DAILY DIGEST: Major unknowns remain just ahead of vote on Delta tunnels project; Setting the sights on Sites; Wild horses destroying water resources; Calls for action as California water board considers Salton Sea plans; and more …

In California water news today, Major unknowns remain just ahead of key votes on massive water project; Water: Setting the sights on Sites; Wild horses: Adored by the public but destroying water resources; ‘Show me the money': Calls for action as California water board considers Salton Sea plans; The changing paradigm of stormwater management; Mystery group challenges Napa's winery environmental reviews; Bay Area: Experts say rising seas demand a unified response; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9:30am: Agenda items include a public workshop to accept oral and written public comment on the proposed Surface Water Augmentation regulations, and a public workshop on the Salton Sea Management Program. Click here for the agenda. Click here to watch on webcast.
  • Yolo Bypass Salmon Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Analytical Tool Independent Scientific Review from 1:30pm to 4:00pm: Day 2.  This meeting will be available via Webex.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Major unknowns remain just ahead of key votes on massive water project:  “Just weeks before key votes on a multibillion-dollar state water project, two major questions remain: How much water will the project actually deliver? How much will that water actually cost?  If those sound like the only two things you’d really want to be sure about before investing billions of dollars in a new water project – well, they are.  The project, known as WaterFix, is designed to ensure that water keeps coming south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, a series of waterways and wetlands fed by snow melting in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. … ”  Read more from Voice of San Diego here:  Major unknowns remain just ahead of key votes on massive water project

Water: Setting the sights on Sites:  “Sites Reservoir has been talked about for decades, but now that project officials — and backed by 70 major allies — have formally submitted an application for state bond money, the question arises: Will this $5 billion project actually come to pass?  The proposed surface reservoir would be located in Colusa County, but is competing with 11 other applicants for part of a $2.7 billion coffer of state money devoted to water storage projects. Sites wants $1.6 billion in state money, the largest amount of any applicant, then will cover the rest through revenue from water agencies that benefit from the reservoir and even federal sources. ... ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Water: Setting the sights on Sites

Wild horses: Adored by the public but destroying water resources:  “Wild horses are deeply ingrained in the mythology of the American West. They represent a spirit of freedom that has long defined the nation.  But wild horses also pose a thorny management problem. A federal law passed in 1971 restricts what the government can do with the horses, even once they begin to affect the environment.  The United States Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service periodically conduct roundups (“gathers”) to thin the wild horse herds. Sometimes the animals are given birth-control drugs and returned to the range; sometimes they are corralled until they can be adopted by private citizens. Both strategies are expensive. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Wild horses: Adored by the public but destroying water resources

‘Show me the money': Calls for action as California water board considers Salton Sea plans:  “With less than four months left until a critical deadline when the Salton Sea will begin to shrink rapidly, residents and activists are pressing for California officials to secure funding and act quickly to avert a costly disaster.  Some people who live around the lake are driving to Sacramento for a Thursday meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board, which is considering an agreement between several agencies that would commit state officials to following through with pledges of building thousands of acres of ponds, wetlands and other dust-control projects around the lake over the next 10 years.   … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  ‘Show me the money’: Calls for action as California water board considers Salton Sea plans

The changing paradigm of stormwater management:  “Chris Austin, otherwise known as the Maven of California water news, shares a presentation from Dr. Richard Luthy, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center, describing the evolution of stormwater infrastructure.  According to Luthy, a shift away from stormwater management as flood control would bring multiple benefits. Not only would urban areas like Los Angeles gain critical water supply for a growing population, “it would provide other community benefits, like cleaning the beaches.” ... ”  Read more from Planetizen here:  The changing paradigm of stormwater management

In commentary today …

Downstream residents have had plenty to think about when it comes to Oroville Dam, says the Appeal-Democrat:  They write, “A lot of thought is going into our water infrastructure these days.   After the evacuation last February of tens of thousands of us downstream from Lake Oroville, local, state, and federal officials, as well as us citizens, are paying more attention. Just Friday, the state released results of a survey it undertook of dams in the state.  The Department of Water Resources earthen dam standing 770 feet tall got an “unsatisfactory” rating with a downstream hazard rating (figured by the proximity and number of people downstream and not by the condition of the facility) of “extremely high.” ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Downstream residents have had plenty to think about when it comes to Oroville Dam

In regional news and commentary today …

Mystery group challenges Napa's winery environmental reviews:  “A mystery group calling itself Alliance for Responsible Governance claims Napa County regularly fails to fully follow California environmental laws when approving new wineries and winery expansions.  Since 2013, Napa County has approved more than 90 winery projects. It has generally conducted environmental reviews for traffic and other issues that fell short of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements, the group wrote. ... ”  Read more from the American Eagle here:  Mystery group challenges Napa’s winery environmental reviews

Bay Area: Experts say rising seas demand a unified response:  “As hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, local experts warned that the changing global climate poses the Bay Area its own risk of inundation, caused by fierce rainstorms, extreme high tides and steadily rising sea levels.  Noting that the 400-mile-long San Francisco Bay coastline is lined with crowded roads and a fragile infrastructure, a Wednesday panel sponsored by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences urged that Bay Area cities pull together to protect the region from future flooding. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  Experts: Rising seas demand a unified response

Agencies investigate another oil spill at Phillips 66 East Bay refinery:  “State fish and wildlife officials have launched an investigation into a new oil spill at the Phillips 66 refinery marine terminal in Rodeo.  The spill in San Pablo Bay was discovered Monday morning and comes as the energy giant pursues a major expansion of the number of oil tankers that unload crude at the facility. It’s the first spill since another one in September 2016 at the same terminal that was believed to have been the source of noxious fumes that sickened dozens of people in Vallejo. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Agencies investigate another oil spill at Phillips 66 East Bay refinery

Inyo County:  Big Pine seeks practicality on recycled water projects: A smaller and less “think outside the box” group of Big Pine residents met with water department staff and consultants last week to narrow down potential end-uses for a recycled water project, the first in Inyo County.  Water Department Mitigation Manager Larry Freilich masterminded the $267,000 grant from the state Department of Water Resources to conduct a feasibility study of potential uses and related costs of recycling water from the Big Pine Community Service District. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Big Pine seeks practicality on recycled water projects

Ventura sets example for water conservation, says the Ventura County Star:  They write, “We have repeatedly advocated for more housing construction in growth-adverse Ventura County as our severe lack of affordable homes and apartments has forced many to move elsewhere and slowed local economic growth to a crawl.  Many of you, however, have rightfully questioned whether our communities — especially the city of Ventura and the Ojai Valley, which are not connected to the State Water Project and rely on depleted Lake Casitas — have enough water to support new housing. If nothing else, the severity of hurricanes Harvey and Irma tell us that extremes are the new normal for this nation's climate, and that may well include California’s cycles of drought. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura sets example for water conservation, says the Ventura County Star

U.S., Mexico nearing deal on Colorado River allocation:  “The fate of the Colorado River Delta will be decided in coming months as Mexico and the U.S. come closer to reaching an agreement on a water-sharing deal.  The current deal in place, Minute 319, allocated Colorado River water for both Mexico and the U.S. and allowed for restoration water, called a pulse flow, to be delivered to the Colorado River Delta, in hopes of restoring the once-rich habitat.  Over 100,000 acre-feet of water was dumped into the Morelos Dam in the spring of 2014, providing a pulse flow so that restoration efforts could be made, according to Karen Schlatter, chief executive officer of the Sonoran Institute. … ”  Read more from the Daily Wildcat here:  U.S., Mexico nearing deal on Colorado River allocation

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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