DAILY DIGEST: Updated cost for Oroville Spillway disaster: $1.1 billion; State determines its only ‘unsatisfactory’ dam is Oroville; Fire and drought: the extremes become routine; New system to clean up plastic in the ocean launches this month; and more …

In California water news today, Updated cost for Oroville Spillway disaster: $1.1 billion; State determines its only ‘unsatisfactory’ dam is Oroville; Deeply Talks: Fire and drought: the extremes become routine; Why some water managers are unprepared for climate change; New system to clean up plastic in the ocean is launching from California this month; Dem state attorneys general sue Trump admin for repealing bird protection policy; and more …

In the news today …

Updated cost for Oroville Spillway disaster: $1.1 billion:  “The California Department of Water Resources says the cost of the Oroville Dam spillway disaster — the combined price tag for the emergency response, debris removal and rehabilitating the shattered main spillway structure and adjoining emergency overflow channel — has hit $1.1 billion.  Wednesday’s announcement, made during a telephone media briefing, is the second time this year that the reported cost of the spillway incident has jumped by 25 percent or more. In January, DWR estimated the project cost at $870 million. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Updated cost for Oroville Spillway disaster: $1.1 billion

Price tag to repair tallest US dam spikes to $1.1 billion:  “Fortification costs for the nation’s tallest but flawed dam have spiked to over $1 billion, California officials said Wednesday – a figure more than five times original estimates.  The state and its contractors have been scrambling to repair Oroville Dam’s busted flood-control systems following a near-catastrophic spillway failure that forced nearly 200,000 Northern California residents to flee in February 2017. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Price tag to repair tallest US dam spikes to $1.1 billion

State determines its only ‘unsatisfactory’ dam is Oroville:  “The state Department of Water Resources has determined that Oroville Dam, which is under reconstruction, is the only dam in the state’s jurisdiction that is in “unsatisfactory” condition.  The status of state-owned dams is assessed annually by the Division of Safety of Dams, which is a branch of DWR. The state has 1,246 dams under its jurisdiction.  The department anticipates that Oroville Dam’s status will change as soon as construction is through, said Erin Mellon, assistant director of public affairs.  The dam falls into the category of “extremely high” downstream hazard potential. This simply means that if the dam were to fail, a considerable loss of life would be expected because the downstream population is greater than 1,000 people. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  State determines its only ‘unsatisfactory’ dam is Oroville

Deeply Talks: Fire and drought: the extremes become routine: “In this month’s episode of Deeply Talks, Water Deeply managing editor Matt Weiser discussed the American West’s dual challenges of water scarcity and wildfires with Crystal Kolden, associate professor of forest, rangeland and fire sciences in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho, and Van Butsic, assistant cooperative extension specialist at the University of California, Berkeley.  Wildfire affects the watersheds that in turn supply municipal drinking water, fulfill agricultural needs and support critical species across the West. That’s why the management of both forest and water resources is so closely intertwined – and why this issue has become more pressing. The West, Kolden explained, is seeing more fires across larger areas, and even changes to how these fires burn. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Deeply Talks: Fire and drought: the extremes become routine

Why some water managers are unprepared for climate change:  “Water utility managers in California are far from unified in their use of climate change science to guide decisions, according to a recent study from the University of California, Davis. And as a result, they may be putting water supplies at risk.  The study’s authors were interested in finding out what was happening on the ground, right at the local utility level. They interviewed 61 water managers across the state, ultimately dividing them into three groups based on how they engage with climate information. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Why some water managers are unprepared for climate change

New system to clean up plastic in the ocean is launching from California this month:  “After 273 scale model tests and six at-sea prototypes, the first ocean cleanup system is expected to launch from San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 8. If successful, it could be one of 60 cleanup systems deployed in the Pacific Ocean.  The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ridding the world’s oceans of plastic. The organization was founded in 2013 by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat at age 18 and has a team of more than 70 engineers, researchers and scientists. The first cleanup system is being assembled in Alameda. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  New system to clean up plastic in the ocean is launching from California this month

Dem state attorneys general sue Trump admin for repealing bird protection policy: “Eight Democratic state attorneys general sued the Trump administration Wednesday to try to overturn a policy that repealed certain protections for migratory birds.  At issue is a December 2017 legal memo, in which Daniel Jorjani, the Interior Department’s principal deputy assistant solicitor, said the agency would no longer punish people or companies for harming or killing birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in “incidental” ways. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Dem state attorneys general sue Trump admin for repealing bird protection policy

In commentary today …

Stop the Delta debacle before property owners get gouged, says Ed Clendaniel:  He writes, “Call it the Big Gouge.  Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration will try for a third time to secure a political mega-deal that would commit millions of California property owners to pay for the $19.9 billion Delta twin-tunnels water grab. Without approval of voters or the Legislature.  It’s an atrocious abuse of the political system that must be stopped. Blocking the effort would save property owners thousands of dollars over the next 20-40 years and help preserve the health of the Delta for the next generation and beyond. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Stop the Delta debacle before property owners get gouged

