DAILY DIGEST: Monterey County water agency officials call for rapid response to worsening Salinas Valley seawater intrusion; Danger endures in Wine County as fight shifts from fires to mudslides; Why the Central Valley must invest in flood protection; and more …

In California water news today, Monterey County water agency officials call for rapid response to worsening Salinas Valley seawater intrusion; Danger endures in Wine County as fight shifts from fires to mudslides; Research becomes reality in study of fire impact on Sonoma water resources; How have drought, climate change impacted beloved sequoias? New study finds out; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board will meet beginning at 9:30am.  Among the agenda items is a public workshop on Draft Regulations to Prohibit Certain Wasteful Water Practices and to Make Monthly Water Use Reporting Mandatory.  Click here for the agendaClick here to watch on webcast.

In the news today …

Monterey County water agency officials call for rapid response to worsening Salinas Valley seawater intrusion:  “Told by staff that northern Salinas Valley seawater intrusion is almost certainly worse now than it was two years ago, Monterey County Water Resources Agency board members called for an expedited response to the worsening problem.  After agency staff predicted continued growth over the last two years of “islands” of salty water impinging on critical underground fresh water supplies in parts of the agriculture-rich valley, water agency board members said there needed to be rapid action to head off potentially irreversible damage to those supplies.  Agency board member Glen Dupree said the problem is so urgent there may not be the typical time to react, and called for quicker and more expansive action to address the issue. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Monterey County water agency officials call for rapid response to worsening Salinas Valley seawater intrusion

Danger endures in Wine County as fight shifts from fires to mudslides:  “When last month’s deadly wildfires chased Jonathan Umholtz and his family from their Sonoma County home for 16 days, the disruption seemed endless. It turns out, that was just the beginning.  Umholtz, his wife and two kids were told a week after they returned home that they needed to leave again, this time for at least four months. A badly burned hillside above their three-bedroom house was on the verge of breaking loose, with the mud and all manner of debris threatening to come barreling down. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Danger endures in Wine County as fight shifts from fires to mudslides

Research becomes reality in study of fire impact on Sonoma water resources:  “Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) spent a decade developing world-class modeling and monitoring capabilities to pinpoint factors behind the success of Sonoma’s riverbank filtration system. They were turning their attention to investigating the potential impact of extreme events, such as storms and wildfires, when disaster struck. Suddenly, their experimental approaches to predicting how the system would respond to hypothetical situations are being used to explore real-life perturbations.  Catastrophic fires in Northern California burned more than 110,000 acres in Sonoma and Napa counties last month – including 8 percent of the Russian River watershed. Now with the rainy season underway Berkeley Lab’s research – which seeks to understand how the hydrology and microbiology of the surface and groundwater system respond to extreme events – has become even more critical. … ”  Read more from Berkeley Lab here:  Research becomes reality in study of fire impact on Sonoma water resources

Mystery solved: How flies ‘scuba dive’ at Mono Lake:  “In 1862, Mark Twain traveled to Mono Lake, the vast, ancient landmark east of Yosemite National Park famous for its craggy limestone rock formations. Though he nearly drowned trying to cross the 11-mile-long lake in a rowboat during a storm, the author remained captivated by its odd features, especially the swarms of tiny black flies that lined the shore and their unusual behavior.  “You can hold them underwater as long as you please — they do not mind it,” Twain later wrote in his 1872 book “Roughing It.” “They are only proud of it. When you let them go, they pop up to the surface as dry as a patent office report, and walk off as unconcernedly as if they had been educated especially with a view to affording instructive entertainment to man.” … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Mystery solved: How flies ‘scuba dive’ at Mono Lake

How have drought, climate change impacted beloved sequoias?  New study finds out:  “The towering giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevada struggled to endure the recent drought as temperatures continued to inch higher and higher each year, a new study has found.  While the historically resilient trees managed to largely withstand the die-off that was prevalant in California forests, they did so at a price: depleting their underground water storage, according to a study conducted by the U.S. National Park Service, the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Sun Yat-sen University. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  How have drought, climate change impacted beloved sequoias?  New study finds out

