Daily Digest: Judge denies attempt to block extra water for the Klamath; Thinking outside the pipe; Partnership to test whether forest thinning can grow groundwater, snowpack; Feds can’t duck pesticide lawsuit; and more …

Along Grand Island Road in the Delta …

In California water news today, Judge denies attempt to block extra water for the Klamath; Thinking outside the pipe; Partnership to test whether forest thinning can grow groundwater, snowpack; Feds can’t duck pesticide lawsuit; El Nino likely no help for Northern California reservoirs; NASA: Rising seas about to catch up with the West Coast; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Stewardship Council begins the first day of a two-day meeting: On the agenda today, the appointment of a new lead scientist, Delta Plan performance measures, the Delta Levee Investment Strategy, and the encouragement of appropriate land uses to reduce flood risk in San Joaquin County.  Click here for the agendaClick here to watch on webcast.

In the news today …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Judge denies attempt to block extra water for the Klamath: A federal judge has denied a request by agricultural water providers in California’s Central Valley to block emergency water releases to protect Klamath River salmon from the drought.  U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill in Fresno, California, on Wednesday rejected a request for a temporary restraining order sought by Westlands Water District and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Judge denies attempt to block extra water for the Klamath

Thinking outside the pipe:  “Last month, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney ripped the governor’s twin tunnels plan, calling it “misguided” and wasteful.  The Democrat from Stockton wasn’t alone. Elected officials representing this area have been highly critical of state water policy, as well as federal drought relief legislation pending in the House and Senate.  “But I can’t just say ‘No,’ ” McNerney said Tuesday after hosting a drought forum at the Robert J. Cabral Agricultural Center in south Stockton. “I’ve got to say, ‘OK, we don’t like this program, but here’s a program that’ll work. Here’s something that will benefit everyone and not just a few users.’ ” … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Thinking outside the pipe

Partnership to test whether forest thinning can grow groundwater, snowpack:The purchase of 10,000 acres of watershed land west of Lake Tahoe is slated to launch a living laboratory testing whether the answer to drought lies in fewer trees.  Research by the environmental group the Nature Conservancy has shown that thinning forests of small- to medium-size trees and bushes allows forests to trap more rain because it lets more water run off to streams and into groundwater stores. In winter, thinned areas may also allow more snow to be deposited on the forest floor as snowpack, said Edward Smith, a forest ecologist with the Nature Conservancy. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Partnership to test whether forest thinning can grow groundwater, snowpack

Feds can’t duck pesticide lawsuit:  “A federal judge Monday refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Department of the Interior of illegally delaying consultations on the effects of pesticides on endangered species in the California Bay Delta. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Department of the Interior in February, claiming Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species and Administrative Procedure Acts by failing to complete interagency consultation on the Delta smelt and Alameda whipsnake. The pesticides at issue are Atrazine, alachlor and 2,4-D. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Feds can’t duck pesticide lawsuit

El Nino likely no help for Northern California reservoirs: Don’t expect El Niño to end the drought or increase rain and snow in Northern California.  “The strongest signal for El Niño for the storm track to increase in activity is for Southern California,” says Meteorologist Michelle Mead, with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “California is a pretty large state, and, while we do have reservoirs in Southern California, the major reservoirs that are responsible for the water management of the state are actually located in Northern California.”  ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  El Nino likely no help for Northern California reservoirs

NASA: Rising seas about to catch up with the West Coast:  “Rising Seas are about to become a bigger issue for the West Coast, according to scientists.  Using satellite and other data, NASA scientists have been tracking rising sea levels around the world. They say that natural cycles in the Pacific have been masking effects of sea rise for about the last 20 years. But that’s changing. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  NASA: Rising seas about to catch up with the West Coast

