DAILY DIGEST: State wetlands proposal worries farmers, ranchers; Water conservation can have unintended consequences; Palos Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan; U.S. and Mexico set to sign landmark Colorado River water-sharing deal; and more …

In California water news today, State wetlands proposal worries farmers, ranchers; Water conservation can have unintended consequences; Palos Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan; U.S. and Mexico set to sign landmark Colorado River water-sharing deal; California's climate future suggests more volatility and a key role for atmospheric rivers; Nurseries adapt to new landscape trends; Kawamura, Cameron: Regulations threaten California's agriculture's sustainability; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

State wetlands proposal worries farmers, ranchers:  “In an action that could have broader impacts than a federal “waters of the U.S.” rule now being rewritten by the Trump administration, the state of California is aggressively moving to finalize new “waters of the state” procedures and a new wetland definition by the end of the year. Farm and industry groups say the action would create new regulatory burdens.  The State Water Resources Control Board took public comments at a meeting in Sacramento last week and has extended its deadline to receive written comments until Sept. 18.  Water board officials said the proposed procedures are meant to strengthen oversight for waters that are no longer protected under the federal Clean Water Act due to U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and that regional water boards have inconsistently enforced existing state requirements for discharges of dredged or fill material. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  State wetlands proposal worries farmers, ranchers

Water conservation can have unintended consequences:  “Conventional wisdom dictates water conservation can only benefit communities affected by drought. But researchers at the University of California, Riverside have deduced that indoor residential conservation can have unintended consequences in places where systems of wastewater reuse have already been implemented, diminishing both the quantity and quality of influent available for treatment.  The researchers outlined their findings in a recent paper, which appears online in the journal Water Research, published by the International Water Association. … ”  Read more from UCR Today here:  Water conservation can have unintended consequences

Palos Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan: “Having the region’s first irrigation water rights in the State of California for use of the Colorado River, the Palo Verde Irrigation District has been a key player in the state’s water debate.  On Aug. 7, PVID filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California.  Entering into a 35-year agreement with MWD in 2004 for the transfer of water through the land-fallowing program, the once-working relationship between the two water entities has now come to a standstill. ... ”  Read more from the Palo Verde Valley Times here:  Palos Verde Irrigation District sues Metropolitan

U.S. and Mexico set to sign landmark Colorado River water-sharing deal:  “The U.S. and Mexican governments are close to signing a landmark Colorado River deal that will establish rules for sharing water over the next decade and lay out cooperative efforts intended to head off severe shortages.  Mexican and American officials have scheduled a signing ceremony on Sept. 26 in Ciudad Juárez, officials at California water districts said this week. They said that formal event will be followed by a ceremonial signing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Sept. 27 attended by representatives from U.S. states.  “This is important to both countries, and will now allow the states and our federal partners to refocus back to drought contingency planning,” said Bart Fisher, chair of California’s Colorado River Board. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  U.S. and Mexico set to sign landmark Colorado River water-sharing deal

ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS

California's climate future suggests more volatility and a key role for atmospheric rivers:  “Two recently published studies investigating past and future precipitation in California demonstrate that the state is experiencing an increasingly volatile precipitation regime, as rain-heavy winter storms known as “atmospheric rivers” become increasingly intense, and dry periods between storms grow longer.  This makes for more variability in water resources from year to year, with both droughts and floods becoming more likely as seen recently  when historic drought was followed by a record wet year.  The research team behind the two studies includes Alexander Gershunov, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. He said that the combined results of these two papers provide “more nuanced” information about the changing climate of California than scientists had before. And it’s not all bad news. ... ”  Read more from Scripps Institute of Oceanography here:  California’s climate future suggests more volatility and a key role for atmospheric rivers

New story map showcases NOAA research on atmospheric rivers and their impacts:  “The NOAA Climate Program Office’s Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP) created a story map to describe how NOAA research is trying to better understand atmospheric rivers, their impacts on communities, and forecast them. Every year, the U.S. experiences roughly 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,300 tornadoes, 2 Atlantic hurricanes (landfall), 100,000 wildfires, as well as several drought events. According to NOAA, these types of weather and climate events lead to 650 deaths and cost $15 billion in damage per year. Roughly one-third of the U.S. economy—some $3 trillion—is sensitive to weather and climate impacts. Continuing to improve our understanding of weather- and climate-related impacts, and how they affect economic activities, provides critical information to help communities better prepare and respond. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  New story map showcases NOAA research on atmospheric rivers and their impacts

