Tag Archives: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

California fishermen win key ruling over Delta water supply

delta%20chipps%20islandA group of commercial fishermen won a potentially significant court ruling in the seemingly endless battle over California’s water supply and the volumes of water pumped south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A federal appeals court last week ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which delivers water from the Delta via the federal Central Valley Project, violated federal environmental law by renewing a series of two-year delivery contracts for south-of-Delta agricultural customers. The court said the bureau should have given “full and meaningful consideration” to the idea of reducing the amount of water available for delivery in the contracts. The ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals won’t void any of the supply contracts, said Stephan Volker, an Oakland lawyer representing the fishermen. But it could force the Bureau of Reclamation eventually to reduce the amount of Central Valley Project water pumped through the Delta to farmers and leave more water in the estuary to help endangered fish species. Read the rest here 16:51

Judges Urge Mediation in Water Contract Fight

thMGLZMEJ9Calling an appeal between California environmentalists and federal agencies over expired water contracts a “bizarre position,” a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday encouraged the parties to mediate the issue instead.,,  Appellant Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations argued Tuesday that the federal government failed to do environmental impact statements and violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving the interim contracts. The federation claims the government has repeatedly renewed two-year interim agreements with contractors and ignored the long-term environmental impacts on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Read the rest here 20:55

PD Editorial: No more red herrings in water talks – “Without a healthy Bay-Delta system, there is no salmon fishing,”

The delta smelt is an easy target. Substitute “salmon” for “smelt” and try making the case for giving up on an endangered species to secure a water supply for growers who switched from crops like lettuce and tomatoes that can be fallowed in times of drought to almond orchards that need continuous irrigation. You can see why the growers and their allies talk almost exclusively about smelt.  Read the rest here 15:53

Pressure’s on to help Delta fish suffering amid drought

With populations of numerous endangered Delta fish species at alarming lows, officials in California are planning a number of steps to help them survive if 2015 proves to be a fourth year. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife last week released the results of its annual fall population survey for five key fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Read the rest here  08:10

In severe drought plan, California salmon may be moved by truck

Starting next month, millions of young California salmon could be migrating to the ocean in tanker trucks instead of swimming downstream in the Sacramento River. Read more here sacbee  08:31

Bay Delta Conservation Plan: Will it help, or hurt? Fate still unclear for nine species in Delta water tunnel plan

Those nine species include some of the same imperiled fish that are symbolic of the Delta’s environmental troubles and which originally prompted the plan: Delta smelt, longfin smelt, three runs of chinook salmon, green and white sturgeon, and steelhead. The last is the greater sandhill crane, a majestic bird that roosts on land where tunnel construction is proposed. The project is overseen by the California Department of Water Resources. But the “not determined” findings come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. They are cooperating with DWR in preparing the document and are guided by federal law, the National Environmental Policy Act. [email protected]  05:30

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to upgrade fish protections at Delta water pumps

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $4.3 million contract to install new fish protection devices at its water diversion pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. [email protected]  19:45

Changes proposed to Calif. twin tunnel project

The height of pumping plants would also be reduced and the tunnels’ length would  be shortened from 35 miles to 30 miles. The tunnels would carry water  south from the delta to vast farmlands and thirsty cities. Proponents say the  project would provide a reliable water supply while reducing the mortality of  threatened fish, because water would mostly be diverted from the north portion  of the delta, where fish would not be sucked into deadly pumps. [email protected]

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could get saltier if tunnels are built

This marks just one of the complex trade-offs sprinkled through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the massive proposal to re-engineer California’s primary water delivery system that includes the two tunnels. continued @ Sac Bee

Salmon won’t be getting help from Delta gates, This year the gates will not be closed.

Water diversion gates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta near Walnut Grovewill not be closed this month to assist migrating salmon, as they were last year. The Delta Cross Channel Gates, operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, were built in 1953. They are typically open in fall to divert fresh water from the Sacramento River to the interior of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This reduces the salinity of water exported from the Delta for urban and farm use. In recent years, concern has emerged that salmon migrating upstream to spawn in the Mokelumne River are disoriented by flows diverted through the gates and often end up spawning in the wrong stream. So the gates were closed last year for 10 days in October, which may have contributed to a rebound in salmon production at the Mokelumne River Hatchery, operated by the state Department of Fish and Game.