DAILY DIGEST: Blasting could start today on the Oroville Dam spillway; Yearly dam inspection bill proposed; Zinke names former campaign manager to the Bureau of Reclamation; and more …

In California water news today, Blasting could start today on the Oroville Dam spillway; Coalition asks feds to lift secrecy shrouding Oroville Dam spillway project; Yearly dam inspection bill proposed; Zinke names former campaign manager to the Bureau of Reclamation; Sierra mountain water returns to 800,000 East Bay taps; Forty acres of floating logs choke part of Don Pedro Reservoir; and more …

In the news today …

Blasting could start today on the Oroville Dam spillway:  “Explosives will be used to break up rock on the damaged main Oroville Dam spillway, and the blasting could start as early as today, according to the Department of Water Resources.  In a press release, DWR said “The controlled blasting produces little to no audible noise or vibrations.” … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Blasting could start today on the Oroville Dam spillway

Coalition asks feds to lift secrecy shrouding Oroville Dam spillway project:  “With state water officials withholding key details about plans for the reconstruction of Oroville Dam’s shattered spillway, a coalition of environmental groups has filed an extraordinary request with federal regulators to open up details of the project for public review and input.  Five Northern California groups filed the 13-page “request for clarification and public process” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday.  The filing says the organizations recognize the need to move quickly to rebuild the Oroville spillways, but challenges the California Department of Water Resources’ assertion that details of the reconstruction project must be withheld to protect the dam from terrorist sabotage. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Coalition asks feds to lift secrecy shrouding Oroville Dam spillway project

Yearly dam inspection bill proposed:  “State-maintained dams and reservoirs will be inspected every year if a new bill can make it through the California Legislature.  Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, has introduced Assembly Bill 1270 “aimed to prevent another failure of critical water infrastructure like Oroville Dam,” according to a press release from Gallagher’s office.  The bill would require the Department of Water Resources to perform annual and physical inspections of dams and reservoirs and provide a five-year infrastructure improvement, maintenance and funding plan every year. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Yearly dam inspection bill proposed

Zinke names former campaign manager to the Bureau of Reclamation:  “Alan Mikkelsen, a St. Ignatius native whose work as a consultant focused on water law and who previously served as campaign manager for Ryan Zinke’s congressional bid, was named the deputy commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.  Zinke, the new secretary of the interior, and Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner David Murillo announced the appointment on April 20.  “Alan Mikkelsen is a westerner who has decades of experience in all things water issues to include irrigation projects, Tribal water compacts, conservation, and even a long-term fishing guide,” said Zinke, a Whitefish native who now leads the Department of the Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Reclamation. … ”  Read more from the Flathead Beacon here:  Zinke names former campaign manager to the Bureau of Reclamation

In commentary today …

Despite wet year, we need conservation across the Colorado River basin, says Sinjin Eberle:  He writes, “The stories are everywhere – record precipitation and snowpack in California, atmospheric rivers crashing across the Pacific Northwest and lingering above-average snowpack across Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. And while short-term relief is welcome, we shouldn’t break out the party hats quite yet. As Mother Nature often shows us, we never really know what is right over the horizon – we need to be prepared.  Certainly, California’s statewide snowpack numbers are great – over 160 percent of average in early April – even inspiring Governor Jerry Brown to recently declare the end of the current drought. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Despite wet year, we need conservation across the Colorado River basin

Information void on Oroville spillway gets filled, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “Transparency should always be a public agency’s default position. Problems arise when the first instinct is to avoid transparency.  The latter is the route the state Department of Water Resources has taken for years with Lake Oroville. It continues despite considerable pressure from the public and from some politicians since the spillway collapse.  Such a stance invites increased scrutiny, so we have little sympathy for the criticism DWR is receiving over its handling of the high-profile disaster.  A couple of developments this week in the ongoing saga of the dam perfectly illustrate that point. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Information void on Oroville spillway gets filled

In regional news and commentary today …

Sierra mountain water returns to 800,000 East Bay taps:  “The taps of many East Bay residents are now flowing with the crisp waters of the Sierras after a five-month hiatus.   East Bay Municipal District (EBMUD) announced that customers west of the Oakland Hills would no longer receive source water from local reservoirs, as was the case since Nov. 2016 while the Orinda Water Treatment Plant underwent upgrades.  … ” Read more from SF Gate here:  Sierra mountain water returns to 800,000 East Bay taps

