DAILY DIGEST: California’s proposed budget reveals water, climate priorities; Are more deadly mudslides inevitable? Experts say yes; How beer will save Western rivers; Zinke’s watershed plan is 140 years too late; and more …

In California water news today, California’s proposed budget reveals water, climate priorities; Are more deadly mudslides inevitable? Experts say yes; New research holds promise of predicting snowpack even before the snow falls; Why a dry year is not such a bad thing; Sea change: Detailing warming, rising impacts on California; How beer will save Western rivers; Zinke’s watershed plan is 140 years too late; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Today’s State Water Resources Water Control Board meeting has been canceled.
  • Public meeting on efforts to maximize Central Valley Project deliveries from 2pm to 4pm in Sacramento.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

California’s proposed budget reveals water, climate priorities:  “For California Governor Jerry Brown and his administration, 2017 was a water year to remember, and one that would figure into the drafting of the state’s 2018-19 budget, which was released early this month. The $190 billion proposed spending plan names California’s drought and the “extreme natural events of 2017” as determining factors in how the cash was divvied up.  The budget, released just days after President Donald Trump mocked the science of climate change on Twitter, specifically outlines a science-based approach to allocating funds, especially with an eye toward the planet’s increasing temperatures and rising sea level. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  California’s proposed budget reveals water, climate priorities

Are more deadly mudslides inevitable? Experts say yes:  “Experts analyzing the catastrophic mudslide that claimed 20 lives here say there’s no doubt it will happen again.  The big question: Will the state and local governments act to reduce the risks created by development in mudslide-prone areas?  “California tries to lead by policy, but unfortunately, we make advancements by crisis. That is our history,” said Susan Lien Longville, chairwoman of the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. “Every time there is a major flood event, we have task forces and we do studies.”  Longville knows. She was part of a task force convened by the state Legislature following a 2003 mudslide that killed 16 people in San Bernardino. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Are more deadly mudslides inevitable? Experts say yes

New research holds promise of predicting snowpack even before the snow falls:  “As farmers in the American West decide what, when and where to plant, and urban water managers plan for water needs in the next year, they want to know how much water their community will get from melting snow in the mountains.  This melting snow comes from snowpack, the high elevation reservoir of snow which melts in the spring and summer. Agriculture depends on snowpack for a majority of its water. Meltwater also contributes to municipal water supply; feeds rivers and streams, boosting fisheries and tourism; and conditions the landscape, helping lessen the effects of drought and wildfires. … ” Read more from Phys Org here:  New research holds promise of predicting snowpack even before the snow falls

Why a dry year is not such a bad thing:  “The news, as it often does, has been bouncing back and forth from extreme to extreme — historic drought, historic snowfall, historic fires, fatal floods and mudslides. That’s the nature of California’s climate.  A common saying among water officials is that there’s no average year in California. Of course, when they add up rainfall and snowfall records, there is an average. But that average obscures savage fluctuations between bone-dry years and years of floods and landslides. ... ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  Why a dry year is not such a bad thing

Sea change: Detailing warming, rising impacts on California:  “Current climate trends are showing the rate of temperature increase over the last 50 years has been faster than similar periods in the last 28,000 years.  “Samples like this of the King Tide we see here, on the Embarcadero are a preview of the future in terms of sea level rise interacting with storms,” said USGS Coastal Geologist Patrick Barnard, speaking at the Operation Sierra Storm Weather and Climate Conference at Lake Tahoe.  “Sometimes sea level rise can occur quickly,” Barnard added “125,000 years ago the global temperatures were two degrees warmer than today and sea level was about eight meters higher.” … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Sea change: Detailing warming, rising impacts on California

How beer will save Western rivers:  “Six summers ago, Kim Schonek, her husband, and an intern slid their kayaks into Arizona’s Verde River, a federally designated Wild and Scenic River. As they paddled, above them rose a rare cottonwood-willow canopy that teems with the densest population of tropical and native birds in North America. Half a mile into their trip, the river slowed, then dwindled to a trickle, until their kayaks scratched against the rocks. Schonek suggested they portage to the next flow. So they dragged their boats—for five miles.  “My husband was like, ‘I’m getting a divorce,’” Schonek says jokingly. “My intern was like, ‘I hate you, and I’m never boating again.’” ... ”  Read more from Outside Magazine here:  How beer will save Western rivers

