Wooldridge, LLP.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Critics slam WOTUS economics: ‘In theory, pigs could fly’

The Trump administration’s bid to restrict the Clean Water Act’s reach over streams and wetlands is backed by an … assumption that 29 states “may” or are “likely” to bolster dredge and fill regulations as federal oversight retreats. … Thus far, only California has made moves toward beefing up its wetlands protections.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Farms, more productive than ever, are poisoning drinking water in rural America

One in seven Americans drink from private wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Nitrate concentrations rose significantly in 21% of regions where USGS researchers tested groundwater from 2002 through 2012, compared with the 13 prior years. … “The worst-kept secret is how vulnerable private wells are to agricultural runoff,” says David Cwiertny, director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Local agencies are wrestling with how to adapt to a warming planet, and the crises it will create

Locally, the primary impacts of climate change on people can broadly be broken into four categories: sea level rise, drought, flood and wildfire. The good news is, work and planning are already well underway to mitigate impacts, though it’s hard to say how much of an effect the measures will have, and how much those agencies – and their constituents – will be willing to spend on them. But this much is clear: Local, state and federal agencies are taking climate change seriously, and treating it like the potentially existential threat that it is.

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Oakdale, South San Joaquin irrigation districts join water plan lawsuit

Citing what they say would be a disastrous decision for the region, the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts have joined with other members of the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority (SJTA) in a lawsuit challenging the state’s right to arbitrarily increase flows in the Stanislaus and two other rivers.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Newsom’s picks for environmental protection and water chiefs will reveal his priorities

Far less settled is how Newsom will fill his administration’s most important positions regarding state water policy. One of Newsom’s key tests confronts him immediate: State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus’ term expires this week.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

US sues Tetra Tech over Hunters Point shipyard work, claiming widespread fraud

Top managers of the environmental engineering firm Tetra Tech directed their employees to commit widespread fraud in the cleanup of America’s largest Superfund waste site, according to new legal complaints by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Aquafornia news UC Davis

Blog: Finding shovel-ready solutions for carbon sequestration

An ambitious new multicampus, multipartner consortium led by the University of California, Davis, and the UC Working Lands Innovation Center is taking on that challenge with the goal of finding ways to capture billions of tons of carbon dioxide and bring net carbon emissions in California to zero by 2045. The consortium has received a three-year, $4.7 million grant from the state of California’s Strategic Growth Council to research scalable methods of using soil amendments — rock, compost and biochar — to sequester greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in soil.

Aquafornia news Science Daily

Study: Idled farmland presents habitat restoration opportunities in San Joaquin Desert

Most of the native habitat in California’s San Joaquin Desert has been converted to row crops and orchards, leaving 35 threatened or endangered species confined to isolated patches of habitat. A significant portion of that farmland, however, is likely to be retired in the coming decades due to groundwater overdraft, soil salinity, and climate change. A new study … found that restoration of fallowed farmland could play a crucial role in habitat protection and restoration strategies for the blunt-nosed leopard lizard and other endangered species.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: The Delta is California’s heart. Gavin Newsom must save it

The confluence of California’s two great rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, creates the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. Those of us who live here call it, simply, the Delta.  It is part of my very fiber, and it is essential to California’s future. That’s why we must save it.

Aquafornia news Calif. Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Blog: Delta tunnels hearing at state Water Board drawing to a close

After more than three years, 104 days of testimony, and over twenty-four thousand pages of hearing transcripts, the hearing before the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) on the proposal to construct two tunnels to convey water under the Delta (aka California WaterFix) is almost completed.  Probably, that is: there could be more if the project changes again to a degree that requires additional testimony and/or environmental review.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: McCormack-Williamson Tract project aims to protect people and wildlife

The McCormack-Williamson Tract restoration project, a 1,500 acre site, lowers the levees on the north side of the island to allow the river to overtop into the site. On the south side, DWR will alleviate the surge flows that pose a risk to neighbors by opening small holes in the levee. 2018 saw the completion of construction of a levee to protect existing infrastructure on the site, as well as progress on habitat restoration plans. For the next phase, DWR will strengthen the interior levees and take steps toward opening the site up to tidal flows.

Aquafornia news The Hill

House votes to reopen Interior, EPA as shutdown fight wages on

The House approved legislation that would fund and reopen the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Forest Service in an 240-179 vote on Friday, the latest effort by Democrats to put pressure on Republicans and President Trump to end the partial shutdown. … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring any of the bills up to a vote in the Senate until there is a deal between Trump and Democrats on the president’s demand for border wall funding.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom appoints Wade Crowfoot to lead Natural Resources Agency

Wade Crowfoot will lead the agency that oversees state parks, the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, among other offices, Newsom announced Friday.