Carmel: Mayors say ‘quality of life at risk’ from water activists:  “The Monterey Peninsula’s mayors have rejected a water activist group’s claims that California American Water’s proposed desalination plant in Marina is based on “poor science” and that the utility has “no water rights” to operate it. In a March letter to the mayors, Peninsula city councils and numerous state and local agencies, Cal Am critic George Riley and his advocacy group, Public Water Now, outlined their concerns about the company’s desal proposal, pointing to two “alarming deficiencies” with the project. … ”  Read more from the Carmel Pine Cone here:  Carmel: Mayors say ‘quality of life at risk’ from water activists

Forty acres of floating logs choke part of Don Pedro Reservoir:  “Jeremy Scharlie and Seth Powell kneeled on a work barge in the Tuolumne River arm of Don Pedro Reservoir Thursday and swung metal-head sledgehammers to drive steel spikes into a floating log.  The spikes had metal eyelets for braided steel wire, which they used to secure the log and add it to more than 5,000 linear feet of booms they’ve built since January to harness all the dead wood that’s washed down into the state’s sixth-largest capacity reservoir.  Tons of limbs, logs, stumps and other wood debris are floating just downstream from Wards Ferry Bridge. Some of the wood is burned black, perhaps from the 2013 Rim Fire. Much of the floating debris is already bleached gray, white and silver-white by the sun. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  Forty acres of floating logs choke part of Don Pedro Reservoir

Friant Authority lays out water agenda:  “Water users, water officials and officials with the Friant Water Authority (FWA) gathered Tuesday night in Tulare for what the organization hopes becomes an annual event to update everyone on water issues.  The Friant Water Authority, headquartered in Lindsay, has been around since the 1940s. On one hand it manages and maintains the Friant-Kern Canal which conveys water from Millerton Lake to Kern County, while on the other the organization has been a strong voice in water policy in the state.  “There have been some big changes since the last time we gave a report,” said Jason Phillips, chief executive officer who laid out the organization’s goals. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Friant Authority lays out water agenda

With drought assistance forecasted to end, Tulare County’s looking for solutions:  “Earlier this month Governor Jerry Brown declared the California drought over in all but Tulare, Kings, Fresno and Tuolumne counties.  Now the state says it won’t fund drought assistance programs past June. Tulare County is still seeing drought impacts and to continue drought assistance there it’ll take about $4 million annually. More than $19 million has been spent on drought assistance in Tulare County alone. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here:  With drought assistance forecasted to end, Tulare County’s looking for solutions

Savior or albatross?  Proposed desalination plant could decrease South Bay’s dependence on imported water, but has raised environmental concerns:  “In April 2015, the City of Manhattan Beach made a sudden announcement that shook the twin pastoral pillars of suburbia, the automobile and lawn. Effective immediately, residents could not wash their cars at home, and instead had to take them to a commercial car wash. Watering lawns was permitted only on one designated day a week, and had to be done by hand or with sprinklers, not a hose.  The restrictions had kicked in automatically because of a law the city passed in 2009, but the restrictions flowed from a much larger stream. Gov. Jerry Brown had just issued the first mandatory urban water-use restrictions in California history. Brown’s April 1, 2015 order instructed cities to reduce water usage across the state by 25 percent. Among other provisions, the order required cities to impose fines for those who engaged in ongoing violations, like washing a car at home. … ”  Read more from Easy Reader News here:  Savior or albatross?  Proposed desalination plant could decrease South Bay’s dependence on imported water, but has raised environmental concerns

Hydropower plant next to Joshua Tree National Park won’t hurt the environment, feds say:  “Federal officials have concluded that infrastructure for a proposed hydropower project — which would tap billions of gallons of groundwater in the California desert, just outside Joshua Tree National Park — wouldn’t be especially harmful to the environment.  The Bureau of Land Management issued a “finding of no significant impact” Thursday for power lines and water pipelines that would enable Eagle Crest Energy Company to build a massive hydroelectric power plant in the Eagle Mountain area, which is surrounded on three sides by the national park. That finding clears the way for the agency to approve the project infrastructure in a few months, after a final protest period. … ” Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Hydropower plant next to Joshua Tree National Park won’t hurt the environment, feds say

Milestone reached in cleanup of polluted Hinkley water:  “At least half of a cancer-causing chemical has been removed from the world’s largest pollution site of its kind, one of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s top environmental executives told California water regulators here Wednesday.  The Hinkley chromium-6 groundwater plume, located 10 miles west of here, “is retreating,” Kevin Sullivan, PG&E’s director of environmental remediation, told members of the Lahontan Regional Water Control Board. … ”  Read more from the San Bernadino Sun here:  Milestone reached in cleanup of polluted Hinkley water

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Today’s announcements …

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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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