DAILY DIGEST: Farmers tap free-market ideas in bid to rescue aquifer; New water rules hurting ag land prices; Rain on snow flood risk to increase in many US mountains; Trump wildfire tweets spark bewilderment; and more …

In California water news today, Farmers tap free-market ideas in bid to rescue aquifer; New water rules hurting ag land prices; Rain on snow flood risk to increase in many US mountains; Trump wildfire tweets spark bewilderment about California water; Trump admin sees grim climate outcome in car rule; A giant floating trash collector will try to scoop up the Pacific Garbage Patch; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Farmers tap free-market ideas in bid to rescue aquifer:  “A debate has raged for decades over the true price of water in the parched West.  Edgar Terry’s answer: Let the market decide.  The farmer is on the cusp of launching the country’s most robust groundwater trading market: cap and trade for water.  “We all deal in markets every day,” Terry said during a recent tour of his vegetable fields. “What makes water any different than oil? If you have oil under your ground, you get to pump it and sell it. And it becomes an asset on the balance sheet. Why can’t water become an asset?” ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Farmers tap free-market ideas in bid to rescue aquifer

New water rules hurting ag land prices:  “Groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) in Tulare, Fresno, Kings and Kern counties have until 2020 to develop plans for long-term viability of their regions’ supplies.  In other California counties where state officials deem the groundwater overdraft problem less critical, their GSAs will have until 2022 to finalize their plans.  Once those plans are done, the various groups will have 20 years to implement them, with a common goal of halting in their areas the overdraft of groundwater.  The law requiring these plans, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), already is having a big effect on prices for agricultural land, particularly in the areas from Madera County down to Kern county, where some of the most severe over drafting in the state commonly occurs. ... ”  Read more from The Business Journal here:  New water rules hurting ag land prices

Rain on snow flood risk to increase in many US mountains:  “Flooding caused by rain falling on snowpack could more than double by the end of this century in some areas of the western U.S. and Canada due to climate change, according to new research from CU Boulder and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).  The greatest flood risk increases are projected for the Sierra Nevada, the Colorado River headwaters and the Canadian Rocky Mountains—places where residents are no strangers to flood concerns. Conversely, lower elevations in coastal regions of California, Oregon, Washington and maritime British Columbia could see decreases in rain-on-snow flood risk.  The findings were published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. … ”  Read more from University of Colorado Boulder here:  Rain on snow flood risk to increase in many US mountains

Trump wildfire tweets spark bewilderment about California water: “Californians are stunned at President Donald’s Trump’s latest tweets on the state‘s catastrophic wildfires — and his insistence that the state is burning because leaders are letting too much fresh water flow into the Pacific Ocean. … That tweet — on the heels of a Sunday tweet that referenced California’s “bad environmental laws” as a cause of the state’s current raging wildfires — drew an immediate reaction from veteran California GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, who responded via Twitter: “This is nuts’’ and also “low water IQ.” Stutzman has advised former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a host of national and state GOP candidates. … ”  Read more from Politco here:  Trump wildfire tweets spark bewilderment about California water

More Trump tweet stories (I could fill a whole page with them):

Trump admin sees grim climate outcome in car rule:  “The last time carbon dioxide levels hit the mark the Trump administration envisions for the end of the century, crocodiles roamed the poles and palm trees existed where glaciers are today. In fact, there were no glaciers — not even in Antarctica.  Although the White House has avoided addressing climate change, it made a rare acknowledgement that its proposal to weaken vehicle fuel efficiency standards would contribute to a warmer planet. Its prediction for what the atmosphere will look like in 2100 startled climate scientists — a carbon dioxide concentration of 789.76 parts per million. That’s nearly double current levels. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Trump admin sees grim climate outcome in car rule

A giant floating trash collector will try to scoop up the Pacific Garbage Patch:  “On Sept. 8, an ungainly, 2,000-foot-long contraption will steam under the Golden Gate Bridge in what’s either a brilliant quest or a fool’s errand.  Dubbed the Ocean Cleanup Project, this giant sea sieve consists of pipes that float at the surface of the water with netting below, corralling trash in the center of a U-shaped design.  The purpose of this bizarre gizmo is as laudable as it is head-scratching: to collect millions of tons of garbage from what’s known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which can harm and even kill whales, dolphins, seals, fish and turtles that consume it or become entangled in it, according to researchers at Britain’s University of Plymouth … ”  Read more from USA Today here:  A giant floating trash collector will try to scoop up the Pacific Garbage Patch