Aquafornia news UC Merced

News Release: Can our forests survive the next drought?

UC Merced researchers have evidence that California’s forests are especially vulnerable to multi-year droughts because their health depends on water stored several feet below ground.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Jeff Mount: Ecosystem water budgets are a novel approach to managing water for the environment

Mount, a senior fellow at the Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California, spoke recently about managing freshwater systems with ecosystem water budgets. “I will argue that drought, because of the way we have modified this system, is the major bottleneck ecologically,” he said. “Step 1 has to be thinking about drought: how to mitigate drought and how to deal with drought – that is plan for, respond to, and recover from drought. We don’t do that at all, even though we just had this big drought.”

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Klamath refuge management attacked from all sides

The U.S. Interior Department is facing three lawsuits filed by three environmental groups who allege its plans for the 200,000-acre Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex along the Oregon-California border violates several federal laws. A fourth complaint from six farms and agricultural groups alleges the agency has unlawfully exceeded its authority by restricting leases of refuge land for agricultural purposes.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

California regulation would broaden wetlands rules

Saying it will continue to protect environmentally sensitive waterways such as wetlands in California, even if federal protections on waters of the U.S. are limited, the State Water Resources Control Board has unveiled a final draft on how it plans to regulate dredge-and-fill activities in the state.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Gov. Newsom names Jared Blumenthal as California EPA chief

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has named Jared Blumenfeld, a former Obama administration official and longtime environmental advocate as the new secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Blumenfeld, 49, of San Francisco, will run the agency, known as Cal-EPA, which oversees a broad range of environmental and public health regulations statewide, on topics that include air pollution, water pollution, toxics regulation, pesticides and recycling. 

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Climate change effects on the State Water Project and Central Valley Project

In the latter half of 2018, both the federal and state governments released new climate change assessments that outline the projected course of climate change and its potential effects on water resources. At the December meeting of the California Water Commission, staff from the Department of Water Resources and the Delta Stewardship Council were on hand to present an overview of the newly released assessments.

Aquafornia news University of Nevada, Reno

Study: Great Basin snowpack becoming more ephemeral

Due to rising average temperatures, snowpacks in the Great Basin appear to be transitioning from seasonal, with a predictable amount and melt rate, to “ephemeral,” or short-lived, which are less predictable and only last up to 60 days. “We might not get as much water into the ground, throwing off the timing of water for plant root systems, reducing our supply and use, and even affecting businesses such as tourism,” says lead researcher Rose Petersky.

Aquafornia news California Water News Daily

Michael Montgomery selected as new executive officer, SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).

 

Other Event

CANCELED: U.S. EPA Hearing on Waters of the U.S. Rewrite

CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters. 

Kansas City, Kansas
Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration announces plan to roll back rules on stream, wetland protection

The Trump administration laid out plans Tuesday to roll back Obama-era rules protecting isolated streams and wetlands from industrial pollution, a move that conservation groups said could harm creeks and impact drinking water in the Bay Area and throughout California. The move by the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule, known as WOTUS, was hailed by farmers and industry, which have long sought to rewrite the rules.

Related Article:

Related News Release:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump administration poised to strip protections from up to two-thirds of California streams and millions of acres nationwide

The Trump administration is poised to roll back Clean Water Act protections on millions of acres of waterways and wetlands, including up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams, following through on a promise to agriculture interests and real estate developers to rewrite an Obama-era rule limiting pollution.

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Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Agencies celebrate Dutch Slough tidal wetlands restoration underway in Oakley

More than 1,000 acres of unused farmland in East Contra Costa County are slowly being converted back to the vibrant wetlands they once were in what’s hailed as the largest tidal marsh restoration project ever in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project, which recently broke ground, is the California Department of Water Resources’ first major tidal wetlands restoration in the Delta.

Related News Release:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Marsh project means more fish, birds and wildlife

A series of programs is under way to restore wetlands, the newest starting this week. The Department of Water Resources will break ground Wednesday at Dutch Slough in Oakley for what DWR calls its largest tidal wetlands restoration project — nearly 1,200 acres — in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Other projects by other agencies are transforming salt ponds to wetlands in the Napa-Sonoma Marsh and along South San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Proposition 3: Smart water plan or costly gift to farmers?

