DAILY DIGEST: Appeals court rejects effort to tear down Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir; On the Yuba River, climate change means its time for a dam makeover; Feds want to remove millions of dead and dying trees from California’s forests; and more …

In California water news today, Appeals court rejects effort to tear down Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir; On the Yuba River, climate change means its time for a dam makeover; Feds want to remove millions of dead and dying trees from California’s forests; The drought ended, so why is California’s fire season getting worse?; Orcas of the Pacific Northwest are starving and disappearing; Regulators will soon know a lot more about algal toxins in US drinking water; How the EPA and the Pentagon downplayed a growing toxic threat; Supreme Court: Kavanaugh’s record: Climate regs, pipelines, LNG and more; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets this morning at 9:30am.  Agenda items include several amendments to the Sacramento and San Joaquin basin plans, Consideration of a proposed Resolution adopting principles of open data as a core value, and a quarterly science update.  Click here for the full agendaClick here for the webcast link.
  • Metropolitan revotes on California Water Fix at 12 noon.  Click here to watch on webcast.  (Link on the page will go live around 11:55 or so.)

In the news today …

Appeals court rejects effort to tear down Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir:  “The push to drain Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and restore the Sierra canyon to its natural state was rejected by the courts — again — Monday, though opponents of the dam said they plan to take their fight to the California Supreme Court.  In a legal case that has been a thorn in the side of the city of San Francisco, California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno ruled that a Tuolumne County judge was correct two years ago when he tossed a lawsuit seeking to raze the city-run reservoir. ... ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Appeals court rejects effort to tear down Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

On the Yuba River, climate change means its time for a dam makeover:  “Among California rivers, the Yuba is one of the most dramatic. Draining the Sierra Nevada just north of Lake Tahoe, it is steep and flashy – one of the most flood-prone rivers in the state.  Yuba River floods have killed people – notably in 1955, 1986 and 1997 – and climate change is making such floods more likely. As the atmosphere warms, more winter precipitation falls as rain rather than snow. This boosts the amount of runoff coursing downhill in any given storm. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  On the Yuba River, climate change means its time for a dam makeover

Feds want to remove millions of dead and dying trees from California’s forests:  “The federal Bureau of Land Management wants to remove dead and dying trees from 35 California counties, from Siskiyou to Santa Barbara.  The agency hasn’t yet identified specific parcels. But BLM forester Coreen Francis says the plan is to pay particular attention to forest land near power lines, roads, private property and trails used for recreation. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Feds want to remove millions of dead and dying trees from California’s forests

The drought ended, so why is California’s fire season getting worse?  “It’s only the beginning of summer and California residents have already found themselves in a furnace of oppressive heat and raging wildfires. At the current pace, the two fire season’s since California’s five-year drought ended will be the worst on record.  The wildfires that torched California in 2017 caused historic levels of death and destruction, but the fierce start to the season in 2018 indicates this year could be equally challenging for overworked crews. Last year the federal government spent over $2.39 billion on firefighting, easily outpacing all previous fire seasons. … ”  Continue reading at SF Gate here:  The drought ended, so why is California’s fire season getting worse?

Orcas of the Pacific Northwest are starving and disappearing:  “For the last three years, not one calf has been born to the dwindling pods of black-and-white killer whales spouting geysers of mist off the coast in the Pacific Northwest.  Normally four or five calves would be born each year among this fairly unique urban population of whales — pods named J, K and L. But most recently, the number of orcas here has dwindled to just 75, a 30-year-low in what seems to be an inexorable, perplexing decline. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Orcas of the Pacific Northwest are starving and disappearing

Regulators will soon know a lot more about algal toxins in US drinking water:  “Authorities in Salem, Oregon, lifted a drinking water advisory on July 3 that had been in place for children and the elderly since Memorial Day weekend, when algal toxins were discovered in the city’s water system.  How many other water systems are at risk from the toxin-producing scum that grows in rivers and lakes, particularly in the warmer months? Thanks to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitoring requirements, regulators will soon have more comprehensive data on how often such toxins show up in drinking water supplies and at what concentrations. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: Regulators will soon know a lot more about algal toxins in US drinking water

