News worth noting: NASA project helps achieve near perfect water operations, the Governor’s plan to address climate change, new desal report from the Pacific Institute, and more

NASA ASO MapNASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory helped Bay Area agencies achieve near-perfect water operations this year: Unprecedented snowpack maps from NASA’s prototype Airborne Snow Observatory mission helped water managers for 2.6 million residents of the San Francisco Bay Area achieve near-perfect water operations this summer, despite the driest year in California’s recorded history.  The high-resolution NASA snow maps of the Tuolumne River Basin in the Sierra Nevada helped optimize reservoir filling and hydroelectric generation at the Hetch Hetchy reservoir and its O’Shaughnessy Dam. This resulted in a full reservoir at the end of the snowmelt season, no water spillage, and generation of more than $3.9 million in hydropower. The NASA data helped optimize operations during the last two critical weeks of runoff. … ”  Read more from NASA here:  NASA snow mapper reaps big benefits for California

Governor releases draft plan to address climate change:  “The administration of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today released the draft Safeguarding California Plan to outline key actions needed to ready the state for the impacts of a changing climate. Extreme weather, rising sea levels, decreasing snowpack, among other impacts will touch every part of life in California over the next century, so planning key actions now will help us lessen impacts and cope with changes.  “Thoughtful, early actions will clearly make a major difference in California’s ability to maintain livable and productive communities,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. “By planning and building a more flexible power grid, modernizing our water delivery system,and finding ways to make each region more self-reliant, we can save lives and money in the future.” … ”  Read more here from the California Natural Resources Agency:  Brown Administration Releases Draft Safeguarding California Plan to Ready State for Impacts of a Changing Climate

New report on marine impacts of desalination plants now available from the Pacific Institute:  “Desalination, like other major industrial processes, has environmental impacts that must be understood and mitigated. A new report from the Pacific Institute examines effects on the marine environment associated with the construction and long-term operation of seawater desalination plants, including withdrawing water from the ocean and discharging the highly concentrated brine.  “If and when we build plants in California, we must ensure that the plants are built to the highest standards given what we know now,” said Cooley. “Additionally, monitoring of existing and proposed desalination plants is crucial to improving our understanding of the sensitivity of the marine environment and helping promote more effective operation and design to minimize ecological and biological impacts in the future.” … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here:  Key Issues in Seawater Desalination in California: Marine Impacts

Here’s the press release from the federal agencies on the release of the BDCP documents:  “The Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service today announced the availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement on California’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The goals of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan are to help restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and improve California’s water supply reliability. … “We look forward to hearing from members of the public on this proposal as we work to forge a lasting and sustainable solution that strengthens California’s water security and restores the health of the Delta,” the federal agencies said. “Through our joint federal-state partnership, and with science as our guide, we need to take a comprehensive approach to tackling California’s water problems.”  Read more from the Department of Interior here:  Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement Available for Public Comment

Several California groups and individuals win environmental awards from EPA:  “”The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest Region today announces the eight winners of its 2013 annual environmental awards, acknowledging significant contributions winning organizations have made in the past year to protect the environment and support communities.  “Award winners are leaders who are going above and beyond to make big moves to protect the environment and support local communities,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work by these groups will leave a positive, lasting impact on us all for years to come.” … ” Among those honored, the Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority, a regional partnership between the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, and wetlands scientists Dr. Bob Holland and Carol Witham.  Read the full press release here:  U.S. EPA Announces 2013 Environmental Champions

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