In California water news this weekend, Bigger wildfires. Worsening droughts. More disease. How climate change is battering California; As California Wildfire Winds Down, Rain and Winds Create New Fears; Get ready, California: Gavin Newsom is not Jerry Brown; Legal commentary: There is No Free Lunch: The Endangered Species Act, The Public Trust Doctrine and The Takings Clause; L.A. wasn’t built in the desert, but the desert may be coming to us, says the LA Times; Defeat of water bond imperils desert community of Borrego Springs; and more …
In the news this weekend …
FEDERAL CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT
Bigger wildfires. Worsening droughts. More disease. How climate change is battering California: “Bigger, more dangerous wildfires. Coastlines threatened by rising sea levels. Less water. More heat-related illnesses. These are some of the ways climate change is rapidly changing California and the West, with conditions only expected to worsen, according to a landmark federal report, the first of its kind under the Trump administration. Here are some key excerpts from the report about how global warming is already changing California … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Bigger wildfires. Worsening droughts. More disease. How climate change is battering California
Comprehensive Government Climate Report Warns That Warming Planet Threatens U.S. Water Security: “Putting human health, life, and jobs at risk, a reliable supply of clean water for cities, farms, industries, and ecosystems in the United States while also managing droughts and floods is “increasingly in jeopardy,” according to an expansive U.S. government report on the consequences of climate change in the country. The National Climate Assessment, required by an act of Congress and written by more than 300 scientists, half from outside the federal government, is meant to inform U.S. leaders about changes to land, water, and air from a warming planet. … ” Read more from the Circle of Blue here: Comprehensive Government Climate Report Warns That Warming Planet Threatens U.S. Water Security
Federal report: Climate risks, damage rising across U.S.: “The lives and safety of Americans are already being hurt by climate change, and consumption of fossil fuels will increase the risks in the coming decades, according to a major new summary of climate science released by the Trump administration today. The administration released the report — on the Friday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, when politicians traditionally dump news they don’t want to be widely distributed — even as it has sought to downplay and cut funding for climate science across a number of federal agencies. The report is the second volume of the National Climate Assessment, which by congressional mandate must be prepared every four years by scientists from 13 federal agencies. … ” Read more from E&E News here: Federal report: Climate risks, damage rising across U.S.
Federal report sounds the alarm on the growing impact of climate change: “A new climate report from the federal government released Friday warns that current global and regional efforts to stave off the devastating effects of climate change are insufficient. The report, the first of its kind released under the Trump administration, finds that climate change is expected to interrupt the way people live day-to-day as it ravages infrastructure, impacts human health, poses challenges to the global economy and threatens the world’s energy supply. … ” Read more from The Hill here: Federal report sounds the alarm on the growing impact of climate change
Climate change could triple the frequency of large wildfires, says new federal report: “Residents of the western United States should prepare for a potential tripling of large wildfires in the coming decades, a new federal report on climate change revealed Friday. And, it warned, the region should also expect additional water shortages, heat wave deaths, and smoke pollution. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, California and the West have already witnessed an expansion of catastrophic blazes due to climate change and rising warming, with twice as much acreage burned by wildfire than would have occurred otherwise. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Climate change could triple the frequency of large wildfires, says new federal report
OTHER STATEWIDE NEWS
As California Wildfire Winds Down, Rain and Winds Create New Fears: “In Northern California, search crews continue to sift through the burned city of Paradise more than two weeks after the eruption of the fire, which has claimed the lives of 84 people and charred a land area larger than the city of Chicago. Searchers say they will need several more days to sift through the more than 20,000 structures that the Camp Fire engulfed in this working-class community in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Driving around Paradise is a bleak and haunting scene, made even more grim with dark clouds and rain falling. … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here: As California Wildfire Winds Down, Rain and Winds Create New Fears
Delta tunnels opponents score a victory: “In the bitter battle over the future of the California WaterFix Project, opponents recently scored a victory in their effort to stop the construction of Delta Tunnels. The development occurred when the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) staff issued a preliminary finding stating that WaterFix, as it exists today, is inconsistent with the Delta Plan. Without a certificate of consistency, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) cannot move WaterFix forward. … ” Read more from The Press here: Delta tunnels opponents score a victory
Column: Climate change leading to higher tides in California. That means ‘nuisance flooding’: “Last week, a group of esteemed colleagues (Dr. Ray Weymann, Walt Reil and Steve Kliewer) and I traveled to Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena to receive a tour of the facility with JPL scientist Josh Willis. We also attended several presentations about climate change. … One of the presentations that we attended was on the impacts of “nuisance flooding.” Nuisance flooding occurs at high tide that leads to public inconveniences such as road closures. Unfortunately, as sea level continues to rise, it is becoming progressively more common in the coastal regions. … ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Column: Climate change leading to higher tides in California. That means ‘nuisance flooding’
Get ready, California: Gavin Newsom is not Jerry Brown, from governing styles to Trump taunts to hairdos: “One built a multimillion-dollar wine business and once filled the gossip columns with details of his dating life, while the other took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience before spending three years in a Jesuit seminary. One won national fame by marrying same-sex couples, while the other is known for mastering the drudgery of state government and averting financial catastrophe. One sports a perfectly coiffed mane that seems to defy gravity, while the other has his wife trim the gray that’s left around his ears. When Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom takes over from Gov. Jerry Brown, he’ll bring a new set of priorities to California’s top job — as well as a very different personality and leadership style. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Get ready, California: Gavin Newsom is not Jerry Brown, from governing styles to Trump taunts to hairdos
In commentary this weekend …
Legal commentary: There is No Free Lunch: The Endangered Species Act, The Public Trust Doctrine and The Takings Clause: David Aladjem writes, “For the last half-century, there have been conflicts between, on the one hand, the demands of the federal Endangered Species Act and the common-law public trust doctrine to provide water for the environment and, on the other hand, the demands of farms and cities to use water for consumptive purposes. This paper discusses a trilogy of Supreme Court cases that interpret the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause in the context of water rights, together with three recent controversies from California and Oregon. The paper argues that the “expropriation doctrine” articulated by the Supreme Court is the proper way to analyze whether there has been a taking of water rights and concludes that reallocating water away from farms and cities for environmental purposes generally constitutes a physical and permanent taking that requires just compensation. The paper uses recent decisions by the Court of Claims and the Federal Circuit, including the 2017 decision by the Court of Claims in Baley v. United States, to discuss the policies that motivate this conclusion and also to explain why the defenses to a physical taking, notably those grounded in the background principles discussion in Lucas v. South Carolina, actually support the award of just compensation.” Read the full article by clicking here.
