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Klamath Tribe wants all the water

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, cattle, Klamath Tribe, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Herald and News.com

Ranchers in the Upper Basin react

Tribal water call: ‘Devastating’

The call on water by the Klamath Tribes will be devastating economically for the cattlemen in the Upper Basin, affected ranchers said Tuesday.

The Tribes made the call last week. A water call puts the rest of the secondary water users on notice that the Tribes intend to use its water allocation in the Williamson, Sprague and possibly the Wood rivers for the benefit of fish habitat over irrigation for farming and cattle operations.

“This call is potentially devastating to both irrigators and the Tribes,” said Becky Hyde, a member of a long-time cattle ranching family in the Upper Basin above Upper Klamath Lake. “Our ag communities want what is best for the fish as well, but this puts a tremendous strain on our relationship with the Tribes.”

 While the call focuses on the current high water flows in the rivers — and if they fall to a certain level, irrigators can actually irrigate — there is still the concern that the irrigation window will be short-lived.

This is the first time the regulations have taken effect with spring runoff, which could run to June 1 or end sooner.

Water agreement

Hyde and several other ranchers spent years hammering out an Upper Basin agreement over water use with the Tribes. That agreement is still on the books, but has no funding behind it, hence is moot. The agreement would retire some 18,000 acres of land from use to put water back into the streams. In turn, there will be water security for ranchers.

Larry Nicholson, whose family also has historic cattle ranches on the Wood River, said the economic impact will be huge. A water call has not been made on the Wood, but Nicholson expects it.

“There are some 30,000 head of cattle that are moved into the area from ranches in California,” Nicholson said. “The grass in the Fort Klamath area is highly nutritious, but it is only good in the summer as it’s too cold to keep cattle there in the winter. Most ranches are not setup for stock water. If there is no water, the cattle will be kept in California, crowding out those ranch resources.”

After that …

“We have yearlings who need to grow all summer on grass,” Hyde said. “It’s a scramble to find alternative grazing. If you multiply that across the region, the water call a big deal,” she said. “We will be OK in the spring thanks to the early moisture and growing grasses. After that, it could be devastating.”

A couple of years back, Hyde shipped some cattle out after water supplies dwindled.

“This will be worse. There will be no water,” Hyde said.

Randall Kiser, who is a fifth-generation rancher on the Sprague and Wood, said, “When you have a snowpack at 138 of average and there is still a call for water, something is wrong.” Kiser, too, worked on the water pact with the tribes. Some 150 large and small ranches on the Sprague will be affected by the call.

“It’s a serious situation,” Kizer said.

“It would be nice if we could negotiate a settlement, finalize it and keep moving” he said. “This call affects everybody in the Upper Basin. When we last met in February, the Tribes told us they were ‘settlement-minded.’”

Fisheries status

Tribal Chairman Don Gentry said of the call Monday, “I understand the concerns for the agricultural community, but there needs to be concerns for the status of our fisheries.”

Both Hyde and Nicholson point out that the agreements work both ways. The idea was to have cattlemen build fences to keep cattle out of the rivers so fish habitat could grow.

“If you don’t have fences, it stands to reason the cattle will be drinking from the river,” Nicholson said, damaging habitat and eroding banks.

“Just having water doesn’t restore habitat,” Hyde said. “That’s where everyone loses. The Klamath Tribes have a powerful card that they are playing, but that doesn’t, mean they win in the end.”

READ it here

http://www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/ranchers-in-the-upper-basin-react-to-water-call/article_2e958a6e-14be-5def-bd13-7f69b6db4517.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

 

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Agriculture has been hammered by environmental water regulations

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California water, Endangered Species Act

New report shows thousands of California jobs lost due to water cuts

KERO

A report released today by the Southern California Water Committee and the Committee for Delta Reliability exposes the unintended consequences of nearly two decades of water cuts caused by environmental regulation – showing the hardest hit are those who rely on agriculture to survive, such as farmworkers, food processors, truck drivers and warehouse workers, among many others.

