DAILY DIGEST: Interior Department Takes Lead Federal Role in California Water; A legal battle in the Coachella Valley could transform how California – and the nation – uses water; White House plays down climate report’s alarming findings; and more …

In California water news today, Interior Department Takes Lead Federal Role in California Water; A legal battle in the Coachella Valley could transform how California – and the nation – uses water; Rounds of storms to send wind, rain and snow into the West Coast this week; California, Trump eye logging to fight wildfire as scientists point to climate change and housing sprawl; White House plays down climate report’s alarming findings; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Webinar: California-Nevada Drought Outlook from 11am to 12pm: This webinar is part of a series of regular drought and climate outlook webinars designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the region with timely information on current drought status and impacts, as well as a preview of current and developing climatic events.  Click here for more information and to register.

In the news today …

Interior Department Takes Lead Federal Role in California Water: “The Trump administration has put the Department of Interior in charge of examining water supply and delivery issues in California that have a federal component.  The department’s Bureau of Reclamation announced Nov. 21 that Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Paul Souza would be the lead public official charged with speeding up environmental reviews, reducing regulation, and promoting water reuse and desalination efforts where the federal government has a role. … ”  Read more from BNA here:  Interior Department Takes Lead Federal Role in California Water

A legal battle in the Coachella Valley could transform how California – and the nation – uses water:  “In a legal battle between a Californian tribe and the state’s water agencies, experts are seeing a turning point in the history of United States water rights, potentially affecting how water is controlled across the entire country.  In November of last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, concerned about the effects of climate change and the quality of the water in the aquifer, brought against the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency. This Supreme Court decision left standing a Ninth Circuit ruling, which established—for the first time—the principle that tribes have priority over their reservations’ groundwater. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Standard here:  A legal battle in the Coachella Valley could transform how California – and the nation – uses water

Rounds of storms to send wind, rain and snow into the West Coast this week: “Rounds of rain are expected to soak areas from Washington to Southern California this week.  The first storm will start to push rain into Washington and Oregon on Monday. Overall, this storm will bring mostly rain, but the higher elevations of the Cascades in Washington are likely to have snow.  Road closures and vehicle restrictions will again be possible in passes that summit the Cascades, such as Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate-90.  This wet weather will dive farther south across Northern California late Monday night and through Tuesday, reaching the San Francisco Bay area as well as the Paradise, California, area that was ravaged by the Camp Fire over the past month. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Rounds of storms to send wind, rain and snow into the West Coast this week

California, Trump eye logging to fight wildfire as scientists point to climate change and housing sprawl:  “After the Camp Fire obliterated the town of Paradise this month in California’s most horrific wildfire to date, everyone from President Trump to Gov. Jerry Brown raised concerns about the state’s overgrown and drought-stricken forests.  Both administrations called for a significant increase in logging on federal and private lands earlier this year to thin timberland characterized as tinderboxes ready to explode.  However, according to research scientists and ecologists, wildfire’s increasing toll on life and property in recent years has been overwhelmingly driven by global warming and patterns of development — not the state’s most densely wooded areas. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  California, Trump eye logging to fight wildfire as scientists point to climate change and housing sprawl

White House plays down climate report’s alarming findings:  “The White House is downplaying the severe findings of the National Climate Assessment, a federal report released Friday that shows American life and prosperity will be increasingly at risk from global warming.  In a statement, a White House spokeswoman said the newly released installment — the fourth in a series of reports mandated by Congress — began under the Obama administration and that future efforts would rely on more accurate models and show that alarm is overblown.  The fifth installment would be due during President Trump’s second term if he’s re-elected. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  White House plays down climate report’s alarming findings

In regional news and commentary today …

Ross Valley dissenters push back on flood project:  “Residents of Ross and San Anselmo are expressing concerns about a plan to complete an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood mitigation project that began in the 1960s.  At a hearing earlier this month presided over by the Board of Supervisors, residents gave feedback on five alternatives for completing the project. The project would include modifications to the Corte Madera Creek between the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard bridge in Ross and the end of the concrete channel behind the College of Marin in Kentfield. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Ross Valley dissenters push back on flood project

Thousands of SF properties could come with flood risk warning for buyers, renters: “After a deluge of costly settlements with the owners of properties damaged by flooding, San Francisco is employing new strategies to curb impacts of the heavy rains — among them, a proposed “buyer-beware” requirement for property buyers.  The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission earlier this month approved a resolution calling on the Board of Supervisors to require sellers and landlords of properties prone to flooding due to rainfall and related stormwater runoff to disclose the risks in writing to prospective buyers or renters. ... ”  Read more from the SF Examiner here:  Thousands of SF properties could come with flood risk warning for buyers, renters

Elkhorn Slough Foundation makes progress on Sand Hill Farm:  “Bright morning sun filters through low hanging fog, illuminating the sparkling slough and the white feathers on a regal egret in the distance. Commuters creep by on Highway 1, between Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing Harbor. Mark Silberstein, director of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, says the last time he stood at this same viewpoint he could see a whale breach.  Silberstein stands on sand, not at the beach, but at Sand Hill Farm, where Elkhorn Slough Foundation is restoring 107 acres of former farmland to its natural state. Fifteen of these acres will be leased by an organic farmer as soon as this spring. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Elkhorn Slough Foundation makes progress on Sand Hill Farm

Tulare County gets grant for dead tree removal effort:  “As California fire officials deal with the devasting impacts of wildfires, local agencies are working to prevent such disasters from happening in Tulare County.  Recently, county administrators secured state grants for five projects to remove dead trees and brush — materials that typically fuel wildland fires. The money will help local authorities deal with the fallout from the California drought and widespread tree mortality in parts of Tulare County. ... ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Tulare County gets grant for dead tree removal effort

San Diego’s coastal communities struggle with sea level rise:  “Climate change is still an abstract concept to many. Sea-level rise is something more relatable. That tends to be the case when water starts lapping at the front door.  Some low-lying coastal areas are experiencing more frequent and extensive flooding and experts say that’s only going to get worse.  San Diego County’s coastal cities are being forced to address the inevitable encroaching ocean, and a couple are dealing with it in somewhat different ways. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego’s coastal communities struggle with sea level rise

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Federal report: Climate risks, damage rising across U.S.; Get ready, CA: Gavin Newsom is not Jerry Brown; Legal commentary: The Endangered Species Act, the Public Trust Doctrine and the Takings Clause; Defeat of Prop 3 imperils Borrego Springs; and more …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for November 26

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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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