DAILY DIGEST: See the view from the top of the of the spillway with State Parks new webcam; Snowbound California roads get major plow job; Dam inspections ordered; and more …

In California water news today, See the view from the top of the of the spillway with State Parks new webcam; Snowbound California roads get major plow job; California ordering inspections at aging dams after crisis; Historic shipwreck found a century after sinking off the California coast; Scientists probe role of sunscreen in accelerating coral reef decline; and more …

In the news today …

See the view from the top of the of the spillway with State Parks new webcam:  “A third webcam showing the work at the Oroville Dam spillway has been live since Monday.  The camera is positioned at the top of the main spillway and shows the concrete chute that was not damaged after releases tore away much of the bottom of the spillway.  A few pickups and a crane with construction supplies in neat rows on the concrete expanse were visible Wednesday. Vehicles, including cement trucks could be seen to the sides of the spillway. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  See the view from the top of the of the spillway with State Parks new webcam

Snowbound California roads get major plow job:  “There may be no more potent reminder of California’s humongous snowfall than the plows still clearing roads that snake across the state’s highest mountains as summer approaches.  Crews have been digging, blowing and blasting for months — and the work is not finished, though an approaching heat wave could speed up the process.  “We’re almost at the middle of June and we still have lots of passes that aren’t open,” said Florene Trainor, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Snowbound California roads get major plow job

California ordering inspections at aging dams after crisis:  “California is ordering immediate spillway inspections at about 70 aging dams that it believes might not be sound enough to protect downstream communities in a flood, a state dam regulator said Wednesday.  The engineering and on-site reviews are part of stepped-up inspections following February’s surprise failures of both spillways at California’s 770-foot-high (230-meter-high) Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest. Authorities ordered nearly 200,000 people to evacuate in that crisis. ... ”  Read more from the Washington Times here:  California ordering inspections at aging dams after crisis

Historic shipwreck found a century after sinking off the California coast:  “One hundred years ago this week, the Coast Guard cutter McCulloch, a world-traveled vessel stationed in San Francisco, collided with a passenger ship in the fog and sank to the ocean floor off the coast of Southern California. For almost a century, the ship was lost.  On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the McCulloch had been found, four miles off Pt. Conception, west of Santa Barbara. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Historic shipwreck found a century after sinking off the California coast

Scientists probe role of sunscreen in accelerating coral reef decline:When marine biologist Craig Downs first visited the turquoise-blue waters of Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park in St. John in 2005, he arrived on a crucial mission: Find out why the health of the park’s coral reefs is declining.  Downs, part of a team of experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Central Florida and the University of Hawaii, noticed the absence of young corals in St. John, which was visited by as many as 5,000 people daily at the time. Nearly all the corals were mature, and those injured by tourists or storms were not healing years later. … ”  Read more from Oceans Deeply here:  Scientists probe role of sunscreen in accelerating coral reef decline

In commentary today …

Delta tunnels are not a climate change project, says Barbara Barrigan Parilla:  She writes, “Fresno Bee columnist Dan Morain recently conflated the proposed Delta tunnels with a project that offers a solution for managing California’s water in our changing climate. This argument misses the mark.  Gov. Jerry Brown is correct when he says that President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement is disastrous for the environment and will have negative consequences for California. California just experienced a five-year drought and climate scientists predict more weather extremes in the decades to come. … ”  Continue reading at the Fresno Bee here:  Delta tunnels are not a climate change project

Why go for desal when California has cheaper options?  Heather Cooley writes,While winter rains have refilled California reservoirs and dumped near-record snow on the mountains, communities across the state are wisely seeking ways reduce their vulnerability to future droughts. One option some are considering is seawater desalination.  Tapping the vast ocean seems like a promising solution, and proponents often tout Australia and Israel, which have adopted this technology.  We agree that California should look at experiences in other parts of the world. But we need to have all the facts and make the right decisions for our communities. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Why go for desal when California has cheaper options?

California: Beyond the droughtThe SF Chronicle editorializes, “Californians: Let’s take a moment to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. We and our economy survived the worst drought in the state’s recorded history. The governor asked us to reduce water use by 20 percent and we cut back on average by 25 percent. When the governor declared the end of the drought emergency in April, we could bask in the glow of know-how gained from weaving water conservation into California living.  Now, it’s time to prepare for the next drought. ... ” Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  California: Beyond the drought

In regional news and commentary …

Wood, McGuire introduce resolution urging federal disaster assistance“The following is a press release issued by the office of 2nd District state Senator Mike McGuire:  Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood continue to push to make the recovery of California’s salmon population an urgent priority throughout the state and at the federal level. The North Coast legislative leaders introduced Senate Joint Resolution 7, which was heard and passed unanimously in the Senate Natural Resources Committee this week. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Wood, McGuire introduce resolution urging federal disaster assistance

