Daily Digest, weekend edition: Drought and disease wait in Valley for migratory birds, ‘green jobs’ a priority says De León, Legislators seek help with hyacinth, Former federal judge Wanger unhappy with attack ad, and more news and commentary …

In California water news this weekend, Drought and disease wait in Valley for migratory birds, De León says ‘green jobs’ will be priority as Senate leader, Legislators seek help with hyacinth, Developers can pay in-lieu fees for wetlands mitigation, California considers desalination as a remedy for water woes, Former federal judge Wanger unhappy with attack ad that talks of water and activist judges, Judgment day coming for water bond, Think tank lukewarm on Prop 1, the water bond, Sites becomes focus of water bond fight, Supplemental Guide For Water Bond Costing Taxpayers Nearly $3 Million, A dry winter may mean tougher restrictions, Citrus growers cope with drought, Freshwater pest makes coping with drought more difficult, and more …     

In the news this weekend …

  • Drought, disease wait in Valley for migratory birds:  ” … Don’t be fooled by the happy honking geese and dancing sandhill cranes. This may seem like a happy winter pit stop for migrating birds, but owls and other predators can quickly deal a lethal blow to a good time. It’s a risk these birds face every year as they fly south from frigid Canada and Alaska.  But this year, predators may be the least of the worries for these birds. Starvation, avian cholera and botulism may be bigger killers than usual. It’s another dark twist from California’s destructive drought. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Drought, disease wait in Valley for migratory birds
  • De León says ‘green jobs’ will be priority as Senate leader:In his first policy speech as California’s Senate leader, Kevin de León said one of his key priorities will be combating climate change by setting policies that promote energy efficiency.   “A top priority for me as pro tem will be to continue laying the foundations of a green economy with green jobs that will be an example for the world. And you are an important partner in this endeavor,” the Los Angeles Democrat said Thursday in remarks prepared for a speech to hundreds of water officials in southern California. … ”  Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here: De León says ‘green jobs’ will be priority as Senate leader
  • Legislators seek help with hyacinth:  “With Stockton’s water hyacinth invasion seeming to only get worse, San Joaquin County legislators on Friday asked state officials to request a “sustained funding source” from the federal government to fight back against the prolific weeds.  Our region already received $750,000 earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to seek more holistic and comprehensive solutions, beyond simply dousing the hyacinth with herbicides — a strategy that lately has not proved effective. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Legislators seek help with hyacinth See also:  Bill Wells letter to John Laird:  “This plant has gone from being a nuisance to now being a security and safety hazard.”
  • Developers can pay in-lieu fees for wetlands mitigation:  “Developers have another option for meeting their need to mitigate loss of wetlands, under a new option announced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Rather than crafting a mitigation plan for approval, anyone needing a wetlands permit can pay an in-lieu fee instead and fulfill requirements for more than one agency. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Business Journal here:  Developers can pay in-lieu fees for wetlands mitigation
  • From saltwater to drinking water?  California considers desalination as a remedy for water woes:On the expansive beaches of California’s central and southern coasts, with the state mired in its worst drought in 30 years, one is reminded of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ancient mariner. There is ocean aplenty – water, water, everywhere – but not a drop to drink.  Now, several coastal communities are looking at all that seawater as a possible source of drinking water. … ”  Read more from the High Country News here: From saltwater to drinking water?
  • Former federal judge Wanger unhappy with attack ad that talks of water and activist judges: “Former U.S. District Court Judge Oliver W. Wanger is unhappy — very unhappy — about a political advertisement in Friday’s Bee concerning the heated Fresno County Superior Court judge race between Lisa Gamoian and Rachel Hill.  In fact, he’s downright angry. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Former federal judge Wanger unhappy with attack ad that talks of water and activist judges
  • Judgment day coming for water bond:  “As the Nov. 4 moment of truth approaches for California’s water bond (Proposition 1), the “yes” campaign is marshaling impressive support.  Almost every leader and organization you can think of in Kings County is for the $7.5 billion measure: The Kings County Farm Bureau, the Kings County Board of Supervisors and many others.  That broad support echoes the rare unanimity in Sacramento, with all but two lawmakers in the Senate and the Assembly voting Aug. 13. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Judgment day coming for water bond
