DAILY DIGEST: Trump move to boost Delta pumping raises fears about fish impacts; Safety wasn’t the only thing on Oroville Dam operators’ minds as they responded to crisis, report shows; The nation’s rivers and streams are getting dangerously saltier; and more … 

In California water news today, Trump move to boost Delta pumping raises fears about fish impacts; Safety wasn’t the only thing on Oroville Dam operators’ minds as they responded to crisis, report shows; Storms dump 18 inches of snow, heavy rain in Sierra; Long dry spell prompts early irrigations; How wildfires impact California’s water supply; Crews rescue residents as mud engulfs California burn areas; 2017 was costliest year ever in the US for weather, climate disasters; Trump describes work to reduce regulatory burden; The nation’s rivers and streams are getting dangerously saltier; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Trump move to boost Delta pumping raises fears about fish impacts:  “In the final days of 2017, President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would consider sending as much water as possible from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farmers and cities to the south. The notice comes as a follow-up to a speech Trump made in Fresno during his presidential campaign, when he condemned the downstream flow of river water into the ocean as “insane.”  While the state’s agricultural community has welcomed the proposal, issued by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on December 29, fishery advocates have not. They warn that pumping more water out of the Delta will threaten the survival of imperiled salmon runs, as well as the critically endangered Delta smelt. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Trump move to boost Delta pumping raises fears about fish impacts

Safety wasn’t the only thing on Oroville Dam operators’ minds as they responded to crisis, report shows:  “California water officials have always insisted public safety was their only concern as they struggled with the crisis unfolding last February at Oroville Dam.  The forensic team investigating what happened at Lake Oroville, however, has pinpointed another factor guiding the decisions made by the Department of Water Resources: the state’s desire to continue shipping water to faraway farms and cities that rely on deliveries from the reservoir.  DWR officials faced a difficult choice after a giant crater formed in Oroville Dam’s main flood-control spillway during a heavy rainstorm Feb. 7. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Safety wasn’t the only thing on Oroville Dam operators’ minds as they responded to crisis, report shows

Long dry spell prompts early irrigations:  “In less than 12 months, Joe Valente went from having far too much water to not nearly enough.  “Every year is different in agriculture,” Valente said as he stood in a vineyard near Lodi that needed a rare infusion of irrigation water in December. “This time last year, we were dealing with floodwater, with more than twice normal rainfall. This year, it’s just kind of been the opposite.”  Such was life in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys last month, where the near-total absence of rain forced farmers to turn on the spigots. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Long dry spell prompts early irrigations

How wildfires impact California’s water supply:  “Now that rain has made its way back into California, recent wildfires will impact how that water affects the state’s water supply. A wildfire raises the threat of flooding and erosion. This can cause water quality issues immediately or even years later. … ”  Read more from Weather Nation here:  How wildfires impact California’s water supply

Storms dump 18 inches of snow, heavy rain in Sierra:  “A winter storm that killed at least eight people in California dumped more than a foot of snow and an inch of heavy rain on the Sierra Nevada.  The National Weather Service in Reno reported Tuesday that 18 inches of snow fell on the top of Mammoth Mountain south of Yosemite National Park. … ”  Read more from KOLO here:  Storms dump 18 inches of snow, heavy rain in Sierra

Crews rescue residents as mud engulfs California burn areas:  “Homes were swept from their foundations and residents were unaccounted for while others were rescued as mud and debris from wildfire-scarred hillsides flowed through neighborhoods and onto a key Southern California highway during a powerful winter storm that dropped record rain across the state.  Helicopters were being used even during the downpours because roads were blocked, Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Amber Anderson said.  “The primary issue right now is access. We’ve got trees and power lines down,” she said. ... ” Read more from the Capital Press here:  Crews rescue residents as mud engulfs California burn areas

2017 was costliest year ever in the US for weather, climate disasters:  “Last year’s devastating floods and fires in California combined with hurricanes and other natural disasters to wreak unprecedented financial damage on the United States, the federal government reported Monday.  The nation endured 16 weather and climate events that inflicted $1 billion or more apiece in damage in 2017, tying 2011 for the most 10-digit calamities in a year and setting an annual total-cost record of $306 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The natural disasters resulted in 362 deaths. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  2017 was costliest year ever in the US for weather, climate disasters

Trump describes work to reduce regulatory burden:  “Pledging to honor “America’s proud farming legacy” in every decision his administration makes, President Donald Trump told Farm Bureau members the administration is “putting an end to the regulatory assault on your way of life.”  Trump spoke Monday to the 99th American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., pointing out he was the first president to speak at AFBF since President George H.W. Bush in 1992.  From his inauguration nearly one year ago, Trump said, “we have been working every day to deliver for America’s farmers, just as they work every single day to deliver for us.”  The president received perhaps his most enthusiastic reception when he described the administration’s work to reduce the impact of government regulation on farms and ranches. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Trump describes work to reduce regulatory burden

