Posts Tagged: sacramento river

For California water supply, $150 million spent to not solve the problem

California salmon run

Four years and $150 million into a major study of plans to re-engineer elements of California’s main source of water, a National Science Foundation review found the multi-billion-dollar proposal confused, poorly defined and inadequately researched.  That’s the gist of a piece by Gosia Wozniacka of The Associated Press picked up by the Riverside Press Enterprise.

Power brokers managing California’s fresh water supplies have long sought more access to the state’s two major rivers — the Sacramento and the San Joaquin. But taking too much water from the rivers creates all sorts of problems: (more…)

“Toxic” doesn’t do justice to Iron Mountain runoff

The EPA’s new regional administrator, Jared Blumenfeld,  joined California officials deep inside an otherworldly realm of deadly caustic waste deemed the most toxic place on earth, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Iron Mountain Mine lies nine miles from the city of Redding at the north end of the Sacramento Valley. It was first tapped in the 1890s as a source of sulfuric acid and later for copper.  When miners uncovered vast deposits of pyrite, exposing it to oxygen, water and bacteria, it began breaking down and creating poisonous runoff. (more…)

First thing we do, we protect all the . . . lawyers?

Steelhead trout

A coalition of six California water districts failed to convince a federal court that there’s no real distinction between endangered anadromous steelhead trout and comparatively plentiful rainbow trout. The lawsuit, brought against the National Marine Fisheries Service, sought to strip steelhead of their distinction as a separate species (more…)

California courts slow to shape fisheries’ future

Columbia River fish ladder

The National Marine Fisheries Service was ordered to go back to the drawing board by a federal judge in California, the latest inconclusive skirmish over fish habitat in an important tributary to the Sacramento River, Denny Walsh of the Sacramento Bee reported Monday.

The battle is over the fate of two dams on Northern California’s Yuba River, which were constructed to prevent remnants of mountains blasted away by hydraulic mining during the gold rush from fouling waterways downstream.  According to the agency, populations of endangered salmon, steelhead and sturgeon are all stable in the river, facts certified in a required ‘biological opinion.’ However, environmental groups convinced the judge that the agency’s opinion was rife with contradictions and flaws that the agency was well aware of. (more…)