DAILY DIGEST: Climate change may lead to bigger atmospheric rivers; How ecosystem services and adaptive decision-making can improve land management; A rundown of key environmental measures on the June 5 ballot; Proposal to raise Shasta Dam could mean renewed rancor; and more …

In California water news today, Climate change may lead to bigger atmospheric rivers; Better together: How Ecosystem Services and Adaptive Decision-Making Can Improve Land Management; Here’s a rundown of key environmental measures on the June 5 ballot; Klamath Tribes sue to protect endangered sucker; Proposal to raise Shasta Dam could mean renewed rancor; and more …

In the news today …

Climate change may lead to bigger atmospheric rivers:  “A new NASA-led study shows that climate change is likely to intensify extreme weather events known as atmospheric rivers across most of the globe by the end of this century, while slightly reducing their number.  The new study projects atmospheric rivers will be significantly longer and wider than the ones we observe today, leading to more frequent atmospheric river conditions in affected areas.  “The results project that in a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, there will be about 10 percent fewer atmospheric rivers globally by the end of the 21st century,” said the study’s lead author, Duane Waliser, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “However, because the findings project that the atmospheric rivers will be, on average, about 25 percent wider and longer, the global frequency of atmospheric river conditions — like heavy rain and strong winds — will actually increase by about 50 percent.” … ”  Read more from NASA here:  Climate change may lead to bigger atmospheric rivers

Better together: How Ecosystem Services and Adaptive Decision-Making Can Improve Land Management: “An ecosystem services approach combined with adaptive decision-making can aid land and resource managers in administering their regions for the benefit of communities and stakeholders, according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey and Resources for the Future.  Ecosystem services are the benefits to people from things produced by the natural living environment, such as pollination of crops, filtering of groundwater by wetland vegetation, and buffering of storm surge by mangrove swamps. Adaptive decision-making, meanwhile, allows managers to learn by doing, adjusting their operations based on results from management decisions, and ongoing research and monitoring over time.  “Resource management decisions are having greater impacts on our lives, and we need the best methods to assess and understand the consequences of decisions,” said Carl Shapiro, director of the USGS Science and Decisions Center. “Our work showing how adaptive decision-making and ecosystem services complement each other will help resource managers make the best decisions affecting the Nation’s natural resources.” … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Better together: How Ecosystem Services and Adaptive Decision-Making Can Improve Land Management

Here’s a rundown of key environmental measures on the June 5 ballot:  “California is holding its primary election on Tuesday, June 5. Here’s our guide to statewide and local environmental measures facing voters.  … ”  More from KQED here:  Here’s a rundown of key environmental measures on the June 5 ballot

In commentary today …

California’s water pollution laws languishing without enforcement, says Jared Blumenfeld:  He writes, “There is nothing more Californian than our ability to swim, surf and fish in clean water. And yet, we have fallen behind Kentucky and Texas when it comes to clean water enforcement. With industry advocates in the federal driver’s seat, we need state leaders to step it up by sending a message that in California, when it comes to clean water, the polluter pays. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California’s water pollution laws languishing without enforcement

Time for California to deliver on the human right to water, says Leo Heller:  He writes, “Six years after California recognized the human right to water in state law, more than 1 million Californians still lack access to safe drinking water, and in many ways the scope of the challenge has revealed itself to be even more pervasive and endemic than initially realized. Lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation impacts rural well-users, city residents, schoolchildren, mobile home communities and churches across the state.  When my predecessor, Catarina de Albuquerque, visited California, what she found shocked her.  ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Time for California to deliver on the human right to water

Pouring a little rain on Prop 68 parade:  The Modesto Bee writes,Virtually every newspaper in the state of California is marching in the Proposition 68 parade. The Parks, Environment and Water Bond promises to spend $4.1 billion on state parks, habitat conservation, ocean clean-up and many more water-related projects. Who doesn’t love parks? Who can’t see the need to conserve?  Yet, here we are on the curb, unable to get in step.  That’s because we’re still puzzled about the last big bond measure that promised to do so much good for our state’s water resources. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Pouring a little rain on Prop 68 parade

Water tax proposal poor policy, says Mike Muir:  He writes, “Like a bad penny, a plan to tax water keeps turning up in Sacramento.  That’s right: under two proposals circulating in the Capitol, California would start taxing the most fundamental resource on the planet. Such taxes would needlessly drive up costs for families already struggling to make ends meet and undermine the very goals that proponents profess. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Water tax proposal poor policy

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Tribes sue to protect endangered sucker:  “The Klamath Tribes are suing three federal agencies over management of endangered shortnose and Lost River suckers in Upper Klamath Lake.  The tribes filed the lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine Fisheries Service, arguing conditions in the lake have led to plummeting fish populations. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Klamath Tribes sue to protect endangered sucker

