News Worth Noting: Refuge for Delta smelt newly funded, Research on marijuana’s effect on environment, Damages phase of MWD-SDCWA trial to start, Climate change and Central Valley grasslands

uc davis logoRefuge for Delta smelt newly funded:  “Delta smelt are hard to find. Federally listed as threatened in 1993 and as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act in 2009, they are an iconic species for water issues in the state. But there’s one place where the fish can be found by the thousands — the Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.  For the past seven years, the facility, in collaboration with the UC Davis Genomic Variation Lab, has been raising a refuge population of Delta smelt, preserving their genetic diversity and providing a supply of the fish for scientific research. This month, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded the UC Davis lab, or FCCL, nearly $2.5 million per year for four years to continue and improve its work for the species, which is endemic to the San Francisco Bay-Delta.  … ”  Read more from UC Davis here:  Refuge for Delta smelt newly funded

dfw logoCDFW Scientists Publish Groundbreaking Work on Marijuana’s Effect on the Environment:Environmental scientists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently published a first-of-its-kind study that clearly shows that water used for growing marijuana has a devastating effect on fish in the state.  The study showed that during drought conditions, water demand for marijuana cultivation exceeded stream flow in three of four study watersheds. The resulting paper, entitled “Impacts of Surface Water Diversions for Marijuana Cultivation on Aquatic Habitat in Four Northwestern California Watersheds,” concludes that diminished stream flow from this water-intensive activity is likely to have lethal to sub-lethal effects on state and federally listed salmon and steelhead trout and will cause further decline of sensitive amphibian species. ... ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: CDFW Scientists Publish Groundbreaking Work on Marijuana’s Effect on the Environment  (Find links to the research paper in today’s Science News.)

san diego county water authority logoDamages phase of of trial challenging MWD rates starts March 30:  “The second phase of the San Diego County Water Authority’s landmark rate case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California starts Monday, March 30, nearly one year after the Water Authority won the first phase with a court ruling that rates set by MWD violate several provisions of California law.  Phase 2 will determine the amount of damages the Water Authority should be awarded as a result of MWD’s breach of its contractual obligation to set legal rates. MWD has overcharged the Water Authority tens of millions of dollars each year since 2011.  Whatever damages amount the Water Authority receives, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors already has adopted a policy that the agency will deduct its litigation expenses and return the remaining money to its 24 member agencies in proportion to their past payment of MWD’s illegal overcharges. … ”  Read more from the San Diego County Water Authority here:  Damages phase of trial challenging MWD rates starts March 30

usgs logoHome on the range, Year 2100: Land Use and Climate Change Could Impact Wildlife, Water Supplies: Grassland habitats on rangelands in California’s Central Valley and surrounding foothills could decline by as much as 37 percent by 2100 due to changes in land use and climate, according to new scientific projections by the U.S. Geological Survey.  The peer reviewed, scientific paper was published recently in the journal Landscape Ecology. In addition to habitat loss, the study shows that increased development of rangelands for urban use exacerbates the ongoing issues surrounding rainwater runoff. When this issue is combined with periods of drought, the area will suffer from reduced the opportunities for groundwater recharge, especially on deep soils.  “Results from this study reinforce the role of open rangelands in capturing water and reducing runoff,” said Dr. Kristin Byrd, the study’s lead author and a physical scientist with the USGS. “Maintaining rangelands can help mitigate the effects of climate change and drought.” ... ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Home on the range, Year 2100: Land Use and Climate Change Could Impact Wildlife, Water Supplies

ReclamationReclamation Extends Comment Period on Draft Environmental Documents for the Proposed Westlands Water District San Luis Canal Pump-In Program:The Bureau of Reclamation has extended the public comment period on draft environmental documents for the proposed issuance of a five-year Warren Act contract to Westlands Water District. The Warren Act contract would allow introduction and conveyance of pumped groundwater and other non-CVP water in the San Luis Canal. The non-CVP water would come from wells located throughout the district, as well as the Mendota Pool.  The total non-CVP water introduced into the canal would not exceed 30,000 acre-feet in a given year. Proposed introduction would only take place in years in which Westlands Water District’s CVP allocation is 20% or less. Operational exchanges would also be required for situations where agricultural users are located upstream of the points of introduction. These operations would involve exchanges of the district’s non-CVP water in the canal for water stored in San Luis Reservoir. No new construction or modification of facilities would be necessary. … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here:  Reclamation Extends Comment Period on Draft Environmental Documents for the Proposed Westlands Water District San Luis Canal Pump-In Program


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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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