Daily Digest: Drought is making California shrink in mass and prompts extraordinary measures to protect salmon, Governor’s race and the future of California’s water supply, Prop 1 and more …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, drought is making California shrink in mass, drought prompting extraordinary measures to protect salmon, State’s top court declines to hear challenge to frost rules, Governor’s race and the future of California’s water supply, Environmentalists split over water bond, is Prop 1 the answer to California’s water crisis?,  EPA sends California $183 million for more water fixes, With dry taps and toilets, California drought turns desperate, Ground needs two inches of rain before runoff occurs, California dairy farmers struggling to survive prolonged drought, Governor Brown signs law accelerating restoration on private lands to benefit waterways and wildlife, Nevada’s secret underwater world and more …

In the news today …

  • Drought is making California shrink in mass:To live in California is to be reminded every day about the dwindling water supply. With more than 80 percent of the state locked in extreme drought, it’s no wonder people are taking desperate measures like replacing their lawns with astroturf, snitching on neighbors who overuse their hoses, and eating off paper plates to avoid dish washing.  So much groundwater has disappeared—much of it from pumping to farms—that it’s causing the state to shrink in mass. We know that thanks to a pair of satellites that measure changes in the planet’s gravity. The GRACE mission, run by U.S. and German scientists, has tracked the decline in California’s water storage from 2002 (at left) to 2014 (right).  … ”  Read more from City Lab here: Drought Is Making California Shrink in Mass  See also: Satellite images reveal shocking groundwater loss in California
  • California drought prompting extraordinary measures to protect salmon: “State and federal wildlife officials this month are preparing extraordinary measures to protect Chinook salmon returning to spawn in California’s drought-depleted rivers.  Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon are making their way upstream from the Pacific Ocean to begin their annual spawning ritual. These fish, primarily produced in hatcheries, make up the most abundant salmon run in California and are the primary catch for an ocean fishery that sustains thousand of jobs. … ”  Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here: California drought prompting extraordinary measures to protect salmon
  • State’s top court declines to hear challenge to frost rules:  “A three-year legal battle between farmers in the Russian River watershed and state water regulators over frost protection rules has come to an apparent end. The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request to consider a lower court’s ruling that upheld the state Water Resources Control Board’s authority to implement the controversial regulations.  The decision means hundreds of grape growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties will be required to study stream flows and develop plans to manage diversions throughout the watershed, which contains more than 60,000 acres of vineyards. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: State’s top court declines to hear challenge to frost rules
  • Governor’s race: The future of California’s water supply:  “At the California Gubernatorial debate in August incumbent Governor Jerry Brown and challenger Neel Kashkari raised water as one of the issues in this year’s campaign. Brown saying “We got a problem here” and Kashkari countering “If I’m elected Governor I’m going to invest in water.”  Both men are looking at how to increase water storage in the state in different ways. … ”  Read more from Fox News 11 here:  Governor’s race: The future of California’s water supply
  • Environmentalists split over water bond:  ” A proposal on the November ballot to borrow billions of dollars to build reservoirs and restore watersheds has divided California’s environmental community over fears that it could open the way for salmon-killing dams or giveaways to corporate fruit and nut growers.  The rise of organized opposition to what’s known as Proposition 1 comes about a month before the election, with independent polls showing voters favoring the blueprint that is one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature initiatives. ... ”  Read more from Fox Business News here:  Environmentalists split over California proposal to borrow billions for water projects
  • Is Prop 1 the answer to California’s water crisis? Surveys show California voters are strongly in favor of Proposition 1, the state water bond on next month’s ballot, and Gov. Jerry Brown is making Prop 1 the centerpiece of his re-election bid. Opponents, however, say it’s a colossal waste of money that won’t solve the state’s water shortage.  Brown has said that water, or the lack of it, has always been a critical issue for California, and that it’s long past time to do something about it. … ”  Read more from KCBS here:  KCBS Election Special: Is Prop 1 the answer to California’s water crisis?
  • EPA sends California $183 million for more water fixes:  “With the backdrop of a parched landscape near the San Joaquin River, a top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official on Thursday pledged $183 million to invest in drought-scarred California’s water needs.  Cities in California will compete for the funding to build water-quality projects aimed at reducing pollution as well as improving municipal drinking water and wastewater facilities. Fresno and many smaller San Joaquin Valley cities have used such funding to install water meters, replace antiquated pipes and drill wells. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  EPA sends California $183 million for more water fixes
  • With dry taps and toilets, California drought turns desperate: After a nine-hour day working at a citrus packing plant, her body covered in a sheen of fruit wax and dust, there is nothing Angelica Gallegos wants more than a hot shower, with steam to help clear her throat and lungs.  “I can just picture it, that feeling of finally being clean — really refreshed and clean,” Ms. Gallegos, 37, said one recent evening. … ” Read more from the New York Times here:  With dry taps and toilets, California drought turns desperate
  • Ground needs two inches of rain before runoff occurs:  “It will take at least 2 inches of rain in much of California before any sizeable run-off makes its way into reservoirs  that are at record lows.  That’s because hydrologists say the soil is so parched whether it is in the Central Valley or the high Sierra it will take that much rainfall before the ground stops absorbing moisture. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Ground needs two inches of rain before runoff occurs
  • California dairy farmers struggling to survive prolonged drought:  “Dust whips across the toasted soil where Tom Barcellos usually plants corn for his 800 dairy cows. This season, there was no water to plant the crop.  The third-generation dairy farmer was forced to idle a quarter of his 1,200 acres in Tulare County, land that once also bristled with wheat and alfalfa. Now he is buying feed from out of state, paying record-high prices to contractors in Nevada, Texas and as far as Australia for alfalfa hay and corn silage. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Times here:  California diary farmers struggling to survive prolonged drought
  • Governor Brown signs law accelerating restoration on private lands to benefit waterways and wildlife:  “Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2193, the first statewide effort to accelerate voluntary restoration on private lands through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Authored by Assemblyman Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park), the Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act, establishes a simplified permitting process through the Department of Fish and Wildlife to empower landowners, government agencies and conservation organizations to take on small-scale, voluntary habitat restoration across California. AB 2193, ultimately, enables the Department of Fish and Wildlife to significantly boost the number of critical restoration projects it authorizes each year in California. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Sun Times here:  Governor Brown signs law accelerating restoration on private lands to benefit waterways and wildlife
  • Nevada’s secret underwater world:  “Beneath the surface of Lake Mead, located 35 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, a world unfolds in shades of teal. Palm-sized bluegill fish nibble the meat from cracked mussels, natural stone spires rise from the depths and shipwrecks slump along the silt bottom. But the lake also hides an array of historic landmarks that only scuba divers can visit: the remains of the massive Depression-era construction project that built the Hoover Dam, including cement tunnels and railroad tracks now decaying in the dark. ... ”  Read more and check out the photo gallery from the BBC here:  Nevada’s secret underwater world

