DAILY DIGEST: Gavin Newsom says he would scale back the bullet train and twin tunnels if elected; El Niño conditions growing increasingly likely this winter but why you shouldn’t get your hopes up; Congress approves massive water-projects bill; IPCC: Was the scary report too conservative?; and more …

In California water news today, Gavin Newsom says he would scale back the bullet train and twin tunnels if elected;  El Niño conditions growing increasingly likely this winter but why you shouldn’t get your hopes up; Congress approves massive water-projects bill; As states near deal on Colorado River shortage, California looks at water cuts of as much as 8%; Hoopa Valley tribe again sues feds over salmon;  GOP shrugs off dire study warning of global warming; IPCC: Was the scary report too conservative?; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Webinar: The Groundwater Exchange: What can it do for you?  Free webinar from 12:00 to 1:00pm to check out the new Groundwater Exchange website.  Click here to register.

In the news today …

Gavin Newsom says he would scale back the bullet train and twin tunnels if elected:  George Skelton writes, “If Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is elected governor as expected, he’ll keep building the state’s two contentious public works projects: the bullet train and twin water tunnels. But he’ll scale back both.  He’ll be more cautious, realistic and practical about the super-expensive projects than termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown.  Newsom will concentrate on completing a high-speed rail line from the San Joaquin Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. The southern half of the ambitious project, from the valley into Los Angeles, will be delayed until the initial line proves to be financially feasible and can attract more money from taxpayers or private investors. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Gavin Newsom says he would scale back the bullet train and twin tunnels if elected

Candidates for Governor clash on environmental issues:  “A recent survey shows that 56 percent of those likely to cast a ballot in the November election said candidates’ positions on environmental issues are “very important” in determining who they would support for California governor.  The survey by the Public Policy Institute of California comes as gubernatorial candidates John Cox and Gavin Newsom clash on many plans and environmental policies that backers believe will make the state a greener and cleaner place to live. ... ”  Read more from KTVU Channel 2 here:  Candidates for Governor clash on environmental issues

El Niño conditions growing increasingly likely this winter:  “The likelihood this winter of an El Niño — the weather pattern marked by warm Pacific Ocean waters that can affect California’s rainfall —  is increasing.  The probably of El Niño conditions being present by December is now 70 to 75 percent, up from 50 percent five months ago, according to a new report Thursday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  But so far, this El Niño looks more like a lamb than a lion. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here: El Niño conditions growing increasingly likely this winter

Why you shouldn’t get your hopes up about an El Niño this winter:  “An El Niño is forecast for the winter ahead, and we all know what that means. Or do we?  El Niño – that cyclical warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean – has long been associated with wet winters across much of the West. Which is always welcome news across the chronically water-short region. But in reality, whether El Niño actually delivers greater-than-normal precipitation is strictly a toss-up, says Jan Null, owner of Golden Gate Weather Services, a consultancy based in Saratoga, California. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Why you shouldn’t get your hopes up about an El Niño this winter

Congress approves massive water-projects bill:  “Congress has approved a sprawling bill to improve the nation’s ports, dams and harbors, protect against floods, restore shorelines and support other water-related projects.  If signed by President Donald Trump, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would authorize more than $6 billion in spending over 10 years for projects nationwide, including one to stem coastal erosion in Galveston, Texas, and restore wetlands damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year.  The bill also would help improve harbors in Seattle; Savannah, Georgia; and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and extend a federal program to improve drinking water quality in Flint, Michigan and other cities. … ”  Read more from the AP here:  Congress approves massive water-projects bill

As states near deal on Colorado River shortage, California looks at water cuts of as much as 8%: “After years of stop-and-go talks, California and two other states that take water from the lower Colorado River are nearing an agreement on how to share delivery cuts if a formal shortage is declared on the drought-plagued waterway.  Under the proposed pact, California — the river’s largest user — would reduce diversions earlier in a shortage than it would if the lower-basin states strictly adhered to a water-rights pecking order. California’s huge river take would drop 4.5% to 8% as the shortage progressed. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  As states near deal on Colorado River shortage, California looks at water cuts of as much as 8%

Hoopa Valley tribe again sues feds over salmon:  “The Hoopa Valley Tribe sued the federal government again over the plight of the endangered coho salmon, claiming Wednesday that fishing management agencies are trying to skirt their own laws with this year’s salmon catch regulations.  For almost 20 years, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Pacific Fishery Management Council – which oversee ocean fisheries on the west coast – have used the same method to calculate how many coho salmon will be lost during the Chinook salmon ocean harvest. Although the harvest targets Chinook salmon, it threatens coho salmon that are incidentally caught. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Hoopa Valley tribe again sues feds over salmon

