DAILY DIGEST: California fish experts: Delta tunnels could help save native species; Winter run chinook may get second home in Battle Creek; How NASA, lasers, and new technology help measure California’s snowpack with exceptional accuracy; Amid rains, drought fears loom; and more …

In California water news today, California fish experts: Delta tunnels could help save native species; Winter run chinook may get second home in Battle Creek; How NASA, lasers, and new technology help measure California’s snowpack with exceptional accuracy; Amid rains, drought fears loom; Despite recent storm, California’s drought map depicts same bleak outlook; SoCal water officials oppose drinking water cleanup plan that would tax users; UC and its national labs invest in California climate change research; and more …

In the news today …

California fish experts: Delta tunnels could help save native species:  “One of California’s foremost experts on freshwater fish believes there may be hope for restoring native salmon to abundance – but there’s a catch: California must build the controversial Delta tunnels, he says.  “The expected costs are tremendous and there is a lot of concern over that, but our paper is about what’s good for fish,” said Peter Moyle, a professor of fisheries with the University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. “Will the Delta tunnels be good for fish or not? I think they will.” … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  California fish experts: Delta tunnels could help save native species

These chinook almost went extinct during the drought.  Can this $100 million plan save them?  “During the worst of California’s five-year drought, thousands of eggs and newly spawned salmon baked to death along a short stretch of the Sacramento River below Shasta Dam.  The winter-run Chinook, already hanging by a thread, nearly went extinct.  Hoping to avoid a repeat of that dire scenario, fisheries officials announced Thursday the launch of a plan — nearly 20 years and $100 million in the making — they say would expand the spawning range of the fish to include a cold-water stream called Battle Creek. The idea is that the stream could keep the fragile winter-run alive as California’s rivers get hotter because of a warming climate. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  These chinook almost went extinct during the drought.  Can this $100 million plan save them?

Winter run chinook may get second home in Battle Creek:  “State and federal officials are releasing 200,000 young winter-run chinook salmon into the North Fork of Battle Creek over the next two months in an effort to “jump start” a second population of the extremely endangered fish.  Most of the winter-run used to spawn in the upper Sacramento River, Pit River and McCloud River, which have the cold water they need to survive spring and summer so they can spawn in the fall. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Winter run chinook may get second home in Battle Creek

California salmon will have places to chill with dam removal:  “A $100 million project removing dams and helping fish route around others is returning a badly endangered salmon to spring-fed waters in northernmost California, giving cold-loving native fish a life-saving place to chill as scientists say climate change, drought and human diversions warm the waters.  State and federal officials, in a years-long project with dam-owner Pacific Gas & Electric Co., plan to release 200,000 young, endangered winter-run Chinook salmon over the next two months into the north fork of Battle Creek, where melted snow percolating through volcanic rock provides ideal habitat for native salmon and steelhead that thrive in cold mountain water. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  California salmon will have places to chill with dam removal

How NASA, lasers, and new technology help measure California’s snowpack with exceptional accuracy:  “Frank Gehrke trudges through snow and ice, as he’s done for nearly four decades in the Sierra Nevada. He’s one of many state workers who takes monthly snow surveys, in the same spots, to figure out how much water is in the snowpack. And this old-fashioned way of measuring the snowpack is quite laborsome.  First, surveyors strap on snowshoes — if there is even enough snow on the ground to schlep through — hike in and then follow a designated course. This path’s starting point is marked by an orange sign on a pine tree. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  How NASA, lasers, and new technology help measure California’s snowpack with exceptional accuracy

Amid rains, drought fears loom:  “After a historically wet season last year, relatively little precipitation has fallen this year in California during two of the three historically wettest months. Officials are urging stricter water conservation and caution drier months ahead.  After last week’s rains, the Sierra snowpack — a critical factor in water availability — climbed to just 39 percent of normal. More rain is coming, but the question remains: Will it be enough to block the impacts of a resumption of the drought?  Fingers are crossed. ... ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Amid rains, drought fears loom

Despite recent storm, California’s drought map depicts same bleak outlook:  “Despite the recent storm that pummeled the Sierra with snow and scattered rain in the valleys and along the coast, California remains unseasonably dry with 47 percent of the state experiencing at least “moderate drought” conditions, according to the federal government’s Drought Monitor.  The storm hailed by meteorologists as “the season’s biggest” gave the snowpack a little boost and ski slopes lots of fresh powder with many resorts reporting more than 7 feet of snow in the first week of March. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Despite recent storm, California’s drought map depicts same bleak outlook

SoCal water officials oppose drinking water cleanup plan that would tax users:  “Area water officials support helping low-income districts across the state clean up their drinking water supplies but have categorically opposed a recent budget trailer bill being considered in Sacramento that would impose a permanent statewide water tax to fund it.  Officials from Foothill Municipal Water District — which serves La Cañada Irrigation District, Valley Water Co. and the Crescenta Valley and Mesa Crest water districts, among others — are joining others in voicing opposition to the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act. … ” Read more from the La Canada Valley Sun here: SoCal water officials oppose drinking water cleanup plan that would tax users

