DAILY DIGEST: Jerry Brown’s tunnels would cement his family legacy; From floods to fires; Trump’s environmental rollbacks are hitting major roadblocks; and more …

In California water news today, Jerry Brown’s tunnels would cement his family legacy; From floods to fires; Western wildfires feed on grass brought on by winter rains; Trump’s environmental rollbacks are hitting major roadblocks; ‘Hell or high water’:  Oroville residents struggle with another disaster; One side to another: research leap in lamprey success; Proposed Napa Valley vineyard rules go to the Water Board; Water spills over top of Friant Dam; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Jerry Brown’s tunnels would cement his family legacy:  “Sixty years ago, California Gov. Edmund Gerald “Pat” Brown built the biggest waterworks the world had ever seen.  The State Water Project transformed California, moving billions of gallons of water from the wet north to the dry south using dozens of dams, pumping stations and a 400-mile-long man-made river. It serves 25 million people and irrigates hundreds of thousands of acres of cropland.  But spectacular as it was, the project was flawed. It failed to deliver as much water as promised, mainly because a key piece was missing: a way to move water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a 738,000-acre ecosystem where California’s two main rivers meet before they flow to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Jerry Brown’s tunnels would cement his family legacy

From floods to fires:  “Fire season is here again as wildfires pick up throughout California. Thousands of firefighters are continuing a battle to rein in major blazes that ignited late last week or over the weekend, including two near Santa Barbara and one near Oroville in Butte County.  Seems like just yesterday there were floods. After a record-busting wet winter that increased vegetation, crews are expecting a severe fire season. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  From floods to fires

A family’s history tells the story of California’s great floods:  “The Sacramento Valley came within a skosh of true catastrophe this winter when both the main and emergency spillways at Oroville Dam on the Feather River eroded due to high water releases necessitated by torrential rains. State officials ordered an evacuation of 200,000 residents in communities below the dam, and for a few days the possibility of a 30-foot-wall of water scouring the Sacramento Valley from Oroville to the Delta was very real indeed.  For most California residents, the event was deeply disturbing simply because it seemed unprecedented. California, after all, is not New Orleans or the western Philippines, subject to the constant threat of inundation and the catastrophic loss of life and property from gargantuan storms. But that points to a general misapprehension on the part of the public. ... ” Read more from California Magazine here:  A family’s history tells the story of California’s great floods

Western wildfires feed on grass brought on by winter rains:  “Wildfires driving people from their homes in California and throughout the west have had help from an unlikely source: the rain. Major winter downpours that pulled the state out of years of drought also brought a layer of grass that early-summer fires are greedily feeding on.  “What the heavy rains have done is created a grass crop that we haven’t seen in forever,” said Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni, whose department was battling two large wildfires Monday. “That creates faster moving fires, hotter fires, it carries fire much more readily.” ... ”  Read more from US News and World Report here:  Western wildfires feed on grass brought on by winter rains

Trump’s environmental rollbacks are hitting major roadblocks:  “As President Trump flouts international calls to act on climate change, his administration is finding the pressure at home tougher to ignore.  The limitations of Trump’s power to reset U.S. climate policy has been on full display over the last few days in Washington. White House plans to scrap restrictions on the release of a potent greenhouse gas are getting stymied by the courts, by forceful public opposition and even by Republicans in Congress. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Trump’s environmental rollbacks are hitting major roadblocks

In commentary today …

Draining the Delta like Owens and Tulare lakes:  Dennis Wyatt writes, If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”  — President Lyndon B. Johnson (while signing the 1964 Wilderness Act)  So who had the original sin in California water development — Los Angeles or the San Joaquin Valley?  While LA’s campaign — devious or otherwise — of snapping up almost all of the Owens Valley groundwater rights and diverting eastern Sierra streams to the point that it dried up Owens Lake that covered 17.5 miles long and 10 miles wide with a depth up to 3 feet until 1913, is still part of California’s water war narrative today, Tulare Lake doesn’t even rate a whisper. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Draining the Delta like Owens and Tulare lakes

In regional news and commentary today …

‘Hell or high water’:  Oroville residents struggle with another disaster:  “Leanne Beck did everything she could to guard against wildfire.  She and her husband Mike moved into their 40-acre refuge below Oroville Lake just after the Swede’s Flat fire of 2013. Their property was right on the char line where the state had laid a backfire to stop the wildfire in its tracks.  In the following four years they cut brush and did their best to build a defensible space.  So on Friday, Beck and her husband hung tight when Butte County deputies drove through with loudspeakers and ordered the evacuation of a large swath of mountain properties along Chinese Wall Road. On Saturday morning, Leanne and Mike stood at the top of their property and watched bulldozers cut a corral around the eastern edge of the growing fire. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  ‘Hell or high water’:  Oroville residents struggle with another disaster

Cities, counties file $22 million in spillway crisis claims:  “It’s still too early to know just how significant an impact the February evacuation and Oroville Dam spillway incident had on Yuba and Sutter counties. So far, estimates put damages and losses around $22 million for local municipalities, and that number will continue to grow as county officials lock down estimates.  Officials with Live Oak, Marysville, Yuba City, Sutter County and Yuba County filed claims last month with the state, in time for a July 1 submission deadline. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Cities, counties file $22 million in spillway crisis claims

