DAILY DIGEST: Senate confirms Bernhardt for Interior #2 position; Australian has solution to state’s groundwater problems; New permitting procedures proposed for impacts to wetlands and waters of the state; and more …

In California water news today, Senate confirms David Bernhardt, controversial Trump pick, for No. 2 position at the Department of the Interior; Australian has solution to state's groundwater problems; California proposes new permitting procedures for impacts to wetlands and waters of the state; Severe chronic flooding will devastate California coast as sea levels rise, experts say; Why some Western water agencies are writing 100-year water plans; Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation: Who is Brenda Burman?; and more …

In the news today …

Senate confirms David Bernhardt, controversial Trump pick, for No. 2 position at the Department of the Interior:  “The Senate on Monday confirmed David Bernhardt, who has a history of lobbying for oil, mining and western water interests, as deputy secretary of the Interior Department.  Both of California’s Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, voted against his appointment — which was approved, 53 to 43, with little discussion.  As the No. 2 official, Bernhardt will oversee an Interior Department that has dealings with clients who have paid his law firm millions of dollars in legal and lobbying fees, including two major players in California water: Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest irrigation district, and Cadiz Inc., a company that wants to pump Mojave Desert groundwater and sell it to Southern California cities. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Senate confirms David Bernhardt, controversial Trump pick, for No. 2 position at the Department of the Interior

Australian has solution to state's groundwater problems:  “Leading global water policy strategist Prof. Michael Young has been in Tulare County over the last month conducting a series of high-level presentations and workshops about the advantages of adopting a groundwater sharing system that he has designed for California.  Young, from Australia, was the architect of the Australian water-sharing system that has secured the future of water for Australian farmers.  “The real challenge is to share access to this increasingly scarce resource before the consequences of depletion and subsidence are irreversible,” Young said. “It makes sense to think about ways to adopt a robust groundwater sharing system while there is still time to make informed and palatable decisions.” ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Australian has solution to state’s groundwater problems

California proposes new permitting procedures for impacts to wetlands and waters of the state:  “On July 21, 2017, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) published its latest proposal for new permitting procedures that would apply to waters of the State, including wetlands. The proposal – which would define wetlands, create delineation procedures, and impose requirements for an alternatives analysis and mitigation – will be vetted through workshops and a public hearing, with the public comment period ending September 7, 2017. The State Board could adopt the proposal as early as the fall of 2017. ... ” Read more from the National Law Review here:  California proposes new permitting procedures for impacts to wetlands and waters of the state

Severe chronic flooding will devastate California coast as sea levels rise, experts say: “As glaciers melt amid the heat of a warming planet, scientists predict that coastal communities in the United States could eventually experience flooding from higher tides.  Conservative estimates range from an increase of about one to four feet in sea-level rise by the end of the century. Experts also warn that people should be prepared for unlikely but extreme scenarios of up to eight feet in sea-level rise, which would cause severe and chronic flooding in hundreds of coastal cities. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Severe chronic flooding will devastate California coast as sea levels rise, experts say

Why some Western water agencies are writing 100-year water plans:  “In February of this year, the largest water district in a state with little water enacted a plan that attempts to manage that increasingly fickle resource for 100 years.  The plan, Water: 2120, is the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) in New Mexico’s blueprint to direct water procurement, protection and use for the next century.  “This really came out of eight to 10 of us sitting around in a room every Wednesday morning and talking this through,” said Katherine Yuhas, water resources manager at ABCWUA and one of the lead planners on the project. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Why some Western water agencies are writing 100-year water plans

Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation: Who is Brenda Burman?  “Brenda Wren Burman, who during the George W. Bush administration served as deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), was nominated on June 26, 2017, to lead the agency. The USBR is responsible for managing 475 dams and 337 reservoirs and doling out water to agricultural and residential users, as well as producing power from 53 hydroelectric power plants. Burman will be the first woman to lead the agency. … ”  Read more from AllGov here:  Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation: Who is Brenda Burman?

