DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Costs for Oroville Dam crisis soar to $870M; Delta smelt fail to rebound, despite end to drought; State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero; Don’t give control of Delta water to SoCal, says the Mercury News; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Now $870 million, price of Oroville Dam crisis jumps by a third; Delta smelt fail to rebound, despite end to drought; State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero. Boosters are pushing back; Half of California's vegetation at ‘high risk' from warming climate, UC scientist says; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Now $870 million, price of Oroville Dam crisis jumps by a third:  “Oroville Dam’s battered flood-control spillways have been largely rebuilt, but the cost of last February’s near-disaster keeps rising. On Friday, state officials put the total price tag at $870 million.  The latest figure from the California Department of Water Resources represents a 32 percent increase from DWR’s estimate in October, when the cost was pegged at approximately $660 million.  State officials insist the climbing pricetag is not from unexpected cost overruns. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Now $870 million, price of Oroville Dam crisis jumps by a third

Cost for Oroville spillway disaster and recovery soars to $870 million:  “The California Department of Water Resources announced Friday that the cost of last year’s Oroville Dam spillway failure and ongoing reconstruction effort has grown to $870 million, a tab that the state continues to hope is paid largely by federal taxpayers.  That new cost estimate includes $210 million in previously untabulated project costs and represents a 30 percent jump from an estimate released last fall. ... ”  Read more from the KQED here:  Cost for Oroville spillway disaster and recovery soars to $870 million

Radio show:  Delta smelt fail to rebound, despite end to drought:  “The 2016-2017 water year was one of the wettest on record in California. While all that water in the system was enough to officially end the state’s drought, its impact on endangered species is another story, especially when it comes to the Delta smelt. A survey conducted in October 2017 by state and federal agencies found only 2 of the fish, the lowest number on record.  The low number even surprised one of the state’s leading experts on the fish, UC Davis professor emeritus Peter Moyle. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the challenges facing efforts to save the species, from water flows in the delta to rising temperatures, and invasive species like a smelt species from Japan that may be breeding with native fish.”  Listen to the radio show here:  Radio show:  Delta smelt fail to rebound, despite end to drought

State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero.  Boosters are pushing back:  “An application for $1 billion of state bond money to build Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno scored a dismal zero from the California Water Commission on the cost-benefit ratio, potentially jeopardizing its construction.  Supporters of the dam expressed shock and dismay and are blaming the commission staff for the low score. They’re got company.  All 11 water project applications from around the state under review by the commission have scored less than one or even zero on their public benefit ratios, said state Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno. That includes the proposed Sites Reservoir project in Northern California. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero.  Boosters are pushing back

Half of California's vegetation at ‘high risk' from warming climate, UC scientist says:  “Devastation plagued California last year as the worst wildfire season on record ravaged the state.  Scott McLean, with Cal Fire, knows the grim statistics all too well.  “Nine thousand wildfires in 2017, burning over 1.5 million acres,” McLean said. ... ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area here:  Half of California’s vegetation at ‘high risk’ from warming climate, UC scientist says

In commentary this weekend …

Don't give control of Delta water to Southern California, says the San Jose Mercury News.  They write, “Seven years into Jerry Brown’s final tour as governor, his promise to create a reliable water delivery system that protects the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is in shambles. His twin-tunnel fixation was ill-conceived and, for Northern California at least, unacceptable, and he is not giving up.  His administration is expected to announce a new strategy soon that should alarm South Bay and East Bay residents, businesses and water system operators. ... ”  Continue reading at the San Jose Mercury News here:  Editorial: Don’t give control of Delta water to Southern California

