Daily Digest: Governor Brown offering dinners to those who help defeat Prop 53; Arguing Stockton’s case against the Delta tunnels plan; Stockton’s Bear Creek levee saga comes to an end; California lawmakers enter final weeks of Congress seeking success; and more …

In California water news today, Democrats: Dinner for donors to Brown-backed campaigns; Arguing Stockton's case against the Delta tunnels plan; Stockton levee saga comes to an end; Hope for Delta smelt could flow from the Yolo Bypass; California lawmakers enter final weeks of Congress seeking success; Debunking the West's biggest water myths; and more …

In the news today …

Democrats: Dinner for donors to Brown-backed campaigns:California Gov. Jerry Brown is offering intimate gubernatorial dinners to donors who help defeat a targeted November ballot measure, at a time when the governor will be deciding the fate of all new state legislation, the state Democratic Party says.  Proposition 53 would require statewide voter approval on projects that would require more than $2 billion in state revenue bonds to fund. That could complicate the future of two proposed Brown projects, for high-speed rail and for giant twin tunnels to carry Northern California water south.  A fundraising letter by state Democratic Party financial chief Angie Tate on Aug. 9 calls defeating the proposition a priority for Brown and the state party. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Democrats: Dinner for donors to Brown-backed campaigns

Arguing Stockton's case against the Delta tunnels plan:  “Organic veggies already are growing in the plot behind Eric Firpo’s new store and nursery, though the Alpine Avenue business isn’t expected to open for a few more weeks.  Firpo’s plants and produce will be supplemented with other locally grown goodies, homemade jam, artisanal foods and crafts for sale. His goal: “To put people in touch with nature through food and plants.”  But there Firpo was on Thursday, before some of his crops are out of the ground and before the first customer has come through the door, describing how a water project that won’t be finished until at least the 2030s could — theoretically — spoil it all.  “Having less water in the Delta is a concern,” said Firpo, who co-owns “In Season” with local landscaper Julie Morehouse. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Arguing Stockton’s case against the Delta tunnels plan

Stockton's Bear Creek levee saga comes to an end: With a sharp “crack” and a cloud of dust, a 75-foot redwood tree fell across a Bear Creek levee on Tuesday, signaling the beginning of the end of a nearly decade-long dispute that pitted homeowners’ right to enjoy their property against tightening flood protection standards.  The redwood was the first of three tall evergreens to be cut down as crews began removing privately owned “encroachments” from one last house along the south side of Bear Creek immediately west of Interstate 5.  In addition to the redwoods, the state will demolish an in-ground swimming pool that is too close to the bottom of the levee. A retaining wall, fences, a sprinkler system, concrete steps and portions of the landscaping also must go. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Stockton levee saga comes to an end

Hope for Delta smelt could flow from the Yolo Bypass: The answer to saving California’s delta smelt could be in our own back yard, as researchers are looking to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area as a key resource.   Delta smelt — a slender, silver fish species only 2 to 3 inches in size — are described by ecologists as an indicator species for Delta’s health, as native birds and larger fish species depend on the smelt for survival. Facing water contamination, habitat loss and water exports that can reverse flows and confuse fish, however, delta smelt populations have plummeted to critical levels. … Recent research, however, sees hope in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, which could act as a food bank for species locally and throughout the delta. … ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Hope for Delta smelt could flow from the Yolo Bypass

California lawmakers enter final weeks of Congress seeking success:  “San Joaquin Valley lawmakers will hit Capitol Hill after Labor Day with bleak prospects for completing some legislation once introduced with high hopes.  A measure by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, to authorize the military enlistment of immigrants who are in the country illegally has stalled. So has a familiar bill by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, authorizing the burial of Hmong veterans in U.S. national cemeteries. A bill by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, to settle a big Westlands Water District irrigation drainage dispute is stuck for now.  For all these Californians and their colleagues, the tail end of the 114th Congress, which began in January 2015, could become another exercise in frustration, leavened by the occasional opportunity for success. … ”  Read more from the Bradenton Herald here:  California lawmakers enter final weeks of Congress seeking success