Mendocino Coast developer in multi-million dollar fight with water district:  “With its vast ocean views and wealth of vacation rentals, the Irish Beach subdivision on the southern Mendocino Coast seems a perfect getaway for those seeking peace and solitude far from madding tourist crowds.  But the former sheep ranch, purchased by lumberman and developer Bill Moores Sr. in the early 1960s and split into some 450 parcels, also is embroiled in a yearslong legal battle between some of Moores’ descendants and the public water system he established in 1967 to slake the subdivision’s thirst. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Mendocino Coast developer in multi-million dollar fight with water district

Fresno farmer using excess water to flood crops and improve his water table:  “An olive orchard at Terranova Ranch in western Fresno County is being flooded to recharge the aquifer.  “A lot of people didn’t think we could do it, or we’d injure the vines or crops long-term,” said ..  The water percolates underground where it’s stored and pumped back up at a later date– the olives still look healthy.  “We’re seeing how much water we can put on, how long we can leave it on without harming the crops,” said Don Cameron, Helm farmer. … ”  Read more from KFSN here:  Local farmer using excess water to flood crops and improve his water table

How can we justify Cambia’s Sustainable Water Facility? asks Allan MacKinnion:  He writes, “Cambria’s brackish/treated wastewater reclamation system, originally called the Emergency Water Supply project, was projected to cost $8 million, with the potential of a $4 million cost reduction grant from the state. The system now called the Sustainable Water Facility has become an ever-increasing financial burden on our small community. … ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  How can we justify Cambia’s Sustainable Water Facility?

Malibu lagoon project shows signs of success:  “The Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project celebrated its fourth anniversary this spring.   “We’re about to start our fifth year of monitoring, and everything is going well,” Santa Monica Bay Foundation Watershed Programs Manager Melodie Grubbs told the Malibu Surfside News. Grubbs explained that the team that monitors and evaluates the physical, chemical and biological health of the lagoon is seeing positive trends that include increased water circulation and improved oxygen levels in the water. ... ”  Read more from Malibu Surfside News here:  Malibu lagoon project shows signs of success

Burning man: Yes, we’ve noticed water on the playa:  “It’s mid-June, and the Black Rock Desert is still a giant mud puddle.   Although it’s been a game of wait and see for Burning Man organizers, they are still confident that Burners will be able to come home for their annual end of summer bacchanal.  Burning Man, a massive arts rendezvous, is set for Aug. 27 to Sept. 4 outside of Gerlach, about two hours north of Reno.  … ”  Read more from the Reno Gazette Journal here:  Burning man: Yes, we’ve noticed water on the playa

Along the Colorado River …

Lake Mead water levels could lead to statewide water limits:  “Arizona risks losing water rights because of a lingering, nearly two-decade long drought in the Colorado River that could restrict water use ranging from farmers’ crops to how many households receive water, state water experts say.  Calcium rings around Lake Mead tell the story of declining water levels, with cream markings permanently decorating the canyon walls that shows high levels that haven’t been seen since 1983. Current surface elevation is at 1,081 feet. If it drops another six feet, water to Arizona will likely be cut, according to an Arizona budget document. ... ” Read more from Cronkite News here:  Lake Mead water levels could lead to statewide water limits

Climate change is shrinking the Colorado River:  “The nation’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead on the Arizona/Nevada border and Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border, were brim full in the year 2000. Four short years later, they had lost enough water to supply California its legally apportioned share of Colorado River water for more than five years. Now, 17 years later, they still have not recovered.  This ongoing, unprecedented event threatens water supplies to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and some of the most productive agricultural lands anywhere in the world. It is critical to understand what is causing it so water managers can make realistic water use and conservation plans. … ”  Read more from The Conversation here:  Climate change is shrinking the Colorado River

Water settlement for Navajo and Hopi tribes inches forward:  “Water is life to the Native American tribes of the arid Southwest, and is at the heart of a decadeslong legal and cultural struggle by two Arizona tribes to secure enough water to ensure their future.  The Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, which occupy contiguous lands in the Four Corners region, have sought for decades to secure sufficient water to sustain and grow their respective communities. And now, two pathways for doing so are moving forward, albeit slowly.  Both tribes have claims to the Little Colorado River and its tributaries, and are two of the 33 major claimants in the long-running Little Colorado River Water Rights Adjudication. The case, filed in Apache County Superior Court, Arizona, in 1978, names nearly 2,000 claimants seeking water rights from the river. They range from small farmers and ranchers to several Northern Arizona cities – and all the way up to the United States government. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Water settlement for Navajo and Hopi tribes inches forward

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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