DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: DWR plans to drop Lake Oroville levels; Warming driving spread of toxic algae, researchers say; More dead trees but the numbers may be easing in some areas; In the Southwest, ‘drought’ doesn’t tell the whole story; and more …

Feather River

In California water news this weekend, DWR plans to drop Lake Oroville levels; Warming drives spread of toxic algae in the US, researchers say; California has 27 million more dead trees then in 2016, but the numbers may be easing in some areas; In the Southwest, ‘drought’ doesn’t tell the whole story; Fire crews to battle dry, breezy conditions across western US into next week; Trump administration floats changes to environmental review standards; and more …

In the news this weekend …

DWR plans to drop Lake Oroville levels:  “The state Department of Water Resources announced plans on Friday to draw Lake Oroville down to 808 feet elevation by early next week.  This is to provide a second point of access to the upper chute of the Oroville Dam spillway, through the radial gates, for construction. Water surpasses the radial gates when the lake reaches 813 feet elevation.  “Construction activities on the upper chute of the spillway revealed bedrock conditions that require additional excavation,” the press release from DWR reads. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  DWR plans to drop Lake Oroville levels

Warming drives spread of toxic algae in the US, researchers say:  “The words blasted to cellphones around Oregon’s capital city were ominous: “Civil emergency . prepare for action.”  Within half an hour, a second official alert clarified the subject wasn’t impending violence but toxins from an algae bloom, detected in Salem’s water supply.  Across the U.S., reservoirs that supply drinking water and lakes used for recreation are experiencing similar events with growing frequency. The trend represents another impact of global warming and raises looming questions about the effects on human health, researchers say. ... ”  Read more from the Amador Ledger-Dispatch here:  Warming drives spread of toxic algae in the US, researchers say 

California has 27 million more dead trees then in 2016, but the numbers may be easing in some areas:  “More than 129 million trees died as California’s drought dragged on for years, but those numbers may be starting to level off in some parts of the state.  That is, at least for now.   Shortchanged on water and nutrients, more and more trees became vulnerable to insect attacks and died. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  California has 27 million more dead trees then in 2016, but the numbers may be easing in some areas

In the Southwest, ‘drought’ doesn’t tell the whole story:  “In early June, more than 1,000 people near Durango, Colorado, had to leave their homes as the 416 Fire swept across the landscape. Following a dismal snowpack, the region experienced a spring so hot and dry that the U.S. Drought Monitor labeled conditions “exceptional drought,” the worst category. … That means humans must adapt to life with less water. “We have to fundamentally change the mindset of the public, and the way we manage this resource,” says Newsha Ajami, a hydrologist and the director of urban water policy at Stanford University’s Water in the West program. “And one of the ways you do it is, you have to change the terminologies that we use in dealing with water.” ... ”  Read more from High Country News here:  In the Southwest, ‘drought’ doesn’t tell the whole story

Fire crews to battle dry, breezy conditions across western US into next week:  “Persistent dryness and localized breezy weather may create difficulties for firefighters battling wildfires across the western United States into early next week.  Around one dozen large fires are burning across seven states in the West, including as far north as Washington and Oregon, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.  The fires, some of which have been triggered by lightning, have been fueled by the extremely dry brush across the region. ... ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Fire crews to battle dry, breezy conditions across western US into next week

Trump administration floats changes to environmental review standards:  “The Trump administration is considering major changes to the regulations that govern how federal agencies analyze the potential environmental impacts of their decisions.  The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the White House agency responsible for coordinating compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), put out a notice Tuesday soliciting input on the matter from the public.  “Over the past four decades, CEQ has issued numerous guidance documents but has amended its regulations substantively only once,” the agency said in the notice, due to be published in the Federal Register Wednesday. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump administration floats changes to environmental review standards

In commentary this weekend …

Look out, California.  More meaningless water restrictions on the way, says Andrea Seastrand:  She writes, ““You never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  The now famous quote by President Obama’s first Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, is a tried-and-true tactic for politicians seeking to take advantage of a situation and pass laws to further an extreme agenda that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Unfortunately for us, nowhere in the United States is this more evident than in California. The recent drought is the latest crisis being used to justify further government control over our lives. A few weeks ago, Gov. Brown quietly signed two bills that will set some of the most stringent water use standards in the country and will have implications for Californians for decades to come. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Look out, California.  More meaningless water restrictions on the way

