Daily Digest: News, commentary and precipitation watch for November 6, 2013

Daily DigestIn the news today …

  • Striped bass populations plummeting:  ” … Numbers of striped bass, often called stripers, have plummeted — possibly to all-time lows since the species naturalized on the West Coast more than 120 years ago. Scientists say the existing population may be as small as 5 percent of historic highs, and even diehard fishermen have given up trying to catch striped bass — once one of the most popular game fish on the West Coast. The habitat in which striped bass thrived for decades has changed dramatically, according to scientists. “The decline is directly related to flipping on the switches to the state and federal water pumps,” said David Ostrach, a former UC Davis researcher who has closely studied striped bass reproduction and physiology. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Express here:  Another Fish Species on the Brink
  • CSPA says state and federal water projects violating standards:  “Delta fisheries have again been hammered by excessive water exports,” the environmental group says.  It says the DFW’s “2013 Fall Mid Water Trawl” (FMWT) abundance indices of Delta fish shows that the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s fisheries are collapsing. In addition, the 2013 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Delta Smelt Recovery Index” failed to meet recovery criteria and restarted the five-year recovery period, the alliance says. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Times here:  Conservation group: State, federal water projects violating water standards
  • Tugboat gets a lift in Oakland estuary clean-up: “A crew of about 50 workers painstakingly lifted a sunken tugboat out of the Oakland Estuary on Monday afternoon. The tug, nicknamed “Captain Al,” had been totally submerged in the waters between Oakland and Alameda for at least 15 years. But it was leaching lead paint into the water, so it had to come out. … ”  Read more from KQED Science here:  Sunken Tugboat Gets a Lift in Oakland Estuary Cleanup
  • City of Sacramento looks up its water conservation game:  “The city of Sacramento is positioning itself to become the capital region’s water conservation leader, a dramatic shift after decades of opposition to even basic conservation ideas like water meters.  On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously adopted a 150-page water conservation plan that will invest millions of dollars in a host of new measures, some normally associated with thirsty desert cities. … ”  Red more from the Sacramento Bee here:  City of Sacramento strives to be a leader in water conservation

  • Garamendi and LaMalfa introduce bill to ease restrictions farm buildings in flood plains: Two congressmen who serve the farming-rich Sacramento Valley have proposed a bipartisan bill that would ease restrictions on building agricultural structures in floodplains.   H.R. 3315 by Democrat John Garamendi and Republican Doug LaMalfa would exempt structures like barns, sheds and silos from new Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements that effectively prohibit construction in areas prone to flooding. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: Bill would ease restrictions on farm buildings in floodplains
  • Inyo Register asks LA residents where their water comes from:  Read the wide variety of responses here:   Where does your drinking water come from?
  • The LA Centennial version of LA DWP’s Intake Magazine is posted online and is available here:  Intake Magazine

In commentary today …

  • Peter Gleick says too many still unanswered questions about the BDCP:  ” … The purpose of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan proposals, ostensibly, is to resolve the joint problems of 1. ensuring reliable water supplies south of the Delta, and 2. restoring the damaged ecosystems and fisheries damaged by the current design and operation of water infrastructure. These are supposed to be “co-equal” goals. Will the new proposals achieve this? I don’t know what to think, because I cannot get the critical information necessary to make an informed judgment. … ”  Read more from Peter Gleick at the Sacramento Bee here:  Viewpoints: Why I’m still confused about the proposed Delta tunnels
  • No water for ag a slow-disaster in the making, says the Western Farm Press:  ” … God-forbid, but if the San Joaquin Valley were to be inundated by floods or wrecked by a massive earthquake, the federal and state governments would be there to help in a New York minute.  It rained a little recently and the mountains received a dusting of snow. It was encouraging. Reality is farmers cannot count on federal or state irrigation water this season. However, the government is nowhere to be found.  It is challenging to get the attention of urbanites and politicians to the water disaster now slowly crippling California.  A group of farmers, business people and city leaders tried to put faces and costs to the impending 2014 agricultural disaster in the making. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  No water for agriculture is slow-moving disaster

Precipitation watch …

  • Wetter weather next week:  “Warm and dry today. A change in the weather pattern will bring increasing clouds and cooler temps starting tomorrow. A weak storm to the north will brush far Northern CA and could bring a slight chance of rain to the higher terrain in Shasta County on Thursday into Friday. Drier weather on Saturday. Weather forecast models are indicating a wet pattern setting up for the West Coast next week, although details for which day widespread rain will arrive in NorCal is still uncertain. Best chances are Monday or Tuesday but wetter, cooler weather with gusty mountain winds could impact NorCal anytime from Sunday to Wednesday. ”  (National Weather Service)

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