DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Plan to revive rivers pits San Francisco against California; Denham gets EPA’s ear on state’s Delta water plan; Acampo vineyard flooded in experiment to recharge aquifer; Colorado River drought cuts in Arizona would be more severe than expected; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Plan to revive rivers pits San Francisco against California; Denham gets EPA’s ear on state’s Delta water plan; 300th nutria killed in California as officials worry giant swamp rats are spreading into the delta; Acampo vineyard flooded in experiment to recharge aquifer; Colorado River Drought Cuts in Arizona Would Be More Severe Than Expected; Pinal farmers would have to fallow half their lands under tentative drought plan figures; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Plan to revive rivers pits San Francisco against California:  “The rivers that once poured from the Sierra Nevada, thick with snowmelt and salmon, now languish amid relentless pumping, sometimes shriveling to a trickle and sparking a crisis for fish, wildlife and the people who rely on a healthy California delta.  A state plan to improve these flows and avert disaster, however, has been mired in conflict and delays. And critical opposition is coming from an unexpected place: progressive San Francisco. City water officials worry that the far-reaching effort to revive hundreds of miles of waterways will mean giving up too much of their precious mountain supplies. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Plan to revive rivers pits San Francisco against California

Denham gets EPA’s ear on state’s Delta water plan: “Congressman Jeff Denham is continuing his fight against the State of California’s bid to flush even more water out to the San Francisco Bay from the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.  And he’s leaning on some friends in high places that may have the ability to step in and stop what is being called California’s “water grab.”  On Thursday Denham – who is locked into a fierce reelection battle against upstart Democrat Josh Harder – welcomed the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, to the Central Valley where he detailed what he believes would the devastating consequences of the state’s Bay-Delta Plan. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Denham gets EPA’s ear on state’s Delta water plan

300th nutria killed in California as officials worry giant swamp rats are spreading into the delta: “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife hit a milestone in its ongoing efforts to control the state’s nutria infestation on Friday morning when they successfully trapped Nutria number 300 at a pond in Merced County.  “We had been trapping around that pond for two weeks unsuccessfully,” Greg Gerstenberg, operations chief for the nutria eradication project in California told SFGATE. “It was our last day and luckily the last trap we checked had a nutria in it.” … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  300th nutria killed in California as officials worry giant swamp rats are spreading into the delta

Acampo vineyard flooded in experiment to recharge aquifer:  “The setting was a 14-acre grape vineyard, but the mismatched background noise was that of a babbling brook.  The roots of some of the old-vine Zinfandel plants were submerged in foot-deep water pumped in from the Mokelumne River, a half-mile away. Other old-vine Zinfandel plants were bone dry.  A science experiment being conducted by the nonprofit Sustainable Conservation is taking place on land owned by 81-year-old farmer Al Costa, an enthusiastic participant. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Acampo vineyard flooded in experiment to recharge aquifer

Why water conservation officials are intentionally flooding Central Valley vineyards: “Flooding in a San Joaquin County vineyard is an odd sight before the beginning of the rainy season.  But the flooding in Al Costa’s stand of Zinfandel vines is entirely man-caused, with water being pumped from the adjacent Mokelumne River at the rate of 4,000 gallons per minute.  It’s part of a pilot project using East Bay Municipal Utility District allotted water to replenish the groundwater in the region. … ”  Read more from Fox 40 here:  Why water conservation officials are intentionally flooding Central Valley vineyards

In commentary this weekend …

Proposition 3 is the wrong water bond for California. Vote no, says the LA Times:  They write, “Californians will have to keep spending billions of dollars to secure the state’s water supply during an era of drought and hotter temperatures. But be careful. Especially when money is flowing and water isn’t, it’s easy to be seduced into spending on the wrong water projects at the wrong time and for the wrong benefits and beneficiaries. Proposition 3 would lead us into exactly that kind of trap. Vote no. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Proposition 3 is the wrong water bond for California. Vote no

