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news: thursday, March 27, 2008 8:39 am, pst


Posted: March 27, 2008, Draft edition

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Environment Page #8

all pages: 7 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

environment link list

Contact Us:

since E page #7 these two items came out:

Freak weather slamming middle america yet again!! FOUR TIMES IN LESS THAN A YEAR

EPA waiver for California emissions influenced by political bribery: Big Surprize!


1) The Articles linked below were Abstracted from the sources cited. After the abstract there's analysis and commentary, links to related articles, and a link to the database with suggested search terms.

Scientists try to explain dismal salmon run

Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

Monday, March 24, 2008

Amid growing concern over an imminent shutdown of the commercial and sport chinook salmon season, scientists are struggling to figure out why the largest run on the West Coast hit rock bottom and what Californians can do to bring it back.

The chinook salmon - born in the rivers, growing in the bay and ocean, and returning to home rivers to spawn - need two essential conditions early in life to prosper: safe passage through the rivers to the bay and lots of seafood to eat once they reach the ocean.

Yet, the Sacramento River run of salmon that was expected to fill fish markets in May didn't find those life-sustaining conditions. And some scientists say that's the likeliest explanation for why the number of returning spawners plummeted last fall to roughly 90,000, about 10 percent of the peak reached just a few years ago.

The devastating one-two punch happened as the water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta pumped record amounts of snow melt and rainwater to farms and cities in Southern California, degrading the salmon's habitat. And once the chinook reached the ocean, they couldn't find the food they needed to survive where and when they needed it.

Five years ago, the peak was 872,700 returning spawners. Roughly 90,000 were counted in 2007, and only 63,900 are expected to return to spawn in fall 2008.

Helped by cool-water winter

The fishery council, a regulatory body charged with setting fishing limits, has recommended a full closure or a strict curtailment of the commercial and sport season. A final decision will come in April.

They've proposed a number of solutions, including sending more water over the dams and reservoirs and down the tributaries where salmon spawn; removing barriers to migration such as old dams; screening the fish away from the pumps and diversion pipes that suck them up, misdirect or kill them; controlling pesticide and sewage pollution - and catching fewer fish while the populations try to rebuild.

The problems for the troubled fall run began in 2004 and 2005, the years the chinook were born and traveled to the ocean. In those two years, the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project exported record amounts of delta water to urban and agricultural customers in Southern California.

2005 a bad year for chinook

In 2005, a crucial year for the young salmon, 55 percent of natural river flows never made it out to the bay, according to records of the state Department of Water Resources. The water was either exported by the water agencies, diverted upstream of the delta or held back by dams.

"The flows were less than what the salmon needed, and the populations are collapsing," said Tina Swanson, senior scientist with the Bay Institute. Even if water agencies are meeting minimum standards, they are inadequate to protect the fish, she said.

A network of nonprofits, including the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, filed a notice Tuesday with the State Water Resources Control Board, saying it would sue if it doesn't curb pumping.

According to Moyle, good ocean conditions can somewhat make up for drought in the river systems and vice versa. But ocean conditions have been "squirrelly" in the last several years with a number of anomalies that produced abnormally warm conditions not good for salmon, he said.

"Usually, salmon populations are at their worst when conditions are bad in both fresh water and salt water," Moyle said. Some scientists think that is what happened to the 2007 fall run.

Once in the ocean, salmon must gorge on small sea creatures to survive.

In 2005 and 2006, the years that the 2007 fall run needed food near the shore in the Gulf of the Farallones, the upwelling of nutrients apparently came too late to produce the small fish that feed the salmon.

Most of the scientists studying the ocean link the unexpected bouts of rising temperatures to global warming. As the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, researchers have had to discard the theory of decades of warmer, then cooler, ocean temperatures. Now they expect an unpredictability, which is projected in climate models.

"What's happening is that the rockfish, the squid, the krill, the anchovies and the community of critters that salmon feed on changed dramatically in 2004 to the prey that is not as favorable to salmon," NOAA's Ralston said.

The distribution of the sea life also changed. Young rockfish moved well to the north or to the south of Central California, he said.

Ralston's hypothesis is that animals are adapted to finding food at certain times and in certain locations. "When salmon arrive in the ocean, they'll go to certain areas to find their food as they have for millennia," he said. "If we have a major change, their fitness, their ocean survival is compromised."

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Threat of closing jolts fishing industry

Peter Fimrite,Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writers

Thursday, March 13, 2008

(03-13) 04:00 PDT Sacramento - --

The grim prospect of a total shutdown of ocean salmon fishing in California and Oregon is forcing anglers, merchants and food servers who rely on the once-thriving fishery to reassess their lives and futures.

