And, right on schedule ...

Submitted: Jul 27, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

here comes the salt.

 7-24-15

Stockton Record   

Salt worries building in Delta waters

By Alex Breitler
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http://www.recordnet.com/article/20150724/NEWS/150729783/101094/A_NEWS <!--[endif]-->

State officials acknowledged this week that they are “struggling” to keep portions of the Delta fresh, as saltier water from San Francisco Bay pushes inland during yet another summer of drought.

Normally, rivers from interior California help push back that saltier water and keep the Delta fresh, which is important for people and fish alike. But this year the rivers are low, which allows the Bay water to move toward the east and invade portions of the tidally influenced estuary.

In order to hold back more water in depleted reservoirs, the state Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation earlier this year asked regulators to temporarily weaken certain salinity standards in the west Delta, rules that are supposed to protect agriculture. The request was granted.

Now, in two locations, even those weakened standards have been exceeded — one on the Sacramento River at Threemile Slough, and another on the San Joaquin River at Jersey Point.

“I think in some ways it’s not too surprising,” John Lehigh, who oversees operations of California’s water delivery system, told the State Water Resources Control Board this week. “We knew things were going to be tight.”

Little water can be released from reservoirs to push back the saltier water, he said. A “very unfavorable” tide also contributed to the recent salinity problem. By Tuesday the Jersey Point location was back in compliance with the standard.

The good news, Lehigh said, is that a rock barrier installed by the state earlier this spring appears to be preventing saltwater from pushing into the heart of the Delta, where it could cause problems for even more farmers and foul up drinking-water supplies.

Some environmentalists have challenged the water board’s decision to allow those scientifically determined water-quality standards to be weakened. In a complaint filed Wednesday, the Stockton-based California Sportfishing Protection Alliance warned that the looser standards also imperil fish that already are on the verge of extinction, such as the tiny Delta smelt.

Stockton’s Restore the Delta filed its own protest on Thursday. Tim Stroshane, the group’s policy advisor, said the state’s water system still is being operated as it was four decades ago, with reservoirs drawn down in the early years of the drought under the assumption that a healthy snowpack would follow.

So far, it hasn’t. Now, Stroshane said, “The system is really in quite a crisis.”

 

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With all the foresight of roadkill

Submitted: Jul 25, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

The decision by the state Supreme Court not to review the published state Fourth Appellate Court decision preventing jurisdictions from raising water rates beyond costs as a conservation measure cuts off one more avenue for reduction of water use, which at this point is increasingly from groundwater pumping. We could say that either it shows a judiciary ruled by hide-bound conservatives or that it shows a judiciary aware that agriculture, not urban taxpayers, is the larger water user and that high court is not going to be diverted by a bunch of Capitol flibbertigibbets.  While Gov Jerry Brown and his administration -- a typical collection for a Jerry Show, thin on competence, thick like their boss on glib evasion -- demand great urban water-consumption cutbacks, and the people respond (except the rich) pretty well to these demands, the disastrous and permanently damaging agribusiness groundwater pumping continues night and day, sucking aquifers dry causing land subsidence.

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Groundwater, considered all by itself

Submitted: Jul 21, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Local support is required for each type of boundary change. Mr. Springhorn explained the tiered system with an increasing level of local support depending on the severity of the requested revision. “We’ve been messaging that for boundary revision in the state, there needs to be broad local agreement for these revisions because these revisions have impacts on the implementation of groundwater management and also sustainable groundwater management in the high and medium basins so that’s been a key theme throughout all of our stakeholder engagement and outreach.”

http://mavensnotebook.com/2015/07/20/sustainable-groundwater-management-act-implementation-an-overview-of-the-basin-boundary-regulation/

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The Border forever; siempre la frontera

Submitted: Jul 20, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

 

 

It isn't cynicism. That's just some editor's idea of a headline. The article that follows is a good description of the particular nature of Border culture in these violent times and in other times. -- blj

 

 

 

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Bob Baker, you'll be greatly missed

Submitted: Jul 18, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Bob  taught journalism as a high, vitally important practiced in real time on deadline. (What else? He was also a rocking bass player.) No one could teach journalism better. We were immensely lucky to have known him and to have read his magnificent Newsthinking:  Making your Facts Fall Into Place.  He leaves us with the obligation of not letting newsthinking pass with him.

Thank you, Bob, for your passionate curiosity, pursuit of clarity, your bravery, and your magnificent teaching skills.

Bill Hatch

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Water skirmishes increase, intensify between agribusiness and state

Submitted: Jul 17, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

In light of this week's skirmishes in court over agricultural rights to river water, it is a good time to look at the call, heard from a growing number of voices, for an overhaul of California water rights that is swelling under the increasing flow of lawsuits and the decreasing flow of surface water, the shrinking aquifers and subsiding land.

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The Greek fiddle

Submitted: Jul 15, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The problem is with democracy. If democracy cannot express illusions and crazy hopes; if it cannot contain narratives of emotion and ideals, it dies. By countermanding first the landslide victory of an elected government and then a 61% plebiscite majority, the EU functionally vetoed the outcomes of Greek democracy. If the democratic spirit now dies in Greece – and it might – we had better hope that phenomenon too does not go viral. -- Paul Mason, The Guardian, Julhy 13, 2015

The leaders of Syriza are revolutionaries of a kind – but their revolution is the perverse, familiar appropriation of social democratic and parliamentary movements by liberals groomed to comply with neo-liberal drivel and a social engineering whose authentic face is that of Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, an imperial thug. -- John Pilger, The Saker, July 12, 2015 

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Raising water rates v. Prop. 218

Submitted: Jul 13, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 All one has to do is take a drive out of any town in the Central Valley, pass brown lawns in town verging into parched horse lots next to ranchettes on the periphery to the green green orchards and vineyards and flowing canals of the agribusiness zone, to realize just how rotten this state government and congressional delegation really is.

The water board wrings its hands and retired top water bureaucrat, Less Snow, who headed every agency in the last 25 years that helped destroy the Delta, mildly mouths a plea to "reform" Prop. 218, an unlikely course of state-government action. But the water board hides behind Prop. 218, and has the vapors rather than risking a challenge from the redoubtable -- but not always right -- Jonathan Coupal and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association's legal raiders, a very, very Eighties coterie  of  private property selfies that needs to be extirpated along with the endangered species its obstructions would help crash this summer.

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What is the issue?

Submitted: Jul 13, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 All one has to do is take a drive out of any town in the Central Valley, pass brown lawns in town verging into parched horse lots next to ranchettes on the periphery to the green green orchards and vineyards and flowing canals of the agribusiness zone, to realize just how rotten this state government and congressional delegation really is.

The water board wrings its hands and retired top water bureaucrat, Less Snow, who headed every agency in the last 25 years that helped destroy the Delta, mildly mouths a plea to "reform" Prop. 218, an unlikely course of state-government action. But the water board hides behind Prop. 218, and has the vapors rather than risking a challenge from the redoubtable -- but not always right -- Jonathan Coupal and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association's legal raiders, a very, very Eighties coterie  of  private property selfies that needs to be extirpated along with the endangered species its obstructions would help crash this summer.

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Cheers for Willie

Submitted: Jul 12, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 7-9-15

Mcclatchycd.com

Willie Nelson wins Gershwin Prize

BY MARIA RECIO

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