Daily Digest: Monsanto says cities can’t sue it for polluting SF Bay; Ag largest source of nitrogen pollution in the state, study finds; Creative incentives to boost groundwater recharge; Enviro groups seek emergency regulations to prevent extinction; and more …

In California water news today, Monsanto says cities can’t sue it for polluting San Francisco Bay; Study: California agriculture largest source of nitrogen pollution in the state; Creative incentives to boost groundwater recharge; Environmental groups seek emergency regulations to prevent extinction; Relaxed conservation measures doesn’t mean that the drought is over; Meet the California couple who uses more water then every home in Los Angeles, combined; Q&A: California water policy: for the better?; Drought building in places other than California; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Monsanto says cities can’t sue it for polluting San Francisco Bay:  “Whether a landmark environmental lawsuit moves forward may hinge on who owns the rain, Monsanto says in fighting a lawsuit from Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose.  The cities sued Monsanto in Federal Court, claiming its production and distribution of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from 1935 until 1969 polluted San Francisco Bay.  The cities call the PCBs a public nuisance, as it is not only a serious health issue but it “interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of the Bay for customary uses for fishing, swimming, and other water activities.” ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Monsanto says cities can’t sue it for polluting San Francisco Bay

California agriculture largest source of nitrogen pollution in the state:  “Nitrogen is essential for growing crops and producing food, but too much of it pollutes the water and air.  A new assessment looks at nitrogen’s impact in California and how it’s affecting human health and the environment.  The California Nitrogen Assessment Report shows that as the global demand for food has increased, so has the use of fertilizers- both organic and synthetic. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California agriculture largest source of nitrogen pollution in the state

Environmental groups seek emergency regulations to prevent extinction:  “Saying current Delta diversions threaten irreparable harm to the public trust, three environmental groups have asked the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt emergency regulations to prevent extinction of the Delta smelt.  In a letter to State Water Board Executive Director Tom Howard on Tuesday, representatives of Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Bay Institute said the board is violating its obligation under the public trust doctrine by permitting diversions and exports that “threaten to permanently impair the public trust by driving Delta smelt to extinction.” … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Environmental groups seek emergency regulations to prevent extinction

Creative incentives to boost groundwater recharge: The Pajaro Valley, in southern Santa Cruz County close to Monterey Bay, is ground zero for high-value farm crops such as arugula, strawberries and cane berries. The area depends almost entirely on groundwater and is not connected to any intrastate transfers, so it has to rely only on local water resources.  The valley’s farms, residents and commercial businesses draw about 56,000 acre-feet (69 million cubic meters) of water each year, and 98 percent of it comes from the groundwater basin, with the balance from surface water and recycled water. This means that during dry years, the basin is overdrawn and vulnerable to seawater intrusion.  … To help improve groundwater recharge, a hydrogeologist with the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) has proposed an innovative plan that gives landowners rebates for collecting stormwater run-off to recharge groundwater. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Creative incentives to boost groundwater recharge

Relaxed conservation measures doesn’t mean that the drought is over:  “The California drought is now in it’s fifth year, and a recent study says it won’t be over for years to come.The study analyzed California’s mountain snowpack and found that we’d need almost four and a half more years of winter storms to escape drought conditions.  But just few months ago, after a not-so-impressive El Niño winter season, California’s State Water Resources Control Board ended a year of mandatory water restrictions, that had required urban residents to cut their consumption by 25% statewide.  Although some think it’s too soon to ease up on the general public’s use of water, the state is taking a different route. ... ”  Read more from KALW here:  Relaxed conservation measures don’t mean that the drought is over

Meet the California couple who uses more water then every home in Los Angeles, combined: Rafaela Tijerina first met la señora at a school in the town of Lost Hills, deep in the farm country of California’s Central Valley. They were both there for a school board meeting, and the superintendent had failed to show up. Tijerina, a 74-year-old former cotton picker and veteran school board member, apologized for the superintendent—he must have had another important meeting—and for the fact that her own voice was faint; she had cancer. “Oh no, you talk great,” the woman replied with a warm smile, before she began handing out copies of her book, Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business. “To my friend with the sweet voice,” she wrote inside Tijerina’s copy. It was only later that Tijerina realized the woman owned the almond groves where Tijerina’s husband worked as a pruner. Lynda Resnick and her husband, Stewart, also own a few other things ... ”  Read more from Mother Jones here:  Meet the California couple who uses more water then every home in Los Angeles, combined

Q&A: California water policy: for the better? Kirsten James is the Senior Manager for California Policy and Partnerships at Ceres based in the San Francisco program office. James leads the development of strategy and policy objectives for Ceres’s California-focused work, including the business-led California water campaign, Connect the Drops. James also maintains and builds Ceres’ business and investor partnerships within California and mobilizes them in support of public policies that call for sustainable water management, clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions in California.  Christopher P. Skroupa: Why are companies engaging in water policy? … ”  Read more from Forbes Magazine here:  Q&A: California water policy: for the better?