So few fall-run chinook came back to spawn in the Sacramento River and its tributaries last fall that the Pacific Fishery Management Council said Tuesday it would have to ban all salmon fishing unless a request is made for an emergency exception.

By Wednesday, the news had cast a pall over fishermen and salmon lovers from San Francisco to Cape Falcon in northern Oregon. Fisheries managers canceled early-season ocean fishing for chinook off Oregon, where commercial trolling had been set to open Saturday and run through April up to the Oregon-California border.

Even representatives of the salmon industry, who have made it a practice to lobby for more fishing, are saying that the situation is so bad it would be irresponsible for fishermen to put their hooks in the water even if the commercial season in California opens as scheduled in May.

"I think if we do have fishing, we're shooting ourselves in the foot," said Duncan MacLean, the California representative of commercial fishing, at the management council meetings this week at the Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento. "Frankly I'm scared, because what's happened here has nothing to do with harvest, but we're left holding the bag to fix it all."

MacLean and other fishermen blame drinking water managers for building dams, river water to farmers and agricultural runoff that they say has damaged the fishery, and the prospect of losing their livelihoods because of those things makes them angry. Others have blamed climate change and a deteriorating ocean ecosystem.

The collapse will impact recreational and commercial fishing industries all along the Pacific coast. There are about 400 commercial salmon fishermen and women in California and about 1,000 commercial fishermen from Santa Barbara to Washington State.

The Klamath and Trinity river run along the Pacific Coast, much smaller than the Sacramento run, was declared a disaster in 2006 after a similar decline. It led to a dismal commercial and recreational salmon catch last year.

The council's salmon management plan, which is part of the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, requires the Pacific Fishery Management Council to close ocean fishing if the number of spawning salmon do not reach the conservation objectives set for the fishery.

The latest fall run count in the Central Valley watershed in 2007 was 68,101, well below the goal of 122,000 to 180,000. The number of jack salmon - 2-year-old fish that come back early to spawn - was the lowest on record.

Even if there is no fishing this year, the council is projecting that only 59,000 salmon will come back to spawn during the 2008 Sacramento River fall run, which peaks in September and October.

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Fishery Council weighs salmon options

Peter Fimrite, SF Chronicle, March 8, 2008

The grim reality of a collapsing salmon fishery will hit home over the next week as fishing interests, tribal representatives and conservation groups from three Western states hash out plans to protect the fish and, if possible, save their livelihoods.

The annual Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings begin Saturday in Sacramento, but hovering like a dark cloud over the proceedings will be the dismal Central Valley fall run of chinook salmon.

The 2007 fall run, the San Francisco Bay's biggest wild salmon run, was the second worst on record for spawning chinook in the Sacramento River watershed. The plummeting fish population comes a year after similar problems in the Klamath and Trinity river runs and a dismal commercial and recreational salmon catch.

"Could it possibly be worse?" asked Chuck Tracy, a member of the management council. "Not much."

"We're certainly looking at some pretty severe restrictions compared to what we had in 2007," Tracy said. "Even if it was left wide open, there won't be any fish to catch. That was the situation last year, and this year is projected to be worse."

The recreational and commercial fisheries off the coast of California largely depend on fish spawned in the Sacramento River and its tributaries.

There are, in truth, four genetically distinct populations of salmon in the Sacramento, and they all spawn at different times, according to experts. The different spawning seasons are the fall run, late fall run, winter run and spring run, named for the time of year when they pass through the Golden Gate returning to their native streams.

At its peak, the fall run - which essentially means fish that are at their spawning peak in September and October - exceeded 800,000 fish. Over the past decade, the numbers had never fallen below 250,000.

The latest count of adults returning to the Sacramento to spawn was 88,000. The worst year on record was in 1992, when only 81,000 returned to spawn, Tracy said.

Every year a percentage of 2-year-old fish come back a year early to spawn, and their numbers are used by scientists as a barometer for the next year. Only 1,900 2-year-olds returned in 2007 compared to about 20,000 to 40,000 in an average year, according to fishery management council statistics.

"It means that the prospect for next year is equally bad if not worse," Swanson said.

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Smelt have all but vanished from region's rivers

Susan Gordon;

Published: March 6th, 2008 06:32 PM | Updated: March 8th, 2008 06:07 AM

They didn’t talk about the one that got away. Instead, the disgruntled sport fishermen who crowded the banks of one of Southwest Washington’s most popular rivers in February mourned the fish that never were.

Smelt, that is. Like a welcoming committee jilted by the guest of honor, hundreds of sports fishermen left the Cowlitz River with empty dip nets and unused buckets. They were skunked by a smelt run so small that some fear the fish are close to extinction.

“It’s disheartening,” said Larry Calhoun, 64, a retired Boeing Co. worker who lives in Castle Rock, Cowlitz County, and went looking for smelt in the river Feb. 23. “Last year wasn’t any good either.”

