DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Score may cut Sites bond funding; Gold-mining practice in CA still on hold after suction dredge bill grinds to a halt; Trump Administration looks to boost case to repeal Obama water rule; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Score may cut Sites bond funding; Gold-mining practice in California still on hold after suction dredge bill grinds to a halt; Could quicker, cheaper Superfund cleanups create uncertainty?; Trump Administration looks to boost case to repeal Obama water rule; Efforts to restore the Los Angeles River collide with a gentrifying city; The Colorado River is proof of nature’s resiliency; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Score may cut Sites bond funding:  “Final scores have been set for the eight projects still vying for water storage funding from the Proposition 1 water bond.  The scores put Sites Reservoir in a lower tier for funding, which means it probably won’t get the whole $917 million its proponents are seeking. Even so, it’s likely to get the largest share of money from the bond.  Sites is a proposed 1.8 million acre-foot off-stream reservoir west on Maxwell in Colusa County. It is the only project left of the list that is north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Score may cut Sites bond funding

Gold-mining practice in California still on hold after suction dredge bill grinds to a halt:  “Even though the Gold Rush is long gone, the fight over the valuable mineral rages on in California. For over a decade, gold miners have been battling with the state government and conservationists in the Sierra Nevada Mountains concerned that modern-day mining practices damage the environment and should be scrutinized and regulated.  Suction dredge mining, a practice in which individuals use vacuum-like devices to extract minerals from the bottom of waterways, has been restricted by a series of new laws passed in the California State Legislature. Earlier this year, miners’ rights groups were optimistic that a bill authored by Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, would narrow the scope of the restrictions and allow them to apply for permits to return to rivers and streams with their suction dredge equipment once again.  … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Gold-mining practice in California still on hold after suction dredge bill grinds to a halt

Could quicker, cheaper Superfund cleanups create uncertainty?  “The start-and-stop approach the EPA wants to use for toxic site cleanup could be quicker, cheaper, and more effective than the process the agency has used for decades, but some are concerned it could increase uncertainty for the companies involved.  Steven Cook, head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund task force, told Bloomberg Environment June 28 he is focusing on creating sustainable reforms to the agency’s contaminated site cleanup program. To do that, the agency wants to expand to all 1,300 of the nation’s most contaminated sites the use of adaptive management, an approach that has been used in many other cleanups. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg BNA here:  Could quicker, cheaper Superfund cleanups create uncertainty?

Trump Administration looks to boost case to repeal Obama water rule:  “The Trump administration acted Friday to try to bolster its case to repeal the Obama administration’s controversial water pollution regulation.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers, which administer the Clean Water Act together, first proposed in July 2017 to repeal former President Obama’s Clean Water Rule.  Those agencies put out a “supplemental” notice Friday in which they double down on their previous assertions that the 2015 regulation created significant “uncertainty” and is incompatible with the law and Supreme Court precedent. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Trump Administration looks to boost case to repeal Obama water rule

Sunday reads …

Efforts to restore the Los Angeles River collide with a gentrifying city:  “In March, as the city of Los Angeles was worrying about a possible rerun of California’s recent epic drought, adrenalized meteorologists took to the airwaves to announce that a Pineapple Express was coming.  The “atmospheric river” is known for the long channel of water vapor that carries precipitation from the South Pacific to the West Coast, like a waterway in the sky. When the storm made landfall, it shadowboxed L.A. for three days but failed to wallop, and eventually most of the flood and mudslide warnings were rescinded. Still, it was enough to push a torrent of water down the giant, 51-mile-long concrete gutter known as the Los Angeles River, which snakes through the heart of the city. ... ”  Read more from Sierra Magazine (the magazine of the Sierra Club) here:  Efforts to restore the Los Angeles River collide with a gentrifying city

The Colorado River is proof of nature’s resiliency:  “The Morelos Dam groaned open at the Arizona−Mexico border on March 23, 2014, unleashing a surge or “pulse flow” of water into one very thirsty stretch of the Colorado River. As the gray-green torrent roared south, residents of the Mexican town of San Luis Rio Colorado joyfully waded into spontaneous pools and instant lagoons.  From an overhead bridge, Jennifer Pitt watched the ebullient celebration. As the director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s Colorado River Project at the time, she’d been a key player in launching this release of 106,000 acre-feet of water (enough to fill some 52,000 Olympic-size swimming pools), aimed at jump-starting restoration of the Colorado River Delta. … ”  Read more from NRDC’s On Earth Magazine here:  The Colorado River is proof of nature’s resiliency

