DAILY DIGEST: Bill aims to have California save water for a not-so-rainy day; Delta Caucus objects to Brown’s Water Fix project; Federal flood proposal brings concerns about land use; Scary looking fish make new home at Feather River fish hatchery; and more …

In California water news today, Bill aims to have California save water for a not-so-rainy day; Delta Caucus objects to Brown’s Water Fix project; Heat wave sending record snow melt surging into rivers; Flood proposal brings concerns about land use; Temperance Flat Project aims to add to Central Valley water; Hell or high water: How will California adapt to the Anthropocene?; Scary looking fish make new home at Feather River fish hatchery; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The California Water Commission meets at 9:30 am. Agenda items include an update on the Water Storage Investment Program, an update on the State Water Project, and consideration of an ex parte communication policy for commissioner communications and site visits related to the Water Storage Investment Program.  Click here for the agenda and webcast link.
  • The Delta Conservancy Program and Policy Subcommittee will meet from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. The meeting will include a discussion of the Proposition 1 Grant Program and the Conservancy’s strategic plan. The full agenda and any materials can be found here.

In the news today …

Bill aims to have California save water for a not-so-rainy day:  “After years of drought, the state of California is bracing for water. Lots of it. Maybe even a rerun of the havoc caused by the failure of the Oroville Dam this winter.  As the record snows in the Sierra Nevada mountains begin to melt, there’s concern this spring and summer that the state will have more water than it can handle.  Earlier this year, heavy winter rains forced evacuations near the Oroville Dam, where repairs are now underway on the damaged flood-control spillway.  Congress is trying to help manage such drastic shifts in California’s water levels. Thursday, the House plans a vote on legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., that aims to help the state capture more of that water to save for a future dry season. The bill is expected to pass the House. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is pushing a similar bill in the Senate. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Bill aims to have California save water for a not-so-rainy day

Delta Caucus objects to Brown’s Water Fix project:  “Gov. Jerry Brown’s push to expedite planning and construction of the twin tunnels project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta violates key parts of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 and has the state Department of Water Resources abdicating its responsibilities by turning over management of the project to water agencies, the Legislative Delta Caucus charged Tuesday in a letter to the governor.  “The governor’s proposed WaterFix Project is a boondoggle, plain and simple,” said Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Solano, who co-chairs the Caucus with State Senator Bill Dodd, D-Solano. “It threatens to devastate the Delta ecosystem and economy, saddling Californians with tens of billions of dollars of debt for generations. ... ”  Read more from The Reporter here:  Delta Caucus objects to Brown’s Water Fix project

Heat wave sending record snow melt surging into rivers:  “The heat wave is melting snow in the Sierra, which is bringing freezing cold water into the valley’s lakes, streams and rivers.  The effects of the snowmelt can also be deadly and proved so on Tuesday.  “With this fast moving water it does not take long for someone to get in trouble,” said State Parks Ranger Scott Liske. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Heat wave sending record snow melt surging into rivers

Flood proposal brings concerns about land use:  “Describing it as a backdoor effort to regulate land use, farm groups have asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withdraw proposed changes to the National Flood Insurance Program, or at least to reopen a comment period on the proposed changes to allow more opportunity for affected people to respond.  Comments closed June 6 for a draft environmental report on the NFIP, which the California Farm Bureau Federation said would have implications for agriculture and other land uses in floodplain areas.  The NFIP is a voluntary program through which property owners can purchase federal flood insurance. In exchange, affected communities must enact local floodplain management regulations. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Flood proposal brings concerns about land use

Temperance Flat Project aims to add to Central Valley water:  “Hit hard by chronic water shortages that deepened during the drought, agencies in the San Joaquin Valley have banded together, seeking to build a more sustainable water future.  Backers of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir say the $2.8 billion project would capture and store additional water in the San Joaquin River watershed, creating greater flexibility, relaxing pressure on groundwater and providing other benefits to the region.  “For us, the reality is when dry years hit, they hit hard,” said Mario Santoyo, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, a joint-powers authority that would help construct the project. “This is a project that, if operated correctly, can help a larger region—east and west. That is what is drawing the collective together; they see the possibilities.” … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Project aims to add Central Valley water See also: Online extra: Questions and answers about Temperance Flat

Hell or high water: How will California adapt to the Anthropocene?  ” … Just as the five-year drought had made it clear that California’s reservoirs were unable to store sufficient water to see the state through extended dry spells, so did last winter’s record-setting precipitation highlight the obverse: Our dams and bypasses may not be adequate to prevent calamity during anomalously wet winters. That’s especially sobering because most computer models indicate that extreme weather—droughts and floods—will be part of California’s future as the climate changes. And a water storage and delivery system that more or less met needs from the 1950s to the 1960s, when the big dams and aqueducts were built, now seems lamentably inadequate in addressing the realities of the emergent geologic epoch: the Anthropocene. ... ”  Read more from California Magazine here:  Hell or high water: How will California adapt to the Anthropocene? 

