DAILY DIGEST: As synthetic microfibers spread in water, solutions are blossoming; Amid Trump rollbacks, California moves to regulate wetlands on its own; Long process of selling Potter Valley project begins this week; evelopers argue there’s more water in the Colorado River Basin; and more …

In California water news today, As synthetic microfibers spread in water, solutions are blossoming; Amid Trump rollbacks, California moves to regulate wetlands on its own; Earthquake hits South Bay reservoir with seismically-challenged dam; Long process of selling Potter Valley project begins this week; Tidal wetlands could enclose Novato’s Deer Island once again; SF lays foundation for seawall repair with beer, coffee campaign; Tapped out or plenty to tap? Developers argue there’s more water in the Colorado River Basin; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9:30am.  Agenda items include update on current hydrologic conditions, a motion regarding reissued waste discharges for Central Valley dairies, status of once-through cooling interim mitigation, and report on predictive modeling of beach water quality.  Click here for full agenda.

In the news today …

As synthetic microfibers spread in water, solutions are blossoming:  “In 2013, ecologist Mark Anthony Browne presented the results of some unsettling research to leaders from a handful of major apparel brands, including Nike, Polartec (a major supplier of polyester fleece) and Patagonia. Browne had published a report that implicated synthetic apparel as a possible source of microplastic pollution. Browne wanted the companies to fund research to evaluate how and why apparel sheds fibers, in order to mitigate the action, perhaps by redesigning textile processing or sourcing different material. They all declined except for clothier Eileen Fisher, which provided Browne with a small seed grant. The others said it was too early. They wanted a larger scientific consensus that their products were sources of plastic pollution. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  As synthetic microfibers spread in water, solutions are blossoming

Amid Trump rollbacks, California moves to regulate wetlands on its own:  “California officials are poised to seize control over a major arena of federal regulation in response to Trump administration rollbacks: the management and protection of wetlands.  Wetlands are vital features on the landscape. Basically low spots in a watershed, when they fill with water they provide important habitat for birds, fish and other species. Wetlands also help control floods and recharge groundwater, and they filter the water we drink. On the other hand, being generally flat and maligned as “swamps,” they are popular places to pave and build. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Amid Trump rollbacks, California moves to regulate wetlands on its own

Earthquake hits South Bay reservoir with seismically-challenged dam:  “A magnitude 3.4 earthquake rattled the South Bay on Sunday night with an epicenter at the Calaveras Reservoir, where crews are finishing a replacement dam for one that had engineers concerned, according to the United States Geological Survey.  The temblor struck at 7:10 p.m., about nine kilometers east of Milpitas, smack dab at the Calaveras Reservoir. It had a depth of about 7.2 kilometers, according to the USGS.  On the northern tip of the reservoir lies the old 1920s-era Calaveras Dam, which state regulators ordered lowered in the past when they determined a 7.25-magnitude quake on the Calaveras Fault, which runs north and south through the reservoir, could cause the sides of the old dam to slump. That weakening, they determined, could cause a 30-foot-high wall of water to cascade down on Fremont. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Earthquake hits South Bay reservoir with seismically-challenged dam

Earthquake prompts inspection of SF-owned reservoir:  “San Francisco water officials were inspecting for earthquake damage Monday at a dam under construction in the South Bay after a small temblor shook the area the night before.  The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 3.4-magnitude quake just after 7 p.m. Sunday about 4 miles beneath the Calaveras Reservoir, which sits east of Milpitas on the rural Santa Clara-Alameda county line. It’s part of San Francisco’s sprawling water supply system. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Earthquake prompts inspection of SF-owned reservoir

El Niño fears grow as starving baby birds wash up on California beaches: “Scores of starving baby seabirds have been washing up on Northern California beaches this summer, raising fears among scientists that a climatic cycle like the one that wreaked havoc on sea creatures a few years ago may be moving in.  More than 100 undernourished common murre babies have been plucked from beaches from Monterey to Marin County by biologists and volunteers with International Bird Rescue and are being rehabilitated at the organization’s Fairfield center. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  El Niño fears grow as starving baby birds wash up on California beaches

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

In commentary today …

The reach of federal judges should be limited, says Tony Campbell:  He writes, “When should a single federal judge have the authority to issue a nation-wide injunction? This issue arose last year in the context of President Trump’s order revoking visas for certain applicants largely, but not exclusively, from predominantly Muslim countries. District judges in Hawaii and Maryland both issued orders that applied to the entire country.  This issue just arose again in the context of the “Waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”) rule. In that rule, President Obama’s Environmental Protection agency said that land only occasionally subject to run-off, or occasionally used by migratory waterfowl to rest, could be regulated by the federal government. That means that a farmer or rancher needs to get approval from EPA if she or he wants to use pesticide. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  The reach of federal judges should be limited

In regional news and commentary today …

Long process of selling Potter Valley project begins this week:  “Pacific Gas and Electric announced that it intends to begin the “marketing phase” this week of its potential sale of the Potter Valley Project, a hydroelectric plant that provides a relatively insignificant amount of electricity but an extremely significant amount of water to the Ukiah Valley and many other communities along the Russian River.  The Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (MCIWPC), a Joint Powers Authority made up of representatives from the Mendocino County Water Agency, the City of Ukiah, the Potter Valley Irrigation District, the Redwood Valley County Water District and the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District, officially announced its intention to enter the auction process for the facility. … ”  Read more from the Willits News here:  Long process of selling Potter Valley project begins this week