California voters may be feeling a sense of deja vu when they consider Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion water bond on the November ballot to fund a long list of water projects — from repairing Oroville Dam to restoring Bay Area wetlands to helping Central Valley farmers recharge depleted groundwater. Didn’t the voters recently approve a big water bond? Maybe two of them? Yes. And yes.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

A new chapter for Elkhorn Slough

As Congressman Jimmy Panetta stepped up on the podium at a ceremony last week at Hester Marsh, pelicans glided behind him to a landing near bobbing otters. The flurry of wildlife underlined Panetta’s message of just how crucial wetland habitat is. “We want to show the importance of Elkhorn Slough not just to the Central Coast, but to the world,” Panetta told the crowd of scientists, activists, and politicians.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

What Would You Do About Water If You Were California’s Next Governor?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Survey at Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit elicits a long and wide-ranging potential to-do list

There’s going to be a new governor in California next year – and a host of challenges both old and new involving the state’s most vital natural resource, water.

So what should be the next governor’s water priorities?

That was one of the questions put to more than 150 participants during a wrap-up session at the end of the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: On wetland regulation, we may define away nature at our own peril

The Trump Administration has moved decisively to weaken the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, a federal regulatory process that seeks to protect wetlands and seasonal streams from excessive development. This effort has suffered setbacks in the courts, which has only helped create more uncertainty about how these waters should be protected.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Amid Trump rollbacks, California moves to regulate wetlands on its own

California officials are poised to seize control over a major arena of federal regulation in response to Trump administration rollbacks: the management and protection of wetlands. Wetlands are vital features on the landscape. Basically low spots in a watershed, when they fill with water they provide important habitat for birds, fish and other species. Wetlands also help control floods and recharge groundwater, and they filter the water we drink.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

When Water Worries Often Pit Farms vs. Fish, a Sacramento Valley Farm Is Trying To Address The Needs Of Both
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: River Garden Farms is piloting projects that could add habitat and food to aid Sacramento River salmon

Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, with an example of a refuge like the ones that were lowered into the Sacramento River at Redding to shelter juvenile salmon.  Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.

And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Trump to stop seeking compensation for damage to public land

Oil drillers, miners, land developers and others will no longer be required to pay the federal government to offset damage to wildlife and habitats on public land, the Trump administration plans to announce Tuesday.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

One way to save birds: Pay farmers to flood their land

An innovative scheme to leverage Central Valley farmland as temporary wetlands on the Pacific Flyway helped birds navigate California’s five-year drought, according to a new analysis.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California prepares for extreme weather by planting trees

For years, there has been a movement in California to restore floodplains, by moving levees back from rivers and planting trees, shrubs and grasses in the low-lying land between. The goal has been to go back in time, to bring back some of the habitat for birds, animals and fish that existed before the state was developed.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump’s move to redefine water rule threatens wetlands banks

In the decades since President George H.W. Bush pledged a goal of “no net loss” of U.S. wetlands, this uniquely American mix of conservation and capitalism has been supported by every president since then, growing the market for wetlands mitigation credits from about 40 banks in the early 1990s to nearly 1,500 today. Investors include Chevron and Wall Street firms, working alongside the Audubon Society and other environmental groups. Now the market is at risk.

Western Water Water Education Foundation

ON THE ROAD: Cosumnes River Preserve Offers Visitors a Peek at What the Central Valley Once Looked Like
Preserve at the edge of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta includes valley oak forests and wintering grounds for cranes

Sandhill cranes gather at the Cosumnes River Preserve south of Sacramento.Deep, throaty cadenced calls — sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands, farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the Cosumnes River Preserve, 46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Tour

Bay-Delta Tour 2018

Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaWe traveled deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Pruitt takes Clean Water Act decisions away from regional EPA offices

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been methodically weakening air pollution rules over the past year, is now taking control of key decision-making on the protection of streams and wetlands from the agency’s regional administrators, an internal memo shows. At issue is something known as “geographic jurisdiction,” agency speak for which bodies of water do, or do not, fall under the Clean Water Act.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Bundle Gary Pitzer

Statewide Water Bond Measures Could Have Californians Doing a Double-Take in 2018
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Two bond measures, worth $13B, would aid flood preparation, subsidence, Salton Sea and other water needs

San Joaquin Valley bridge rippled by subsidence  California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.

Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to the Delta

ON THE ROAD: Park Near Historic Levee Rupture Offers Glimpse of Old Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Big Break Regional Shoreline will be a stop on Bay-Delta Tour May 16-18

Visitors explore a large, three-dimensional map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. Along the banks of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in Oakley, about 50 miles southwest of Sacramento, is a park that harkens back to the days when the Delta lured Native Americans, Spanish explorers, French fur trappers, and later farmers to its abundant wildlife and rich soil.

