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ICYMI 12/18/20: Drought, Species, Dams

Savor the last drops — Bay Area rains not expected again until 2021– SF Chronicle 12/17/20
Colder weather is normal for December, but low precipitation is not. This year’s winter rainfall is more than 60% below average, meteorologists said. San Francisco has received just 2 inches since the rainfall season started on Oct. 1, compared to the historical average of 6.5 inches.

Wednesday’s overnight showers, while moderately strong in some areas, failed to change what has been an exceedingly dry year, meteorologists said. The highest elevations in northern Sonoma County saw about an inch of rain over 24 hours. Most of the region received about half an inch, while bayside cities like Redwood City saw slightly less.

While helpful, this week’s rainfall totals will not make up for severe rain deficits throughout the Bay Area, Murdock said.

Trump administration finalizes second rule in days limiting habitat protections

– The Hill 12/17/20
The rule will also reverse a prior policy that restricted the government from exempting federally-managed lands from critical habitat protections. 
The new rule comes immediately after the administration earlier this week finalized a rule that narrowed the definition of what is considered a habitat under the Endangered Species Act, also making it more difficult for areas to get federal protections. 
“The Trump administration is spending their last days attacking science, ridding environmental safeguards and making way for extractive industry to the detriment of wildlife, lands and waters and our communities,” Bonnie Rice, an endangered species campaign representative at the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

Estuary in Collapse: Zero Delta Smelt and Sacramento Splittail Reported In November CDFW Survey– Dan Bacher 12/16/20
For the third month in a row, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) this November found zero Delta smelt and Sacramento splittail during the 2020 Fall Midwater Trawl Survey of pelagic (open water) fish species on the Delta, although they did report an index of 22 longfin smelt rather than the zero longfin smelt they reported the two previous months
The prospects for the survival of Delta smelt, imperiled salmon and other fish species are grim unless the state and federal governments allow more quality water to flow into the San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem at critical times.

Indigenous people in the US hope to save salmon by removing dams – Sustainability Times 12/15/20 
Salmon in the Klamath River in the United States were once abundant and the fish were an integral part of the ways of life of local indigenous people. The river supported rich habitats and spawning grounds to Chinook and Coho salmon along hundreds of kilometers in clean river water.
But then came the dams. The river began to be dammed to produce electricity and as many as eight dams were built on the river. In tandem, the number of salmon dramatically decreased.