DAILY DIGEST: Why some are concerned over water board chairwoman’s ties to Bay Area institute; Experts say California still woefully unprepared to weather drought; California fires, floods, droughts: “It’s getting more real now” Jerry Brown says in climate interview; and more …

In California water news today, Why some are concerned over water board chairwoman’s ties to Bay Area institute; Experts say California still woefully unprepared to weather drought; California fires, floods, droughts: “It’s getting more real now” Jerry Brown says in climate interview; Impossible choices: The complicated task of saving both orca and salmon; Radio Show: Candidate Andrew Janz Says Pumping “At 100 Percent Capacity,” Water Infrastructure Needed; Devin Nunes claims Russia is financing environmentalism; and more …

In the news today …

Note:  For information on yesterday’s informational hearing before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee regarding the State Water Project contract extension, see: Statements from Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch, Delta Counties Coalition in response to Joint Legislative Budget Committee Hearing

Why some are concerned over water board chairwoman’s ties to Bay Area institute: “Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, has considerable influence over decision-making that could leave more water in rivers for salmon at the expense of irrigation districts in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.  With a crucial vote set for Nov. 7 on the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan — known as the “water grab” in Stanislaus, Merced and south San Joaquin counties — some are puzzled by what they feel is a conflict of interest given her relationship with the executive director of a Bay Area think tank that’s had millions of dollars in contracts with the state agency she oversees. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Why some are concerned over water board chairwoman’s ties to Bay Area institute

Experts say California still woefully unprepared to weather drought:  “An atmospheric phenomenon lingered along the West Coast over a recent four-year stretch, sending winter storms north and preventing precious rain and snow from reaching California. Dubbed the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge,” the high-pressure system made the Golden State bone-dry and moved Gov. Jerry Brown to make an unprecedented order requiring nearly 40 million Californians to slash water use in their homes.  As the persistent ridge returned each winter from 2012 through 2016, it pushed California into the driest and hottest drought on record. The state’s famed snowpack vanished, hundreds of thousands of acres in its agricultural heartland wilted and critical water-delivery systems were tested like never before. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Experts say California still woefully unprepared to weather drought

California fires, floods, droughts: “It’s getting more real now” Jerry Brown says in climate interview: “Gov. Jerry Brown has made renewable energy and climate change a centerpiece of his final term, which ends in January. This week, he co-hosts the “Global Climate Action Summit” in San Francisco.  Thousands of scientists, political leaders, business representatives and celebrities from around the globe are arriving all week for the event, which is designed to continue momentum at local levels — despite indifference from the Trump administration — to expand renewable energy and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that scientists say are warming the planet and leading to more wildfires, heat waves, droughts, floods and other problems. Brown discussed the issues in an interview with Paul Rogers, resources and environment writer for the Bay Area News Group. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California fires, floods, droughts: “It’s getting more real now” Jerry Brown says in climate interview

Design solutions for a world of rising sea levels: A showcase:  “The formal events at this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco are closed to the public, but anyone can visit a related pop-up that occupies an unleased storefront at the foot of Rincon Hill.  That’s where you’ll find nine detailed visions showing how the likelihood of sea level rise can be seen as not a threat, but a catalyst. The Bay Area, the display demonstrates, can prepare for the future with an eye to a healthier region, where cities and nature overlap in beguiling, sustainable and equitable ways. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Design solutions for a world of rising sea levels: A showcase

Growers try carbon farming to combat climate change:  “The world’s farmers must feed a human population that will reach 10 billion in the next three decades, but they also may be asked to help combat climate change by putting more carbon into the soil than they take out of it.  As an example, Jackson Family Wines is running a five-year experiment to try to increase the carbon held in its soils at a Russian River vineyard and a group of advocates of climate-smart farming toured the area on Tuesday. The Jackson winery, the county’s largest vintner, and the Sonoma Resource Conservation District received a $100,000 state grant to conduct the research on a 22-acre section of vineyard, said Julien Gervreau, the company’s director of sustainability. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Growers try carbon farming to combat climate change