In November, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe petitioned federal fisheries managers to grant Endangered Species Act protection for the oily little fish, whose annual return to the Columbia River and its tributaries has lured people for thousands of years.

A preliminary listing decision – whether to accept or reject the petition – is expected soon. Scott Rumsey, a marine biologist in the Portland office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said last week his office has forwarded its recommendation to the agency’s headquarters for action. But he was reluctant to provide details.

If federal officials accept the tribe’s petition, a team of biologists will spend the next several months studying smelt and decide by early November whether to recommend a listing.

This is the second effort to use the federal law to conserve smelt. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rejected a similar petition to protect smelt submitted by Olympia biologist Sam Wright in 1999.

Historically, smelt spawned in rivers as far south as central California. But they’ve disappeared from the California’s Sacramento and Oregon’s Rogue and Klamath rivers.

Now, the Columbia River is the only river system south of the Canadian border where smelt still exist.

Smelt, also known as eulachon or candlefish, have almost iconic status along the lower Columbia River. American Indians introduced them to explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

In a journal entry dated February 1806, Lewis drew a lifesize picture of the fish.

“I find them best when cooked Indian stile, which is by roasting a number of them together on a wooden spit without any previous preparing whatever,” he wrote. “They are so fat they require no additional source, and I think them superior to any fish I ever tasted, even more delicate and lussious than the white fish of the lakes have heretofore formed my standartof excellence among the fishes.”

At least one other fish population illustrates a similar pattern of extinction, Wright said. Icelandic spring spawning herring – a bait fish like smelt – vanished despite what turned out to be a final survey of 700,000 spawners.

It’s impossible to tell whether smelt populations are already so depleted that they will not sustain themselves, but Wright believes the possibility deserves serious consideration.

“By now it’s happened enough times people should be smart enough to look for the possibility,” he said.


Conflict seen in smelt rules

As water contractors join the rule-making on Delta pumping, group says 'fox is guarding the henhouse.'

By Matt Weiser -

bee, March 3, 2008

Water users who benefit most from tapping the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have been given an unprecedented role in drafting new rules to manage water diversions.

Critics call it a "fox in the henhouse" situation that may further imperil the Delta, where experts believe water diversions have already contributed to a broad ecosystem collapse.

The new draft rules, called a biological assessment, are being prepared in response to a court order last year. Federal Judge Oliver Wanger in Fresno declared existing rules inadequate to protect the threatened Delta smelt. He set a Sept. 12 deadline to rewrite the rules.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates one of two Delta water systems, is a defendant in the case. The bureau allowed water contractors to help write new diversion rules. Wanger, in his ruling, didn't specify who should rewrite the rules.

The decision also applies to its co-defendant, the state Department of Water Resources, which operates the other diversion system, and its contractors.

"It indicates to me the agencies are still continuing to view the Delta as a big faucet, and their main concern is simply water supply," said Kate Poole, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the environmental groups suing the agencies. "They should be opening the door to many more interested parties, not just the ones who have a financial interest in harming the smelt."

Water contractors are urban and agricultural agencies that sell Delta water to farms and cities from San Jose to San Diego. They include small-scale diverters and big players such as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Westlands Water District.

Fishing and environmental groups asked to participate and were denied, McCracken said, because there isn't time for more players to be involved.

"It calls into question whether or not this report is going to be unbiased," said Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, a frequent critic of water operations and chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Delta Resources.

The 740,000-acre Delta is the largest estuary on North America's Pacific Coast. It is a vast mixing zone for fresh and salt water that was once among the world's most productive fisheries.

A century of dam building, development and diversions caused a gradual decline that worsened in the last five years.

Nine Delta fish species are in steep decline, and toxic algae blooms have become more common. The latest victims are fall-run chinook salmon.

Biologists haven't pinpointed the cause but believe several factors are involved, including ocean conditions, foreign species, poor water quality and excessive water diversions.

Delta water diversions serve 25 million people and 2 million acres of farms.

Poole, the environmental lawyer, said modeling can obscure initial decision-making and skew the results. The process is not public, so there is no opportunity for others to examine choices made.

She said Wanger's ruling rejected an approach to pumping that had favored water diverters at the expense of fish. "I don't think it bodes well," she said, that those diverters are now helping draft new rules to protect fish.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Feel Good Environmental Protections Worthless in face of Massive Demographic Growth in California

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., June, 26, 2007

Although our pollution from the past 150 years of growth brought us to today's climate crisis, we are not going to stop the growth and expansion of consumers and consumption that fuels the climate crisis.

Instead, we are going to continue to grow as rapidly as possible, guaranteeing that all of our efforts to curb CO2 will be worthless.

