DAILY DIGEST: California reservoirs are full, but will this winter be wet or dry?; California needs better weather prediction tools for water management; Migrating birds are running out of water; Klamath Basin irrigators lose ‘takings’ case that dates back to 2001 shutoff; and more …

In California water news today, California reservoirs are full, but will this winter be wet or dry?; California needs better weather prediction tools for water management; Migrating birds are running out of water; Klamath Basin irrigators lose ‘takings’ case that dates back to 2001 shutoff; Thousands of sharks, other sea life mysteriously die in San Francisco Bay; Study could pave the way for more local water available from New Melones; Paso Robles: ‘Critical error’ found in ballots for North County water district special election; and more …

In the news today …

California reservoirs are full, but will this winter be wet or dry?  “Like every autumn, October is bringing cooler weather, changing leaves and pumpkins to fields across California.  But unlike the past five years, when a historic drought gripped the state, there’s something new across the landscape: full reservoirs.  From a water supply standpoint, California is heading into this winter’s rainy season in much better shape than any year since 2011. San Luis Reservoir, the massive inland sea between Gilroy and Los Banos that provides key supplies for Central Valley farmers and cities from San Jose to San Diego, is 86 percent full. A year ago it was only a quarter full. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California reservoirs are full, but will this winter be wet or dry?

California needs better weather prediction tools for water management:  “Current weather forecasting tools are less than adequate for managing California’s most vital natural resource, state water officials said Tuesday.  People at the state Department of Water Resources are now working with researchers at NASA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to develop new technology to better forecast moisture-laden atmospheric river storms, like the ones that hammered the Mother Lode and the rest of the Central Sierra in January and February.  Current short-term forecasting for seven days out is 70 percent accurate, while 14-day forecasts are 7 percent accurate, Grant Davis, director of the state Department of Water Resources, said Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  California needs better weather prediction tools for water management

Migrating birds are running out of water: Water management in the West can often seem to pit people against wildlife, but it doesn’t have to, according to a recent report by the National Audubon Society. The report highlights how drying saline lakes in the West and changing riparian habitat along the Colorado River are impacting migrating birds. But the two habitats also share a vulnerability to climate change and water management. The demand for water from growing metropolitan areas, like Salt Lake City, is often at the expense of these habitats and wildlife.  But David O’Neill, Audubon’s chief conservation officer, says that doesn’t have to be the case. In the report, Audubon highlights areas where environmentalists are working with policymakers, water managers and farmers to supply both birds and people in the West with enough water. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Migrating Birds Are Running Out of Water

In commentary today …

Wildlife protectors on Butte Creek have a new battle cry: Save the dam:  Jane Braxton Little writes, “In the annals of wild fish tales, hydroelectric projects are always cast as villains. They create dams that block fish from reaching spawning grounds. …At a time when dam eradications are the darlings of environmentalists, DeSabla is a conservation anomaly.  Allen Harthorn is all for taking out dams – “every single one we can,” he said.  But when Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced plans in February to decommission its DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric Project on Butte Creek, Harthorn was shocked. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Wildlife protectors on Butte Creek have a new battle cry: Save the dam

Farmers seek clarity in rewrite of WOTUS rule:  Kari Fisher writes, “The ongoing confusion continues over what is a “water of the U.S.” and about which waters can be regulated under the federal Clean Water Act, with farmers and ranchers hoping this current administration’s actions will bring much-needed clarity and certainty.  On June 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Army and Army Corps of Engineers published a proposed rule to withdraw the 2015 waters of the U.S. rule, otherwise known as the WOTUS rule. That marked the first step in a comprehensive, two-step process intended to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States.”  Comments on the first step were due on Sept. 27 and, at the deadline for public comments, there were 192,586 comments on the proposed repeal posted on the Federal Register, with that tally expected to rise as additional letters were counted. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Farmers seek clarity in rewrite of WOTUS rule

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Basin: Judge denies irrigators special treatment, millions in drought payments:  “Judge Marian Blank Horn of the U.S. Court of Claims has ruled against agribusiness interests within the federal Klamath Irrigation Project that had been demanding some $30 million in compensation for reduced irrigation water deliveries during an extreme drought that struck the Klamath River Basin in 2001.  Though other groups in the Klamath Basin of Oregon and California suffered during the 2001 drought — including Tribal Nations, the salmon fishing industry, and farmers outside of the Klamath Project — Klamath Project irrigation interests wanted a special payout to compensate them for a federal decision to leave some water in the Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake for imperiled salmon and other fish. … ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  Judge denies irrigators special treatment, millions in drought payments

Klamath Basin irrigators lose ‘takings’ case that dates back to 2001 shutoff:  “U.S. Federal Judge Marian Blank Horn ruled Sept. 29 that water users who filed a claim in the “takings” case have property rights, but she ruled in favor of the U.S. Government instead, referencing superior in-stream water rights of the Klamath, Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes.  The consolidated case is formally known as Lonny Baley, et. al., and John Anderson Farms, Inc., et al., for themselves and as representatives of a Class of Similarly Situated People, Plaintiffs, vs. United States vs. Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association. … ”  Read more from the Herald and News here:  Klamath Basin irrigators lose ‘takings’ case that dates back to 2001 shutoff

