html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Thanks for all your patience, folks.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thanks for all your patience, folks.

How do you manage the interaction of plants and animals in a large water system? What problems do plants and fish cause in the canals, and how do you take care of them? What about beaver?

Plants and animals?!! HAH HAH HAH HAH Hah Hah hah hah hah!! Take care of PLANTS and FISH in your canals!!!! HAH HAH HAH hah hah hah hah ha ha ha. Oh holy shit that was funny. HAH HAH HAH hah hah hah. Oh ho. Operate your canals for fish. HAHHAHHAHAHHAHHA. Hah hah hah. That cracks me up every time I think about it.

We don’t do that. Well. I mean, barely, some people do. But mostly we don’t do that. You tend the fish and plants with pesticides is what you do. Beaver? I believe you meant to say vermin. What you do if you encounter an endangered fish in your system or giant garter snakes on your canal banks is you SHUT YOUR MOUTH and hope no one else ever sees it.

From what I’ve seen, district level water systems and natural systems within a district are thought of entirely differently. Natural systems are, like, cricks. They’re all pretty, so you go fishing in them with your boys and shoot the waterfowl. There is some fair respect for any remnant streams and concern for wildlife in them. However, you will simultaneously have a separate and parallel controlled system for getting water to every field in your district and drainage ditches from each field*. Friends, those are incredibly extensive; every agricultural field in the west is reachable by a rudimentary road and by one or two ditches.

The built system is built for irrigation and that is the purpose district operators use it for. Introducing a secondary purpose, like acting as habitat for fish and wildlife, compromises how well the system can accomplish the first purpose. But it is undeniable that the canals and ditches serve as habitat by default. There’s so little else left out there. There are fish in canals; they are frequently fished**. Plants grow on the banks; those can transpire noticeable amounts of water. They’re usually mowed or killed by herbicide in the summer. One district I visited last summer gets non-native aquatic mosses in the summer; he said they take up over half the capacity in the canal. They can’t poison the moss (the herbicides would damage the crops that water is later applied to), so they spend about a third of their O&M budget on chaining the canals to shake the moss loose. Imp*rial Irrig*tion D*strict controls the plant growth in their canals by stocking them with sterile grass carp. But the district I visited can’t do that because the carp could escape in flood flows, and who knows if they could revert to fertility like in Jurassic Park and become velociraptors. Whether a canal has plants in it is a standard design question; the extent of the plants dictates the way you have to screen your pumps or gates or whether you can install propeller meters.

The drainage ditches end up doing more work as habitat. They aren’t managed for that, either. They carry sediment, pesticides and fertilizers in them. A real pollutant, actually, is heat. Water warms up in fields before it enters the ditches. Warm water holds less oxygen in it and can drown fish that aren’t adapted for it. But for all that, drainage ditches are fairly neglected and that neglect may be the best option fish and wildlife have.






I wish I could tell you more about how natural systems and water districts interact. I wish I knew more about FISH SCREENS and FISH LADDERS. I wish I had a friend who designs that stuff and tells me my blog is boring when I talk about dating. I sure wish she would come on here and tell us how the pumps at the Red Bluff diversion dam work, since they were designed by Archimedes and everything. Or why installing fish ladders would make those four dams on the Klamath more expensive to keep than to pull out.








*I know you’ve wondered. Tilewater is water that has percolated into your field and is collected in a system of pipes a few feet beneath the ground. (You have to be careful not to rip up your tilewater system when you plow.) I think those are mostly pvc now (with holes in the side, so water in saturated soils will enter the relatively low pressure pipe and be drained away), but they used to be ceramic tile pipes. They collect water and drain it to a sump or drainage ditch. Depending on the soil, it may be fairly salty or selenium-laden (for example).

Tailwater is water that runs off the surface of your field into a drainage ditch. You get tailwater re-circulation systems that’ll pump it back up to the head of the field (if water is more expensive than electricity in your area). Tailwater may pick up some sediments, but it probably won’t be much saltier than the incoming irrigation water.

