DAILY DIGEST: Big rains bring both good news and bad news for salmon; Storms preview sea level rise damage to CA roads and cities; New map IDs epicenter of tree mortality; Wet, windy weather to return; and more …

In California water news today, Big rains bring both good news and bad news for salmon; Storms preview sea level rise damage to California roads and cities; New map IDs epicenter of Sierra Nevada tree mortality; Wet, windy weather to return to the Western US; Farmers who lost water to fish in 2001 seek payment; Redding: Local emergencies declared after the rain and snow; Tahoe stormwater systems survive January deluge; Mokelumne River hatchery sees record return of steelhead this year; Bay Area’s flooded lakes signal a spectacular summer; and Valadao water bill earns cities’ support

In the news today …

Big rains bring both good news and bad news for salmon:  “The five-year-drought could hardly have been worse for some of California’s fish populations. The Sacramento River’s winter-run Chinook, for example, were nearly extinguished by low water supplies and sloppy handling of reservoir releases during the endangered salmon’s spawning season. The delta smelt, too – a key biological indicator species – is now closer to extinction than it has ever been. On the Klamath River, potentially deadly parasites that thrive in low-flowing rivers infected most of the Chinook born in 2014 and 2015.  After weeks of heavy rains and a mounting snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, California’s drought is easing, and according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Northern California is drought-free. That should be good news for fish. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Big rains bring both good news and bad news for salmon

Storms preview sea level rise damage to California roads and cities:  “Ocean rise already is worsening the floods and high tides sweeping California this stormy winter, climate experts say, and this month’s damage and deaths highlight that even a state known as a global leader in fighting climate change has yet to tackle some of the hardest work of dealing with it. … “People always tell us we’re ahead of the curve” on climate change, said Larry Goldzband, head of a regional San Francisco Bay commission that late last year stepped up regional efforts to identify and prioritize communities and infrastructure at risk from rising sea level. As proud as Californians are of their climate-change efforts, “I always think, ‘Man, if we are ahead of the curve, I feel sorry for the rest of the country,'” Goldzband said. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Storms preview sea level rise damage to California roads and cities

New map IDs epicenter of Sierra Nevada tree mortality“The drought has killed an estimated 100 million trees in California since 2010. But it’s been uneven – some areas are totally decimated, while others are unscathed. A new study tries to answer the question: what makes some trees more likely to die than others?  Researchers at the University of California-Davis sought to answer that question by first making a “heat map” of tree mortality in California. They used data from 2015 US Forest Service aerial surveys to determine how many trees had died in a given area, and then color-coded that area by how widespread the mortality was. Red means more trees died, light green means none did, and areas that are not inside the squares were not surveyed by the Forest Service. ... ”  Continue reading at KPCC here:  New map IDs epicenter of Sierra Nevada tree mortality

Wet, windy weather to return to the Western US:  “After a week of calm weather, a series of storms will push into the northwestern United States as the week progresses.  “After a much-needed break from the rain across California, stormy weather will return once again,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.  As one storm approaches the West Coast, moisture will be drawn northward, promoting widespread snow showers throughout the interior Northwest beginning late on Monday night. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Wet, windy weather to return to the Western US

Farmers who lost water to fish in 2001 seek payment:  “Northern California and Oregon farmers who lost irrigation water in 2001 for the sake of fish are plunging into a climactic courtroom battle for tens of millions of dollars in compensation.  Years in the making, the trial set to start Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims near the White House involves a lot of money, but that’s not all. For other Westerners, too, it can have broader implications, clarifying what the government may owe for water steered away from crops toward environmental protection.  “It’s a civil rights case, at bottom,” farmers’ attorney Nancie Marzulla said. “It involves the protection of private property. We all expect the government to respect private property rights.” … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Farmers who lost water to fish in 2001 seek payment