The only way to address, and slow the rapid onset of our expanding climate crisis is to completely stop our growth. The place for every environmentalist to start, is by insisting on removing every crimigrant in the country, and stopping even one from entering the country, or gaining any type employment here.

If we combine this with our CO2 reduction program, we will actually reduce future per capita emission of CO2 while reducing the population producing CO2.

If we don't, our environment is going to cook us.

Our growth rate makes our CO2 programs ineffective. Like recycling, our C02 programs give us superficial actions that only serve to make us feel better without addressing the core source of global warming: massive American population growth.

Our plans to combat global warming do not address the primary causes of global warming, only the most superficial manifestations. We are continuing down the same road that brought us to this crisis.

If we fail to read the handwriting on the clouds and on our diminishing waters, and act directly on the problem, we will finish off the destruction of our state's the natural beauty, and our environment's ability to support our already massive population

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BBC, 11-2-06, "Only 50 years left' for sea fish"


The smelt/salmon debacle

Salmon arriving in record low numbers, sf chron, 1-30-08


limiting water withdrawals from the Delta, where the confluence of California's natural water supply occurs, began when smelt disappeared:

Fresno Bee, August 19, 2007; Tiny Delta fish at center of huge water war: California has Developed Beyond our Natural Resources: Stop all Growth Now!

but it was too late

california ignored, and is still ignoring our overpopulation water crisis


Fed Judge severely restricts use of Delta Water, Grist, 9-4-07

Bee, 9-6-07; Less Delta water means dry times: Judge severely limits Pumping (We have an overpopulation, not a water problem)

Fed Judge widens scope of Delta Water Restrictions, Media News, 10-2-07

Delta Deal? Task force forms to confront Water Crisis, Bee, Sept 4, 2007


In the meantime, our corporate politicians are trying to perpetuate the failed irresponsible growth policies that killed the smelt and salmon:

Arnie calls Special Legislative Session: Water and Health Crisis Looms: Idiots do Nothing, Bee, September 12, 2007

Arnie's Plans to steal N. Cal water to continue irresponsible growth in LA, Bee, September 19, 2007

Arnie and Perata prepare competing water plan initiatives, Bee, October 9, 2007

Legislative Advocate's analysis of competing Water Plans, American Nurses Association, Oct 12, 2007


Although we have destroyed the delta/ocean balance, we are still demanding yet more water to feed and grow our bloated population

The Water Crisis is here, SF Chronicle, August 27, 2007

Weak Attempt to Control, but not Limit, California's Massive Growth Rate, SF Chronicle, August 27, 2007

Essay: Boxer's liar's Game: Maintain growth and Pollution while looking "Green"



As our local Ocean and water supply dies, so goes the whole planet

impending crash in ocean populations from altered ocean circulation?

check out these fascinating articles that indicate serious ocean circulation problems may have already started:


Sea life counts dive for 2nd year: Decrease in essential plankton and krill disrupt food chain, sf chron, june 23, 2006

Warm Water Surging into Arctic Ocean, environment news service, 9-27-06

Mysteries on the US Pacific Coast, niches, 3rd article down, thursday, 9-28-06



Fish farms threaten salmon with extinction

Shark populations near extinction, BBC News, 1-18-08

Ocean map: Oceans trashed, BBC News, 2-14-08

Ocean dead zones expanding, sciencenow, 1-25-08

bush corrupts law to kill whales, lat, January 17, 2008

Hansen: Past the tipping point, National Geographic News, 12-14-07

Global warming threatening corals, NYT, 12-14-07

World fish stocks collapse: africa feeling it first, nyt, January 14, 2008


Corruption Updates 39, 10th article on the page, "Top Scientists Warn of Water Shortages and Disease Linked to Global Warming"

Corruption Updates 47, 9th article on the page, "Earth Faces a Grim Future: UN Report"

Corruption Updates 71, 9th article on the page, "Only 50 years left' for sea fish"

Corruption Updates 94, 8th article on the page, "Climate Change Debate Hinges On Economics"


Yangtze almost dead, The Guardian, Thursday January 17 2008


march '08, enviro destruction page 8:

Salmon populations have crashed

Salmon arriving in record low numbers

No salmon fishing this year

Fishery council: salmon collapse

The smelt have vanished

Massive city populations draining california's water



"Fishery Failure" Declared for West Coast Salmon, noaa, 5-1-08



global warming draining oceans of oxygen, reuters, 5-1-08

Wildlife populations 'plummeting,' bbc, 5-16-08



Dramatic expansion of dead zones in the oceans, eureakanews, 1-25-09


New findings on climate change and fisheries, U EA, 2-12-09

US Atlantic cod population to drop by half by 2050, ubc, 2-12-09


Smallest fall run of chinook salmon reported, sf chron, 2-19-09



Search the Corruption Database under




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2) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Huge iceberg collapse threatens Antarctic shelf: British scientists

cbc, 3-25-08

An iceberg the size of the British Isle of Man has broken away from an Antarctic ice shelf, leaving the shelf in danger of imminent collapse, scientists with the British Antarctic Survey said Tuesday.