How the EPA and the Pentagon downplayed a growing toxic threat:  “The chemicals once seemed near magical, able to repel water, oil and stains.  By the 1970s, DuPont and 3M had used them to develop Teflon and Scotchgard, and they slipped into an array of everyday products, from gum wrappers to sofas to frying pans to carpets. Known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, they were a boon to the military, too, which used them in foam that snuffed out explosive oil and fuel fires. … ”  Read more from ProPublica here:  How the EPA and the Pentagon downplayed a growing toxic threat

Supreme Court: Kavanaugh’s record: Climate regs, pipelines, LNG and more:  “President Trump has selected a Washington, D.C., insider as his pick to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.  Less than two weeks after Kennedy’s announcement, Trump has chosen Judge Brett Kavanaugh from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit as his nominee for the soon-to-be-open seat on the high court.  Experts have described the 53-year-old D.C. native as highly qualified and reliably conservative. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Supreme Court: Kavanaugh’s record: Climate regs, pipelines, LNG and more

In commentary today …

State Water Board flow recommendation will help preserve Delta’s health, says the San Jose Mercury News:  They write, The State Water Resources Control Board provided a voice of sanity to California’s water wars Friday. The board, which oversees California’s water rights issues, recommended significant increases in the water flowing through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in order to preserve its long-term health.  Whew. What a relief.  It’s a welcome departure from Southern California and the Trump administration’s non-stop efforts to send more water south at the expense of the Delta’s water quality and eco-system. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  State Water Board flow recommendation will help preserve Delta’s health

California’s climate summit is a moment to lead on oceans and coasts, says Sara Aminzadeh:  She writes, “California has consistently stepped up when the Trump administration steps back; our state has emerged as a climate leader even as the administration works to undermine climate progress. While the United States has officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, California is working to galvanize a global movement of states, cities and businesses to curb carbon pollution and keep the planet below 3.6F (2C) of warming. In September, the state will host the Global Climate Action Summit, where government and business leaders from around the world will be asked to double down on past commitments. ... ”  Read mroe from Oceans Deeply here:  California’s climate summit is a moment to lead on oceans and coasts

California’s socialized water shortage:  Michael Reagan and Michael R. Shannon write, “When presented with any shortage there are two ways to respond. The first, and more preferable, is to increase supply. The second is to restrict demand by rationing. Guess which option California’s leftist government has chosen?  California Gov. Jerry Brown has just signed two water-rationing bills that according to the Weekly Standard, are “focused primarily on decreasing per-person water usage.”  Some may contend it’s hardly fair to blame government bureaucrats for a lack of rain and the resulting drought that has plagued California off and on for over a decade.  I’m not so sure about that. … ”  Read more from Newsmax here:  California’s socialized water shortage

America must act to ensure qualified water workforce, say David C. Sago and Andrew Kricun:  They write, “Water is the lifeblood of our society and a key economic engine employing workers nationwide. A new report from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program found that, in 2016, 1.7 million workers were directly involved in designing, constructing, operating  and governing U.S. water infrastructure.   From skilled trades such as plumbers and electrical engineers to white-collar jobs in finance and administration, the business of water is essential to the American economy. Water and wastewater facilities, and corresponding job opportunities, are found everywhere in America. They offer good wages and benefits, providing solid middle-class careers — and the jobs cannot be relocated. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  America must act to ensure qualified water workforce

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Dams: A river – unlike any other – runs through it:  “PacifiCorp’s environmental scientist Demien Ebert stood on the banks of Upper Klamath Lake — the headwaters of the Klamath River — across from the Pelican Marina on a cool, Friday morning in June, admiring the wildlife and talking about the unique qualities of the body of water that flows down to the four dams along the Klamath River.  Ebert, along with Bob Gravely, spokesperson for PacifiCorp, Laura Williams, of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office, and an H&N staffer recently toured the dams slated for removal along the Klamath River — J.C. Boyle, Copco 1 and 2, and Iron Gate.  Many rivers flow from steep mountains, Ebert said, but the Klamath isn’t like any river he’s seen or heard of. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath Dams: A river – unlike any other – runs through it