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Sierra Snowpack is larger than previous 4 years combined

Air, Climate & Weather, California water

Sierra Nevada Mountain Snowpack Is Larger Than Previous 4 Years Combined

KNBC

The monster snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains is larger than it has been in the four previous years combined, new NASA data shows.

The measurements in the Tuolumne River Basin were made with NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory, a plane with an advanced set of research equipment that can collect measurements over a widespread area. On April 1, the snowpack was at 1.2 million acre-feet, which is enough snow to fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena about 1,600 times.

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State awards $275 million contract for Oroville Dam repairs

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California Rivers, California water

Sac Bee.com

Kiewit Corp., a construction giant with extensive experience in dam projects, was awarded the massive repair job at troubled Oroville Dam on Monday.

The California Department of Water Resources announced that Kiewit, based in Omaha, Neb., beat two competitors for the job with a $275.4 million bid.

Kiewit had the low bid, although its offer was still higher than DWR’s internal estimate that the project would cost $231 million. (DWR said on Saturday that it estimated the project would cost $220 million, but released a corrected estimate Monday.)

Repairs are expected to began in late May or early June. Fixing Oroville Dam’s two spillways will be a daunting project, so complicated that it won’t be completely finished until sometime in 2018. DWR officials have said, however, that they expect the first year’s worth of repairs will leave the structures serviceable for the upcoming rainy season.

Oroville’s main spillway cracked in two Feb. 7 during a heavy rainstorm, prompting dam operators to reduce outflows as they contemplated repairs. Five days later, as the lake filled up and water flowed over the nearby emergency spillway for the first time ever, officials ordered a mass evacuation when they feared the emergency structure would fail because of erosion on the hillside just below the concrete lip. The evacuation was rescinded two days later.

Kiewit’s dam projects include the $900 million auxiliary spillway set to open this fall at Folsom Dam.

The company beat out Barnard Ames JV, an affiliate of Barnard Construction Co. of Bozeman, Mont., which offered to do the job for $277 million; and Oroville Dam Constructors, a joint venture between Teichert Construction of Sacramento and Granite Construction of Watsonville, which bid $344 million.

The contract calls for repairs to both spillways.

State officials have said they expect customers of the State Water Project to pay for the repairs, although they intend to ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency for financial help.

Lake Oroville is California’s second largest reservoir and the linchpin of the State Water Project. The SWP’s largest customer is the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves 19 million customers.

Read it here:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article145144129.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Central Valley Project water allocations hit 100 percent – first time since 2006

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California water, Federal gov & land grabs, State gov

Read more here:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article144007699.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Editorial: Get serious about more California water storage

Air, Climate & Weather, California water

EDITORIAL: Drought’s over for most in California. Now let’s get serious about more water storage.

Fresno Bee

April 7, 2017

Friday, while the heavens were drenching the Valley with heavy rains, Gov. Jerry Brown lifted his emergency drought declaration for most of California.

If you’re thinking that means it’s perfectly OK to take extra-long showers, saturate your lawn with water this summer or stop planting drought-resistant shrubs and flowers, you’d be wrong.

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Did this year feel like the wettest ever? In California’s northern Sierra, it’s about to be

Air, Climate & Weather, California water

Sac Bee.com

April 8, 2017

The northern Sierra Nevada, which supplies water for much of the rest of California, is poised to surpass its wettest year in recorded history well before the rainy season comes to a close.

As of Saturday morning, the region had accumulated an average of 87.5 inches of water across eight northern Sierra stations since the beginning of the season on Oct. 1, according to data from the California Department of Water Resources.

Erick Kurth, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said rain and snow predicted for the upcoming week could help bring the extra water needed to exceed the 1982-1983 record. Areas throughout the Sierra mountains saw snowfall into Saturday afternoon. Rain is expected to shower the region again beginning Tuesday and and last through Thursday.The current record for the northern Sierra was established when the water year running from Oct. 1, 1982 through Sept. 30, 1983 saw a total of 88.5 inches.

