Water Under the Bridge
Are you aware that 500,000 acre feet of water have been sent out to sea just in the month of February?
Mar 06, 2014
This is from the San Francisco Chronicle today: "Four California Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, sent an urgent appeal Wednesday to the state Water Resources Control Board pleading for two-week delay in a decision that was expected Friday to slash water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmers. The Democrats described the water cuts as “catastrophic,” saying the state proposal could “cut back all delta water pumping for agriculture and (wildlife) refuges” for the purpose of saving enough water by September to “protect public health and safety” should the drought continue next year."
Are you aware that 500,000 acre feet of water have been sent out to sea just in the month of February?Now, the pumps couldn't have pumped all of it because of capacity limits, but we could have captured 100,000 acre feet. So, why didn't we? While we're in a drought? Can you believe?
So, the politicians are asking the bureaucrats, who work for them, to please not slash water deliveries to farms. The cuts are the result of regulations related to the smelt. These are the regs that Feinstein and Boxer say are off the table for negotiation with Republicans. Instead of changing the rules, they ask the bureaucrats to break the rules. Go figure.
Meanwhile, even more questionable decisions being made as we see in article below.
The American River is flowing higher through Sacramento today, part of a federal effort to help young salmon at risk during the drought.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation doubled water releases from Nimbus Dam from 500 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cfs. The increase began Wednesday night and is expected to reach 1,000 cfs before returning to 500 cfs just before midnight today.
Biologists call the release a “pulse flow.” It is intended to help some of the wild-spawned fall-run chinook salmon eggs that became dewatered in their gravel nests, or redds, when Reclamation reduced flows in January. That action was taken to conserve water stored in Folsom Reservoir for Sacramento-area communities.
It turns out that not all of those stranded salmon eggs perished as the river shrank. Tom Gohring, executive director of the Sacramento Water Forum, said many were able to survive on the small amounts of water and oxygen that remained within the gravel and hatched into “alevins,” a kind of embryo life stage. The pulse flow is intended to wash those alevins into the river so they can transform into fry, the first finned stage of salmon life.
“Because the gravel is wet and not submerged, they are stuck,” Gohring said. “Biologists believe this pulse flow will help them get out of the gravel.”
It also will help transport salmon fry that have emerged farther downstream, where they may have access to more habitat.
Call The Bee’s Matt Weiser at (916) 321-1264. Follow him on Twitter @matt_weiser.
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