That historical Delta was an enormous marsh linked to the two freshwater rivers entering from the north and south, and tidal flows coming from the San Francisco Bay. After the Gold Rush, settlers began building levees and farms, changing the landscape and altering the habitat.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

With Supreme Court challenge, tech billionaire could dismantle beach access rights — and a landmark coastal law

The California Coastal Act for decades has scaled back mega-hotels, protected wetlands and, above all, declared that access to the beach was a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone. But that very principle could be dismantled in the latest chapter of an all-out legal battle that began as a local dispute over a locked gate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA chief’s clean-water rollback shaped by secrecy, luxury travel and handpicked audiences

As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt jetted around the country last year, regularly flying first or business class at hefty taxpayer expense, his stated mission was often a noble one: to hear from Americans about how Washington could most effectively and fairly enforce the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Salt marshes will vanish in less than a century if seas keep rising and California keeps building, study finds

Coastal wetlands such as Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County, the marshes along Morro Bay and the ecological preserve in Newport Beach can purify the air, cleanse urban runoff before it flows into the sea and reduce flooding by absorbing storm surges like a sponge. But there’s little room left for this ecosystem along the changing Pacific Coast, as the sea continues to rise and Californians continue to develop the shore. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California among states challenging Trump delay of ‘Clean Water Rule’

California is once again suing the Trump Administration, joining New York and eight other states in a case about water. The states filed the lawsuit Tuesday just hours after federal agencies announced a new delay in the federal Clean Water Rule.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

EPA chief says he is disarming agency ‘weaponized’ by Obama

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said the Trump administration is “righting the wrongs” of President Barack Obama by reversing a host of regulations designed to “weaponize” the agency and punish the fossil fuel industry.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Attorneys general sue Trump administration over water rule

Eleven Democratic state attorneys general on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump’s administration over its decision to delay implementation of an Obama-era rule that would have expanded the number of wetlands and small waterways protected by the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Rule: Supreme Court ruling complicates next steps on WOTUS

The text of the Clean Water Act trumped all of the government’s arguments in the long-running fight over which courts have jurisdiction over the Obama administration’s contentious water rule. … The Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule aimed to clarify which wetlands and streams receive automatic protection under the Clean Water Act after years of confusion caused by the infamously muddled 2006 Supreme Court Rapanos decision.

Tour Nick Gray

Bay-Delta Tour 2019
Field Trip - June 5-7

This tour travels deep into California’s water hub and traverses the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour will make its way to San Francisco Bay and includes a ferry ride.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California commits to timetable for Salton Sea projects

California’s top water regulators adopted an agreement that commits the state to following through on plans of building wetlands and controlling dust around the shrinking Salton Sea over the next 10 years.  The order approved Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board sets targets for state agencies in building thousands of acres of ponds, wetlands and other dust-control projects around the lake.

Aquafornia news Center for American Progress

Commentary: Trump’s burdensome and costly deregulatory agenda

Despite the Trump administration’s claims that deregulation will lead to economic growth, an analysis of three of his most significant proposed deregulatory efforts shows that they will result in tremendous societal cost. In Executive Order 13778, Trump directed agencies to review the Waters of the United States rule, which provides protections for streams and wetlands.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: $200 million for Salton Sea in California bond measure

Earlier this month, a proposed bond measure in the California Legislature had included $280 million to pay for building thousands of acres of ponds, wetlands and other dust-control projects around the Salton Sea. This week, after negotiations among lawmakers, the amount earmarked for the Salton Sea was slashed to $200 million.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California farmer to pay $1.1 million fine for plowing field (with audio)

A California farmer has agreed to pay $1.1 million in penalties for violating the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Northern California farmer settles in environmental case involving plowing fine

Northern California farmer John Duarte spent years fighting the federal government after being fined for plowing over protected wetlands on his property. … But just before his trial was set to start Tuesday, Duarte settled.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Butte County Farm Bureau issues challenge to assist John Duarte legal battle

In a show of support, the Butte County Farm Bureau visited John Duarte’s Paskenta Road property south of Red Bluff Friday morning, issuing a challenge for other farm bureau organizations to join it in supporting the legal battle involving the property that returns to court Tuesday in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California farmer tries new strategy in fight with federal government over $2.8 million plowing fine

Northern California farmer John Duarte, facing millions of dollars in fines for plowing a Sacramento Valley wheat field, previously sought help from President Donald Trump’s attorney general and EPA chief to get the government off his back. Now Duarte is making an 11th-hour bid for a dismissal of the federal government’s high-profile case against him.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Farmer lashes out over plowing dispute

A California farmer facing a $2.8 million fine for allegedly plowing seasonal wetlands on his 450-acre Tehama County land lashed out Friday against federal prosecutors and bureaucrats for what he called an abuse of government power.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How Trump’s EPA chief got caught up in farm fight in Sacramento

California farmer John Duarte, facing a hefty fine over water-law violations for plowing a field, wants to call in a big gun in his high-profile court case in Sacramento: Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: California’s Delta poised to become massive carbon bank

The [Delta] Conservancy, a state agency that oversees environmental and economic opportunities in the Delta, recently won approval from the American Carbon Registry for a new carbon banking methodology. This means wetland restoration in the Delta (and other coastal areas of the state) can now generate money by selling greenhouse gas credits to polluting industries. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

He plowed his field and got hit with a $2.8 million fine. Will Trump rescind it?