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Water infrastructure bill includes provisions for Klamath Project:  “Farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin will benefit directly from a massive federal water spending bill that authorizes more than $6 billion to improve the nation’s ports, dams, harbors and other infrastructure.  Tucked into the America’s Water and Infrastructure Act of 2018 is a section that deals specifically with the Klamath Project, a sprawling 200,000-acre irrigation system that serves more than 1,200 family farms and ranches in southern Oregon and northern California. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Water infrastructure bill includes provisions for Klamath Project

New channels give Jacoby Creek flooding relief, eco-boost: “Last Wednesday, Oct. 3, just after 2:30 p.m., Jacoby Creek made a major breakthrough. That was when the last soil barrier between the creek and a vast network of new riparian channels was breached, allowing water to flow in and turn 11 acres of cow pasture into a marsh and wetland complex. … ”  Read more from the Mad River Union here:  New channels give Jacoby Creek flooding relief, eco-boost

Jenner Headlands Preserve takes hikers to breathtaking heights:  “If you drive out Highway 1 north of Bodega Bay along the winding coastline, and cross the bridge above the Russian River, about five minutes north of Jenner you’ll spot a neatly engineered and spacious new paved parking lot cut into a grass-covered hillside, just above the road.  This is the trailhead for the newly opened Jenner Headlands Preserve, which stretches far above and right and left. It looks like empty land, but it’s not. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Jenner Headlands Preserve takes hikers to breathtaking heights

Centennial Dam spending fixed at $2M a year: “Nevada Irrigation District plans to limit Centennial Dam spending to $2 million annually.  The district board met in a special meeting Tuesday, voting to keep the proposed project in the Bear River canyon between Meadow Vista and Colfax as a potential water-supply option but to put a cap on yearly spending.  The meeting followed a request by the South Yuba River Citizens League to halt work on the project. … ”  Read more from the Colfax Record here:  Centennial Dam spending fixed at $2M a year

Santa Cruz testing the waters of future supply options:  “Within a little more than a year, Santa Cruz is due to decide how best to weather future droughts that last multiple years.  The city is set in the next few months to begin test driving several water projects, including top favorites where the city sends extra river and stream water to neighboring jurisdictions, rather than letting it pour out into the ocean. The major question the city is seeking to answers to is, can Santa Cruz’s future water shortages be solved with existing supplies and interagency partnerships, or will some significant water-manufacturing project be needed. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Santa Cruz testing the waters of future supply options

Hermosa Beach hopes to negotiate with Redondo Beach on stromwater infiltration project:  “After Hermosa Beach residents came out in force against a stormwater infiltration project that impacted homes and a popular park, its city council will look toward neighboring Redondo Beach as a potential partner.  Dozens of residents spoke out against what they called a “massive” project at Tuesday night’s Hermosa Beach City Council meeting. The previously vetted sites: at the greenbelt along Valley Drive from 2nd Street to Herondo Street and at South Park drew ire from residents who live nearby. They claimed the project impacted homes and unfairly placed the burden of cleaning water flowing to the ocean on the smallest of the beach cities. ... ” Read more from The Beach Reporter here:  Hermosa Beach hopes to negotiate with Redondo Beach on stromwater infiltration project

Potential breakwater changes worry East Long Beach residents:  “Less than a week after high tides and storm surges threatened to flood homes along the Peninsula beach, talk about changing or removing the breakwater brought out a group of about 50 people — almost all against any changes.  The public meeting Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Bixby Park Community Center was scheduled last month, when alternatives in the East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study were first unveiled. The study is being done by the Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with Long Beach — the city is paying most of the $3 million cost. … ” Read more from the Grunion here:  Potential breakwater changes worry East Long Beach residents

