DAILY DIGEST: Damage to creeks, water supply analyzed after Sonoma County fires; How much do salmon still shape the Northwest? ; Storm fueled by atmospheric river to pummel Sierra in ‘biggest storm of the season’ so far; and more …

In California water news today, Damage to creeks, water supply analyzed after Sonoma County fires; How much do salmon still shape the Northwest? ; Storm fueled by atmospheric river to pummel Sierra in ‘biggest storm of the season' so far; Atmospheric rivers are back! A refresher course; Californians slashed water use, but we still use more than the US average; Rural Colorado areas at risk as water levels drop in massive aquifer; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Damage to creeks, water supply analyzed after Sonoma County fires:  “It’s called “first flush,” the rain that fell last week upon the scars of recent wildfires and threatened to wash into local streams whatever ash, debris or contaminants had been left upon the landscape.  From fire retardant to heavy metals to organic byproducts and exposed sediment, anything left behind by the flames was at risk of being swept into storm drains and streams during the season’s first substantial rains, experts said. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Damage to creeks, water supply analyzed after Sonoma County fires

How much do salmon still shape the Northwest? It’s hard to know where to begin in the “mythopoeic” journey that is Upstream: Searching for Wild Salmon, From River to Table, but the spotting tower of a reef-net barge in Puget Sound might be the place. Reef-netting is an ancient Pacific Northwest technique that, as author Langdon Cook explains, is now the world’s rarest — and most sustainable — form of salmon fishing. Just offshore, sunken cables with plastic flagging shape a long funnel that converges over an underwater net strung between two barges. “Sometimes a school looks like an overhead cloud,” a fisher tells Cook, “like a shadow moving across the ripples.” Sometimes the fish are plainly visible, “a perfect line or a V, like a flock of geese.” When they swim over the net, the spotter calls out, the winches are tripped, and instantly the net rises with salmon in its fold “like a bunch of kids bouncing on a trampoline.” … ”  Read more from High Country News here:  How much do salmon still shape the Northwest?

Storm fueled by atmospheric river to pummel Sierra in ‘biggest storm of the season' so far:  “A roaring “pineapple express” is expected to blast the Sierra Wednesday and Thursday, marking the biggest storm of the season so far.  The warm, moisture-rich storm is fueled by an “atmospheric river” originating in the South Pacific and predicted to bring up to a foot and above of snow at elevations as low as 7,500 feet.  Last year's winter of record-breaking snowfall in the Sierra was distinguishes by a series of these moist systems, and Scott McGuire, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Reno, says that while the moisture tap of this storm is well-defined, it will be quick hitting, swooping in Wednesday night and heading out Thursday night. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Storm fueled by atmospheric river to pummel Sierra in ‘biggest storm of the season’ so far

Atmospheric rivers are back!  A refresher course:  “Last winter, it wasn’t until January that Northern California saw that first ribbon of wetness known as an “atmospheric river” roll in from Hawaii, hitting the region like some super-sized dunking booth.  This year, the river’s not waiting in the sidelines. On Wednesday, we’re expected to receive the season’s inaugural atmospheric river and it could leave as many as three inches of rain on the Bay Area.  A typical year in the Golden State would see from 5 to 15 of these meteorological masterpieces, which tend to produce our biggest storms and floods. So as that first plume of moisture winds its waterlogged way here, you might want to learn more about what’s coming our way. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Atmospheric rivers are back!  A refresher course

Californians slashed water use, but we still use more than the US average:  “Between 2015 and 2010, Californians slashed their water use by seventeen percent, according to the US Geological Survey report. During that time, the state was gripped by the worst drought in modern times, and Governor Brown declared the first-ever mandatory water restrictions.  But despite the savings, Californians still use more water than residents of many East Coast states. As of September 2017, Californians use 110 gallons per person per day for outdoor and indoor consumption. Meanwhile, in Connecticut, residents needed just 35 gallons of water per person per day in 2015 – less than half the national average of 82 gallons per person per day. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Californians slashed water use, but we still use more than the US average

Rural Colorado areas at risk as water levels drop in massive aquifer:  “The draining of a massive aquifer that underlies portions of eight states in the central U.S. is drying up steams, causing fish to disappear and threatening the livelihood of farmers who rely on it for their crops.  Water levels in the Ogallala aquifer have been dropping for decades as irrigators pump water faster than rainfall can recharge it.  An analysis of federal data found the Ogallala aquifer shrank twice as fast over the past six years compared with the previous 60, The Denver Post reports. ... ”  Read more from the Gazette here:  Rural Colorado areas at risk as water levels drop in massive aquifer

The changing colors of our living planet:  “NASA satellites can see our living Earth breathe.  In the Northern Hemisphere, ecosystems wake up in the spring, taking in carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen as they sprout leaves — and a fleet of Earth-observing satellites tracks the spread of the newly green vegetation.  Meanwhile, in the oceans, microscopic plants drift through the sunlit surface waters and bloom into billions of carbon dioxide-absorbing organisms — and light-detecting instruments on satellites map the swirls of their color.  This fall marks 20 years since NASA has continuously observed not just the physical properties of our planet, but the one thing that makes Earth unique among the thousands of other worlds we’ve discovered: Life. ... ”  Read more from NASA here:  The changing colors of our living planet

In commentary today …

Jeff Mount: Three ways to change how California manages water for the environment:  “It’s time for California to rethink how it manages water for the environment. Despite four decades of effort, many of the state’s freshwater-dependent native species are in decline. Controversy over water for the environment remains high. The latest drought left lasting impacts on already-stressed species and their ecosystems and highlighted the need for a change of course.  Our new research identifies shortcomings in current practices and lays out three reforms that could reduce conflict while improving freshwater ecosystems. … ”  Continue reading at Water Deeply here: Three ways to change how California manages water for the environment

In regional news and commentary today …

Farm tours:  Peacans, quinoa, almonds, water, prunes on show:  “More than one nut grower remembers thinking the family planting pecans in Butte County in the late ’80s might need a sanity check, but the odd crop wasn’t a poor choice.  Pecans were common in states like Georgia, New Mexico and Texas, but a strange choice to the nut growers of Butte County, who had thousand of acres of almonds and walnuts, and a few hundred acres of pistachios.  It did take a while to get the orchard settled, but if it hadn’t been the respected grower, the late Emmett Skinner, there might have been more doubt about the crop. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Farm tours:  Peacans, quinoa, almonds, water, prunes on show

Yuba-Sutter: Critical levee upgrades are nearly a wrap:  “The wet weather is here and levee work along the Feather River in Yuba City is largely completed, an official said.  Mike Inamine, executive director of the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency, said the lion’s share of two major projects is completed. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Yuba-Sutter: Critical levee upgrades are nearly a wrap

Lead, arsenic, copper found in drinking water at some NorCal schools:  “Water tests at school drinking fountains across Northern California found dangerous levels of lead and other metals, prompting school officials to shut down the fountains.  However, thousands of schools across California have not participated in a state-funded program to test their drinking water, according to an investigation by KCRA 3.  Jenny Rempel with the Community Water Center has been fighting for stricter clean water standards. She said the problem is odorless, colorless and potentially dangerous. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Lead, arsenic, copper found in drinking water at some NorCal schools

Precipitation watch …

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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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