DAILY DIGEST: What the $8.9 billion water bond would buy; Why aren’t there more controlled burns?; Preparing for extreme weather by planting trees; Trump’s big reorganization plan gets second and third look; and more …

In California water news today, What the $8.9 billion water bond would buy; Controlled burns can help solve California’s water problem; so why aren’t there more of them?; California is preparing for extreme weather: It’s time to plant some trees; Trump’s big reorganization gets second and third look; New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt; and more …

In the news today …

What the $8.9 billion water bond would buy:  “A 152-mile long canal that irrigates pistachios and other crops in the eastern San Joaquin Valley is sinking by an inch a month, the result of groundwater over-pumping by farmers.  The Sacramento Bee described the Friant-Kern Canal as an engineering marvel, but its capacity has been reduced by as much as 60 percent at because of subsidence. … Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion bond on the November ballot, would set aside $750 million to repair the canal, and additional sums to avert subsidence. … ”  Continue reading at Cal Matters here:  What the $8.9 billion water bond would buy

Controlled burns can help solve California’s water problem; so why aren’t there more of them? With climate change, wildfires threaten disaster and chaos in more California communities, more often. But experts say it’s possible to avoid catastrophic harm to human and forest health by setting planned burns before human error, lightning or arson choose when fires start.  “Putting prescribed fire back out on the landscape at a pace and scale to get real work done and to actually make a difference is a high priority,” says Cal Fire chief Ken Pimlott. “It really is, and it’s going to take a lot of effort.” ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Controlled burns can help solve California’s water problem; so why aren’t there more of them?

California is preparing for extreme weather: It’s time to plant some trees:  “For years, there has been a movement in California to restore floodplains, by moving levees back from rivers and planting trees, shrubs and grasses in the low-lying land between. The goal has been to go back in time, to bring back some of the habitat for birds, animals and fish that existed before the state was developed.  But in addition to recreating the past, floodplain restoration is increasingly seen as a way of coping with the future — one of human-induced climate change. The reclaimed lands will flood more readily, and that will help protect cities and towns from the more frequent and larger inundations that scientists say are likely as California continues to warm. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  California is preparing for extreme weather: It’s time to plant some trees

Trump’s big reorganization gets second and third look:  “Senators this week will scrutinize the Trump administration’s extremely ambitious government reorganization plan that would amplify the Interior Department’s clout.  Some lawmakers are already applauding the general idea, though key reorganization details remain lacking, including potential costs, savings, job losses, relocations, office closures and timelines.  “The vast majority of people I ask believe the federal government is badly broken,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), adding he was “so pleased to see this administration thinking big and ‘outside the box’ to bring effective reform and reorganization to a government structure developed for the previous century.” … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Trump’s big reorganization gets second and third look

New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt:  “Andrew Wheeler quickly made waves in his first week as the interim head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drawing a sharp contrast with his predecessor.  Wheeler was tapped to lead the agency last week when scandal-plagued Administrator Scott Pruitt stepped down.  In his short time at the EPA’s helm, Wheeler had made a show of trying to patch up relationships with career employees, the media and Democrats, all of whom felt slighted by Pruitt. All the while, Wheeler has made it a point not to criticize Pruitt. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt

In commentary today …

A breakthrough, maybe, for public input on Oroville Dam, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “For nearly a year, the state has been saying it will take a comprehensive look at how the Oroville Dam project will be operated in the future. For just as long, the community has demanded a voice in the project, but the state has been noncommittal.  That appears to have changed but, as always with the state Department of Water Resources, we’ll be watching closely to see if the agency entrusted to run the project truly listens to and values the local input. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  A breakthrough, maybe, for public input on Oroville Dam

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

In regional news and commentary today …

Column: Mendo pot policy is ‘We do things our way’:   Jim Shields writes, “No pardoning this pun, but there was a watershed development recently dealing with the region’s top agriculture endeavor: marijuana cultivation.  As I’m fond of saying, you can’t grow weed without water, although our local bureaucrats and elected officials haven’t grasped that basic concept yet. In this space I have repeatedly pointed out that the state’s two primary resource agencies in California’s cannabis regulatory framework — the State Water Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife — have very tough, stringent water regulations that need to be complied with in order for local growers to become licensed. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Column: Mendo pot policy is ‘We do things our way’

