DAILY DIGEST: Farmers and environmentalists join to battle planned Delta tunnels project; New genetic evidence could have major implications in the fight to save spring-run Chinook; Central Coast conservationists sue water boards; and more …

In California water news today, Farmers and environmentalists join to battle planned Delta tunnels project; Is tunneling water across the state our best option?; New genetic evidence could have major implications in the fight to save spring-run Chinook; Central Coast conservationists sue water boards; Floating solar power: A new frontier for green-leaning water; California water bill a ‘huge deal' to combat dirty drinking water; Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on the 2018 ballot; and more …

In the news today …

Farmers and environmentalists join to battle planned Delta tunnels project:  “An hour’s drive northeast of San Francisco lies California’s most important water source and the West Coast’s largest estuary. Stretching across 1,100 square miles and five counties, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and its dozens of manmade islands support a $5 billion agricultural industry and supply water to over 25 million Californians.  But the Golden State’s endless thirst and population growth has the delta on the brink of ecological disaster, experts predict. Decades of overpumping, agricultural runoff and tepid water temperatures have nearly extinguished a once-booming salmon population and polluted water quality. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Farmers and environmentalists join to battle planned Delta tunnels project

Is tunneling water across the state our best option? Like many before him, California Governor Jerry Brown has vowed to “fix” the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, that vast and beleaguered wetland east of San Francisco Bay that is a source for much of Southern California’s water, an agricultural powerhouse, and a nursery for valuable fisheries.  The root of the problem, of course, is the number and degree of demands on the Delta. There are too many stakeholders and too little water, so nobody ever gets what they want, and often they don’t get what they need. Brown’s solution is the Delta Tunnels, a revised version of the Peripheral Canal that he pushed during his first gubernatorial tenure in 1980s. Like the Canal, the Tunnels are a conveyance system that would shunt water from the Sacramento River to Southern California, avoiding the direct pumping from the south Delta that now occurs at great expense to native fish. … ”  Read more from California magazine here:  Is tunneling water across the state our best option?

New genetic evidence could have major implications in the fight to save spring-run Chinook:  “A study published Wednesday by researchers at UC Davis may have major conservation implications for salmon in California and the Pacific Northwest. The study provides new evidence that “springers” and other salmon that migrate upstream from the ocean to spawn early in the year are genetically different than later migrating populations.  This evidence could be used in the fight to protect groups of steelhead and Chinook salmon in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. An earlier petition by conservation groups to list them under the Endangered Species Act in 2011 failed because it wasn’t clear that the groups were distinct. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  New genetic evidence could have major implications in the fight to save spring-run Chinook

Central Coast conservationists sue water boards:  “California-based environment and conservation groups have sued the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, asserting the boards failed to protect clean water by not enacting a new and more stringent set of rules.  The nine organizations, which are based throughout the state, include The Otter Project and Monterey Coastkeeper, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishing Associations, Orange County Coastkeeper, Inland Empire Waterkeeper, Institute for Fisheries Research, and California Coastkeeper Alliance. ... ”  Read more from Salinas Californian here:  Central Coast conservationists sue water boards

Floating solar power: A new frontier for green-leaning water:  “Lakes and ponds used by water utilities have long been viewed with a single purpose: holding water. Now a handful of pioneering water utilities are looking at their aquatic real estate with a new purpose in mind: solar energy generation.  Large-scale floating solar projects have been installed in Japan and China, as well as on ponds at California wineries. But solar energy has remained primarily a terrestrial endeavor because, in most cases, it is simpler and cheaper to mount photovoltaic (solar) panels on land. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Floating solar power: A new frontier for green-leaning water

California water bill a ‘huge deal' to combat dirty drinking water:  “The Community Water Center has made California Senate Bill 623 a top priority.  And mid-August is no time to let up their goal off seeing the bill all the way through.  Susana De Anda, the center's co-executive director and co-founder, said the state's legislative calendar includes SB 623 for review and a decision could be made as early next month.  “This is a bill that has received a lot of support,” he said. “It will bring relief to the state. It will shift the entire state. It's a huge deal.” … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  California water bill a ‘huge deal’ to combat dirty drinking water

Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on the 2018 ballot:  “Californians could vote on billions of dollars in new spending for low-income housing developments and water and parks improvements next year.  Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are considering five proposals that would finance new homes for low-income residents, build parks in neighborhoods without them and restore rivers, streams and creeks among dozens of other projects. The Legislature is likely to decide how much money would be borrowed and where it would be spent before it adjourns for the year in mid-September — a debate that legislative leaders say is pressing. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on the 2018 ballot