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Siskiyou County Sustainable Groundwater Management Act updates:  The Siskiyou County Sustainable Groundwater Management Act staff issued updates on basin boundary modification request, Prop 1 grant, public outreach.  Read the update at the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Siskiyou County Sustainable Groundwater Management Act updates

Illegal pot farms in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle face raids:  “Three Northern California counties have been ground zero for the state’s pot production for decades. Illegal grows are hidden on federal lands and often run by Mexican drug cartels. Now that the state is regulating cannabis they’re on notice to clean-up their act, or shut down.  Humboldt County is home to ancient redwood forests, environmentally sensitive creeks and streams, and pot. The county sheriff showed us these photos from a recent raid where you can see the dirty side of the weed industry. Investigators found trash, hazardous waste and even raw sewage all next to an endangered salmon spawning area. … ”  Read more from ABC 7 here: Illegal pot farms in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle face raids

Paso Robles ‘drought proof’ recycled water plant is nearly finished:  “Paso Robles’ recycled water treatment facility is starting to take shape — and officials are excited about its potential as an additional water source for thirsty North County residents.  Construction on the $14.4 million plant, also known as a tertiary treatment facility, is more than halfway complete.  It’s expected to be finished in January 2019 and will eventually produce treated water to help offset agricultural groundwater pumping in east Paso Robles. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Paso Robles ‘drought proof’ recycled water plant is nearly finished

$41 monthly rate increase ‘reasonable’ to pay for Morro Bay water reclamation, study says:  “The four-member commission appointed by Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins gave a nod of approval Friday to a proposed $41 increase to ratepayers’ combined water and sewer bills; the increase would go toward financing the construction of a new water reclamation facility (WRF) to replace the city’s existing wastewater treatment plant.  The increase would go into effect July 1, 2019. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  $41 monthly rate increase ‘reasonable’ to pay for Morro Bay water reclamation, study says

Ridgecrest: Groundwater authority approves first read of pump fee ordinance:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board voted 4-0 to approve the first reading of a volumetric groundwater extraction fee ordinance. The city of Ridgecrest, represented by Mayor Peggy Breeden, abstained from voting.  Revenues from the fee are meant to cover an approximately $930,000 budget gap in developing a sustainability plan, which needs to be submitted to the California Department of Water Resources by Jan. 31, 2020.  A monthly fee of $30 per acre-foot pumped will be implemented on all major pumpers, including agriculture, the Indian Wells Valley Water District, and Searles Valley Minerals in Trona. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Ridgecrest: Groundwater authority approves first read of pump fee ordinance

Algae bloom closes Diamond Valley Lake:  “All recreational activities at Diamond Valley Lake have been suspended indefinitely due to a large bloom of blue-green algae at the bottom of the lake, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced Thursday.  Boating, fishing and hiking are just some of the activities suspended around the lake until the district determines it is safe to use again. The algae, called cyanobacteria, sometimes releases harmful cyanotoxins into the water, which in high concentrations can be poisonous when ingested. … ”  Read more from KNBC here:  Algae bloom closes Diamond Valley Lake

Banning commits to regional water management plan:  “The San Gorgonio Integrated Regional Water Management Plan has received a nod of support from the city of Banning, which approved a resolution at its June 12 meeting, enabling the city to apply for grant funding from the organization.  In 2016 the regional organization received a Proposition 1 planning grant to develop an integrated regional water management plan. A management group was formed to come up with goals and strategies, and identify projects that would be uniquely beneficial to the area, and implement projects that align with the region’s water supply needs. … ”  Read more from the Record Gazette here:  Banning commits to regional water management plan

Weather/climate watch …

An unremarkable solstice in California; but a hot second half of summer (and what about El Niño)?  “After a long stretch of tumultuous weather during much of 2017 and early 2018–ranging from record rainfall, continuing drought in the south, all-time record heat, and devastating wildfires (followed by equally devastating debris flows)–a relatively quiet spring and start to summer in California has offered a welcome reprieve. Temperatures have been pretty darn close to long-term averages in California’s most densely populated coastal areas, though much of the California interior has been continuing to run well above average. ... ”  Read more from the California Weather Blog here:  An unremarkable solstice in California; but a hot second half of summer (and what about El Niño)?

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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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