DAILY DIGEST: Will rain wipe out Camp Fire and wind clear the smoke?; Death on the Delta puzzles fishing community, state officials; CA’s “hydro cannons” and other predictions from the past about the future of water; New groundwater rules will cost Kern County 24,000 jobs; and more …

In California water news today, Will rain wipe out Camp Fire, and wind clear the smoke? Weather Service gives outlook; Death on the Delta puzzles fishing community, state officials; Sierra snowpack and the San Joaquin River Restoration Program; California’s “hydro cannons” and other predictions from the past about the future of water; Toxic taps abound in rural Tulare County, failed water bond brings no relief; Absent major changes, new groundwater rules will cost Kern County 24,000 jobs; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Will rain wipe out Camp Fire, and wind clear the smoke? Weather Service gives outlook:  “Conditions remained dry and hazy in Sacramento on Tuesday, as smoke from the Camp Fire continues to blanket much of Northern California, and a number of factors are making it difficult to estimate when the smoke might let up, National Weather Service officials said.  It is likely that smoke spread will ease up as winds die down, but smoke won’t leave Sacramento or the Sacramento Valley entirely until Camp Fire activity decreases more, NWS Sacramento forecaster Jim Mathews said.  “We expect much lighter winds today and through the rest of the week,” Mathews said Tuesday. “And there’s still some fire activity on the (Camp Fire), so that’s the unknown.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Will rain wipe out Camp Fire, and wind clear the smoke? Weather Service gives outlook

Death on the Delta puzzles fishing community, state officials:  “For two decades now, Michael Birch has spent about 150 days a year bass fishing for sport and in big-money tournaments on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  The 51-year-old Oakley man knows the murky, narrow passages and tight switchbacks so well he can instinctively maneuver his speed boat through miles and miles of waterways, relying only on GPS to avoid water hazards and shallow spots and locate key fishing holes. … But over the last several months, Birch said the sound of those tail-slapping beavers has all but disappeared, and the Delta reeks of rotting wildlife, dead fish and powerful chemicals. … ”  Read more from KTVU here:  Death on the Delta puzzles fishing community, state officials

Voluntary flow agreements gain more time:  “With four weeks remaining until the State Water Resources Control Board plans to take final action on a river-flows plan affecting the northern San Joaquin Valley, water users are working to negotiate voluntary agreements.  After receiving requests from Gov. Brown and Lt. Gov. Newsom, the board voted last week to postpone final action on the plan until Dec. 12. The board originally set last week as the deadline to adopt the plan proposed by its staff, which would redirect flows in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers for fishery purposes. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Voluntary flow agreements gain more time

Sierra snowpack and the San Joaquin River Restoration Program:  “In California, we all need snow – even the fish in the San Joaquin River. The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) hosted the 2018 Science Meeting in Sacramento in late August to share research findings and updates about ongoing restoration activities. While much of the meeting’s updates focused on the program’s efforts to restore habitat and rebuild the spring-run salmon population, the talks on snowpack in the Sierra Nevada were also particularly intriguing. An entire session was devoted to research and monitoring in the upper watershed, which described new models and tools for hydrologic forecasting, and served as an important reminder of the San Joaquin River’s primary source. ... ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Sierra snowpack and the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

California’s “hydro cannons” and other predictions from the past about the future of water: “It’s one of the most valuable but under-appreciated substances on Earth, and it’s trickling through our fingers. For centuries, we’ve been trying to work out how to reuse our water and get it to those who need it most. Though we’re a ways off using colossal hydro-cannons as a means of water transportation, many of the solutions of yesteryear now don’t seem so remote after all.  As part of What Happens Next, our special project exploring the far-off future of the global economy, we looked at how the thinkers of the past thought we’d be solving water issues today. Their predictions remind us that the future is not as certain as we think. … ”  Read more from Quartz Magazine here:  California’s “hydro cannons” and other predictions from the past about the future of water

Take a good look, America.  This is what the reckoning looks like:  “By at least one metric, we humans are dumber than frogs. The fable goes that if you toss a frog in a pot of hot water, it’ll leap right out. Put it in cold water, though, and bring it slowly to a boil, and the frog won’t notice before it’s too late. That turns out to be a myth—frogs are smarter than that.  Humans aren’t, at least when it comes to climate change.  For nearly a week, fires of unprecedented speed and ferocity have been tearing through California. Up in the north, the Camp Fire is only 30 percent contained, yet it is already by far the deadliest and most destructive in state history—it’s killed 48 and destroyed 8,800 structures. In the south, the Woolsey Fire has scorched over 90,000 acres and leveled at least 370 structures, many of them mansions in Malibu. … ”  Read more from Wired Magazine here: Take a good look, America.  This is what the reckoning looks like

Solving Microplastic Pollution Means Reducing, Recycling—and Fundamental Rethinking:  “At several locations around London last winter and spring, researchers stalked the streets counting the number of discarded plastic water bottles they encountered, as if tallying species across a coral reef.  Their aim was to see if a new initiative to enlist businesses where people can refill empty bottles with tap water was making a dent in the trash littering the pavement, says marine biologist Heather Koldewey, who oversaw the research. Bottled water use has doubled in the U.K. in the past 15 years. And notably, plastic bottles are abundant along the banks of the River Thames, which carries them out to sea as they gradually break down into ever smaller fragments, tainting the river and the ocean with microplastics that can invade every level of the food chain. ... ”  Read more from Scientific American here:  Solving Microplastic Pollution Means Reducing, Recycling—and Fundamental Rethinking

