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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