John Duarte spent five years fighting the Obama administration’s Justice Department over charges that he broke environmental laws by harming wetlands while planting a wheat crop on his Northern California farm. He lost his case, and faces a $2.8 million fine.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congress weighs in on farmer facing $2.8 million fine

Congress has weighed in on a case in which a farmer faces a $2.8 million fine for allegedly plowing wetlands in his Tehama County field.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Farmer faces $2.8 million fine for plowing field

A farmer faces trial in federal court this summer and a $2.8 million fine for failing to get a permit to plow his field and plant wheat in Tehama County. … Because the property has numerous swales and wetlands, [John] Duarte hired a consulting firm to map out areas on the property that were not to be plowed because they were part of the drainage for Coyote and Oat creeks and were considered “waters of the United States.”

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Vernal ponds in Fort Ord full and teeming with life

Machine Gun Flats Lake sits placidly in a natural depression on what was once an Army training area. It is one of about 45 vernal pools on Bureau of Land Management land on Fort Ord, teeming with life after an exceptionally wet rainy season, and a welcome sight after years of drought.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California has a new $383 million plan for the shrinking Salton Sea

After years of delays, California’s plans for the shrinking Salton Sea are finally starting to take shape. A $383 million plan released by the state’s Natural Resources Agency on Thursday lays out a schedule for building thousands of acres of ponds and wetlands that will cover up stretches of dusty lakebed and create habitat for birds as the lake recedes.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Will San Francisco Bay wetlands restoration be a casualty of EPA cuts?

The Trump administration could eliminate all federal funding for wetlands restoration in San Francisco Bay, according to a budget plan that has shocked local and state officials, but is just one piece of broad changes to federal environmental programs.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As drought fades, California’s vast ‘inland sea’ roars back to life

Most of the time, motorists driving on Interstate 80 between Davis and here [Sacramento] look out on vast tracts of farms and wetlands. But over the last two weeks, something remarkable has happened in what is known as the Yolo Bypass.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Unions given preference for jobs on $500 million Bay Area wetlands tax

In a move that critics say could increase costs and delay projects, a low-profile government agency responsible for handing out $500 million to restore San Francisco Bay’s wetlands and improve flood control has ruled that most of the construction contracts must be awarded to union workers.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Jennifer Bowles

Two Countries, One River: Crafting a New Agreement
Fall 2016

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.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Fairfax-based wetlands program marks 20 years, with rising sea on horizon

The San Francisco Bay Joint Venture — celebrating its 20th anniversary this year — has helped coordinate and complete more than 150 wetland habitat projects, conserving and restoring about 75,000 acres of habitat in and around the bay since 1996.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton port seeks grant for ditch project

Stockton port officials hope to turn a storm water ditch into a native plant wetland that will help clean the runoff before it reaches the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Bay protection: Measure AA passes

Thousands of acres of land around the San Francisco Bay will be returned to wetlands after voters in the nine-county Bay Area approved a new $12-per-parcel tax that will raise millions of dollars for bay enhancement and habitat restoration.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Legal Commentary: U.S. Supreme Court upholds Hawkes ruling that wetland ‘jurisdictional determinations’ are subject to judicial review

On May 31, the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc., 578 U.S. ____ (2016) (Hawkes), unanimously upheld the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling on the ability to appeal an approved “jurisdictional determination” (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps).

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Bay restoration: 9-county Measure AA passing

The Bay Area’s first-ever nine-county ballot measure — a 20-year parcel tax intended to raise $500 million for marsh restoration and improved public access along the bay’s shoreline — was leading comfortably early Wednesday, with its strongest support from the most populous counties.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: High court sides with property owners in wetlands case

The Supreme Court is making it easier for landowners to bring a court challenge when federal regulators try to restrict property development due to concerns about water pollution.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

EPA: Western wetlands in poor condition

A first-of-its-kind report card on the nation’s wetland habitats shows the western U.S. is not doing a good job at keeping these disappearing ecosystems in good condition.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Border fence impact on wetland mixed: Water quality remains top concern in Tijuana River Valley