City of Chico taking comments on storm water resource plan:  “The city has a plan to protect and improve local streams and groundwater, and it’s looking for feedback.  Late last month the city published a draft of its Storm Water Resource Plan for the Big Chico Creek and Little Chico Creek watersheds, which proposes several projects aimed at protecting local water, and is accepting comments on the plan until July 12.  The plan has to satisfy the requirements of Senate Bill 985 and follow the State Water Board guidelines so that the city is eligible to receive future state grant funds for storm water projects. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  City of Chico taking comments on storm water resource plan

Lathrop says water changes temporary:  “Last week, Lathrop residents began complaining about the strange odor and color to the water coming out of their taps.  According to the City of Lathrop, the issue was only temporary and attributed to a capacity test by the South San Joaquin Irrigation District that significantly increased the amount of surface water within Lathrop’s municipal water system.  According to a release posted to the City of Lathrop’s website, the capacity test took place on June 28 and lasted for approximately five hours — pushing large amounts of surface water into the system that officials believe was the cause of the change in color, odor and taste. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Lathrop says water changes temporary

Mono ranch lessee supporters waging paper war on LADWP:  “Friends of the Inyo is the latest entity to come out in support of ranchers with grazing leases in Long Valley, leases receiving a fraction of previous irrigation water allocations this year and possibly no water following an environmental analysis by land owner, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  Initially, LADWP leases indicated no water for this year. In early May, Mayor Eric Garcetti indicated by letter ranchers would receive “an amount of water…. similar to 2016, which was also based on snowpack conditions.” Snowpack this year came in at 82-percent of normal, compared to 71-percent in 2016. The total water for Mono County leases this year amounts to 18-percent of historical allocations. ... ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Mono ranch lessee supporters waging paper war on LADWP

High flows coming to Owens Gorge – what about fish and their habitat? The 500 cubic feet per second flows scheduled for the Owens River Gorge in late June have been postponed until later this month. But the impact of flows 10-times greater than what has been released hasn’t been postponed. What about the fish and their habitat?  According to California Fish and Wildlife biologist Steve Parmenter, the penstock between the Middle and Lower Gorge Power Plants has to be dried up for safety reasons as Los Angeles Department of Water and Power fix a mechanical problem. All this precedes the construction of a flume, scheduled for September, to begin restoring flows in the length of the gorge. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  High flows coming to Owens Gorge – what about fish and their habitat? 

Ridgecrest: IWVGA policy, technical advisory committees to meet:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s two committees will meet Thursday at the IWV Water District’s office, 500 W. Ridgecrest Blvd.  The policy advisory committee (also known as PAC), which meets at 6 p.m., will discuss information derived from the groundwater authority’s informational meeting on pumping fees, including how to implement “full” well registration. The informational meeting itself will be held tonight at 6 p.m. at the Kerr McGee Community Center, 100 W. California Ave.  The Groundwater Authority board is expected to formally adopt a monthly volumetric groundwater extraction fee of $30 per acre-foot pumped on major pumpers in the IWV basin at its July 19 meeting. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Ridgecrest: IWVGA policy, technical advisory committees to meet

Customers sue embattled Compton water district over discolored water: “Frustrated by discolored drinking water pouring from their taps, four Compton residents filed a class-action lawsuit late Monday against their water provider, Sativa Los Angeles County Water District.  The lawsuit, filed at Los Angeles County Superior Court, accuses Sativa of failing to provide quality drinking water, misappropriating taxpayer dollars and causing a financial burden on its low-income customers in Compton and Willowbrook. It comes days before a crucial decision by county oversight officials on whether to dissolve the small public water district. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Customers sue embattled Compton water district over discolored water

Opposition mounts to West Basin ocean water desalination plant in El Segundo:  “As the proposed ocean water desalination plant in El Segundo moves into the next phase of the review process, more cities and conservation groups are lining up against the project they say is too expensive, wastes too much energy and harms marine life.  More than three dozen organizations, agencies and businesses have now either written letters in opposition or made comments critical of the environmental impacts they say a desalination facility on the coast might have, according to Melissa Kelly, an attorney with Los Angeles Waterkeeper. ... ”  Read more from The Beach Reporter here:  Opposition mounts to West Basin ocean water desalination plant in El Segundo

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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