DAILY DIGEST: Jerry Brown sends message to water agencies on the Delta tunnels; Crews tear into what is left of Oroville spillway; The long goodbye to Mothball fleet; Don Pedro relicensing nears end; and more …

In California water news today, Dan Morain column: Jerry Brown sends a message to water agencies on the Delta tunnels – and it’s direct; Crews tear into what is left of Oroville spillway; Chico, Oroville newspapers get answers on exclusive site visit; America’s dam crisis: Was Oroville just a drop in the bucket?; Public opinion expert reveals what Americans think about water; Mothball fleet update:  The long goodbye to Suisun Bay’s derelict ships; Don Pedro relicensing nears end; Tulare County:  Casino move downhill would bring up tribe’s water supply; Santa Barbara:  Desal goes online, sort of; and more …

In the news today …

Dan Morain column: Jerry Brown sends a message to water agencies on the Delta tunnels – and it’s direct:  “Jerry Brown took an Old English turn from his Latin wisdom in 2012 by declaring: “I want to get s— done,” a reference to his vision for building two tunnels 30 miles long to move Sacramento River water south from the Delta to the rest of the state.  And in 2015, addressing California water agencies, he offered pithy advice to naysayers: “Until you put a million hours into it, shut up.” Critics of the $15 billion project were greatly offended.  Now, with Brown’s tenure in the corner office ticking away, decision time is upon California. Yes, I have written that before. But in the coming days, the U.S. Interior Department is expected to issue its final assessment of the impact of the tunnels on the Delta’s ecology and associated fisheries. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Jerry Brown sends a message to water agencies on the Delta tunnels – and it’s direct

Crews tear into what is left of Oroville spillway:  “Work on Oroville Dam’s damaged main spillway is now a week ahead of schedule, the Department of Water Resources said.  With dynamite, drills, jackhammers and excavators, the work to remove the remaining concrete from the bottom of the primary spillway at Lake Oroville continues.  Erin Mellon, communications manager for the Oroville recovery project, said crews are now working ahead of schedule.  “What you saw yesterday isn’t there today, and what you see today isn’t going to be there tomorrow,” she said. “I would say in the next seven to 10 days, you could expect to see most of the lower part of the chute deconstructed completely.” … ”  Read more from KCRA here:  Crews tear into what is left of Oroville spillway

Chico, Oroville newspapers get answers on exclusive site visit: The Enterprise-Record/Oroville Mercury-Record got its closest look so far Wednesday at the Oroville Dam spillway work on a site visit hosted by the state Department of Water Resources.  The newspaper editorial board, along with a reporter and photographer, were invited to meet with acting DWR Director Bill Croyle; dam safety consultant David Gutierrez; communications and outreach adviser Erin Mellon from the Natural Resources Agency; Matt Notley, a senior account supervisor at Edelman; and Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Chico, Oroville newspapers get answers on exclusive site visit

America’s dam crisis: Was Oroville just a drop in the bucket?  “Last February, record storms and snowmelt threatened to overwhelm the two spillways of California’s Oroville reservoir, the tallest dam in the United States. With less than an hour’s notice, nearly 200,000 people were evacuated from downstream towns and cities. In the end, emergency measures prevented a full-scale catastrophe; California officials are now working feverishly to shore up the dam before next year’s rainy season.  But while the Oroville crisis has been averted for the moment, experts at the Earth Institute’s Columbia Water Center say that the near miss may be a harbinger of things to come—and not just for Oroville. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  America’s dam crisis: Was Oroville just a drop in the bucket?

Public opinion expert reveals what Americans think about water:  “There aren’t many issues these days that are bipartisan, but water is one of them. That’s one of the conclusions that Dave Metz, one of the nation’s top experts on public opinion related to water and other natural resources, has learned from years of polling. Metz, a partner at Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates in California, has provided research and strategic guidance to hundreds of nonprofits, government agencies, businesses and political campaigns in all 50 states.  I spoke with him recently about polling on water issues and what the research says about how to communicate about water challenges and solutions. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Public opinion expert reveals what Americans think about water

In regional news and commentary today …

Mysterious shark die offs spread in San Francisco Bay as scientists narrow down causes:  “Researchers are trying to find out why hundreds of leopard sharks have washed up dead on the shores of the Bay Area for 12 weeks straight.  Biologists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have been collecting samples from the stranded animals and testing their tissues in labs. The department’s senior fish pathologist Dr. Mark Okihiro released his preliminary findings Wednesday evening, which indicated that a common pathogen was found among the three leopard sharks necropsied so far. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Mysterious shark die offs spread in San Francisco Bay as scientists narrow down causes

Mothball fleet update:  The long goodbye to Suisun Bay’s derelict ships:  “The bridge between Martinez and Benicia soars across the water, offering spectacular views of the Carquinez Strait to the west and Suisun Bay to the east. And if you look east just before reaching the Benicia side, you’ll also see an orderly array of ships far below, their gray hulls rising from the blue water.  This is the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, a national defense anchorage operated by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) that also houses what’s left of the Mothball Fleet. Infamous for shedding tons of toxic paint into the Bay, only two of the original 57 obsolete vessels remain today and — now that the new federal budget has passed — they will finally be gone too by the end of September. … ”  Read more from the Bay Area Monitor here:  Mothball fleet update:  The long goodbye to Suisun Bay’s derelict ships