  • Think tank lukewarm on Prop 1, the water bond:  “The Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based water think tank, has issued a lukewarm analysis of the $7.5 billion Proposition 1 water bond, concluding that the bond “can be, at best, a down payment on our water future.”  But that, the institute says, depends on what kinds of projects are ultimately funded.   The institute is taking no formal position on the bond. Some highlights from the report: ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Think tank lukewarm on the water bond
  • Sites becomes focus of water bond fight:  “With Election Day looming, the fate of the $7.5 billion water bond, called Proposition 1, will soon be known.  And tied to that fate is the future of the project it could make a reality after decades locked in a quagmire of planning process.  Once a local dream for Sacramento Valley residents and water district managers, Sites Reservoir has been launched into the state spotlight as the largest proposed storage project that could be funded by the $2.7 billion allocated for storage projects in the bond. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Sites becomes focus of water bond fight
  • Supplemental Guide For Water Bond Costing Taxpayers Nearly $3 Million: “There’s nothing like a deadline to force action.  Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature waited as long as they could to finalize the $7.5 billion water bond on the November ballot now known as Proposition 1. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Supplemental Guide For Water Bond Costing Taxpayers Nearly $3 Million
  • A dry winter may mean tougher restrictions:  “What will happen with water restrictions if California doesn’t get significant rain and snow this winter? The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides the Southland with imported supplies from Northern California and the Colorado River, would probably ration deliveries to local agencies by increasing the price of water purchased in excess of a base amount. Metropolitan last did that during the 2007-09 drought.  Local water districts would, in turn, impose tougher water restrictions on customers. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  A dry winter may mean tougher restrictions
  • Citrus growers cope with drought:Besides the usual challenges associated with producing a viable citrus crop, California growers this season are struggling through what the governor’s office says is “the driest year in recorded state history.”  Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. proclaimed a drought state of emergency in January, and Joel Nelsen, president of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual, said 50,000 acres of citrus that rely on surface water are vulnerable.  Some growers are paying exorbitant prices for water just to keep their trees alive, Nelsen said. ... ”  Read more from The Grower here:  Citrus growers cope with drought
  • Freshwater pest makes coping with drought more difficult:  “Emerging from obscurity, a tiny freshwater creature that has been a pest to boaters and water system managers for the past seven years is now making the drought even more difficult in one area.  The invasive pest is the Quagga mussel, a shellfish smaller than your thumbnail, but so prolific at reproducing it can leave room for little else. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Freshwater pest makes coping with drought more difficult
  • Yosemite black bear encounters on the rise due to drought:  “After years of trying to keep wild black bears away from humans, rangers at Yosemite National Park have lost ground this year.  And California’s ongoing drought might be to blame. The instances of bears raiding campgrounds and parking lots for human food are up by 35 percent from Jan. 1 to Oct. 19 compared to the same period last year- the second such increase during the state’s three consecutive dry years. Officials say the heightened bear activity may be partly caused by the drought cutting the supply of berries and other natural bear food. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here:  Yosemite black bear encounters on the rise due to drought
  • Drought leads to an increase in abandoned horses: When Swift’s owners surrendered her to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County, she was 150 pounds underweight. The 5-year-old mare’s jagged teeth, overgrown hooves and heavy parasite load required attention. Today, her coat shines after eating a steady, healthy diet, and her good performance during training exercises has led to her availability for adoption.  The SPCA rescues animals like Swift when their owners cannot care for them. … ”  Read more from the Salinas Californian here:  Drought leads to an increase in abandoned horses
  • Drought downsizes Halloween corn maze near Patterson: Fantozzi Farms is celebrating Halloween, and lamenting the drought, in the 2014 version of its corn maze near Patterson.  The maze shrank from its usual 25 acres to 13 because of the water shortage, said Denise Fantozzi, who owns the farm with her husband, Paul. The land is in the Del Puerto Water District, which has had especially severe cutbacks this year.  That has not stopped visitors from enjoying the maze, Fantozzi said. It is as elaborate – and as exasperating for a lost soul – as any in the 12 years the farm has been doing this. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Drought downsizes Halloween corn maze near Patterson

