DAILY DIGEST: After the wine country fires, what happens to the crops?; DWR set to finish major work on Oroville spillway; Winterlike storm to pound Washington to California; Trinity River seeks to transform mining impacts into salmon habitat; and more …

In California water news today, After the wine country fires, what happens to the crops?; DWR set to finish major work on Lake Oroville spillway project; Winterlike storm to pound Washington to California; Pruitt guts EPA science panels, will appoint new members; Trinity River seeks to transform mining impacts into salmon habitat; Rain in forecast shifts Sonoma County cleanup to stream banks; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

After the wine country fires, what happens to the crops? The full extent of the damage from the northern California wildfires that killed 43 people and destroyed 8,400 homes is still being tallied. The devastation left an obvious scar, but not all the damage is visible.  Among the assessments still to be made is what impact millions of gallons of fire retardant—essentially a potent fertilizer—may have on carefully tended plants and soils.  Saved by timing, nearly 80 percent of the renowned wine region’s grapes had been harvested when the multiple fires started in early October. And for the most part, the blazes did not linger at the vineyards, which are kept free of grasses and other fire-devouring fuels.  But there was collateral damage: bright red slathers of fire retardant dropped from the state’s fleet of supertankers. In one week, more than 2 million gallons of retardant were dropped in California—a record, according to Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  After the wine country fires, what happens to the crops?

DWR set to finish major work on Lake Oroville spillway project:  “The California Department of Water Resources says crews are pouring the last bit of concrete on the bottom sections of the new Lake Oroville main spillway project.  Erin Mellon with DWR says that Wednesday is the deadline for the major work to be completed. ... ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  DWR set to finish major work on Lake Oroville spillway project

Winterlike storm to pound Washington to California; flooding to threaten wildfire-ravaged areas:  “A storm associated with colder air will spread rain and mountain snow over part the western United States late this week and this weekend.  The storm will help boost snowfall for ski country in the Northwest and bring some rain to areas still at risk for wildfires.  Rain will spread through low elevations of the interior Northwest and southward along the Pacific coast through California. … ” Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Winterlike storm to pound Washington to California; flooding to threaten wildfire-ravaged areas

Pruitt guts EPA science panels, will appoint new members:  “The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday he intends to replace the outside experts that advise him on science and public health issues with new board members holding more diverse views.  In announcing the changes, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt suggested many previously appointed to the panels were potentially biased because they had received federal research grants. The 22 boards advise EPA on a wide range of issues, including drinking water standards and pesticide safety. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Pruitt guts EPA science panels, will appoint new members

In commentary today …

How water agencies are tackling equity: Radhika Fox writes, “Water is essential to everything we do – it shapes economic growth, the environment and the social fabric of our communities. Clean drinking water and properly treated wastewater are critical to public health, agriculture and huge portions of our economy. But access to safe, reliable and affordable water is unequally distributed across the country.  The high-quality water service that most Americans enjoy obscures the fact that millions of Americans don’t have reliable access to water. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How water agencies are tackling equity

In regional news and commentary today …

Trinity River seeks to transform mining impacts into salmon habitat:  “After historic mining operations and construction of dams removed critical Trinity River salmon habitat, two local tribes and other partners have been working to transform the land to make it fish-friendly once again. Four months into the project, Yurok Tribe Watershed Program Director Richard Nelson said they are already seeing fish using the new habitat to spawn.  “It’s hard to say how long it will be before humans or men, or however you want to phrase it, start noticing that it’s making a benefit,” Nelson said Tuesday. “The fish, they notice it immediately.” … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Trinity River seeks to transform mining impacts into salmon habitat

Rain in forecast shifts Sonoma County cleanup to stream banks:  “The specter of rain washing potentially toxic ash from thousands of burned homes into sensitive Sonoma County watersheds has injected a new sense of urgency to local fire cleanup efforts, with the immediate focus shifting to erosion control needed to safeguard water quality.  The risk comes at the outset of a historic government-funded debris removal program in the region, where the largest and most destructive wildfires that broke out Oct. 8 were finally brought under full containment Tuesday. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Rain in forecast shifts Sonoma County cleanup to stream banks

Extreme level of lead at SF school gym fountain, among 30 taps failing test:  “At least 30 water taps at three San Francisco public school campuses tested for high levels of lead, and water from one fountain in a high school gym had a lead level nearly 60 times the maximum under federal health guidelines, data released by the district show.  The numbers offer a clearer and more serious picture of the lead levels coming from water spigots in some San Francisco schools than an initial description by district officials last week. They indicated that 1 tap out of 5 tested at each of three school sites exceeded federal guidelines, prompting the district to shut down the taps, notify parents and initiate more testing. … ” Read more from SF Gate here:  Extreme level of lead at SF school gym fountain, among 30 taps failing test

Satellite data shows Silicon Valley aquifers bounced back from drought:  “California’s five-year drought taxed the state’s water supplies like never before, especially its groundwater. Many areas of the state saw huge drops in aquifer water levels, with resulting surface subsidence and even damage to infrastructure such as roads and canals.  As a result, water agencies and scientists began looking for ways to monitor groundwater more closely. One that emerged uses sensors mounted on Earth-orbiting satellites.  It’s difficult to imagine that satellites can detect changes in groundwater. The fact that they can indicates just how much groundwater consumption affects the planet: Losses in groundwater can be detected from changes in the Earth’s gravitational force and by precisely measuring land surface elevation. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Satellite data shows Silicon Valley aquifers bounced back from drought

Study: Vista Canyon’s recycled water won’t hurt environment:  “Santa Clarita’s first large-scale water recycling project – will have no significant impact on the environment, a team of local water officials and engineering consultants has concluded.  Members of Castaic Lake Water Agency’s Planning and Engineering Committee were expected to approve a recommendation Wednesday calling on the agency’s board of directors to adopt a study showing the landmark recycling project will not hurt SCV’s environment. … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here:  Study: Vista Canyon’s recycled water won’t hurt environment

A controversial plan to drain water from the desert? Go for it, says the Trump Administration:  “Chris Clarke remembers a billboard on the side of highway 15 outside of Barstow, on the way to Las Vegas: “The Boredom Ends in 150 Miles.” Clarke, a former journalist who now works for the National Parks Conservation Association, could never understand it. What’s so interesting about a place filled with people and money and electric lights? You can find that anywhere.  To Clarke, the desert is far more exciting. Some people see it as a place to do things you can’t do in the city — shoot guns, drive a dune buggy. Others are drawn to the vastness, its quiet emptiness. You can look out and see a dozen miles of uninterrupted landscape in any direction, like being on the ocean. But to true desert evangelists like Clarke, there is so much more. … ”  Read more from LA Weekly here:  A controversial plan to drain water from the desert? Go for it, says the Trump Administration

Precipitation watch …

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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