Daily Digest: Population growth and climate change will radically alter California’s largest watershed, plus Navy jets, bats, groundwater recommendations and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, population growth and climate change will radically alter California’s largest watershed; Rain brings relief to Sacramento Valley rice, but is it enough?, Cold then dry dealing California citrus farmers a double punch; Drought poses threat to Navy jets; Spike in bat deaths and injuries may be due to drought; ACWA issues groundwater recommendations; Mokelumne River on the path to protection; Environmental SWAT team tests runoff to nab polluters and more ….

In the news today …

  • Population growth and climate change will radically alter California’s largest watershedA major Bureau of Reclamation study depicts widespread changes in the coming decades for water supply and demand in California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, as well as for water quality in the delta ecosystem where the two rivers intersect.  The study, to be released publically later this month, uses climate models and population trends to assess physical changes in a watershed that drains 40 percent of California. The delta will grow saltier as seas rise and river flows drop. The watershed’s ability to deliver water to cities and farms will worsen by the end of the century. Gaps between supply and demand, already apparent, will grow larger, particularly in the southernmost reach of the San Joaquin, called the Tulare Lake Basin. … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Population Growth and Climate Change Will Radically Alter California’s Largest Watershed
  • Rain brings relief to Sacramento Valley rice, but is it enough?  “Water is the lifeblood of a rice farm, and Sacramento Valley’s recent rains have given grower Tom McClellan a bit of hope that 2014 will not be a wasted year.  “We’re seeing some regrowth of the grasses,” said McClellan, who farms 1,500 acres on land that stretches from Sacramento to Sutter counties. “The rains have been substantial, to a point of almost being normal.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Rains bring relief to Sacramento Valley rice farmer, but will it be enough?
  • Cold, Then Dry Dealing California Citrus Farmers a Double Punch:These are magic weeks in the groves of the Central Valley citrus belt, a time when orchards are buzzing with honeybees and redolent with the heady, sweet smell of orange blossoms. But around the Tulare County town of Terra Bella, farmers like Matt Fisher smell doom.  “You don’t want all these flowers,” Fisher says, reaching into a tree and knocking off some blossoms. “The reason this tree is blooming so hard, is because the tree by nature wants to come out fighting from a freeze.” … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Cold, Then Dry: Dealing California Citrus Farmers a Double Punch
  • Drought poses threat to Navy jets:  “The ongoing drought in California is posing huge problems for farmers in the Central Valley, where half of the country’s fruits and vegetables are grown.  Because of the lack of water, farmers have had to let thousands of acres of farmland go fallow, instead of planting new crops.  But the fallow farmland isn’t just a concern for farmers, it’s a concern for pilots at one of the largest Navy bases in the West. … ”  Listen to the radio show here:  Drought poses threat to Navy jets
  • Spike in bat deaths and injuries may be due to drought:  “A spike in dead and injured bats from Woodland to West Sacramento may be related to the drought, an expert tells CBS13.  Corky Quirk, known in our area as the Bat Lady, is the founder of Northern California Bats. She rescues, rehabilitates and releases the flying mammals. … ”  Read more from CBS 13 here:  Spike In Bat Deaths, Injuries May Be Tied To California Drought
  • ACWA issues groundwater recommendations:  “ACWA today issued a suite of far-reaching recommendations for improving management of groundwater basins throughout California amid growing concerns about potentially unsustainable declines in groundwater levels and degraded water quality in some basins of the state.  The recommendations include legislative and administrative changes that strengthen groundwater management and accountability where it is deficient, provide new tools and authorities to accelerate progress by local and regional agencies, and guide enhanced state support where needed. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  ACWA Issues Recommendations for Improving Groundwater Management in California
  • Mokelumne River on the path to protection: The Mokelumne River is one step closer to permanent state protection after Sen. Loni Hancock introduced legislation that would safeguard the waterway, which forms the boundary between Calaveras and Amador counties.  Hancock represents the Berkeley area and she took up the mantle of Senate Bill 1199 in February, but she amended and revised the legislation before resubmitting it April 3. The bill would designate 37 miles of the Mokelumne River as a California Wild and Scenic River. The proposed stretch of river runs between Salt Springs Dam and Pardee Reservoir. … ”  Read more from the Calaveras Enterprise here:  Mokelumne River on path to protection
  • Environmental SWAT team tests runoff to nab polluters:  “It’s just after midnight when it starts to drizzle near downtown Los Angeles.  Lara Meeker, a short blond wearing a purple rain jacket, pulls into a fast-food parking lot a few blocks from the Los Angeles River, watches the sky and waits.  The watershed manager for Los Angeles Waterkeeper is tracking this late February storm by radar on her smartphone. Already, she has sent out a flood of text messages, maps and assignments to a small crew of environmentalists.  It’s going to be a long and soggy night monitoring the murky water sloshing off metal scrap yards, auto dismantlers and waste facilities in one of the biggest storms of the season. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Environmental SWAT team tests runoff to nab polluters

In commentary today …

  • Coping with California’s water future will require a sea change in perspective, says Jay Famiglietti: “California’s epic drought has brought water issues to the forefront of our state’s collective conscience yet again. However, there is something different this time around: it all seems so much more urgent.  Have we finally reached a tipping point in our attitude towards water that requires a sea change in perspective? Such change may be required to avert an otherwise be a slow, painful decline into persistent freshwater scarcity statewide. … ”  Read more from Jay Famiglietti at the Huffington Post here:  Coping With California’s Water Future Will Require a Sea Change in Perspective
  • Groundwater becoming another water fight, says Thomas Elias:  “The next front in California’s long-running water wars has already opened, and the reasons for it will sometimes be hard to see — but not always.  That next fight is over groundwater, source of about 35 percent of the state’s fresh water in normal years and a much higher percentage in dry ones like 2014. This battle has the potential to become far more bitter than even the quarrels over how to distribute water from the Delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star News here:  Groundwater becoming another big California water fight: Thomas Elias

Weather and climate news …

  • Winter2014_Temp-Precip_610Winter storms bring only fleeting relief to drought-stricken California:After an extremely dry stretch from December through mid-February, a few storms found their way to the drought-stricken California coast late this winter. Unfortunately they were only enough to make a small dent in large water deficits that have built up since the 2011-12 water year. As the North Pacific winter storm season recedes, there is little likelihood for substantial drought recovery. Dry weather has taken hold over the region, increasing water demands and melting mountain snowpack. … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Winter storms bring only fleeting relief to drought-stricken California
  • 2014 El Niño Warming Up to Be a Mighty One?: “El Niño is a growing threat this year that could play havoc with weather patterns in the United States, forecasters say.  El Niño, named for the warm waters that occasionally occur in the Pacific Ocean near South America, brings fluctuating weather that includes droughts, flooding and heat waves.  “We have above-normal temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean and that often precedes an El Niño because there’s a large volume of above-average water temperature below the surface of the ocean,” Anthony Barnston, chief forecaster for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, told ABC News. “Volume often tends to come up to the surface; often, but not always. ... ”  Read more and watch the newscast from ABC here:  2014 El Niño Warming Up to Be a Mighty One?

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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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. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

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