Don Pedro relicensing near end:  “The Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts held a special, joint meeting May23 to receive a brief update on the relicensing of Don Pedro and the licensing for La Grange, which are both expected to enter final stages by September of this year.  The irrigation districts’ previous license for Don Pedro expired on April 30, 2016, and the relicensing of Don Pedro in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been ongoing since February 2011. TID and MID first began the process with a series of public outreaches, including FERC-required workshops on all aspects of the project, from the licensing process to study executions and the results of those studies. At the end of 2012, an initial study report was prepared and in early 2014, an updated study report was filed with FERC, which included all 35 of the required studies. These studies ranged from models simulated to determine water temperatures to fish population modeling to record migration of local species. ... ”  Read more from the Ceres Courier here:  Don Pedro relicensing near end

Groundwater planning launches amid an ideal year for recharging stressed aquifers:  “Back in 2014, amid a five-year drought, state lawmakers directed groundwater managers to draft plans for sustainable use.  Wednesday, some of them talked about their early planning for a zone stretching from south Modesto to north Merced County. And thanks to the abundant storms of 2017, a recharge project could get under way in an especially stressed aquifer on this area’s east side.  This happened at a morning meeting in Denair hosted by the Turlock Groundwater Basin Association, made up of local governments and water suppliers roughly between the Tuolumne and Merced rivers. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Groundwater planning launches amid an ideal year for recharging stressed aquifers

Tulare County:  Casino move downhill would bring up tribe’s water supply:  “The Tule River Indian Tribe’s proposal to relocate from its mountainous reservation to the city of Porterville would certainly bring more money to the tribe. But more importantly, it will bring more water to tribal members.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the agency charged with evaluating the impacts of relocating the casino off the reservation, recently released its Environmental Impact Statement scoping report, which lists reliable water supply as the primary reason for the move. According to the BIA report, Eagle Mountain Casino is the single largest user of water on the Tribe’s lands using an average of 45,000 gallons per day. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here:  Tulare County:  Casino move downhill would bring up tribe’s water supply

Santa Barbara:  Desal goes online, sort of:  “There was a conspicuous absence of ribbons cut, no ceremonial bottles of water drunk, no flick of any high-powered switch to activate the throbbing membranes of Santa Barbara’s brand-spanking-new desalination plant. Instead, this much-anticipated and historic event was anticlimactically celebrated with the dispatch of a simple press release delivered via email to various news outlets.  The press release included links to photographs and videotaped interviews with Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and city water manager Joshua Haggmark. Explaining the soft opening by telephone, Haggmark said the plant had not yet completed its final regulatory hurdle for full-throttle operation but that desalinated water is now being introduced into the city’s distribution system. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here:  Santa Barbara:  Desal goes online, sort of

For only the second time in Mammoth’s history, you can ski or snowboard until at least August – or maybe even longer“The latest evidence that snow angels have smiled on the Sierra this season? Mammoth Mountain will stay open into August. The massive resort has remained running that late only one time before, in 1995.  The announcement follows Squaw Valley’s news that it may stay open right into the fall. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  For only the second time in Mammoth’s history, you can ski or snowboard until at least August – or maybe even longer

Rising Kern River flooding homes:  “Due to rapid snow melt after hot temperatures, the Kern River is on the rise. Three people died in the river over Memorial Day weekend, but it’s not just swimmers being affected by the levels. Properties along the river are in danger of flooding. … ”  Read more from KERO Channel 23 here:  Rising Kern River flooding homes

Rising seas could swamp the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant by next century:  “Southern California Edison’s plan to store 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste at the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station has citizen activist Ray Lutz on edge.  “It’s only 100 feet from the seawall to the edge of where the deposit is,” Lutz said.  The permit from the California Coastal Commission for the storage is for 20 years.  But Lutz contends that the permit is practically permanent because there’s no long-term nuclear waste storage site in the United States. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  Rising seas could swamp the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant by next century

Along the Colorado River …

Lower Basin states work to keep Lake Mead afloat:  “Hoover dam and the reservoir it created have had one public purpose since the 1930s, when they first tamed the Colorado River. And as the Depression’s engineering marvels aged into the 21st century, Lake Mead and its dam were still seen largely as the workhorses needed to send water and hydroelectricity around the Southwest.  But in the last 15 years, things have changed. Climate change and the disconnect between the river’s water supply and the amounts promised has given Lake Mead a new identity. It remains the biggest storage tank in the Southwest’s plumbing system, but now it is also an hourglass. Its falling level marks the time remaining before interstate and international agreements kick in to dictate who loses water. As of this writing, the lake level stands at 1,082 feet. As the bathtub ring on the canyon walls gets larger, the time will get shorter. … ”  Read more from the ‘& the West’ blog here:  Lower Basin states work to keep Lake Mead afloat

And lastly …

Throwing dead fish for fun and ecological profit:  “On a chilly January morning, four-year-old Eli Burger stands on the bank of Douglas Creek, on the outskirts of Victoria, British Columbia, hugging a dead salmon half as long as him against his red parka. He looks up at his father, Andrew Burger, who nods encouragingly. “Go ahead,” he says, “chuck it in.” Eli shuffles forward until his blue rubber boots touch the edge of the creek and heaves the fish as far as he can into the shallow water. It lands with a splash and drifts for a moment before settling against a boulder. “It’s floating!” Eli exclaims, his delight in the salmon’s buoyancy eliciting smiles from several nearby adults. For a moment, it’s almost as if the handsome coho could wriggle back to life. ... ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here:  Throwing dead fish for fun and ecological profit

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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