The berg is still moving, leaving a large part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula supported only by a thin strip of ice hanging between two islands.

Glaciologist Ted Scambos from the University of Colorado first raised the alarm over the ice shelf, and colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey recently sent a small plane on a reconnaissance mission to check out the extent of the breakaway from the shelf. They confirmed that the shelf broke away sometime over the past few days.

In 1993, Professor David Vaughan of British Antarctic Survey predicted the northern part of Wilkins Ice Shelf was likely to be lost within 30 years if climate warming on the peninsula were to continue at the same rate.

Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened. I didn't expect to see things happen this quickly," Vaughan said in a release. "The ice shelf is hanging by a thread — we'll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf covered an area of 16,000 square kilometres (the size of Northern Ireland). It was stable for most of the last century but began retreating in the 1990s. A major breakaway occurred in 1998, when 1,000 square kilometres of ice were lost in a few months.

Antarctica has experienced unprecedented warming over the past 50 years. Several ice shelves have retreated in the past three decades, with six of them collapsing completely.

BBC, August 13, 2007; Arctic sea ice set to hit new low: Climatic Feedback Loops move Faster than Science: Lack of Wisdom-Balance Proving Fatal for Many

Washington Post, 9-7-07; NOAA Scientists Say Arctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Expected

BBC NEWS, September 21, 2007; Ice withdrawal 'shatters record'

BBC NEWS: 9-14-07; Ice loss opens Northwest Passage

Radical Increase in Arctic melting, AP, 12-12-07


Himalayan glaciers in full retreat

2007 one of warmest on record

oceans warming, sea ice melting

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Study: Warming threatens Tahoe ecosystem, clarity


2:05 p.m. March 24, 2008

RENO, Nev. – A new study predicts water circulation in Lake Tahoe is being dramatically altered by global warming, threatening the lake's delicate ecosystem and famed clear waters.

The University of California, Davis study said one likely consequence is warmer lake temperatures that will mean fewer cold-water native fish and more invasive species – like carp, large-mouth bass and bluegill.

“What we expect is that deep mixing of Lake Tahoe's water layers will become less frequent, even nonexistent, depleting the bottom waters of oxygen,” said Geoffrey Schladow, director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at U.S. Davis.

The changes, the study concluded, could turn Tahoe's famed cobalt-blue waters to a murky green in about a decade.

“A permanently stratified Lake Tahoe becomes just like any other lake or pond,” Schladow said. “It is no longer this unique, effervescent jewel, the finest example of nature's grandeur.”

Schladow said researchers are trying to determine if lowered global greenhouse-gas emissions would significantly slow the lake's decline or possibly prevent it.

On average, water in Lake Tahoe – at 1,644 feet deep – mixes every four years, the researchers said.

The new study showed that, if global greenhouse-gas emissions continue at current levels, mixing could become less frequent and less deep, and possibly stop as early as 2019.

“While we expected that the lake would mix less in the future, learning that we may be only a decade or two from the complete shutdown of deep mixing was very surprising.” Schladow said.

“If mixing shuts down, then no new oxygen gets to the bottom of the lake, and creatures that need it, such as lake trout, will have a large part of their range excluded,” Schladow said.

When the oxygen is gone, the study said phosphorus contained in lake-floor sediments would be released and spur algae growth, further damaging the lake's clarity and water quality.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., March, 2008

Top of Page

Also See:

Global warming killing sierra trees

Bee, 9-8-07; Battle over feeding Tahoe bears

SF Chron, August 7, 2007; Exploring an amphibian epidemic: Tadpoles are the Canaries in the Global Mine


Corruption Database


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3) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Energy, water demands are on collision course

Robert S. Boyd | McClatchy Newspapers


March 12, 2008


WASHINGTON — Like the old song, ``Love and marriage, love and marriage . . . you can't have one without the other,'' so it goes with energy and water.

It takes a lot of water to produce energy. It takes a lot of energy to provide water. The two are inextricably linked, and claims on each are rising.

``The water supply is as critical as oil,'' said Charles Groat, a geologist and expert on the problem at the University of Texas in Austin.

In return, ``water use requires a tremendous amount of energy,'' said Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security in Oakland, Calif.

As the United States tries to lower its dependence on foreign oil by producing more energy from domestic sources such as ethanol, however, it's running low on fresh water.