Drought building in places other than California: A checkerboard of drought conditions has developed across the United States east of the Rockies between spring and summer 2016. Since March, the total drought-affected area of the country nearly doubled from 12.41%—as low as it’s been in five and half years—to 21.12% as of August 2, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center’s August 4 report. ... ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Drought building in places other than California

In commentary today …

Water education more important than ever, says the Ventura County Star:  “With students heading back to classes this month, we want to ask a little favor of teachers, principals and other educators at public and private elementary, middle and high schools alike:  Please spend some time this school year teaching our children about water conservation, if you are not already. Because despite some mixed signals from water regulators lately, a severe drought continues in Southern California, and water education is more important than ever.  The same goes for all our local water agencies, regardless of whether they’re getting more water from the state because of a decent rainy season this winter in Northern California. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Water education more important than ever

In regional news and commentary today …

Algae bloom in Lake Oroville not toxic:  “Biologists are continuing to monitor and perform tests on the algae bloom in a remote section of Lake Oroville.  The California Department of Water Resources is continuing to run toxicity tests on the algae bloom in Lake Oroville and right now they’re advising the public to stay clear of that section of the lake.  After discovering an algae bloom in a small section of Lake Oroville a few weeks ago, biologists with the DWR have been running tests to figure out if the bloom is toxic. Those test results just came back a few days ago. … ”  Read more from Action News Now here:  Algae bloom in Lake Oroville not toxic

Donner Lake to receive first water exchange under new agreement:  “In an effort to maintain higher water levels at Donner Lake through August, a series of water exchange transactions will begin under the Truckee River Operating Agreement crafted in December 2015.  The TROA provides new mechanisms for federal, states (California and Nevada), tribal and local agencies to address challenging water management issues.  This week, parties to the TROA agreed to the Donner Lake effort. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Donner Lake to receive first water exchange under new agreement

Restoration work set to start at former Drakes Bay Oyster Co. site:  “Restoration work is ramping up this week in Drakes Estero on the Point Reyes peninsula, where oyster farming started in the 1930s and ended on the last day of 2014.  That’s when the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. left the site after a protracted legal battle with the National Park Service that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the oyster operation had its supporters, the park service said it simply was fulfilling a promise to the American public: to return the land to nature. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Restoration work set to start at former Drakes Bay Oyster Co. site

Fallowing lawsuit against Oakdale Irrigation District remains on track: A judge on Tuesday refused the Oakdale Irrigation District’s request to throw out a lawsuit challenging the district’s stalled fallowing program.  Another judge had ruled in May that the district must study how shipping river water elsewhere might affect the groundwater table here, before allowing farmers to idle some land and sell freed-up water to outside buyers. When that judge, William Mayhew, was removed from the case, OID tried to persuade Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger Beauchesne to toss out the lawsuit, but had no better luck Tuesday. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Fallowing lawsuit against Oakdale Irrigation District remains on track

Toxic diet threatens coastal condors: The California condor doesn’t need more bad news. Captive-breeding programs have brought the bird back from the edge of extinction, but habitat loss and lead poisoning have prevented a stable recovery in the wild.  A new study from UC San Diego raises more reason for concern: A wild population of condors along the central coast in Big Sur has been exposed to pesticides and other toxic substances linked to thinning of eggshells.  About 40 percent of breeding-age condors along the coast have been exposed to DDE, a form of the banned pesticide DDT, which is found in the carcasses of marine mammals — like sea lions — that the scavenger birds regularly feed on. … ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here:  Toxic diet threatens coastal condors

Sudden decline of birds, fish could signal ‘tipping point’ at the Salton Sea:  “At first the biologists noticed something unusual about the dead fish washing up on the shore of the Salton Sea: All of them were fully grown, at least 7 inches long. There were no smaller fish among the carcasses pushed ashore by the lapping waves.  Then the biologists started seeing other clues in the birds. Western grebes, which normally arrive by the thousands to forage, were nowhere to be found. Thousands of Caspian terns would normally stop off to nest, but they were also missing. And only small numbers of eared grebes, with their distinctive black heads and yellowish tufts behind their eyes, bobbed in the water. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Sudden decline of birds, fish could signal ‘tipping point’ at the Salton Sea

And lastly …

Capitol Weekly posts its annual list of California’s political movers and shakers:  Named The Top 100, the list includes legislators, lobbyists, media people and others, and of course, water people.  Check out the list to see where Felicia Marcus, Jeff Kightlinger, Fiona Hutton, and others rank here:  Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

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.

 

One Response

  1. Keith Freitas

    Water is not a commodity possessed by humans and their relentless consumption. At least farmers manifest efficient use of the precious resource just as God intended as the tenders of the garden that he made. For anyone to suggest that water is cared for better in the hands and custody of the public at large they would have to be off their rocker. Farmers care for the resource, cherish it’s multiplying traits, respect the use of it, and use it to comply with the balance of nature that our creator had intended. It’s time to limit the access that non-farmers have to water, protect and preserve it by titling it over to the exclusive custody and care of farmers.

    Thank You

    KF

    Reply

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