Daily Digest: ‘Modest dents’ in long-term drought; California’s most endangered fish having the worst year ever; State wants to close part of Sacramento River to fishing; and more news, plus Cal Water Fix hearing on webcast

In California water news today, ‘Modest dents’ in long-term drought; California’s most endangered fish having the worst year ever; State wants to close part of Sacramento River to fishing; Napa: Local cities divide $3.5 million state water refund; Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway now holding back water; East Bay water guzzler list questioned after some figures turn out to be wrong; Pacifica: Officials pledge help for El Niño-battered city; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

‘Modest dents’ in long-term drought: The U.S. Drought Monitor released January 28 partly credits El Niño moisture for “some modest dents in the armor of the multi-year drought in California.”  “Slow and steady recovery continues for parts of the West this week after another beneficial round of precipitation brought with it liquid equivalent totals running from 5 to 8 inches or more in some spots in the northern Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges,” according to the weekly update. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  ‘Modest dents’ in long-term drought

California’s most endangered fish having the worst year ever:  “The good news is we were wrong last summer. The Threatened Delta smelt isn’t extinct, or at least it wasn’t in mid-January when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found some in the western Sacramento Delta.  The bad news: CDFW’s mid-January trawls — referred to by the agency as Spring Kodiak Trawls, after the Kodiak nets used by biologists — found just a handful of the three-inch fish: four males and three females. That’s the lowest count for January since Kodiak trawling began in 2002: less than half the number found in 2015’s January trawl, and less than one-twentieth 2014’s numbers. ... ”  Read more from KCET here:  California’s most endangered fish having the worst year ever

State wants to close part of Sacramento River to fishing:  “Concerned about the survival of winter-run Chinook salmon, state wildlife officials want to close a section of the Sacramento River in Redding for four months this spring and summer.  Under the proposal, the river would be closed from the Highway 44 bridge to Keswick Dam from April 1 through July 31.  While salmon fishing would not be allowed in the 5½-mile stretch of river, state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are worried about trout anglers accidentally hooking a salmon during spawning. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  State wants to close part of Sacramento River to fishing

Napa: Local cities divide $3.5 million state water refund:  “Napa County towns will split an unexpected $3.5 million refund from the state Department of Water Resources, with the city of Napa receiving the lion’s share at $2.4 million.  Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Engineer Phillip Miller announced the news Tuesday to his board of directors. He prefaced his remarks by quoting the bystanders in the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon: “Now there’s something you don’t see every day.”  The directors—who represent local cities and the county—received the news with smiles. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Local cities divide $3.5 million state water refund

Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway now holding back water:  “This week crews have been pumping water from Folsom Lake through a temporary levee at a rate of 32,000 cubic feet per second and into a basin adjacent to the new spillway.  Katie Charan is the Senior Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “So, the next step is to remove the temporary construction coffer dam,” she says, “finish all of the work on the approach channel side which is estimated to take about five months, and then we’ve got some concrete work to finish on the downstream side to finish out the chute that connects to the American River itself.” ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway now holding back water

East Bay water guzzler list questioned after some figures turn out to be wrong:  “California’s only large water district that penalizes and publicly exposes people who use too much water goofed when it reported inflated figures for some customers.  East Bay Municipal Utility District officials said they are reexamining the lists that contained more than 4,200 names of customers that the agency said violated its limit. The names and the amount of water they used were distributed to the media.  EBMUD acknowledged the mistake after this newspaper found inconsistencies. ... ”  Read more from the Oakland Tribune here:  East Bay water guzzler list questioned after some figures turn out to be wrong

Pacifica: Officials pledge help for El Niño-battered city: Comparing the El Niño waves that have battered Pacifica in recent weeks to a slow-motion “superstorm,” Rep. Jackie Speier pledged Wednesday to seek state and federal assistance to repair the damage inflicted on the small coastal city.  “This is a profound natural disaster,” said Speier, D-Hillsborough, after inspecting damage to Pacifica Pier. Powerful storms have also damaged a sea wall on Beach Boulevard and a large stormwater drainage pipe and forced the evacuation of 310 Esplanade Ave., a 20-unit apartment building atop a crumbling bluff. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Pacifica: Officials pledge help for El Niño-battered city

Madera County Farm Bureau continuing legal battle over Gunner Ranch project: The Madera County Farm Bureau has filed additional litigation challenging the Madera County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the Gunner Ranch West Specific Plan Project.  Last week, the Madera County Farm Bureau (MCFB) filed a Reply Brief in its lawsuit opposing the controversial project.  According to Christina Beckstead, MCFB executive director, the nonprofit organization brought the lawsuit because of “grave concerns regarding a development project that threatens scarce groundwater.” … ”  Read more from the Fresno County Business Journal here:  Madera County Farm Bureau continuing legal battle over Gunner Ranch project

Tulare County out of Matheny Tract water use lawsuit:The county has been dropped as a defendant in the Matheny Tract water use lawsuit filed last summer.  County Attorney Kathleen Bales-Lange reported the legal move during this week’s supervisors’ board meeting. She also announced the county will file a statement of support for the request for a summary judgment.  Fresno-based attorney Ashley Werner, who’s representing the Matheny Tract Committee, said she’s glad the county is showing support. … ” Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: County out of Matheny Tract water use lawsuit

Porterville: Water for drought victims:  “California Resources Corporation (CRC), a California oil and natural gas company, has partnered with the United Way of Tulare County (UWTC) to help residents in rural communities acquire reliable water for domestic use, a challenge worsened by the drought.  Working with UWTC, CRC has donated seed money to initiate The CRC Challenge, a crowd-sourcing fund, to elevate awareness of the impact of the drought on rural communities and meet needs not covered by the California Disaster Assistance Act. … ” Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Water for drought victims

In commentary today …

Tunnels legislation verifies NorCal angst, says the Stockton Record:  They write, “Others have tried, with no success.  That does not mean, however, that Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, should not be applauded and supported for the legislation she introduced to block the so-called twin tunnels project unless it is approved by state voters.  The twin tunnels are being pushed, and heavily, by Gov. Jerry Brown. Ultimately, they would take water beneath the San Joaquin Delta rather than through it with the use of the two behemoth tunnels. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Tunnels legislation verifies NorCal angst

Feinstein bill is a starting point, says the Porterville Recorder:  They write, “It was nice to see California U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein offer her own legislation to deal with California’s water crisis. Now, let the negotiating begin.  As expected, Feinstein’s bill does not go as far as the House bill in providing relief to San Joaquin Valley farmers who are being starved of water for their thirsty crops. Her bill does address water storage and does call for some flexibility in pumping water out of the San Joaquin Delta.  It is really more important that Feinstein has a bill that will now move through the U.S. Senate. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Feinstein bill is a starting point

Precipitation watch …

Wet weather returns: Several periods of rain and snow will impact the Northern California region Today through Sunday. Today and Friday will be warmer with snow levels above 8000 feet. Snow levels drop significantly Saturday through Sunday to 4000 feet, leading to hazardous travel conditions through the Sierra. Main impacts will be slick roads and localized urban/street flooding in the Valley Friday through Sunday, and chain controls with traffic delays in the mountains Saturday through Sunday.”

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.

 

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