DAILY DIGEST: Trump wildfire tweets renew federal spending fight; In a US-China trade war, what are the stakes for the Valley?; Trump officials push states to take more power over waterways; The Ogallala Aquifer; Florida’s war on algal blooms; and more …

In California water news today, Trump wildfire tweets renew federal spending fight; In a US-China trade war, what are the stakes for the Valley?; Trump officials push states to take more power over waterways; Feds, water district at odds over whether to consider Novato Creek a fish habitat; Air pollution off Mono Lake shores calls for pro-active planning, says Great Basin; Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replenishes it; Florida’s war against toxic algal blooms; and more …

In the news today …

Trump wildfire tweets renew spending fight:  “In attempting to blame California’s devastating wildfires on environmental laws and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, President Donald Trump may have upped the stakes for one of the many spending fights Congress will have to resolve this fall. No serious expert has endorsed the president’s view that allowing some water to follow its natural course to the Pacific Ocean has complicated efforts to battle the blaze, and the president offered more measured comments late Tuesday night. But Trump’s earlier series of tweets this week echoed arguments that agricultural interests have been making for years in long-running wars over how the thirsty state’s scant supplies get used.  In Congress, California Republicans are trying to block the state from diverting less water to central and southern California farms and cities to preserve more for endangered fish, a plan that has won support from local green groups like the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club. … ”  Read more from Politco here:  Trump wildfire tweets renew spending fight

In a US-China trade war, what are the stakes for the Valley? The prospects for a trade war of dueling tariffs between the United States and China continue to put American agriculture, including farmers and ranchers in California, on the front lines.  The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it’s going ahead with tariffs on about $16 billion worth of Chinese imports starting Aug. 23, putting into action some of the rhetoric that the president and his trade representatives have promised for months and setting the stage for planned retaliation by China. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  In a US-China trade war, what are the stakes for the Valley? 

Trump officials push states to take more power over waterways:  “The Trump administration is encouraging states and tribes to take over responsibility for environmental permitting in some water bodies that have traditionally been under federal power.  The Army Corps of Engineers issued a memo last week that seeks to clarify when the Army Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can grant states permitting power under the Clean Water Act.  The agencies, which jointly enforce the Clean Water Act, are allowed to give states authority over waterways like streams and wetlands for pollution permitting, subject to continued federal oversight. States cannot oversee permitting for major waterways like rivers and ports. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Trump officials push states to take more power over waterways

In commentary today …

Block outrageous effort to lock in Delta tunnels water grab, says the San Jose Mercury News:  They write, “Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is now trying to jam through a political deal that would enable construction of his $17 billion Delta twin-tunnels project, the biggest public works project in state history, without the approval of the state Legislature, the voters or ratepayers who would be footing the bill.  Brown’s state Department of Water Resources suddenly plans to extend State Water Project contracts, with amendments, for another 50 years. Fifty years! That would allow water contractors backing the twin-tunnels project to lock in water contracts for the Delta tunnels project before Brown leaves office at the end of this year. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Block outrageous effort to lock in Delta tunnels water grab

Rural uses of water: Why watering in the WUI matters:  Barbara Balen writes,There’s an old saying – if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.  When it comes to water conservation, Tuolumne County’s water has been on the State’s menu all along.   No matter how much we conserve, dry up our yards, speed up the flow through our county and de-water our fire-prone landscapes, the downstream appetite for water continues to grow.  It is now glaringly apparent that we were never intended to benefit from our efforts. In other words, we were on the menu all along.  One size does not fit all.  The state’s Making Conservation a Way of Life was written by and for Californian’s urban and coastal populations. For rural communities it translates into Making Rationing a Way of Life.  … ”  Read more from the Mountain Counties Water Resource Association here:  Rural uses of water: Why watering in the WUI matters

In regional news and commentary today …

Feds, water district at odds over whether to consider Novato Creek a fish habitat:  “When it comes to fish habitat, Novato Creek is missing the most important component: water. Reservoir levels are visibly low.  Yet, the federal government want the waterway to be considered a fish habitat to support the native steelhead trout. “You don’t need to be a biologist to realize it would be very difficult for a fish to survive in this type of environment,” says Drew McIntyre with the North Marin Water District. … ” Read more from KPIX here:  Feds, water district at odds over whether to consider Novato Creek a fish habitat

‘On borrowed time’: Lake Tahoe’s wildfire risk top of mind at 2018 Tahoe Summit:  “Both physically and rhetorically, wildfires dominated this year’s Tahoe Summit.  Physically, smoke from some of the largest and deadliest wildfires in California history hazed-over the normally stellar view from Nevada’s Sand Harbor State Park, where the 22nd edition of the summit was held.  And rhetorically, elected officials from both the Nevada and California sides of Tahoe honed in on the blazes that have ravaged the western U.S. with increased ferocity over the past few years, and the threat those fires pose to Lake Tahoe. ... ”  Read more from the Reno Gazette-Journal here:  ‘On borrowed time’: Lake Tahoe’s wildfire risk top of mind at 2018 Tahoe Summit

