Proposition 1 analyzed for voters

A Pacific Institute report shows Proposition 1, California's 2014 water bond, weak on conservation

The State Water Project in pictures

Water pumped up the foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains. Source: Aquafornia. Click on the image to be taken to Aquafornia's new slide show on California's State Water Project.

Aquafornia, the newsfeed of the Water Education Foundation, today published an educational side show on the history of the State Water Project. For those who wonder just how big a challenge to keep California hydrated Governor Jerry Brown inherited on November 2nd, click here to learn about the massive water-moving endeavor that his father, Governor Pat Brown, began in the 1950s.

The beginning of the slide show is straight up California heraldry. Glorification of the Department of Water Resources might seem a bit Soviet to those who never knew a winter without fresh fruit or vegetables. But keep clicking to follow the water. Once you do, the steadfast tracing of the project will equip you to understand news stories also

The consolidated salmonid cases and us

Last week in the Eastern District Court in Fresno, Judge Oliver Wanger derided federal biologists for employing “guesstimations” as to how much Sierra snowmelt should be allowed to flow through the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers and related tributaries into the San Francisco Bay Delta instead of being diverted by pumps to Central Valley farms and Southern Californian cities. The contemptuous conflation was the most quoted part of an 134-page finding in the on-going Consolidated Salmonid Cases, which concluded by intimating that pumping restrictions in place to protect migrating Delta smelt, Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and green sturgeon would soon be relaxed.

Unsurprisingly, the Contra Costa Times and other news outlets report today that pumping restrictions were indeed loosened. Decried by environmentalists and praised by water exporters, the most recent ruling is a temporary call in a game that is far from over.  As this battle for California’s fresh

Stop press: Fish need water

As reported last night by McClatchy Newspapers, and today by everyone, a scientific panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to review controversial federal protections for endangered California coastal fish has concluded that fish need water.

Or, in newspeak, the panel has reported that assessments by federal scientists that led to reductions of water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta for Central Valley farms and Southern Californian cities were “scientifically justified.”

The protections for Delta Smelt, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout and Green Sturgeon recommended in 2008 and 2009 by biologists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries division were put to the academy panel for scrutiny last year at the behest of members of the powerful California congressional delegation. Led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the delegates who demanded the review repeatedly suggested that the federal scientists had over-emphasized

Boxall back on the beat

Southern California has had a series of dry years in good water reporting. Far and away the best journalist on the beat, the Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer-prize winning Bettina Boxall, appears to have been be largely sidelined from day-to-day news gathering while on a “project” — rumor has it that it’s a big read on water. But when Boxall deigns to break from what the Times calls “literary journalism” to do a daily story, pay attention. Something important has spurred her into action. This is the case today as she takes the mainstream media into reporting that the best of the water blogs* have been doing for some time, ie: Testing claims by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jim Costa that federal protections for endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are behind an employment/food production catastrophe in the Central Valley.

“In Fresno County, the state’s top-producing

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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