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California Waterblog

  • The Flow of California Water Policy – A Chart
    by jaylund on November 20, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    by Jay Lund California water policy is often discussed and depicted as being impossibly complex.  In its essentials, it can be seen much more simply, as in the flow chart below.  Without extreme events (such as floods and droughts), the … Continue reading →

  • Are native fishes and reservoirs compatible?
    by Andrew Rypel on November 13, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    By Peter B. Moyle and Anna M. Sturrock The question addressed in this blog comes from a new PPIC report that calls for reforms in management of environmental water stored behind dams in California. The report shows it is possible … Continue reading →

  • White sturgeon: is an ancient survivor facing extinction in California?
    by Andrew Rypel on November 6, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    by Andrea Schreier, Peter B. Moyle, Nicholas J. Demetras, Sarah Baird, Dennis Cocherell, Nann A. Fangue, Kirsten Sellheim, Jonathan Walter, Myfanwy Johnston, Scott Colborne, Levi S. Lewis, and Andrew L. Rypel Sturgeons belong to an ancient family of fishes that once … Continue reading →

  • Spawning of the living dead: understanding how salmon pass thiamine deficiency to their young
    by Andrew Rypel on October 30, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    By Abigail E. Ward and Miranda Bell-Tilcock This is no ordinary witch’s brew. It’s one part of the recipe to study thiamine deficiency in our California Central Valley Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) populations. In 2019, hatcheries noticed an eerie and … Continue reading →

  • Innovative Approaches for Flood Insurance Affordability
    by jaylund on October 23, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    by Kathleen Schaefer People have been asking if Hurricane Ian will push the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) into an affordability crisis?  Some argue the NFIP is already there. Two weeks ago, the Greater New Orleans, Inc.’s Coalition for Sustainable … Continue reading →

  • Being patient and persistent with nature
    by Andrew Rypel on October 16, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    By Andrew L. Rypel In the coming weeks, fall-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) will appear in Putah Creek again to spawn. The fact that any salmon spawn in Putah Creek is a small miracle, and testimony to the resilience of … Continue reading →

  • Losing mussel mass – the silent extinction of freshwater mussels
    by Andrew Rypel on October 9, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    by Andrew L. Rypel Note: this is a re-post from August 2020. Throughout my career I’ve spent some time studying the fascinating ecology and conservation issues of freshwater mussels (Fig. 1). For me, learning about mussels has fortified a recurring … Continue reading →

  • Happy New Water Year 2023!
    by jaylund on October 2, 2022 at 1:13 pm

    by Jay Lund Happy New Water Year, 2023!  (October 2022 – September 2023) The first New Year celebration for California’s water wonks is October 1, the beginning of the new Water Year, the nominal beginning of California’s wet season.  California … Continue reading →

  • Federal Disaster Assistance to California
    by Andrew Rypel on September 25, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    By Ryan Miller and Nicholas Pinter Following a major flood or other natural disaster, the US federal government provides disaster assistance to individuals and local and state jurisdictions to help them recover. Over the past ~20 years, these federal payments have … Continue reading →

  • Watershed Outreach – Summer 2022
    by Andrew Rypel on September 18, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    With summer wrapping up and a new school year upon us, we decided it was a good time to reflect on outreach done by researchers at the Center for Watershed Sciences (CWS) at UC Davis. Some of the outreach was … Continue reading →

Media Updates

Aquafornia News

  • Announcement: Apply for California’s Preeminent Water Leadership Program by Dec. 7
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    There is less than a week left to apply for our 2023 Water Leaders class and be considered for the new cohort of California’s preeminent water leadership program. Launched in 1997, the Water Leaders program is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California water issues, building leadership skills and preparing class members to take an active, cooperative approach to decision-making about water resources by studying a water-related topic in-depth and crafting policy recommendations. And, if you work for a member of the Association of California Water Agencies, you can apply to have tuition and some travel expenses covered under the John P. Fraser Water Leaders Fellowship. View Original Article read more