Water is needed for mining coal, drilling for oil, refining gasoline, generating and distributing electricity, and disposing waste, Gleick said.

``The largest use of water is to cool power plants,'' he said at a panel of experts on ``The Global Nexus of Energy and Water'' in Boston last month.

According to Vince Tidwell, a water-management expert at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M., more than 40 percent of the water that's withdrawn from rivers, lakes and wells is used for energy. The rest goes mainly for irrigation.

Most of the water used for energy is returned to its source, but by then it's often heated or polluted and of lesser value.

As a result, ``increased use of brackish or degraded water may be required in some areas,'' the Energy Department warned Congress in a report last year.

Conversely, vast amounts of energy are needed to pump, transport, treat and distribute water.

For example, the California State Water Project, which pumps water over the Tehachapi mountains to the Los Angeles Basin, is ``the largest single use of energy in California,'' Gleick said.

Most historic battles over water have come from the demands of agriculture for scarce supplies in arid regions. But the energy sector's needs are beginning to affect water policy and vice versa.

Gleick cited these examples: The Tennessee Valley Authority had to reduce the output from a nuclear power plant to avoid overheating the Tennessee River. London rejected a proposed water-desalinization plant because it would use too much energy. Amsterdam had to build wind turbines to generate energy before it could build a desalinization plant in the Netherlands.

One difficulty is that there's no high-level authority to coordinate energy and water usage. At least 20 federal agencies, along with a multitude of state and local governments, have a hand in matter.

``No one is in charge,'' said Groat, a former director of the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington. ``Energy planners assume we will have enough water. Water planners assume will have enough energy.''

The problem is going to get worse, according to Michael Webber, a mechanical engineer at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, a policy-research group of scientists and engineers at the University of Texas in Austin.

``Future fuels are likely to be very water-intensive,'' he said. ``They all require a lot of water.''

For example, driving one mile on ethanol consumes 600 gallons of water to irrigate the corn from which it's made, Webber said in an e-mail. Even plug-in hybrids, which are touted as the most efficient way to power electric cars, need to withdraw 10 gallons of water for every mile traveled, he said.

``Instead of miles per gallon of gasoline, we're switching to gallons of water per mile,'' he said.

Unfortunately, water supplies are shrinking even as energy demands increase.

``Climate concerns and declines in groundwater levels suggest that less fresh water, not more, may be available in the future,'' according to ``Energy Demands on Water Resources,'' an Energy Department report published last year.

``Available surface water supplies have not increased in 20 years, and groundwater tables and supplies are dropping at an alarming rate,'' the report says. ``Some regions have seen groundwater levels drop as much as 300 to 900 feet over the past 50 years.''

``If we're switching from foreign oil to domestic water, we've got to make sure we've got it,'' Webber said.


The Energy Department's report ``Energy Demands on Water Resources'':

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4) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Water troubles in the West may worsen

A study finds that man-made global warming has been steadily reducing snowpack along mountain ranges. States must make plans now to adapt, scientists say.

By Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

February 1, 2008,0,5334884.story


Human-caused global warming has been shrinking the snowpack across the mountain ranges of the West for five decades, suggesting that the region's long battle for water will only get worse, according to a computer analysis released Thursday.

As temperatures have increased, more winter precipitation has fallen as rain instead of snow, and the snow is melting sooner, according to the study published in the journal Science.

The result is that rivers are flowing faster in the spring, raising the risk of flooding, and slower in the summer, raising the risk of drought.

"These trends will only intensify over the next few decades," said Richard Seager, a research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, who was not part of the study.

The changes will be felt differently throughout the West, scientists said. In Colorado, colder temperatures will probably protect the snowpack and reservoirs are large enough to store several years of water supply, said Brad Udall, a Western water expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder who was not involved in the study.

But in California, reservoirs already operate on a delicate balance. They are kept well below capacity during the winter as protection against flooding. After the rainy season, they are filled with the spring snowmelt, storing water to be released during the dry summers.

Heavier winter rains and earlier snowmelt can overwhelm reservoirs, causing an early release of water and leaving too little for the summer.

"The handwriting is on the wall," said lead author Tim Barnett, a marine geophysicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. "Mother Nature is going to stop being our water banker."

...the portion (of precipitation) arriving as snow steadily declined by an average of 4.3% per decade in the nine areas included in the study.

Average daily minimum temperatures between January and March climbed an average of 0.34 degrees Celsius per decade.

And three rivers -- the Columbia, Sacramento and Colorado -- ran higher earlier in the year. The date at which half their yearly flow had occurred was pushed up by an average of eight days each decade.

Based on their simulations, along with historical data on snowpack, temperature and river flow, the researchers concluded that there was a less than 1% chance that the last 50 years constituted a natural aberration.