AGRICULTURE

Nurseries adapt to new landscape trends:  “Winds of change are blowing through California plant nurseries and the growers who supply them.  A spate of closures has swept through independent retail nurseries recently, especially on the Central Coast and in the San Francisco Bay Area. The casualties include McShane's Nursery & Landscape Supply in Salinas, where owner Steve McShane announced last month his retail nursery will close Sept. 30. “I think the bigger picture, and greater issue, is the fact that nursery, as a hobby, is in decline,” said McShane, who has long been active in state and national nursery trade groups. “Of course, there will always be commercial application in nursery products for office parks and new construction. But when it comes to free time, people are constantly bombarded by new forms of media that are less expensive and tailor-made when it comes to their time.” … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Nurseries adapt to new landscape trends

Kawamura, Cameron: Regulations threaten California's agriculture's sustainability:  “Two California growers with ties to the state’s main agricultural agency say farming practices in America’s highest grossing farm state will change – how much so and to what extent depends largely, but not solely, on regulatory challenges foisted on farmers.  Don Cameron and A.G. Kawamura farm in completely different areas of the state with different microclimate concerns, but similar marketing issues and under regulatory challenges shared by all farmers across the Golden State. ... ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Kawamura, Cameron: Regulations threaten California’s agriculture’s sustainability

LEGISLATION

Cadiz water pumping bill may resurface in CA legislature:  “Late last week, we suggested watching this space for possible revival of Assembly Bill 1000, legislation to halt a controversial water-pumping project in the Mojave Desert that’s being pushed by the politically connected firm Cadiz, Inc.  The bill pits supporters, including Gov. Jerry Brown, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom against the heavy lobbying of Cadiz, which successfully blocked the bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Cadiz water pumping bill may resurface in CA legislature

Temporarily tapped out: More time to consider California's clean water funding bill:  “How deep does the clean water issue go in California? Let’s first take a look at some fairly recent and comprehensive findings:  There was good news and bad news regarding the cleanliness of California’s drinking water, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study released in 2015.  The research comprised part of California’s Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program, more commonly called GAMA. It included 10 years’ worth of test data from untreated water in 11,000 wells across the state. GAMA considered area population and development to weight findings from the well tests. … ”  Read more from JD Supra here:  Temporarily tapped out: More time to consider California’s clean water funding bill

NATIONAL NEWS

Coastal real estate industry resists forecasts of sea-level rise and policies based on them:  “All along the coast of the southeast United States, the real estate industry confronts a hurricane. Not the kind that swirls in the Atlantic, but a storm of scientific information about sea-level rise that threatens the most lucrative, commission-boosting properties.  These studies warn that Florida, the Carolinas and other southeastern states face the nation’s fastest-growing rates of sea level rise and coastal erosion — as much as 3 feet by the year 2100, depending on how quickly Antarctic ice sheets melt. In a recent report, researchers for Zillow estimated that nearly 2 million U.S. homes could be literally underwater by 2100, if worst-case projections become reality. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Coastal real estate industry resists forecasts of sea-level rise and policies based on them

Sand? Mine! Our insatiable need for concrete has led to destructive mining around the world. How can we do it better? “I’m standing in the rain looking at a pile of rocks. This is not the kind of view that grabs most people. But for quarry manager Brian Buckley, the 100,000-tonne mound of gravel below us is exceptional. “It’s very high quality rock and very uniform,” he says. “It’s one of the best deposits I’ve seen in the world.”  We’re peering down from a walkway on top of the stacker belt, a conveyor currently pouring a river of wet gravel onto the 30-meter-high pile. Buckley is not alone in his admiration for the freshly washed rock. The aggregate mined here at Orca Quarry on northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia has been a vital ingredient in a bevy of high-profile construction projects on the west coast of North America: the new “spaceship” Apple headquarters under construction in Cupertino; the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge; and the 61-story Salesforce Tower, set to be the tallest building in San Francisco. … ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here:  Sand? Mine! Our insatiable need for concrete has led to destructive mining around the world. How can we do it better?

In commentary today …

California's twin tunnels project secures water supply, says John Laird:  He writes, “Three years ago, I was pleased to join San Diego leaders at a ceremony dedicating the San Vicente Dam Raise, a $416 million project that marked the single largest increase in water storage in San Diego County history. The project and others such as the state-of-the-art desalination facility at Carlsbad are key components of a water portfolio that demonstrates the region’s commitment to long-term water security.  As the recent drought showed, that commitment is more important than ever. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  California’s twin tunnels project secures water supply, says John Laird

Why costly tunnels project fixes nothing:  Don Nottoli and Jeffrey Michael write,The clock is ticking as the Brown administration presses public water agencies to make a final decision on whether to fund the proposed California “WaterFix” project, a plan to construct two 40-foot diameter, 35-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Though the $17 billion tunnel project really fixes nothing, some water agencies claim the project is the only viable option to get water to their communities and are poised to pass the huge costs onto their customers.  Tunnel supporters grossly miscalculate how much the project will cost ratepayers and are unrealistic about who will pay for it. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  Why costly tunnels project fixes nothing

