DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Trump Admin attempts to take control of CA water deliveries; Monitoring water quality after wildfires; Request to streamline federal document purges has researchers on edge; Advance in storm forecasting allows Lake Mendocino to hold more winter runoff; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Trump Administration attempts to take control of California water deliveries; Huge Delta water deal backed by Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown, Kevin McCarthy; Monitoring water quality after wildfires; Initial State Water Project allocation set at 10%; A Request to Streamline Federal Document Purges Has Researchers on Edge; Advance in storm forecasting allows Lake Mendocino to hold more winter runoff; Arizona makes progress on Colorado River drought plan; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Trump Administration attempts to take control of California water deliveries:  “In an attempt to keep its campaign promise to Central Valley growers, the Trump Administration is moving to take control of California’s water supplies and deliveries. An October 19 Executive Action by the President ordered federal agencies to expedite the flow of water from the Bay Delta to a handful of farmers in the Westlands Water District and other customers of the federal Central Valley Project. That resulted last week in a Memorandum of Understanding from Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross. Those developments have prompted alarm from fishing and environmental advocates. It also puts the administration on a collision course with federal and state environmental laws. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.”

ICYMI (Friday’s breaking news): Huge Delta water deal backed by Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown, Kevin McCarthy:California’s most senior Democrat and most powerful Republican in Washington are teaming up to extend a federal law designed to deliver more Northern California water south, despite the objections of some of the state’s environmentalists.  While controversial, the language in their proposal could help settle the contentious negotiations currently underway in Sacramento on Delta water flows — the lifeblood of California agriculture as well as endangered salmon and smelt. ”  Read more at the Sacramento Bee here:   Huge Delta water deal backed by Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown, Kevin McCarthy

ICYMI (Friday’s breaking news):  Jerry Brown Backs Deal to Increase Pumping Delta Water to Big Ag:In a move that drew harsh criticism from fishing and environmental groups, California Governor Jerry Brown today announced that he supports the controversial Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act) provisions proposed today by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.  “I support the 7-year extension of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, including important provisions that House Majority Leader McCarthy and Senator Feinstein have proposed that enable California water users to participate in voluntary agreements and help improve river flows to restore fish populations,” said Brown in a statement. … ”  Read more at the Daily Kos here:  Jerry Brown Backs Deal to Increase Pumping Delta Water to Big Ag

Monitoring water quality after wildfires:  “The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history. The fire killed 88 people according to the most recent estimates, consumed 18,000 homes and other structures, and burned down the entire town of Paradise. Firefighters contained the conflagration only after it rained during Thanksgiving week. But when the weather shifted, not everyone felt at ease.  California State University, Chico water-quality chemist Jackson Webster says he felt a mixture of relief and trepidation when the rain came. The first storm of the season not only tamped down the fire, it also began the process of flushing an unknown mixture of metals, toxic organic compounds, and other chemicals from the air, ash, and debris into the region’s creeks and rivers. ... ”  Read more from Chemical and Engineering News here:  Monitoring water quality after wildfires

Draft groundwater basin boundary changes announced:  “The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced draft decisions for groundwater basin boundary modification requests submitted by local agencies as part of the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Basins boundaries were previously updated in 2016.  Basin boundaries characterize the extent of groundwater basins in California and SGMA requires these basins to be prioritized to determine which will be required to develop groundwater sustainability plans. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Draft groundwater basin boundary changes announced

Initial State Water Project allocation set at 10%:  “California’s Department of Water Resources has set an initial water allocation of 10 percent for State Water Project contractors for the 2019 calendar year while noting that the allocation will likely change with hydrologic and water supply conditions.  “Even with the recent rainfall, Water Year 2019 has started dry and many of the state’s largest reservoirs are below average for this time of year,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “With California’s extreme hydrology, we have to plan for a wet or dry year.” ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Initial State Water Project allocation set at 10%

A Request to Streamline Federal Document Purges Has Researchers on Edge:  “Last month, James R. Jacobs, the federal government information librarian at Stanford University Libraries, sent an alarmed message to a few library listservs: “I wanted to alert you to a very disturbing thing happening in the National Archives world that may severely impact research, especially historical and scientific research.”  The Department of the Interior (DOI), Jacobs added, was seeking “permission to destroy records about oil and gas leases, mining, dams, wells, timber sales, marine conservation, fishing, endangered species, non-endangered species, critical habitats, land acquisition, and lots more.” … ”  Read more from Undark here:  A Request to Streamline Federal Document Purges Has Researchers on Edge