**My awesome irrigation professor taught us to design all canals with safety haul-outs, so that people who fall in, primarily from fishing, can get themselves out. You can see the ladders in the California Aqueduct. The other primary use of canals in ag districts is as make-out spots; you regularly find nests of empty beer cans and used condoms on the banks. My professor also told us that if you design water projects for third world countries, you MUST include shelves for doing laundry. It is unavoidable, he said, so build facilities so that people don’t drown trying to wash their clothes.

25 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

I'm all for makeouts, but makeout spots are skeevey.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I'd be interested in what the economics are of non-electric pumps, like windmills, which only work when the wind blows, but then work for free.

On dating, I suggest you visit China or India -- both have huge surpluses of men due to their years of sex-selected abortions of girls.

My wife would be more interested in an Indian / aryan man, than in one who is Chinese. Do you have any racial / ethnic preferences?


Your earlier response to my suggestion that Libertarian Individualism might be an issue was a good start, maybe a reference or re-write of your current politics would be good for any new readers, like me.

I'll almost certainly avoid any curse words.
(Another more Grey Tom)

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

The other primary use of canals in ag districts is as make-out spots; you regularly find nests of empty beer cans and used condoms on the banks.

Hey, at least they're practicing safe sex.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous eb said...

you regularly find nests of empty beer cans and used condoms on the banks

Since puns are discouraged here, I'll refrain from saying that you should get a naturalist out there to study the habitat of the loverbird

8:29 PM  
Anonymous margie said...

We try to exclude all lifestages of salmon from irrigation canals, preferring to keep them in the rivers. Although, in some cases, the canals actually have better habitat because they actually have water unlike the rivers.
Fish screens are commonly used at the entrance to canals. The screens usually have openings of 3/32 inches in order to keep fry stage juvenile salmon out of the canals. Other criteria for fish screens involve the water velocities normal to the screen surface versus sweeping past the screen surface and exposure time of fish to the screens.
Screens must also be cleaned, usually continuously in order to be able to divert the full water right out of the river and also to minimize the velocity of the water through the screen. Enough of the boring stuff, here's a link to a big project in the central valley, the Gl*nn C*lusa Irr*gation D*strict fish screen. With a maximum diversion rate of 3000 cfs, they must have at least 9000 sf of screen area.
http://www.gcid.net/documents/gcid%20brochure%20pdfs/Fish_protection.pdf

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Plants and animals?!! HAH HAH HAH HAH Hah Hah hah hah hah!! Take care of PLANTS and FISH in your canals!!!! HAH HAH HAH hah hah hah hah ha ha ha. Oh holy shit that was funny. HAH HAH HAH hah hah hah. Oh ho. Operate your canals for fish. HAHHAHHAHAHHAHHA. Hah hah hah. That cracks me up every time I think about it."

Ok, fine, mock me all you want. I didn't assume one would try to hug all the fish and provide them with nice homes. I was thinking about transporting fish from one place to another. For example, how much do you worry about moving, say, white bass, from one part of the state to another. With plants, when do you try to remove/kill them. Winter? Right before irrigation season? That sort of thing.

And the Red Bluff diversion dam has Archimedean screws! I didn't know anybody ever used those!

Sorry, I got a little excited there. I'll try to fit in with the new crowd..."[speculation about mating strategies without defining 'mating']...[generalizations based on my own mating experience]...[declarative statement about how I overcame generalizations about mating experiences due to reframing the problem]...[despite my example, most people today are trapped into generalizations about mating experiences because of their world view/inherent biology]...and Megan, you should move to China and find a nice lonely boy there." Better?

A4

10:22 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hey A4,

I was laughing at the idea, not at you. Margie does hug the fish and try to help each one find a home, but she works for a different agency. And I hoped I answered a little of your question about plants in canals. Mow the banks, use herbicides or chain the canals, screen your equipment.

There is stuff about containing invasive species, like pike in Lake Davis, but I don't know it very well.


YES!! The Red Bluff Diversion Dam has Archimedean screws! I can't believe you knew what I meant! That's awesome. I never did explain the Denadean Gates at Gravelly Ford ID, either, did I?

