DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: White House, Congress side with California growers over raising Shasta Dam; A floating offshore wind farm is coming to California; Is California too big? Voters may get a chance to split Golden State into three; and more …

In California water news this weekend, White House, Congress side with California growers over raising Shasta Dam; Delta Tunnel Vote Will Raise Water Bills as State Improves Water Delivery Infrastructure; A floating offshore wind farm is coming to California; Is California too big? Voters may get a chance to split Golden State into three; Klamath: Uncertainty grows for water deliveries; Wine Country burn scars explode with wildflowers: ‘It’s off the charts’; What rising aquifers in Soquel Creek Water District means for customers; and more …

In the news this weekend …

White House, Congress side with California growers over raising Shasta Dam:  “Congress and the Trump administration are pushing ahead with a plan to raise a towering symbol of dam-building’s 20th century heyday to meet the water demands of 21st century California — a project backed by San Joaquin Valley growers but opposed by state officials, defenders of a protected river and an American Indian tribe whose sacred sites would be swamped.  The fight is over Shasta Dam, at 602 feet the fourth-tallest dam in California and the cornerstone of the federal Central Valley Project, which provides water to cities and farms throughout the state. One of its biggest customers is the Westlands Water District in the arid western San Joaquin Valley, which distributes water to numerous large farms. ... ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  White House, Congress side with California growers over raising Shasta Dam

Delta Tunnel Vote Will Raise Water Bills as State Improves Water Delivery Infrastructure: “Tens of thousands of votes were cast in Long Beach this week in races that decided city council members and the mayor, but perhaps one of the most consequential votes cast Tuesday took place in Los Angeles when the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California board voted to approve billions of dollars in funding for a twin water tunnel project.  The MWD voted to approve nearly $11 billion in funding for a project involving two delta tunnels  dubbed Waterfix. The Waterfix project will help transfer water from the Sacramento River through 35 miles of tunnels into existing pumping stations that will then deliver the water to Southern California. ... ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here:  Delta Tunnel Vote Will Raise Water Bills as State Improves Water Delivery Infrastructure

A floating offshore wind farm is coming to California:  “The waves crashing along the coast of Humboldt County, California, make visible just how much energy exists offshore. If all goes well, within a decade the Pacific Ocean in Northern California will be generating electricity from the first offshore floating wind farm set to be built in the United States.  Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) is a joint powers agency in the city of Eureka, California, that aggregates electricity demand on behalf of the county, a water district and seven cities. RCEA buys much of its energy from various renewable sources on the West Coast, but executive director Matthew Marshall wants to obtain more locally generated electricity. To that end, RCEA announced on April 2 that it had selected a consortium of five companies for a public-private partnership to develop a 100–150 megawatt (MW) floating wind farm 30km (20 miles) off the coast from Eureka. … ”  Read more from Oceans Deeply here:  A floating offshore wind farm is coming to California

Is California too big?  Voters may get a chance to split Golden State into three:  “Should there be three Californias instead of just one? You may soon have a chance to decide.  A Bay Area venture capitalist backing a ballot measure to divide California into three states said Thursday it has received more than enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.  If enough of the more than 600,000 signatures are verified by the California Secretary of State, it would give residents their first chance since before the Civil War to vote on whether to divvy up the most populous U.S. state, which critics have argued has grown too big to be governable. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Is California too big?  Voters may get a chance to split Golden State into three

In commentary this weekend …

Vote yes on Prop 68, says the Monterey County Herald:  “Proposition 68 is a $4.1 billion bond plan to fund parks and water projects in California.  Nearly two thirds of the money raised would go to refurbish the state’s 110 parks. That means funding for rundown structures, improved hiking trails and for better accessibility to beaches.  To anyone who visits local state parks, those goals all seem no-brainers. But 68 would also provide $1.27 billion for a number of water projects, including flood protection, providing clean water and for improved delta levees. No money would go for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed San Joaquin Delta tunnels or for new dams. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Vote yes on Prop 68

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Klamath: Uncertainty grows for water deliveries:  “An irrigation start date for Klamath Irrigation District patrons hangs in the balance after no action was taken in a hearing Wednesday overseen by U.S. Federal Court Judge William H. Orrick in San Francisco.  The hearing, held in the Ninth U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, stems from the case Hoopa Valley Tribe and Yurok Tribe v. Bureau of Reclamation.  Wednesday Orrick heard arguments by the Klamath Water Users Association and four other irrigation districts why a March 2017 injunction should be lifted or altered. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath: Uncertainty grows for water deliveries

Wine Country burn scars explode with wildflowers: ‘It’s off the charts’: “Vast swaths of the California Wine Country landscape were torched by raging wildfires in October and then soaked with rain in early spring, creating the perfect conditions for a spectacular floral display.  In recent weeks, flowers have bloomed in colorful profusion amid carpets of fresh green grass, bringing new life to the burn scars across Sonoma and Napa counties.  Biologist Caitlin Corwnall has worked at the Sonoma Ecology Center for 20 years and leads wildflower walks in Sugarloaf. She has never seen a wildflower season like this in Sonoma County. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Wine Country burn scars explode with wildflowers: ‘It’s off the charts’