UC and its national labs invest in California climate change research:  “Three new, large-scale research projects studying the effects of climate change on California are getting underway, thanks to over $11 million in awards resulting from the University of California’s close ties to its national laboratories.  The climate projects are part of a portfolio of studies to receive funding through the 2018 cycle of the UC National Laboratory Fees Research Program. Funded projects must involve students and faculty from at least four UC campuses who work in collaboration with scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 2018, the Laboratory Fees Research Program invested a total of more than $25 million in seven new UC-national lab collaborations and two in-residence graduate fellowships. Four of the collaborations also include partners from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. … ” Read more the UC Newsroom here:  UC and its national labs invest in California climate change research

In commentary today …

Is Ecosystem-Based Management Legal for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta?  Brian Gray, William Stelle, and Leon Szeptycki write, “In a recent three-part series posted on [the California Water Blog], a group of independent experts (including one of the authors here) proposed new ways to manage the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem. The purpose of the recommendations is to inform negotiations on the revised Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, which will set new water quality and flow requirements for the Delta and its tributaries. … These recommendations are intriguing, especially in light of growing consensus that the current approach to water quality and species protection in the Delta is failing to meet legal and policy objectives. But would management based on the proposed policies be legal? … ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here: Is Ecosystem-Based Management Legal for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta?

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath: Water users push back on injunction:  “A group of Klamath Basin water users Wednesday filed a motion in federal court in San Francisco pushing for at least a delay in the court-ordered injunction to keep 50,000 acre feet held in reserve in Upper Klamath Lake.  The water is to be used to flush out the Klamath River in the spring to mitigate the impact of disease on coho salmon.  Klamath Water Users Association, Sunnyside Irrigation District, Klamath Irrigation District, Klamath Drainage District and Tulelake farmer Ben DuVall intervened in the case brought by the Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribes vs. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Water users push back on injunction

Rains improve Uvas Creek stream flows:  “The late-winter rain has been good news for gardeners, farmers and the steelhead.  The Santa Clara County Water District sent out teams of hydrographers to streams in the Pajaro River watershed last week, and initial reports showed streams running at near seasonal levels. … ”  Read more from the Gilroy Dispatch here:  Rains improve Uvas Creek stream flows

Newman: Water project moving forward: The City Council recently authorized staff to apply for $8 million in funding for a significant upgrade to the municipal water system.  The project, which has been in the works for several years, includes development of a new well and a million-gallon storage tank at a location off Jensen Road northwest of the existing city.  City Manager Michael Holland said the project will leave the city well-positioned to meet its water needs for years to come. ... ”  Read more from Westside Connect here:  Water project moving forward

Paso Robles: Groundwater district denied role in basin talks:  “On March 6, San Luis Obispo County supervisors denied a North County water district a role in the management discussions for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, citing low public “trust” in its members and the “scary” prospect of commercial agriculture having outsized power in basin decisions.  In a contentious 3-2 vote, the Board of Supervisors declined to relinquish any of its groundwater management authority to the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston (EPC) Water District, a district composed of 170 landowners and agriculturalists in North County—including major grape producers like J Lohr and Justin Vineyards. ... ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Groundwater district denied role in basin talks

Long Beach: Workshop starts EIR process for Los Cerritos wetlands:  “A workshop designed to bring all the players in restoration of the Los Cerritos Wetlands up to speed in order to start an Environmental Impact Review has been set later this month.  Overseeing the process is the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, a joint powers authority that already owns a portion of the wetlands. Officials from Long Beach, Seal Beach, the state Coastal Conservancy and the Lower Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers and Mountains Conservancy sit on the LCWA board. Suzie Price, Long Beach Third District City Councilwoman, is chair of the board. … ”  Read more from the Grunion Gazette here:  Workshop starts EIR process for Los Cerritos wetlands

Researchers Aim to Give Homeless a Voice in Southern California Watershed:  “A new study could help water agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and sanitation. The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a collaborative effort to assess strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people (including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area. A key part of the effort: seeking out and listening to the people who face daily water challenges who may have nowhere to live but in a tent. … ”  Read more from Western Water here:   Researchers Aim to Give Homeless a Voice in Southern California Watershed

Along the Colorado River …

Trump plan ends research on uranium mining near Grand Canyon:  “U.S. scientists studying the effects of uranium mining around the Grand Canyon say they are lacking information on whether the radioactive element is hurting plants, animals and a water source for more than 30 million people.  And they would not get to fully gather it if President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal is approved. ... ”  Read more from the Denver Post here:  Trump plan ends research on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

Precipitation watch …

Weekend storm to deliver welcome rain to drought-stricken California:  “A storm will bring needed rain and mountain snow to much of California this weekend.  The latest U.S. drought monitor from March 8 showed that 22 percent of California remains in severe drought, with moderate drought gripping 48 percent of the state.  Areas from central to Southern California are experiencing the worst of the drought, including the cities of Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego. ... ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Weekend storm to deliver welcome rain to drought-stricken California

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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