DAILY DIGEST: Wallace Weir: A new beginning in California’s river management; Fall storm dumps snow on Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta; Stanislaus, Merced boards will discuss river flow plan; A history of salmon in California; and more …

In California water news today, Wallace Weir: A new beginning in California’s river management; Fall storm dumps snow on Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta; Stanislaus, Merced boards will discuss river flow plan; It ties the ocean to the mountain: A history of salmon in California; How the western water wars may end; Yuba County Water Agency workshop to cover water supply; Los Osos groundwater basin to be studied; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • PPIC Event:  Policy priorities for California water:  Although 2016 was somewhat wetter than the previous four years, a fifth year of drought keeps water at the top of the state’s policy agenda. This conference looks at what’s on tap in key areas, including strengthening urban drought resilience, managing groundwater in rural areas, addressing declining ecosystem health, and ensuring safe drinking water in disadvantaged communities.  From 8am to 12:15 pm. Register to watch on webcast.
  • California Water Commission meets at 9:30 am.  Agenda items include an update on the Water Storage Investment Program revised draft regulations and briefing on concepts for recommended changes, an action item on commission direction on recommended concepts and outstanding issues, and a briefing on DWR’s 2016 final basin boundary modifications.  Click here for more information and webcast link.

In the news today …

Wallace Weir: A new beginning in California’s river management:  “Think of the Delta floodplain as a giant bathtub. Now imagine you’ve got a plug that you can insert or take out at will, allowing you to control the amount of water that fills up the plain, creating ideal conditions to grow the aquatic plant life that supports salmon and other fish species. Finally, imagine that you can do all this without causing any harm to Central Valley farmers.  Such is the vision of a reconstructed floodplain according to ecologist and fisheries expert Jacob Katz. A senior scientist with the nonprofit organization California Trout, Katz is helping lead an effort to rebuild the Wallace Weir, a century-old levee northwest of Sacramento that could have transformative impacts on the rebirth of the Delta ecosystem. Levees like this one have cut off 95 percent of the historic floodplain, separating fish from their food supply and creating a “food desert in the river [that is] literally starving our salmon and smelt population,” Katz said. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Wallace Weir: A new beginning in California’s river management

Fall storm dumps snow on Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta:  “Snow fell Monday in the Sierra Nevada’s higher elevations, where a weekend storm dumped several inches of fresh snow overnight.  Snow was also reported Monday at Lassen Volcanic National Park and on Mt. Shasta.  Authorities were requiring motorists to use tire chains on several roads in the Donner Summit area, where in the wintery scene was expected to be interrupted by sunny skies later Monday. … ”  Read more from the Record Searchlight here:  Fall storm dumps snow on Lassen Peak, Mt. Shasta

Stanislaus, Merced boards will discuss river flow plan:  “The state’s controversial plan to boost river flows will go before the boards of supervisors in Stanislaus and Merced counties Tuesday.  Officials from the State Water Resources Control Board can expect skeptical audiences as they present their thinking behind the proposal for the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.  Both meetings — Merced in the afternoon, Stanislaus in the evening — can be viewed live online. … ”   Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus, Merced boards will discuss river flow plan

It ties the ocean to the mountain: A history of salmon in California: The unthinkable happened in 2008: California ran out of salmon. Drought had starved the state’s rivers, already seriously depleted by diversions of water for California’s farms and cities. The fall run of Sacramento River chinook salmon was once a wildlife wonder to rival the herds of the Serengeti and the Great Barrier Reef. In 2008, it collapsed. The Sacramento’s water was too warm, too choked with algae and salt, and too non-existent to allow the fall-run Chinook to survive their trip from their birth waters down to the Pacific Ocean. Federal officials closed the California chinook ocean fishery.  They kept the fishery closed for another year after that.  It wasn’t just chinook in the Sacramento River. By January 2009, so few coho salmon had returned to the Lagunitas Creek watershed in Marin County, north of San Francisco, that one fisheries biologist told the San Francisco Chronicle “the fish are missing. They are gone.” … ”  Read more from KCET here:  It ties the ocean to the mountain: A history of salmon in California

How the western water wars may end:  “Over the past 100 years, this arid region of Central Washington has undergone a stunning transformation. Engineers and farmers have captured the annual mountain snowmelt and used it to change the sagebrush steppe into an agricultural Eden of tree fruits, mint, hay, and corn.  Rows of green crops adorn a once-parched landscape. Reservoirs funnel water to farms and turn massive turbines that spirit electricity to far-off coastal cities. And Central Washington has become an apple basket for the world.  Charlie de la Chapelle has lived the story of this water-borne agrarian bounty. His family has worked the land for four generations, and the square-jawed farmer has spent a successful career cultivating apples and pears.  But in recent years, his livelihood has been growing less reliable. … ”  Read more from the Christian Science Monitor here:  How the western water wars may end

In commentary today …

California should start water restrictions now, says the SF Chronicle: Despite last weekend’s rainstorms, California is still faced with a serious drought.  So it’s perhaps not surprising that state regulators are talking about ways to return to state-mandated conservation targets and preparing for even stricter measures.  Regulators are planning to roll out California’s first-ever water budgets — budgets for each district’s allowable supply. The long-range requirements will require permanent adjustments to new water efficiency measures — and a shift in the way each Californian lives. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  California should start water restrictions now

In regional news and commentary today …

Siskiyou County: Vote for groundwater accountability, says Angelina Cook:  “Not one of the opponents of Measure H has explained how allowing unpermitted extraction and export of bottled water is in the best interest of Siskiyou County.  Voters, do not be misled by fear-tactics. Claims that Measure H will invite litigation or make our economy worse are simply not true. By asking companies to apply for permits before exporting groundwater from Siskiyou County, we secure local economies, avert litigation and avoid the need for state intervention in groundwater regulation. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Vote for groundwater accountability

Yuba County Water Agency workshop to cover water supply:  “The Yuba County Water Agency board of directors is hosting a workshop tonight to discuss ways for optimizing the county’s water supply.  The workshop is part of the agency’s strategic plan development process and will be at the Yuba County Government Center Board Chambers in Marysville at 6:30 p.m.  “There are six strategic priorities included in the plan,” said Scott Matyac, water resources manager for YCWA. “We already had one workshop, where we went over flood management, earlier this year. This is the second workshop and we will go over water supply reliability.” ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Yuba County Water Agency workshop to cover water supply

Los Osos groundwater basin to be studied:  “The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, is a new state law that requires nearly all groundwater basins in California to have their own management agency in place by June 30, 2017 and an approved, sustainability plan with new regulations by 2020 or risk having the State of California take it over.  Property owners and well water users on the “fringe” of the existing, defined Los Osos Groundwater Basin came together Monday night to hear if they will be lumped together with the vast majority of water users in the town as one, giant basin or be excluded and therefore exempt from SGMA. … ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Los Osos groundwater basin to be studied

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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