Delta Blues Trailer

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two NYT articles on the Delta

The first covers the recent decision by Judge Wanger that criticizes the science work of the Fish and Wildlife Service. He calls for continued protection for the Delta Smelt but says the Biological Opinion is "arbitrary, capricious and unlawful." More court action and confusion sure to come.

The second tries to give the overall Delta situation a thorough analysis and turns out to be mostly confusing. It's a tough subject to cover in the typical newspaper length, especially because it is never ending.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Accidental Activist

Fun piece on the Bay Citizen about salmon fisherman Mike Hudson, one of the characters featured in Delta Blues. A passionate advocate for salmon - and the Blues.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bay Area coalition calls delta plan a water grab

Good overview in the SF Chronicle about the progress of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the ongoing issues with the Delta. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Delta Blues Screens at Green Screen Environmental Film Festival

 Delta Blues screens at the festival in Venice, CA on Saturday, October 30th at 3:30p. For more info and online ticket purchase, go here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stealth State Plan Would End Salmon Fishing in California

Zeke Grader, the Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, has a blog entry on that's causing a stir about the future of the Delta and salmon fishing in California. Worth a read.

Read more:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Study: Cut in delta water use needed for fish

From the SF Chron. Sounds good, but two quotes sum up how far away a Delta solution still is:

"The board has finally put to rest the argument about whether the delta needs more water," said Cynthia Koehler, water legislative director with the Environmental Defense Fund. "You can't divert 50 percent of the flows and think the fish and ecosystem are going to be just fine."

"The information certainly is interesting and informative ... but it's immaterial," said Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands Water District, a sprawling agricultural zone in the Fresno area. "Protecting the public trust resources are not the only goals of the planning processes."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Interesting Water Deal

From the Fresno Bee - "Drawn together by water losses due to drought and endangered species protections, two fierce competitors for California's water are trying to cut a rare deal."

Westlands willing to trade away 1/3 of this year's water supply to the Metropolitan Water District (SoCal) in return for a guaranteed amount next year. A wet year makes for strange bedfellows.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Schwarzenegger moves to pull water bond measure

 The SF Chronicle looks at the decision. This appears to be political reality, as the state is broke and the public is in no mood to spend more money on a complicated infrastructure bill. But delays of this type are often the first sign of a doom for measures like this. The bond measure will only get more expensive in the future - and probably more complicated.

The Delta is in need of action now and any delays in repairing levees, protecting declining fish populations and finding a solution to delivering a reliable water supply south is troubling and short-sighted.

One surprise: I always thought Schwarzenegger wanted the water bond and the accompanying infrastructure projects as his lasting legacy as he leaves office. Next year (or later) it will be the next Governor's issue.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New state agency tries to revive delta

Comprehensive article in the SF Chronicle about the demise of CalFed and its replacement, the Delta Stewardship Council.

As with most things in California these days, it comes down to money. Will it be fully and consistently funded? Or will it become another victim of the state's very serious budget crisis over the long term?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Both sides claim victory in water compromise...

...but it's a short term compromise at best. Stay tuned for the next round.

The Fresno Bee has the story.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Help the makers of the documentary film CRUDE with their legal fees

Chevron seeks all the footage and material collected for the making of the documentary film CRUDE as part of their huge legal fight in Ecuador. Whether you like the film or believe in its message, this legal action is an enormous trampling of journalists and documentarians First Amendment rights and will have a chilling effect on future work. Especially investigations of large corporations.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Puzzler

From the Chron: "U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger will consider restoring the water supply and ordering government biologists back to the drawing board during a hearing today that could decide the fate of the state's beleaguered salmon."

It's a puzzler because Wanger is the judge who ruled that diversions were hurting salmon and his rulings are the primary reason why strict water restrictions were placed on Central Valley farmers the past few years.

And it's sad because it means endless legal battles into the future. Farmers and fish won't benefit, only lawyers will.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Strategy for Salmon Release

Article in the Bee about changing strategies to assist with the survival of salmon smolt and "imprint" their birth river.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Study backs efforts to save delta fish

From the SF Chron:

A study by the National Academy of Sciences declared Friday that the efforts to save endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by restricting water delivery are "scientifically justified."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not Enough Jobs and Not Enough Water

Good, balanced radio story about water and jobs in the Central Valley.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lots of action in Cal water this week

First there was this: "A topsy-turvy week in a federal courtroom in Fresno, Calif., has led to the imposition of water flow restrictions to aid endangered delta smelt in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta." This was after Judge Wanger ruled with Westlands last week and allowed additional pumping. Read more in the New York Times.

Also, yesterday Dianne Feinstein threw her support behind Central Valley farmers with legislation in the Senate. Some strong comments from NorCal House members in this article.

Finally, chinook salmon numbers are out for 2009 and they're dismal. Looks like a third straight year of closure for the commercial salmon fishing season. Lots of jobs and businesses impacted. More here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Delta environmental review begins amid skepticism

Read the story about the National Academy of Sciences meeting in the Bee. Lots of controversy about the speakers. It seems strange that representatives of the salmon fishing industry and residents of the Delta are not part of the program.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009 another bad year for Delta ecosystem

It's not just smelt and salmon in decline. The numbers cited at the end of this article are startling.

We went on one of those fish trawling trips in the Delta with Peter Moyle. Look for it in the upcoming documentary.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fall Salmon Run Down Again

The Fall Chinook Salmon run looks to be about the same (meaning very bad) or worse than 2008, according to this piece by Matt Weiser in the Bee. Also, it appears that the run is increasingly becoming a hatchery based one, with almost 90% of returning salmon coming from hatcheries - which raises other concerns.

And with three straight years of dismal fall salmon returns, there's a good chance the run could be listed on the Endangered Species Act, at a time when the ESA is facing increasing scrutiny, especially from Central Valley water interests. Depressing news all the way around.