Debunking the West's biggest water myths:  “You don’t have to look too far to find disheartening stories about water in the American West. In general, it seems, we’re running out. We have droughts and climate change impacts. There are “water wars” between states or stakeholders.  John Fleck, a journalist first in Southern California and then later for 25 years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, knew this narrative well. “I started as a journalist looking for that trouble” he said. “And you can find trouble in water when you look for it; there’s plenty to go around.”  But after decades of writing about water in the West, Fleck realized that what was more interesting wasn’t the towns that were running out of water but the ones that weren’t. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Debunking the West’s biggest water myths

In regional news and commentary …

Monitoring marine debris on the Sonoma Coast:  “Doran Beach is a Sonoma County favorite. On any good weather day people line up to enjoy the mellow surf, the expansive sand and the beautiful views. Youth participating in a recent Surf Camp got to enjoy all of that.  They also got a peek into the escalating threat of marine debris, one of the large issues confronting the ocean environments.  Cea Higgins, a volunteer with Sonoma Coast Surfrider Foundation, met the kids one foggy morning and gathered them in a circle to talk about what they most loved about the ocean. Then she passed around photos of the tiny scraps of multi-colored plastics that collect on beaches these days. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Monitoring marine debris on the Sonoma Coast

Column (Monterey): Why restoring wetlands make sense:  “Wetlands are a transition zone, a meeting place of land and water where energy, resources and species mix within an aquatic stew found nowhere else. This mingling of biology and chemistry creates unique environments that support rare species, reliant on this space for parts or all of their life history. Some species come to breed, some come to feed and some are passing through on their way to terrestrial or marine environs. Wetlands in the dry western United States are not always wet and therefore can easily be turned into “lands” ready for other use. In fact, somewhere between 60 and 90 percent of California wetlands have been “reclaimed” for human use.  To address these historical losses, California has supported grant programs that incentivize the restoration of lost wetland habitat and the re-establishment of these unique hydrologic conditions. … ”  Continue reading at the Monterey Herald here:  Why restoring wetlands make sense

Old pipe removal may require less American River flow: Flows on the American River may be lowered and rafting will be excluded one morning later this month to allow for removal of an old water pipe.  The Carmichael Water District on Sept. 13 will take away concrete debris from the south side of the river and remove an existing 33-inch steel water pipeline crossing the river just upstream from Ancil Hoffman Park.  Flows may be reduced from 1,500 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cfs starting in the morning and continuing through 2 p.m. The old pipeline is in the river but is partially exposed. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Old pipe removal may require less American River flow

Commentary (Santa Barbara): 25 successful years of state water:  Ray Stokes writes, “On August 1, 2016, the Central Coast Water Authority (CCWA), the agency responsible for importing water from the State Water Project to the various cities, water districts, and other entities in Santa Barbara County, celebrated its 25th anniversary. It’s a good time to reflect on the value of the State Water Project to Santa Barbara County.  Twenty-five years ago, the county experienced a major drought. At the time, we were isolated and had no plumbing connecting our region to the rest of California. As a result, we had no facilities to bring water here from places that had water to spare. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here:  25 successful years of state water

Fading Salton Sea thirsting for water:  “Tom Anderson stands on an overlook on the southern edge of the shallow lake. Red Rock Hill rises up near the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, where Anderson is a deputy project manager.  Anderson works to reclaim habitat for shore birds that come here to forage and feed.  Agricultural runoff and evaporation team up to concentrate the salt in this land-locked lake, according to Anderson. That leaves the lake significantly saltier than the Pacific Ocean. The Salton Sea is also getting smaller. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  Fading Salton Sea thirsting for water

Finally, progress on a sustainable Salton Sea, says the LA Times:  They write, “As California’s two largest inland bodies of water go, Lake Tahoe is the stereotypical beauty queen — classically stunning, endlessly photogenic, fragile. Frankly, quite chilly yet eternally inspiring to legions of admirers. The Salton Sea is the neighbor tucked away at the far end of the street and often forgotten. Stark, spare, somewhat homely, beloved by only a select and discriminating community of devotees. The result of an accident. Unkempt. Sometimes — let’s be honest here — a little smelly. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Finally, progress on the Salton Sea

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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