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DAILY DIGEST: The Delta is sinking; scientists think planting rice will help; Coalition forms to protect endangered salmon runs; CA’s water wars pit farmers against salmon fishermen; Scientists: Hurricane Harvey shows how flood risks are underestimated in coastal cities; and more …

In California water news today, The Delta is sinking; scientists think planting rice will help; Coalition forms to protect California’s endangered salmon runs; California’s water wars pit farmers against salmon fishermen; How much might the Water Fix cost LA?; Oroville Dam: Filling the large void in the spillway; Agency misspent $32 million, but Interior has held no one to account; Hurricane Harvey shows how we underestimate flooding risks in coastal cities, scientists say; and more …

In the news today …

The Delta is sinking; scientists think planting rice will help:  “Bryan Brock stared out at a rice field on Twitchell Island, nestled between the meandering river paths of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Brock, a senior engineer with California Department of Water Resources’ West Delta Program, rubbed his goatee and pointed at foot-tall emerald stalks. The plots were drenched in about 4in of water.  Medium-grain rice was planted here in 2009 as a research project to see if rice could help the Delta survive the impacts of subsidence. The results have yielded both good and bad news.  The Central Valley is no stranger to subsidence. But unlike other areas that are sinking due to overpumping of groundwater, the Delta’s subsidence is a force of nature. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  The Delta is sinking; scientists think planting rice will help

Coalition forms to protect California’s endangered salmon runs:  “A coalition of government agencies and advocates for sustainable fisheries came together Tuesday to launch a long-term effort to save California’s beleaguered salmon populations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems.  The Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership will include 21 members — state and federal water and wildlife agencies, plus groups representing conservationists, farmers, water suppliers and the fishing industry — seeking to study, develop and fund projects to restore and protect vital habitats.  The partnership deal was signed Tuesday by John Laird, California’s secretary for natural resources. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Coalition forms to protect California’s endangered salmon runs

California’s water wars pit farmers against salmon fishermen:  “Business was good when Larry Collins began his career as a fisherman in 1983. During salmon season, which stretched from April until September, roughly 5,000 boats in California reeled in multiple 100-fish days. Collins and his wife were able to buy a house and raise their kids in San Francisco.  Today, business is an upstream battle. This year’s salmon season is terrible, starting more than three months late and yielding small catches — sometimes only five fish a day. Fishermen struggle to make ends meet and, like many, can’t afford to buy million-dollar homes in The City. Meanwhile, San Franciscans must fork over more than $30 per pound for wild, King salmon. … ”  Read more from the SF Examiner here:  California’s water wars pit farmers against salmon fishermen

How much might the Water Fix cost LA?  “A Los Angeles City Council committee heard public debate Tuesday over the amount that a massive project known as the California Water Fix could add to the water bills of local ratepayers.  According to a study by the city’s Office of Public Accountability/Ratepayer Advocate, it could be as little as $1.73 per month. But project opponent cite an independent study concluding the cost could be more than $7 a month. ... ”  Read more from KPCC here:  How much might the Water Fix cost LA?

Oroville Dam: Filling the large void in the spillway:  “As construction efforts at the Lake Oroville spillways remain focused on repairing and reconstructing the gated flood control spillway, also known as the main spillway, roller-compacted concrete is placed to fill the large void between the upper and lower chutes of the spillway. Crews also install forms in preparation of pouring concrete for the spillway walls.  Construction of the 1,050-foot middle section of the spillway chute, including filling in the two scour holes, is now about 20 percent complete, with approximately 60,000 cubic yards of roller-compacted concrete placed. ... ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  Oroville Dam: Filling the large void in the spillway

Agency misspent $32 million, but Interior has held no one to account:  “Investigators have confirmed that a federal water agency misspent $32 million in funds meant to protect fish and wildlife in the Klamath basin of California and Oregon, a finding that Obama-era officials attempted to sideline after whistleblowers first alerted them to it.  According to a report from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, sent to President Donald Trump and obtained this week by McClatchy, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for eight years effectively handed the money to a Klamath water project controlled by private irrigators, with few or no controls on how the funds were spent. … ”  Read more from McClatchy DC here:  Agency misspent $32 million, but Interior has held no one to account

