Shasta Lake water release plan draws mixed reviews

Mixed reviews are in for a plan to release water from Shasta Lake that does not involve any cutbacks to farm water deliveries.

Last week’s proposal from federal officials was hailed as a victory for Central Valley growers, but local organizations said the plan has brought about some concerns and that release levels were not high enough.

The plan also included a stipulation to manage the water release in an effort to protect winter-run Chinook salmon by monitoring water temperatures. Young salmon start to die when water temperatures exceed about 56 degrees.

Sites seeks Phase 1 help

The Sites Project Authority announced recently it will begin seeking additional entities to participate in Phase 1 of the reservoir project.

Phase 1 of the project includes completing studies that are required for submitting an application under Proposition 1 by June 2017. The proposition is intended to supply up to half of the funding required for surface storage projects in California. The Sites Project Authority has already started on studies needed for the application but is seeking other entities to help with the process.

 

BLOG: North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program Projected Completion

In our continued coverage of the monumental North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP), Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto Water District, talked about the projected completion for the project. “We estimate the pipeline will be completed by December 2017—less than two years,” Hansen stated. “The first year’s combined quantities, if both cities (Turlock and Modesto) are online at the start date, will be somewhere between 25K and 30K acre-feet per year,” Hansen calculated.

 

 

When it Comes to Rising Sea Levels, Coronado Is Treading Water

Some coastal cities are rushing to prepare for rising sea levels, but Coronado – surrounded almost entirely by the ocean and a bay – is not one of them.

Sea-level rise could affect what’s on Coronado already, as well as future development in the city and Navy property. Everything from a new city beach bathroom to a new $700 million Navy facility could be impacted. As oceans rise, beaches may erode, tides will creep in and storms will cause worse floods. While the Navy has made some preparations of its own for climate change on Coronado, the city itself has not.

La Niña struggling to emerge

Not many people spend a lot of time talking about La Niña because the overall impacts are far less than El Nino but it’s still an important trend to watch.

A La Nina year means the trade winds, East to West from South America are stronger and cold water bubbles up to surface. We use the same region of the Pacific to determine a La Nina year.

This cooling trend tends to kill the East Pacific hurricane season, ramp up the Atlantic hurricane season, bring dry weather to Southern California, and wet weather to the Pacific Northwest.

Water District Says California is Inviting Another Electricity Crisis

An irrigation district sued the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s electric power grid, claiming its plan to join a regional power group will invite the disastrous price-gouging the state saw during the 2000 electricity crisis. The Imperial Irrigation District, which serves more than 150,000 customers in the Imperial Valley, sued the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) on June 29 in Superior Court. The irrigation district claims CAISO’s decision-making process on whether to integrate its grid with that of six other Western states has been riddled with secrecy and puts consumers at risk.

OPINION: Don’t make conserving water a thing of the past

Short-term comfort rarely comes without long-term costs. By the end of the summer, we suspect California will be paying the price for its hasty retreat from sound water policies.

Until this summer, when the entire state was gripped by devastating drought, conservation was the motto. But now, after one – just one – relatively wet winter in Northern California that managed to fill north state reservoirs, many federal, state and local officials seem eager to get back to life without restrictions.

 

NASA Maps California Drought Effects on Sierra Trees

A new map created with measurements from an airborne instrument developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, reveals the devastating effect of California’s ongoing drought on Sierra Nevada conifer forests.
The map will be used to help the U.S. Forest Service assess and respond to the impacts of increased tree mortality caused by the drought, particularly where wildlands meet urban areas within the Sierra National Forest.
After several years of extreme drought, the highly stressed conifers (trees that produce cones and are usually green year-round) of the Sierra Nevada are now more susceptible to bark beetles (Dendroctonus spp.).

California Droughts Caused Mainly by Changes in Wind, not Moisture

Droughts in California are mainly controlled by wind, not by the amount of evaporated moisture in the air, new research has found. The findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, on June 30. The research increases the understanding of how the water cycle is related to extreme events and could eventually help in predicting droughts and floods, said lead author Jiangfeng Wei, a research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences.

House Passes Bill to Save Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Salmon

Lawmakers are targeting striped bass in a farmer-backed effort to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s salmon while trimming a 1992 environmental law.

In what amounts to a multi-pronged move, the House on Tuesday night approved a bill by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, that ends the 1992 law’s goal of doubling the number of striped bass living in and around the Delta.

Removing the doubling goal for the predatory fish is supposed to protect preyed-upon salmon, whose preservation is another goal of the 1992 law.