  • News release: EPA announces proposal to protect tribal reserved rights in water quality standards and best practices for tribal treaty and reserved rights
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    Today, during the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced a proposal to revise the federal water quality standards regulations to better protect Tribal rights under the Clean Water Act (CWA). With this action, EPA is working to ensure that state and federal water quality standards will protect tribal rights such as the right to fish or gather aquatic plants—that are reserved through treaties, statutes, executive orders, or other sources of federal law.  View Original Article read more

  • Blog: A successful flood protection project
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    Each winter, thousands of homes, businesses and schools in Sunnyvale are susceptible to flooding from the Sunnyvale East and West channels overtopping during major storms. These channels were constructed in the 1960s as local storm drains, but a combination of heavy storm events, land subsidence and inadequate drainage has caused the area to flood five times in the last 60 years. That’s why Valley Water is embarking on the Sunnyvale East and West Channels Flood Protection Project to provide enhanced flood protection to more than 1,600 neighboring properties and approximately 47 acres of valuable industrial and government lands. Construction is set to begin in 2024. Related article:  Valley Water News: Valley Water and partners making progress to protect San Francisco Bay from sea level rise View Original Article read more

  • Popular California park that abruptly closed last spring reopens in Delta
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    One of the most popular places to boat, fish and camp in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has finally reopened after abruptly closing last spring. Brannan Island State Park, a 336-acre jut of scrubby land across the water from Antioch, shut down in April nearly overnight after its longtime concessionaire ended its month-to-month lease with the state Department of Parks and Recreation to operate the park. Brannan Island, in Isleton, reopened fully on Thursday after the department announced it had secured an agreement with a new concessionaire. View Original Article read more

  • Blog: Western snow season 2022-23 preview: a look at water supplies and the winter outlook in 10 maps
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    It’s hard to overstate how crucial this snow season is for the western United States. Regions such as the West that receive a great deal of their precipitation in the form of snow face a number of challenges when snow droughts occur, including shrinking water supplies. And western water supplies are truly shrinking as some states are facing their second or third drought year in a row and a large part of the region is stuck in a 20+ year megadrought. Hanging over all of this is climate change–influenced aridification in the Southwest that is increasing evaporative demand, causing water supplies to dwindle from rising temperatures even when there is adequate precipitation. Related Event: Water Education Foundation/California Department of Water Resources: Winter Outlook Workshop Dec. 8 in Irvine View Original Article read more

  • An idea that could help replenish California’s groundwater supplies
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    When drought strikes, California farmers often pump water from underground aquifers to water their crops. But increasingly dry conditions are straining that resource. … [David Freyberg of Stanford University] says many people are looking at ways to replenish the state’s dwindling groundwater supplies. In California, a lot of water typically comes from winter snow that falls high in the mountains. During warmer months, that snow melts and trickles down to farmland. But as the climate warms, more precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow. So it rushes into rivers and runs past many areas where it’s needed. View Original Article read more

  • Xeriscaping conserves water for Arizona homeowners
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    Kelly Gleave converted his grass lawn to xeriscape in April. In June, he and his wife saw a 3,000 gallon reduction in their water use. “For me, it was less about maintaining the grass and it was more about the fact that the Valley is getting a lot of people and we need to do more to conserve water,” said Gleave, who’s one of 450 Mesa homeowners who have taken advantage of the city’s grass-to-xeriscape incentive. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced in August that deliveries of Colorado River water – the majority of which is used for agriculture – to Arizona would be cut an additional 21% next year. According to the bureau, megadrought and low runoff conditions accelerated by climate change have resulted in record low water levels in Lakes Powell and Mead, the two largest reservoirs in the country. Related article:  The Gazette: Opinion – Colorado’s lawns are not the enemy View Original Article read more

  • Glen Canyon Reservoir: The Colorado River’s descent into ‘dead pool’
    by Alastair Bland on December 2, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    A long-standing drought in the American Southwest is getting worse by the day, threatening reservoirs and groundwater supplies. And the first sign of “serious damage” could be a whirlpool, according to the operators of the nation’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Powell, reports the Washington Post. Lake Powell is already a quarter of its size and a drop in the water level of another 38 feet down the concrete face of the 710-foot Glenn Canyon Dam would put the surface of the reservoir close to the tops of eight underwater openings that allow river water to pass through the hydroelectric dam. View Original Article read more