Hurricane Harvey shows how we underestimate flooding risks in coastal cities, scientists say:  “In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, an event deemed “unprecedented” by the National Weather Service, catastrophic floodwater has swept the Houston metropolitan area.  The flooding can be attributed to a combination of long-lasting rains, which pumped extra water into the coastal waterways, and storm surge, which prevented the excess water from draining back into the ocean — a devastating set of simultaneous effects. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here:  Hurricane Harvey shows how we underestimate flooding risks in coastal cities, scientists say

In commentary today …

As Hurricane Harvey hits Gulf Coast, Central Valley must prepare for the next storm, says the Sacramento Bee: They write, “A day before Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, an obscure arm of the California Department of Water Resources delivered a report detailing the impact of the Central Valley deluge that surely will strike, and how best to prepare for it.  We in this reclaimed city and in this re-engineered valley need to pay heed. Even in this past week of wilting heat, storm clouds are gathering.  In issuing its flood protection plan, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board achieved a rare feat. It called for more taxes and more land use regulations, yet won the support of both farmers and environmentalists. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  As Hurricane Harvey hits Gulf Coast, Central Valley must prepare for the next storm

Californians should support Cadiz water project, says Tony Cardenas and Paul Cook:  They write, “California is home to amazing natural resources, a diverse economy and a hard-working population eager to flourish. However, we don’t have sufficient water to meet the needs of all who call California home.  That’s why we are both among a broad, bipartisan group of more than 40 federal and state representatives who support the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project. This project will provide a reliable water supply and is sponsored jointly by public water agencies in Southern California and Cadiz Inc., the largest private landowner in the eastern Mojave Desert and the sponsor of the largest desert tortoise conservation bank in California. ... ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Californians should support Cadiz water project

In regional news and commentary today …

A salmon festival portends struggles on the Klamath River:  “At this year’s annual Salmon Festival on the Yurok Reservation, the salmon were cooked as they are every year, skewered over an open fire, a crew of men chopping wood, preparing steaks of fish and tending the fire. The rich, fresh scent of roasting fish belied an underlying problem: The autumn celebration is dedicated to the first return of chinook salmon to the Klamath River — but this year the tribe had to import 400 pounds of king and sockeye from Alaska. “At least we didn’t have hamburgers and hot dogs like last year,” Georgiana Gensaw, who lives in Klamath Glen and attended the festival with her family, told me. Still, she said, “no one likes to serve fish with a disclaimer.” … ”  Read more from High Country News here:  A salmon festival portends struggles on the Klamath River

E. coli levels in American River exceed federal levels; portion of waterway put on federal list:  “Joe Aiesi loves to fish at Sacramento’s popular Discovery Park.  “I have concerns because I have kids,” says Aiesi.  But when informed about high levels of E. coli in the water, he’s now worried.  “I’m kind of debating even fishing here. I got another spot,” says Aiesi. … ”  Read more from ABC 10 here:  E. coli levels in American River exceed federal levels; portion of waterway put on federal list

Carmel River lagoon project to enhance steelhead trout habitat with debris drop:  “A plan to enhance steelhead trout rearing and holding habitat in the Carmel River Lagoon by placing tons of organic materials in the waterway is on schedule to come to fruition on Sept. 20 after nine years of preparation.  “We’re building large woody debris structures” to be placed in the lagoon, said Brian LeNeve, president of the Carmel River Steelhead Association. “They won’t harm anything and they’ll serve a purpose.” … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Carmel River lagoon project to enhance steelhead trout habitat with debris drop

Environmental groups win documents related to Nestle operations in the San Bernardino National Forest:  “Environmental groups seeking to stop Swiss-based Nestlé from pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino National Forest, for little more than $500 a year, have prevailed in an effort to obtain documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  After repeatedly being thwarted in their efforts to obtain the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, the Berkeley-based Story of Stuff Project and the Los Angeles-based Courage Campaign Institute filed a lawsuit on July 11 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. … ” Read more from the San Bernadino Sun here:  Environmental groups win documents related to Nestle operations in the San Bernardino National Forest

San Diego water officials object to proposed state water tax:  “Water officials in San Diego County have come out against a proposed state law that would impose a new monthly fee on all residential and commercial water users in California, to pay for programs that provide access to clean and safe drinking water in communities where water sources are contaminated.  Opponents of the legislation have called the proposed fee a “water tax,” while supporters said it is “vitally needed” to deal with a state health crisis. … ”  Read more from the Rancho Santa Fe Review here:  San Diego water officials object to proposed state water tax

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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