DAILY DIGEST: Butte County files lawsuit over twin tunnels project; Enviros say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife; FEMA pays almost $23 million towards Oroville Dam crisis; NW farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules; and more …

In California water news today, Butte County files lawsuit over twin tunnels project; Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife; Panel weighed Oroville Spillway failure in 2014 – and called it unlikely; Spillway reconstruction: Review board concerned about temporary concrete; Trump administration sends payout for Oroville Dam crisis. Could more be on the way?; FEMA pays almost $23 million toward Oroville Dam spillway crisis costs; Oroville Dam's green spot: Innocent pool or big problem?; California's plan to tackle a carcinogen widespread in water; Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Butte County files lawsuit over twin tunnels project:  “The Butte County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in closed session on Tuesday (Aug. 8) to file a lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources for failing to adequately assess the impacts of Gov. Jerry Brown’s enormous water infrastructure project, known as California WaterFix.  The controversial $15 billion project would divert water from the Sacramento River to the Central Valley via twin tunnels underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. On July 21, DWR certified its environmental analysis of WaterFix under the California Environmental Quality Act. … ”  Read more from Chico News & Review here:  Butte County files lawsuit over twin tunnels project

Butte County to file suit to oppose the twin tunnels proposal:  “Butte County plans to file a lawsuit over the plan to bury a pair of tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to move Sacramento River water south.  County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to file the suit against the Department of Water Resources over the so-called “California WaterFix,” the largest part of which is the “twin tunnels” proposal. … ”  Read more from the Red Bluff Daily News here:  Butte County to file suit to oppose the twin tunnels proposal

Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife:  “Four environmental groups have faulted proposed state rules for commercial cannabis cultivation for failing to protect imperiled species, including the reclusive Pacific fisher, from rodent poison frequently used at unregulated grow sites.  The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation nonprofit, and three allies filed a 36-page comment alleging numerous shortcomings in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s draft report on the proposed standards for growing legal marijuana. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife

Panel weighed Oroville Spillway failure in 2014 – and called it unlikely:  “Consider a couple of scenarios for big trouble at Oroville Dam:  First: The facility’s main concrete spillway suffers serious damage, resulting in erosion of the rock beneath it — and potentially threatening the safety of the dam itself.  Second: Water fills Lake Oroville, the gigantic reservoir behind the dam, and begins surging down a steep unpaved hillside that’s meant to serve as an emergency spillway. The slope suffers serious erosion, again potentially threatening the dam’s safety.  These scenes will sound familiar to anyone who followed the crisis at Oroville, which began to unfold six months ago this week. In fact, you may think you watched them happen. … ” Read more from KQED here:  Panel weighed Oroville Spillway failure in 2014 – and called it unlikely

Spillway reconstruction: Review board concerned about temporary concrete:  “The independent consultants reviewing plans for the Oroville Dam main spillway reconstructions expressed some concerns in two recent memos about construction of the center part of the project.  That part of the spillway will get a temporary fix this year with roller compacted concrete (RCC), which isn’t as strong at the structural concrete that will ultimately surface the faces of the spillway chute. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Spillway reconstruction: Review board concerned about temporary concrete

Trump administration sends payout for Oroville Dam crisis.  Could more be on the way? Federal disaster officials have agreed to chip in $22.8 million to help California pay the estimated $500 million cost of the Oroville Dam crisis.  Victor Inge, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Wednesday that the reimbursement is to cover some costs associated with the emergency as well as for removing the massive pile of debris that washed down from the spillway and plugged the Feather River channel below the dam.  Inge said the state’s requests for reimbursement still are being reviewed, and additional payouts could take several more months. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Trump administration sends payout for Oroville Dam crisis.  Could more be on the way? 

FEMA pays almost $23 million toward Oroville Dam spillway crisis costs:  “The Department of Water Resources has received a first payment from the federal government for costs related to the Oroville Dam spillway emergency. DWR received $22.8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay part of the initial costs of responding to the emergency in February, DWR Public Relations Director Erin Mellon told a media call Wednesday. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  FEMA pays almost $23 million toward Oroville Dam spillway crisis costs

Oroville Dam's green spot: Innocent pool or big problem? The failure of the Oroville spillway in February led people to notice a large green spot on Lake Oroville's dam. The spot has been there for years, but the questions remain as to whether it's a sign the dam is leaking.  It’s become known as the “green spot” regardless of the season. It comes and goes, green in the spring, brown in the summer. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Oroville Dam’s green spot: Innocent pool or big problem?