Kurth said a fairly wet fall season paired with rain and snowfall brought on by a series of atmospheric rivers this January and February fed current high water levels.

“I think it’s notable that we could beat the record now,” Kurth said. “We’re really only about half way through the water year.”

Saturday’s year-to-date average sits at 205 percent above normal for this time in the water year, according to Department of Water Resources data. A typical water year in the northern Sierra comes in at an average of 50 inches of precipitation.

Read more here:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article143554154.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Mighty L.A. water agency wants a share of Valley’s Sites Reservoir – and is willing to pay

Agriculture, Air, Climate & Weather, California water, Dams other than Klamath

Sac Bee.com

April 6, 2017

Southern California’s most powerful water agency is prepared to invest in Sacramento Valley’s proposed Sites Reservoir, a move that could broaden support for the $4.4 billion project but also raise alarms about a south state “water grab.”

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California would pour $1.5 million into pre-development work at Sites if Metropolitan’s board accepts a recommendation made by its executive staff Wednesday. The board plans to vote on the investment next Tuesday.

Metropolitan could increase its investment later in the project, which has the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. That would entitle the Southern California agency to control as many as 50,000 acre-feet of storage once the reservoir gets built, according to the Metropolitan staff report. Sites, to be built at a remote location straddling the Glenn-Colusa county line, would be able to hold up to 1.8 million acre-feet.

Metropolitan’s interest “further shows the value of Sites Reservoir as a solution,” said Jim Watson, general manager of the Sites Project Joint Powers Authority.

Watson acknowledged that Metropolitan’s involvement could create backlash about Southern California siphoning more water from the Sacramento Valley. But he said Metropolitan wouldn’t get a seat on the reservoir’s governing board. By state law, the board must be made up of representatives of Sacramento Valley water agencies, he said.

The advocacy group Restore the Delta, however, said Metropolitan is simply angling to take more water from the north. “They are really coming in as an outside power to control that watershed…the Sacramento River watershed,” said the group’s director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla.

Proponents say Sites would improve water storage and the environment, making water available to improve conditions of endangered fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Sites would be California’s seventh largest reservoir, and the largest built in the state since New Melones opened on the Stanislaus River in 1979. It would be an “off-river” reservoir fed by an underground 14-mile pipeline from the Sacramento River.

Until now, Metropolitan has been hesitant to commit to Sites. General Manager Jeff Kightlinger, in an interview last November, said the reservoir would have little value for Metropolitan unless the state builds its controversial twin tunnels in the Delta. Metropolitan is one of the leading backers of the $15.5 billion tunnels plan, which is designed to re-engineer the troubled Delta and smooth the delivery of Northern California’s water to points south.

Metropolitan is signing on to help with planning work on Sites, including preparation of an application to the State Water Commission for funding from Proposition 1, the voter-approved water bond that has set aside $2.7 billion for reservoirs and other infrastructure. Sites backers are seeking up to $2.2 billion from in Proposition 1 money, or half the total cost.

Under Proposition 1 rules, the state would gain control of up to half of Sites’ water for environmental purposes if it subsidizes the reservoir with bond money.

Read more here:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article143081329.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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State water agency unlikely to meet deadlines to repair Oroville Dam spillway, expert says

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather

L.A. Times

March 24, 2017

An engineering expert who visited the troubled Lake Oroville reservoir said this week that it would be nearly impossible for the state to complete temporary repairs to its fractured and eroded main spillway by a target date of Nov. 1.

In a report submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week, a panel of five independent consulting engineers warned that “a significant risk would be incurred” if the main spillway was not operational after October, which is the traditional start of California’s rainy season.

MORE

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-oroville-repair-timeline20170324-story.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Many Central Valley farms to get full federal water supplies

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California water

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced full federal water allocations for at least some parts of the Central Valley, including the Friant Division, where many citrus growers went without water in 2014 and 2015.

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

Published on March 1, 2017 10:00AM

Last changed on March 1, 2017 12:00PM

Shasta Lake was 85 percent full and at 117 percent of its historical average as of Feb. 27. Full reservoirs and abundant snowpack have enabled the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to give full water allocations to many farmers in the Central Valley.

