Water Updates: Clean Water Act guidance, climate change, water libraries

Clean Water Act guidance

The EPA has issued proposed guidance under the Clean Water Act, including a definition of “Waters of the United States.”

Some say the EPA shouldn’t issue guidance without going through the whole rulemaking process. However, recent Supreme Court decisions have muddied the waters, so to speak.

Climate Change

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published two new reports on climate change and Western water. Many news reports wrote about one report or the other, but there are actually two:

A sampling of the news coverage:

The editorial writers at the Las Vegas Review Journal certainly didn’t read the report (or even their own reporter’s news article) when they wrote River’s problems can’t be blamed on global warming. I guess the Bureau of Reclamation is filled with hippie treehuggers.

Don’t want people to worry about greenhouse gases? Just stop publishing the data!

On the other hand, if you are concerned about climate change, and you’re involved in resource management, say, or local government, check out the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE). It’s filled with advice, case studies, directories of contacts, etc.

Water Libraries

UCLA will catalog a noted conservationist’s collection, Los Angeles Times, May 1.

When Ellen Stern Harris died of cancer five years ago at age 76, the pugnacious conservationist left a vast and chaotic collection of letters, research files, photos and publications.

Last Wednesday, a UCLA van pulled up to a chilly storage warehouse in West Los Angeles to pick up 28 cartons of materials, carefully organized by an archivist hired through Craigslist. Over the coming months, UCLA plans to digitize the contents to make them available online to scholars and others interested in California’s political and environmental history.

Considered to be the mother of the California Coastal Zone Conservation Act of 1972, Harris was an environmental activist long before the avocation became fashionable. When The Times named her Woman of the Year in 1969, columnist Art Seidenbaum called her “a modern kind of earth mother who fights for land, sea and air…a state official, a community organizer and a most uncommon scold.”

The Water Resources Center Archives is settling in at the University of California, Riverside, and California State University San Bernardino


Prized Collection of Water Resources Arrives in Southern California

Formerly at UC Berkeley, Water Resources Center Archives is being transferred for partnership between UC Riverside and Cal State San Bernardino

(January 21, 2011)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The University of California, Riverside is now home to a significant portion of the nationally acclaimed Water Resources Center Archives (WRCA), which began its move last week from Northern California to Southern California. Movers will complete the transfer of the prized collection from UC Berkeley to UC Riverside this week.


A premier and world class collection of information and materials about water development in California and the West, the archive currently consists of approximately 200 archival collections, 200,000 technical reports, 1,500 specialized newsletters, 5,000 maps and videos, 2,200 serials, 25,000 land photographs, 45,000 aerial photographs of coastlines, and digital resources in the form of CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, and websites.

Read the full press release from UC Riverside.

The Water Resources Center Archives Prepares to Move to Southern California

The WRCA sent this out to its supporters today:

The Water Resources Center Archives Prepares to Move to Southern California
Update October 2010

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters, and members of the water community,

Much progress has been made since July 16, 2010 when the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) announced its decision regarding WRCA’s future home. Following a thorough review of the three proposals that were submitted from UC Berkeley, Davis and Riverside to house WRCA, UC Riverside was selected as the new academic home.

The UC Riverside campus (UCR) is partnering with California State University. San Bernardino (CSUSB) to continue to provide access to and development of this world-renowned collection. In fact, the move will allow UCR and CSUSB to build a statewide collaborative network that will enhance access to WRCA’s unique materials. This network will not diminish services to the UC campuses but increase support for water research agendas of the UC and CSU campuses and external clientele of WRCA.

Throughout August and September, a transition team has been meeting to gather information and propose a strategy for the move. The transition team will shepherd WRCA through the complex process of moving the physical collection as well as the online catalogs, archival collection guides, WRCA web site, several databases, the On Water blog, and Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information.

Although some access points may change, virtual use of catalogs (via OCLC and Melvyl) and digitized content will remain largely unaltered and available to the public throughout the move. The web site and catalogs will remain accessible at UC Berkeley until we are positive that the files have transferred correctly and are accessible at UCR.

Moving a library is a complex, time-consuming process, and necessitates that access to the physical collection be limited for several months before and after the move. Below is a fairly accurate timeline concerning access to the collections.

October 15, 2010 – WRCA facilities will close and all services will be suspended except for digital interlibrary loan (ILL).

November 15, 2010 – Digital ILL will be suspended.

January 3- 17, 2011 – WRCA collections and equipment will be moved from UCB to UCR. WRCA will be completely moved out of O’Brien Hall by January 31, 2011.

April 25, 2011 –WRCA resources will be formally available at the UCR Orbach Science Library and the CSUSB Pfau Library.

The majority of WRCA’s collections will be located in the UCR Orbach Science Library. Materials specific to the Santa Ana Watershed will be evaluated at a later date to make a determination if components may be located at CSUSB Water Research Institute (WRI) in the Pfau Library. WRCA staff will continue: collecting published and archival materials; an outreach program; and developing unique services.

Thank you all for your continued support of WRCA and for your patience. WRCA looks forward to serving UC, CSU and the California water community for years to come from its new location in Southern California.

We plan to send out another update about the transition in January 2011.