California's plan to tackle a carcinogen widespread in water:  “If you drive Highway 99 through California’s Central Valley, you’ll pass through the heart of farm country, where the state’s bounty blooms with hundreds of crops – everything from peaches to pistachios, from tangerines to tomatoes. You’ll also pass through dozens of communities, large and small, whose water systems are tainted by a newly regulated contaminant, 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP), which for decades was used in agricultural fumigants injected into farmland across the Valley.  On July 18, the State Water Resources Control Board unanimously voted to adopt a drinking water standard for regulating TCP, a manmade chemical the state designated as a carcinogen a quarter-century ago. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  California’s plan to tackle a carcinogen widespread in water

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules:  “A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws.  The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. … ”  Read more from the Seattle Times here:  Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules

EPA Task Force issues recommendations to reform Superfund program:  “The proposed reforms seek to accelerate cleanup and reuse of sites to reduce risks, reduce costs, and hasten redevelopment.  A key initiative of new US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has been to reform the federal Superfund program, the principal program under which contaminated sites across the country are cleaned up. On May 22, 2017, Administrator Pruitt established a “Superfund Task Force” to provide recommendations on how EPA can “restructure the cleanup process, realign incentives of all involved parties to promote expeditious remediation, reduce the burden on cooperating parties, incentivize parties to remediate sites, encourage private investment in cleanups and sites and promote the revitalization of properties across the country.” On July 25, 2017, the Superfund Task Force released its report, which identifies 14 strategies and 42 specific recommendations to achieve the following five goals … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here:  EPA Task Force issues recommendations to reform Superfund program

Why rain doesn't signal the end of a drought:  “After several years of debilitating drought, California experienced this year its wettest winter on record. Water returned to California's rivers and reservoirs, the Sierra Nevadas were buried beneath a near-record snowpack, and Governor Jerry Brown lifted the drought emergency across the majority of the state. But while the drought may have ended, recovery has likely just begun for the state's ecosystems. A new study, published today in Nature, is one of the first to zero in on the factors that determine how long it takes for an ecosystem to return to pre-drought levels of photosynthesis and growth. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Standard here:  Why rain doesn’t signal the end of a drought

In commentary today …

Small water districts get a break on chrome 6:   write, Water suppliers in California’s disadvantaged communities were struggling to comply with a prohibitively expensive regulation that only wealthy and larger water districts could afford. We thank the State Water Resources Control Board for deciding last week not to appeal a judge’s ruling invalidating the rule. … The decision frees nearly 200 water districts, including many small systems serving disadvantaged communities, from a “pick your poison” dilemma: spending money they don’t have on new treatment systems, or shutting down wells. … ”  Continue reading from the Sacramento Bee here:  Small water districts get a break on chrome 6

In regional news and commentary today …

Water thieves get a break from EBMUD:  “Saying poor people are being penalized too harshly for stealing water after their service is cut off for not paying their bills, the East Bay’s largest water district has decided to reduce water theft fines.  In a hotly debated 4-3 vote, the East Bay Municipal Utility District board agreed Tuesday to slash fines 80 percent for residential customers who tamper with their water meters to resume service that was cut off for nonpayment of bills. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Water thieves get a break from EBMUD

Salinas Valley:  Column: Implementing a plan to bring our groundwater into sustainable yield:  “What’s involved in developing a ballot for an election process? If it’s the selection of candidates from agriculture to serve as directors of the newly-formed Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency, it involves a lot of detail work to get it right.  The Sustainability Agency is charged with implementing a plan to bring our ground water into sustainable yield within the next 20 years (or sooner), so selecting directors representing local agriculture is a key element of this agency’s function. … ”  Read more from the Salinas Californian here:  Salinas Valley:  Column: Implementing a plan to bring our groundwater into sustainable yield

South Sacramento flood control project now complete:  “A South Sacramento flood control project — in the works for more than 20 years — is now complete.  The $100 million dollar project redesigned a network of creeks, channels, and levees to protect an area prone to flooding from high water events in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Improvements were made in phases along Morrison, Florin, Elder, and Unionhouse Creeks. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  South Sacramento flood control project now complete

Stockton waterways facing large algae bloom:  “Over the last few weeks, more and more algae has been filling waterways around our region, with a lot of it showing up in Stockton.  Downtown visitors say it gives the city a dirty image while environmental health officials say some algae could pose a bigger problem.  Despite all the algae in the water here in downtown Stockton people are still fishing, and the smell isn’t too bad right now. Last year, there was cyanobacteria reported in the San Joaquin River, but nothing like that this time around. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Stockton waterways facing large algae bloom

Flood waters from water main break helpled replenish Temecula groundwater supply:  “Well, it wasn’t a total loss.  The water main break on Tuesday, Aug. 8, in Temecula, which flooded Jefferson Avenue between Winchester Road and Cherry Street for a few hours, will help replenish the region’s anemic groundwater supply, according to Rancho California Water District officials.  “The majority of it did flow into the detention basin and into the groundwater basin,” said General Manager Jeff Armstrong on Wednesday. “Also we have a well not far from there so the water should be captured and put back to use.” … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Flood waters from water main break helpled replenish Temecula groundwater supply

Under pressure from regulators, San Diego cracks down on water pollution from construction sites:  “Developers in the city of San Diego are facing tougher government enforcement at construction sites that have the potential to pollute rivers and streams — including fines and even stop-work orders.  That’s the result of a settlement San Diego officials entered into with water quality regulators that will require the city to pay $3.2 million and step up policing of development. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Under pressure from regulators, San Diego cracks down on water pollution from construction sites

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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