DAILY DIGEST: Stanislaus, Merced county leaders spend $100K to expand ‘fish vs. farmers’ water fight, but some say proposed Delta flow regulations are too weak; New concerns for Delta tunnel construction and oil/gas wells; Do shrimp hold the key to a clearer Lake Tahoe? Researchers plan to find out; and more …

In California water news today, Stanislaus, Merced county leaders spend $100K to expand ‘fish vs. farmers’ water fight, but some say proposed Delta flow regulations are too weak; Fire down below: New environmental concern raised as Southern California Republican tries to block judicial review of tunnels; Do shrimp hold the key to a clearer Lake Tahoe? Researchers plan to find out; The great Hetch Hetchy debate; How is climate change affecting California’s way of life?; Trump’s trade war becoming a hot potato for California House Republicans; and more …

In the news today …

Stanislaus, Merced county leaders spend $100K to expand ‘fish vs. farmers’ water fight: “Stanislaus County leaders hope that broader outreach will help win a battle against a powerful state board’s plan to take water rights from local irrigation districts.  “We are moving the message from fish-against-farmers to broader issues,” Assistant Chief Executive Officer Keith Boggs said Thursday.  County officials say the state proposal to reduce storage in reservoirs will have far-reaching impacts on groundwater, the economy, employment, business owners, public safety and disadvantaged communities. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus, Merced county leaders spend $100K to expand ‘fish vs. farmers’ water fight

Delta flow proposed regulations called too weak:  “Some 58 organizations and businesses along the West Coast from Los Angeles to Seattle have sent a letter to the state objecting to regulatory standards about water flow and water quality criteria for Central Valley rivers, the Delta and San Francisco Bay.  The letter sent to the State Water Resources Control Board on July 26 says that the standards proposed by the state are not strong enough.  The comments involve two updates to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. ... ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here:  Delta flow proposed regulations called too weak

Fire down below: New environmental concern raised as Southern California Republican tries to block judicial review of tunnels: “Seventeen bodies were hauled out of the tunnel, some charred by fire, others choked in soot.The men killed that day in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sylmar in 1971 were burrowing through the earth on behalf of the Metropolitan Water District, a public utility district servicing Anaheim, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Fernando. The workers under the agency’s direction accidentally hit a pocket of gas. The ensuing fireball was something they never saw coming.  Now, with Metropolitan Water District being the major player funding Gov. Jerry Brown’s embattled vision of two parallel tunnels cutting 30 miles underground, planning documents reveal the mammoth undertaking will include tunneling and drilling through a region of the Delta packed with underground gas wells. That’s left people living on the estuary’s islands worried about a repeat of that deadly day in Sylmar. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento News and Review here:  Fire down below: New environmental concern raised as Southern California Republican tries to block judicial review of tunnels

Do shrimp hold the key to a clearer Lake Tahoe?  Researchers plan to find out:  “In recent decades, Lake Tahoe has grown murkier and murkier, with people quick to blame obvious culprits: a rise in tourism and development, along with fluctuations in drought conditions and rainfall.  But an unlikely crustacean culprit may also play a role in the story of the lake’s decreasing clarity, some researchers now believe, according to the annual State of the Lake report from the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at UC Davis. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Do shrimp hold the key to a clearer Lake Tahoe?  Researchers plan to find out

The great Hetch Hetchy debate:  “When Spreck Rosekrans visits Hetch Hetchy — the valley in Yosemite National Park that San Francisco turned into a reservoir nearly a century ago — he looks beyond what is. Instead, he envisions what once was and could be again. “I imagine a meadow, dotted with oak, pine, and fir trees, and with the Tuolumne River meandering through it,” said Rosekrans, executive director of Restore Hetch Hetchy, a Berkeley-based nonprofit.  Hetch Hetchy is just 15 miles north of Yosemite Valley and the two are often called twins. Historical photographs show why: like Yosemite Valley, Hetch Hetchy has sheer granite walls that originally rose dramatically from a wide valley floor. Today, however, that valley is under 300 feet of water. … ”  Read more from the Bay Area Monitor here:  The great Hetch Hetchy debate