In commentary this weekend …

  • Prop 1 would aid Delta habitat, fish and region, says the Sacramento Bee: They write: “Restoring the ecological health of the Delta is critical to California’s water system. It’s also a prime reason why voters should approve Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond on the November ballot.  More than $137 million would be earmarked for habitat restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Another $295 million would be spent on levee improvements.  The bond also would fund projects statewide for clean drinking water, recycling and groundwater cleanup, all in serious need of attention as California heads into the fourth year of severe drought. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Prop 1 would aid Delta habitat, fish and region
  • Vote No on Prop 1 and tell lawmakers to get it right, says Lowell Ashbaugh:  He writes:  “The water bond, Proposition 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot, is the top conservation issue in California. The bond proposal would reallocate $425 million in unused existing bond funds and would authorize the sale of an additional $7.12 billion in bonds, giving a total of $7.545 billion to allocate for a number of proposals.  There’s no question that there are some worthy projects and objectives in the water bond. There are also some really objectionable projects. When you get to the polls, however, you cannot pick and choose. There’s nothing in the middle of the road except double yellow lines and dead armadillos.  I urge a no vote on Prop. 1. The Legislature needs to go back and get it right. … ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Vote no on Prop 1 and tell lawmakers to get it right

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

  • Study lists Trinity Dam flows for fish as high priority:A study released this month by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences listed Trinity Reservoir as one of 181 California dams whose current outflows could negatively affect native fish species if unchanged.  With the demand for reservoir water increasing as the statewide drought persists into its third year, study co-author Ted Grantham — a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis during the study and a research biologist for the United States Geological Survey — said it is important to look at how it may affect other species. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Herald here: Study lists Trinity Dam flows for fish as high priority
  • Siskiyou County: Lawmakers, groups push back against EPA rule change proposal:The push against a proposed rule change for the Environmental Protection Agency has increased on a number of fronts as the deadline nears for comments on that proposal.  The EPA posted the proposal in April, citing an effort to more clearly define what the phrase “the waters of the United States” means in the context of the Clean Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.  Traditionally, the CWA has been applied to navigable waters, giving the federal government jurisdiction over uses of those waters and the permitting of waste or pollutant discharges. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Lawmakers, groups push back against EPA rule change proposal
  • Siskiyou County joins Clean Water Act waiver program:  “Siskiyou County will soon join four of its partner counties in an effort to streamline road management projects’ compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.  The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday were tasked with deciding whether the county should take part in the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s waste discharge waiver program for county road management activities. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Siskiyou County joins Clean Water Act waiver program
  • Water districts meet to plan in Yreka:  “Watershed groups from around Siskiyou County are taking on a variety of projects to help manage groundwater.  On Wednesday, local groups met at a workshop to discuss various ways of coping with extended drought conditions, Shasta Valley Resource Conservation District Executive Director Adriane Garayalde said. ... ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Water districts meet to plan in Yreka
  • Fresno: Thousands of gallons of water used in building demolition:  “Should a local construction project be using thousands of gallons of water in demolishing a building in downtown Fresno?  If it’s for high-speed rail, apparently yes!  A KMPH FOX 26 News viewer was concerned after he saw crews watering down nothing but broken concrete and other debris at the site near the corner of Kern and G streets. … ”  Read more from KMPH here: Thousands of gallons of water used in building demolition
  • Los Angeles: No Ice, No Water: LA Bar Debuts Drought-Friendly Cocktails:  “Looking at the California drought map, which shows that 58 percent of the state is now suffering from “Exceptional Drought,” should scare you enough to go from merely skipping that glass of water at the restaurant to skipping showers altogether. And yet only a few L.A. bars have made adjustments to conserve water, like no longer “burning ice” at the end of the night and only running full dishwasher loads. At the The Edison Downtown, however, they’re taking things further by creating a drought-friendly cocktail menu that doesn’t require ice or water. “The menu is my idea for water conservation along with filling the wells only 30 percent so we don’t lose ice,” said The Edison’s Chief Operating Officer Barbara Jacobs. … ”  Read more from Los Angeles Magazine here: No Ice, No Water: The Edison Debuts Drought-Friendly Cocktails
  • Apple Valley: Officials tout water use reduction:Homeowners and businesses in Apple Valley reduced water use by nearly 10 percent over the summer, Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company announced in a news release last week. “We understand ongoing water conversation efforts and the recently imposed water restrictions have impacted the lives of our customers,” Tony Penna, Ranchos vice president and general manager said in a written statement. “As a resident of Apple Valley, I am proud of the way our community has responded to these historic, record-breaking drought conditions we have experienced over the last three years.” ... ”  Read more from the Victorville Daily Press here:  Officials tout water use reduction in town
  • San Diego:325 pounds of trash removed in Bay cleanup: Small dead animals, glow sticks, a television cable and plastic dinosaur were among the items cleared from Mission Bay’s water and shores Saturday morning during the third annual Mission Possible: Clean the Bay Day, organizers said.  In all, 325 pounds of trash were removed by more than 115 people participating in the three-hour event near Marie Starns Park, hosted by SeaWorld and nonprofit San Diego Coastkeeper. … ”  Read more from U-T San Diego here:  325 pounds of trash removed in Bay cleanup

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • From National Weather Service:Frontal system moving inland today. Thunderstorms probable over most of NorCal with the strongest in the Sacramento Valley. Motorists & residents should stay alert for changing weather conditions. Strong southerly winds also accompany this storm. Impacts from storm include downed power lines/localized power outages, lightning, hail, isolated tornadoes, moderate to heavy rain, minor flooding, and local slides over burn scars. The effects of the strong wind on trees is enhanced due to the leaves still being on the trees.”

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

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