Russian River issues changing rapidly and becoming far more complex….
The fire, the drought, atmospheric rivers, a warming environment and sea level rise, along with strong motivations for expansive economic growth, are all conditions currently demanding dramatic changes in water policy. Similarly, a history of poor groundwater management, and problematic land use policies have created urgent situations that need to be addressed. This letter describes some of the forces at work.
Strong pressure for new housing….
• There is strong pressure for increased housing development in Sonoma County due to a dire housing shortage. More and more apartments are being built that will accommodate more people in smaller units. Water demand will greatly increase during summer, when far less water is available. Stringent conservation will be critical and stricter regulations on water use will become the norm.
Update on Fish Flow (low flow) Project……
The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) had been working on responses to comments regarding Fish Flow (low flow) Project since comments were submitted on March 10, 2017, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Recently, SCWA staff announced that there would be a revision to the comment response schedule. When questioned further, senior staff informed us privately of the following (no official announcement yet):
• The State Water Board staff requested that SCWA make major revisions to the document in order to clarify technical computer model analyses, but there may be other changes requested as well. We have no details as yet.
• In response to legal conflicts between the Endangered Species Act which protects the salmon (low flow will supposedly provide betters habitat for the fish), and the North Coast Basin Plan which prohibits bio-stimulatory substances to be discharged that lead to toxic algae,
North Coast Regional Board releases study on lower Russian River toxins….
“When fish swim in waters tainted with antidepressant drugs, they become anxious, anti-social and sometimes even homicidal. New research has found that the pharmaceuticals, which are frequently showing up in U.S. streams, can alter genes responsible for building fish brains and controlling their behavior.” (Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News, June 12, 2013), and…
“Baby mice exposed in the womb to low doses-but not high doses- of bisphenol A (a known endocrine disruptor) were fatter and had metabolic changes linked to obesity and diabetes, according to a new study published Thursday.” (Brian Bienkowski, Enviornmental Health News, July 25, 2013)