DAILY DIGEST: How climate change is impacting the American West right now; Panel discussion: Protecting and restoring free flowing rivers; Baby endangered salmon use different rivers than expected, study shows; Feds disband Trinity River Project watchdog group; and more …

In California water news today, How climate change is impacting the American West right now; Panel discussion: Protecting and restoring free flowing rivers; Baby endangered salmon use different rivers than expected, study shows; Feds disband Trinity River Project watchdog group; Grapegrowers, Napa County team up to help landowners install erosion controls; Proponents file signatures for new Napa watershed and oak woodland initiative; and more …

In the news today …

How climate change is impacting the American West right now:  “We are now living in a time that’s the warmest in the history of modern civilization, according to the latest Climate Science Special Report, part of the National Climate Assessment. Global annual average surface temperatures have risen nearly 1.8F (1C) since 1901. Sixteen of the warmest years on record have taken place during the past 17 years.  Scientists have calculated future scenarios for the coming decades that include sea-level rise, more severe rainfall and an increase in the frequency of heatwaves. Some areas will get drier, others wetter. No matter what the future brings, one thing is clear: Impacts from a warming climate are already being felt across the American West, with changes to ecosystems and water supply. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How climate change is impacting the American West right now

Panel discussion:  Protecting and restoring free flowing rivers:  “This panel explored a series of legal tools available for attorneys to protect and restore instream flows.  To begin, Douglas Wolf discussed legal tools that the Center for Biological Diversity (the “Center”) and other organizations use to fight harmful seasonal flow diversions on the Gila River. Specifically, Wolf explained how the Center uses critical habitat of the endangered fish to protect Instream flow using the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The Gila River begins in an arid watershed in New Mexico. Heavy spring flows from snowmelt safeguard the river’s water quality. However, under a series of settlements and agreements, water users are allowed to store the heavy spring snowmelt from the Gila River and divert it for irrigation and other purposes. In addition to harming the Gila River’s water quality, diverting spring snowmelt harms the loach minnow, a tiny fish listed as a threatened species. ... ”  Read more from the University of Denver Water Law Review here:  Panel discussion:  Protecting and restoring free flowing rivers

Baby endangered salmon use different rivers than expected, study shows:  “Biologists assumed baby winter-run Chinook salmon hung out in the Sacramento River where they hatched until they grew large enough to make the trip downstream to the Pacific Ocean.  A recently released scientific study challenges that assumption – and may have implications in how fisheries agencies manage Sacramento Valley waterways to protect the critically endangered fish.  In a paper published online last week in the journal Biological Conservation, a team of California researchers revealed a surprising finding: Juvenile winter-run Chinook aren’t just using the Sacramento River as rearing habitat; after hatching, they also venture in large numbers into the river’s tributaries, including creeks that feed into it below Redding, as well the Feather and the American rivers. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Baby endangered salmon use different rivers than expected, study shows

In regional news and commentary today …

Feds disband Trinity River Project watchdog group:  “A recent decision by President Donald Trump’s administration to effectively disband a watchdog group tasked with overseeing a multi-million dollar, publicly funded habitat restoration project for the Trinity River surprised and concerned group members, tribes and government agencies.  “We now have a very controversial $15 million a year program with virtually no public oversight whatsoever,” the group’s Chairman Tom Stokely said to the Times-Standard on Wednesday.  The Interior Department’s reasoning behind the group’s disbanding has also come under question. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Feds disband Trinity River Project watchdog group

Grapegrowers, Napa County team up to help landowners install erosion controls:  “Fearing erosion of their land this winter, Napans took to the Napa Valley Expo on Wednesday morning for the promise of free supplies and advice courtesy of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and a cadre of county offices for the first Erosion Control Community Fair.  Pallets of straw wattles were stacked high and up for grabs along with stakes, mulch, seed mixes, gloves, boots, tarps and other erosion control trappings, while the county’s Ag Commissioner’s Office, Planning Department, Resource Conservation District and other authorities offered their expertise to those working to tackle the looming threat of erosion in the wake of the October wildfires. ... ” Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Grapegrowers, Napa County team up to help landowners install erosion controls

Proponents file signatures for new Napa watershed and oak woodland initiative:  “Proponents for a proposed oak woodland and watershed protection measure are hoping that the second time is the charm.  On Friday morning, they turned in more than 7,000 signatures to the county Election Division on a petition to qualify the measure for the June 5 ballot. They need about 3,800 to be from registered, local voters to succeed.  It seems like a slam dunk. And yet …  Last year, proponents collected enough valid signatures, only to have the measure disqualified on a technicality. County officials said the initiative referenced a county policy appendix, so signature gatherers should have carried that document with them in case potential signers wanted to read it. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Proponents file signatures for new Napa watershed and oak woodland initiative

Close look at $28.5 million levee repairs around Yuba City:  “More than a dozen people piled into a shuttle Saturday morning to see for themselves progress on the West Feather River levee work.  The bulldozers were still but residents could see the recently-backfilled trench covering a 3-foot-wide tool protecting hundreds of thousands of people from flooding: the slurry wall.  The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency got to work on emergency levee repairs following last winter’s high waters and the Oroville Dam evacuation. Seepage, boils, sink holes and water erosion were signs of severe distress. The $28.5 million project, mostly funded by the state, is geared up to complete by Christmas.  … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Close look at $28.5 million levee repairs around Yuba City

King tides bring Bay Area coastal flooding warnings:  “Extremely high tides expected through Tuesday prompted weather forecasters Sunday to issue a flood warning for coastal regions of the Bay Area.  The dramatic tidal fluctuations known as king tides — caused by the full moon being in close proximity to the Earth — were expected to surge as high as 7 feet, said Steve Anderson, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Tides will reach their height in the mid- to late-morning hours of Monday and Tuesday, forecasters said. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  King tides bring Bay Area coastal flooding warnings

A county in Utah wants to suck 77 million gallons of water a day out of Lake Powell, threatening the Colorado River:  “Sun-scorched desert mesa, 140 miles of it, lies between Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, and Utah’s Washington County, one of America’s driest metropolitan regions.  It’s a long way in miles — but not insurmountable to the Washington County Water Conservancy District, which is charged with ensuring a rapidly growing desert community has water. The district plans to link the reservoir and the county with one of the longest and most expensive water pipelines ever proposed in the West. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  A county in Utah wants to suck 77 million gallons of water a day out of Lake Powell, threatening the Colorado River

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

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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