The Los Angeles Daily News penned a noteworthy editorial last week titled “California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules.” It’s noteworthy because the editorial correctly debunks some of the common myths about California’s water system and, in doing so,...continued→
Kate Poole, Senior Attorney, San Francisco
I’m yet another displaced Midwesterner lured West by notions of open space, unspoiled wildness, and boundless potential. All of my romantic notions were confirmed in my first job “out West” as a park ranger at Dinosaur National Monument. I had many incredible experiences as a park ranger – which I highly recommend to anyone – but one of the most educational was the chance to participate in recovering peregrine falcons. Peregrines are amazing creatures that dive for prey at speeds up to 200 miles/hour, making it the fastest animal on the planet. But peregrines were nearly wiped out by DDT poisoning in the middle of the last century, which weakened their egg shells so much that they would break during incubation, preventing the birds from reproducing. The rangers at Dinosaur helped sustain the struggling peregrine population by rappelling down to the falcons’ eyrie after the adults laid their eggs, removing the fragile eggs to a hatchery, and returning the teenage birds to the eyrie after they hatched for lessons in how to fly and survive from their parents. After being pushed to the brink of extinction, peregrines are now off the threatened species list, thanks to the concerted efforts of many people over many years.
In 2004, I was fortunate enough to join the dedicated staff of NRDC’s Water Program and to continue working to protect the special places and attributes that define the West. Dragging century-old western water policy into the 21st Century is a daunting challenge, but so was recovering from the celebration of DDT that caused Paul Muller to receive the Nobel Prize for its discovery in 1948. I can’t wait to show my children a San Joaquin River that runs red with salmon, a California where every backyard has a rain barrel and every bathroom has an ultra-low flow toilet, a Bay-Delta teeming with native fish and wildlife, and a Central Valley that rewards farmers for pursuing drought-tolerant farming practices and installing efficient irrigation technology.
Yesterday was World Rivers’ Day, billed as “a celebration of the world’s waterways.” I don’t know if Timothy Egan was anticipating World Rivers’ Day when he wrote this blog in last week’s New York Times, but it beautifully captures some...continued→
The Natural Resources Agency has posted an “update” to its September 11, 2013 letter rejecting calls to analyze the portfolio alternative offered by several water districts, environmental groups, business interests, and local governments in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process. The “update” indicates that...continued→
Try as They Might, the Natural Resources Agency Can't Debunk the Portfolio Approach to Resolving Threats to the Delta
Last week our Natural Resources Agency, the umbrella agency responsible for protecting California’s coast, ocean, wildlife and forests and for managing our water, released a deeply flawed justification for rejecting a portfolio approach that dozens of water agencies, local governments and environmental...continued→
The world of California water has been reeling the last couple days at the news of Mike Taugher’s untimely death. Mike lost his life on Sunday while snorkeling in Hawaii, at the far-too-young age of 50. He leaves behind a...continued→
Friday is Endangered Species Day – a day to celebrate the incredible diversity of our planet and the bounty it provides. It also happens to fall during that time of year when we’re itching to get outside and revel in the...continued→
A couple weeks ago, the State of California released the first of three installments describing its new draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) for restoring the Bay-Delta estuary. The second installment is scheduled for release this week, with the final batch...continued→
NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, the Planning and Conservation League, and The Bay Institute released the following statement today about the latest draft plan from the State of California for restoring the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas and...continued→
Skeptics of the portfolio approach recently put forward by NRDC and a coalition of business, municipal, water agency, and conservation interests have asked the question: ‘Why would water contractors pay for a tunnel that would deliver less water?’ This question...continued→
Where does your water come from? And why should you care? After all, the Har-Bowl is nearly upon us, and the Oscars are not far behind. What information about California water could be more interesting than these compelling February diversions? ...continued→
Today, NRDC and several of our colleagues in the water agency, business and conservation world are proposing an alternative for analysis in the Bay Delta Conservation Planning process. The details of the proposal are described by my colleague here. We...continued→
CVPIA Salmon Index Blog Series The 20th Anniversary of the CVPIA - the Failure of Salmon Doubling One Fish, Two Fish - The New Bay-Delta Salmon Doubling Index and the Need for Improved Restoration Efforts New Salmon Doubling Index Displays...continued→
Kern County Water Agency Is Shocked, Shocked! To Hear That Taking More Water From The Delta Will Not Restore This Important Estuary
It seems only yesterday that Westlands Water District briefly stormed away from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan table when they were told that the days of diverting more water than the Bay-Delta estuary could support were over. Westlands announced in...continued→
Barbara Kingsolver makes me want to go to Mexico City. In a recent novel, she describes the floating gardens of Mexico City known as Xochimilco as: “…a mad maze of colors and cool water. Squash and cornfields, floral explosions, with...continued→
Today, the Ninth Circuit ruled, once again, that Westlands Water District and other junior Central Valley Project (CVP) water users in the San Joaquin Valley are only entitled to “surplus” water from California’s Bay-Delta, and are not entitled to flows...continued→
Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.