"Improved hydrology"

Submitted: Apr 08, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

"Alicia Forsythe, restoration program manager for the Bureau of Reclamation, said: 'We have a long way to go in terms of improved hydrology to start releasing water for the program again.'" -- Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee, April 5, 2014


Hydrology:
Scientific discipline concerned with the waters of the Earth, including their occurrence, distribution, circulation via the hydrologic cycle, and interactions with living things. It also deals with the chemical and physical properties of water in all its phases.

Merriman-Webster Concise Encyclopedia
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrology

The US Bureau of Reclamation, unsuccessful respondents in a 22-year federal lawsuit challenging the right to empty the San Joaquin River on the San Joaquin Valley floor to fill the Friant-Kern Canal, delivered to eastside Valley farmers who had overdrafted their groundwater, would probably like to see the improvement of hydrology to move with the speed of banking reform.

To the ordinary golfer, the situation on the San Joaquin River looks like a drought, in other words a natural occurrence perhaps exacerbated to some extent by global warming. 

Unless the Bureau staff's comment is just impenetable jargon, intelligible only to other program managers with federal salaries and benefits, it could be taken as a little menacing, suggesting that the largest river--restoration project ever undertaken in the US must wait for improvements in a science not scaled to be useful. 

Yet, the Bureau announced in its press release on the settlement

The settling parties have carefully studied San Joaquin River restoration for many years, and as part of the settlement have identified the actions and highest priority projects necessary to achieve the restoration goal.  These include expanding channel capacity, improving levees, and making modifications necessary to provide fish passage through or around certain structures in the river channel.  The settlement identifies a number of funding sources to support implementation of these projects, including current environmental contributions from farmers and cities served by Friant Dam, state bond initiatives and authorization for federal contributions. -- Michael Jackston, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region,k Sept. 13, 2006.

This statement, mirrored in similar statements by the other settling parties to the lawsuit, 18-years-old at that point, says that much hydrological study has gone on for many years on this stretch of the San Joaquin River. 

So, what is the Bureau program manager actually saying and why is the newspaper printing something that will strike the average newspaper reader (said to read at the sixth-grade level) as nonsense?

It seems to be a vague cloud of something sort of scientific, evoking higher spheres of knowledge than are attainable by us ordinary golfers who read at the sixth-grade level. 

"Improved hydrology," according to one of the intelligent members of the Badlands editorial staff, is just the Bureau's latest political waffle word.  -- blj
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