In commentary today …

  • San Francisco Chronicle recommends passage of state Prop. 1:Nothing focuses the mind like a crisis and the state’s three-year drought now has Californians focused on our perennial problem — high demand for water and inefficient use of what we do have. Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion bond on the Nov. 4 ballot will take a first step toward more realistic state water policy. It deserves your vote.  Passage of the proposition will not end the drought, do away with water rationing or deliver all the water Central Valley farmers want to their fields and orchards. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Chronicle recommends passage of state Prop. 1

In regional news and commentary today …

  • North Coast water woes reflected in reservoir levels: California turned the page this week on the fourth-driest water year on record, an occasion marked on the North Coast by dwindling reservoir supplies and restrictions on water use.  Without normal or near-normal rainfall in coming months, water managers warn that the situation could get much worse, resulting in stricter rationing and tighter limits on water supplies for agricultural users. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  North Coast water woes reflected in reservoir levels
  • Northern California: Low levels keep salmon fishermen out of the water:  “A basic rule has emerged with this year’s drought: If an activity involves water, chances are it’s not quite the same as usual.  This year’s salmon fishing season is no exception. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Low levels keep salmon fisherman out of the water
  • Bay Area: Drought causes fish to die in South Bay lake: Lots of dead fish are turning up in a lake in the South Bay. It is unpleasant and worrisome. You can’t miss the smell if you’re around Vasona Lake in Los Gatos, but that’s not the only problem. All of those dead fish are attracting some unwelcome visitors as well. … ”  Read more from ABC 7 News here:  Drought causes fish to die in South Bay lake
  • Salinas River maintenance program gains regional water board nod: “The Salinas River maintenance demonstration program earned a key thumbs-up from a regional oversight body last week.  The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control board’s executive officer Ken Harris formally certified the county Water Resources Agency’s program, which is aimed at enhancing flood protection through removal and management of vegetation and sediment in two high-flow five-mile stretches of the river. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Salinas River maintenance program gains regional water board nod
  • Santa Cruz water director calls for rationing to continue:  “With high unlikeliness that Santa Cruz will receive enough precipitation in the coming year to escape the persistent drought, Water Director Rosemary Menard recommends extending residential rationing on a month-to-month basis.  The record-keeping year that ended Sept. 30 was one of the driest on record, with the city receiving just 13 inches of rainfall compared to the average of 31 inches. The city would have to receive 120 percent of typical precipitation during the next 12 months to end the drought declaration, Menard said. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Santa Cruz water director calls for rationing to continue
  • Santa Cruz: Column: Russ Clark, Earth Matters: Conservation district does water work in the shadows:  “Many people may not know of the organization that Chris Coburn has just joined as the new director, but the staff of the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County have been working diligently for decades to protect and restore Santa Cruz watersheds.  Under the leadership of the districts previous director, Karen Christensen, the RCD grew from a small organization to a leader in addressing water-related problems within the county. Coburn notes “she took a small special district and turned it into an organization responsible for millions of dollars in projects. Her leadership has set an example for the state.” … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Russ Clark, Earth Matters: Conservation district does water work in the shadows
  • Huntington Beach: Study determines subsurface intakes feasible for desalination plant: A study regarding a controversial proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach determined that subsurface intakes are technically feasible for the project.  A panel of experts selected by the California Coastal Commission and plant builder Poseidon Water concluded that two types of systems — seabed and beach intakes — are possible to build at the proposed site, according to a draft report published Sept. 22. The desalination facility would be built at the AES natural gas-powered electricity plant off Pacific Coast Highway at Newland Street. ... ”  Read more from the Huntington Beach Independent here:  Study: Subsurface intakes determined feasible for desalination plant
  • Catalina Island: Helping bison in the drought:  “Bison were first brought to the Island for a movie in 1924, and there’s been a herd of them on Catalina ever since.  The Catalina Island Conservancy, which protects 88% of Catalina Island, owns and manages the bison to protect the herd and the Island’s resources. The bison are not native to Catalina and are registered as livestock, rather than wildlife. Under California law, people can feed livestock, like the bison. But California law prohibits the feeding of wildlife, like Catalina Island fox and the deer, which are actually managed by the State of California. ... ”  Read more from Catalina Island News here: Helping the Bison Herd in the Drought

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.

hard_working_on_computer_anim_150_clr_7364Maven’s Notebook
The diary of a confessed obsessive-compulsive California water news junkie

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