Former state senator and author of the Delta Reform Act Dave Cogdill dies: “Former state Sen. Dave Cogdill, who indelibly shaped California water policy by authoring and supporting the Delta Reform Act of 2009, died July 23 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 66.  Cogdill, (R-Modesto), was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and was the Senate Republican leader from 2008-2009. During his time in office, he worked extensively on developing sustainable water policies, especially in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. … ”  Read more from ACWA's Water News here:  Former state senator and author of the Delta Reform Act Dave Cogdill dies

In regional news and commentary today …

Birds take backseat to fish, farms in the Klamath Basin:  “Driving around Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is like being on bird safari. Guides today are refuge manager Greg Austin and biologist John Vradenburg.  “Starting to see the white-faced ibis,” says Austin, manager of the six preserves that make up the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Austin and Vradenburg look out of the dusty car window at ibis wading in the distance. “Yeah, this is the first time I’ve seen it today,” Vradenburg confirms.  … ” Read more from OPB here:  Birds take backseat to fish, farms in the Klamath Basin

Novato Creek work could help battle sea level rise:  “Getting more sediment from Novato Creek into the bay to build tidal wetlands could be key in girding against sea-level rise while helping reduce flooding, according to a new report.  The same strategy could work with other creeks and channels around the bay, according to the report “Changing Channels” released by San Francisco Estuary Institute, a scientific think tank. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Novato Creek work could help battle sea level rise

Be skeptical of NID's scare tactics, says Peter Van Zant:  He writes, “Nevada Irrigation District (NID) still hasn’t dropped its ill-conceived plan to build Centennial Dam on the Bear River. They have yet to demonstrate the need for the project or explained how they plan to pay for the dam’s construction. And there is no assurance that the ratepayers won’t get stuck with the $1 billion tab either.  In the face of mounting public opposition, NID resorts to using scare tactics. The latest is NID’s claim that someone is going to take our water if we don’t ‘use’ it. However, California water rights laws guarantee that NID will always have priority over any other water agency for the rights to the water needed in the NID service area. … ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  Be skeptical of NID’s scare tactics

Lake Tahoe stormwater monitoring site goes live:  “The Tahoe Resource Conservation District announced the launch of a new interactive monitoring dashboard on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's (TRPA) Lake Tahoe Info website, allowing users to browse stormwater monitoring sites from around the lake.  The program summarizes stormwater runoff data from several locations around the Tahoe Basin, giving local stormwater program managers and regulators, and the public easy access to information on pollutants flowing into the lake, such as the amount of fine sediment particles, and nitrogen and phosphorous which contribute to the growth of algae and lessen the lake's clarity. ... ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Lake Tahoe stormwater monitoring site goes live

Pollution from Geer Road dump threatens drinking water.  Stanislaus County will try a pricey fix:  “Stanislaus County will try a new groundwater treatment system to keep the former Geer Road landfill from polluting the Tuolumne River and nearby wells.  The county will pay a Southern California contractor $1.74 million to build the groundwater extraction and treatment equipment at the old landfill on the north side of the Tuolumne River, about a mile northeast of Hughson.  It will replace an original treatment system that’s inefficient and unable to contain the tainted groundwater within the boundaries of the former dump, said Jami Aggers, director of county environmental resources. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Pollution from Geer Road dump threatens drinking water.  Stanislaus County will try a pricey fix

Clean Water Rule: Did rogue kayakers, Scalia cement protection for the LA River?  “A possible survivor of the Trump administration's efforts to limit Clean Water Act protections is a concrete canal that looks more like a highway than a waterway: the Los Angeles River.  The 51-mile river — famous as a soundstage for “Terminator 2,” “Grease,” “Transformers” and many other movies featuring car chases — also played a starring role in a 2006 Supreme Court opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy. He used the river to show why Justice Antonin Scalia was incorrect in asserting that only relatively permanent waterways should be shielded by the Clean Water Act.  Ironically, legal experts agree the river may be safe from the Trump administration's bid to bring federal regulations in line with Scalia's vision. … ” Read more from E&E here:  Did rogue kayakers, Scalia cement protection for the LA River?

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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