The Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood
Lloyd G. Carter, former UPI and Fresno Bee reporter, has been writing about California water issues for more than 35 years. He is President of the California Save Our Streams Council. He is also a board member of the Underground Gardens Conservancy and host of a monthly radio show on KFCF, 88.1 FM in Fresno. This is his personal blog site and contains archives of his news career as well as current articles, radio commentaries, and random thoughts.

Selenium impacting health of honey bees

Selenium, a trace element that can be toxic under certain circumstances, has been linked to adverse health impacts in honey bee populations, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California-Riverside.  To read the full report click here:http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/18085. Selenium in farm drainage water generated on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley poisoned  birds at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge 30 years ago.  Despite the potential dangers from farming high selenium soils the State Water Resources Control Board has continued to allow these lands to be irrigated and drainage waters to be dumped in the lower San Joaquin River.

 

State and Regional Water Boards and state Health Department run afoul of Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act

 

Editor's note: The following is the sequel to a story posted at www.lloydgcarter.com on May 22.  It can be read here.  The following concerns California's abysmal efforts to meet goals set by the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.

            By Patrick Porgans and Lloyd G. Carter

            Forty-one years ago, a united Congress overrode President Nixon's veto of the Clean Water Act (CWA), which ordered states to limit pollutants in the nation's waterways. Coupled with subsequent amendments, the CWA required all states to assess and establish Total Maximum Daily Limits (TMDLs) of pollutants for lakes, creeks, rivers, estuaries and ocean shorelines.  If the states wouldn't do it, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could step in and impose safety limits.

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Judge lifts temporary restraining order blocking water releases on the Trinity River to protect migrating salmon

     The significantly lower volume of water now projected to be involved and the potential and enormous risk to the fishery of doing nothing, the Court finds it in the public interest to permit the augmentation to proceed.” (Page 19.)

By Lloyd G. Carter

               Fresno Federal Judge Lawrence O'Neill Thursday (Aug. 22) lifted a temporary restraining order blocking releases of cold water from Trinity River reservoirs intended to help migrating salmon avoid an Ich parasite infestation similar to one on the Klamath River in 2002 that killed over 34,000 adult salmon.

               In a 19-page ruling, O'Neill, following two days of testimony from expert witnesses, lifted the temporary restraining order and denied a permanent injunction sought by Westlands Water District in Fresno County and by other federal irrigation districts north of Westlands.

               The judge ruled:

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Native Americans protest Westlands Water District water grab

 By Lloyd G. Carter

               Around 100 Yurok and Hoopa Indians living near the Trinity River in Northern California protested Wednesday (Aug. 21) outside a federal courtroom in Fresno where federal judge Lawrence O'Neill must decide whether to risk a repeat of a massive 2002 fish kill on the Klamath River.

               Following a complaint filed by the gigantic Westlands Water District, O'Neill  issued a temporary restraining order blocking a Department of Interior plan to use Trinity River water stored behind dams to help salmon reach their spawning grounds without being infected by a fatal parasite called Ich, which wiped out at least 34,000 salmon on the Klamath River.  The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (both Interior Department agencies) announced Aug. 5  they would use up to 109,000 acre-feet of stored water to reduce the risk of an Ich outbreak similar to that which happened in September of 2011.  Releases of cold water were set to begin Aug. 13

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Oil and Water do mix

 The following link to an Orion Magazine article was sent to me by a friend in the federal service.  Never doubt there are good-hearted people working for local, state and federal agencies who DO CARE about our natural resources and how we can protect them.

 

 http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6047/

 

A couple of factoids from the article worthy of note:

 

  • The town of Taft was formerly know as the town of Moron at the turn of the century (I kid you not!);
  • In the time since steamflooding was pioneered here in the fields of Kern County in the 1960s, oil companies statewide have pumped roughly 2.8 trillion gallons of fresh water—or, in the parlance of agriculture, nearly 9 million acre-feet—underground in pursuit of the region’s tarry oil. Essentially, enough water has been injected into the oil fields here over the last forty years to create a lake one foot deep covering more than thirteen thousand square miles—nearly twice the surface area of Lake Ontario;

Salmon Imperiled

 

Massive Loss of Endangered Winter Run Salmon

Perhaps half of this years spawning class die in irrigation ditches: survivors

hammered by mismanagement of Shasta cold water reserves

 

During April, May and early June, large numbers of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and other species were drawn into channels in the Yolo Bypass and Colusa Basin and died, according to reports by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and National Marine Fisheries Service biologists (NMFS).  The total number of stranded fish is unknown but agency biologists said it could be as high as half of this years returning population of winter-run.  This tragedy is exacerbated by high temperature stress on spawning winter-run caused by mismanagement of limited cold water pools in Shasta Reservoir this year.

 

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Record-breaking “Dead Zone” Predicted in the Gulf of Mexico This Summer

 

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Gulf of Mexico may be far from the corn fields of the Midwest, but it’s those fields that are causing a big problem for the gulf coast water this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a record-size “dead zone” in the Gulf this summer, stretching from South Texas all the way to Alabama.  

Dr. Paul Montagna, Chair and Professor for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University, has studied these “dead zones”, also known as hypoxia zones, for more than 20 years.

“The zone sets up in late spring and lasts throughout the summer,” said Montagna. 

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Westlands lobbying firm heavily involved in plan to export Mojave Desert Water to San Diego County

    The law/lobbying firm that represents the Westlands Water District in Washington, D.C., for $20,000 a month, is also invested in Cadiz Inc., a firm which wants to mine groundwater in the Mojave Desert, according to a report from the Voice of San Diego website, which is a non-profit organization that undertakes investigative journalism.

     According to the article written by Will Carless, Christine Frahm is a shareholder in the Denver-based law firm of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck. She is also a former chairwoman of the San Diego County Water Authority, which has authority to seek new water supplies for the county's water districts.  Frahm has been heavily involved in San Diego County water politics for years and currently serves both as an attorney and "consultant" for the Water Authority via a multi-million dollar contract with the Brownstein law firm.  I have blogged on the Brownstein/Westlands connection in the past.  You can read my prior articles by entering the keyword Brownstein in my home page search engine.

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A voice in the desert wilderness

By Lloyd G. Carter

               On the day before the start of summer in June of 1980, Russian oceanographer/hydrologist/fisheries biologist and political exile Michael Rozengurt, along with American marine biologist Irwin Haydock, co-wrote then Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr.  a two-page letter warning that a proposed "Peripheral Canal" to funnel Northern California river water around the problem-plagued Delta, would result in the demise of the Delta ecosystem and its abundant fishery.

               Rozengurt, now 78 and living in Los Angeles,  was no stranger to gloomy predictions.  In his 1986 epic on western water "Cadillac Desert", the late author Marc Reisner described Rozengurt as "an expatriate Russian fisheries biologist, who compared California's situation to what the Russians had done to the Sea of Azov, a spectacular fishery turned into a biological desert by Stalin's directive to irrigate a limitless acreage of cotton." He had also watched the Soviet construction of a peripheral canal on the Volga River in 1974 which had caused "mind-boggling" damage to the river's fishery.

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Discarded Drugs in your Drinking Water?

The dangers of discarded drugs getting into drinking water supplies have been under study for more than a decade and although it appears humans are not directly threatened, the same cannot be said for fish and other creatures living in waters tainted by pharmaceuticals.  The link below provides a very good explanation of the problem facing fish on drugs.  Thanks to my friend Mike Campagna for alerting me to this video.

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYbRlJLBzn4&feature=youtu.be

 

 

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