Despite drought, California has record high crop revenue:Even with hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland left dry during the most severe drought on record, California farmers have been bringing in record-high revenue from crops, according to a study released Wednesday.  The study from the Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based think tank, concluded that revenues and the numbers of farm-related jobs have been pushed higher because of a shift to more high-value crops, such as almonds, pistachios and wine grapes. That long-term trend has been possible only because of unsustainable over-pumping of groundwater, which is leading to rapid drops in water tables, sinking ground and dry wells in some areas. … ”  Read more from USA Today here:  Despite drought, California has record high crop revenue

Crowdfunding campaign started for California drought relief:  “A coalition of non-profit organizations and businesses has started a crowd-funding campaign called the California Drought Relief Fund to provide assistance to families affected by the state’s unprecedented drought and wildfires, said Dianne Saenz of Climate Nexus.  The fund will support local relief organizations assisting families who have run out of water due to severe drought, primarily in the Central and Salinas valleys, as well as victims of wildfires across the state. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Crowdfunding campaign started for California drought relief

Flick a cigarette butt?  Not in a drought, says Cal Fire:  “Napa resident Dick Schaaf became concerned when he saw a motorist flick a lit cigarette out of a car window earlier this month, so he took down the license plate number and called the California Highway Patrol.  To Schaaf’s surprise, the CHP said that they did take this issue seriously, especially during wildfire season. In fact, although this type of littering is common, it is illegal.  The Napa CHP office took his license plate information and said it would send a warning letter to the vehicle owner, Schaaf said. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Flick a cigarette butt? Not in a drought, says Cal Fire

In commentary today …

State is slow to approve drinking water projects, says Steve Greenhut:  He writes, “The latest weather-related news reports have shifted from the ongoing drought to fears about flooding, as meteorologists predict what one news report refers to as a “Godzilla-like El Niño event” that may be headed our way. Despite possible problems, Mother Nature might fix what California officials have failed to address.  Water shortages aren’t that different than food shortages that arise in some parts of the world. The weather is the proximate cause, but the real problem stems from failed public policy. Quite simply, California policy makers have not been building and permitting sufficient water projects to carry this state through dry years. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  State is slow to approve drinking water projects

In regional news and commentary today …

New Melones slipping to 1991 levels:  “The New Melones Resevior is continuing to slip toward puddle status. Sometime today the reservoir with a capacity of 2.4 million acre feet will dip below 300,000 acre feet for the first time since the drought of 1991. It also will drop within tenths of an inch of an elevation of 808 feet.  Slipping below the 300,000-acre-foot threshold is significant for a number of reasons: … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  New Melones slipping to 1991 levels

Despite drought, Fresno County crop sets record:  “Despite the crippling drought, the value of Fresno County’s agricultural production set a record in 2014 at more than $7.03 billion, the county’s agricultural commissioner reports.  The total was a more than 9 percent increase from 2013’s $6.44 billion in receipts and was up nearly 7 percent from 2012’s then-record $6.58 million, noted the county’s annual crop report. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Despite drought, Fresno County crop sets record

Group threatens to sue San Luis Obispo County if new wells are approved without environmental review:  “A day before emergency groundwater regulations for the Paso Robles basin were set to expire, a water conservation advocacy group notified San Luis Obispo County that it plans to sue if the county approves any new, large groundwater wells without sufficient environmental review.  The notice, sent Wednesday by the California Water Impact Network was prompted by the expiration Thursday of emergency regulations for the Paso Robles groundwater basin. However, it may eventually apply to all new wells in the county, lawyers for the group said. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Group threatens to sue San Luis Obispo County if new wells are approved without environmental review

Environmentalists to get time before state Supreme Court on Newhall Ranch: Environmentalists are excited to see their ongoing fight to stop 21,000 homes being built on the banks of the Santa Clara River go all the way to the California Supreme Court.  On Sept. 2, the state’s top court will hear oral arguments in a case that pits environmentalists against Los Angeles County for having approved a plan by Newhall land Development Inc. to build Newhall Ranch west of Valencia. … ”  More from the Santa Clarita Signal here:  Environmentalists to get time before state Supreme Court on Newhall Ranch

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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