DAILY DIGEST: Fish or farms? A new battle rages over California water; Big decisions loom on twin tunnels project; Groundwater planning moves into next phase; California moves to lock pre-Trump environmental standards; and more …

In California water news today, Fish or farms?  A new battle rages over California water; Big decisions loom on twin tunnels project; Groundwater planning moves into next phase; Why the state is in such a hurry to fix Oroville Dam; LaMalfa seeks delay of new license for Oroville Dam; Private domestic well owners left behind in California’s water quality push; California moves to lock pre-Trump environmental standards; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Brown Bag Seminar at 12:00pm: A Southern California case study on setting flow targets:  Dr. Eric Stein will present work from Southern California involving development of regional flow targets to protect stream health using benthic (bottom-dwelling) macroinvertebrates as indicators. Stream flow targets were determined using the Ecological Limits of Hydrologic Alteration (ELOHA) framework. This method can be applied state-wide, including in the Bay-Delta watershed.  Click here for webcast information.

In the news today …

Fish or farms?  A new battle rages over California water:  “The House this week will tackle the question, which for years has triggered a tug-of-war between growers and environmentalists. It plans to vote on a Republican-authored plan aimed at sending more of northern California’s water to the Central Valley farmers who say they badly need it.  But California’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, vow to block the bill in that chamber, saying it would bypass environmental safeguards and override state law. Gov. Jerry Brown also opposes the bill.  The bill, said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., in an interview, “does not strike the right balance because there’s no reason that we have to accept a false choice and somehow weaken the Endangered Species Act in order to be smarter with water policy.” ... ”  Read more from the Charlotte Observer here:  Fish or farms?  A new battle rages over California water

Big decisions loom on twin tunnels project:  “It could be California’s biggest water infrastructure project in two generations – a plan to build two massive, 35 mile-long tunnels deep beneath the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. Dubbed California WaterFix, it would send water from Northern California to farms and cities in the south, bypassing the fragile delta ecosystem. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here:  Big decisions loom on twin tunnels project

Groundwater planning moves into next phase:  “Now that agencies, farmers and others in affected California groundwater basins have formed local groundwater agencies, the costly and more challenging work begins, as the agencies develop groundwater management plans.  Under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, local groundwater agencies—known as GSAs—had to be formed by June 30 for basins or sub-basins classified by the state as medium or high priority because of the importance of groundwater in those basins.  “Up to this point, everything has been focused on local governance,” said Jack Rice, an associate counsel for the California Farm Bureau Federation. “Now, the GSAs will be doing the water management piece. This is where the local water budget comes in. You have to figure out how much water your groundwater basin has, how much groundwater is part of your sustainable yield and what you are going to do to get there.” ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Groundwater planning moves into next phase

Why the state is in such a hurry to fix Oroville Dam:  “California officials are trying to speed up repairs on Oroville Dam’s battered flood-control spillway.  The Department of Water Resources have asked federal regulators to let it demolish and replace an additional 240 feet of the spillway’s 3,000-foot concrete chute before the rains comes this fall, leaving less work for next year.  That 240-foot section originally was going to be replaced next summer as part of the two-year plan for repairing the spillway, whose massive structural problems in February sparked the emergency evacuation of 188,000 downstream residents. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Why the state is in such a hurry to fix Oroville Dam

LaMalfa seeks delay of new license for Oroville Dam:  “Congressman Doug LaMalfa doesn’t want a new license issued for Oroville Dam until some safety questions are answered and some commitments are made to local government.  LaMalfa, R-Richvale, sent a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur requesting the delay.  He asks that FERC wait until the final forensic report on what caused the spillway to breakup in February is released, and FERC has time to analyze it and place detailed instructions on dam operations and maintenance, safety and structural improvements into the license. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  LaMalfa seeks delay of new license for Oroville Dam

Private domestic well owners left behind in California’s water quality push:  “The recent drought underscored the struggles of private well owners as wells across Tulare County went dry. But an underlying issue has existed all along: even those who have drinking water don’t necessarily know if it’s safe.  “The problem is that those people that live outside of the city and have their own well are usually the ones that have no idea what’s in their drinking water,” says Abigail Solis, a community development specialist with the Visalia non-profit Self-Help Enterprises. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here:  Private domestic well owners left behind in California’s water quality push

California moves to lock pre-Trump environmental standards:  “In an effort to thwart President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to reduce or eliminate environmental regulations that some Republicans believe stifle business, California Democrats advanced a bill to lock in federal standards as they existed on the day before Trump took office.  The measure, authored by state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, D- Los Angeles, has met with fierce opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce, development groups and farmers over fears that the unintended consequences of the bill could expose state agencies to litigation and will prevent flexibility in future policy decisions. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  California moves to lock pre-Trump environmental standards