Proposal to raise Shasta Dam could mean renewed rancor:  “California’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, sits where the dry Central Valley meets the rainier, mountainous northern part of the state. At its western edge is Shasta Dam, 602 feet high, built by the Bureau of Reclamation between 1938 and 1945 to help irrigate California. For decades, agricultural and municipal water districts have sought to heighten the dam to capture more water as it runs out of the Cascade Range through the McCloud, Pit and Sacramento rivers. Environmentalists have long rallied against the proposal, and state officials contend such a project would violate California law. Now, though, with a push from some members of Congress and the current Interior Department, the idea has been given new life. … ”  Read more from High Country News here:  Proposal to raise Shasta Dam could mean renewed rancor

Lake Mendocino project in water bill:  “The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved the Water Resources and Development Act of 2018 today, including key North Coast and environmental priorities authored by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), a member of the committee. The bill will next head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.  The bipartisan WRDA legislation authorizes Army Corps of Engineers activities across the country, including two important provisions authored by Huffman: one to start the process to raise the Coyote Valley Dam at Lake Mendocino, and another to improve reservoir operations there by using modern science and weather forecasting. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Lake Mendocino project in water bill

On bid to save abalone, Sonoma Coast divers plan huge purple urchin harvest:  “Abalone hunters and other recreational divers forced to stand by idly for years as tiny purple urchins overran the ocean floor off the North Coast are scheduled to converge en masse over Memorial Day weekend to try their hand at resetting nature.  At least 100 participants are expected to gather at Ocean Cove on the Sonoma Coast for a two-day blitz aimed at clearing as many of the dollar-sized urchins from the cove as possible. They hope it will give some of the region’s ravaged bull kelp and the beleaguered red abalone that feed on it a fighting chance at recovery. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  On bid to save abalone, Sonoma Coast divers plan huge purple urchin harvest

Documentary explores the history of the abused, resilient Eel River: The Potter Valley Project has been diverting some of the Eel River for more than a century, but its future is uncertain as Pacific Gas and Electric announced this month it will auction off the controversial power plant if it can’t transfer ownership first.  So while the river’s future relationship with humans is yet to be mapped, the twists and turns of their mostly exploitive past can be explored now in a documentary made by Shane Anderson called “A River’s Last Chance,” which will be screened June 2 at the Mendocino Film Festival. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Documentary explores the history of the abused, resilient Eel River

State proposes change in monitoring status for Napa County’s groundwater:  “California says it might raise its alert level for monitoring Napa Valley groundwater to make certain local wells keep supplying water, although what — if anything — this means for the county’s current water policies is unclear.  The state proposes to reclassify the Napa Valley subbasin from “medium” to “high” priority. But since it requires communities in either category to take the same steps to avoid sucking aquifers dry, the proposal may or may not have consequences.  “I think at this point, everything is open to interpretation and requires additional investigation as to what DWR is trying to accomplish,” County Public Works Director Steven Lederer said. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  State proposes change in monitoring status for Napa County’s groundwater

Butte/Yuba Region:  Spring rains boost water year:  “Reservoirs in the region appear to be faring well this water year (aside from Lake Oroville, for the obvious reasons).  Despite a low snowpack throughout the state, late rains made this water year better than anticipated.  “We had a slow start to the water year, but several late spring storms greatly improved conditions and have left us in a good position heading into the summer,” said Scott Matyac, water resources manager for the Yuba County Water Agency. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Spring rains boost water year

Final phase of Lower Putah Creek restoration wins approval:  “Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, a longtime supporter of the restoration of Lower Putah Creek in Winters, on Friday lauded the Central Valley Flood Protection Board’s unanimous approval of permits to complete the final phase of the project.  “Restoring this vital waterway to its natural state is the right thing to do, not only for the environment and wildlife but also for the people of Winters, who have come to cherish this wonderful asset,” the senator said. “I applaud board members for recognizing the importance of this project and helping to see it to fruition.” … ”  Read more from the Winters Express here:  Final phase of Lower Putah Creek restoration wins approval

“Floating village” eyed in San Jose’s Alviso area could ward off floods, quakes, rising seas: A “floating village” project is being eyed in north San Jose’s Alviso hamlet by tech company Arx Pax, using a technology that would deploy a group of pontoons beneath the buildings to protect the development from floods and earthquakes.  Los Gatos-based Arx Pax invented the technology, which uses principles similar to the 1.5-mile-long Hood Canal Bridge that traverses Washington state’s Puget Sound.  “We sincerely believe that in our mission, we can protect people, property and communities from natural disasters,” said Greg Henderson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Arx Pax. “This is so important, but not just for our company.” ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  “Floating village” eyed in San Jose’s Alviso area could ward off floods, quakes, rising seas