In commentary today …

Trump tweets while California burns:  The LA Times writes,Some Donald Trump tweets are so bizarre that you have to puzzle over them and inject a bit of sense into them before you can finally dismiss them as the wingnut drivel that they are. So it is with the president’s recent tweets on California’s fire and water.  “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean,” Trump thumbed on Sunday.  He kept at it on Monday. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Trump tweets while California burns

In a strikingly ignored tweet, Trump gets almost everything about California wildfires wrong:  Michael Hiltzik writes,No one would mistake President Trump for an expert on climate change or water policy, but a tweet he issued late Sunday about California’s wildfires deserves some sort of award for most glaring misstatements about those two issues in the smallest number of words.  Trump blamed the fires on “bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.” He complained that water needed for firefighting is being “diverted into the Pacific Ocean.” … “  Read more from the LA Times here:  In a strikingly ignored tweet, Trump gets almost everything about California wildfires wrong

Delta breezes are dying and that could be bad news for an imperiled fish, says Tom Philp.  He writes, “As a 27-year Sacramentan, it’s pretty easy to detect that there are fewer winter moments of dense, bone-penetrating valley fog than before. Winter used to mean days on end without seeing a sun in the sky. But how many of us are just as aware that the blessed Delta breeze also isn’t what it used to be? (It sure abandoned us in July.) Or how this ebbing of the wind has shifted the ecology of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta itself? ... ”  Continue reading at Water Deeply here:  Delta breezes are dying and that could be bad news for an imperiled fish

Unfinished business in water:  Wade Crowfoot writes, “In the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll, voters said drought, water supply, and water pollution are the state’s most pressing environmental challenge.  Californians recognize that water fuels our economy, grows our food, and sustains our natural places.  … Climate change, which brings more frequent and severe droughts and flooding, compounds all this. These facts should compel action. And they have, but only to an extent. … ”  Read more at Cal Matters here:  Unfinished business in water

In regional news and commentary today …

Siskiyou-area tribe’s reinstatement questioned:  “A move to restore federal tribal recognition to a long defunct Siskiyou County Indian rancheria has received a major blow.  Research done by a college professor indicates no Indian ever lived on the 441-acre Ruffey Rancheria outside Etna. Stephen Dow Beckham, a history professor at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon and an expert in American Indian history, said there is no evidence that any group of people considered themselves part of a Ruffey Rancheria tribe or set up a tribal government or had a relationship with the federal government. ... ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Siskiyou-area tribe’s reinstatement questioned

Yuba Water Agency considering $110K worth of grant requests:  “Five entities could receive needed grants from the Yuba Water Agency totaling more than $110,000 if agency members approve of the requests at a meeting Tuesday.  Marysville would be the largest beneficiary if board members approve of a $91,000 grant request to help fund design work needed to continue a phase of the ring levee project.  To construct Phase 3 of the project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is requiring the relocation of pipes that currently run through the levee near the city’s 17th Street pump station – a drainage facility used any time it rains.  … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Yuba Water Agency considering $110K worth of grant requests

Novato Creek too dry for fish recovery plan, water district says:  “The federal government has declared Novato Creek recovery habitat for threatened steelhead trout.  One problem: The North Marin Water District doesn’t think it is suitable because its upper reaches go dry during the summer, the agency says.  In its final coastal fish recovery plan for the region, the National Marine Fisheries Service identified Novato Creek as playing an “essential” role in recovery of steelhead. It also said the creek needs to support a potentially independent population of the fish in order to take it off the federal endangered species list. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Novato Creek too dry for fish recovery plan, water district says

Planning for conjunctive use goes forward for San Lorenzo Valley Water District:  “A report on the Conjunctive Use Planning Process was met with some skepticism and some support by members of the public who participated in last week’s meeting of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD).  Having been awarded a $330,000 grant last year from the Wildlife Conservation Board to develop a “San Lorenzo Watershed Conjunctive Use and Baseflow Enhancement Plan,” the SLVWD Board of Directors voted to spend an additional $8,000 of its own money to hire a consultant of its choice for a Water Availability Assessment, which is necessary for the larger conjunctive use plan. ... ”  Read more from the Press-Banner here:  Planning for conjunctive use goes forward for San Lorenzo Valley Water District