Redding: Local emergencies declared after the rain and snow:  “Rainfall numbers across Northern California have almost reached last year’s total – and the region is only three months into the water year.  While the North State enjoyed a dry period over the past few days, the snow, rain and strong winds have left their mark across the region. And another storm system will be moving into the region on Wednesday.  Landslides have closed roadways, and created major delays along highways and rural roads in Shasta County. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here:  Redding: Local emergencies declared after the rain and snow

Scientists and fishermen scramble to save Northern California kelp forests:  “On the coast of Northern California, two years of unusually warm water temperatures have wreaked havoc with the marine ecosystem. Kelp forests stretching from the Bay Area to the Oregon border have shrunk by more than 90 percent since 2008.  Cynthia Catton, a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, says the size of a kelp forest varies from year to year, but the recent low levels are unprecedented. “We’re in a new phase,” she says. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Scientists and fishermen scramble to save Northern California kelp forests

Tahoe stormwater systems survive January deluge:  “Stormwater systems were put to the test this month, and seemed to handle the onslaught of water without any serious problems.  “It is somewhat of a success story. In Tahoe all the sewer agencies reported a high flow, but they kept it in their systems. With the stormwater we haven’t heard of any problems,” Lauri Kemper with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board told Lake Tahoe News.  Lahontan regulates and monitors the amount of sediment reaching Lake Tahoe from the various jurisdictions in the basin on the California side, including Caltrans. The Tahoe Resource Conservation District oversees the stormwater. ... ”  Read more from Lake Tahoe News here:  Tahoe stormwater systems survive January deluge

Mokelumne River hatchery sees record return of steelhead this year:  “A record run of adult steelhead, 707 so far, has returned to Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery this year, but most of these fish appear to be fish that stayed in the river than going to sea.  “Ninety percent of the fish are adult steelhead in the 18 to 22 inch range averaging 3 pounds each,” said William Smith, hatchery manager. “Most of the fish have summered over in the river, due to the favorable cold water conditions over the past couple of years. We’ve also seen a few larger fish in the 5 to 6 lb. range that have apparently been to the ocean.”  While the flows haven’t been high in the river over the past couple of years, as they are now, the water temperatures have been favorable, due to the EMBUD’s management of cold water releases from Lake Pardee into Lake Camanche in recent years. “ ... ”  Read more from the Elk Grove News here:  Mokelumne River hatchery sees record return of steelhead this year

Bay Area’s flooded lakes signal a spectacular summer:  “At Del Valle Reservoir, the floodwaters rose over the banks last week and inundated the bait shop up to the windows. The picnic areas were submerged, the spillway at the dam turned into a rushing torrent, the campground was evacuated, and the park was closed until Feb. 13.  It’s a scene being played out at many Bay Area lakes. Flooding may mean high, muddy water now, but it assures high lake levels and a great season for recreation in the months to come.  Just about everywhere you look throughout the region, there’s a story. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Bay Area’s flooded lakes signal a spectacular summer

Valadao water bill earns cities’ support:  “A new water bill introduced by Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) in Congress has won the support of both the Porterville City Council and the Lindsay City Council.  House Resolution 23 was submitted on the first day of the 115th Congress. According to the Congressman, it modernizes water policies throughout the entire Western United States, including in the State of California.  Called the Guiding Responsibility on Water Act, also known as the GROW Act, it works to make more water available to families, farmers and entire communities in California and bordering Western states. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Valadao water bill earns cities’ support

Bottled water proposal collides with opposition in California community:  “Nestled among the soaring peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains, the community of Forest Falls spreads out alongside Mill Creek, which cascades down from the rugged slopes and flows through a boulder-strewn canyon on its journey toward the valley below.  The community, which lists a population of 1,102 on its welcome sign, has its own fire station, a post office and a grocery store, and homes with views of towering pines and firs. Some people who live in the unincorporated town say they moved here seeking tranquility in the wilderness – a place where families can park next to the creek for summertime picnics and take their kids to splash in the cool stream. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Bottled water proposal collides with opposition in California community

More news and commentary in the weekend edition of the Daily Digest …

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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