NEWS WORTH NOTING: SGMA draft Best Management Practices & draft guidance documents now available; DWR begins construction for two new fish release sites; State agencies join forces with White House Council on Environmental Quality on California Water Data Challenge

Draft Best Management Practices & Draft Guidance Documents Now Available Online

From the Department of Water Resources:

NEW_DWR_LOGO_14inchDWR has elected to publish two categories of information that can assist Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) with developing Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). DWR has developed draft Best Management Practices (BMPs) and draft Guidance Documents addressing the sustainable management of groundwater – all available information can be downloaded here:

BMPs are intended to provide clarification, guidance, and examples to help GSAs develop the essential elements of a GSP. Draft BMP topics include the following:

Guidance Documents provide suggestions, with supporting graphics, for developing certain GSP components where no establish practice in the water management industry exists. Draft Guidance Documents include the following:

The comment period for BMPs will take place between October 28, 2016, and November 28, 2016. There are several options to provide comments to DWR including:

  • At a Public Meeting – Via Comment Card
  • Via Email – to
  • Mail to – California Department of Water Resources, Attn: Lauren Bisnett, Public Affairs, P.O. Box 942836, Sacramento, CA 94236

It should be noted that BMPs and Guidance Documents do not serve as a substitute for the GSP Regulations or the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

DWR begins construction for two new fish release sites

From the Department of Water Resources:

NEW_DWR_LOGO_14inchDWR has started construction of two new fish release sites, Little Baja and Manzo Ranch, on the northwest side of Sherman Island in Rio Vista. It has been nearly 40 years since DWR constructed fish release sites, which are used to return fish salvaged from the John E. Skinner Fish Protective Facility back into the Delta. The project is expected to be completed by December 2017. The project complies with the 2009 National Marine and Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion mandate to reduce predation and improve survival rates of salvaged fish returning to the Delta.

State Agencies Join Forces with White House Council on Environmental Quality on California Water Data Challenge

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

SWRCB logo water boardsCalifornia state agencies today teamed up with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to launch the California Water Data Challenge, a competition to develop innovative, data-based tools that help California address its ongoing drought and assure a reliable, sustainable water system for the future.

The California Water Data Challenge invites individuals and teams to develop apps, websites, data visualizations and other tools that leverage publicly available datasets in novel ways to support creative solutions to California’s water challenges, as outlined in the Brown administration’s California Water Action Plan. The deadline for entries is Monday, Dec. 5, and awards will be announced on Friday, Dec. 9.

“This challenge allows us to take the data we have today and actually use it to far greater effect—to benefit water quality, ecosystem management, or any aspect of managing water resources,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “We have learned that the creative energy this type of event generates in a short period of time yields phenomenal benefits, so we are grateful to the Council on Environmental Quality for partnering with us on this project.”

The State Water Board, as well as the California Department of Water Resources, California Fish and Wildlife, California Government Operations Agency and the California Department of Technology, are sponsoring the data challenge.

The data challenge is guided by the California Water Action Plan, which serves as a roadmap to put California on a sustainable water management path. Based on the plan’s objectives, participants are asked to address how data might be used to help achieve more reliable water supplies, restore important species and wildlife habitat, and make California’s water systems more resilient. The Water Action Plan highlights the need for more accessible data to help achieve these broad goals.

Participants are invited to use publicly available data to create tools that focus on specific challenges outlined in the Water Action Plan, including: uncertain water supplies; water scarcity/drought; declining groundwater supplies; poor water quality; declining native fish species and loss of wildlife habitat; floods; supply disruptions; and population growth and climate change.

“We have an opportunity to invite the tech community to share innovative, data-driven solutions to address California’s water challenges,” said Mark Cowin, director of the California Department of Water Resources. “California is facing climate change head on with increasingly extreme weather conditions. Water conservation is the new norm. Smart use of data will help all Californians better adapt to our water realities, both today and in the long-term future.”

Participants will have access to a wide variety of water-related datasets available through the State of California’s Open Data Portal and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council, which maintains a data portal housing water quality information from federal agencies. Other water-related datasets can also be obtained from the agencies that collect and maintain water data in California.

Those interested in participating must submit their entries by 5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5. Judging and announcement of the awards will take place on Dec. 9. For more information on the challenge and how to get involved, visit the California Water Data Challenge website at A virtual check-in meeting will be held Nov. 10 for participants to ask questions and share initial concepts. You can learn more about the California Water Data Challenge from the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s announcement.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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