How is climate change affecting California’s way of life?  “California’s natural beauty is facing tremendous challenges — a climate that is changing and a population that is growing fast and constantly demanding the most precious resource: water.  “California needs a new tool to manage water for the next drought,” said Jim Watson, Sites Project Authority general manager.  One of those new tools is the Sites Reservoir Project, which was just awarded $816 million in voter-approved state funding. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  How is climate change affecting California’s way of life?

Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires:  “Much of the heat that’s gripped California and hastened the spread of deadly wildfires recently is due to a strange but familiar shift in the jet stream — one that’s haunted the West with threatening fire conditions in the past and could cause more hot, dry spells in the future, especially with a changing climate.  The jet stream, the river of wind high above the Northern Hemisphere, has been weaker and wavier in the past few weeks, scientists say. Instead of pushing weather systems along as it usually does, it’s allowing the patterns to stagnate. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires

Trump’s trade war becoming a hot potato for California House Republicans: “Jon Camacho is a fourth-generation San Joaquin County almond farmer who says he will “have to borrow money to stay alive” if he doesn’t get a slice of the $12 billion the Trump administration is promising to farmers affected by the president’s tariff wars with trade partners.  One of Camacho’s biggest buyers is China — or it was, until President Trump imposed taxes on a range of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded by slapping tariffs on U.S. farm products, including almonds. With the Chinese market drying up, there’s a glut of U.S. nuts, and the price of Camacho’s product is plummeting. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Trump’s trade war becoming a hot potato for California House Republicans

In commentary today …

State says it will take our water.  We say ‘Hell no!’, says Frank Damrell:  He writes, “The State Water Resources Control Board proposal to increase water releases into the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers by 40 percent will be a devastating blow to the city of Modesto and Stanislaus County. I join many other local leaders who say “Hell no!” and are banding together, across party lines, to stop it.  Modesto residents get a substantial portion of their water from the Tuolumne River. The amount of water diverted from the Tuolumne and stored in Modesto Reservoir is absolutely crucial to city residents, local farmers and current and prospective employers. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  State says it will take our water.  We say ‘Hell no!’

In regional news and commentary today …

Protestors oppose logging in Mattole watershed:  “More than three dozen people gathered outside the offices of the Humboldt Redwood Company office in Scotia on Thursday to protest proposed logging in the Mattole River watershed.  The protest comes on the heels of a confrontation between protestors and Humboldt Redwood Company personnel on a logging road west of Redcrest last week. Security officers hired by the company confronted and detained three protestors who were later arrested by sheriff’s deputies. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Protestors oppose logging in Mattole watershed

A watershed moment: Advocates join forces to save the Russian River:  “It has been a beloved summer destination for generations of Northern California families, and a blue ribbon fishery for steelhead and salmon. It has been mined, diverted, and dammed, tapped for its water and used as a sewer. It has rampaged during torrential winter storms and shrunken to a tepid trickle during drought. And through it all it has remained a central and unifying emblem of Sonoma County. Over the past century, we have loved and ignored it, feared and exploited it. It has been declared moribund, dead even — but it rolls on.  To understand the Russian River of today, you have to understand its previous incarnations. … ”  Read more from Sonoma Magazine here:  A watershed moment: Advocates join forces to save the Russian River

Sacramento: Nestlé’s secret water deal:  “A company that makes its money by bottling city water and selling it back to Sacramento residents won’t say how much liquid it’s pumping from local rivers and groundwater wells—and neither will the city.  Nestlé Pure Life is one of the five most profitable brands in the country when it comes to selling bottled water, an industry that collectively made $18.5 billion in revenue in 2017, according to a report by the Beverage Marketing Corporation. Locally, Nestlé mines its liquid product from Sacramento rivers and groundwater wells whose rights are controlled by the city. This has been controversial in the past. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here:  Sacramento: Nestlé’s secret water deal