In commentary today …

Environmental protection a big winner in midterms, says Mary Creasman:  She writes, “Voters overwhelmingly rejected the politics of pollution last week as they returned control of the U.S. House of Representatives to Democrats and gave Democrats their largest gain since Watergate.  Candidates who put action on climate change front and center were the biggest winners.  Pundits and political consultants once thought climate change was a distant concern and not an issue that would energize voters. But as fires rage from Chico to Malibu, people can plainly see, feel, and smell the impact of climate change. Before these fires started, voters made their feelings clear at the ballot box. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Environmental protection a big winner in midterms

In regional news and commentary today …

Placer Land Trust permanently protects Laursen Bear River Preserve:  “Placer Land Trust has purchased and permanently protected the 361-acre Laursen Bear River Preserve on the Bear River north of Auburn, in partnership with Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust, the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the Laursen family.  The Preserve is comprised of 361 acres of blue oak woodland and about 1.5 miles of riparian habitat along the banks of the Bear River. It connects several existing Placer Land Trust Preserves totaling 3,200 acres along the Bear River, enhancing water and air quality in the region and supporting healthy, diverse populations of plants and wildlife. ... ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  Placer Land Trust permanently protects Laursen Bear River Preserve

Fish ‘FasTrak’ system shows Napa steelhead come home:  “This is a fish story about the steelhead trout that got away and then returned to Napa after a sojourn to the sea.  This threatened species journeys from the freshwater they are born in to the ocean and back to fresh water to spawn. Scientists have long assumed that adult steelhead in the Napa River are Napa natives.  But only this year has the Napa County Resource Conservation District (NCRD) verified scientifically that this case. Tiny tags implanted in the fish and an underwater antenna provided the proof. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Fish ‘FasTrak’ system shows Napa steelhead come home

Humpback whales feed in San Francisco Bay through November:  “No whale watch boat captain worth his or her salt is going to guarantee a whale sighting on any particular trip. But Captain Joe Nazar and the rest of the San Francisco Whale Tours crew on the good ship Kitty Kat had sighted several humpback whales off the Marin coast during their first morning cruise from Pier 39 on this overcast September day. And so there was no reason to think we’d come up empty a few hours later on the mid-day cruise. Especially given the impressive roster of whale expertise assembled for this particular trip, a group that included Captain Joe, an eight-year  veteran of these cruises; two of the company’s marine science naturalist guides, Sydney Minges and Allison Payne; and Bill Keener, co-founder and senior scientist with Golden Gate Cetacean Research (GGCR). ... ”  Continue reading at Bay Nature here:  Humpback whales feed in San Francisco Bay through November

Toxic taps abound in rural Tulare County, failed water bond brings no relief:  “Safe, clean and affordable” drinking water is enshrined in California law as a basic human right.  Politicians across the aisle applauded when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Human Right to Water Bill in 2012, making California the first state to pass a right-to-water measure.  Now, six years later, those same politicians have failed to pass meaningful legislation that would provide the money necessary to make good on the bill’s declaration. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Toxic taps abound in rural Tulare County, failed water bond brings no relief

Absent major changes, new groundwater rules will cost Kern County 24,000 jobs:  “Absent major changes to farming practices and an increase in water supply, Kern County‘s farming juggernaut will have to shrink considerably to meet aggressive new targets for conservation.  A study commissioned by the Kern Groundwater Authority suggests tremendous job losses are a possibility as water district managers and farmers work toward compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield Now here:  Absent major changes, new groundwater rules will cost Kern County 24,000 jobs

Woolsey Fire impacts water system; Agency used generators to keep water flowing during the blaze:  “A water district which serves parts of the Conejo Valley suffered major damage during the Woolsey Fire, but officials say they were able to keep water supplies flowing in most spots as the blaze moved through the area.  The Los Virgenes Municipal Water District suffered fire damage to its water filtration and composting facilities.  Power outages affected the system, but managers were able to borrow generators from other water agencies to stay in operation. … ”  Read more from KCLU here: Woolsey Fire impacts water system; Agency used generators to keep water flowing during the blaze

Long Beach clean water projects to receive millions in port grant funding:  “Four stormwater control projects that aim to improve water quality in and around Long Beach will receive a total of $3 million from the Port of Long Beach as part of the port’s latest round of community grant funding, the port said Tuesday, Nov. 13.  The port’s five-member harbor commission unanimously approved the funding. Recipients include the City of Long Beach’s Public Works Department, which is receiving $1 million for its Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater, or LB MUST, treatment project. LB MUST aims to improve water quality by intercepting and treating wastewater flow during dry weather and stormwater runoff that normally discharges into the Los Angeles River. The project also includes adding about five acres of new coastal marsh and migratory watering areas by the river. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here:  Long Beach clean water projects to receive millions in port grant funding

Carlsbad supports request to delay lagoon district:  “The Carlsbad City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to support a request for an additional six-month delay before the county’s regional planning agency chooses a course for the restoration of the Buena Vista Lagoon.  “This is not going to hold a project up,” said Mayor Matt Hall. “I see more upside to the continuance than a downside.”  Located at the boundary between Oceanside and Carlsbad, Southern California’s only freshwater lagoon is slowly filling with weeds and sediment. Ways to clean it up have been discussed for decades, so far with no resolution. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Carlsbad supports request to delay lagoon district

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

COLORADO RIVER: Metropolitan Committee hears more details on the Drought Contingency Plan

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Camp Fire poses no threat to Oroville Dam; DWR and State Water Board release primer on 2018 water conservation and drought planning legislation

THIS JUST IN … PPIC releases updated briefings on California’s Water

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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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