DAILY DIGEST: Feds say Delta tunnels won’t push fish over the brink; How California got its first groundwater market; The Kings River flooded from snowmelt that couldn’t be measured or predicted; and more …

In California water news today, Huge milestone for Delta tunnels: Feds say they won’t push fish over the brink; Feds: Tunnels won’t jeopardize fish; Key federal agencies clear the way for proposed Delta tunnels project; Federal agencies greenlight proposed Delta tunnel project; How California got its first groundwater market; The Kings River flooded from snowmelt that couldn’t be measured or predicted; Q&A: ‘Can we go back to watering our driveways now?’ and lessons to consider before the next drought hits; Assembly bill would ease imposing of stormwater fees on property owners; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Huge milestone for Delta tunnels: Feds say they won’t push fish over the brink:  “The Delta tunnels got a crucial green light from two federal agencies Monday when scientists said the controversial project can co-exist with the endangered fish that inhabit the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  In a pair of long-awaited decisions, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service said the tunnels, known as California WaterFix, aren’t likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the Delta smelt, Chinook salmon, steelhead and other imperiled species.  “WaterFix will not jeopardize or threaten endangered species, or adversely modify their critical habitat,” said Paul Souza, regional director with Fish & Wildlife, which is responsible for protecting Delta smelt. Barry Thom, regional administrator at the Fisheries Service, said his agency made a similar conclusion that “the project doesn’t deepen any harm.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Huge milestone for Delta tunnels: Feds say they won’t push fish over the brink

Feds: Tunnels won’t jeopardize fish:  “Federal wildlife agencies gave the controversial Delta tunnels a partial approval on Monday, announcing that the $17 billion project to replumb the dying estuary will not jeopardize threatened and endangered fish.  Tunnels supporters called the decision a major milestone after more than a decade of debate. But it is not a blanket decision. More review by the wildlife agencies would be required if the project is ever to be built in full, leading tunnels opponents to call Monday’s action a rush to judgement as water agencies up and down the state look to decide in the coming months whether they will pay their share. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Feds: Tunnels won’t jeopardize fish

Key federal agencies clear the way for proposed Delta tunnels project:  “The Trump administration took a big step Monday toward clearing the way for construction of two giant tunnels that would siphon water from the Sacramento River and send it south to farms and cities.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service determined that the tunnel project, officially known as California Water Fix, would harm several endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, but that an extra 1,800 acres of habitat restoration, on top of the 30,000 acres the project calls for, would offset the damage. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Key federal agencies clear the way for proposed Delta tunnels project

Federal agencies greenlight proposed Delta tunnel project:  “Federal fishery agencies Monday pushed forward a controversial water project that would change the way Northern California supplies are sent to the Southland.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the construction of new diversion points on the Sacramento River and two massive water tunnels would not jeopardize the existence of endangered species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is the hub of California’s waterworks.  The release of the documents marks a major — but by no means final — step in the long, twisting path of the proposal, which has been in the planning stages for more than a decade. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Federal agencies greenlight proposed Delta tunnel project

How California got its first groundwater market:  “California’s drought might be over, but the state continues to suffer groundwater woes. The state’s first groundwater market for individual landowners hopes to address some of those problems.  For much of California’s history, groundwater was completely unregulated – cities and farmers freely pumped from underground aquifers. Then in 2014, the state passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to help curtail over-pumping during droughts and bring groundwater basins into sustainability.  One powerful way to achieve that, says Matthew Fienup, is with market forces. Fienup, the director for economic research and forecasting at California Lutheran University, helped lead the charge to create the first groundwater market in California. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How California got its first groundwater market

The Kings River flooded from snowmelt that couldn’t be measured or predicted:  “The flooding that displaced residents in 90 homes along the Kings River in the Central Valley over the weekend was more than a week in the making.  For eight consecutive days last week, temperatures from Fresno to Bakersfield exceeded 100, according to the National Weather Service.  Wildfires burned, utility providers warned of possible blackouts because of a surge in demand, and thousands of feet up in the Sierra Nevada — far from where humans and their scientific tools could reach — California’s historic snowpack continued to melt. Even at Wishon Reservoir at 6,500 feet elevation, the mercury hit 91 degrees last week, the National Weather Service said. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  The Kings River flooded from snowmelt that couldn’t be measured or predicted

