Thriving runs of salmon? They do exist…

As we all know, California’s salmon runs and the fishing industry that depends on them have been hit hard the past few years. A number of factors have contributed to the significant decline of this iconic fish and as a result we are facing the third straight year of a limited, and at times, closed fishing season which has had significant economic impacts on many communities. But in the midst of this distressing situation in California, it’s always nice to find a bright light somewhere. And as I recently found out, this bright light isn’t too far away.

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Westlands hires ex-Bush official

The Westlands Water District is turning to a former Bush administration official to fight its legal battles.

Craig Manson, a law professor and former assistant secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, is scheduled to start this summer as the district’s full-time general counsel, the district said.

Manson will be paid $185,000 a year, said Tom Birmingham, Westland’s general manager. Manson is a former state Supreme Court judge who now teaches at McGeorge School of Law.

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US-Mexico deal aims to protect wetland: Accord will test new water flows to Colorado delta

Cattails, clapper rails and honey mesquites living in the Sonoran Desert’s biologically richest wetland are being watched closely by University of Arizona scientists during the trial run of the Yuma Desalting Plant.

The wetland, Ciénega de Santa Clara, will be in better shape than it would have been had the desalting plant in Arizona opened two or three years ago.

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Salton Sea projects stalled by economy expected to get under way this spring

The bad economy slowed progress on Salton Sea restoration for about a year. But activity should pick up in coming weeks and months, a state official said. “It’s getting to be an exciting time, because we will see some really nice habitat projects out there,” said Kim Nicol, environmental program director for the California Department of Fish and Game.

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More unreasonable water-power strictures from Sacramento

There they go again.

Sacramento regulators are doing what they do best: restricting California’s energy choices in the name of environmental purity.

On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) effectively banned the use of “once-through” water cooling in Golden State power plants.

The new policy requires all coastal power generation units, including our state’s two nuclear facilities, to reduce their usage of ocean water by 93 percent over the course of several years.

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South San Joaquin Irrigation District wants to share water to help areas hard hit by drought

Helping “neighbors” in California who need water isn’t a simple – or cheap – task.

It involves lawyers and environmental reports plus requires the state’s blessing. And even in a declared emergency, you shouldn’t expect any rapid decisions in the regulatory process required to transfer water within the state’s boundaries.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board on Tuesday during their 9 a.m. meeting at the district office, 11011 East Highway 120, will review the initial environmental study and mitigated negative declaration to transfer up to 50,000 acre feet of water to the San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority.

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Winter rains bode well for Russian River’s summer season

After a year of low flows in the Russian River that last summer scraped canoe bottoms and tested the patience of paddlers, the winter and spring rains will leave the river with plenty of water this summer. “The river is more beautiful than I have seen in a couple of years,” said Lollie Mercer, owner of River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips in Healdsburg.

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Mendocino County Supervisors to discuss Coyote Dam

National Archives and Records Admin.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is expected on Tuesday to approve general plan changes for a couple dozen property owners who thought the rezoning projects were included when the supervisors approved the update of the General Plan last August and who have been waiting ever since for the county to correct the error.

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Public encouraged to attend vital summit on California’s water and economic crisis – This Friday, May 14

Even as some water agencies in Northern California relax water conservation mandates for their customers after a wet winter, the state is still facing a water crisis. Infrastructure and water supplies are severely threatened, for which state lawmakers approved an $11 billion water bond to go before voters in November.

Orange County residents, and businesses and community leaders are invited to engage with water utilities and legislators on possible remedies, long-term solutions and the pros and cons of the water bond at the 3rd Annual O.C. Water Summit, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May 14 at the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland Resort (Anaheim).

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Water shortage raises lettuce prices

When you buy a head of lettuce at the grocery store in the next couple of months, you might notice a higher price tag at checkout.

This isn’t the first time the cost of lettuce has increased. In late 2009, in a supermarket in Queens, New York, a customer noticed a head of iceberg lettuce went from 89 cents one month to $2.49 the next, according to an article in the New York Daily News. Why?

The article attributes the shortage of lettuce to a cold front in California. The real reason, according to Sarah Woolf of California’s Westlands Water District, is that lettuce production in California has been cut in half due to lack of water reaching the Valley.

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Thermal mobile home park residents see water bill relief

The California Public Utilities Commission announced Thursday that Sunbird management can no longer bill residents above the park’s top two tiers of water usage, pending resolution of a complaint filed last November by several Sunbird residents.

The PUC’s ruling also states that the park cannot use residents’ non-payment of a water bill as grounds to evict them, pending a final decision.

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