Daily Digest: Experiment offers hope for Delta smelt; Obama announces Salton Sea initiatives at Tahoe summit; Nunes urges Valley farmers to support new dams, water storage projects; Senate passes bill on water storage; Hetch Hetchy lawsuit goes down the drain; and more …

In California water news today, California experiment offers hope for fish near extinction; New strategy unveiled for Delta smelt; At Lake Tahoe, Obama links conservation to climate change; Obama announces Salton Sea initiatives at Tahoe summit; Nunes urges Valley farmers to support new dams, water storage projects; Senate passes bill on water storage; Hetch Hetchy lawsuit goes down the drain; California farm revenue plummets after years of drought; Landscaping for drought could make warm nights cooler; and more …

In the news today …

Delta experiment: California experiment offers hope for fish near extinction:Offering a ray of hope in the struggle to save a tiny fish enmeshed in California's water disputes, state officials say they have found a way to move around river water to produce more food for hungry or starving Delta smelt. The endangered fish, at record low numbers, has been hurt by a long-term decline in tiny water plants and creatures at the base of the food chain in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a source of water for 25 million Californians. … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: Delta experiment: California experiment offers hope for fish near extinction

Rerouted water may provide big bonus for Delta smelt:  “Feeding fish isn’t exactly in the job description for Lewis Bair, manager of Reclamation District 108, which provides water to farmers in southern Colusa and northern Yolo counties.  Yet, RD 108 and other water districts along the Sacramento River learned by accident that changes in water management might be able to help the endangered delta smelt.  For two weeks in July RD 108 joined forces with Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Knaggs Ranch and Conaway Ranch to help deliver 10,000 acre-feet of water into the Yolo Bypass. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Rerouted water may provide big bonus for Delta smelt

New strategy unveiled for Delta smelt: The initial monitoring of a new strategy to improve conditions for the endangered Delta smelt shows significant promise in creating a bloom in the plankton that nourish these imperiled fish. State and federal leaders were joined Wednesday by Sacramento Valley farmers and water providers along the banks of the Yolo Bypass to describe the successful experiment and deliver the first update on the State’s comprehensive Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy. … ” Read more from the Daily Democrat here: New strategy unveiled for Delta smelt

At Lake Tahoe, Obama links conservation to climate change: Standing beneath the forest-green peaks of the Sierra Nevada, President Barack Obama drew a connection Wednesday between conservation efforts and stopping global warming, describing the two environmental challenges as inseparably linked.  Obama used the first stop on a two-day conservation tour to try to showcase how federal and local governments can effectively team up to address a local environmental concern like iconic Lake Tahoe, which straddles California and Nevada. Obama told a sunbaked crowd of several thousand in a small lakeside town that “our conservation effort is more critical, more urgent than ever.”  “When we protect our lands, it helps us protect the climate of the future,” Obama said, joined by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  At Lake Tahoe, Obama links conservation to climate change

Obama announces Salton Sea initiatives at Tahoe summit: The Obama administration unveiled initiatives to help restore the Salton Sea and improve the region’s climate resilience, economy and public health as part of President Barack Obama’s visit to Lake Tahoe Wednesday.  Obama talked about the need to combat climate change as part of conservation efforts during his keynote speech at the sold-out 2016 Lake Tahoe Summit.  Before Obama arrived on the West Coast, the White House press office announced a package to aid the Salton Sea and plans to boost conservation at Lake Tahoe. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Obama announces Salton Sea initiatives at Tahoe summit

Nunes urges Valley farmers to support new dams, water storage projects: At a water forum he organized, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, on Wednesday urged a packed room of farmers to support putting initiatives onto the ballot to build more dams and water storage projects in the state. “If we built these five (projects), we’d never have a water shortage in this state,” Nunes said. Nunes urged farm bureaus and agricultural groups to coordinate a statewide message of ballot measures that would authorize dams at Sites and Temperance Flat, expansion of the San Luis and Los Vaqueros reservoirs, and raising Shasta Dam. … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Nunes urges Valley farmers to support new dams, water storage projects

Tulare water forum draws large crowd: There are solutions to the water issues befalling farmers and growers in the southern San Joaquin Valley, said Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) during a forum held Wednesday in Tulare.  Nunes said changing the federal law that limits water sent south and building additional storage will help solve the shortage that could force upward of 1 million acres of agriculture land out of production.  “There’s plenty of water in the state,” he said. “State leaders don’t want to recognize that.” … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Tulare water forum draws large crowd

Senate passes bill on water storage:  “Assemblyman James Gallagher's bill to expedite construction on water storage projects such as Sites Reservoir was passed last week by the state Senate and was passed by the Assembly on Tuesday.  Gallagher helped pen the bipartisan bill that would allow water storage projects to “utilize alternative delivery methods for procurement.”  “It allows the big surface water storage projects, like Sites Reservoir, to be built using alternative delivery methods, including design-build, construction manager at risk and design-build-operate,” Gallagher said. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Senate passes bill on water storage

Hetch Hetchy lawsuit goes down the drain:  “An environmentalist's “profound commitment to species protection” can't save preserve a lawsuit challenging the way the National Park Service runs the Hetch Hetchy power project, a federal judge ruled this week.  The Hetch Hetchy dam and power project have been among the most controversial federal projects in California for nearly a century. The dam on the Tuolumne River, completed in 1923, flooded a pristine valley in northwest Yosemite National Park. In 1934 it began delivering water to San Francisco through a 167-mile pipeline. Environmentalists continue to demand, as they have for decades, that the dam be removed, the valley restored and the Tuolumne to flow down to the San Joaquin River and Sacramento Delta. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Hetch Hetchy lawsuit goes down the drain

