Daily Digest: San Joaquin River Restoration, drought and more

News and commentary from the mainstream press, plus weather, webcasts, events and more …
Everything you need to know about what’s going on in the world of water today!

Daily DigestIn the news today …

  • San Joaquin Restoration hits a snag:  “The goal of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program is to bring back the river and the fish. It’s the result of a 2006 legal settlement involving environmentalists, the Bureau of Reclamation, and farmers who get their water from the Friant operation.  This January is the deadline for the program to restore enough water to the San Joaquin to eventually allow runs of Chinook salmon.  “What we’re taking on is quite a substantial effort. It is probably the largest restoration project in California, and probably one of the largest in US history,” says Monty Schmitt, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council.  No one expected immediate results. But after eight years and $100 million dollars, the river still runs dry. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  San Joaquin River Restoration Hits Snags
  • California’s drought deepens:  ” … The official drought map of California looks as if it has been set on fire and scorched in the center. The Bay Area has pulled out its umbrellas only few times this year. Normally, December offers a reprieve, delivering at least a storm or two. But the jet stream that usually pushes rains across our landscape remains up in the Pacific Northwest, allowing a warm and dry high pressure system to linger overhead.  Records are being broken all over the state, according to the National Weather Service. San Jose has only received 3.8 inches since January, well short of its 14-inch average. Oakland is even drier — 3.39 inches this year, compared with its 22.8-inch average. The last time it was this dry in San Francisco was in 1917, with 9 inches. This year, the city has had less than 6 inches. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California drought deepens as another year’s rains stay away
  • Sure it’s dry, but is it a ‘megadrought’?:  “The drought that has been afflicting most of the Western states for 13 years may be a “megadrought,” and the likelihood is high that this century could see a multidecade dry spell like nothing else seen for 1,000 years, according to research presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting last week.  Today, drought or abnormally dry conditions are affecting every state west of the Mississippi River and many on the East Coast, with much of the Southwest under long-term severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions. Drought conditions nationwide are down this year, but they remain entrenched in the West.  … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:   Is the West’s dry spell really a megadrought?

  • King Tides coming to the coast:  “The sun and moon’s gravity align Monday to create the highest tides of the year, known as King Tides, potentially flooding low-lying roadways, and leading to unusual sights around docks, piers, and beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The extreme conditions occur a few times a year, and last through Thursday, January 2nd. A second King Tides condition occurs January 29th-31st, 2014. … ”  Read more from CBS here:  Monster High Tides To Hit Bay Area, Flood Low-Lying Coastal Area
  • Bay Area waters becoming clearer, not necessarily a good thing:  “San Francisco Bay is becoming clearer.  Decades of tidal action have finally washed away most of the mess created 150 years ago by Gold Rush miners who blasted apart hillsides in the Sierra Nevada. The result was millions of tons of mud, gravel and sand that made its way downriver and ended up in the bay, clouding its waters and coating the bottom with a layer of silt up to 3 feet thick.  Most of the silt, scientists say, has moved out to the ocean.  But what sounds like good environmental news has a significant downside: The clearer water is letting in more sunlight — and that’s causing a big increase in the amount of algae blooming in the bay. … ”  Read more from the Marin Indpendent Journal here:  San Francisco Bay waters are becoming more clear, but that may mean threats from algae growth
  • Yuba County Water Agency FERC relicensing doesn’t address fish passage concerns, says conservation groups: While some groups are excited about the what the Yuba County Water Agency’s FERC relicensing applications contains, other groups are lamenting what is missing — namely, provisions that address removing barriers to native spawning habitat for endangered fish.  Numerous conservation groups called for the YCWA to look into developing fish passage through, or removing entirely, Englebright dam, which is a direct barrier to more than 120 miles of salmon habitat, according to comments submitted by the Foothills Water Network, which represents a group of water resource stakeholders in the Yuba, Bear and American River watersheds. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Conservation groups decry lack of protection for fish
  • Shafter farmer whose video led to a fine for fracking waste profiled:  “Last year, almond farmer Tom Frantz shot a video of an oil company illegally spilling fracking fluid laced with chemicals into an open pit at the edge of town. Within months, his video had inspired stories from the New York Times to the British Broadcasting Corp.  The open pit — next to another farmer’s almond orchard — has since been covered with dirt. A fence now blocks the public’s view. But state water authorities saw enough. They issued a notice of violation.  … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Shafter farmer helps bring focus to Valley environmental issues
  • Invasive hyacinth takes its toll on the Delta:  “Deep in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta last week, from the railing of the boat “At Last,” you could see the dead water hyacinth. It floated past like an invading alien force from a science-fiction film.  There are channels where clusters of the alien pods have choked off waterways. You cannot drive a small boat through them.  In San Pablo and San Francisco bays, you can see the dead clumps, remnants of this year’s unbridled growth upstream in the delta, float in the outgoing tides. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Invasive hyacinth takes its toll on delta

There’s plenty more news and commentary in the weekend edition …

  • Click here for the Daily Digest, weekend edition.

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Articles are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. Articles behind paywalls are not included, because if I can’t see them, I figure you can’t, so I don’t want to waste your time. (If I send you to something you cannot access, please do let me know! Email Maven)

The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

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