Tim Hearden/Capital Press

Shasta Lake was 85 percent full and at 117 percent of its historical average as of Feb. 27. Full reservoirs and abundant snowpack have enabled the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to give full water allocations to many farmers in the Central Valley.

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SACRAMENTO — Full reservoirs and an abundant snowpack have enabled the Central Valley Project to promise full allocations of water to many valley farms, federal officials announced Feb. 28.

Citrus growers in the eastern San Joaquin Valley’s Friant division will get 100 percent of their contracted supplies after most went without federal surface water in 2014 and 2015 and received 75 percent last year.

“We are extremely pleased with that announcement,” said Laura Brown, director of government affairs for the Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual. “We were expecting it with all the rain we’ve had.”

Among others promised their full supplies are customers of the Central San Joaquin Valley Conservation District and Stockton East Water District and urban customers in the Sacramento area and eastern San Francisco Bay area served by water from the American River.

Settlement contractors on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers were told in mid-February they would get their full supplies based on the volume of inflow to Shasta Lake, officials said.

The agency will wait until mid-March to determine other allocations, including those for the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, which only received 5 percent last summer despite late-season storms that provided more water elsewhere.

Several factors will determine the remaining allocations, said Ron Milligan, a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operations manager in Sacramento. They include the state Department of Water Resources’ third manual snowpack survey, which was set for March 1, as well as reservoir levels and hydrologic conditions, he said.

But Milligan and other federal officials acknowledged in a conference call with reporters that the delay is also partly caused by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s failure to complete its fisheries’ temperature management plan for Shasta Lake. The plan could require more water to be kept in the lake this summer to provide cold water for federally protected winter-run chinook salmon.

“Growers are making their planting decisions now,” said Ryan Jacobsen, the Fresno County Farm Bureau’s chief executive officer. “Farmers cannot make choices on what might be an allocation … They need real numbers.”

Jacobsen said Westside growers aren’t expecting a full allocation, which he said is “unacceptable” considering that snowpack levels in most areas are more than 150 percent of normal and outflow from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has totaled more than 24 million acre-feet since October. Hundreds of thousands of acres on the Westside have been fallowed in recent years because of a lack of water.

But Pablo Arroyave, Reclamation’s acting Mid-Pacific regional director, said the lack of an allocation for the Westside now doesn’t mean the area won’t get water. He said the agency will take advantage of the current hydrology to try to get as much water as possible to districts.

A substantial amount of CVP water is already in storage south of the Delta, and federal share of the San Luis Reservoir west of Los Banos, Calif., is expected to be full within the first week of March, officials said.

Given the large snowpack and high river flows this year, much of the water already in storage will be available for delivery to CVP contractors this spring and summer, they said.

For the CVP overall, this was the first year of widespread 100 percent allocations for agriculture since 2006, officials said. The Friant Division’s supply comes as Millerton Lake near Fresno was at 82 percent of capacity and 126 percent of normal as of Feb. 27, prompting dam operators to boost releases to make room for a big anticipated snowmelt.

The full allocation applies to the division’s Class 1 customers, or the most senior landowners, while customers may take Class 2 supplies as long as the ramped-up releases from Millerton Lake continue, the bureau noted in a news release.

The bureau typically announces its initial allocations in mid-February, although it waited until April 1 last year to take into account anticipated storms in March while giving informal reports to water districts, spokesman Shane Hunt said at the time.

The 2016-17 water year has been “extreme” so far, prompting Reclamation to take “an approach to the announcement of CVP water allocations this year that differs from our historic practice,” Arroyave said. In future years, the agency will strive to release initial allocations for all water users in February, he said.

The State Water Project initially allocated 20 percent of contracted supplies in late November and has so far upped its anticipated deliveries to at least 60 percent of requested supplies. The last time the project’s 29 contracting agencies got their full allocations was in 2006.

http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20170301/many-central-valley-farms-to-get-full-federal-water-supplies

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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