As birds sing and lizards scuttle in the lush vegetation of the Tijuana River Valley, helicopters circle overhead, and Border Patrol agents on all-terrain vehicles comb the area looking to stop illegal border-crossers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Owner of kite-surfing island for Silicon Valley executives faces $4.6 million fine

A state water agency has proposed one of its largest fines ever — $4.6 million — against a Bay Area man for allegedly damaging an island by transforming it into a luxury sporting enclave for Silicon Valley executives.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Delta island owner may face largest fine ever by state water agency

A two-year Delta fight came to a head Tuesday as a state water agency proposed a $4.6 million fine — its largest ever — and cleanup order against a Pittsburg resident who owns a small island in the Suisun Marsh.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Restored wetlands in California may be source of greenhouse gases (with audio)

Tens of millions of dollars from California’s greenhouse gas reduction program are being used to restore wetlands. Scientists have long known that wetlands can store, or sequester, carbon dioxide.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta fight — State agencies, island owner battle over wetland status

On a tiny spit of land just north of Pittsburg, John Sweeney is fighting government bureaucrats to realize a dream. He says he’s saving wetlands; they say he’s destroying them.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

‘Dirt broker’ charged with dumping fill in protected bay waters

A 59-year-old South Bay man was charged with illegally dumping fill material, construction debris and other pollutants into the waters of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, officials said.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Federal government ups Salton Sea spending

The federal government plans to spend $3 million this year constructing a new wetland along the Alamo River in order to rehabilitate habitats and help clean up some of the polluted water flowing into the Salton Sea. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Auditors: EPA broke law in social media blitz on water rule

The Environmental Protection Agency broke the law in a social media campaign intended to generate public support for a controversial rule to protect small streams and wetlands from development and pollution, congressional auditors said Monday.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA broke law with social media push for water rule, auditor finds

The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert propaganda” and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters, congressional auditors have concluded.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

High court to consider Army Corps’ decision on wetlands

The Supreme Court will consider the rights of businesses and landowners that the Army Corps of Engineers has determined are subject to the federal Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Restoring California meadows could help combat climate change and increase water supply (with audio)

This is Bean Meadow in Mariposa County in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The [Sierra Foothill] Conservancy has embarked on a project to return 39 acres back to what it once was, before people built roads and ditches and turned it into ranchland in the 19th century.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Supervisors say feds want to reach too far with water plan

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution supporting the repeal of the Final Rule defining Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Ceremony near San Pablo Bay marks planned rebirth of wetlands

After 10 years of planning and three years of site preparation, it took less than a minute Sunday for workers to scrape a hole in a levee and begin the renewal of 1,000 acres of former North Bay marshlands.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Francisco Bay: Bird populations doubled since 2003 in vast salt pond restoration area

In a clear sign that the largest wetlands restoration project on the West Coast is already improving the health of San Francisco Bay, bird populations have doubled over the past 13 years on thousands acres of former industrial salt-evaporation ponds that ring the bay’s southern shoreline, scientists reported Thursday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Appeals Court puts hold on regulation protecting waterways

A federal appeals court on Friday blocked an Obama administration rule that attempts to clarify which small streams, wetlands and other waterways the government can shield from pollution and development.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Endangered species return to restored salt pond

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.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Legal Commentary: ESWR Update — WOTUS rule blocked by federal judge in North Dakota

In the week that the new Waters of the United States Rule (“WOTUS Rule”) was scheduled to take effect on August 28, 2015, three Federal District Courts issued rulings reaching opposite conclusions on the question of whether District Courts have jurisdiction to hear these cases: one court ruled it has jurisdiction and took the additional step of issuing a preliminary injunction against the rule; two courts dismissed challenges for lack of jurisdiction.  Several other challenges remain pending in both Federal District Courts and Courts of Appeal.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Clean water rule frightens farmers

For better than a decade, farmers, environmentalists and the courts have tussled over what constitutes “waters of the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Injunction against federal water rule may expand

A federal judge in North Dakota is allowing arguments over the scope of his injunction blocking a new Obama administration rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some smaller waterways.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA: Clean water rule in effect despite court ruling

The Environmental Protection Agency says it is going forward with a new federal rule to protect small streams, tributaries and wetlands, despite a court ruling that blocked the measure in 13 central and Western states.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA water rules take effect in some states

New federal rules to protect smaller streams, tributaries and wetlands took effect on Friday – but only in some states.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Judge rules Obama administration water rule should be halted

A federal judge in North Dakota on Thursday blocked a new Obama administration rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some smaller waterways just hours before it was set to go into effect.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Ranchers sue over rule giving Feds authority on state water

Ranchers in New Mexico, California and Washington state have challenged a new Obama administration rule giving federal agencies authority to protect some streams and wetlands.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

13 states sue over rule giving Feds authority on state water

Thirteen states led by North Dakota filed a lawsuit Monday challenging an Obama administration rule that gives federal agencies authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Farm interests planning to push back on water rule they say goes too far

Efforts are underway in Congress to redo and sharply limit the impact of what was known initially as the “Waters of the United States” rule and was designed to help federal officials clarify and simplify which bodies of water fall under the control of the Clean Water Act, the pivotal 1972 environmental law.

