DAILY DIGEST: One stretch of river could decide the future of Shasta Dam; Study finds runoff boost from forest thinning; Push on to get twin tunnels finalized by year’s end; Debate emerges over how to recover costs for Oroville spillway repair; and more …

In California water news today, One stretch of river could decide the future of Shasta Dam; Fewer trees, more water: Study finds runoff boost from forest thinning; Push on to get twin tunnels finalized by year’s end; Debate emerges over how to recover costs for Oroville spillway repair; EPA: ‘Congenial opportunist’ in line for regional top post; and more …

In the news today …

One stretch of river could decide the future of Shasta Dam:  “The final stretch of the McCloud River before it empties into the state’s largest reservoir is a place of raw beauty. On a recent morning, the river’s icy water, flanked by flowering dogwood trees and jagged rock formations, flowed fast and clean.  This part of the McCloud is off limits to almost everyone except a few Native Americans and some well-heeled fly fishermen. Its gatekeeper is an unlikely one, an organization that also happens to be a hugely controversial player in California water politics.  Eleven years ago, Westlands Water District, headquartered in far-away Fresno, bought the land for a single purpose – to flood it. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: One stretch of river could decide the future of Shasta Dam

Fewer trees, more water: Study finds runoff boost from forest thinning:  “A century of fire suppression has left Western forests overgrown. That has interrupted nature’s regular fire cycle and means that when fires do happen, they become catastrophic because there is plentiful fuel to burn. It also means forests are sucking up more water than they did historically.  How much more water? That’s always been difficult to estimate. But making this calculation could go a long way toward fixing the overgrown forest problem. If we know how much water could be freed up by thinning forests to reduce fire danger, it could create a new financing mechanism to do the expensive work of cutting trees and staging controlled burns. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Fewer trees, more water: Study finds runoff boost from forest thinning

Push on to get twin tunnels finalized by year’s end: “Solano County has a bucket full of water issues it is carrying forward, and looming over them all is Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed twin-tunnels WaterFix Project.  The Board of Supervisors this week received an update on a number of water topics, at least two of which were directly related to the twin tunnels. Not lost in the discussion is the fact Brown has only eight months to get the project finalized before leaving office. ... ”  Read more from the Fairfield Daily Republic here:  Push on to get twin tunnels finalized by year’s end

Debate emerges over how to recover costs for Oroville spillway repair:  “On May 8, phase two of reconstruction will begin on the Oroville Dam Spillway, but as more repairs take place, the bills are stacking up.  Fixing the Oroville Dam Spillway is something everyone is in favor of, but how to pay for it is a different matter.  Some politicians and residents from the Northstate have said they don’t want the federal government to “bail out” California for the cost of spillway repairs. ... ”  Read more from KRCR here:  Debate emerges over how to recover costs for Oroville spillway repair

EPA: ‘Congenial opportunist’ in line for regional top post:  “The lawyer expected to get a top EPA job has said climate science is based on “conflicting evidence” and called California’s efforts to work with China to combat global warming “ludicrous.”  Republican Michael Stoker — a longtime California agriculture attorney and former Santa Barbara County supervisor — is in line to become the next EPA Region 9 administrator, multiple sources told E&E News. He’s not well known on the national stage, but he’s a longtime supporter of President Trump who is credited with coining the chant “Lock her up,” referring to Hillary Clinton. He has a long record of advocating for industries hoping to scale back environmental rules. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  EPA: ‘Congenial opportunist’ in line for regional top post

In regional news and commentary …

Reclamation’s reduced Klamath River flows result in fish die-off:  “Reduced flows to the Klamath River have resulted in a die-off of between 500 to 1,000 fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates below the Keno Dam.  The reduced flows to the Klamath River were issued to charge the A canal in preparation for water delivery to Basin irrigators, according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office.  A Southern Oregon fishing guide who hiked in to the Keno section of the Klamath River last week discovered pools of dead fish. The guide is concerned the die-off could also impact the diet of the redband trout. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Reclamation’s reduced Klamath River flows result in fish die-off

Oroville Dam:  ORAC votes to try to change settlement agreement:  “The Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee voted on Friday in support of keeping its existence, rather than allowing the state Department of Water Resources to take control of the meetings.  That may sound simple enough, but it goes against the settlement agreement that the committee signed 12 years ago which promises millions of dollars in recreational benefits for Oroville and allows DWR to continue to operate Oroville Dam. It also calls for ORAC to dissolve and become the DWR-led Recreational Advisory Committee. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville Dam:  ORAC votes to try to change settlement agreement

Carcinogen widespread in Kern County but unlikely to pose a health risk:  “Discovery of a known carcinogen in local wells has raised concerns, but according to state and local agencies, Kern County water is safe to drink and local produce safe to consume. While the California State Water Resources Control Board found trichloropropane in 52 percent of the wells tested in Kern County, the maximum amount allowed in the state is minuscule. … ” Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Carcinogen widespread in Kern County but unlikely to pose a health risk

Ballot measure aims to preserve Salton Sea, help air quality: “A project to protect Californians who live near the Salton Sea from deteriorating air quality could sink or swim based on the outcome of a June ballot measure.  Proposition 68 would allow the state to borrow $4 billion through bonds to fund parks and environmental protection projects, including $200 million for a plan to preserve the rapidly shrinking Salton Sea. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Ballot measure aims to preserve Salton Sea, help air quality

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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