How Prop 3 helps ensure California’s water future, says Tim Quinn:  “At no other time in California’s history have its citizens faced such a complex array of extremes affecting the quality and resiliency of our water supply. But if you’re an optimist like me, you can recognize that 2018 gives us an ideal opportunity to make a significant impact, overcome challenges and ensure the best chance possible toward securing California’s water future.  Securing California’s water future has become an increasingly challenging task in the past decade with years of historic drought, periods of record flooding, a strain on aging infrastructure, desperate need for more storage and continued lack of safe drinking water for some communities. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: How Prop 3 helps ensure California’s water future

Vote No on Prop 3: A special interest giveaway, says Peter Anderson:  He writes, “Proposition 3 is a special interest giveaway of nearly $8.9 billion to water districts and agribusiness, and provides little or no benefit to San Diego. It was crafted behind the scenes by special interests without input from the public or the Legislature.  This measure makes us all pay for specific water districts and for agribusinesses. They should be responsible for their own infrastructure and canal repairs, particularly since their overpumping of the aquifer led to the collapse of some of that infrastructure. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Vote No on Prop 3: A special interest giveaway

In regional news and commentary today …

Report: Santa Rosa should beef up Fountain Grove water system:  “Santa Rosa’s water system was so overwhelmed by the devastating Tubbs fire last October that there is little city officials could have done to keep water pressure powerful enough to help firefighters battle the blaze in the hilly Fountaingrove neighborhood.  That’s the conclusion of a long-awaited report on the performance of the city’s water system, which suffered sharp drops in water pressure that made an already harrowing firefighting effort virtually impossible in some areas. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Report: Santa Rosa should beef up Fountain Grove water system

Increased water temperatures in the Russian River prompt public experiment:  “The Russian River Watershed Association is asking the public to help take the temperature of water in the Russian River and its tributaries.  The watershed spanning more than 1,400 miles is a popular tourist destination as well as the habitat for dozens of species.  The river has gotten warmer and warmer over the years. This public-supported experiment aims to help map the rising temperatures. … ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area here:  Increased water temperatures in the Russian River prompt public experiment

Bringing coho salmon back to Lagunitas Creek with bulldozers: “Despite its 21st century surroundings, Lagunitas Creek in Marin County remains a functional ecosystem, barely surviving as nature intended for endangered for breeding Steelhead and Coho salmon.  “It’s the best in the state and we had maybe 200 nests, four-hundred fish last year,” said Todd Steiner. He’s a biologist, the Executive Director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network. ... ”  Read more from KGO here:  Bringing coho salmon back to Lagunitas Creek with bulldozers

Visalia facility turns waste into water:  “The largest public works project in the city’s history became fully operational last month.  At its Aug. 20 meeting, the Visalia City Council approved a notice of completion for its $152 million upgrade of its waste water treatment facility located west of Highway 99. The facility, which officially came online at the end of July, will clean sewer water into a recycled water that can be used to irrigate landscaping and farmland.  Visalia Public Works Manager Jim Ross said the facility will produce about 40 acre feet of water per day, which translates to 14,000 acre feet of water per year or about half of Visalia’s annual water usage. That’s why the city officially renamed it the Visalia Water Reclamation Facility. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here:  Visalia facility turns waste into water

After damage to Granada Hills wetlands, EPA orders LADWP to pay $5.3 million in credits to ‘mitigation bank’:  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized an administrative order with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power over federal Clean Water Act violations, it was announced Wednesday.  Under the terms of the order, LADWP will purchase $5.3 million in mitigation credits for damaging wetlands on its Granada Hills property. LADWP will also pay a $94,000 penalty, according to the EPA. … ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here: After damage to Granada Hills wetlands, EPA orders LADWP to pay $5.3 million in credits to ‘mitigation bank’

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona Supreme Court hears Hopi Tribe’s case against snowmaking: “Oral arguments in the Hopi Tribe’s lawsuit against Arizona Snowbowl’s snowmaking practices were heard by the Arizona Supreme Court’s panel of seven justices on Tuesday, Sept. 4.  In February, the Arizona Court of Appeals revived the question of whether Snowbowl’s snowmaking with reclaimed wastewater causes “special injury” to Hopi religious and cultural sites. The case was originally filed in the Coconino County Superior Court for the issue rooted on the San Francisco Peaks just outside of Flagstaff’s city limits. This is the third case the Hopi Tribe has brought against the ski resort. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Sun here:  Arizona Supreme Court hears Hopi Tribe’s case against snowmaking

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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