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

What the new clean water rule means for metro areas

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) finalized a long-debated clean water rule to limit pollution in a variety of streams, tributaries, and wetlands. … Not surprisingly, the new rule has triggered a national political firestorm …

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Congress moving to block EPA regulation of streams, wetlands

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would force the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw and rewrite rules issued in May that clarify which of those smaller bodies of water are regulated under the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: GOP attack on water rule part of wider bid to ‘rein in’ EPA

The Obama administration says a new federal rule regulating small streams and wetlands will protect the drinking water of more than 117 million people in the country. Not so, insist Republicans.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

New federal rules on stream protection hailed, criticized

New federal rules designed to better protect small streams, tributaries and wetlands – and the drinking water of 117 million Americans – are being criticized by Republicans and farm groups as going too far.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: White House finalizes clean water rule, setting up clash with Congress

The White House on Wednesday finalized a rule intended to strengthen and clarify the Clean Water Act, setting up a clash with Republicans in Congress and the agriculture industry.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

With new EPA water rule, Obama again takes executive action on environment

April 1989, a Michigan developer named John Rapanos dumped fill on 54 acres of wetlands he owned to make way for a shopping center. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

SMART and state in property disagreement after levee break

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are involved in a dispute over a failed levee that is flooding sensitive wetlands near the Mira Monte Marina.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Wetlands help protect coastal Marin communities from threats, report finds

Marshes that rest along bayside Marin could protect communities from storms, flooding, erosion and sea-level rise, according to a new NOAA study. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study looked at different reports addressing how natural processes protect shorelines — which it turns out they do quite well.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg News

Builders flood Congress to block Obama’s bid to regulate creeks

President Barack Obama’s plan to expand protections for waterways is in jeopardy as builders and farmers have won the support of even some Democrats in Congress to block it.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

$1.5 million campaign seeks to get more kids out to Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

Interest in the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area, also known as the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, is so brisk that the Yolo Basin Foundation has had to turn away schools that seek to introduce students to the environmental value of the more than 16,000-acre habitat.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Dodd seeks $2.4 million to help protect Clear Lake

Lake County would receive $2.4 million to improve and protect the ecosystem of its visual and economic centerpiece — Clear Lake — if newly introduced state legislation is approved.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

King tides at Candlestick Point offer glimpse of planet’s future

As this week’s king tides washed over a small beach at Candlestick Point, the San Francisco Bay became an unlikely classroom for teaching the grim reality of sea-level rise.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Activists win round in bid to keep vegetation near mouth of Los Angeles River

Los Angeles River activists, heartened by the momentum behind revitalization of upstream sections of the waterway, asked water officials on Thursday to return the downstream portion to a more natural state by halting removal of vegetation on the last 11/2 miles of the river.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: GOP lawmakers push EPA to rethink clean water rule

In a year the Republican-controlled Congress is expected to take a significant whack at President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda, GOP lawmakers on Wednesday told top environmental officials they should scrap what was once a fairly obscure proposal to define what is and isn’t considered a body of water by federal law.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

New plan pitched to enhance Bolinas Lagoon

[Marin] County parks officials are eyeing restoration work to the north end of Bolinas Lagoon, one of the world’s most biologically diverse bodies of water.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Elkhorn Slough marsh gets $1 million grant

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is giving a push to a project to restore critical tidal marsh in Elkhorn Slough with a $1 million grant.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Just add water: A new wetland is created in Solano County

One hundred ducks who couldn’t wait for the humans to stop talking flew into their new paradise Tuesday in Solano County. … The Cullinan Ranch wetland is a small piece of a federal project to restore 100,000 acres of public bay land over the next 20 years, from the former farmlands of the North Bay to the former salt ponds near San Jose.