Impossible choices: The complicated task of saving both orca and salmon:  “Decades of politics and foot-dragging have stymied the recovery of threatened and endangered Chinook salmon, while an iconic population of killer whales that depends on them veered toward extinction. Now, a last-ditch effort to save the whales may also be what thwarts the recovery of Chinook.  The Southern Resident killer whales are dying. An extended family of 75 orcas living year-round in the sea surrounding the San Juan Islands near Seattle, their numbers never fully rebounded since aquariums that later became SeaWorld captured a third of them in the late 1960s.  And there are other culprits. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Impossible choices: The complicated task of saving both orca and salmon

Radio Show:  Candidate Andrew Janz Says Pumping “At 100 Percent Capacity,” Water Infrastructure Needed:  “We’re less than two months away from this year’s midterm election, and Democrats are still holding out for a blue wave across the country. Whether that will extend into conservative strongholds in the Central Valley is yet to be seen. But today in our studio, we’re talking to Andrew Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor and democrat running against incumbent republican congressman Devin Nunes. We discuss how Janz might balance environmental and economic priorities when it comes to water, and how California state laws are changing public safety.”  Listen to the radio show here:  Radio Show:  Candidate Andrew Janz Says Pumping “At 100 Percent Capacity,” Water Infrastructure Needed

Devin Nunes claims Russia is financing environmentalism:  “Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) might have found Russian collusion.  Russia is secretly funding the environmental movement, particularly in Germany, to help pressure the closure of nuclear power plants, he claimed during the latest episode of his personal podcast.  “You still have the nuclear movement going on, the anti-nuclear movement going on, and it’s the Russians, the Russians are financing the green movement to have Germany shut down all of their nuclear power plants,” Nunes said in the podcast last week. “Why? So that Germany will have to buy Russian gas.” … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Devin Nunes claims Russia is financing environmentalism

Appropriations: Congress eyes spending options as a shutdown looms:  “Congress returns this week in a race against the clock to get fiscal 2019 spending completed before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1 as a potential government shutdown looms.  Lawmakers from both parties insist they will find a way to make sure agencies stay open next month. But threats from President Trump that he might force a closure unless he gets border wall funding and the presence of controversial riders make the outcome uncertain.  Further complicating the efforts is Hurricane Florence, which could force Congress to cancel votes this week. For now, both chambers are planning to meet.  Here are three possible scenarios for how the spending fights will play out in the coming weeks that will have impacts on energy and environmental spending and policies. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Congress eyes spending options as a shutdown looms

In commentary today …

Delta hearing opens door to twin-tunnels water grab, says the Mercury News:  They write, “The bad news emerging from Sacramento on Tuesday was that, after two postponements, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee held a hearing allowing the Department of Water Resources to extend State Water Project contracts for another 50 years.  No committee vote was needed. Just holding the hearing allows the state to move forward with the contract extensions, which, in turn could provide the needed funding for Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19.9 billion Delta twin-tunnels project. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here: Delta hearing opens door to twin-tunnels water grab

Proposition 3: Two biggest reasons to oppose the water bond in November, says the San Diego Union Tribune:  They write, “Proposition 3, which asks voters to approve $8.9 billion in bond funds for water projects, has a surface appeal. The state’s need for improved water infrastructure and new water storage facilities is plain. But there are strong reasons to reject it.  The first and most obvious is that Proposition 3 is on the ballot not because the Legislature thought it was necessary but because of signature-gatherers paid by those who stand to benefit from the bond. A July 16 CALmatters story noted that more than half the money raised to promote the measure came from business groups and farmers seeking specific improvements, especially to the 152-mile-long Friant-Kern Canal in the Central Valley. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Proposition 3: Two biggest reasons to oppose the water bond in November

In regional news and commentary today …

EPA mulls adding Hoopa area mine to Superfund List:  “The defunct Cooper Bluff Mine in the Hoopa Valley area could be added to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.  “Though the Copper Bluff Mine closed decades ago, it is still affecting the Trinity River, the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the tribal fishery,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker in a statement. “Proposing the site for inclusion on the National Priorities List is an important step towards cleaning up this toxic legacy.” ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  EPA mulls adding Hoopa area mine to Superfund List