Humboldt County: Cannabis farmers iron out ‘growing pains’ of obtaining permits at workshop:  “California state agencies are touring Humboldt County to advise cannabis growers how they can obtain legal growing permits and deal with regulatory practices that crack down on environmental harms posed by cannabis farming.  Some local cannabis operations are diverting water meant for natural streams, clearing forests for farms and poisoning nearby water and wildlife. For years before cannabis was legalized, these harmful consequences remained unregulated.  In order to stay on the right side of the law, growers will need to pay thousands of dollars to obtain permits and avoid facing enforcement from state agencies. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Cannabis farmers iron out ‘growing pains’ of obtaining permits at workshop

Tidal wetlands could enclose Novato’s Deer Island once again:  “Deer Island Preserve, east of Novato in Marin County, doesn’t really look like an island, at least in the fact that it’s not surrounded by a body of water. The open space more closely resembles a hill covered in dry, golden grass with dots of oak and bay trees. Trails to the top of the preserve offer a view of what once was thousands of acres of wetlands by the San Pablo Bay.  “Deer Island was a really beautiful hill surrounded by tidal water with birds, fish and other wildlife,” says Marin County Flood Control District senior engineer Roger Leventhal. “What you see down here would have been subject to the daily tides.” ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Tidal wetlands could enclose Novato’s Deer Island once again

Tiburon needs to take action to prevent future flooding, says Carolyn Shadan:  “Dick Spotswood laid out a convincing argument in an Aug. 22 column concerning the lack of a completed flood control improvement project in the Ross Valley. His claim was that “We don’t seem to have the will to take on larger projects.” I believe we also lack the education and good sense to evaluate a problem and its solutions.  This condition has not only stalled the Ross Valley flood control project, but meaningful flood control in downtown Tiburon and in Zone 4 of the flood control district. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Voice here:  Tiburon needs to take action to prevent future flooding, says Carolyn Shadan

SF lays foundation for seawall repair with beer, coffee campaign:  “The ingredients that will be needed to strengthen the seawall that forms San Francisco’s downtown shoreline are as varied as the seasonal espresso of a local roaster and the small holes being drilled into Pier 27.  The latter is a geotechnical test that bores down more than 100 feet to pull up undisturbed samples of the bay mud that lies beneath the century-old pile of concrete-topped rocks that mark where the city stops and the bay begins. The former is a marketing collaboration between Ritual Coffee and the Port of San Francisco to teach people about a defining feature of the city that they might not even know exists. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  SF lays foundation for seawall repair with beer, coffee campaign

Why, after Labor Day, there is no body contact at Woodward Reservoir:  “Labor Day will be the last splash for swimmers at Woodward Reservoir Regional Park this summer — and fall, winter and part of spring.  The water at the Stanislaus County park will be closed to bodily contact starting Tuesday, as mandated by the South San Joaquin Irrigation District permit. That means no swimming, no wading, no water skiing, no dogs in the water.  Boats launched from the ramp are OK, but “if you have to touch the water to get in your vessel, that’s not allowed,” said Cheryl Jackson, manager of the park. “So no jet skis, kayaks, no pulling a tube behind a boat.” … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Why, after Labor Day, there is no body contact at Woodward Reservoir

CSU Long Beach researchers help rebuild Seal Beach wetlands threatened by rising sea levels:  “Wetlands are supposed to be, well, wet.  But not too wet, or else the plants drown, endangered birds don’t have a place to nest and the marshes fail to protect coastal homes from storm surges.  It’s exactly what was happening at the Seal Beach Wildlife Refuge—at least until researchers from Cal State Long Beach and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service got involved with a new technique to raise the floor of the marsh.  Christine Whitcraft, director of CSULB’s Environmental Science and Policy program, said coastal wetlands are some of the most productive habitats in the world: they filter water run-off, provide a space for fish to breed and the plants absorb excess water as they provide a buffer from ocean storm surges. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here:  CSU Long Beach researchers help rebuild Seal Beach wetlands threatened by rising sea levels

Along the Colorado River …

Tapped out or plenty to tap?  Developers argue there’s more water in the Colorado River Basin: ” … Many of those who closely watch the Colorado say the river is tapped out, citing a range of symptoms: the impending shortage declaration; the river’s inability to reach the Sea of Cortez; and the plant and animal species whose populations tanked as the dams went up and reservoirs filled behind them. To these observers, it’s an overallocated system, and any proposal to pull more water from it should be intensely scrutinized or halted all together.  But not everyone agrees with that assessment. Some developers contend there still are places in the 246,000-square-mile Colorado River Basin to dam and divert water. Although some portions of the watershed are bracing for impending shortages, they say, other portions have surpluses, and it would be irresponsible not to put that extra water to use. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here:  Tapped out or plenty to tap?  Developers argue there’s more water in the Colorado River Basin

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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