Time to stop lurching from one water emergency to the next, says Lester Snow:  He writes, “This week the California Legislature is considering two critical water bills that will reduce water waste and improve drought planning. Senate Bill 606 (Hertzberg/Skinner) and Assembly Bill 1668 (Friedman) deserve the legislature’s full support.  On the heels of a record-breaking drought and phenomenal water savings by California residents, Governor Jerry Brown called upon the state to make conservation a permanent way of life. The Administration established a broad stakeholder group comprised of water agencies, business and community groups and environmental organizations to develop a fair, forward looking conservation framework for the state. … ”  Read more at The Water Foundation here:  Time to stop lurching from one water emergency to the next

In regional news and commentary today …

Weed reports two early lawsuit victories:  “The City of Weed has reported two early victories in separate lawsuits over the same subject: Water.  In the first case, the group Weed Area Water Alliance sought to have the court join its suit challenging Roseburg Forest Products’ sale of water to Crystal Geyser Roxane with a suit challenging the city’s approval of a water lease with Roseburg.  The City of Weed for years has asserted that it owns the rights to 2.0 cubic feet per second of water from Beaughan Springs, to which it originally gained access through a 50 year lease with International Paper. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Weed reports two early lawsuit victories

North Coast grape growers scramble in rain aftermath to protect against rot:  “Mother Nature threw a new curve ball at local grape growers Wednesday as thunderstorms rolled through North Coast vineyards, the latest challenge for a volatile harvest season already marked by heat spikes, humidity and cool rain sprinkles.  The thunderstorm brought 0.23 inches of rain to Santa Rosa over about two hours, according to the National Weather Service, sending growers out in the aftermath to take action against mold that could lead to mildew and botrytis, or fruit rot. They are especially concerned about chardonnay, which is ripening now and is Sonoma County’s largest varietal in terms of tonnage, representing about one-third of the overall wine grape crop. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  North Coast grape growers scramble in rain aftermath to protect against rot

Waterspout touches down on Lake Tahoe:  “A waterspout has touched down on the waters of Lake Tahoe, but there are no immediate reports of damage.  The storm rolled across the lake around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, prompting a severe thunderstorm warning, then a tornado warning. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Waterspout touches down on Lake Tahoe

Interlake tunnel delayed six months amid Nacimiento resistance:  “A number of challenges facing the proposed Interlake Tunnel project, including resistance from landowners near Lake Nacimiento, have delayed the proposal again by about six months.  In addition to delays in groundwater modeling and failure to reach an agreement on the white bass migration issue, resistance is mounting from the Nacimiento water management advisory committee and landowners near lake in neighboring San Luis Obispo County and has already prompted county water agency officials to consider employing eminent domain to gain access to privately owned property for the tunnel project. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Interlake tunnel delayed six months amid Nacimiento resistance

Bulldozers ready: Temporary dig planned behind Devil's Gate dam in Pasadena:  “Bulldozers will begin scooping sediment from behind Devil’s Gate Dam starting Friday as part of a temporary dig in the Hahamongna Watershed Park wilderness area, the county announced Wednesday.  An interim project will remove 4,000 cubic yards of dead trees, muck and debris washed down from higher elevations from last winter’s storms, enough to reduce the potential of dangerous debris flows during the coming winter, according to the county.  “Dead tree branches and other vegetative matter will also be removed from the work area immediately in front of the dam,” the county’s Department of Public Works announced in a statement. ... ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star-News here:  Bulldozers ready: Temporary dig planned behind Devil’s Gate dam in Pasadena

Sierra Madre just figured out how to save $1 million:  “Sierra Madre just found $1 million-plus in savings and plans to use it to upgrade its water system, something city officials say is desperately needed.  The City Council approved Tuesday the refinancing of two water revenue bonds with a loan that can save the city approximately $68,600 annually. The bonds currently represent about $7.2 million of debt for the city, according to a staff report. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star News here:  Sierra Madre just figured out how to save $1 million

San Diego washing down streets with bleach after Hepatitis A outbreak:  “San Diego has started washing its downtown streets with bleach in an effort to combat an outbreak of Hepatitis A that has killed at least 15 people and infected nearly 400.  The infectious disease has largely infected homeless people in the city, and part of the issue is an apparent shortage of public restrooms in areas where the population congregates.  Hepatitis A was first identified in the area in early March, according to the county, and was declared a public health emergency earlier this month. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  San Diego washing down streets with bleach after Hepatitis A outbreak

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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