DAILY DIGEST: Humans are missing in Delta restoration plan; California forests failing to regrow after intense wildfires; State’s plan for Delta could cost Tracy; Halfway through wet season, where do we stand?; and more …

In California water news today, Humans are missing in Delta restoration plan; California forests failing to regrow after intense wildfires; State’s plan for Delta could cost Tracy; California drought eased, but it’s not over; Halfway through wet season, where does California stand?; Point Reyes: Migrating whales return to action after last season’s phenomenon; Boat launches suspended at Vail Lake starting Jan. 1st; Colorado River group gets update on drought conditions; In American towns, private profits from public works; and the San Diego Union Tribune on Trump, water policy, and California: Big changes coming?

In the news today …

Humans are missing in Delta restoration plan:  “The largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas lies at California’s heart. It’s a place of constant change, affected by daily tides, sea-level rise, water diversions that serve 25 million residents and a growing population closing in around it.  Yet most of those people have no idea the Delta is the subject of one of the largest habitat restoration projects ever proposed in the U.S. Known as Eco Restore, it is a companion to another proposal called California WaterFix, which calls for reforming water diversions by building two giant tunnels.  in a new study, Brett Milligan, assistant professor of landscape architecture at U.C. Davis, argues that human uses of the Delta have become an afterthought in these two enormous planning efforts. Furthermore, Milligan and his co-author, PhD candidate Alejo Kraus-Polk, contend that the success of both efforts will be far more likely if they change focus now to make people an integral part of the process. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Humans are missing in Delta restoration plan

California forests failing to regrow after intense wildfires: There are warning signs that some forests in the western U.S. may have a hard time recovering from the large and intense wildfires that have become more common as the climate warms.  After studying 14 burned areas across 10 national forests in California, scientists from UC Davis and the U.S. Forest Service said recent fires have killed so many mature, seed-producing trees across such large areas that the forests can’t re-seed themselves. And because of increasingly warm temperatures, burned areas are quickly overgrown by shrubs, which can prevent trees from taking root. ... ”  Read more from Inside Climate News here:  California forests failing to regrow after intense wildfires

State’s plan for Delta could cost Tracy:  “Strong opposition to State Water Board proposals to increase flows in tributaries to the San Joaquin River while reducing diversions of river water to farmers — and potentially cities — was voiced in three public hearings that were concluded Tuesday.  The Tuesday hearing attracted an overflow crowd of 900 people to the Modesto Centre Plaza. It followed a hearing Friday in Stockton where 250 people took part and a hearing Monday in Merced where attendance topped 600. … ”  Read more from the Tracy Press here:  State’s plan for Delta could cost Tracy

California drought eased, but it’s not over: As 2016 wound down, California entered its sixth year of drought.  But every part of the state wasn’t created equal. Northern California experienced significant drought relief during the year, while Southern California continued to be mired in historically arid conditions.  The reason? A much-anticipated El Niño brought substantial storms during the spring to the north, giving Bay Area cities and communities across Northern California their best rainfall totals in five years. San Francisco rainfall was 98 percent of the historic average. San Jose was a healthy 100 percent, and Oakland 80 percent. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  California drought eased, but it’s not over

KPBS Drought Tracker:  Halfway through wet season, where does California stand?  “After a week that brought rain and snow to San Diego County, an update from the KPBS Drought Tracker shows statewide rain totals growing at a steady pace, but the Sierra snowpack struggling to keep up.  We’re now close to halfway through California’s wet season, defined as the six months between Oct. 1 and April 1. So far, statewide rainfall is running a bit ahead of schedule. As of Monday morning, the state has received 58 percent of what normally falls by the beginning of April. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  KPBS Drought Tracker:  Halfway through wet season, where does California stand?

Point Reyes: Migrating whales return to action after last season’s phenomenon: Gray whales and elephant seals will be a main attraction for visitors in the coming weeks along the Point Reyes coastline, while scientists ponder whether humpbacks could appear again in San Francisco Bay in the spring in another “Whale-palooza” event.  Because Point Reyes juts 10 miles into the ocean, it gives people close views of the gray whales, which are beginning their 10,000-mile annual migration — the longest of any mammal. They spend about a third of their lives migrating, scientists say. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Point Reyes: Migrating whales return to action after last season’s phenomenon

Low storage levels, drought cause Rancho California Water District to suspend boat launches at Vail Lake starting Jan. 1st:  “The continued serious need to conserve and use water wisely due to the statewide drought was highlighted as the Rancho California Water District announced plans to indefinitely suspend boat launches at Vail Lake beginning Jan. 1, 2017, because of low lake levels.  Storage levels at Vail Lake have receded as water was drawn to meet the District’s supply needs and little rainfall occurred to replenish the lake.  Vail Lake water levels have reached the end of the boat ramp therefore it is unsafe to currently launch boats. ... ”  Read more from Valley News here:  Low storage levels, drought cause Rancho California Water District to suspend boat launches at Vail Lake starting Jan. 1st

Colorado River group gets update on drought conditions:  “Lake Mead’s water levels this year fell to a near all-time low in the midst of a 16-year drought throughout the Southwestern U.S., prompting discussion at a national conference last week.  The Colorado River Water Users Association met last week in Las Vegas for an annual conference, where guests — including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — discussed the need for conservation efforts and governance of the Colorado River’s water supply. Ducey and Hickenlooper hosted a question-and-answer session with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last Monday, in which both agreed that water is an issue that “transcends partisan politics.” … ”  Read more from Today’s Herald-News here:  Colorado River group gets update on drought conditions

In American towns, private profits from public works: Nicole Adamczyk’s drinking water used to slosh through a snarl of pipes dating from the Coolidge administration — a rusty, rickety symbol of the nation’s failing infrastructure.  So, in 2012, this blue-collar port city cut a deal with a Wall Street investment firm to manage its municipal waterworks.  Four years later, many of those crusty brown pipes have been replaced by shiny cobalt-blue ones, reflecting a broader infrastructure overhaul in Bayonne. But Ms. Adamczyk’s water and sewer bill has jumped so much that she is thinking about moving out of town.  “My reaction was, ‘Oh, so I guess I’m screwed now?’” said Ms. Adamczyk, an accountant and mother of two who received a quarterly bill for almost $500 this year. She’s not alone: Another resident’s bill jumped 5 percent, despite the household’s having used 11 percent less water. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  In American towns, private profits from public works

In commentary today …

Trump, water policy, and California: Big changes coming?  The San Diego Union-Tribune writes,President-elect Donald Trump has made job creation and retention a heavy priority. He doesn’t feel constrained either by establishment criticism or by what past presidents have done. Given this history, Gov. Jerry Brown’s push for his $16 billion twin tunnels project may not be the only big water headline next year; 2017 could see a host of historic — and risky — changes in how California divvies up its water. “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive, so that your job market will get better,” is what Trump said at a rally in Fresno in May.  The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board has long accepted the need for federal and state water policies that seek to preserve the endangered delta smelt and the Chinook salmon as a proxy way to maintain the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta … ”  Continue reading at the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  Trump, water policy, and California: Big changes coming?

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

In case you missed it …

DAILY DIGEST: Do holiday storms offer glimmer of hope for the end of the drought?; Pot a growing barrier to spawning salmon; Radical change urged for state’s flood risk insurance; Understanding the CV-SALTS program; and more …

 

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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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