Petaluma students to tackle tax-funded $2.6 million wetlands restoration: “The first payoff from a novel Bay Area voter-approved wetland restoration tax will put Petaluma students to work this fall planting native vegetation in a riverfront park within walking distance of their schools.  Students from La Tercera Elementary School will plant grasses and shrubs at Shollenberger Park, while Casa Grande High students will grow the plants specially selected to survive as climate change brings more intense storms and floods.  The student efforts over the next five years will be supported by a $2.6 million grant awarded this week to Point Blue Conservation Science, a Petaluma-based nonprofit research organization which happens to be located next to the 165-acre park. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Petaluma students to tackle tax-funded $2.6 million wetlands restoration

Marin environmental group helps protect 500-acre wetland:  “The efforts of an Marin-based environmental group will add another 500 acres of wetlands to a protected area under an international treaty, good news for wildlife and flood control efforts.  The San Francisco Bay Joint Venture has announced that the Petaluma Wetlands adjacent to Novato will be added to the larger San Francisco Bay estuary, which was named a Ramsar Convention “wetland of importance” in 2013. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin environmental group helps protect 500-acre wetland

Private-public Solano wetlands project among first to get Measure AA dollars: “The restoration of more than 600 acres back to historical tidal and seasonal wetlands in Solano County is the first project to receive grant funding from the voter-approved Measure AA.  The first phase of the Montezuma Wetlands Restoration project was approved Wednesday by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority board. It received $1.61 million.  The project includes “tidal and seasonal wetland restoration on 630 acres of diked baylands and enhancement of adjacent uplands in Suisun Marsh,” Restoration Authority documents state. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Private-public Solano wetlands project among first to get Measure AA dollars

San Mateo: Sea level rise could cost area billions, countywide study finds:  “By 2100, the sea water that surrounds the San Francisco Peninsula is expected to rise anywhere from 17 to 66 inches, according to projections by the National Research Council. Just what is at risk in San Mateo County should that happen is the subject of a lengthy study by the county’s sustainability office.  The report looks at infrastructure and properties throughout the county along the Bay and coastal fronts and evaluates how they might be affected under three potential scenarios: a baseline estimate of a 100-year storm at a higher water level, a mid-level estimate of a 100-year storm plus 3.3 feet of sea level rise, and a high-level estimate of a 100-year flood plus 6.6 feet of sea level rise. ... ”  Read more from The Almanac here:  San Mateo: Sea level rise could cost area billions, countywide study finds

Santa Clara:  Recycled water is key to agriculture’s future, say John Varela and Richard Santos:  They write, “Although many of the farm fields and orchards that once covered the valley floor are long since gone, agriculture remains an important part of Santa Clara County’s heritage and its future.  As in the past, the availability of water to grow crops and raise livestock affects individual farmers and ranchers as well as the economy of our county. Because of this, the Santa Clara Valley Water District continues to offer support to farmers, through the open space credit, which offers a credit on water rates to account for the benefits the larger community receives from that open space. … ”  Read more from the Morgan Hill Times here:  Recycled water is key to agriculture’s future

What rising aquifers in Soquel Creek Water District means for customers:  “Some of Soquel Creek Water District’s coastal well water levels have been trending higher in recent years, even has years of drought were striking the state, authorities studying the region’s groundwater say. But why? Water district officials are attributing the unexpected drinking water supply rebound in just a handful of years primarily to customers cutting back their usage by 25 percent or more, compared to 2013 levels, which allowed the district to redistribute its water pumping scheme inland. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  What rising aquifers in Soquel Creek Water District means for customers

Abandoned mine near Paso Robles produced a fortune in mercury.  Now its a Superfund site:  “Mercury excited the imagination of alchemists.  It is the only metal that exists in liquid form at room temperature.  The shimmering beads have an otherworldly appearance, rolling and dancing on a flat surface.  What was poorly understood was how toxic the material is. It can harm the nervous, digestive and immune systems, as well as the lungs and kidneys. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Abandoned mine near Paso Robles produced a fortune in mercury.  Now its a Superfund site

EPA grants expanded environmental authority to Morongo Tribe, two others:  “Three Southern California tribes will be able to review permits for surrounding projects that could impact wild rivers and air quality within their reservations as a result of new authority given them by the federal government.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it was granting the three tribes powers similar to those held by the state of California for protecting natural resources on the reservation and adjacent lands. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  EPA grants expanded environmental authority to Morongo Tribe, two others

‘It would likely dry up’: Rare desert spring imperiled by company’s plan to pump groundwater, researchers say: “Below the rocky, sunbaked ridges of the Clipper Mountains in the Mojave Desert, a ribbon of green teems with life.  Cottonwoods, willows and reeds sway with the breeze. Crickets chirp. Bees buzz around shallow pools. Clear water gushes from a hole in the ground, forming Bonanza Spring, the largest spring in the southeastern Mojave Desert.  This rare oasis is at the center of the fight over a company’s plan to pump groundwater and sell it to California cities. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  ‘It would likely dry up’: Rare desert spring imperiled by company’s plan to pump groundwater, researchers say

San Diego: Smelly, murky water tied to lagoon project:  “Many surfers from Solana Beach to Cardiff are worried about their health now that a cleanup project in the area is underway.  “I can’t even really see my board in a foot of water,” surfer Christian Alvarado said. “And it’s been smelling a little bit ‘sewer-ish.'”  Cardiff State Beach is just one of the areas where you’ll see construction crews moving sand around as part of a $120 million restoration project for the San Elijo Lagoon. … ”  Read more from NBC San Diego here:  Smelly, murky water tied to lagoon project

Precipitation watch …

From the NWS Sacramento: “Storm system will bring snow to Sierra tonight through Monday night. Snow accumulations between 6 and 12 inches expected with local amounts up to 18 inches for highest peaks.”

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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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