Daily Digest, weekend edition: Water thieves a byproduct of drought, Cranes crowd Staten Island, Scott Valley groundwater and the public trust doctrine and more news, plus Westlands fires back at the LA Times

Coso Junction Water Company #1 July 2010
In California water news this weekend, Water thieves a byproduct of drought, Cranes crowd Staten Island as other Valley habitat dries up, Stockton mayor floats an idea to bring in manatees to eat the hyacinth, Whose groundwater is it?  From the tiny Scott Valley flows a huge issue: the public trust doctrine, The nutty truth about almonds, What is the real impact of fracking on the oceans?, and more …

In the news this weekend …

  • Byproduct of drought: Water thieves:  “The drought is stoking interest in an usual crime: stealing water.  Some water rustlers sneak in at night to wrench open fire hydrants, and then truck it away.Others, whose job is to deliver water for construction or dust control, take fresh water they’re either not paying for, or are not supposed to take.Either way, reports of water stealing are up among Bay Area water districts and other urban suppliers in California as the state lurches toward what could be a fourth dry year in a row. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Byproduct of drought: Water thieves
  • Cranes crowd Staten Island as other Valley habitat dries up:  “Every fall and winter at sunset, the sky above Staten Island fills with majestic sandhill cranes alighting in the fields. The sight is more spectacular than usual this year, as the number of cranes wintering on the island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has doubled over the same time in 2013.  Scientists say they’re not sure what’s causing the population boom but suspect the drought and a shift in what farmers are growing may be at its root. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Cranes crowd Staten Island as other Valley habitat dries up
  • Stockton mayor floats an idea: Bring in manatees to eat the hyacinth:  “Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva has asked state officials if Florida manatees could be imported to the Delta to graze on obnoxious water hyacinth.  Give the mayor credit for thinking outside box, one Florida-based aquatic biologist and manatee advocate said Friday.  “Manatees would do a darn good job of eating up hyacinth. They love it,” said Pat Rose, with the Save the Manatee Club near Orlando. … ”  Continue reading at the Stockton Record here:  Stockton mayor floats an idea: Bring in the manatees
  • Whose groundwater is it?  From the tiny Scott Valley flows a huge issue: the public trust doctrine:  “From his ranch headquarters – a ramshackle office liberally festooned with mounted deer heads and waterfowl – Tom Menne has a lovely view of Scott Valley, just west of Mount Shasta in Siskiyou County. Or he would if the vista weren’t utterly obscured by smoke from a large complex of wildfires burning in the adjacent Klamath Mountains. “It’s been this way for about a month now,” Menne says of the resinous pall. “You kind of get used to it.” ... ”  Continue reading at California Lawyer here:  Whose groundwater is it?
  • Water Underfoot:  Felicia Marcus, Debbie Davis, and Buzz Thompson discuss drought, groundwater and more at the Commonwealth Club’s Climate One program.  You can download the program as a podcast or read the transcript here:  Water Underfoot from Climate One
  • The nutty truth about almonds:  “Almonds are one of the thirstiest crops in California. It takes approximately one gallon of water to produce just one almond. … In this segment of “SoCal Connected,” reporter Jennifer Sabih visits the Central Valley to learn more about how farmers are getting water to keep their trees alive and protect their investments. Sabih also consults water activists Carolee Krieger, executive director of the California Water Impact Network, and Jon Christensen, professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. … ”  Listen to the radio show or read the transcript here:  The nutty truth about almonds
  • What is the real impact of fracking on the oceans? The message of a new study is that the energy industry poses a significant threat to California’s marine life.  “Fracking chemicals are being dumped into California’s coastal waters,” the study said.  Researchers with the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group, released a study that outlines “the serious dangers posed by toxic chemicals,” according to a release from the group. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: What Is The Real Impact Of Fracking On The Ocean?

Sunday special feature …

  • State of the Sierra Nevada forestsThe State of the Sierra Nevada’s Forests: Urgent action is needed in the Sierra Nevada to avoid devastating impacts on California’s environment and economy: With 80% of our state’s water originating in our mountain watersheds, the health of those forested watersheds is crucial to our water supply, and this presentation by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy really brings the message home.  It also showcases some of the latest web presentation technologies by ArcGIS.  I could embed it, but it just doesn’t do it justice, so click here or click on the picture to view the presentation.

In commentary this weekend …

  • Westlands fires back at the LA Times: From Tom Birmingham at Westlands Water District: “The Los Angeles Times recently published an intensely critical article about  Westlands Water District, which recited many of the false, misleading, or outdated claims made by some of our critics over the years. The Times’ editors refused to print an Op-Ed that the District offered in response. And so the District has taken out a full-page advertisement in the Times to provide readers with a better understanding of the issues facing Westlands and how we are addressing them.”  Click here to read the ad:  Westlands Ad LA Times FINAL
  • Watch next steps closely on the water bond, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  “The headline on Thursday’s front page spoke volumes: “Californians approve $7.5 billion water bond; now what?”  Now what indeed.  One reason we were one of the few newspapers in the state to recommend rejection of Proposition 1 is because of the “now what.”  After billions are spent on pork projects designed to garner votes (it worked), there’s $2.75 billion set aside for “water storage.” As the follow-up story by The Associated Press outlined the day after the election, that could mean many different things, not just two reservoirs as some assume. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Watch next steps closely on the water bond

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

  • Humboldt County: Rising seas: ‘Living on borrowed time’: “Climate change has been called a “long emergency,” with impacts ranging from the current extreme drought in California to globe-spanning disruptions of weather patterns and ecosystems predicted for the coming decades. Here in Humboldt County, one of the many predicted impacts is sea level rise, which experts say could threaten underground utilities and U.S. Highway 101. Here’s a look at what the county is doing to adapt. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Herald here: Rising seas: ‘Living on borrowed time’
  • Dam study disappoints Yuba County Water Agency:  “A new study says flows in the Lower Yuba River could be imperiling fish, but the local agency in charge of water releases questions the findings.  The study, from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, identified 181 California dams possibly supplying inadequate flows for sustaining the health of endangered fish populations. The study looked at some 1,400 dams in the state and the list includes both Englebright and Camp Far West dams in Yuba County. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here: Dam study disappoints Yuba County Water Agency
  • Placer, Nevada County drought future still unclear as rain, snow season approaches: “Placer Water and Nevada Irrigation District officials have the promise of a new rain and snow season but no clear forecast on whether the drought will continue.  But they are reporting success in efforts to cut water use this past year and save water for the coming dry season in summer 2015. … ”  Read more from the Auburn Journal here: Placer, Nevada County drought future still unclear as rain, snow season approaches
  • Stockton turf company working to create drought-resistant grasses:  “They’re famous for asparagus and potatoes on this central Delta island, where the Zuckerman family has farmed for four generations.  But here and there, mixed in with the spuds and other crops, are vast fields of emerald-green grass that stretch into the distance until they meet the sky.  The story goes that when Ed Zuckerman graduated from the University of the Pacific, his father told him to look past the potatoes and find his own crop. And he did:  Sod. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Stockton turf company working to create drought-resistant grasses
  • San Diego: Six of top 10 agencies increase water use in 2012-13:  “As drought conditions worsened last year, the three public agencies that use the most water in San Diego cut back, dropping consumption by as much as 5 percent. But six of the top 10 agencies increased their usage from 2012 to 2013.  Below are the top government users of City of San Diego water, with information about their usage for the past five years. … ”  Read more from U-T San Diego here: Six of top 10 agencies increase water use in 2012-13


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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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