One computer model showed that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases accounted for 60% of the changes. A second analysis using another climate model calculated a contribution of 35%.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., March, 2008

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Also See:

Fresno Bee, August 19, 2007; Tiny Delta fish at center of huge water war: California has Developed Beyond our Natural Resources: Stop all Growth Now!

SF Chronicle, August 27, 2007; California's real water war: Reckless, Irresponsible Growth Exceeds California's Natural Limits

Bee, 9-6-07; Less Delta water means dry times: Judge severely limits Pumping (We have an overpopulation, not a water problem)

NY Times, September 13, 2007; Climate Change Brings Grim Forecast

Long term snow decline spells long drought for west, lat, 2-1-08


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5) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Government Reports Warn Planners on Sea-Rise Threat to U.S. Coasts


nyt, March 12, 2008


A rise in sea levels and other changes fueled by global warming threaten roads, rail lines, ports, airports and other important infrastructure, and policy makers and planners should be acting now to avoid or mitigate their effects, according to new government reports.

While increased heat and “intense precipitation events” threaten these structures, the greatest and most immediate potential impact is coastal flooding, according to one of the reports, by an expert panel convened by the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

Two other studies, both part of a multiagency effort led by the Environmental Protection Agency, sound similar warnings on infrastructure but add that natural features like beaches, wetlands and fresh-water supplies are also threatened by encroaching saltwater.

Noting that 60,000 miles of coastal highways are already subject to periodic flooding, the academy panel called for policy makers to survey vulnerable areas — “roads, bridges, marine, air, pipelines, everything,” Dr. Schwartz said — and begin work now on plans to protect, reinforce, move or replace on safer ground. Those tasks will take years or decades and tens of billions of dollars, at least, he said.

“We need to think about it now,” said Dr. Schwartz, a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Produced by a collaboration among agencies that included the United States Geological Survey, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Transportation, the report offers three estimates for sea-level rise by 2100: about 16 inches a century, a rate it said had already been exceeded; about two feet, an estimate many scientists regard as optimistic; and up to three feet, which the report says would be catastrophic for wetlands and other coastal features but that is “less than high estimates suggested by more recent publications.”

As a first step, the academy report said, transportation officials must realize that climate patterns that prevailed in the past “may no longer be a reliable guide for future plans.” Instead, it said, they should incorporate climate change into their plans for capital improvements, maintenance schedules, emergency preparedness and so on.

The panel also recommended changes in the National Flood Insurance Program, a federally subsidized program for coastal properties. The report said the maps the program used in setting rates did not reflect the influence of climate change.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., March, 2008

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Also See:

Washington Post 9-7-07; NOAA Scientists Say Arctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Expected

Bee, September 11, 2007; Rising seas called Delta risk


oceans warming, sea ice melting


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6) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

AP Probe Finds Drugs in Drinking Water


9:00 AM PDT, March 9, 2008,0,5101790.story


A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs -- and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen -- in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.

How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies -- which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public -- have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water.

The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise.

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40 percent of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.

Another issue: There's evidence that adding chlorine, a common process in conventional drinking water treatment plants, makes some pharmaceuticals more toxic.

Human waste isn't the only source of contamination. Cattle, for example, are given ear implants that provide a slow release of trenbolone, an anabolic steroid used by some bodybuilders, which causes cattle to bulk up. But not all the trenbolone circulating in a steer is metabolized. A German study showed 10 percent of the steroid passed right through the animals.

Water sampled downstream of a Nebraska feedlot had steroid levels four times as high as the water taken upstream. Male fathead minnows living in that downstream area had low testosterone levels and small heads.

Other veterinary drugs also play a role. Pets are now treated for arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, dementia, and even obesity -- sometimes with the same drugs as humans. The inflation-adjusted value of veterinary drugs rose by 8 percent, to $5.2 billion, over the past five years, according to an analysis of data from the Animal Health Institute.

Ask the pharmaceutical industry whether the contamination of water supplies is a problem, and officials will tell you no. "Based on what we now know, I would say we find there's little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment to human health," said microbiologist Thomas White, a consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

But at a conference last summer, Mary Buzby -- director of environmental technology for drug maker Merck & Co. Inc. -- said: "There's no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms."

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.

Also, pharmaceuticals in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to females. Pharmaceuticals also are affecting sentinel species at the foundation of the pyramid of life -- such as earth worms in the wild and zooplankton in the laboratory, studies show.

With limited research funds, said Shane Snyder, research and development project manager at the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a greater emphasis should be put on studying the effects of drugs in water.