Q&A: ‘Can we go back to watering our driveways now?’ and lessons to consider before the next drought hits:  “The last drought’s behind us, which means the next one’s on the way.  With summer here to remind Californians what it’s like to be hot and thirsty we fired three big questions at Bettina Boxall, the Los Angeles Times’ most experienced water reporter.  She answers in these short videos. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Q&A: ‘Can we go back to watering our driveways now?’ and lessons to consider before the next drought hits

Assembly bill would ease imposing of stormwater fees on property owners:  “A bill in the California state Assembly could make it easier for local governments to charge fees to manage and collect storm water, but critics argue it’s a way to get money from property owners without a vote.  Really, it all comes down to how you define the word “sewer.”  Cities and counties in California can’t charge new fees for property without voter approval. Water and sewer services are exempt. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Assembly bill would ease imposing of stormwater fees on property owners

In regional news and commentary today …

Oroville Dam viewing platform not coming anytime soon:  “A viewing platform to oversee construction at the Oroville Dam spillway will not be ready anytime soon, despite previous vocal commitments from officials with the state Department of Water Resources.  The reason provided for that was the time it would take to design and undergo environmental review, as the fixture is not considered under emergency status, according to notes from the most recent weekly DWR cooperators meeting provided to the Chico Enterprise-Record by an attendee.  A task force has been reportedly established to oversee the possibility of the building the structure and instating a shuttle service to get to it. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Oroville Dam viewing platform not coming anytime soon

Riverbend Revival:  “While thrilled with the progress made cleaning up Riverbend Park Friday, the general manager of the Feather River Recreation District wasn’t ready Monday to make a guess when parts of the park might be reopened.  The park suffered severe damage due to the high flows of the Feather River during the Oroville Dam spillway emergency.  Friday, 153 volunteers and numerous piece of heavy equipment from a variety of sources, put a big dent in the amount of debris in the park. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Riverbend Revival

Yuba City:  Rally staged to call for levee repairs:  ““Don’t flood us. Fix our levees.”  Friday’s “Speak Up Rally for Levee Funding” started with a unified chant intended to reach the state Capitol and Gov. Jerry Brown.  Elected officials and community members rallied for the governor and state to push aside politics and prioritize funding for levees in need of critical repairs. “I wish we didn’t have to be out here on this sweltering day. So hot that you just might forget that just a few short months ago this whole community was evacuated because of the threat of flooding,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-YubaCity. “It would appear that many in our state government have forgotten that, and we are here to refresh their memory.” ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Rally staged to call for levee repairs

Marin County initiative to limit flood detention basins moves forward:  “A group of Fairfax residents seeking to place two Marin sites off limits for use as emergency flood detention basins say they have collected all the signatures they need to force the Fairfax Town Council to either adopt their proposal or put the matter before voters in November.  “A group of about two dozen individuals from various parts of Fairfax obtained well over 1,000 signatures over four weeks,” said Marc Hammerman, one of the organizers of the petition drive. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin County initiative to limit flood detention basins moves forward

Crews continue to mitigate flooding as Kings River floodwaters recede:  “Multiple fire and emergency agencies continued their efforts to get the Kings River off the golf course at Kings River Golf & Country Club on Sunday. With flows decreasing on the river, the water on the green has started to go down a little bit.  Even with flows decreasing, all mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in the area haven’t been lifted.  For those who got hit with floodwater at home, the day was spent cleaning up. Randy Aaronian was one of the people doing that – cleaning and assessing the damage in and around his garage. … ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here:  Crews continue to mitigate flooding as Kings River floodwaters recede

$1.9 million dollar grant awarded to help farmers trade water supplies:  “A project is underway in Ventura County on a way for farmers to buy and trade water supplies.  In January Ventura County opened the first of its kind water market. It allows farmers to transfer unused groundwater allocation to other farmers for financial compensation.  Under California law, farmers have to use the water on their property or they lose access to it in the future. The incentive in this project is to use every single drop of water that is available. ... ”  Read more from KEYT here:  $1.9 million dollar grant awarded to help farmers trade water supplies

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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