DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: From dendrometers to drones, devices drive ag-tech boom; EPA fines NorCal gravel miner for dumping on endangered salmon; Reclamation chief revitalizes agency’s infrastructure mission; and more …

In California water news this weekend, From dendrometers to drones, devices drive ag-tech boom; Tribe’s salmon protection effort highlighted in new exhibit; EPA fines NorCal gravel miner for dumping on endangered salmon; Bakersfield trees bouncing back after drought; Massive algal bloom at Diamond Valley lake prompts warnings; Reclamation chief revitalizes agency’s infrastructure mission; and more …

In the news this weekend …

From dendrometers to drones, devices drive ag-tech boom:  “Agriculture across the country is going high-tech, as the ag and food sectors invested $10.1 billion in digital technologies in 2017, according to a University of California study. That’s up from $3.2 billion in 2016, reports the UC’s Giannini Foundation for Agricultural Economics.  In California, which was the leading state last year with $2.2 billion spent to adopt new technologies in ag and food production, UC Cooperative Extension researchers are researching or developing lots of new, innovative ideas. And growers are putting them to work in their fields and orchards.  Many of the devices are geared toward helping growers save water, as frequent droughts and increasing demands on water have led to persistent shortages in recent years. Recently, UC advisors and others gathered with growers in an orchard near Red Bluff, Calif., to show them the latest advances in irrigation efficiency. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  From dendrometers to drones, devices drive ag-tech boom

Tribe’s salmon protection effort highlighted in new exhibit:  “The Yurok Tribe’s award-winning stewardship of the Klamath River is featured in a new California Academy of Sciences exhibit called “Giants of Land and Sea.”  “Giants of Land and Sea” is set to premiere on Friday at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. On June 12, Yurok Tribal Council Representative Joe James and Yurok Office of Self Governance Director Javier Kinney participated in several opening events at the museum. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Tribe’s salmon protection effort highlighted in new exhibit

EPA fines NorCal gravel miner for dumping on endangered salmon:  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t exactly been known for its teeth as of late, but don’t tell that to a Humboldt County gravel miner who just got bit by the feds for dumping pollution on endangered salmon.  In court documents filed Monday, Jack Noble agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and undertake extensive remediation efforts to undo an elaborate dumping operation into the protected waters off of the Eel River.  Noble, who owns Van Duzen River Ranch, was originally cited in a 2016 federal complaint for illegally dumping pollution and debris into the Van Duzen River, a major tributary of the Eel River, causing harm to endangered salmon, steelhead and their offspring. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  EPA fines NorCal gravel miner for dumping on endangered salmon

Michael Fitzgerald column: Giant swamp rats could invade Stockton. True:  “What the … ? The Department of Fish and Wildlife sent me a letter asking my written permission to hunt for nutria around my Woodland Drive house.  Nutria, if you just tuned in, are a voracious South American swamp rat. A beaver-like rodent with weird orange teeth and appallingly destructive, they have invaded the Delta. Nutria chomp away plants that hold wetlands together, leaving open water. They will ruin the Delta and our economy if not stopped.  “We are requesting your assistance in eradicating this destructive species,” says the letter. It adds, “The full geographic extent of this infestation is not yet known and must be determined in order to completely eradicate the population.” … ”  Read more from Stockton Record here:  Giant swamp rats could invade Stockton: True

Bakersfield trees bouncing back after drought:  “It didn’t look good for Bakersfield trees two years ago. The drought and state-mandated water restrictions took a hit on the city’s ecosystem, forcing the removal of a significant portion of dead trees from city property.  But since the abatement of the drought in 2017, the city is seeing the number of trees dying off each year dwindle, and a new effort by the Bakersfield Recreation and Parks Department is attempting to return affected areas back to their green glory days. … ” Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Bakersfield trees bouncing back after drought

Massive algal bloom at Diamond Valley lake prompts warnings:  “An algal bloom covering nearly all of Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet has prompted officials to warn lake-goers not to drink or touch the water.  The Metropolitan Water District, which runs the reservoir, began handing out fliers Friday, June 15, urging boaters to keep their children and service animals away from the water. Swimming already is prohibited at the lake, which has now turned green because of all the bacteria in the water. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Massive algal bloom at Diamond Valley lake prompts warnings

Reclamation chief revitalizes agency’s infrastructure mission:  “The Trump administration is ringing in a new era at the Bureau of Reclamation, one that harkens back to earlier days of ambitious water-storage projects.  The administration and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are “very focused” on infrastructure, and Reclamation wants to partner with water users to bring new projects forward, Brenda Burman, Bureau of Reclamation commissioner, said during the Idaho Water Users Association water law conference on Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Reclamation chief revitalizes agency’s infrastructure mission

In commentary this weekend …

Proposed first water tax got the demise it deserved, says the San Diego Union Tribune:  They write, “It’s 2018, not 1918, and the idea that an estimated 360,000 California residents don’t have access to clean, safe water in their homes is both appalling and hard to fathom. While this problem is concentrated in the Central Valley, it’s a concern in rural agricultural areas across the state, including in San Diego County.  But when the price tab to fix this mess is put at $140 million a year — about one-tenth of 1 percent of the state’s general fund budget — here’s what else is impossible to accept: the idea that the only way that lawmakers can respond is by imposing a first-ever tax on water consumption. Baloney. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Proposed first water tax got the demise it deserved

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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