Fact has become a political issue:  “Climate scientist Robert Kopp’s phone has been ringing off the hook this week.  A professor at Rutgers University who studies rising seas and other effects of global climate change, Kopp has been fielding interview requests to defend the latest volume of the National Climate Assessment, a federal 1,700-page climate report President Trump has publicly dismissed.  “It’s really unfortunate fact has become a political issue,” Kopp said during an interview this week. “What attacking the National Climate Assessment does is really undermine, particularly for places that don’t have as many resources, what should be a reliable, trustworthy fact.” … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Fact has become a political issue

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Humboldt County: Sea level rise planning sparks climate change debate:  “A Humbolt County staff report states that sea level rise is “a significant threat to every aspect of life on the North Coast” but opinions on how to react to it are divided.  Based on a “vulnerability assessment” by hydrologist Aldaron Laird, a staff report prepared for the county’s Planning Commission describes inundation risks in the unincorporated areas surrounding Humboldt Bay. The shoreline’s “vulnerability tipping point” is between two to three feet of sea level rise and those benchmarks are projected for 2050 and 2070 respectively. … ”  Read more from the Anderson Valley Advertiser here:  Humboldt County: Sea level rise planning sparks climate change debate

Advance in storm forecasting allows Lake Mendocino to hold more winter runoff:  “Dam operators are planning to store nearly 4 billion extra gallons of water this winter in Lake Mendocino, the reservoir near Ukiah that plays a critical role in providing water for residents, ranchers and fish along the upper Russian River and to communities in Sonoma and Marin counties.  Retaining that much more water — enough for about 97,000 people for a year — comes about as a four-year and $10 million program, proven in computer models but not in practice, gets its first field test.  The program, blending high-tech weather forecasting with novel computer programming, is intended to pinpoint the arrival of rain-rich atmospheric rivers that have been both a drought-busting blessing and a flood-causing curse to the Russian River region. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Advance in storm forecasting allows Lake Mendocino to hold more winter runoff

Roseville ranks No. 1 in US for flood protection:  “Earlier this year, then Roseville City Manager Rob Jensen mentioned FEMA’s top rating for Roseville in terms of flood protection. Months later, with one of the first winter storms hitting the area, city officials told Gold Country Media that nothing has changed as Roseville continues to be the top city in the nation when it comes to flood mitigation.  In 2006, Roseville became the first city in the country to earn the highest rating (Class 1) as part of  the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Community Rating System, according to city of Roseville Public Works spokeswoman Helen Dyda. ... ”  Read more from the Press Tribune here:  Roseville ranks No. 1 in US for flood protection

The Yolo Causeway: Made for flooding, not for commuters:  “Last year, when massive flooding gave the Yolo Bypass an ocean-like appearance, the Yolo Causeway saved the day, allowing for the flow of traffic to continue across the wildlife area.  During the rainy season in Northern California, swollen creeks and rivers are diverted into the Yolo Bypass, a massive wildlife area situated between Davis and Sacramento. But despite the flooding, commuters and travelers can still navigate the area thanks to the Yolo Causeway, a 3.2-mile-long elevated highway that crosses the huge floodplain. … ”  Read more from ABC 10 here:  The Yolo Causeway: Made for flooding, not for commuters

Mokelumne River hatchery busy collecting salmon eggs:  “Walking along a stretch of the Mokelumne River at the Mokelumne River Hatchery in Clements on Thursday morning, EBMUD’s manager of fisheries and wildlife pointed to salmon spawning near the riverbank.  “An average adult salmon has about 5,000 eggs in them, and about 4,000 make it to the nest,” Jose Setka said. “In the hatchery, of course, they take all of the eggs.” ... ”  Read more from the Lodi News Sentinel here:  Mokelumne River hatchery busy collecting salmon eggs

South Bay: Is the rising tide moving against the A’s ambitious Howard Terminal ballpark project?Lost in the thrill of a major announcement, dreamy renderings and self-congratulations is a potential issue with the A’s preferred ballpark site at Howard Terminal.  Are the A’s about to redefine the Splash Hit?  UC Berkeley associate professor of environment design Kristina Hill, in a post on the university’s website, warned that rising sea waters related to global warming could complicate the project, a privately built facility the team hopes to open in 2023.  Pshaw, said A’s president Dave Kaval. … ”  Read more from the Redwood Times here:  Is the rising tide moving against the A’s ambitious Howard Terminal ballpark project?