Water agencies chase billions in Prop 1 funding for water storage:  “State officials this week unveiled a dozen water storage project proposals competing for $2.7 billion dollars of state money. It’s part of the much larger $7.5 billion Prop 1 water bond that California voters approved in 2014.  Two Southern California water agencies are asking for more than a half-billion dollars in Prop 1 funds for projects that would store water underground.  The Inland Empire Utilities Agency wants to develop 1 million acre feet of unused underground water storage space in a giant aquifer known as the Chino Basin in San Bernardino County. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Water agencies chase billions in Prop 1 funding for water storage

In commentary today …

Sites Reservoir a water-storage plan worth funding, says the OC Register writes,An innovative, off-stream water storage proposal northeast of Sacramento should be one of the top priorities for the state’s spending of Proposition 1 water-bond money.  The Sites Reservoir project would, in wet years, divert “excess” water from the Sacramento River into what would be the seventh-largest reservoir in California. It would hold some 1.3 million to 1.8 million acre-feet of water, which could be used to meet several of the state’s water-system goals, along with the needs of agriculture and cities.  The project would not dam the Sacramento River, but would divert some of its flow into the reservoir to be built in the nearby Sites Valley. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Sites Reservoir a water-storage plan worth funding

In regional news and commentary today …

Generator catches fire at Oroville Dam site:  “Firefighters Tuesday night were called to a portable generator fire at the Kiewit facility at Oroville Dam, where the company continues to rebuild the dam’s main spillway, Cal Fire-Butte County said.  The incident happened about 10:38 p.m., when firefighters responded to a report of a fire at the concrete batch plant near the spillway boat launch at the upper part of the spillway, said Mary Ann Aldrich, a spokesperson for Cal Fire-Butte County.  Aldrich said a portable generator had caught fire but was mostly out by the time firefighters arrived. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Generator catches fire at Oroville Dam site

Sonoma County: State, county officials try to calm fears of septic skeptics:  “State and county health officials assured a roomful of local real estate agents last week that new and stricter septic system rules for western Sonoma County won’t mean the end of the world.  “This is something that’s going to happen over the span of years,” said Tennis Wick, director of the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department now called Permit Sonoma.  “It’s really just the beginning” of a new regulatory era intended to reduce pollution throughout the Russian River watershed, said Herman Hernandez of the North Bay Realtors Association Russian River chapter. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Sonoma County: State, county officials try to calm fears of septic skeptics

Invasive crabs flourish in Marin lagoon, despite eradication efforts:  “The bucket of crabs on the shoreline of Seadrift Lagoon in Marin County was a bonanza for 7-year-old Luca McLaughlin, who giddily handled as many as he could, but the pile of decapods represent a puzzling menace to marine biologists.  European green crabs have flourished in the man-made lagoon in a wealthy gated community in northern Stinson Beach, and scientists can’t seem to get rid of the pinching invaders.  “It’s actually one of the favorite pastimes of the kids, catching crabs,” said Daniel McLaughlin, 41, who watched as his son and a friend chased crustaceans in the shallows this week in an attempt to add to the haul. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Invasive crabs flourish in Marin lagoon, despite eradication efforts

Why nutrient pollution may become a threat to San Francisco Bay:  “Nutrients – such as nitrogen – are essential to life, but an overabundance can mean trouble for waterways. Take Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, which are infamous for “dead zones” where closely packed bodies of fish float to the surface or wash ashore by the thousands. These dead zones are caused by nutrient pollution, which makes algae grow too fast. The resulting algal blooms ultimately kill fish and other aquatic creatures by using up the oxygen they breathe.  Nitrogen is high in the San Francisco Bay as well, but so far the Bay has escaped the catastrophic effects of nutrient pollution. That may be about to change, however. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Why nutrient pollution may become a threat to San Francisco Bay

Hunt for San Francisco Bay shark killer zeroes in on a suspect:  “A shark and ray die-off in the San Francisco Bay that peaked in April and May has dwindled in the last few months, and the zig-zagging hunt for an explanation has neared at least a partial solution to the mystery.  “We’re much further along than we were a year ago,” says Mark Okihiro, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife senior fish pathologist who has led the state’s investigation. “Certainly even further than we were just a few months ago. But the story has changed quite a bit since [the spring].” … ” Read more from Bay Nature here:  Hunt for San Francisco Bay shark killer zeroes in on a suspect