California farm revenue plummets after years of drought:Farmers in California lost more than $9 billion in revenue last year as the ongoing drought forced them to fallow fields, shut down farms and cut labor costs. The figures, reported Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, come amid warnings that a fifth year of drought could continue to drive down agriculture earnings and ultimately hurt the state’s economy. Agriculture officials predict a continued downward trend in farm revenue this year. In the first four years of California’s historic drought, which pushed the federal and state governments to halt or slash deliveries of water to several water districts throughout the Central Valley, farmers were able to shore up their revenue using several controversial strategies. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: California farm revenue plummets after years of drought

Landscaping for drought could make warm nights cooler:  “As drought-stricken residents of Los Angeles’s hottest neighborhoods replace thirsty lawns with native plants, pavers and bare soil, new research has shown how their local climates could begin tipping back in the direction of their desert-like origins.  In a region beset this year by drought and powerful heat waves, the widespread adoption of drought-proof landscaping is expected to bring warmer days — and much cooler nights. Overall, experts say the changes would help to protect residents from heat waves, which are being made worse by global warming. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Landscaping for drought could make warm nights cooler

In commentary today …

A one-man crusade isn't the way to run California's finances, says the SF Chronicle: They write, “A Stockton farmer is paying for a crusade that would put state mega-projects that use revenue bonds up for a public vote. The goal is to trim public debt, but the concept could be fiscal disaster spawning lawsuits, delays and higher costs. The measure, Proposition 53, is being bankrolled by Dean Cortopassi, who made his fortune in farming and food processing. He’s a low-key philanthropist in his hometown who’s dabbled in politics as a fundraiser and donor for both parties. Now he’s spending $4.5 million to promote a plan that takes dead aim at two targets: the struggling high-speed rail line connecting the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin-tunnel water diversion plan for the delta. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: A one-man crusade isn’t the way to run California’s finances

In regional news and commentary today …

Mexican officials tour Delta to learn conservation practices: Touring a 14-square-mile Delta island where sweeping cornfields will provide a home for legions of sandhill cranes come winter, a team of government officials from Mexico got a pretty good idea Wednesday how private lands can be used to benefit public resources.  The visit to Staten Island was part of a weeklong tour by the delegation, which has partnered with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service to swap ideas about how to preserve soil, water and wildlife species while fighting climate change.  These issues, after all, transcend political boundaries. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Mexican officials tour Delta to learn conservation practices

Civil grand jury advises Monterey County to be ready to take the lead on groundwater management:  “In order to avoid a loss of local control, a civil grand jury has urged Monterey County officials to be ready to take over as the state-mandated groundwater oversight agency for the overdrafted Salinas Valley basin if a collaborative effort to form one or more such agencies falters by the June deadline.  But in a response to the 2015-16 grand jury approved by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the county would only indicate the recommendation “requires further analysis.” … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Civil grand jury advises Monterey County to be ready to take the lead on groundwater management

New water districts proposed for Paso Robles basin:  “After being dealt a crushing defeat in a March special election, proponents of forming a water district over the sprawling Paso Robles Groundwater Basin are back at it again.  This time, however, they’re taking a different approach.  Two separate groups made up of prominent viticulturists are attempting to create two California water districts. The Shandon-San Juan District proposal includes the areas near Shandon and down Shell Creek Road to Highway 58. The Estrella-Pomar-Creston District proposal seeks to cover much of the remaining rural areas over the basin. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  New water districts proposed for Paso Robles basin

Water levels at Castaic Lake improving:Castaic Lake’s main reservoir has almost returned to its historical average for the year, a spokeswoman for Castaic Lake told The Signal Tuesday. “As of midnight the upper lake was at 74 percent of total capacity and 91 percent of historical average,” said Lori Bennett, regional park superintendent of the Castaic Lake State Recreation Area. This means that the lake’s water level is almost back to normal for the season. ... ” Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here: Water levels at Castaic Lake improving

Southern California: Wetlands celebrates 10 years: The Amigos de Bolsa Chica recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of a tidal inlet project for the Bolsa Chica wetlands that allowed ocean waters to flow into the area for the first time in more than 100 years.  The inlet, near Pacific Coast Highway and Seapoint Street, opened in the early hours of Aug. 24, 2006, with a Champagne toast. The moment marked an historic occasion for the Amigos, which had been working for more than 30 years to restore the area. … ”  Read more from LA Times here:  Wetlands celebrates 10 years

Costa Mesa: Deal strikes disputed language from Mesa Water's merger measure: Orange County Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks was launching into questions he had prepared for a hearing Wednesday in a dispute over an advisory measure on the November ballot concerning a possible merger of the Mesa Water District and the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. Then one of the lawyers in the case spoke up.  Was the judge aware, attorney Alan Burns asked, that an agreement had been reached to settle the issue?  “You've resolved all this?” Banks asked as the handful of people in his Santa Ana courtroom burst into laughs. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Costa Mesa: Deal strikes disputed language from Mesa Water’s merger measure

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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