Siskiyou law enforcement agencies continue cannabis cultivation fight:  “The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office recently released the latest statistical data on illicit drug seizures made during 2017.  Operating primarily on private property using search warrants, the Siskiyou Interagency Marijuana Investigation Team conducted a series of counter-drug operations in unincorporated areas of Siskiyou County, mostly in the Shasta Vista area, Klamath River Country Estates in the Hornbrook area, Weed, Lake Shastina, Montague, Big Springs, Mt. Shasta Forest, Mt. Shasta, and Iron Gate (Copco Lake area), seizing approximately 21,758 illicit cannabis plants. ... ” Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Siskiyou law enforcement agencies continue cannabis cultivation fight

Thousands of sharks, other sea life mysteriously die in San Francisco Bay:  “As many as 2,000 leopard sharks have mysteriously died in the San Francisco Bay over the past few months. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says determining the cause is not a priority for the state since the sharks are not threatened or endangered, however, scientists say additional research and resources are crucial since the threat is now believed to be preying on other marine life. ... ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Thousands of sharks, other sea life mysteriously die in San Francisco Bay

Study could pave the way for more local water available from New Melones:  “At the request of the Calaveras County Water District, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors is asking that federal lawmakers appropriate $500,000 for a study regarding New Melones Reservoir.  It was noted at today’s Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting that the concept of doing a study on the reservoir was approved as part of a large water package passed by the Congress and signed by former President Barack Obama in late 2016. However, no funding was allocated for the New Melones study. CCWD is hoping to conduct the study to review existing storage, and projects that could better maximize capacity and beneficial use of water within the Stanislaus River Basin. … ” Read more from My Mother Lode here:  Study could pave the way for more local water available from New Melones

Paso Robles: ‘Critical error’ found in ballots for North County water district special election:  “San Luis Obispo County made a “critical error” when creating the ballots for the special election currently underway to determine whether landowners around Paso Robles, San Miguel and Creston should form a water district, County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said Tuesday.  Landowners’ acreage was inaccurate in the ballots created for the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District election, in which each landowner gets one vote per acre owned. In addition, some ownership information was out of date. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Paso Robles: ‘Critical error’ found in ballots for North County water district special election

Fear of this tiny shellfish prevented LA County water basins from drought recovery for months:  “For months, regional water officials were prevented from recharging drought-depleted water basins in the San Gabriel Valley and southeast Los Angeles County because they feared an infestation of an invasive shellfish that could destroy local ecosystems.  But officials now say the dreaded shellfish known as the quagga mussel was not present in the state Water Project’s channels, and now the water will be allowed to flow to the Central and San Gabriel Valley underground basins  “They never found real quaggas in the water,” said Kevin Hunt, general manager for the Central Basin Municipal Water District. “There were little tiny things that could be quaggas but they were not. Everybody got together and realized they were no quaggas and no reason to shut off the water off now.”  … ”  Read more from Whittier Daily News here: Fear of this tiny shellfish prevented LA County water basins from drought recovery for months

Southern California: Environmental watchdog brings constitutional challenge to enhance region’s water supply:  “Los Angeles Waterkeeper (LAW) filed four related lawsuits in an effort to dramatically increase the purification, reclamation, and reuse of wastewater that is currently discharged into the Los Angeles River and Santa Monica Bay.  The lawsuits concern the State Water Resources Control Board’s renewal of permits for four major wastewater treatments plants: Hyperion in El Segundo and Tillman, LA-Glendale, and Burbank in the San Fernando Valley. Collectively, these municipal plants dump an average of nearly 300 million gallons of treated water directly and indirectly into the Los Angeles River and Pacific Ocean—every day. … ”  Read more from the Santa Monica Mirror here:  Environmental watchdog brings constitutional challenge to enhance region’s water supply

And lastly …

What the Killers Left Us: Tracing the Saint Francis Dam Disaster in a 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S:  If you like fast cars and water infrastructure, have I got a treat for you!  What do Porsches and the Saint Francis Dam disaster have in common?  ” … The area’s affluence, scenery, and obsession with the automobile all came together with the weather, which encouraged year-round cruises to the beach or blasts through the area’s numerous canyons. If Porsche’s literal home lies on the Swabian autobahn, Southern California played nearly as important a role in its development, standing as a finishing school with laureates including everything from the 356 to the Cayenne to the car I hustled up San Francisquito Canyon, a Miami Blue 2017 911 Turbo S. … ” A good excuse for pictures of nice cars in amongst San Francisquito Canyon scenery …  Read more at Car and Driver here:  What the Killers Left Us: Tracing the Saint Francis Dam Disaster in a 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S

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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