In regional news and commentary today …

Birthright or asset? A corporation and a community go to court over Shasta’s springs:  Jane Braxton Little writes, “Residents of Weed, a picturesque city in the shadow of Mt. Shasta, have relied on pure gravity-fed spring water for over a century. Today, they are battling Roseburg Forest Products for the right to continue.  Roseburg, the Oregon-based company that owns the land beneath Beaughan Springs, sees more lucrative opportunities than providing water to Weed. Its confidential contract with international bottler Crystal Geyser suggests that Weed’s water is headed to Japan and elsewhere. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Birthright or asset? A corporation and a community go to court over Shasta’s springs

Residents concerned about dam safety, health of the Eel River:  “The road to June Ruckman and Jerry Albright’s property off Hearst Willits Road is a twisting and sometimes rocky road past the north end of town and past Foster Mountain Road, but the destination is well worth it for visitors and residents who want to experience the idyllic life downstream of the Eel River. That quality of life may be threatened however, in the event of a catastrophic emergency or dam failure similar to the Oroville Dam crisis in February. … ”  Read more from the Willits News here:  Residents concerned about dam safety, health of the Eel River

Ag candidates being considered for Ukiah Valley Basin groundwater agency:  “An agricultural representative has yet to be named for the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency, which will hold its next board meeting later this week.  “We are soliciting representatives that meet the qualifications within the Ukiah Valley,” Devon Jones, executive director of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau, told the GSA’s board at its last meeting last month. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Ag candidates being considered for Ukiah Valley Basin groundwater agency

Sandbar shuts of mouth of Russian River:  “High surf conditions closed the mouth of the Russian River at Jenner last week, creating a lagoon that biologists say could help the river’s endangered native salmon and steelhead trout.  If closure can be maintained, the Water Agency will monitor conditions at the estuary and manage the lagoon’s depth this summer so that high water doesn’t flood low-lying areas in Jenner such as the visitor center on Highway 1, said Sonoma County Water Agency Community and Government Affairs Manager Ann DuBay. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Sandbar shuts of mouth of Russian River

San Francisco to draw down Cherry Reservoir for repairs:  “Hetch Hetchy Water & Power officials in Tuolumne County say repairs on high-flow release valves at Cherry Reservoir will require dumping up to 96 percent of the water in the man-made lake to do eight weeks of work beginning in September.  Powerboat access to the reservoir will be restricted from Sept. 5 until the work is completed, Nina Negusse with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said Monday. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  San Francisco to draw down Cherry Reservoir for repairs

Millerton Lake is filled to the brim; It will stay that way for at least a week:  “Melting snow from the Sierra is sending more water into the Millerton Lake reservoir than it can handle, but officials say the lake will be kept filled to capacity for at least a week to make the most use of the water.  Duane Stroup, deputy area manager for the south-central California area of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said about 30 cubic feet per second of water is spilling over the gates of Friant Dam as about 2,000 cubic feet per second of water is being released down the spillway into the San Joaquin River. The current inflow of water into the reservoir is 8,881 cubic feet per second. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Millerton Lake is filled to the brim; It will stay that way for at least a week

Big Pine residents can comment on recycled water project:  “Two years after Inyo County’s Water Department was awarded grant funding for the study of a recycled water project in Big Pine, area residents will get a chance to help figure out what to use the water for at a town forum at 5:30 p.m. this Wednesday at the Big Pine Town Hall on Dewey Street.  The initial funding, $267,000 was earmarked for a consultant to conduct a feasibility study working with the community, the Water Department and other stakeholders on the complexities of recycled water for irrigation. Basically, the consultant will answer questions like what level of treatment would be necessary for which end uses, plus the costs and design of the necessary infrastructure. ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Big Pine residents can comment on recycled water project

Study aims to save Huntington Beach trail from coastal bluff erosion:  “Huntington Beach has hired a company to analyze erosion on a mile-and-a-half span of coastal bluffs just north of Goldenwest Street.  Moffatt & Nichol, a coastal engineering firm based in Long Beach, is expected to finish the study in the next two months, city engineer Tom Herbel said.  The group is working to determine the scale and cause of the erosion in an effort to protect the city’s infrastructure, Herbel said. A popular bike and pedestrian trail sits atop the bluffs, and the city hopes to defend it from the encroaching decay.  “We don’t want to lose that,” Herbel said. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Study aims to save Huntington Beach trail from coastal bluff erosion

Rising seas could bring chronic flooding to Orange County:  “Imagine your street or even your house being flooded 26 times a year. Rising sea levels could make chronic flooding a reality for some Southern California communities in less than 50 years, according to a study released Wednesday from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Nationwide, more than 270 communities are at risk for the what the UCS defines as “chronic flooding” by 2060 given moderate sea level rise. The study was published in the journal Elementa.  Local communities at risk include parts of Long Beach, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Rising seas could bring chronic flooding to Orange County

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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