Along the Colorado River …

Southwest states release Colorado River drought plan; Southern Nevada Water Authority board to vote in November:  “After more than three years of negotiations, Southwest water managers this week released the first public draft of their short-term plan to manage the Colorado River as overuse and drought continue to strain a water supply that supports 40 million people from Wyoming to Nevada.  The complex plan is meant to defer more severe shortage conditions on the river as negotiators in the seven-state Colorado River Basin work out an even more complex long-term framework for a century-old system challenged by higher temperatures and changes in precipitation. … ”  Read more from the Nevada Independent here:  Southwest states release Colorado River drought plan; Southern Nevada Water Authority board to vote in November

Colorado River Drought Cuts in Arizona Would Be More Severe Than Expected: “Arizona’s efforts to deal with the effects of drought on the Colorado River hit a rough patch Wednesday, after the Central Arizona Project shared updated and previously undisclosed data indicating that possible water cuts would be more extensive and severe than expected.  Farmers and ranchers remain first in line to lose water, but tribal communities and cities, which were slated previously to lose some water from the Non-Indian Agriculture, or NIA, pool, would now likely lose much more under Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan. … ”  Read more from New Times Arizona here:  Colorado River Drought Cuts in Arizona Would Be More Severe Than Expected

The plan to save Lake Mead (for now) is finally public. Here’s what’s in it: Joanna Allhands writes, “The Bureau of Reclamation has finally released a draft of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, the three-state agreement that aims to keep Lake Mead from reaching catastrophically low levels.  Though we’ve been debating its provisions for years, this is the first time they have been placed in some form of official language and shared publicly.  And that’s a big deal, because even though a few details still need to be inserted, we’ve got numbers and clauses on paper. That means there is no longer room to say, “Well, I support DCP – in theory.” With the terms of the deal on the table, it’s time to ask ourselves: Are we comfortable with signing this thing or not? … ”  Continue reading at the Arizona Republic here:  The plan to save Lake Mead (for now) is finally public. Here’s what’s in it

Pinal farmers would have to fallow half their lands under tentative drought plan figures:  “A plan to protect Pinal County farmers from impacts of Central Arizona Project shortages now looks like it may take a huge bite out of the farmers’ water supplies instead.  At a meeting Wednesday of a committee looking at a plan to protect Lake Mead from future steep declines, a top CAP official said the first shortage could slice Pinal County farmers’ share of Colorado River water to as little as 80,000 acre-feet, based on tentative estimates. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Star here:  Pinal farmers would have to fallow half their lands under tentative drought plan figures

Colorado River news gets worse: Lakes Mead, Powell at just 41 percent of normal:  “It was another bad year on the Colorado River, and the numbers prove it.  River flows into Lake Powell at the Arizona-Utah border were 43 percent of normal in water year 2017-2018, which ended at the end of last month. That’s the lowest since the extreme drought year of 2002, when they were 24 percent of normal. It’s the third lowest annual flow into Powell since records on river flows started being kept in 1906. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Star here:  Colorado River news gets worse: Lakes Mead, Powell at just 41 percent of normal

In support of Lake Powell pipeline, Romney oversimplifies Western water shortage: “Mitt Romney took up the question of water shortage this week in Utah, one of the driest states in the country, during a debate as he runs for a U.S. Senate seat in his adopted home state against Democrat Jenny Wilson. But federal water managers say he oversimplified a complex issue when he said Utah’s unused water allotment goes to California.  Water use is a perennial issue in the arid West, especially along the overtaxed Colorado River, which supplies about 40 million people in seven Southwestern states as well as Mexico. … ”  Read more from St. George News here: In support of Lake Powell pipeline, Romney oversimplifies Western water shortage

Dedicated biologists scour Colorado River to help endangered species survive: “The temperature is hovering around 90 degrees as Dale Ryden and I float down the Colorado River near Grand Junction. The turbid water looks inviting, a blessed reprieve from the heat, but if either of us jumped in, we’d be electrocuted.  “It can actually probably be lethal to people if you get in there,” said Ryden, a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here:  Dedicated biologists scour Colorado River to help endangered species survive

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

 

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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