"I think it's a shame that so much money is going into monitoring to figure out if these things are out there, and so little is being spent on human health," said Snyder. "They need to just accept that these things are everywhere -- every chemical and pharmaceutical could be there. It's time for the EPA to step up to the plate and make a statement about the need to study effects, both human and environmental."

There's growing concern in the scientific community, meanwhile, that certain drugs -- or combinations of drugs -- may harm humans over decades because water, unlike most specific foods, is consumed in sizable amounts every day.

Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly stirring allergies or nerve damage. Pregnant women, the elderly and the very ill might be more sensitive.

Many concerns about chronic low-level exposure focus on certain drug classes: chemotherapy that can act as a powerful poison; hormones that can hamper reproduction or development; medicines for depression and epilepsy that can damage the brain or change behavior; antibiotics that can allow human germs to mutate into more dangerous forms; pain relievers and blood-pressure diuretics.

However, some experts say medications may pose a unique danger because, unlike most pollutants, they were crafted to act on the human body.

"These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at very low concentrations. That's what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have effects," says zoologist John Sumpter at Brunel University in London, who has studied trace hormones, heart medicine and other drugs.

"We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good," says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Mad cow hidden, FDA drug dangers hidden, "regulations" that allow poisons in our products, tainted chinese imports, and now water districts that feed us drug-laden water

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., March, 2008
Don't worry. The drugs in the water will speed human genetic mutations. This in turn should provide us with a stock of people with gills and a thick enough skin to survive the incresing oceans and heat.

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7) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Delay in polar bear policy stirs probe

Watchdog wants to know why Interior is months late on threatened species decision


H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press


Saturday, March 8, 2008




(03-08) 04:00 PST Washington - --


The Interior Department's inspector general has begun a preliminary investigation into why the department has delayed for nearly two months a decision on listing the polar bear as threatened because of the loss of Arctic sea ice.

A recommendation to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne was to have been made in early January by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on whether to declare the bear threatened. But when the deadline came, the agency said it needed another month, a timetable that also was not met.

A spokesman for the department's inspector general's office said a case had been opened in response to a letter from several environmental groups. He said the preliminary inquiry would determine whether a full-fledged investigation is warranted.

"The letter had specific allegations ... (so) we started an initial inquiry," said Kris Kolesnik, associate inspector general for external affairs. "If the initial inquiry produces something that warrants us to take further action, that's when we open an investigation."

The letter to Inspector General Earl Devaney, signed by six environmental groups, alleges that Fish and Wildlife Director Dale Hall violated the agency's scientific code of conduct and the Endangered Species Act in delaying the decision after all of the scientific data had already been developed and sent to Washington before Christmas.

The code is aimed at preventing inappropriate political influence as the agency administers the Endangered Species Act. The code came into being because of another inspector general's report that detailed widespread political interference on species protection decisions that led to the resignation of a senior Interior Department official in May.

The decision on whether to list the polar bear for protection under the Endangered Species Act is one of the most complex - and possibly far reaching - actions facing the department. For the first time an endangered species decision would link an animal's protection to the impacts of global warming.

In September a series of reports from the U.S. Geological Survey predicted that as much as two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by mid-century because of the loss of sea ice attributed to climate change.

Environmentalists have argued that politics is involved. They cite the decision to proceed with an auction for oil and gas leases in early February in the Alaska's Chukchi Sea. The sea ice in those waters provides a key habitat for polar bears.

"They delayed (the bear decision) to get them beyond the Chukchi Sea leasing. And here we are on March 7, another 30 days and nothing has happened," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife and a former head of the Fish and Wildlife Service in the Clinton administration.

"We certainly have something much more than science going on," said Clark, who was among those who signed the letter to the inspector general's office.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who held a hearing in January on the polar bear listing, said "this internal investigation is needed and long overdue.

"Given this administration's closeness with the oil industry, its history of politicizing scientific decisions ... I am wary of the integrity of this process," Markey said in a statement.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., March, 2008

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Also See:

Washington Post 9-7-07; NOAA Scientists Say Arctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Expected

Associated Press, September 8, 2007; Polar Bear Population Seen Declining

Warming Oceans Contributed to Record Arctic Melt, national geographic, 12-14-08

bush scams last polar bears for big oil, mcclatchy, 1-17-08


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salmon and smelt

1] Salmon populations have crashed

1b] No salmon fishing this year

1c] Fishery council: salmon collapse

1d] The smelt have vanished

1e] Massive city populations draining california's water

The Great global Meltdown:

You're going to get thirsty!

2] Huge Antarctic ice shelf breaks off

2b] Tahoe Doomed

3] Growing into a national water and energy disaster

4] Growing into a water disaster in the west

5] Get ready for constant costal flooding for the next 100 years +

6] Just say No! (to powerful drugs in your drinking water)

7] delay in polar bear protections investigated by oil, interior department