The nation’s rivers and streams are getting dangerously saltier:  “Nearly everywhere you turn during this frigid stretch of winter, much of the world seems covered in a layer of salt aimed at keeping our roads drivable and sidewalks free of ice. All that salt is one reason — although not the only one — that many of the nation’s rivers and streams are becoming saltier, according to new research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Increased salt poses risks to drinking-water supplies for millions of Americans, threatens urban infrastructure, and has the potential to upend ecosystems.  “The fact it is occurring so widely surprised us,” said Gene Likens, an author of the new study who is a University of Connecticut professor and president emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. “The impacts we humans are having on natural systems are really widespread.” ... ”  Read more from the Washington Post here:  The nation’s rivers and streams are getting dangerously saltier

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath River Renewal Corporation hires community liaison on dam removal:  “The Klamath Basin will soon know more about an individual hired by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) as a point person on issues relating to the proposed removal of four dams on the Klamath River starting in 2020.  Mark Bransom, KRCC executive director, confirmed on Monday the organization has hired a community liaison for the Klamath Basin on issues related to the decommissioning of PacifiCorps’ Iron Gate Dam, Copco No. 1 and No. 2, and J.C. Boyle Dam.  Bransom said the organization plans to make an announcement soon about the individual tapped to fill the post. The person is currently working in the position “just south of the Basin” in California and will travel as needed, according to Bransom. ... ”  Read more from the Herald and News here:  KRRC hires community liaison on dam removal

Bay Area storms: Did all that rain make a difference?  “Drenching storms Monday and Tuesday smashed Northern California’s unusually dry December weather pattern, dumping nearly half a foot of rain on the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Marin hills in 48 hours — with twice that much in Big Sur — and bringing many Bay Area cities their wettest day in at least a year.  “We’re back in a normal wintertime pattern right now. We’re full wintertime mode,” said Steve Anderson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Monterey. “It’s not looking as bleak as it was in December.” ... ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Bay Area storms: Did all that rain make a difference?

Storm fills one south Bay Area reservoir as others remain low:  “The storm provided a big boost to the water supply for at least one South Bay reservoir, but most of the them did not get as big a jump in capacity as expected.  Experts say that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The capacity at Vasona Reservoir jumped from 80 percent to 101 percent this week and was flowing over its spillway and into Los Gatos Creek on Tuesday.  Other reservoirs across Santa Clara County remained low, even after all the heavy rains. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Storm fills one south Bay Area reservoir as others remain low

Sacramento: Debris from homeless camps ends up in local waterways after storms:  “The first big rain of the year is flushing massive amounts of debris from homeless camps down the American River in Sacramento County, and into California waterways.  The storm hit just as the state’s Water Quality Control Board begins to look at the pollution problem along the river. The rising water is pushing more waste into the river in an area that is also home to wildlife. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Sacramento: Debris from homeless camps ends up in local waterways after storms

Lodi: Local district moves forward with water project:  “The North San Joaquin County Water Conservation District Board of Directors approved the formation of a special water district as well as the engineer’s report for the South System Groundwater Improvement Project during its meeting on Monday afternoon in the Lodi Public Library’s Community Room.  The project would create a new system of pipes for in-lieu recharge, taking surface water from the Mokelumne River to irrigate agricultural lands in the area instead of groundwater, allowing declining groundwater levels to replenish. ... ”  Read more from the Lodi News-Sentinel here:  Lodi: Local district moves forward with water project

‘Goose Day’: Recognizing one species’ recovery:  “With all of the gloomy headlines about the dying Delta smelt, maybe it’s time to celebrate one of the great local success stories of the Endangered Species Act.  That would be Aleutian cackling geese, migratory birds that look almost identical to their common Canadian cousins but are actually a different species.  The Aleutian variety came within a tail-feather of extinction in the 1960s. Now the geese are thick enough that they can be seen swirling by the thousands above the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge each winter. And for the first time, officials are planning a special event Saturday in recognition of their spectacular recovery. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  ‘Goose Day’: Recognizing one species’ recovery

Turlock City Council commends Flora for supporting state funding for regional water supply project:  “The Turlock City Council presented Assemblymember Heath Flora with a proclamation on Tuesday, recognizing the legislator’s efforts in advocating for State funding for the City’s surface water treatment plant project.  The proclamation commends Flora for “his keen negotiating skills, political acumen and extraordinary effort that resulted in a potential source of State funding that will offset the cost of the water supply project to the citizens of Turlock.” ... ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Turlock City Council commends Flora for supporting state funding for regional water supply project

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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