The water supply solution for the Monterey peninsula may not be desalination:  “As California American Water continues in its years-long pursuit of a desalination project, a competing idea is starting to take shape: Scrapping desal altogether.  Whether or not that’s possible will become known in the coming months: On Aug. 7, a California Public Utilities Commission judge issued a ruling that lays out the remaining issues to be addressed in hearings about Cal Am’s project application.  Among them is the question of whether Pure Water Monterey, a recycled water project that will supply 3,500 acre-feet annually to the Peninsula starting in 2019, can be expanded. ... ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here:  The water supply solution for the Monterey peninsula may not be desalination

Native American remains, artifacts found at Pacheco Dam site:  “In a wild and pristine creek canyon, there’s a collision between Santa Clara County’s past and future.  Ancient bones and abundant artifacts lie along Pacheco Creek, just north of Highway 152 at Pacheco Pass, where generations of Native Americans lived, died and now rest in peace.  But the site is also where Silicon Valley’s largest water provider plans to expand a reservoir, storing more water for our region’s ever-growing thirst. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Native American remains, artifacts found at Pacheco Dam site

Temperance Flat plan submitted to state, who will benefit?  “Temperance Flat took a major step toward reality in a regional partnership seeking state of California water bond funds.  The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, a joint power authority, this week filed an application for Proposition 1 state water bond funding with the California Water Commission meeting a statutory April 14 deadline. Chair of the JPA Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley says the application also included a new JPA authored study required by the commission, looking at how the proposed new dam above Fresno, could manage water in years to come with an expected lower snowpack due to global warming. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Temperance Flat plan submitted to state, who will benefit?

Tulare County:  Well ordinance tough but necessary, says the Porterville Recorder:  “While we certainly understand opposition to the proposed Tulare County ordinance which will place restrictions on the drilling of new wells on previously non-irrigated land. However, in light of the five dry years we had and the over dependence on underground water, we feel the ordinance is necessary.  County officials and ag leaders are weighing in on the ordinance which covers the drilling of wells. It is not to be confused with the recently passed ordinance which regulates the construction of new wells.  The well ordinance has been kicked around for some time and its fate is uncertain. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Tulare County:  Well ordinance tough but necessary

Local agencies approve governance structure for Paso Robles groundwater basin:  “An interagency agreement that sets a governance model for how the over-pumped Paso Robles Groundwater Basin will be managed has now been signed by every participating party except the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, which will vote on it Aug. 22.  The Memorandum of Agreement stipulates how at least five North County agencies will work together to comply with the state's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which requires local water pumpers to write a sustainability plan by Jan. 31, 2020, and attain sustainability by 2040. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Local agencies approve governance structure for Paso Robles groundwater basin

Marijuana farms face uncertain future in California Valley:  “California Valley has become a haven of sorts for marijuana farms, but as San Luis Obispo County mulls over a marijuana ordinance, cultivators and residents face an uncertain future.  In a town of little more than 500 people, there are 300 marijuana grows hoping to stay in the area permanently.  “We are not gang members, we're not thugs, we are just simple average people, like everybody,” said Vong Lee, medical marijuana grower in California Valley. … ”  Read more from KSBY here:  Marijuana farms face uncertain future in California Valley

Ridgecrest: Water District enters into brackish water grant agreement: The IWV Water District board of directors unanimously voted to enter into an agreement as the lead applicant agency to receive a grant for the Brackish Groundwater Feasibility Study at IWVWD’s board meeting Monday evening. The vote allows IWVWD to commit funds to fill the remaining balance of the $300,000 needed for the study.  The vote came after an hour long presentation by Wade Major. Major began by displaying data on the IWV groundwater basin, and explaining data gaps that the Brackish Groundwater Feasibility Program hopes to fill in. He then explained where brackish water treatment plants may take place in the future. He ended by explaining the funding needed to bring the project to completion. ... ”  Read more from the Independent here:  Water District enters into brackish water grant agreement

Escondido: Lawsuit blocking water plant settled:  “A lawsuit challenging the Escondido City Council’s decision earlier this year to build a recycled water treatment plant in the middle of town as been settled.  The agreement means construction of the $33 million facility can begin soon on a city-owned piece of land at the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Ash Street. Once completed, the water plant will desalinate recycled water that has already been partially treated, then send it though pipes to eastern and northern Escondido to be used primarily to irrigate farmland. Further desalination is necessary for it to be used on crops, especially avocado trees. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Lawsuit blocking water plant settled

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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