DAILY DIGEST: Feds warn of potential legal battle over state water plan; Does the Bay Area have enough water for economic growth and salmon?; Groundwater recharge project informs statewide sustainability efforts; and more …

In California water news today, Feds warn of potential legal battle over state water plan; Ag groups urge State Water Board to reject flows plan; Does the Bay Area have enough water for economic growth and salmon?; Groundwater recharge project informs statewide sustainability efforts; Report: Golden Gate fish route critical for orcas; Improving long term forecasts to predict unusual California precipitation; and more …

In the news today …

Feds warn of potential legal battle over state water plan:  “The Department of the Interior sent a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board on Friday warning of possible legal action over a proposed plan to divert more water from the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers, particularly as it pertains to the potential impacts on water storage in New Melones Reservoir.  According to the letter, the state’s proposal to require 40 percent unimpaired flows from the three rivers between February and June could have a “devastating” effect on recreation in the area and undermine congressionally mandated objectives for the reservoir, a federal asset operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Central Valley Project. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  Feds warn of potential legal battle over state water plan

Ag groups urge State Water Board to reject flows plan:  “Urging the state water board to reject a proposal to redirect flows in three Central California rivers, a coalition of more than 50 agricultural, water and business organizations encouraged the board today to renew efforts for voluntary agreements with affected water users.  “This unified response from groups representing farmers, ranchers, and urban and rural residents alike demonstrates the impact the water board’s proposal would have, and the need for the board to explore alternative methods that would help fish without the severe human cost of its current approach,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson said. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Ag groups urge State Water Board to reject flows plan

Does the Bay Area have enough water for economic growth and salmon?  “California’s economy is thriving and its population is growing. San Francisco County alone added more than 120,000 jobs in five years – a huge leap in economic productivity that owes itself largely to the lucrative worlds of finance, technology and biotechnology. As people from around the country and the world continue clamoring to find their place in one of the most expensive and most congested cities, an important question is emerging in public discussions: Does California have enough water to go around, or will natural resources be sacrificed for economic success?  “That’s a question of carrying capacity and social values,” said Peter Drekmeier, policy director of the environmental organization Tuolumne River Trust, which lobbies to protect the main waterway from which San Francisco receives its water. ... ” Read more from Water Deeply here:  Does the Bay Area have enough water for economic growth and salmon?

Groundwater recharge project informs statewide sustainability efforts:  “The depletion of California’s aquifers by overpumping of groundwater has led to growing interest in “managed aquifer recharge,” which replenishes depleted aquifers using available surface waters, such as high flows in rivers, runoff from winter storms, or recycled waste water. At the same time, there is growing concern about contamination of groundwater supplies with nitrate from fertilizers, septic tanks, and other sources.  Researchers at UC Santa Cruz are addressing both issues with an ongoing program in the Pajaro Valley, where they have been implementing and studying groundwater recharge projects and evaluating methods to improve water quality as it infiltrates into the ground. … ”  Read more from UC Santa Cruz here:  Groundwater recharge project informs statewide sustainability efforts

Urban beaches groomed to death:Urban beaches around the world have less garbage than remote beaches, but less life too. The City of Santa Monica hopes to change the image of a clean beach.  As Gavin Andrus takes a seat at the helm of a green John Deere tractor, it’s still dark out at the Santa Monica Pier. The stationary Ferris wheel is silhouetted against the city sky, and unseen waves crash against the pilings and lap against the sandy shore. The rhythmic onslaught brings with it the flotsam and jetsam of modern society: plastic grocery bags, cigarette butts, straws. Some of this refuse may have been expelled from the city storm drains. Some of it may have been cast off by thoughtless beachgoers the day before. And some of it may have been borne on the currents, washing in from Mexico or Japan or who knows where.  For the next five hours or so, Andrus’s job is to clean up as much of it as possible before the crowds arrive. … ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here:  Groomed to death

Report: Golden Gate fish route critical for orcas:  “Protecting winter-run chinook salmon that pass under the Golden Gate Bridge from November through May could be a key in the survival of killer whales that appear off Point Reyes, according to a new report.  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has developed a priority list of West Coast chinook salmon stocks that are important to the recovery of federally endangered “southern resident” killer whales. Several of the chinook salmon stocks are also themselves listed under the Endangered Species Act, according to NOAA. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Report: Golden Gate fish route critical for orcas

Improving long term forecasts to predict unusual California precipitation:  “Last spring, Governor Jerry Brown declared an end to California’s historic drought that caused over $5 billion in damage to agriculture as well as substantial impacts to fisheries, infrastructure, human health, and vegetation. The drought was not only severe, but it also spanned the winters of 2015-16 and 2016-17, which had unusual and unexpected precipitation that affected the drought’s evolution.  Despite surrounding ocean conditions that often support reliable seasonal forecasts through long-distance relationships with the atmosphere, predictions made a season ahead of California precipitation during these winters performed poorly. However, a new study by scientists from Columbia University, funded by the NOAA MAPP Program, shows that forecasts issued a month ahead – within the subseasonal timescale and much further ahead than a normal weather forecast – could have accurately predicted the abnormal winter rain. … ”  Read more from Weather Nation here:  Improving long term forecasts to predict unusual California precipitation