Aquafornia news UT San Diego

Pulse flow deliveries of water to Colorado River Delta benefit parched wetlands

A binational effort aimed at reviving parched wetlands in the Colorado River Delta in Mexico through special deliveries of water has met with initial success, according to a report released Wednesday. … The water deliveries aimed at restoring some of the delta’s last remaining wetlands were outlined under a wide-ranging five-year binational agreement reached in 2012 and known as Minute 319.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Homeless in Ballona Wetlands should be evicted, and given help

The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve stretches from Westchester to the marina, 640 acres of precious and precarious wildlife habitat that over the years has survived the dumping of soil from nearby construction, trampling, littering and other indignities of urban encroachment.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: Da Vinci of duck stamps recreates magical moments

When a marsh comes to life at dawn’s first light, not many people understand the magical sensations to be felt. … As the morning glow takes over the marsh, the birds start to fly … You can hear the calls from miles away.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Ballona Wetlands preserve, homeless are unwanted intruders

As land manager of the Ballona Wetlands just south of Marina del Rey, ecologist Richard Brody thinks he has a “dream” job — but one that comes with an unusual caveat.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Drought overcomes newts and frogs in Ben Lomond

The drought huffs its way into every California conversation. It dusts everything from business profits to tooth brushing habits. These dry years are tough on frogs, toads and newts, too.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Spanos Cos. sets aside 140 acres, and the habitat is thriving

More than 140 acres of habitat restored by The Spanos Cos. finally looks like real, thriving wetland, the kind that once blanketed the Central Valley before humans planted crops and built cities.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Drought, disease wait in San Joaquin Valley for migratory birds

Great horned owls hang out at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. … But this year, predators may be the least of the worries for these birds. Starvation, avian cholera and botulism may be bigger killers than usual. It’s another dark twist from California’s destructive drought.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Migrating birds in for a tough winter in Central Valley

If the millions of birds that migrate to the Central Valley each winter look forward to the equivalent of a cozy bed and a warm meal, this year they could find themselves sleeping under a bridge.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Editorial: Salt River project a model of compromise

Decades in the making, restoration efforts now in progress on the Salt River provide an example of the best Humboldt County politics has to offer.

Publication

Looking to the Source: Watersheds of the Sierra Nevada
Published 2011

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.

Video

Overcoming the Deluge: California’s Plan for Managing Floods (DVD)

This 30-minute documentary, produced in 2011, explores the past, present and future of flood management in California’s Central Valley. It features stories from residents who have experienced the devastating effects of a California flood firsthand. Interviews with long-time Central Valley water experts from California Department of Water Resources (FloodSAFE), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Flood Management Program and environmental groups are featured as they discuss current efforts to improve the state’s 150-year old flood protection system and develop a sustainable, integrated, holistic flood management plan for the Central Valley.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

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.

Video

Delta Warning

15-minute DVD that graphically portrays the potential disaster should a major earthquake hit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “Delta Warning” depicts what would happen in the event of an earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale: 30 levee breaks, 16 flooded islands and a 300 billion gallon intrusion of salt water from the Bay – the “big gulp” – which would shut down the State Water Project and Central Valley Project pumping plants.

Video

Water on the Edge (30-minute VHS)

A 30-minute version of the 2005 PBS documentary Water on the Edge. This video is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the New River.

Video

Water on the Edge (60-minute VHS)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.

Video

Water on the Edge (60-minute DVD)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.

Maps & Posters

San Joaquin River Restoration Map
Published 2012

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 implementation. 

Maps & Posters

Klamath River Watershed Map
Published 2011

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 Service.

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin. Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin Area Office.

Maps & Posters

Delta Sustainability Map
Published 2006

This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability.

The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.

Maps & Posters

Unwelcome Visitors

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.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2010

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 and competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.

Aquapedia background

Wetlands

Wetlands

Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems in the world. They produce high levels of oxygen, filter toxic chemicals out of water, reduce flooding and erosion, recharge groundwater and provide a diverse range of recreational opportunities from fishing and hunting to photography. They also serve as critical habitat for wildlife, including a large percentage of plants and animals on California’s endangered species list.

Aquapedia background

Central Valley Wetlands and Riparian Habitat

In the Central Valley, wetlands—partly or seasonally saturated land that supports aquatic life and distinct ecosystems— provide critical habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Western Water Magazine

An Era of New Partnerships on the Colorado River
November/December 2013

This printed issue of Western Water examines how the various stakeholders have begun working together to meet the planning challenges for the Colorado River Basin, including agreements with Mexico, increased use of conservation and water marketing, and the goal of accomplishing binational environmental restoration and water-sharing programs.

Western Water Magazine

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

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.

Western Water Magazine

Just Add Water? Restoring the Colorado River Delta
September/October 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines the Colorado River Delta, its ecological significance and the lengths to which international, state and local efforts are targeted and achieving environmental restoration while recognizing the needs of the entire river’s many users.

Commands