Less Snow Could Be Coming To California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains: “If temperatures increase in California because of climate change, snow could melt earlier in the Sierra Nevada — and you might only find it at higher elevations.  In a study released this week a UC Irvine team found that if winter temperatures increase by 1 degree Celsius, it will lead to a 20 percent jump in the likelihood of below-average snow accumulation in the high country. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Less Snow Could Be Coming To California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains

Gloria Gray new chairwoman of Metropolitan Water District: “Gloria Gray, West Basin Municipal Water District director, has written a new chapter in the agency’s 90 -year history as the first African American female chairwoman.  A unanimous vote by the Southern California MWD Board of Directors, West Basin Municipal Water District, made it final.  Gray will begin her two-year term as chairwoman of the MWD board on Jan. 1, 2019. She becomes the 19th board chair of the primary water importer and wholesaler for nearly 19 million people in six counties.  “It’s a tremendous honor to have been selected by my fellow Metropolitan board members to serve as chair,” said Gray. “I look forward to continuing the board’s important commitment to providing reliable supplies of high-quality water both now and in the future. I am committed to an open and transparent decision-making process.” ... ”  Read more from the Compton Herald here:  Gloria Gray new chairwoman of Metropolitan Water District

Healthy lakes have real calculable value for humans:  “Do you have a childhood memory of a favorite lake you used to visit with family and friends? This is one of the most common experiences we share as Americans, and how much we care about lake ecosystems can affect how much protection we afford them. Recent research from Virginia Tech, University of Wisconsin, The Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and Michigan State University models both human and natural systems to explore how humans and the environment affect each other. This collaboration began more than three years ago when an economist and a limnologist on the team happened to meet each other while traveling. … ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here:  Healthy lakes have real calculable value for humans

GOP shrugs off dire study warning of global warming:  “Republican lawmakers are largely shrugging off dire climate change warnings spelled out in a major new United Nations report.  Few GOP lawmakers on Wednesday said they had read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report, which warned that the planet would be unlivable if leaders failed to cut carbon emissions.  “I just got that, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to do a deep dive on it so I’m going to have to wait to comment,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told The Hill three days after the report was released. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  GOP shrugs off dire study warning of global warming

IPCC: Was the scary report too conservative?  “The U.N. climate report released this week had some stunning revelations, claiming that the 2020s could be one of humanity’s last chances to avert devastating impacts.  But some say its authors were being too cautious.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states in plain language that averting a climate crisis will require a wholesale reinvention of the global economy. By 2040, the report predicts, there could be global food shortages, the inundation of coastal cities and a refugee crisis unlike the world has ever seen. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  IPCC: Was the scary report too conservative?

In commentary today …

State Water Board must act now to save our salmon, says John Kirlin:  He writes, ““Rapid, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, state U.N. climate change scientists. They predict even more extreme hot or cold temperatures, frequent intense, heavy precipitation, and loss of all coral reefs if temperatures rise 2 degrees.  Gov. Jerry Brown is advancing those “unprecedented” societal actions, exclaiming at the closing of his Global Action Summit last month, “We’re launching our own damn satellite.” He said, “This groundbreaking initiative will help governments, businesses and landowners pinpoint — and stop — destructive emissions with unprecedented precision, on a scale that’s never been done before.” … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  State Water Board must act now to save our salmon

In regional news and commentary today …

Critical Klamath Project relief money passes Congress:  “Thursday, the U.S. enate voted 99-1 to pass the America’s Water and Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA), which includes provisions that are vital to Klamath Project water users.  The bill (S. 3021) passed in the House of Representatives by unanimous vote on Sept. 13 and now will be sent to the President for his signature, according to a press release.  The AWIA’s Klamath provisions authorize $10 million annually for programs that address water shortages for agriculture producers in the area. … ”  Read more from the Herald and News here:  Critical Klamath Project relief money passes Congress

Nevada Irrigation District votes to cap Centennial dam spending at $2M a year: “More than 500 people packed a Nevada Irrigation District board meeting Tuesday that had been set to discuss a requested moratorium on spending on the controversial Centennial Dam project.  The board ended up not voting on that request, instead approving what the board called a compromise spending limit that left most in the audience at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building confused and unsatisfied. … ”  Read more from The Union here:  Nevada Irrigation District votes to cap Centennial dam spending at $2M a year

