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Daily Digest: Almond growers join in groundwater study; Grower says Oakdale Irrigation District broke state law with secret water sale; Surging number of sandhill cranes on Staten Island; and more …

In California water news today, Almond growers join in groundwater study; Drought, groundwater pumping causing the Valley to sink; Grower says Oakdale Irrigation District broke state law with secret water sale; In drought-ridden California, the Classic Lawn Loses Ground; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Implementation Meeting (Sacramento and webcast):  The State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Water Resources will hold an informational meetings for stakeholders on the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act beginning at 1pm.  The meeting will include technical sessions for agencies and organizations in the afternoon, and a public forum in the evening for residential well owners and the public.  Click here for more informationClick here for webcast.

In the news today …

Almond growers join in groundwater study: A research project announced Monday will look at whether almond orchards can help recharge groundwater in winters when river supplies are plentiful.  The Almond Board of California, based in Modesto, launched the project with Sustainable Conservation, a San Francisco group that helps farmers and other business people protect the environment.  As part of the two-year effort, researchers will gather information from growers who have used excess surface water in wet years, such as 2010 and 2011, to replenish aquifers. And if such water is available this coming winter, they will soak selected orchard floors and let the moisture seep down. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Almond growers join in groundwater study

Drought, groundwater pumping causing the Valley to sink: Land all over the San Joaquin Valley is sinking. Mainly through the pumping of water from underground aquifers.  In some spots near Mendota, the land has fallen more than the height of a two-story building. …  At the very center of Valley land sinking faster and deeper than ever before is the town of El Nido. And at the heart of El Nido is Missionary Baptist Church. … ” Read more from Your Central Valley here: Drought, groundwater pumping causing the Valley to sink

Grower says Oakdale Irrigation District broke state law with secret water sale: Irrigation leaders illegally agreed to sell Stanislaus River water to outsiders, an Oakdale Irrigation District customer alleges in a formal complaint.  If the OID board refuses to “cure and correct the illegal action” within 30 days, Robert Frobose could pursue a lawsuit to force a more transparent transaction, he says in the complaint.  The district has explained the deal in meetings, a news release and an Oct. 18 advertisement in The Modesto Bee. Its attorney was not reached Monday for comment on the complaint. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Grower says Oakdale Irrigation District broke state law with secret water sale

Surging number of sandhill cranes on Staten Island: One of the most majestic autumn rituals in the Sacramento Valley comes with a telltale sound: the distant trumpeting call of approaching sandhill cranes. Their annual migration is an elegant pilgrimage that begins thousands of miles north in Canada and Alaska and brings legions of the graceful birds to the region, where they winter in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, on flooded farm fields and in other marshy habitat.  This year, conservationists once again are recording an unusually large number of cranes on Staten Island, a Delta refuge for sandhill cranes and other sensitive wildlife that is operated by the Nature Conservancy. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Surging number of sandhill cranes on Staten Island

In drought-ridden California, the Classic Lawn Loses Ground: Just a year ago, the Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club — which bills itself as having an “exquisitely manicured, visually breathtaking” golf course — featured the same traditional rolling hills of grass found at golf clubs around the country.  But then came the $4 million renovation. With shovels and bulldozers, out went 54 acres of turf, nearly half the lawn on the course. Walkways that were once grass were replaced with shredded redwood bark, known here as “gorilla hair” for its coarse appearance and the way it feels underfoot. Large stretches of fairway are now covered in decomposed granite, which Kevin Hwang, the general manager of the club, calls a “fancy term for dirt.” … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  In drought-ridden California, the Classic Lawn Loses Ground

In commentary today …

Proposed bay delta tunnels will let in even more saltwater, say Gary Bobker and Barbara Barrigan-Parilla:  They write, “Whether walking the dog or riding a ferry full of awestruck tourists, Bay Area residents experience every day a national treasure — the San Francisco Bay-Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.  Many bay-delta fish and wildlife species and habitats depend on the right mix of salty and freshwater to thrive. But too much saltwater is creeping east into the estuary as river flows are diverted for urban and agricultural use. As sea levels rise with climate change, the problem will just get worse. Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed delta tunnels would grab up to half of the flow of the Sacramento River, water desperately needed to keep the ecosystem healthy. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Your last chance to comment on the Governor’s misguided tunnels plan

In regional news and commentary today …

Modesto could leave water partnership: Modesto could end its partnership with Ceres and Turlock to build a drinking water plant south of the Tuolumne River over concerns about the project’s cost.  Utilities Director Larry Parlin is expected to update the City Council on Tuesday regarding the project and ask the council for direction going forward. The plant would serve Turlock, Ceres and south Modesto. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Modesto could leave water partnership

Unusually high tides and surf may cause flooding along LA coast: Unusually high tides and surf will hit the California coast for the next few days, which could cause some flooding in low-lying areas, and there will be a moderate risk of rip currents, National Weather Services officials said Monday night.  On Tuesday through Friday, high tides in Los Angeles County are expected to be as high as 7 1/2 feet — several feet higher than normal, according to Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the NWS in Oxnard. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Unusually high tides and surf may cause flooding along LA coast

CA drought: CVWD doesn’t raise penalty fees for wasters: “The Coachella Valley Water District’s board of directors decided not to raise penalty fees for water wasters Monday night, postponing a decision for at least two weeks even as the agency edges closer to missing Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory conservation target.  It’s been a rough few months for the Coachella Valley’s six water agencies, none of which are on track to meet their water-saving mandates. After a strong start at the beginning of the summer, conservation lagged across the valley in August and September, even though the drought did not. ... ” Read more from the Desert Sun here: CA drought: CVWD doesn’t raise penalty fees for wasters

weatherPrecipitation watch …

  • Midweek storm to deliver rain from Seattle to San Francisco:  “A storm system will track into the West Coast on Wednesday and deliver a round of rain from Washington to northern California.  “The front pushing ashore on Wednesday will bring the chance for showers as far south as northern California, an area that could badly use some rain,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.  While the rain is unlikely to bring any relief to the significant drought, any rain that falls across the West will be a welcome sight. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Midweek storm to deliver rain from Seattle to San Francisco

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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