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Humboldt County: King Salmon, Fairhaven, Fields Landing ‘ground zero' for sea level rise:  “Humboldt Bay has the highest rate of sea level rise on the entire U.S. West Coast, which within the next century has the potential to inundate thousands of acres of agricultural land, local highways, critical utilities and infrastructure along with entire communities, according to a report published Thursday.  By 2050, three feet of sea level rise could cause Humboldt Bay to expand by 13,000 acres — an increase of more than 60 percent, according to the new report released by Aldaron Laird and Trinity Associates. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Humboldt County: King Salmon, Fairhaven, Fields Landing ‘ground zero’ for sea level rise

San Rafael selected as study city for sea level rise:  “San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood has been selected as one of 10 Bay Area sites to get attention from a phalanx of architects, urban planners and environmentalists as part of a competition to battle sea-level rise.  Fueled by an almost $5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, teams have been formed to tackle what researchers say is inevitable flooding brought on by climate change. A competition dubbed the “Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge” is asking for plans to address the vexing issue that threatens several communities. Part of the focus is the protection of poor communities around the Bay Area. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  San Rafael selected as study city for sea level rise

At $13 million, jewel of Bay shoreline trail is under construction in Pinole:  “After 30 years of struggle, the East Bay Regional Park District is building a $13.2 million bridge over the railroad tracks in Pinole — the agency’s priciest and most complicated trail project ever — to keep the dream alive for a continuous trail around the Bay from San Jose to San Francisco to Richmond, Oakland and Fremont.  To be completed in June, the trail link — a 1,100-foot bridge and 1,200-foot segment — will expand public access to a scenic but largely unknown stretch of coast in northeastern Contra Costa County with sweeping views of San Pablo Bay and the skylines of San Francisco and Marin counties. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  At $13 million, jewel of Bay shoreline trail is under construction in Pinole

What's that river view worth? City prepares to buy easements for Sacramento River trail:  “The view from Don Murphy’s expansive backyard is breathtaking. The Sacramento River rolls gently past as birds float in the mid-winter fog. It is nearly silent, except for the infrequent car driving along a delta road across the river. It’s easy to forget you’re standing in the middle of a major city.  Now a fight is heating up over who should have access to that serenity. Should it be Murphy and his neighbors? Or does everyone have that right? … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  What’s that river view worth? City prepares to buy easements for Sacramento River trail

Indian Wells Valley brackish groundwater study recommended $1.08 million grant: “The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced today that it is recommending that a $1.08 million grant be awarded for the Indian Wells Valley (IWV) Brackish Groundwater Water Feasibility Study. The funds will come from Round 4 of the Water Desalination Grant Program under Proposition 1. … ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here:  Indian Wells Valley brackish groundwater study recommended $1.08 million grant

Record-challenging warmth, fire danger return to Southern California:  “Unseasonably warm air will build and challenge records across the southwestern United States into Monday, while Santa Ana winds elevate the fire danger in Southern California.  A building area of high pressure will bring a surge in temperatures across the Southwest into Monday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Record-challenging warmth, fire danger return to Southern California

State gives Nestle, environmentalists and individuals more time to comment about water withdrawals:  “The deadline for filing comments about the State Water Resources Control Board’s controversial ‘Report of Investigation’ for Nestle’s water mining in the San Bernardino Mountains has been extended to Feb. 9, from Thursday, Jan. 25, allowing environmental groups, individuals and Nestle more time to perfect arguments in an effort to shape the direction of the final report.  The long-awaited Dec. 20 report, which provides recommendations — but orders nothing — is the result of complaints about Nestle’s water withdrawals in remote Strawberry Canyon, located high in the San Bernardino National Forest above San Bernardino. ... ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  State gives Nestle, environmentalists and individuals more time to comment about water withdrawals

San Diego OKs landmark environmental deal that could spur development“The San Diego City Council approved this week a long-awaited compromise between environmentalists and developers that is expected to accelerate construction of housing tracts and shopping plazas.  The compromise better protects biologically-rich ponds called vernal pools with a new rulebook, which also aims to ease project approvals by clarifying how developers can build on land containing such ponds. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego OKs landmark environmental deal that could spur development

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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