One side to another: research leap in lamprey success:  “Using PVC tubing and parts you can find at an irrigation store, two biologists crafted a method for lampreys to make safe passage over the 50-foot Van Arsdale dam and up the Eel River to reproduce.  July marks one full year since Arcata-based U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Damon Goodman and fish biologist Stewart Reid crafted a tube for lampreys to migrate over the dam which brought the crossing success rate of about 6 percent up to nearly 100 percent for lampreys making it past the dam. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  One side to another: research leap in lamprey success

Proposed Napa Valley vineyard rules go to the Water Board:  “Proposed state regulations that would give local grape growers a new, required role in helping Napa River steelhead trout and Chinook salmon could be decided this week.  The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board takes up the matter on Wednesday. It meets at 9 a.m. at the Elihu M. Harris Building, 1515 Clay St., in Oakland.  At issue is what steps grapegrowers must take to keep sediments out of waterways. The state wants vineyard owners to have farm plans. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Proposed Napa Valley vineyard rules go to the Water Board

Napa County and city of Napa team up to protect reservoir water quality:  “Napa County and the city of Napa are teaming up to study how new vineyards and other mountainside developments affect city reservoir water used by about 85,000 local residents.  They plan to split the estimated $180,000 cost for a city reservoir watershed study. The goal is to make certain sediments, pesticides, nutrients and other materials don’t wash into Lake Hennessey and Milliken Reservoir in mountains framing the eastern Napa Valley. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Napa County and city of Napa team up to protect reservoir water quality

Complaints pour in over planned East Bay water rate hike:  “A plan to raise East Bay water rates by nearly 20 percent partly to make up for all the lost revenue from customers who were responsible during the drought was facing a deluge of outrage Monday.  “They’re sticking their inability to get things right onto the backs of scrupulous water savers,” said Oakland hills resident Pat McBride.  At its regular board meeting Tuesday, East Bay Municipal Utility District directors are expected to approve a 19 percent price hike over the next two years. The district says it has been taking in less revenue because customers have been using less water, but that its infrastructure costs — particularly the ongoing need to replace aging pipes — remain constant no matter how much water is used. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Complaints pour in over planned East Bay water rate hike

What’s that white ring around Elkhorn Slough? Dead algae is killing the marsh:  “As scientist Kerstin Wasson trudges along the banks of Elkhorn Slough, her rubber boots crunch through a white, brittle crust of dead algae that encircles nearly the entire shoreline.  The live version of the algae is green and seaweed-like, and can be seen accumulating in clumps in the shallow water near shore. When the algae dies, it washes up onto the banks and hardens into a white, desiccated layer blanketing the plants. The thicker the layer, the more likely it is to kill the plants underneath, said Wasson. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  What’s that white ring around Elkhorn Slough? Dead algae is killing the marsh

Pilot program kills invasive aquatic plants in Lake Tahoe with UV light:  “Over the past two weeks, engineers have been testing out a new method of killing off invasive aquatic plants in Lake Tahoe using ultraviolet light — and the results are promising.  A team from Inventive Resources, Inc., a private engineering firm with a focus on environmental services, spent the last two years lab testing the effects of targeted ultraviolet light, specifically ultraviolet-C, on non-native aquatic species like Eurasian watermilfoil.  The research showed that UVC light damaged the DNA and cellular structure of the plants, causing them to die. ... ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Pilot program kills invasive aquatic plants in Lake Tahoe with UV light

Water spills over top of Friant Dam:  “Water is now spilling over the top of Friant dam.  The last time this happened: 2011.  “A basketball is one cubic foot. And so we have about 300 cubic feet per second coming off the top. That’s like 300 basketballs coming at you every second,” says Michael Jackson, with the Bureau of Reclamation. … ” Read more from KMPH here:  Water spills over top of Friant Dam

State officials notified of Santa Clarita Valley’s intent to manage groundwater:  “Those named to manage the first ever agency created to better manage groundwater in the Santa Clarita Valley have informed state officials of their intent to manage local water more effectively.  Representatives of public agencies believed to have a stake in how groundwater is managed locally have been getting together to identify who would actually sit on the new state-mandated Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA).  Those invited to sit at the table of the first SCV groundwater management agency were expected to ask each of their respective agencies to adopt a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – formal agreement – in setting up and contributing to the emerging GSA. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  State officials notified of Santa Clarita Valley’s intent to manage groundwater

Los Angeles makes strides on water use and efficiency:  “While President Trump seems to prefer a head-in-the-sand response to climate change, Californians of all political persuasions are working together to prepare for the future. Just as we are leading the nation on clean and efficient energy, we are also at the cutting edge of smart water solutions. California’s historic drought hit us hard in Los Angeles, so we are changing our habits while at the same time aiming to keep our communities and businesses thriving.  Our state leadership in Sacramento is considering a number of ideas to boost our water resilience. Gov. Jerry Brown’s conservation framework strikes the right balance by setting a pathway toward budget-based efficiency standards that are adequately ambitious and flexible. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Los Angeles makes strides on water use and efficiency

Negotiations toward a Salton Sea compromise are progressing, water agency says:  “The Imperial Irrigation District has been using its clout as the agency with the biggest water entitlement along the Colorado River to press for California officials to live up to their commitment that they will keep the Salton Sea from turning into an environmental disaster.  During the past year, IID has warned the state that without a credible, well-funded “road map” to restore deteriorating shoreline habitats and cover up growing stretches of dust-spewing lakebed, the district won’t take part in a proposed deal to use less water from the dwindling Colorado River. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Negotiations toward a Salton Sea compromise are progressing, water agency says

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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