In commentary this weekend …

Fear is growing on California farms over Trump’s trade war.  Valley Republicans must help stop it, says the Fresno Bee:  They write, “The skirmish between Harley-Davidson and Donald Trump spotlighted the president’s spiraling trade war, but it’s small potatoes compared to the devastation that could befall California agriculture.  The iconic motorcycle company announced on Monday it is shifting some production outside the U.S. to avoid European Union tariffs – about $100 million a year – that were in retaliation for Trump’s tariffs on EU steel and aluminum. In response, Trump, of course, tweeted threats that Harley-Davidson would be taxed “like never before!” and it would be the “beginning of the end” for the company. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Fear is growing on California farms over Trump’s trade war.  Valley Republicans must help stop it

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Klamath Dam removal plan out for public review:  “The corporation created to remove four Klamath River dams that block fish passage and impair river quality has filed its “Definite Plan for the Lower Klamath Project” with the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission, or FERC.  The 2,300-page document provides analysis and detail on project design, deconstruction, reservoir restoration and other post-deconstruction activities related to the proposed removal of the J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and the Iron Gate dams, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced Friday. … ”  Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here:  Klamath Dam removal plan out for public review

Humboldt County to spend $1.3M to keep chemicals from seeping into Humboldt Bay:  “Humboldt County is preparing to spend $1.3 million to prevent a slowly expanding plume of chemically contaminated groundwater it’s known about since the early 1990s from seeping into Humboldt Bay — if it hasn’t already — and to further examine the health risks thereof, which remain unknown.  County Public Works environmental analyst Todd Becker said the county, regional water quality control board and local engineering consultants will work during the next year to determine how far the groundwater and soil contamination has reached. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Humboldt County to spend $1.3M to keep chemicals from seeping into Humboldt Bay

After a hot, dry winter, drought conditions creeping back into Northern California:  “And just like that, drought has crept back into Northern California.  Despite a flurry of late storms in spring, precipitation for the winter season was below normal and the region is facing moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions once again, according to the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor. What’s more, temperatures were above-normal throughout winter. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  After a hot, dry winter, drought conditions creeping back into Northern California

Wild & Scenic designation for Mokelumne River in Amador, Calaveras:  “The 1,200-foot gray granite face of Calaveras Dome looms high above the upper reaches of North Fork Mokelumne River downstream from Salt Springs Dam, across from another glacier-polished rock face called Hammer Dome.  The massive, mute stone gatekeepers are at the high, east end of a 37-mile stretch of the North Fork Mokelumne and the main stem Mokelumne River that are now designated wild and scenic by the state of California. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  Wild & Scenic designation for Mokelumne River in Amador, Calaveras

Martins Beach feud continues as state prepares for eminent domain:  “California lawmakers unveiled their strategy for the next round in the long-running feud between the state and a Silicon Valley billionaire over public access to one of the state’s most picturesque beaches.  An assemblage of California legislators gathered on the San Mateo County Coast about 50 miles south of San Francisco Friday to announce the creation of a fund to provide money for the purchase of an easement to facilitate public access to Martins Beach. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Martins Beach feud continues as state prepares for eminent domain

Algae at Pine Flat Lake poses risk:  “Blue-green algae has been detected in three central San Joaquin Valley lakes that poses a public health risk.  Algae blooms have been popping up at Pine Flat Lake since the middle of June, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned. Friday, the Corps added warnings for two more lakes under its control, Eastman and Hensley in Madera County.  ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Algae at California lakes poses risk

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt takes Santa Barbara by surprise:  “Looking crisp, brisk, and anything but embattled, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt — dogged by persistent scandals — made a surprise visit to Santa Barbara County on Thursday morning for a ceremonial signing of final remediation plans for the Casmalia Resources toxic dump site located 15 minutes out of Santa Maria. Pruitt was accompanied by Mike Stoker, director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. Stoker, a former Santa Barbara county supervisor and well-known player in local Republican circles for the past 30 years, made the motion back in 1991 when the county asked the EPA to designate the Casmalia toxic dump — final resting place for 5.6 billion pounds of toxic wastes — a Superfund cleanup site. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here:  EPA Chief Scott Pruitt takes Santa Barbara by surprise