You did great with the dating advice, but you missed:

Perhaps you could try [that thing I've been trying for two years] and also stop doing [that thing I don't actually do] and also It Will Happen When You Stop Trying.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Not Gravelly Ford. Tranquility ID. I think. I should look that up before I try to remember off the top of my head.

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember reading about Archimedean screws when I was a little kid. I haven't thought of them since I realized that grain augers are the same thing. I thought the screws were a really cool idea for pumping water, but I couldn't quite figure out why they needed to be in a tube. I just checked Wikipedia, and they have several pictures: no tubes! And they talk about using them as "pescalators!" My whole being is quivering right now, I must say. I can't wait to find out what a Danadean gate is; Google provides no help.

Sorry about missing those aspects of the dating advice, but I'm watching from a distance, so the personal advice to you didn't resonate with me, except for the China thing.
By the way, is moving to Oakland qualitatively different than moving to China?

A4

11:20 PM  
Blogger Comet Jo said...

"My professor also told us that if you design water projects for third world countries, you MUST include shelves for doing laundry. It is unavoidable, he said, so build facilities so that people don’t drown trying to wash their clothes."

--just think how much better of we would be if that kind of realism went into designing foreign policy. Makes me a bit nostalgic for Thorstein Veblen's dream of a society run by engineers.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous bill said...

Megan -- I think A4 is a keeper (no fish pun intended).

8:31 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

What? A4 has been around for a year. He's been here since the first link on MR.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous bill said...

I'm just sayin'!

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Francis said...

big day in water news. Cast*ic L*ke W*ter *gency settles perchlorate litigation. Tr*cy's discharge permit sets impossible standards. And FINALLY there are some discharge regs for CA_FOs.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My visiting individual blogs ebbs and flows over time.

My current forecast is that I will keep reading here until this becomes a pregnancy/baby blog, and then I will drift away.

A4

12:37 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Dude, I am so dropping the blog when I find someone.

1. The point of this blog is to get me laid. Once that's taken care of regular, why would I keep it up?

2. The other thing the blog does is give me a place to talk about the things on my mind. When I have someone to tell all this stuff to, I won't have to impose on imaginary people.

3. I'll want to spend time with him, not on a screen.

I really do not expect to write a relationship/pregnancy/baby blog. 'Course, I didn't expect to like blogging as much as I do, but still. I expect to suddenly inform people that they have a few days to collect whatever posts they want and shut the place down. Y'all will have to visit me in real life if you want to keep the conversation going.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you stop, how will we ever find out the real story of Los Osos? How come we never hear about that anymore, anyway?

Protestations aside, I think I'll keep my forecast the same.

A4

1:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

You never hear about LO because people from LO read this blog. I talk about LO on my protected blog now.

Your forecast could be right. Hard to know from here.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. Well, then, when you get that book written, I'll buy a copy. Why don't you keep "From the Archives" going until then, so we'll know.

A4

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Francis said...

The Region*l W*ter Bo*rd is about to put the screws to the residents of Los Osos again.

which, considering that their insufficiently treated leachate from their septic systems is contaminating the local water, is perfectly fair as far as I'm concerned.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I saw that. I'm hoping to watch the CDO hearings next week.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

The other thing the blog does is give me a place to talk about the things on my mind. When I have someone to tell all this stuff to, I won't have to impose on imaginary people.

Impose? It's no imposition at all!

Besides, it's easier and sometimes more satisfying to tell things to imaginary people.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second Peter’s point.

Your posts include, as Tyler Cowen puts it,
“some of the best posts on regulation in all of Blog Land”

It would be a public service to at least keep the old posts around so the links work even after the times comes when you are absorbed with your immediate family.

-Bertram

8:54 AM  
Blogger CharleyCarp said...

I was at a water conference about 20 years ago, and the big deal then was a canal in North dakota that would introduce Missouri River water, and presumably organisms, into the Hudson Bay drainage. This was a big issue for people opposing the project, IIRC, and the but NoDak water engineers seemed to think it mere pretext.

I suppose I ought to google it all up and see what got built.

8:48 AM  

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