News worth noting: Garamendi named to WRDA conference committee, comment period on public benefits for water storage, less toxic graffiti removal, hi-res Delta Plan maps now available and more

news worth notingCongressman Garamendi named to WRDA conference committee:  The bipartisan bicameral group will reconcile the differences between the versions of the bill passed by the House and the Senate.  The Water Resources Development Act authorizes Army Corps projects for flood protection, ports, dams, levees, and other projects nationwide.  “I’m honored to be selected for the Water Resources and Development Act Conference Committee. This bill is critical for California. WRDA authorizes both flood protection projects that save lives and property and needed improvements for our ports and waterways. Rebuilding our crumbling water infrastructure is crucial for American businesses, creating jobs in construction and agriculture while strengthening our ability to export American products around the world.  “On the Conference Committee, I will continue to fight for levee improvement projects in Northern California. The bill should allow local agencies to start projects early. Therefore, we need stronger crediting provisions. We must also work to end the current funding disadvantage facing California ports.”  Read more from Congressman Garamendi's office here:  Garamendi Named to Water Infrastructure Bill Conference Committee

Garamendi won't be alone:  According to ACWA's Water News, “Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will chair the Senate conference, and Reps. John Garamendi (D-03), Janice Hahn (D-44), Duncan D. Hunter (R-50) and Grace Napolitano (D-32) are serving in the House conference.”  Read more from ACWA's Water News by clicking here.

Informal public comment period open on guidelines for determining public benefits of water storage:  The California Water Commission has released its draft regulations and guidelines for quantifying the public benefits of water storage projects.  The types of public benefits that would be eligible for funding are ecosystem improvements, water quality improvements in the Delta, flood control, emergency response and recreation.  Comments must be recieved by January 17 for consideration of inclusion in the next draft.  Two more drafts of the guidelines and recommendations are planned.  For the draft documents and information on how to submit comments, click here.  For the Water Commission's page for public benefits project, click here.

Grant to test new less-toxic graffiti removal processes: New techniques include graffiti resistant paints, graffiti covering paints, and abrasive removal methods using alternative blasting media such as dry ice and recycled glass.  Removing graffiti is nationwide problem, costing $12 billion each year,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Aside from eliminating graffiti eyesores, investing in research for safer graffiti removal methods has the potential to protect the environment and health of thousands of public cleanup workers.” Read more from the EPA by clicking here.

Delta Plan high resolution maps now available:  Maps included in the Delta Plan were only in a standard print resolution; those same maps are now available in high-resolution so more detail can be seen.  Maps include Delta Plan boundaries, habitat restoration areas, water infrastructure, and levees.  For a list of links to available maps, click here.

Cross Channel gates to open for boating this weekend:  They will be opened this morning and closed Monday at 9AM.  More information from Bureau of Reclamation by clicking here.

EPA launches new “Ideation” prize for reducing nutrient overloads in waterways:  ” … The challenge aims to identify next-generation solutions from across the world that can help with excess nutrient reduction, mediation and elimination. The total payout will be $15,000, with no award smaller than $5,000. Proposals can range from completely developed ideas to exploratory research projects.  Ideas will be judged on a range of criteria, including technical feasibility and strategic plans for user adoption. Additionally, the challenge entries will inform the partnership members’ broader commitment and vision to find new ways to approach this decades-long problem.”  Find out more from the EPA by clicking here.

House Natural Resources Committee passes legislation to reduce sea lion population at Bonneville Dam:  “For years, Northwest ratepayers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars every year on measures to protect endangered salmon migrating through the Columbia River dams, only to see a growing number fall prey to aggressive sea lions that wait at the base of the Bonneville Dam and other locations to feast on these fish. This bill is a common sense path forward to protect our substantial investment in Northwest  salmon recovery, and provide federal, state and tribal fish managers the tools necessary to control sea lions rather than having to rely on lawyers and uncertain court rulings,” said Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).  More from the House Natural Resources Committee by clicking here.

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