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What Dr. Robert Pyke has in mind

Dr Robert Pyke has a wealth of geotechnical and water resources engineering experience from all over the world, including the Delta, and he has some sensible suggestions for addressing our water management problems.  Among them 1.  Restoration of floodplains on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries, which provides three significant benefits: stretching out floods to allow export pumping over a longer time; reducing peak flows as floods pass by the major urban areas and through the Delta; and restoring complexity and nutrients to the ecosystem. 2. New pumping facilities somewhere in the west Delta to allow flows to pass through the Delta in a natural way before surplus flows are extracted; these facilities might include some temporary [...]

What the Delta Stewardship Council has in mind

The Delta Stewardship Council released this week its first draft of the Delta Plan.  We appreciate that the Council is making the drafting process available to public comment.  It is our understanding that there will be six more drafts leading to the completion of a final plan in December of this year. With that said, our prior training as college English instructors rises to the surface when responding to this draft. First off, as noted by Jane Wagner-Tyack,  "Much of what is here could be referenced in appendices, including every reiteration of the legislation, the definitions, the quotes from Delta Vision, and all the hand-wringing findings.  Everything in Chapters 1 through 3 could be covered in about three pages.  We [...]

What Congressman Devin Nunes has in mind

We were puzzled by some statements in the press release from Congressman Devin Nunes' office announcing proposed funding cuts affecting the biological opinions and San Joaquin River Restoration. The press release calls these cuts the first step "to replace the flawed billion dollar salmon run..."  In place of the existing restoration plan, Nunes and House leaders say they are seeking to establish both an environmentally and economically responsible San Joaquin River restoration. This will include a year-round, live river on the San Joaquin but will also ensure a robust east side agriculture economy." Hoping to learn more, we checked out the Congressman's website.  We found a link to a November 2007 publication on the San Joaquin River Settlement.  In it, [...]

Tell Senator Feinstein that Increased Delta Pumping Is Not the Answer

Dear Friends, On Friday, the U.S. House of Representative passed the 2011 Continuing Resolution, a must pass spending bill, to keep the Federal Government funded.  Language included in this base bill, however, would defund the implementation of biological decisions made for reduced Delta pumping, thereby allowing record level of water exports from the Delta to resume. While some House Representatives, like Congressman Devin Nunes (CA - 21st District), are calling it a water restoration measure, this backdoor attempt to thwart the implementation of sound Delta management principles, would bring the final death blow to several Delta fisheries which are on life support presently. The Continuing Resolution, however, must now go to the Senate and pass through the Senate before March [...]

Say it ain’t Flow

The Delta Stewardship Council held its January meeting on the 27th and the 28th, before comments from two weeks of January scoping meetings could be compiled, condensed and processed for consumption.  They have a Delta Plan to complete by January 2012. On the first day of the DSC meeting, Independent Science Board Lead Scientist Cliff Dahm made a presentation to the Council on Setting Flow Criteria for Estuaries and Rivers.  He cited firsthand accounts, published scientific literature, and other data used in analyzing, quantifying, and setting flow criteria.  He gave examples from Texas, Australia, South Africa, and Florida, where a 15% reduction in flow threshold has been designated as a point where "considerable harm" may be done to the ecosystem. [...]

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