DAILY DIGEST: California bakes as winter temperatures set new records across the state; Document reveals Zinke’s ambitious timeline for Interior reorganization; Four climate questions for Trump on infrastructure; and more …

In California water news today, California bakes as winter temperatures set new records across the state; Winter warmth and dryness persists – due to ridge, redux; Document reveals Zinke’s ambitious timeline for Interior reorganization; Four climate questions for Trump on infrastructure; Scalpel or machete? A look at how the White House wants to cut back the environmental review process; Oroville panel wants written assurances about spillway boat ramp replacement; How to create enough ‘new’ water for a city of 474,000; and more …

In the news today …

California bakes as winter temperatures set new records across the state:  “Under a baking sun, Russell Neches peeled off his long-sleeved base layer to hit the ski slopes at Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort near Lake Tahoe.  Early February should be the the dead of California’s winter, yet Neches was skiing in — and sweating through — his T-shirt.   “As soon as there was sun, it was unbearably hot,” said the 37-year-old Oakland resident.  Unseasonably warm and dry temperatures blanketed California over the weekend, shattering records across the state and bringing clear blue skies that were expected to linger through next weekend. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  California bakes as winter temperatures set new records across the state

Winter warmth and dryness persists – due to ridge, redux:  “Exactly 42 years ago Monday, the Bay Area awoke to historic snow flurries.  Now we’re baking in a mid-winter heatwave, with the region’s Sunday temperatures ranging from 70 degrees in Oakland to 80 degrees in Salinas.  On the crowded beaches of Half Moon Bay, the mercury hit 78 degrees on Sunday. It felt like summer — only warmer.  Call it the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge: Redux. A high-pressure system, just like the one that caused the recent drought, is stubbornly parked off our coast, keeping us warm and dry. Weather models show a ridge persisting for the next 15 days. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Winter warmth and dryness persists – due to ridge, redux

Document reveals Zinke’s ambitious timeline for Interior reorganization:  “New Interior Department regional boundaries will be in place this year, and the agency’s massive reorganization will begin in Alaska, according to a document obtained by E&E News.  Todd Wynn, director of Interior’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, sent a list of 39 “frequently asked questions” to state and local stakeholders Jan. 19 about the proposed department restructuring.  That seven-page document says the revamped boundaries for the 13 regional hubs will “take effect” in the second half of fiscal 2018, which begins April 1 and ends Sept. 30.  ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Document reveals Zinke’s ambitious timeline for Interior reorganization

Four climate questions for Trump on infrastructure:  “President Trump’s State of the Union address offered few details on his infrastructure plan, and he gave even fewer yesterday in his speech at the Republican retreat.  So as Republicans huddle in West Virginia to game out their agenda, they’re working within some pretty broad parameters: Federal spending will constitute only a fraction of the $1.5 trillion package. Regulatory and permitting changes to speed construction will be a main feature. And Trump seems focused on roads.  Congress will shape the details of the package, leaving open the potential for climate mitigation and adaptation to get some attention (even if Republicans don’t want to call it that).  Here are four climate-related questions about Trump’s big push on infrastructure. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Four climate questions for Trump on infrastructure

Scalpel or machete? A look at how the White House wants to cut back the environmental review process:  “In his January 30, 2018 State of the Union address, the President declared that he had eliminated more regulations in his first year than any other administration’s first year. Part of that claim may arise out of a recently-revealed environmental plan that has not yet been formally released.  As reported by the Washington Post, the White House has drafted an environmental proposal to be included as part of an imminent infrastructure plan. The proposal can be found on the Post’s website. Some sections of the proposal are reportedly outdated (the article says that sections regarding the listing and de-listing of species under the Endangered Species Act and delegating some decisions to the states are no longer part of the plan), but many remain in effect. … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here:  Scalpel or machete? A look at how the White House wants to cut back the environmental review process

In commentary today …

Spillway bill nears $1 billion, keeps growing, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “The latest reckoning of the tab for the Oroville spillway crisis — the first update in many months — revealed an astonishing figure and proved how much the state has been trying to downplay the preventable disaster from the start.  It almost provides a “we-told-you-so” moment. … ”  Continue reading at the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Spillway bill nears $1 billion, keeps growing

In regional news and commentary today …

Oroville panel wants written assurances about spillway boat ramp replacement:  “While there are still some big “ifs” about the Oroville Dam spillway boat ramp, the lake’s recreation panel was told this week it will reopen, but the group wants assurances in writing that if it doesn’t, a substitute will be built.  State Department of Water Resources Project Manager Ted Craddock told the Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee on Friday that DWR has had conversations with various law enforcement agencies, including the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol and Homeland Security about reopening the road over the dam and the area around the spillway boat ramp. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville panel wants written assurances about spillway boat ramp replacement

Conservation, drought cost NID $3.8M:  “Water conservation makes sense, but it comes at a price.  In 2015, the driest and hottest year of Northern California’s recent four-year drought, Nevada Irrigation District’s treated water customers conserved a record 38 percent that August, compared to benchmark 2013 levels, the district reported.  Water that was saved in 2015 cost NID $3.1 million in lost revenue, utility figures show.  In addition, NID’s agricultural customers saved more than 14,000 acre-feet of water, documents show.  The drought cost NID in more ways. … ”  Read more from The Union here:  Conservation, drought cost NID $3.8M

Cities seek seat on San Joaquin County flood board:  “Currently the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency is managed by the City of Stockton, the County of San Joaquin and the San Joaquin County Flood Control and Water Management District.  And the cities of Manteca and Lathrop are now asking for a seat at the table.  Almost a year after the region faced its worst potential flooding in a decade – surviving a levee breach in South Manteca that was patched by quick-thinking and resourceful farmers that used their own heavy equipment to cave the levee in over the break – the two cities that are banking on flood protection to keep their economic engine going want to be a part of the ongoing discussions about how to keep the areas adjacent to the San Joaquin River safe and dry even in the wettest years.  … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Cities seek seat on San Joaquin County flood board

How to create enough ‘new’ water for a city of 474,000:  “If you want to make a dent in California’s perpetual water crisis you need to take a little trip.  Drive down Union Road toward the Stanislaus River. Once you get past the bumper crop of new homes you’ll find yourself in the heart of Division 9 of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and plenty of almond orchards.  These aren’t your ordinary almond trees. They need anywhere from 20 to 40 percent less water than your typical almond orchard yet they often produce more nuts per tree. They do so while reducing air pollution, fighting saltwater intrusion in the groundwater, and lowering production costs by farmers. There’s even an app farmers can use to make it all work. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  How to create enough ‘new’ water for a city of 474,000

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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