Tulare mayor says ag hurts environment, public health. Farmers react angrily online: “Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones is facing the wrath of the farming community after saying on social media that agriculture is damaging to the environment and public health.  A screen shot of his comments was shared Friday on the Facebook page My Job Depends on Ag. And it didn’t take long for the page’s loyal followers to respond. By early Friday afternoon, the post had more than 400 comments and had been shared more than 300 times. … ”  Read more from the Frenso Bee here:  Tulare mayor says ag hurts environment, public health. Farmers react angrily online

Ridgecrest: Breeden: The board leads the Groundwater Authority:  “Who takes charge or provides direction at the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority?  That question dominated a portion of the May 17 groundwater authority board meeting after resident Judie Decker brought up the subject.  “Who is in charge? Every organization has something in charge, but I don’t know who is in charge here,” Decker said. “Is it the chair, is it the board? Is it Stetson Engineering? The attorneys?”  The question reflected the frustration Decker expressed at a May 14 IWV Water District meeting, when she said she saw no clear group or individual in charge. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Breeden: The board leads the Groundwater Authority

Santa Clarita: Tax rate to pay for State Water Project likely to remain unchanged:  “Whatever you paid for water infrastructure last year is what you’re likely to pay for water infrastructure this coming year.  Members of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency’s Budget & Rates Committee approved a recommendation Monday that would maintain the same property tax rate SCV customers paid during the 2017-18 fiscal year.  SCV Water’s board of directors is expected to approve the same recommendation when it meets June 5.  The property tax rate is levied to pay SCV’s share of the State Water Project infrastructure which provides us with water from Northern California. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here:  Tax rate to pay for State Water Project likely to remain unchanged

Pomona loses pollution lawsuit to Chilean mining company, stuck with $10 million bill for water cleanupRows of citrus trees bundled with balls of sweet oranges, tangy lemons and ripe limes are part of the region’s bucolic past. From the late 1800s to the 1950s, California’s second gold rush brought the world to her feet.  Towns across the San Gabriel Valley, Inland Empire and Orange County were built on the citrus trade – some still sprout vestiges of these glory days. Pomona, known as “queen of the citrus belt,” took its name from the Roman goddess of fruit trees and orchards.  However, the legacy of sunshine and fruit, commerce and growth has a dark side that today still casts a shadow. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here:  Pomona loses pollution lawsuit to Chilean mining company, stuck with $10 million bill for water cleanup

“Be more than a fish tank”: Dr. Jerry Schubel’s mission accomplished at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific: When Dr. Jerry Schubel was hired in 2002 to become executive director of Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific, he was given one task: “Be more than a fish tank.”  Mission accomplished.  Friday, the aquarium will begin a summer-long celebration of its 20th birthday. The doors opened on June 20, 1998. Schubel sat down last week to take stock. ... ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  “Be more than a fish tank”: Dr. Jerry Schubel’s mission accomplished at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific

Along the Colorado River …

John Wesley Powell’s perilous journey down the Colorado River:  “The Colorado River Exploring Expedition had an ambitious goal: float more than 900 miles from the Green River in present-day Wyoming, down to the Colorado River, and through the Grand Canyon to the confluence with the Virgin River, in what is now Utah. Led by John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran and geologist, the expedition consisted of ten men and four wooden rowboats. They launched on May 24, 1869, and things quickly went sideways: rations were lost in the river, one man abandoned the expedition, and boats were routinely damaged—one of them irreparably. After more than two months, the remaining nine men arrived at the Grand Canyon battered and running low on supplies. In this excerpt from The Promise of the Grand Canyon (July 2018, Viking, $30), author John F. Ross documents how even then the biggest test of the journey remained in front of them. … “  Read more from Outside Magazine here:  John Wesley Powell’s perilous journey down the Colorado River

Here’s a photo gallery of pictures from the construction of Hoover Dam from the Arizona Daily Star: Photos: Hoover Dam construction in the 1930s

Precipitation recap …

Wrap-up of California’s dry/warm winter; “May Gray” along the coast and persistent mountain showers continue:  “Most of California was on track for one of its driest winters on record as recently as February as a result of persistent (one might even call it resilient) high pressure ridging along the West Coast during the first half of winter. Recall that December 2017 featured the largest wildfire in modern California history, following on the heels of the most destructive and deadly wildfire event in the state’s history just months earlier in October. Through late February, Sierra Nevada snowpack was tracking near its lowest level in recorded history–on par with the near-total snow drought of 2014-2015.  Then came March, and with it an unexpectedly persistent sequence of cold, wet storms across the northern 2/3 of the state. ... ”  Read more from the California Weather Blog here:  Wrap-up of California’s dry/warm winter; “May Gray” along the coast and persistent mountain showers continue

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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