DAILY DIGEST: Restore Hetch Hetchy vows to take their case to California Supreme Court; Wildfires still rage, shining light on CA’s environmental challenges; Drought forces hard choices for farmers and ranchers in the Southwest; and more …

In California water news today, Restore Hetch Hetchy vows to take their case to California Supreme Court; Wildfires still rage. They also shine light on California’s environmental challenges; ‘The president is right’: Interior chief pushes thinning forests to cut fire risk; Drought forces hard choices for farmers and ranchers in the Southwest; Few California school districts have tested water for lead, even though it’s free; Calls for action on toxics White House called a ‘PR nightmare’; and more …

In the news today …

Restore Hetch Hetchy vows to take their case to California Supreme Court: A Berkeley environmental group that wants the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in northwestern Yosemite drained to restore the Sierra Canyon has vowed to take the  case to the California Supreme Court after losing an appeal in July.  “While we are disappointed by the court’s ruling, we are in this for the long term and will continue to fight for what is right through the courts and as far as we need to take it,” Restore Hetch Hetchy Executive Director Spreck Rosekrans said in a statement issued by the nonprofit after the ruling. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Record here:  Restore Hetch Hetchy vows to take their case to California Supreme Court

Wildfires still rage.  They also shine light on California’s environmental challenges:  “The majority of Californians identify climate change as the state’s most serious environmental threat.  As California wildfires continue to rage, many of the California Influencers are inclined to agree.  Readers who responded to a Your Voice question this week about their top environmental concerns last week wanted to know whether the state will run out of water and how to combat global warming. They also wanted to know what the state can do to prevent so many wildfires. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Wildfires still rage.  They also shine light on California’s environmental challenges

‘The president is right’: Interior chief pushes thinning forests to cut fire risk“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, touring neighborhoods devastated by the Carr Fire, stepped up the Trump administration’s push Sunday to remove more trees from national forests as a means of tamping down fire risks.  “We need to manage our forests, we need to reduce the fuels,” Zinke said as he overlooked Whiskeytown Lake in the vicinity where the Carr Fire began July 23.  Starting a two-day tour of the Redding area, Zinke also took a shot at environmental groups that he said are standing in the way of aggressive forest management. In some cases, environmental groups have successfully used litigation to block or curtail logging operations on public lands. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  ‘The president is right’: Interior chief pushes thinning forests to cut fire risk

Drought forces hard choices for farmers and ranchers in the Southwest:  “It’s only the beginning of August – typically the height of the farming season – but the irrigation ponds here in Sanpete County ran dry a month ago. They are now filled with brush and desperate waterfowl while the land surrounding them lies barren, local farmers having already stripped up most of their crops to glean what little profit they can.  Farmer Scott Sunderland runs the numbers on his smartphone and the outlook is bleak. He needs $250,000 just to pay the taxes and debts he owes on the 700-acre farm he’s managed for more than three decades. If he’s lucky, he’ll have $220,000 by the end of the season.  “If the drought holds on another year,” he said, “we’re going to have to start liquidating … But once you start down that road, it’s almost a dead end.” ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Drought forces hard choices for farmers and ranchers in the Southwest

Few California school districts have tested water for lead, even though it’s free:  “As students head back to class across California this month, many will sip water from school fountains or faucets that could contain high levels of lead.  That’s because two-thirds of the state’s 1,026 school districts have not taken advantage of a free state testing program to determine whether the toxic metal is coming out of the taps and, if so, whether it exceeds federal standards. Among the 330 districts that have started or completed testing, more than half identified at least one school where levels exceeded the federal standard, according to data submitted to the state by June 1. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Few California school districts have tested water for lead, even though it’s free

Calls for action on toxics White House called a ‘PR nightmare’:  “Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household.  Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe. That was before testing showed it had some of the highest levels of the toxic compounds of any public water system in the U.S. … ”  Read more from the AP here:  Calls for action on toxics White House called a ‘PR nightmare’

In regional news and commentary …

Butte still a leader in water conservation:  “Butte County continues to outpace the state by a long shot when it comes to water conservation, according to numbers released last week by the state Water Resources Control Board.  The board released water savings reported for June by 360 urban water suppliers in the state, which averaged 16.8 percent compared to June 2013, the benchmark year before the last drought.  The four Butte County water agencies that report beat that by almost 10 percent, at the least.  The Del Oro Water Co. led the way with 38.6 percent savings, compared to June 2013. Del Oro serves Magalia, Stirling City, Lime Saddle and a number of other small communities in Northern California. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Butte still a leader in water conservation

Solano County case central to call for BCDC enforcement audit:  “John Sweeney called for an audit of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission for what he believed was its heavy-handed enforcement in 2015.  The Suisun Marsh duck club owner finally got his wish.  “I think it is extremely overdue, especially in light of the Point Buckler case and two other cases,” Sweeney said in a phone interview Friday.  The two other cases were brought against the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, which Sweeney also won, and one in which Solano County Superior Court Judge Harry S. Kinnicutt, now retired, described the state agency as vindictive. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Solano County case central to call for BCDC enforcement audit

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

And lastly …

Forget the Bermuda Triangle—legends speak of a lost ship in the California desert:Certain places on the high seas have a reputation for swallowing ships whole. The Bermuda Triangle. The treacherous Arctic Sea. The Colorado Desert. Yes, despite the lack of shipping lanes through the American Southwest, legends have persisted for nearly 150 years of a lost ship in the sands of one of America’s biggest deserts. … ”  Read more from AV Club here:  Forget the Bermuda Triangle—legends speak of a lost ship in the California desert

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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