DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Water managers vary in use of climate science, study finds; Yolo Bypass restoration provides statewide benefits; The economic impacts of agricultural groundwater markets; Trump Administration calls endangered species protections a ‘regulatory burden’; and more …

In California water news this weekend, California water managers vary in use of climate science, UC Davis study finds; The Yolo Bypass: Restoration in the largest seasonal floodplain in the West benefits all Californians; The economic impacts of agricultural groundwater markets; Sacramento judge to determine court locations for Oroville Dam crisis cases; California has enough water to fight the fires. The problem is overgrown forests, McClintock says; Researchers study pros and cons of irrigation; Trump Administration calls endangered species protections a ‘regulatory burden’; Zinke’s Deputy: Civil, self confident, and under the radar; and more …

In the news this weekend …

California water managers vary in use of climate science, UC Davis study finds: “Historically, water managers throughout the thirsty state of California have relied on hydrology and water engineering — both technical necessities — as well as existing drought and flood patterns to plan for future water needs.  Now, climate change is projected to shift water supplies as winters become warmer, spring snowmelt arrives earlier, and extreme weather-related events increase. Some water utilities have started to consider these risks in their management, but many do not. Lack of climate change adaptation among water utilities can put water supplies and the people dependent on them at risk, especially in marginalized communities, a new University of California, Davis, paper suggests. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here:  California water managers vary in Use of Climate Science, UC Davis Study Finds

The Yolo Bypass: Restoration in the largest seasonal floodplain in the West benefits all Californians: There’s a buzz of activity in the Yolo Bypass surrounding crucial habitat restoration projects.  One project is essentially finished; another is under construction and four others are deep into the planning process.  There is almost too much activity in the Yolo Bypass Basin these days to keep track. But when that means critical habitat restoration is occurring to help fish in one of the state’s most important systems, all of California benefits.  The Yolo Bypass is a critical part of the state’s flood control system, receiving flood waters from major waterways including the American, Sacramento, and Feather rivers. When flooded, the bypass becomes one of the largest seasonal floodplains in the Delta, and a migration corridor for dozens of native fish species including Chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon. ... ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  The Yolo Bypass: Restoration in the largest seasonal floodplain in the West benefits all Californians

Journal article: The economic impacts of agricultural groundwater markets:Groundwater markets offer a cost-effective means of meeting management goals under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Using data from the Coachella Valley groundwater basin, we quantify the economic impacts of trade in one of California’s most important agricultural regions. Facilitating groundwater trade under a mandatory basin-wide “cap” on pumping will reduce disruptions to the local economy and keep land in production, relative to a scenario where trade is prohibited. ... ” Read more from the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics here:  The economic impacts of agricultural groundwater markets

Sacramento judge to determine court locations for Oroville Dam crisis cases:  “The presiding judge of the Sacramento Superior Court will be determining where seven lawsuits filed against the state Department of Water Resources over the Oroville Dam spillway crisis will be heard.  Five cases were originally filed with the Butte Superior Court, including lawsuits by the city of Oroville; Akers Ranch; JEM Farms, LP jointly with other defendants; the South Feather Water and Power Agency along with other defendants; and Bains Properties, LP with other defendants. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Sacramento judge to determine court locations for Oroville Dam crisis cases

California has enough water to fight the fires.  The problem is overgrown forests, McClintock says:California has enough water to fight the fires raging in the state, according to Republican Rep. Tom McClintock.  It’s overgrown forests that are the problem.  McClintock, whose district stretches from Lake Tahoe to Kings Canyon National Park, spoke to The Sacramento Bee after meeting with officials battling the Donnell Fire in Stanislaus National Forest on Thursday. “It’s the same old story. I asked them what the tree density was in the forests where the fire is,” McClintock said. “It’s about 300 trees per acre.” ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California has enough water to fight the fires.  The problem is overgrown forests, McClintock says

Researchers study pros and cons of irrigation:  “The subsurface drip irrigation systems that have enhanced water use efficiency and increased yields in processing tomatoes may also have long-term effects on soil life that are worth monitoring.  Because drip emitters running down the center of the bed beneath the ground target irrigation delivery to the plants with precision, they may also leave important living organisms near the edges without a source of water.  “Subsurface drip is used on 80 percent of the processing tomatoes in California,” said Deirdre Griffin, UC Davis, soil chemist. “It reduces weed pressure and reduces water use. The question is, what is happening with the soil that is only getting water half the year? It is worth paying attention to what may be happening to the soil over time.” ... ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Researchers study pros and cons of irrigation