Algae bloom affecting some Stockton water:  “A musty smell and unsavory taste pouring out of Stockton taps have prompted concerns from some households, but officials say the water is safe.  Scot Moody, general manager of the Stockton East Water District, said its water supply is experiencing a seasonal algae bloom. About every three to five years the problem is worse than other years and “that’s what we’re experiencing now,” he said.  Moody said despite the unpleasant smell emanating from the water, it meets all health standards and is safe for people and pets to drink. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Algae bloom affecting some Stockton water

Air pollution off Mono Lake shores calls for pro-active planning, says Great Basin:  “With dust storms under control on Owens Lake, Mono Lake has made it to the top spot for PM-10 pollution.  The solution is simple: just raise the lake level to 6,392 feet above sea level and the northeast shore, the source of the fine particulate matter with the potential to cause health issues, will be underwater. Operating under a State Water Resources Control Board decision for the past 23 years, Los Angeles Department of Water has been following all the rules but is still 10-feet short of goal and the lake basin exceeded federal standards 33 times in 2016. ... ”  Read more from Sierra Wave here:  Air pollution off Mono Lake shores calls for pro-active planning, says Great Basin

TCP water treatment plant opens in Bakersfield:  “Bakersfield now has a new plant to keep harmful chemicals out of the city’s water supply.  The California Water Service held an open house at the newly built TCP treatment plant.  TCP has been linked to cancer by scientists and the city spent months replacing the wells where it was found. … ”  Read more from KGET here:  TCP water treatment plant opens in Bakersfield

Ventura County supervisors urge Casitas to make drought declaration as lake levels fall“The Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday urged a water district serving more than 60,000 people and hundreds of farms to declare a drought emergency.  Supervisor Steve Bennett said the declaration should be made promptly to warn residents about the seriousness of the situation in the western Ventura County area served by the Casitas Municipal Water District. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura County supervisors urge Casitas to make drought declaration as lake levels fall

How saving Southern California steelhead trout could also help the state’s watersheds:  “Can saving an endangered fish help heal some of California’s regional water woes?  Masses of steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) once migrated freely between the sea and river headwaters along the California coast. That began to change about a century ago as dams, stream realignments, bridges, invasive species and degraded estuaries all took their toll on steelhead, putting this intriguing member of the salmon family on a path toward near-extinction. Now a coalition of private and public entities hopes to reverse the trend — and re-invigorate vital watersheds in California’s most densely populated region in the process. ... ”  Read more from The Revelator here: How saving Southern California steelhead trout could also help the state’s watersheds

How the Coastal Commission could force a $25 million beachfront home to be bulldozed:  “After previous owners were told by the California Coastal Commission that they couldn’t rebuild their Laguna Beach house in its existing beachfront footprint, new owners performed an extensive remodel — without a commission permit — that they say increased the home’s value by $11 million.  Those owners, Jeffrey and Tracy Katz, say they didn’t need the state permit. But the state Coastal Act requires permits for most coastal development, in part to ensure beach preservation and access.  If the commission decides at a Thursday hearing in Redondo Beach that a permit was required, the Katzes could be forced to bulldoze much or all of the home, built in 1952 and now worth $25 million. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  How the Coastal Commission could force a $25 million beachfront home to be bulldozed

Along the Colorado River and beyond …

Understanding dust storms: From how they form to their devastating effects:  “The powerful winds of a dust storm can carry dry earth far and wide, across oceans and from deserts to snow-covered mountaintops.  Human influence, combined with the forces of Mother Nature, may also lead to more severe storms and many harmful ecological impacts.  Those impacts were widespread and gained notoriety in the 1930s, one of the worst periods for dust storms in American history.  “[The] Dust Bowl has really heightened people’s awareness, for sure,” USGS ecologist Jayne Benlap said. ... ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Understanding dust storms: From how they form to their devastating effects

Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replenishes it:  “Every summer the U.S. Central Plains go dry, leading farmers to tap into groundwater to irrigate sorghum, soy, cotton, wheat and corn and maintain large herds of cattle and hogs. As the heat rises, anxious irrigators gather to discuss whether and how they should adopt more stringent conservation measures.  They know that if they do not conserve, the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of their prosperity, will go dry. The Ogallala, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is one of the largest underground freshwater sources in the world. It underlies an estimated 174,000 square miles of the Central Plains and holds as much water as Lake Huron. It irrigates portions of eight states, from Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska in the north to Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas in the south. ... ”  Read more from The Conversation here:  Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replenishes it

Florida’s war against toxic algal blooms:  “If you follow the news, you’ve seen large-scale harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Florida this summer. They are present in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee (CE) and St. Lucie (SLE) estuaries and rivers, and they’re wreaking havoc on summer recreation and even the health of local residents.  Dr. Brian Lapointe of Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch has been researching HABs for decades. The Lapointe HAB Lab site features his ongoing work, and Dr. Lapointe took the time to speak with EM about the HABs and his work studying them. … ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here:  Florida’s war against toxic algal blooms

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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