Sacramento Plans Giant Sewage Tank Underneath McKinley Park To Keep Spillage Out Of The Streets: “Sacramento’s McKinley Park is a step closer to having an underground, concrete sewage tank the size of a football field.  The tank would catch stormwater runoff that the city’s sewer and drainage system can’t handle. Brett Grant, a senior engineer for the city, says the current, old sewer system sometimes sends sewer water into the streets.  “It’s an old system. It was the initial sewer system that Sacramento had,” he said. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Sacramento Plans Giant Sewage Tank Underneath McKinley Park To Keep Spillage Out Of The Streets

Davis: Fall means watching water usage:  “With the arrival of fall, the wet season commences in California, bringing rains that recharge your garden. Substantial rainfalls saturate the ground, which creates runoff onto streets and sidewalks and ultimately into city storm drains. Runoff flows into this stormwater system from the places where we live, shop, work and recreate.  Through many of our actions, the runoff collects and brings pollutants from these places to degrade stormwater quality.  Unlike wastewater, which is treated prior to being released into the environment, stormwater flows untreated to local waterways and to the Sacramento River. … ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Davis: Fall means watching water usage

‘This was our place’: California’s last Chinese town faces uncertain future: “Perched along a river bank in the California Delta is the only surviving town in the U.S. to have been built by and for Chinese.  The tiny community of Locke traces its origins to this week in 1915 when the Chinatown in nearby Walnut Grove was destroyed in an accidental fire. That prompted a group of displaced Chinese to take a lease from a landowner named George Locke and create a place of their own just up the river.  Locke became a rare sanctuary from the anti-Chinese racism then rampant in California. … ”  Read more from the California Sun here:  ‘This was our place’: California’s last Chinese town faces uncertain future

Critical Oakdale Irrigation District tunnel project nearly done:  “A problematic section of a 100-year-old canal that poses a major threat to many Oakdale Irrigation District customers soon will carry its final drops of water.  The area in question is along the steep Stanislaus River canyon a few miles east of Knights Ferry. It is part of the South Main Canal, which delivers water to about 60 percent of OID’s irrigators. The concern is that the potential for a rock slide along a one-mile section of the canal could choke off water during a critical portion of the year. The hazard is compounded by “creep failure” – meaning the canal is slowing moving downhill toward the river. ... ”  Read more from the Oakdale Leader here:  Critical Oakdale Irrigation District tunnel project nearly done

Paso Robles:  Creston landowners voice qualms about Paso water management:  “Agencies overlying the 780-square-mile basin are tasked with writing a 20-year groundwater sustainability plan to submit to the state by 2020, and San Luis Obispo County and water basin officials are holding forums with affected property owners in the seven basin “sub areas” to gather their thoughts on the process and what they want in future groundwater levels.  Several dozen Creston landowners attended and inundated hydrologist Derrik Williams with questions and concerns. Many expressed skepticism toward the data on the conditions of the basin, and took issue with the boundaries of the Creston sub-area, which includes the wine region of El Pomar near Templeton. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Creston landowners voice qualms about Paso water management

Los Angeles: A guide to CEQA: California’s environmental law that developers love to hate:  “We talk a lot about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) around here. Few other laws have shaped the development landscape of California so dramatically; among other things, it’s the reason the Millennium Hollywood project has taken so long to get off the ground, and why a community plan update for the neighborhood around it fell through in 2013.  But we don’t often discuss the basics of the law and why it looms so large in California politics and land use. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the policy and its impacts, particularly in Los Angeles. ... ”  Read more from Curbed LA here:  A guide to CEQA: California’s environmental law that developers love to hate

Southern California: Rock climbers campaign to access local cliff closed to protect endangered frogs:Williamson Rock is a sheer granite wall that rises from chaparral in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Crisscrossed with 300 routes, it has been a proving ground for Southern California rock climbers since the 1960s.  But in a move that outraged many in the climbing community, the area was shut down in 2005 to protect an isolated colony of federally endangered Southern California mountain yellow-legged frogs from being trampled. Now, at a time when the Trump administration is downplaying the importance of conservation in public lands, rock climbers are stepping up efforts to reopen what had been a beacon for the growing sport just an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Rock climbers campaign to access local cliff closed to protect endangered frogs

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan agreement and what it means to Metropolitan

BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: Developing a Delta habitat restoration adaptive management program

SCIENCE NEWS: Elkhorn Slough designated ‘Wetland of International Importance’; Navigating the complex intersections of the Bay Delta; Two Pacific Flyway States band together to manage geese; and more …

Today’s announcements …

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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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