Daily Digest: Supreme Court won’t disturb protections for Santa Ana sucker; Lawmaker wants to name and shame “The Wet Princes”; Rainstorms, tides, and El Nino reshaping Monterey beaches; How the feds can ensure Western states get more water in 2016; and more …

In California water news today, Supreme Court won’t disturb protections for Santa Ana sucker; This California lawmaker wants to name and shame “The Wet Princes”; Brown’s budget includes boost for CDFA, more drought relief; Del Norte ecosystem: ‘Forever alive’ but rain helps; Despite recent rain, drought not over in Sonoma County; Sand clogs mouth of Santa Cruz harbor; Rainstorms, tides, and El Nino reshaping Monterey beaches; Friant Water Authority names Jason Phillips as chief executive; 3.2 billion gallons of rainwater saved for LA County recharge basins; Southern California water agencies work to capture and store El Nino water; How the feds can ensure Western states get more water in 2016; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee meets at 9:30 am.  Agenda here.
  • The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee meets at 9:30 am.  Agenda here.

In the news today …

Supreme Court won’t disturb protections for Santa Ana sucker:  “A years-long battle over habitat protections for the Santa Ana sucker fish came to an end Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a case brought by a dozen Inland water agencies.  The water districts have been fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation of 9,331 acres along the Santa Ana River in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and a few waterways in Los Angeles County, as critical habitat for the fish. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Supreme Court won’t disturb protections for Santa Ana sucker

This California lawmaker wants to name and shame “The Wet Princes”:A state lawmaker wants California to smack its biggest water users with hefty fines and bad publicity.  In a bill introduced last week, State Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from the San Francisco peninsula, seeks to crack down on residential customers who are pumping huge amounts of water despite the state’s lingering drought.  While most Californians cut their use during the state’s three-year water emergency, hundreds of customers in pricey neighborhoods continued to use millions of gallons per year apiece, as Reveal reported in October. ... ”  Read more from Reveal here:  This California lawmaker wants to name and shame “The Wet Princes”

Brown’s budget includes boost for CDFA, more drought relief:  “Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a more than $70 million boost in the next fiscal year’s budget for food and agriculture programs, including new money for “climate smart” agriculture, addressing antibiotic use in livestock and licensing medical marijuana.  In his preliminary ledger, Brown proposed $485.1 million for the Department of Food and Agriculture, including $45.9 million in one-time funds for infrastructure needs as his $122.6 billion overall budget for 2016-17 envisions a continued economic recovery. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Brown’s budget includes boost for CDFA, more drought relief

Del Norte ecosystem: ‘Forever alive’ but rain helps:Two weeks with one storm system after the other dumping rain, snow and hail on Del Norte County created a plethora of headaches for the region.  The nearly 18 inches of rain logged in Crescent City in mid-December with 37 inches reported elsewhere in the county caused flooding, power outages and made for hazardous driving conditions. But after four years of drought, Del Norte’s sand dune and forest ecosystems are getting a much needed drink of water.  “The way it’s raining now is the way it used to rain,” said naturalist Sandra Jerabek, program director with the Tolowa Dunes Stewards. “When I first moved here 20 years ago, this is how it used to rain.” … ”  Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here:  Del Norte ecosystem: ‘Forever alive’ but rain helps

Despite recent rain, drought not over in Sonoma County:  “A parade of storms have steadily marched through Sonoma County this winter, transforming its brown, drought-parched hills into vales of vibrant green.  But looks can be deceiving. Despite the recent storms, which dropped nearly 4 inches of rain on Santa Rosa last week alone, rainfall totals on the North Coast still trail levels from a year ago.  If it stops raining, Sonoma County and the rest of California could be headed for a fifth year of drought, forecasters warned Monday. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Despite recent rain, drought not over in Sonoma County

Sand clogs mouth of Santa Cruz harbor: A large sandbar has formed at the mouth of the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, stranding some boats inside.  The entrance has been shoaled since mid-December because of strong storm activity. Harbor officials are advising mariners not to travel through. They also said high surf is forecast for the next week and the channel is only about 2 feet deep in some places. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Sand clogs mouth of Santa Cruz harbor

Rainstorms, tides, and El Nino reshaping Monterey beaches: Just as big waves wash away carefully constructed sand castles, El Niño threatens to transform Monterey County beaches and coastlines.  Every winter rainy season brings storms and heavy surf that erode shores and wash away sand, which waves return to the coast in summer. But El Niño generates extra rain and higher sea levels, which increases the erosion during intense and windy storms, affecting coastal bluffs and beaches around Carmel, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Monterey. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Rainstorms, tides, and El Nino rehaping Monterey beaches

Friant Water Authority names Jason Phillips as chief executive: The Friant Water Authority, which operates the Friant-Kern Canal, has hired Jason Phillips as its first chief executive officer in hopes of avoiding a third year of zero water deliveries in the California drought.  Phillips is deputy regional director of the mid-Pacific region for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. His duties have included managing the San Joaquin River restoration program to bring a salmon run back to the river.  Phillips was chosen because he has the background to make the case to the Bureau of Reclamation that it’s time to restore water flows suspended in the drought to satisfy environmental goals, said Eric Borba, a Porterville-area farmer and chairman of the Friant Water Authority. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Friant Water Authority names Jason Phillips as chief executive

3.2 billion gallons of rainwater saved for LA County recharge basins: After the first onslaught of El Niño-stoked storms hit Southern California, the National Weather Service is reporting record rainfall totals.  Downtown Los Angeles got more than 2.5 inches of rain since Sunday, leaving the drought-stricken city barely more than an inch below normal since the start of the water-year on Oct. 1. … ”  Read more from CBS News here:  3.2 billion gallons of rainwater saved for LA County recharge basins

Southern California water agencies work to capture and store El Nino water:  “Much of the rain that fell on Southern California last week flowed to the Pacific Ocean, but a good amount was captured by local water agencies to help replenish the region’s local water supply.  With California entering what may be its fifth year of drought, water agencies are moving to capture and store more.  “That was the 19th-, 20th-century thinking: ‘Let’s get that water out of here as fast as possible,’ ” said Deborah Bloome, senior director of policy at TreePeople, a nonprofit group that is working to increase rain capture in the Los Angeles area. … ”  Read more from the Redlands Daily Facts here:  Southern California water agencies work to capture and store El Nino water

How the feds can ensure Western states get more water in 2016:  “This summer, as California was struggling through its fourth and most severe year of drought, two California Congressmen unveiled legislation meant to ease the pain. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and Rep. David Valadao (R) introduced, respectively, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015 and the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015. Though both are aimed primarily at their home state, the bills’ scope is West-wide.  … ”  Read more from High Country News here:  How the feds can ensure Western states get more water in in 2016

In commentary today …

Agencies deserve credit for water supply investments, says Tim Quinn:  He writes, “El Niño is finally making its presence felt with a series of welcome storms. Since we don’t yet know if it will put a significant dent in California’s epic drought, state regulators are preparing the next version of an emergency regulation that has required statewide mandatory conservation in urban areas since last June.  An initial framework released last month by the State Water Resources Control Board staff, however, is raising deep concerns that the regulation could take a critical tool off the table – local water projects developed to buffer the effects of drought. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Agencies deserve credit for water supply investments

weather 1Precipitation watch …

More storms for NorCal:  From the National Weather Service: “Three wintry storms are forecast to impact Northern California this week. Storm #1 (Wednesday) and #3 (next weekend) are likely to be the wettest of the bunch.”

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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