- Author: Michael Levy
It’s an exciting time in the CCWAS world. As we move into our second quarter as CCWAS Trainees, we’re planning this spring’s inaugural State of the Science and Policy Conference, and folks, it’s going to be awesome. We’re still in the early stages of planning, so I can’t get too specific, but here’s a taste of what we’ve been kicking around:
- Amazing speakers: We’re going to have the biggest names in the science and management of California’s water future. You won’t find anywhere else such a collection of cutting edge thinkers on how California’s water resources are changing and what to do about it.
- Exciting schedule: We’re going to keep ‘em busy. TED-like talks, panel discussions, keynote speakers, posters, roundtable discussions, plus plenty of time to network and discuss specific ideas with leaders in the field.
- Provocative arrangements: We’re putting together combinations of scientists, managers, and stakeholders that are designed challenge them and get them to question how they do things to help us get at the big unknowns and disconnects in California’s water future.
- Integration, integration, and more integration: We’re going to bridge scientific fields, science and management, management scale, geography… everything. Our specialty in the IGERT is bringing together pieces that don’t normally come into contact. That’s how we’ll move knowledge forward, and there’s plenty of it on tap at the conference.
Sound good? Put it on your calendar: April 8-9, 2013 in Sacramento, California.
Here’s a title we’ve been kicking around. What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below:
The Future of Water in California: Integrating Climate, Water & Policy
On Monday, 7 January, State Senator Lois Wolk gave the inaugural talk in the California Water Policy Seminar Series. She addressed a standing-room-only crowd of faculty, grad students, and interested members of the public for over 45 minutes, and took questions afterwards.
Senator Wolk opened by describing the current climate in the state capitol: "We now have an activist governor, prepared to move on a controversial proposal" and encouraged seminar participants to ask the "movers and shakers" scheduled to speak later in the quarter about ideas that will impact California. She praised the students in the audience, saying, "We don't have enough well-trained people in California...I can't imagine anything more important to California and the West."
She emphasized the importance of the interconnectedness of California water as the key to understanding California water policy and describe the Delta as a "wicked, wicked problem." In her view, successful processes to determine the future of the Delta must bring all stakeholders to the table -- environmental organizations, the San Joaquin Valley agricultural sector, the Delta community, Southern California water users, recreation enthusiasts, Delta ports, upstream water users.
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan, currently under consideration, proposes to run two tunnels under the Delta to convey water for users in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California while minimizing effects on listed species. Senator Wolk critiqued the drafting process because it didn't include Delta counties and upstream water users. She encouraged state officials to adjust the plan to account for these other interests. "The path forward is going to have to be a negotiation and discussion with all parties at the table..." because the current plan is unlikely to garner enough support to pass a water bond.
Senator Wolk closed with optimism: "A lot of people are tired of the fighting." As a result, diverse stakeholder groups have initiated collaborative processes to work on numerous smaller projects on which they all agree. Senator Wolk lauded this work, saying that it may have helped develop more trust between people in different organizations, which will help in larger discussions about the Delta.
If you missed the seminar, you can download the video at this link:
Dr. Doom, a.k.a. Professor Jeff Mount, has retired after 33 years at UC Davis and unretired to start a consulting firm.
The local media tagged Mount as "Dr. Doom" because of his predictions about the impending ecological collapse of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Mount pointed out that centuries-old levees built of sand and river mud are likely to fail due to an earthquake, sea level rise, or major storm, with the result that the islands protected by levees will be inundated. The inrush of salt water from San Francisco Bay will increase the incursion of brackish water into the San Joaquin river, alter the ecology and economics of the Delta, and shut down Southern California's supply of water for drinking and irrigation.
Others share Mount's concern. Federal and state agencies, think tanks, and non-governmental organizations agree that the Delta is likely to undergo major transformation in the foreseeable future. However, stakeholders with opposing positions stall efforts to reach a consensus solution.
Enter Dr. Doom. In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Mount spoke of his desire to transition from a faculty member who gives advice to someone who serves as a practitioner. He has formed a partnership with hydrogeologist Anthony Saracino to offer strategic planning and assessment to organizations seeking effective river and wetland restoration.
Only time will tell if groups in the Delta seek his expertise.
- Author: Alan Rhoades
The World Bank yesterday released a report, "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4C Warmer World Must Be Avoided".
The foreword, penned by the president of the World Bank, opens with, "I hope this report shocks us into action."
Neither the foreward nor the body of the report itself pulls any punches in describing the consequences of a warmer earth for coastal regions, food production, human health, water availability, tropical cyclones, and biodiversity. The authors describe undoing years of work in sustainable development and the severe social disruption that could result.
If you can't spare the time to read the entire 106-page report, at least read the executive summary.
It's dreary reading for Thanksgiving weekend. Read it anyway.