Los Angeles: Corps of Engineers, LA County, state join forces for flood-risk exercise:  “El Nino has returned with a vengeance. Over the last week, back-to-back storm systems have hit southern California. The National Weather Service is predicting a third storm in the area, describing it as the “biggest storm of the season.”  The already saturated conditions, along with the additional forecasted rainfall, indicate Los Angeles River channels will be flowing at full capacity and may overtop.  Although there is a levee control location along Interstate 105 to help alleviate overtopping of the channels, the water will reach a 45-foot gap around the Union Pacific Bridge first. This will cause flooding to residences, as well as commercial and public properties in the cities of Compton, Cudahy, East Rancho Dominguez, Lynwood, South Gate and Willowbrook.  That was the beginning of a simulated scenario given to more than 45 local, state and federal representatives charged with emergency operations ... ”  Read more from the Army Corps of Engineers here:  Corps of Engineers, LA County, state join forces for flood-risk exercise

Once an overgrown illegal trash dump, DeForest Wetlands in North Long Beach is declared officially reinvigorated Saturday:  “At dawn, the only sounds likely to be heard at the newly-restored DeForest Wetlands in North Long Beach were warblers chirping and squirrels scurrying through the native greenery.  But by 10 a.m. Saturday, the entrance of the wetlands on Chestnut and DeForest avenues was crowded with Long Beach community members and city officials gathered to celebrate the opening of the formerly unusable wetlands. ... ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here:  Once an overgrown illegal trash dump, DeForest Wetlands in North Long Beach is declared officially reinvigorated Saturday

Nuisance lawsuit accuses Torrance refinery of water contamination:  “The Torrance refinery has allowed contaminated groundwater beneath surrounding residential properties to “store toxic chemicals” emanating from the plant for years, a hydrologist and Cal State Fullerton professor testified in a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit.  The legal action, first filed in early 2017, seeks to have the refinery declared a public nuisance, citing fires, leaks and other issues at the plant since a February 2015 explosion.  In June the refinery was fined $150,000 by the state for not meeting a timetable for removing hazardous waste from the site.  Filed on behalf of a trio of Torrance residents, the plaintiff’s lawyers are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here:  Nuisance lawsuit accuses Torrance refinery of water contamination

San Diego County: Dissolution of group in Bonsall may have been premature:  “A nonprofit community group in Bonsall formed in 2014 to fight plans to turn the former San Luis Rey Downs golf course into a wetlands mitigation land bank has dissolved on the theory it won the battle.  But that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Four years ago, the owners of the historic golf course, clubhouse and adjacent motel shuttered the operation, saying the business was losing money. They announced plans to pursue permits that would create a 188-acre land bank where developers and agencies such as Caltrans could purchase rights to some of the property to offset damage done to wetlands by their projects in other parts of the county. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Dissolution of group in Bonsall may have been premature

State and local officials make progress on Salton Sea project:  “Efforts made by state officials paid off as Prop 68 passed, bringing in more than $200 million to fund the restoration project of the Salton Sea. Today’s press conference was a message to the public that progress is being made.  “We’ve created a working group. We’re providing funding. We have a management plan in place. We want people in the public to know that not only are we working on this but that we’re already making gains. We’re gonna see the first phase of improvements coming soon,” said Senator Ben Hueso. ... ”  Read more from Channel 11 here:  State and local officials make progress on Salton Sea project

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona will work out a Colorado River drought plan:  “Arizona water officials committed Thursday to reach a multi-state plan by the end of the year to stave off Colorado River water shortages, or at least lessen the impact.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been prodding Western states to wrap up drought contingency plans, one each in the lower and upper basins. Little snowpack, rising temperatures and ongoing drought have led to steady declines in the river that serves 40 million people in seven U.S. states. … ”  Read more from Colorado Public Radio here:  Arizona will work out a Colorado River drought plan

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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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