In commentary today …

California had a record water year.  Why the Central Valley must invest in flood protection:  Jeff Opperman and Peter Moyle write, “Massive floods hit Houston and devastating hurricanes struck Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Yet one of the more remarkable stories in the past year is the catastrophe that did not happen: massive flooding in California.  California experienced its wettest water year on record in 2016-17. In previous decades, that huge volume of water would have caused lethal floods, particularly in the Central Valley.  In part, we were lucky. Reservoirs were empty from drought so they had abundant capacity, and there was sufficient time between big storms so the rainfall didn’t stack up. Dams and major levees held, though the near-failing of Oroville Dam’s spillway and the flooding of the small town of Maxwell in February showed it could have been much worse. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California had a record water year.  Why the Central Valley must invest in flood protection

Repairs should not be limited to Oroville Dam, says Richard Bloom:  He writes, “With the first phase of repairs to the Oroville Dam spillway completed, residents downstream can breathe a little easier. Hundreds of engineers and laborers worked around the clock to fortify the nation’s tallest dam before winter rains, and the Department of Water Resources should be congratulated for expediting this enormous task. But there is a key part of this repair that is still to be done to ensure that California’s water system is ready to withstand the challenges of extreme weather events predicted for the future. That is, repairing the watershed that supplies and regulates the flow of water into the Oroville reservoir. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Repairs should not be limited to Oroville Dam

Why we should treat public data like water: Patrick Atwater writes, “For three years, Advanced Research in Government Operations Labs (ARGO Labs) has envisioned, planned, and deployed public data infrastructure for integrated urban water use data across California. After Governor Brown’s historic executive order in May 2016 to “make water conservation a way of life,” our team calculated how much water Californian retail water utilities should reasonably expect their residential customers to need, and created a data visualization based on that data to analyze user selected scenarios. Our work leveraged freely available imagery and academic research partnerships to deliver those statewide estimates of reasonable water use for just 5 percent of the $3 million the state originally budgeted for the project. … ”  Read more from the Civicist here:  Why we should treat public data like water:

Essay: A visit to the Delta, and a ship captain’s picturesque memories of the sea:  Stephanie Taylor writes, “Relaxing on a porch in the Delta town of Locke, James Motlow’s mellow demeanor seems a contrast with his 30 high-stress years as captain of a Blue and Gold ship on San Francisco Bay. I’ve come to ask him about what connects the bay with the Delta, and about his perceptions as both a fine art photographer and a ship’s captain, with so much exposure to sea, sky and elements.  He returned to Locke in 2010, though in some ways he’d never really left, not since moving here in 1971 as a young photographer, one of the few non-Chinese among exclusively Zhongshan dialect speaking neighbors. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Essay: A visit to the Delta, and a ship captain’s picturesque memories of the sea

In regional news and commentary …

Siskiyou County Supervisors continue dam removal funding fight:  “The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to continue its opposition to a proposal related to funding for the removal of four dams on the Klamath River.  The removal of the dams is the core component of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, a multi-party agreement that sets forth a path toward the removal of J.C. Boyle, Iron Gate, Copco 1, and Copco 2 dams.  As part of the agreement, PacifiCorp — which owns the dams — requested the California Public Utilities Commission approve a surcharge on its customers’ bills to provide funding in the event the dams are removed. … ” Read more from the Herald & News here:  Siskiyou County Supervisors continue dam removal funding fight

Lake Oroville inching up but it’s still low:  “The series of storms that began Wednesday have Lake Oroville’s water level inching up toward 700 feet above sea level, but that’s still well below the point where the Department of Water Resources would increase releases to the Feather River below.  Monday afternoon the lake was just below 698 feet, up about 8 1/2 feet since the water started rising Wednesday, according to DWR’s website. That’s still 113 feet below where the repaired main spillway even could be used and 200 feet below the emergency spillway lip. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Lake Oroville inching up but it’s still low

Chico: Associated Students plastic water bottle sales continue, despite student-supported ban:  “Water bottle sales will continue at Chico State University, despite a student-supported ban.  Students voted in 2016 to rid the campus stores operated by The Associated Students of bottled water. Some of the organizers campaigning for the ban strung water bottles from Butte Hall, and took to campus to educate students about how the products can harm the environment.  They may be little bottles, but they can cause big problems. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Chico: Associated Students plastic water bottle sales continue, despite student-supported ban

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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