Zinke’s watershed plan is 140 years too late:  “Ryan Zinke has a fondness for military men. (Have you heard he admires Teddy Roosevelt? Did you know he was a Navy SEAL?)  The latest object of the interior secretary’s affection is John Wesley Powell. A Civil War veteran who lost his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh, Powell is best known as a geologist and geographer who led expeditions in the American Southwest, including the first documented float down Grand Canyon. Those travels inspired Powell, in an 1878 report, to recommend the West be settled in a fashion that would organize the desiccated territory by watershed. … One hundred forty years later, the secretary of America’s most sprawling bureaucracy has decided Powell was on to something. Zinke recently unveiled an intention to reorganize the Interior Department’s 70,000 employees and 12 agencies into 13 zones dictated not by state lines but by watershed and basin. ... ”  Read more from Outside Magazine here:  Zinke’s watershed plan is 140 years too late

In commentary today …

California must not miss rare chance to increase water storage, says the San Jose Mercury News:  “When Californians overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 in 2014, voters made clear their desire for additional water storage in anticipation of future droughts. Opportunities to build significant storage occur only once or twice in a century. The state must not let this one slip away.  The California Water Commission has an obligation to fulfill the state’s commitment to voters when it announces in July which projects, if any, will receive the $2.7 billion authorized in the $7.5 billion bond measure.  But the commission announced Thursday that nearly half of the 11 project requests have no public benefits that meet the ballot measure’s rules for getting money. The rest, it said, fall far short of providing the benefits necessary to justify the cost. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California must not miss rare chance to increase water storage

California can’t wait any longer for clean water, say Jonathan Nelson and Emily Rooney:  They write, “After years of the state’s mystifying failure to address a public health crisis that plagues about 1 million predominantly low-income residents, many advocates believed they had reached a breakthrough last year.  Alas, the solution did not materialize. So 2018 began with hundreds of thousands of families living without access to safe drinking water. This must be the year California changes that. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California can’t wait any longer for clean water

In regional news and commentary today …

Chico: Schools to be tested for lead in drinking water:  “Local water districts are required to test public school drinking water systems built before 2010 for the presence of lead under a law that went into effect Jan. 1.  As of Thursday, the California Water Service’s Oroville Division had already completed the testing in its area according to Superintendent Greg Silva, who said it went “very smooth.’  “All the school water in our district is safe, very safe,” he added. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Chico: Schools to be tested for lead in drinking water

Missing man prompts El Dorado County water emergency:  “Emergency water restrictions were put into place after officials say they received reports of a man entering a pipe.  Search and rescue crews have also been called in to help find the man reported missing around 4 p.m. on Monday.  “This is the first time this has every happened and it was built in the 50s,” said Jesse Saich, spokesman for EID. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Missing man prompts El Dorado County water emergency

Tiburon marsh restoration underway:  “A Tiburon-based researcher is leading a tidal marsh restoration project along the Blackie’s Pasture shoreline that could provide protection from sea-level rise and help wildlife.  Katharyn Boyer, a professor of biology at the Estuary and Ocean Science Center at the Romberg Tiburon Campus, said Richardson Bay is experiencing shoreline erosion because of climate change.  “This is a result of increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere,” she said. “We are having melting of glaciers, we’re having increased thermal expansion of water, it’s causing waters to rise.” … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Tiburon marsh restoration underway

Another East Bay city sues oil companies over climate change:  “Accusing the oil industry of concealing that it knew long ago that gasoline and oil use was warming up the planet, Richmond has joined the ranks of cities and counties suing oil companies to cover the cost of shoring up shorelines from rising sea levels.  Richmond  — home to the Chevron oil refinery, largest in the Bay Area — named Chevron, Shell, Exxon-Mobil, BP, Conoco Phillips and 24 other oil, gas and coal companies in a lawsuit filed Monday in Contra Costa County Superior Court. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Another East Bay city sues oil companies over climate change

Investigation launched into cause of massive sewage spill into Monterey Bay:  “An investigation will be conducted into the failure of a computer warning system at the Monterey One Water regional treatment plant which allowed millions of gallons of untreated sewage to flow into the Monterey Bay for more than eight hours late Friday night and early Saturday morning.  According to Monterey One Water General Manager Paul Sciuto, the investigation began Monday morning and will be conducted by the consulting firm Pinnacle ART. … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Investigation launched into cause of massive sewage spill into Monterey Bay

Big Pine reclaimed water project:  “And the winner is…..  Following a couple of community workshops and a broad range of potential end uses for the first reclaimed water project in the Owens Valley, consultants RO Anderson’s report came as no surprise. The firm zeroed in on the most practical, most do-able of roughly 18 possibilities: provide irrigation to a portion of a mitigation project southeast of Big Pine. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Big Pine reclaimed water 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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