Roundup chemical linked to cancer used to kill weeds in the Delta:  “It’s on the state’s list of cancer-causing chemicals, yet glyphosate is still being used to kill weeds along the Sacramento, San Joaquin Delta.  The chemical is found in the product Roundup which the state uses to control water hyacinth. The plant causes a strong odor and can sometimes clog the marina’s channel head. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:   Roundup chemical linked to cancer used to kill weeds in the Delta

In commentary today …

‘Deep state’ isn’t Nunes’ first conspiracy theory.  Guess who he blames for the drought:  ”  Mark Arax writes, “The last time I saw my congressman, Devin Nunes, in the flesh, it was the spring of 2014 and California was parched.  The federal project that delivered water north to south – from mountain to farm to city – had shut off its spigot. What little snowmelt California had left was needed up in the Delta to keep alive endangered fish.  The farmers looked haunted as they gathered at City Hall that day to attend a congressional field hearing on the drought. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  ‘Deep state’ isn’t Nunes’ first conspiracy theory.  Guess who he blames for the drought

In regional news and commentary today …

Locals enjoy first in-person look at Oroville Dam spillway since crisis:  “Fran Obrigewitsch pulled up the most recent photo on her iPhone of the Oroville Dam spillway, taken just two days before it started to collapse last year.  Her first chance to catch another glimpse was Monday, as the state Department of Water Resources reopened the stretch of Oro Dam Boulevard East that offers views of the spillway to the general public for the first time since the crisis began.  “It’s good to see it, definitely good to see it, compared to what we saw on the TV (in February 2017),” Obrigewitsch said. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Locals enjoy first in-person look at Oroville Dam spillway since crisis

Sutter County: Levee districts considering new assessment to cover operations, maintenance costs:  “Two levee districts in Sutter County – LD 1 (south Yuba City) and LD 9 (north Yuba City to Live Oak) – are considering a few funding options to help cover the costs associated with operating and maintaining reaches of the west levee along the Feather River previously improved. One option includes establishing a Special Benefit Assessment District with the county.  Recommended funding options will be discussed during a special joint meeting of the levee districts next week. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Sutter County: Levee districts considering new assessment to cover operations, maintenance costs

Napa, Sonoma vineyards get new rules for erosion control:  “Starting at the end of July, vineyards in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds will have to start documenting for regulators how they limit erosion into those waterways.  Over the last several years, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that adoption of waste discharge requirements were needed to better protect the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds. As a result, the water board embarked on a lengthy process to do so, and in July 2017, the Water Board adopted a water quality control permit (general permit) for vineyard properties within the Watershed to reduce discharges of sediment, storm runoff and other pollutants from vineyard properties. … ”  Read more from the North Bay Business Journal here:  Napa, Sonoma vineyards get new rules for erosion control

Superior Court rules Soquel Creek Water District customer rates ‘invalid’:  “In the fallout of a recent civil lawsuit, Soquel Creek Water District could be forced to cut back customer bills.  Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick ruled this month that the water district’s “tier 2” fees, charged to above-basic customers to help pay for a pending chromium 6 treatment plant, were unlawful and must be repealed.  At issue is the fact that the water district put on hold its efforts to build a new chromium 6 plant, meaning it has been charging for “services not actually rendered and costs not actually incurred,” according to the judgment. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Superior Court rules Soquel Creek Water District customer rates ‘invalid’

Future of Salinas Valley water set for community meetings:  “With the future of Salinas Valley groundwater supply and usage hanging in the balance, residents of the farming-rich area known as the Salad Bowl of the World will get a chance to weigh in this week on how their water is managed under the state’s Groundwater Sustainability Act.  In a series of community meetings set for this week, the public will be given the opportunity to offer their opinions on the creation of a required groundwater sustainability plan that will govern how the valley’s water users including cities, agricultural interests, and others balance water usage and recharge, and how to pay for it, under the state legislation. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Future of Salinas Valley water set for community meetings

Mojave Water Agency to build 820-kW Deep Creek small hydroelectric project: “The Mojave Water Agency announces it broke ground July 26 on its 820-kW Deep Creek small hydroelectric project in the U.S. state of California.  This project, anticipated to cost $4.3 million to build, is projected to save the agency millions of dollars over the next 30 years. It is expected to be complete in spring 2019. … ”  Read more from HydroWorld here:  Mojave Water Agency to build 820-kW Deep Creek small hydroelectric project

And lastly …

Shark-in-a-stroller heist end’s with animals safe return to San Antonio aquarium:  “A shark named Helen’s weekend adventure is now over, after she was smuggled out of the San Antonio Aquarium in a baby stroller on Saturday. Police say they found the shark at the home of the main suspect in the heist. Both are now in captivity.  Video footage of the bizarre theft fed intense public curiosity — and led to solid tips from the public on the animal’s likely whereabouts. Aquarium officials welcomed the shark back on Monday night. ... ”  Read more from KLCC here:  Shark-in-a-stroller heist end’s with animals safe return to San Antonio aquarium

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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