Sausalito scientist uses technology to tell the ocean’s story:  “A Sausalito marine biologist who has been named a National Geographic Explorer is using 3-D modeling, virtual reality and other frontier technologies to inspire people to protect the world’s oceans.  Erika Woolsey, a Marin Academy graduate, has also helped found the Hydrous, a nonprofit based in Sausalito, devoted to ocean education.  “We try to connect with people through experiences with oceans,” Woolsey said. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Sausalito scientist uses technology to tell the ocean’s story

‘Groundbreaking’ Partnership Carried East Palo Alto Through Drought: “During the dry days of the California drought, one Silicon Valley city banned development because officials were unsure there would be enough water for projects.  The city issued the moratorium in July 2016, prohibiting “new or expanded water connections,” according to a city manager update. The moratorium “effectively halted new development in the city, constraining the city’s ability to develop greatly needed affordable housing and additional commercial development,” the city manager update said. … ”  Read more from Water Online here:  ‘Groundbreaking’ Partnership Carried East Palo Alto Through Drought

USDA grant program serves as reminder for needed work on Central Coast:  “On July 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a series of grants and loans it awarded to help upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure.   “[The] USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures,” assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlet stated. “All people–regardless of their zip code–need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive, and we have found that when we address this need, many other challenges in rural places become much more manageable.” … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here:  USDA grant program serves as reminder for needed work on Central Coast

Oxnard installs aerators at Channel Islands Harbor as water quality improves: “More than a month after Channel Islands Harbor residents realized the water near their homes was turning brown and murky, some positive signs in the form of active fish have surfaced.  Thanks to a set of aerators installed by the city of Oxnard, bubbles have been percolating in certain spots at the Seabridge Public Marina.  “The biggest thing we noticed is fish jumping out of the bubbles,” said Sandra Burkhart, special districts manager for Oxnard. “It’s like a playground for them.” … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Oxnard installs aerators at Channel Islands Harbor as water quality improves

Southern California Water Temperatures About as Warm as They Get, And They’re Making Things Miserable:  “A record-warm July in some Southern California cities vaulted Pacific Ocean temperatures to levels about as warm as they get off that coast, and some may be wondering if they’re in Miami rather than San Diego.  The warm ocean water has helped boost dew points, the measure of the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Thursday morning in San Diego, dew points rose to 70 degrees. When dew points rise above 60 degrees, it feels muggy. A 70-degree dew point is oppressive and more typical of summer in Florida or Texas than California. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here:  Southern California Water Temperatures About as Warm as They Get, And They’re Making Things Miserable

Trump Administration approves $2.5 billion energy project near Joshua Tree National Park:  “President Donald Trump is known for supporting fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas. But his administration approved an energy project Wednesday that could benefit renewable energy sources like solar and wind — and some environmentalists won’t be happy.  The Bureau of Land Management said it would allow a proposed hydropower plant to move forward in the California desert east of Palm Springs, just outside Joshua Tree National Park. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Trump Administration approves $2.5 billion energy project near Joshua Tree National Park

San Diego:  Glitch in 57,000-Plus Smart Meters Prevents Them From Being Smart: “Millions of dollars worth of smart water meters already installed in homes across the city of San Diego could have a glitch that prevents them from relaying water use wirelessly. And for more than two years, the city has no record of trying to fix or address the problem. Last month, NBC 7 Responds and media partner Voice of San Diego first disclosed the “glitch”, which had never been discussed publicly by the Public Utilities Department. A department spokesperson told us the glitch, identified in Hersey Meters, was described as being “minor” and that “no corrective action was required”. … ”  Read more from NBC San Diego here:  San Diego:  Glitch in 57,000-Plus Smart Meters Prevents Them From Being Smart

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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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