Bureau of Reclamation

Trump Administration’s Cold Water War With California Turns Hot

Feds’ Curious New Lawsuits Against State Water Board Likely Just the Opening Litigation Salvo

When it comes to California water policy, the federal-state relationship has always been both strained and challenging.  That intergovernmental tension harkens back at least to the Reclamation Act of 1902.  In section 8 of this iconic federal statute that transformed the American West, Congress declared that the federal government “shall proceed in conformity with” state …


Ninth Circuit takes up NRDC v. Salazar en banc

The Ninth Circuit today issued an order granting rehearing en banc in NRDC v. Salazar, meaning that an 11-member panel will now reconsider the 3-judge panel decision issued last July. (Hat tip: Endangered Species and Wetland Report.) This is very good news, because the (split) panel decision was wrong in important respects. (Full disclosure — …


The other fish drops on the Delta

NMFS has issued its long-awaited revised biological opinion on the effects of operation of the Central Valley and State Water Projects on species under its supervision. The entire opinion is available here, and the NMFS press release is here. The opinion concludes that current project operations jeopardize the survival of “winter and spring-run Chinook salmon, …


Interior team slowly takes shape

President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar have begun to trickle out the new leadership team for the Interior Department. So far, the team is heavy on legal talent. Like Secretary Salazar, the first three nominees to subordinate positions all hold JDs. David Hayes was nominated late last month to be Deputy Secretary, the number two …


Delta news roundup

It’s been a busy and discouraging ten days for those interested in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as either an ecosystem or a water source. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the return of fall chinook salmon to the Sacramento River hit a record low last year. The Pacific Fishery Management Council released a gloomy preseason …


A smorgasbord of smelt and salmon news

There have been several developments in the Delta water saga since I posted on the request for relief from water quality standards submitted by the state Department of Water Resources and federal Bureau of Reclamation, and the potential for conflict between the water needs of smelt and of salmon.


More on climate change and water management

I posted last week about the Secure Water provision of S 22, the Omnibus Public Lands bill that has passed the Senate, which would mandate federal planning for the effects of climate change on water resources. Federal water agencies are already looking at how water planning needs to adapt to climate change. The US Geological …


Heads out of the sand on water supply risks

Last month the Senate passed S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. Buried in the depths of the lengthy bill is an important section called “Secure Water” which is intended to ensure that the nation understands and confronts the effects of climate change on water supply. It would require that the Department of Interior …