San Rafael’s China Camp, iconic migrant enclave, marks 150 years:  “Along the shores of the San Pablo Bay sits China Camp Village, boasting a 300-foot wooden pier and waterfront wooden homes, representing the last vestiges of the former Chinese fishing camp.  Now the site of more than 260,000 annual visitors, China Camp State Park, near Point San Pedro in San Rafael, celebrates the village’s 150th anniversary this year. The Friends of China Camp, a nonprofit that handles daily operations of the park, is commemorating the occasion at its annual Heritage Day festival Sept. 22. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  San Rafael’s China Camp, iconic migrant enclave, marks 150 years

Overlooked pond could become San Leandro’s secret weapon in water pollution control:  “The parking lot outside of San Leandro’s Water Pollution Control Plant has a lingering stench. Its odor partly comes from the average 5 million gallons of wastewater it processes a day and from its neighbor, a trash dump.  A short walk away from the lot the smell subsides a little at a small patch of wetland. That’s where I met up with plant manager Justin Jenson. He’s showing me another project getting tax money from Measure AA, the “Clean and Healthy Bay” measure passed two years ago. To me, the area just looks like a neglected pond. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Overlooked pond could become San Leandro’s secret weapon in water pollution control

Santa Cruz: Newell Creek Dam improvements to be the Department’s costliest since the 1960s:  “In the coming year, the Santa Cruz Water Department is set to begin a massive reservoir and dam improvement project unmatched in cost since construction of the Graham Hill Water Treatment Plant and the Loch Lomond Reservoir in the 1960s.  The city will launch the effort by studying the potential environmental impacts of major improvements to its 57-year-old Newell Creek Dam at Loch Lomond Reservoir, some 10 miles up the San Lorenzo River. The project, taking an estimated two years to complete, would cost the city about $50 million. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Santa Cruz: Newell Creek Dam improvements to be the Department’s costliest since the 1960s

Opponents of sewer and water rate hike say it drains Morro Bay’s future:  “Dozens of Morro Bay residents came together Sunday to protest proposed water and sewer rate increases, calling it a fatal blow to the city’s future.  “This is a run away freight train that will destroy the city of Morro Bay,” one resident said from the podium.  Opponents of Proposition 218, which would increase water and sewer rates to help fund a new water reclamation facility, believe the project will bankrupt residents and businesses. … ”  Read more from KSBY here:  Opponents of sewer and water rate hike say it drains Morro Bay’s future

Give thanks: Massive dam project will protect Bakersfield, says Bakersfield.com:  They write, “As the days of triple digits settle in, there is nothing more soothing than seeing cold, clear water rushing down the Kern River. It’s a pleasant relief from the summer heat.  But more of a relief is what the flow represents – the release of water to accommodate the long-awaited start of construction to repair Isabella Dam, which is ranked as the most dangerous dam in the nation because of the dramatic damage it could do if it failed.  Congressman Kevin McCarthy has announced that $288.8 million is included in the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriation bill to repair the dam above Bakersfield. Combined with an earlier allocation for $118 million, he believes there should be sufficient money to complete the project in 2022. ... ” Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Give thanks: Massive dam project will protect Bakersfield

Elsewhere in the West …

Oil boom in Southern New Mexico ignites groundwater feud with Texas:  “In the vast, high desert of southeastern New Mexico, underground aquifers are a vital source of water for drinking and agriculture. Groundwater has also become essential to a booming oil business, which is sprawling across the border from Texas and needs the water for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations.  Oil well fracking requires large amounts of water, which is injected underground to break up and mobilize the underground petroleum resource. In many parts of this region, without water for fracking, there is no access to oil. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here: Oil boom in Southern New Mexico ignites groundwater feud with Texas

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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