Funding woes for stream gages put crucial water data at risk:  “When it comes to managing water in uncertain times, few things are more important than knowing how much is flowing in the river alongside your city, or filling the reservoir that irrigates local farms.  That information is crucial to deciding how much water is available to irrigate crops, whether to declare a flood emergency or whether to launch a lazy rafting excursion.  But this basic information is at risk across the West because the nation lacks a reliable funding source for the simple stream gages that measure river flows. The United States Geological Survey, which handles most stream monitoring across the country, must rely on annual appropriations by Congress to maintain its network of stream gages. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Funding woes for stream gages put crucial water data at risk

In commentary today …

New approach would better serve fish and farmers, says Justin Frederickson:  He writes, “The remarkable success of the Butte Creek project highlighted in this issue represents a microcosm of what the new Resiliency Strategy envisions throughout the Sacramento Valley. And recent developments on the Tuolumne River, for example, suggest something similar is occurring in the San Joaquin Valley.  What brings this about? A whole range of factors comes into play. First, there was the drought, accompanied by historic low populations of winter-run salmon and delta smelt. Agricultural water contractors south of the delta and on the west side of the Sacramento Valley saw multiple years of zero or near-zero allocations. Even more-senior contractors were cut back more than anyone ever thought possible. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  New approach would better serve fish and farmers

Butte Creek salmon story one to be cherished, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “The Butte Creek salmon story is a rare one. Usually stories about fisheries in California are centered around a species that is disappearing. This one is about a species that is thriving.  Salmon stories get more dire all the time. All four chinook runs on the Sacramento River are shrinking, with the winter run in particularly poor shape. In the Feather River system, both the spring and fall runs are propped up artificially by the hatchery system. Up on the north coast, the mighty Trinity and Klamath River runs are expected to be so poor this year that anglers cannot fish and tribes on the river will abstain from netting for the first time ever. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Butte Creek salmon story one to be cherished

In regional news and commentary today …

Scary looking fish make new home at Feather River fish hatchery:  “Lamphreys are an eel-like creature that have made a new home out of the Feather River Fish Hatchery.  The lamphrey has always lived in the depths of the Feather River, but the Oroville Dam spillway crisis has made them more visible than they have been for decades.  Jana Frazier, a tour guide with the Department of Water Resources, posted pictures of a lamphrey on the Lake Oroville Visitor Facebook page and said that post has been liked and viewed 71,000 times since. … ”  Read more from KRCR here:  Scary looking fish make new home at Feather River fish hatchery

Oroville City Council extends DWR settlement agreement:  “The Oroville City Council went forward Tuesday with a one-year extension of the $61 million settlement agreement with the state Department of Water Resources.  The motion was approved 5-2, with councilors Jack Berry and Marlene Del Rosario against. The agenda item had come before the council before, but voting members said they wanted to hear more public opinion on the matter, so they held a town hall in May. There, many community members urged the city to renegotiate the deal, expressing sentiments of broken promises and distrust of the organization following the Oroville Dam emergency events that unfolded in February. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Oroville City Council extends DWR settlement agreement

Feds order spillway review at Camp Far West:  “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has designated Camp Far West Reservoir a “high and significant hazard dam” that should have a “focused spillway assessment” this year.  A FERC official in its Division of Dam Safety and Inspections in San Francisco sent a letter to the South Sutter Water District last month requesting the assessment.  “Recent events involving the operation of spillways for the Oroville Dam in California have brought renewed attention to potential failure modes associated with both concrete chute spillways and unlined spillways at dams,” the FERC letter said. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Feds order spillway review at Camp Far West

Russian River summer dam and road on schedule despite higher water flow:  “Work resumed on the summer dam and bridge over the Russian River at Vacation Beach this week with the river flowing at approximately twice its usual volume for this time of year.  “Last year at this time the river was at 187,” the number referring to cubic feet per second (cfs), said Russian River Recreation and Park District Maintenance Supervisor John Condon. This week the flow was measured at a little over 300 cfs as a county road crew installed the summer road connecting Vacation Beach with Highway 116. ... ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Russian River summer dam and road on schedule despite higher water flow

Disputed Gualala River logging plan stalled pending revised study:  “A disputed 2-year-old plan to log along several miles of the Gualala River floodplain remains in limbo five months after a Sonoma County judge nullified its approval and sent it back to state forestry officials for revision and additional public review.  Acting on a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau ruled in January that the 330-acre project was deficient because it failed to account for the cumulative impacts of a different logging plan in development when the proposal at issue was first submitted. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Disputed Gualala River logging plan stalled pending revised study

Yolo County officially forms groundwater agency:  “You’ve never seen so many smiley community leaders performing such mundane ordinances.  But the paperwork — and smiles — surround a heavily contested issue in California: Water.  Monday marked the first meeting of the Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency’s Board of Directors, a group of over 30 local leaders devoted to sustainably managing groundwater. … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Yolo County officially forms groundwater agency

Santa Barbara City Council approves purchase of water from Santa Maria:  “Santa Barbara City Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved purchasing water from the city of Santa Maria for $450,000 to repay a water debt owed to the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, or AVEK.  The one-time water purchase agreement allows city officials to buy 2,000 acre-feet of supplemental water at $225 per acre-foot.  Santa Barbara is expected to pay an estimated $500,000 to cover the cost of delivering the water to AVEK. The purchase helps reduce Santa Barbara’s water debt to 4,200 acre-feet. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  Santa Barbara City Council approves purchase of water from Santa Maria

Hollywood residents get chance to drink recycled water on Wednesday:  “Hollywood types usually drink bottled water originating from natural springs, exotic islands or, in the case of Perrier, a remote village in the south of France.  At noon on Wednesday, as part of a free bottled water giveaway on Hollywood Boulevard, they’ll have a chance to become the first in the world to chug purified wastewater sourced from home toilets, showers and sinks supplied by the Orange County Water District. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  Hollywood residents get chance to drink recycled water on Wednesday

Community to weigh in on 10-year Salton Sea management plan:  “A series of workshops on the 10-year Salton Sea management plan are taking place in Imperial and Riverside counties.  The workshops will give community members an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the plan.  The sea is the state’s largest lake and is located in Imperial and Riverside counties. The lake is shrinking and thus exposing playa or lakebed, which becomes airborne dust when the wind blows. … ” Read more from KPBS here:  Community to weigh in on 10-year Salton Sea management plan

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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