L.A. wasn’t built in the desert, but the desert may be coming to us, says the LA Times: They write, “It’s hard out there for an environmentally responsible but thirsty Angeleno — someone who wants to grow a couple organic tomatoes in the backyard, take more than an occasional shower and still have enough money to repair the rain barrel after paying the various water bills, fees and taxes. Measure W, which voters passed on Nov. 6, will help. But it won’t put an end to our water problems. The principal challenge is no longer growth, at least not here in Southern California. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: L.A. wasn’t built in the desert, but the desert may be coming to us
In regional news and commentary this weekend …
Hoopa, Yurok tribal members take on federal agencies in court: “Hoopa and Yurok tribal member were in a San Francisco Federal District Court on Wednesday to urge a Judge William Orrick to enforce protective actions for salmon populations in the Klamath and Trinity rivers. Tribal members sued the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Klamath Irrigation District located in Central Oregon and Northern California, as well as the National Marine Fisheries Service. … ” Read more from KIEM here: Hoopa, Yurok tribal members take on federal agencies in court
How one man’s quest for a cleaner Russian River turned into a movement: “Chris Brokate did not intend to spark a revolution in watershed management when he hauled a load of trash from the Russian River in his weathered Chevy pick-up in 2014. The Forestville man simply spotted a need after winter storms flushed debris from the river’s mouth onto the beach near the coastal community of Jenner. “All of a sudden, we had all this stuff down here and I thought, ‘Who’s going to clean this up? Nobody was going to do it,’” Brokate said. ... ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: How one man’s quest for a cleaner Russian River turned into a movement
Tulare County: New Woodlake subdivision OK’d, despite potential water woes: “Supervisors approved a request for a housing development near Woodlake, affirming a previous decision by the planning commission and following a recommendation from Tulare County administrators. Supervisors approved the Antelope Valley subdivision, which will comprise of 43 single-family residential lots over about 125 acres, west of Road 220 and north of Avenue 260, northeast of Woodlake. ... ” Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: New Woodlake subdivision OK’d, despite potential water woes
City lawsuit threatens Ventura River, says Alasdair Coyne: “Santa Barbara Channelkeepers filed suit against the city of Ventura about four years ago, in an attempt to ensure that the city does not over pump its wells in the Foster Park area, near Casitas Springs, to the detriment of native aquatic and other species in the riparian corridor, including the federally endangered Southern California steelhead. Since then, the state of California passed the SGMA, the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which mandates for the first time that agencies and individuals develop by 2022 groundwater management plans. The intent to ensure that all the beneficial uses supported by the groundwater basin, including fish, wildlife and native plants, be protected from overpumping in an unsustainable way. … ” Read more from the Ventura County Star here: City lawsuit threatens Ventura River, says Alasdair Coyne
Defeat of water bond imperils desert community of Borrego Springs: “It’s back to square one for the desert community of Borrego Springs, which is facing the daunting task of reducing its consumption of water by at least 75 percent in the coming decades. Mostly lost in the hubbub surrounding the Nov. 6 election was the defeat of Proposition 3, an $8.8 billion state water bond. Had it passed, Borrego Springs would have received $35 million to fallow most of the 3,800 acres of citrus and other farms in the northern part of the community. ... ” Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: Defeat of water bond imperils desert community of Borrego Springs
Along the Colorado River …
Baby razorback suckers spotted in Colorado River Basin may mean 25-year, $360 million fish rescue is working: “Leaving more water in over-tapped Western rivers looms as a key for saving imperiled fish species, a strategy that’s showing success with the razorback sucker — a fish with a bony cranial bump that can grow 3 feet long and swim 450 miles if flows are sufficient. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists counted 50 yearling razorbacks during a recent survey in the upper Colorado River Basin — the result of water releases in 2016 and 2017 from the Navajo Reservoir aimed at helping the fish, agency officials said this week. … ” Read more from the Denver Post here: Baby razorback suckers spotted in Colorado River Basin may mean 25-year, $360 million fish rescue is working
Precipitation watch …
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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.
where California water news never goes home for the weekend