Solano judge denies effort to stop Putah Creek restoration work:  “Work on the $1.1 million third phase of the Putah Creek restoration project will continue.  Solano County Superior Court Judge D. Scott Daniels on Monday denied the request by the Friends of Putah Creek to stop work that started last week, and the bulk of which is expected to be completed in two weeks.  The organization had taken the action against the Solano County Water Agency and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Solano judge denies effort to stop Putah Creek restoration work

PG&E agrees in settlement to protect S.F. Bay from chemical runoff from utility poles: “Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has agreed to protect San Francisco and Humboldt bays from runoff of dangerous chemicals on utility poles in a settlement with an environmental group.  The Ecological Rights Foundation sued PG&E in 2010, saying sawdust and wood chips at 31 of the company’s service yards in Northern California contained pentachlorophenol, a preservative and pesticide with high levels of dioxins. Dioxins can cause cancer and reproductive damage. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  PG&E agrees in settlement to protect S.F. Bay from chemical runoff from utility poles

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors OKs trucking Carpinteria salt marsh sediment:  “Sediment left behind by winter storms will be hauled from the Carpinteria Salt Marsh to a site near Highway 154 since Santa Barbara County doesn’t yet have a long-term disposal site for debris.  A massive debris-removal effort followed the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 Montecito debris flows, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hauled away about 500,000 cubic yards, said Tom Fayram, director of county Flood Control.  Last winter, the county had debris hauled to sites in Buellton and Ventura County, but high trucking costs led officials to look for a closer disposal site. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors OKs trucking Carpinteria salt marsh sediment

Ventura County board disputes findings on dam safety; cites local inspections:   “County supervisors are disputing some key findings in a Ventura County Grand Jury report on the safety of dams in the area, saying they “wholly disagreed” with a conclusion that no local monitoring is done.  In its response approved Tuesday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors said local inspections are conducted for all dams owned by the Ventura County Watershed Protection District before winter and during and after each storm.  The district owns 56 dams, including Matilija Dam, a 71-year-old structure northwest of Ojai. That total probably constitutes most of the publicly owned dams in Ventura County, district Director Glenn Shephard said. ... ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura County board disputes findings on dam safety; cites local inspections

Laguna Beach: Momentum builds for estuary restoration:  “A plan to restore Aliso Creek Estuary to a more natural state will likely require the creation of a joint powers authority—consisting of the city of Laguna Beach, the county and the South Coast Water District—to seek approval from a myriad of public agencies, according to the project’s primary supporter.  The Laguna Ocean Foundation shared the latest iteration of its plan to restore the estuary at a public meeting on Aug. 30 at the Susi Q Center.... ”  Read more from the Laguna Beach Independent here:  Laguna Beach: Momentum builds for estuary restoration

Audit report: Sam Diego city faces growing backlog of broken water meter cases:  “A growing backlog of broken water meter boxes and lids has plagued the San Diego Public Utilities Department — an agency still reeling from months of public outrage following spiking water bill throughout the city.  That’s according to a recent report by the independent City Auditor’s Office, which found that agency “mismanagement” led to a backlog of more than 25,000 broken meter cases. The city has 281,500 such devices. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: Audit report: Sam Diego city faces growing backlog of broken water meter cases

Along the Colorado River …

A water shortage is in Arizona’s future, like it or not. Here’s how to survive it, says Joanna Allhands:  She writes, “Here’s the hard truth about Arizona’s water future:  We are going to face shortages on Lake Mead.  Chances are good that the first round of cuts will come in 2020.  And when that happens, there will be pain – more for some Arizonans than others.  No, it’s not fair.  But the days of thinking we can avoid the first tier of shortage declarations and spare everyone from pain are over. Even the state’s two largest water voices – the Arizona Department of Water Resources and Central Arizona Project – have said as much.  … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: A water shortage is in Arizona’s future, like it or not. Here’s how to survive it

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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One comment

  • Senator Cleghorn

    Why not look also at the California Energy Commission for conflicts of interest? After all, conflicts of interest abound in Sacramento!

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