Trump Administration calls endangered species protections a ‘regulatory burden’:  “Interior Department deputy secretary David Bernhardt says the way the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented today causes an “unnecessary regulatory burden” on U.S. taxpayers and companies.  Bernhardt makes the case for the administration’s recently proposed changes to ESA implementation in a Washington Post op-ed on Friday, arguing that plans to strip “threatened” species of the same protections as listed “endangered” ones would clean up the “muddle” of the current state of the law. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Trump Administration calls endangered species protections a ‘regulatory burden’

Zinke’s Deputy: Civil, self confident, and under the radar:  “Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt drew no crowd when he quietly entered a Capitol Hill room recently.  The No. 2 man at an agency that employs some 70,000 workers and spends about $11.7 billion annually arrived with neither fanfare nor palace guard. When he exited the Cannon House Office Building room after about 45 minutes with several lawmakers, he amiably declined to blab to a waiting reporter.  “I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to share my views with the members of Congress, as appropriate,” Bernhardt allowed, following a judicious pause. “They asked for a briefing, and I thought they should have the opportunity to be briefed.” ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Zinke’s Deputy: Civil, self confident, and under the radar

In commentary this weekend …

The flood management revolution in California you’ve never heard of:  John Carlon writes, “California’s rivers have bestowed many gifts – water, abundant agriculture, transportation, recreation and wildlife – and have shaped our history.  But we haven’t always treated our rivers well in return. In the first 150 years of statehood, Californians built thousands of miles of levees that eliminated natural floodplains and reduced Central Valley wetlands by 95 percent. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  The flood management revolution in California you’ve never heard of

Three big state issues that Sacramento must handle with careThe San Diego Union-Tribune writes,The California Legislature has a long history of making rash decisions in the final weeks of its annual sessions that wind up haunting state residents. As CALmatters columnist Dan Walters recently noted, the granddaddy of all such mistakes was the Legislature’s late-session embrace in 1996 of a bill meant to “deregulate” the state electricity sector, which created chaos and cost ratepayers dearly.  Now the Legislature — under intense pressure from legacy-hunting lame-duck Gov. Jerry Brown — is considering several issues that have the potential to be policy fiascoes on a similar grand scale. Every Californian should hope and pray that lawmakers sweat the details before taking any bold action. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Three big state issues that Sacramento must handle with care

At Interior, we’re ready to bring the Endangered Species Act up to date, says David Bernhardt:  He writes, “A modern vision of conservation is one that uses federalism, public-private partnerships and market-based solutions to achieve sound stewardship. These approaches, combined with sensible regulations and the best available science, will achieve the greatest good in the longest term.  Last month, the Trump administration took this approach to bringing our government’s implementation of the Endangered Species Act into the 21st century. We asked ourselves how we can enhance conservation of our most imperiled wildlife while delivering good government for our citizens. We found room for improvement in the administration of the act. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here:  At Interior, we’re ready to bring the Endangered Species Act up to date

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Klamath-Trinity River fish benefitting from Carr fire, fisheries officials say:  “One of the unintended consequences of the devastation of Carr Fire in Shasta County is that is has been providing more water to Klamath and Trinity river fish in a time when river conditions have been looking tenuous.  Hoopa Valley Tribe’s Fisheries Director Mike Orcutt said the dam-controlling U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has nearly doubled flows on the Trinity River since late July. The bureau stated it has been making the releases in order to address emergency operations at the Trinity Power Plant, which had been affected by the fire. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath-Trinity River fish benefitting from Carr fire, fisheries officials say

Napa flood control:  Protecting the beavers on Tulocay Creek:  “The beaver colony on Tulocay Creek, just off busy Soscol Avenue, has friends in high places.  A project is underway to protect the beavers so the flood control district can rebuild the creek bank to withstand erosion. This is happening as a four-story hotel is constructed on land adjacent to the beavers’ home of mud and twigs. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Napa flood control:  Protecting the beavers on Tulocay Creek