Linda Vida, WRCA Director
Paul Atwood, Archivist & Head of Technical Services

ANR’s official announcement, plus links to the three proposals that were considered, can be found on ANR’s public website:

Water Resources Center Archives: round-up

Bay Delta Blog has a nice round-up, giving some details about the Water Resources Center Archives’ move to Southern California, including links to the winning proposal, so you can see what UC Riverside and CSU San Bernardino are planning. I agree with what BDB sees as the downsides:

That said, this is not a completely ideal result. It would have been preferable not to fracture the collection, even between only two facilities on two campuses that are relatively near to each other. Moreover, while digitizing the archives will greatly enhance access to the WRCA collection, charging a remote fee would diminish the impact, so I do hope that a suitable balance can be struck.

Also, from the Contra Costa Times: UC water archive to leave Berkeley campus, go to two campuses in south state.

Water Resources Center Archives update

Water Resources Center Archives director Linda Vida has a statement:

Dear friends, colleagues, and supporters of WRCA,

Last Friday, July 16th, 2010, the UCOP Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) announced its decision regarding WRCA’s future home. After a thorough review of the three proposals that were submitted from UC Berkeley, Davis and Riverside to house WRCA, UC Riverside has been selected as the new academic home.

The Riverside campus will be partnering with CSU San Bernardino to provide continued access and development of this important collection.

More on WRCA’s blog.

Response from UC President Mark Yudof

I (and many others) received the following e-mail:

Thank you for your e-mail expressing your concern about the future of the University of California’s Water Resources Center archives. As I hope you will understand, because of the volume of messages I have received on this topic, I am sending the same response to all.

The academic home for the Archives, the ANR Water Resources Center, closed December 31, 2009, and ANR is seeking a new, appropriate home for the Water Archive resources. The intrinsic research and societal value of the Archives is not in dispute. How to best manage the Archive resources into the future, where to house the Archive resources, and how to ensure that the resources are available to future researchers, students, and policymakers are being discussed.

The UC Berkeley, Davis, Riverside, and Merced campuses were asked to submit proposals for assuming full responsibility for the Archive library resources. Specifically, each proposal must address the unit’s long-term commitment to maintain and improve the collection, the unit’s plan for housing the collection, and the unit’s plan for accessibility of archive materials. In addition, each unit was asked to address issues of funding, staffing, the Advisory Board, and administrative details of transference of the collection. UC Merced immediately declined because of budget shortfall issues.

The proposals from the other three campuses will be reviewed by a small panel chaired by Associate Vice President Barbara Allen-Diaz and that includes Vice Provost Daniel Greenstein (formerly of the California Digital Library); Chair of the University of California Committee on Libraries and Scholarly Activities (UCOLASC) Richard Schneider; Executive Director Mary Croughan (former Academic Senate Chair); and current Water Archives Advisory Board Chair Tim Ramirez. This group will make a recommendation to Vice President Dan Dooley, who will make the final decision on the future home for the Archives.

The goal is to make this invaluable resource available to researchers, students, and staff throughout the state. The best proposal that ensures this goal is met will be selected, and the Archive resources will continue to be available to researchers and the people of California far into the future.

With best wishes, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Mark G. Yudof

Update: This post still gets some views. Please view my latest post on the subject of the Water Resources Center Archives and other posts tagged wrca.

UC Berkeley’s plans for the Water Resources Center Archives

I received the following e-mail. Here’s a chance for interested folks to hear about UC Berkeley’s plans for the Water Resources Center Archives.

DATE: May 17, 2010

TO: Supporters of the Water Resources Center Archives (WRCA)

FROM: CNR Dean J. Keith Gilless

The UC Berkeley campus is preparing a joint (College of Natural Resources (CNR), University Library, and UC Digital Library) proposal to retain the Water Resources Center Archives (WRCA) on the Berkeley campus. The proposal is due to the UC Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR), by close of business this Friday, 5/21/10. I am hosting a listening session for WRCA supporters to describe the Berkeley proposal and seek WRCA supporter input:

Wednesday May 19th 3-4 pm Room 133 Giannini Hall

Please RSVP to my assistant, Adrienne Hink (ahink@berkeley.edu) if you plan to participate and let her know if your participation will be in person or remotely by phone. Adrienne will email dial-in information for those who RSVP to her by 5 pm Tuesday, 5/18.

For those of you unable to participate either in person or by remote call-in, I encourage you to send your written comments to Adrienne by noon, Wednesday, 5/19.

As you are likely aware, UC Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources has dissolved the UC Water Resources Center and is seeking to find a new academic home for WRCA. We understand that other UC campuses are likely to be submitting proposals to receive the collection as well. Berkeley has hosted the archives for 50 years and is considered “home” to the collection. We take very seriously the role of stewarding this collection and will not propose an acquisition plan that cannot be maintained. The library has operated out of space in the College of Engineering and there is an MOU in place allowing WRCA the space until June 2013. It is our understanding that the space will not be available for library uses after that date, making consideration of the future management of the archives very timely. Our proposal sets forth the creation of a transition team that will evaluate many aspects of maintaining the collection, including the pursuit of space that is guaranteed for the long term. We will seek to maintain the collection as a single unit provided that space and funding for designated staffing can be maintained, but we must also prepare for the reality that no space can be provided and it becomes necessary to integrate the paper (non-digital) collection with other units of the campus library system.

We recognize the Archives are a unique and valuable resource and are deeply committed to ensuring their long term preservation. We welcome you input as we finalize the proposal.


Dean J. Keith Gilless
Email: gilless@berkeley.edu