Daily Digest: Judge throws out Delta Plan, twin tunnels for now; Why are so many agencies ending mandatory conservation?; How is CA spending the water bond?; CA’s agtech-focused plan for tackling its water problem; and more …

In California water news today, Judge throws out Delta Plan, twin tunnels for now; California’s drought isn’t over.  Why are so many agencies ending mandatory conservation?; How is California spending the water bond?; California’s agtech-focused plan for tackling its water problem; Climate change is tipping the scales towards more wildfires; Bringing back the Klamath wetlands, one wocus at a time; Eel River action plan released; and Judge bumped from Oakdale Irrigation District lawsuit

In the news today …

Judge throws out Delta Plan, twin tunnels for now:  “Barbara Vlamis, director of Chico-based AquAlliance.net, was dancing on the grave of the Delta Plan Thursday.  Her group was a among a coalition that challenged the environmental review of the plan, which includes plans for the hotly-contested twin tunnels.  However, a judge’s decision in May, and a clarification this week, invalidated the plan because it did not meet the laws passed by the state legislature in 2009. Because the plan was invalidated, the questions about compliance with environmental review laws don’t apply, Judge Michael Kenny stated in a six-page document released Thursday. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Judge throws out Delta Plan, twin tunnels for now

California’s drought isn’t over.  Why are so many agencies ending mandatory conservation?  “Coachella Valley residents have slashed their water use nearly 25 percent over the past year in response to California’s historic drought. Now they face a new conservation mandate: zero percent.  No, the drought isn’t over: The entire state is abnormally dry and 43 percent of it suffers from “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. But with California’s reservoirs and snowpack in better shape than last year after a moderately wet winter, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the state water board to relax the strict conservation targets it imposed last June. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  California’s drought isn’t over.  Why are so many agencies ending mandatory conservation?

How is California spending the water bond? Almost two years ago, California voters passed Proposition 1 – a $7.5 billion water bond intended to provide significant investments in the state’s drought-challenged water systems. Today, Californians concerned about the prospects of worsening drought may wonder how the state is spending these funds, and whether they are moving out the door fast enough.  Proposition 1 has seven funding categories, with a pot of money allocated to each. The bond language preauthorized spending in the largest area – $2.7 billion for water storage projects. For the other six areas, spending must be appropriated in the state budget. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How is California spending the water bond?

California’s agtech-focused plan for tackling its water problem: Despite recent rains and rising water levels, the drought crisis in the west of the US is far from over. While many farmers struggle to keep their operations afloat with less water, low crop prices and high farm input prices are compounding an already stressful situation.  Many startups and businesses are fast at work developing technologies that can help farmers make each drop count. Next week, the Israeli-California Water Conference will convene in Marina Del Ray where attendees will discuss innovative water technologies that may have the potential to help the state achieve water sustainability. The three main sectors slated for discussion during the event include agriculture, municipal, and industry. … ”  Read more from Ag Funders News here:  California’s agtech-focused plan for tackling its water problem

Climate change is tipping the scales towards more wildfires:  “The 2016 wildfire season has barely begun and dozens of large wildfires have already raged through Western states, with hundreds of thousands of acres burned. This comes on the heels of a 2015 wildfire season that was the worst on record in the U.S., with more than 10 million acres burned.  These are not just random events. Climate change is producing conditions ripe for wildfires, tipping the scales in favor of the dramatic increases in large wildfires we have seen across the West since the 1970s. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Climate change is tipping the scales towards more wildfires

Bringing back the Klamath wetlands, one wocus at a time:  “The marsh is alive with the chatter of hundreds of birds. They get agitated as Blake Eldridge steers his small boat near a tangle of head-high vegetation on the shore.  Just a decade back, this place looked like a different world.  “There was nothing out here, just open pasture. And now we see cattails coming up, willows, some tules. It’s really coming around,” he says.  Eldridge works for the Nature Conservancy, which owns this property where the Williamson River flows into Upper Klamath Lake. It was all farmland until the group blew up the dikes, letting the lake flood in and restore the original wetland.   … ”  Read more from OPB here: Bringing back the Klamath wetlands, one wocus at a time

Eel River action plan released:  “The Eel River Forum, comprised of 22 public agencies, tribes, non-profit conservation organizations and other stakeholders, has released the Eel River Action Plan. The plan identifies priority actions needed to recover the Eel River watershed and its native fish. It aims to achieve these goals while maintaining multiple land uses and recreation in the watershed. Priority actions in the plan address water diversions, water quality issues, habitat restoration, community engagement and protecting the Eel River Delta. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Eel River action plan released

Judge bumped from Oakdale Irrigation District lawsuit:  “Board member Gary Osmundson, sued along with the Oakdale Irrigation District, had a judge removed from the case after the judge sided against the district in a pretrial ruling.  In other action related to the lawsuit on OID’s stalled fallow-for-money program: The board majority voted Tuesday to alter legal action against two of its own members, at least one of whom is the target of a leak investigation; and in an unusual move, the board publicly released a confidential memo that answers some nagging questions about the fallowing program. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Judge bumped from Oakdale Irrigation District lawsuit

In commentary today …

Watershed protection comes from corporate partners, says Kirsten James:  She writes, “One-third of Los Angeles County residents and businesses get their water from the San Gabriel watershed – a region that stretches from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino. The rivers and creeks that flow out of the San Gabriel Mountains recharge the local groundwater aquifers and provide an important water source for the millions of people who live downstream.  But the watershed, which provides Los Angeles County with 70 percent of its open space and roughly 35 percent of its water, is in trouble – because of drought and the effect of the 3 million visitors drawn annually to the San Gabriel Mountains for fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities. The Forest Service does not have the resources to keep up with demand, and the once-bountiful region is vulnerable to trash, crowding, wildfires and heavy foot traffic, which can impede the watershed’s ability to recharge. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Watershed protection comes from corporate partners

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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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