CPUC: Cal Am desal project recommendation promised by Aug. 13, commission to consider permit Sept. 13:A California Public Utilities Commission proposed decision on California American Water’s desalination project will be issued by Monday next week (Aug. 13), and will appear on the commission’s Sept. 13 meeting agenda, according to a commission spokeswoman.  Public Utilities Commission news and outreach office director Terrie Prosper informed The Herald Monday that a proposed decision on Cal Am’s Monterey Peninsula Water Supply project will be issued within a week, followed by the commission’s consideration of the project’s final environmental impact document and a permit a month later. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  CPUC: Cal Am desal project recommendation promised by Aug. 13, commission to consider permit Sept. 13

Morro Bay wastewater plant gets Rep. Carbajal’s approval. Will it get the loan it needs?: “Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal has thrown his support behind Morro Bay’s proposed water reclamation facility (WRF) project.  That support could be critical to the project’s completion, as the City of Morro Bay recently submitted its application to the Environmental Protection Agency for a low-interest federal loan that will fund nearly half the project.  “Helping offset the cost of Morro Bay’s water reclamation facility is vital to pass along those savings to the community,” Carbajal was quoted as saying in a statement released by the city of Morro Bay on Thursday. “I fully support Morro Bay’s application for a (Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) low-interest loan as one way to help strategically reduce the overall financial impact of the project and increase water security in the area.” … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Morro Bay wastewater plant gets Rep. Carbajal’s approval. Will it get the loan it needs?

Hardworking Mokelumne wins Wild & Scenic River status:  “Racing and snaking down remote canyons lined with pine trees and jagged granite, a long-underappreciated yet critical Sierra Nevada river hurries to the valley floor.  For centuries the river’s mirrorlike flows teemed with Chinook salmon and its shores hosted vibrant Native American trading markets and seasonal camps. Tucked away near stretches called Devil’s Nose and Tiger Creek, grinding stones, mortar rocks and other Indian artifacts offer subtle reminders of the past. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Hardworking Mokelumne wins Wild & Scenic River status

Here’s who will design and build the Sterling water treatment plant in Highland:  “Construction specialists Balfour Beatty and Arcadis are teaming up with Ruhnau Clarke Architects to design and build the East Valley Water District’s new water treatment plant, the Sterling Natural Resource Center.  The $126 million recycling plant in Highland is expected to recharge the area’s groundwater basin with up to 10 million gallons of water daily and boost the region’s water independence in the event of another drought.  The center could open as early as 2021, officials have said. ... ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Here’s who will design and build the Sterling water treatment plant in Highland

A drought-proof water supply right in our Orange County desert, says Kevin Perkins:  He writes, “Although it usually doesn’t seem like it, Orange County really is a desert. We’re so accustomed to turning on the spigot anytime, anywhere, for any duration. Most of the water we use is imported, either from the glorious Northern California snow pack or the quagga-mussels-clogged recycled water of the Colorado River, which is shared by five other states and Mexico. … But aren’t we ignoring the 800-pound gorilla on the beach? We literally have an infinite water supply in our back yard — the Pacific Ocean. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Read more from the OC Register here:  A drought-proof water supply right in our Orange County desert

San Diego working to replace 100-year-old pipes:  “The latest water main break Sunday in the Midway District is the latest example of San Diego’s aging water system. But the city is working to fix the issue, replacing more than 100 miles of water transmission and distribution pipes.  According to city documents, since 2013, San Diego spent $328 million to repair and replace 116 miles of water transmission and distribution pipes.  A total of 72 miles of those repairs were on cast iron pipes, the oldest ones in the system. The project started in 2007 and sparked a rate increase to pay for the work. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here:  San Diego working to replace 100-year-old pipes

San Diego: Wetlands restoration to begin as part of Del Mar Mesa Preserve expansion:  “Nearly 112 acres of habitat and old agricultural lands in the Carmel Valley area will be restored into wetlands starting in September, the San Diego Association of Governments announced Friday.  SANDAG acquired the land, referred to as Deer Canyon East, in June, shortly after state and federal agencies claimed successful rehabilitation of the adjacent 31-acre Deer Canyon West site.  Deer Canyon East is the last section needed to complete the city of San Diego’s Del Mar Mesa Preserve. The project is part of SANDAG’s Environmental Mitigation Program, funded by the half-cent TransNet sales tax. … ”  Read more from the Times of San Diego here:  San Diego: Wetlands restoration to begin as part of Del Mar Mesa Preserve expansion

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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