Millions to be spent protecting San Francisco Bay shoreline from sea level rise:  “A decades-old plan to protect Alviso and surrounding South Bay areas from devastating floods has moved closer to reality with $177 million in federal funds to begin work on a 4-mile-long levee and wetlands restoration.  The combination of flood control and environmental improvements will be a model for the rest of the country, Sam Schuchat, executive officer of the state Coastal Conservancy, said Friday at an event celebrating the project at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Millions to be spent protecting San Francisco Bay shoreline from sea level rise

South Bay flood prevention project awarded $177 million:  “A project to prevent flooding and improve habitat along the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline was awarded $177 million in funding. Authorities made the announcement at a news conference.  The section of the bay’s shoreline near Alviso is a popular spot for recreation: home to countless birds and critters.San Jose resident Faith Bamford says, “We love it here. It’s a wonderful place to walk.”  It is also prone to flooding. The community of Alviso, several Silicon Valley businesses, and the region’s largest wastewater facility are all routinely at risk. … ”  Read more from KTVU here:  South Bay flood prevention project awarded $177 million

3 years after a bitter sewer split with Morro Bay, Cayucos is building a new plant: “The Cayucos Sanitary District broke ground on a new water reclamation facility on Friday, three years after a dispute with the city of Morro Bay led the CSD to pursue its own wastewater treatment project.  The $25 million project at 800 Toro Creek Road is expected to be finished by the summer of 2020, and it will use a membrane bioreactor and ultraviolet light to treat and disinfect 340,000 gallons Cayucos residents’ sewage every day.  Currently, Cayucos wastewater is treated at the aging Morro Bay plant. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  3 years after a bitter sewer split with Morro Bay, Cayucos is building a new plant

Tejon Ranch Conservancy receives grant to restore wetlands:  “The Tejon Ranch Conservancy was one of only three California organizations awarded grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday.  The conservancy will receive $44,665 to restore 20 acres of wetland and desert habitat in the Sacatara Canyon Springs Restoration Project. The acreage serves as a vital migratory and breeding habitat for various birds, amphibians and mammals. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield Now here:  Tejon Ranch Conservancy receives grant to restore wetlands

Water released from Cachuma Lake heads towards Lompoc:  “Water in the Santa Ynez Riverbed is a nice sight on a hot summer day.  “It’s beautiful for us locals. I live a few blocks away and I’ve been coming down here and even fishing in the river when I was a kid,” said river visitor, Ron Bender.  This water isn’t always here however. The water currently flowing underneath the Alisal Bridge in Solvang is from a water release at Cachuma Lake. … ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Water released from Cachuma Lake heads towards Lompoc

Santa Barbara current regional drought worst in recorded history:  “In a confluence of weird and jarring optics, operators of the Bradbury Dam at Lake Cachuma began releasing what will eventually be 10,000 acre-feet of water downstream — toward Lompoc — just as regional water experts declared the current drought the driest in recorded history. As is often the case with water, what doesn’t appear to make sense actually does. And vice versa.  The big news is that the years between 2012 and 2018 have now surpassed the county’s previous worst drought in terms of intensity and dryness. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here:  Current regional drought worst in recorded history

Conservation still our best water bet, says the Ventura County Star:  They write, “If you live in Ventura or the Ojai Valley, there’s really no way to sugarcoat this: You’re running out of water and should be conserving every drop you can.  The water situation for the rest of Ventura County isn’t much better. Yes, your supply of state water is more stable than shrinking Lake Casitas, but it could get a lot more expensive if Gov. Jerry Brown’s pricey water tunnels get built. So you might as well get into the habit of saving every drop, too, if you aren’t already. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Conservation still our best water bet, says the Ventura County Star

Some coastal areas in Orange County may experience minor flooding during high tide:  “Low-lying roads or parking lots near the ocean in Southern California may see some minor flooding during high tide cycles Saturday evening, Aug. 11, according to the National Weather Service.  In a beach hazards statement, high tide warnings were put in place for Seal Beach, Newport Beach and Balboa in Orange County. The tide was expected to reach nearly 7 feet in Newport Beach just before 10 p.m., officials said.  The warnings included San Diego County spots Oceanside Beach and Imperial Beach. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here:  Some coastal areas in Orange County may experience minor flooding during high tide

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

 

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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