South Bay reservoirs a quarter of the way full:  “Water agencies in the South Bay call the first rain of the winter season a good sign, especially since water levels in the county’s reservoirs are only a quarter full.  Slick roads, soaked leaves and lots of puddles remain after Thursday’s steady rain in San Jose. People saw what they haven’t seen in quite some time, which is the Guadalupe River downtown filling up with water.  “I grew up riding bikes around her when I was a little kid,” said Frantz Joseph of San Jose. “It used to be always full but since the drought it’s been touch and go. I barely any water. I’m surprised there’s any water. I like it.” ... ”  Read more from KTVU Channel 2 here:  South Bay reservoirs a quarter of the way full

Bishop water line extension could open up DWP land for release:  “While the process still has red tape to unravel, the City of Bishop anticipates putting in a water line to the Bishop Veterinarian Hospital on North Sierra Highway as early as this spring, three years ahead of schedule.  Why is this news, and good news at that? The water line is key to future land releases by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The big caveat in any land release is LADWP’s requirement that the land be supplied with a domestic water source—in this case, the City of Bishop.  Public Works Director Dave Grah told the City Council at Monday’s meeting, “DWP is receptive.” … “  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Bishop water line extension could open up DWP land for release

Proposed Sure Fresh plant in Lompoc could have environmental hazards: “The City of Lompoc is considering a proposed processing facility for Sure Fresh Produce. The expenditure has brought some environmental concerns to both the city and its’ residents.  “The concerns would be air quality, hazardous material, potential land use, and utilities….these are the things we think could be affected but we need to study it further,” said Lompoc Principle Planner Greg Stones.  Super Fresh Produce hopes to build their facility on the corner of V Street and Central Ave. The city is asking for residents input by Monday, December 3rd regarding the issue. ... ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Proposed Sure Fresh plant in Lompoc could have environmental hazards

Santa Barbara County growers express concerns over aspects of next ag order:  “More than 50 area farmers turned out Friday morning to learn about the process of developing the next Agricultural Order and how they can have an impact on what requirements are eventually recommended for adoption.  Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff conducted their fourth stakeholder workshop of the week at the Santa Maria Public Library to explain what Ag Order 4.0 is, provide a timeline for developing the next one and outline the questions the staff hopes growers will answer during the public comment period. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here:  Santa Barbara County growers express concerns over aspects of next ag order

After Woolsey fire, LA County’s beaches take a hit from storm runoff. Surfers, swimmers beware: Los Angeles County beaches are seeing some of the biggest waves all year, and the high surf is expected to continue through the weekend, but experts are warning surfers and swimmers to stay out of the ocean.  Whether they heed the warnings is another story entirely.  After the Woolsey fire, which consumed thousands of acres in the Malibu area and the Santa Monica Mountains, scientists and county officials said that heavy rains on Thursday may have created an even more toxic ocean environment — potentially exceeding even heightened levels of harmful bacteria in the ocean that often follow major rain events in Southern California. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  After Woolsey fire, LA County’s beaches take a hit from storm runoff. Surfers, swimmers beware

Santa Monica: New rules tighten restrictions on water use for new development:  “The Santa Monica City Council has passed an amendment to a Santa Monica’s water neutrality ordinance that will close loopholes used by developers to bypass water restrictions.  The original ordinance, which went into effect last July, prevents new development from adding to the overall demand for water in Santa Monica. The rules mandate new projects use the same amount of water as the original development, on average, based on the five years before new construction or renovation.  However, the original ordinance only applied to projects that demolished more than 50 percent of a building and some developers were demolishing slightly less than half of a building to get around it. Others were removing the roofs of structures to add more stories without demolishing parts of the building. … ”  Read more from the Santa Monica Daily Press here:  New rules tighten restrictions on water use for new development

San Diego urged to make water line improvements ahead of future quakes:  “San Diego City Council was recently warned about the damage an earthquake can cause to the region, specifically on the county’s water system.  “Strengthen their water system, make that long-term investment,” seismologist Lucy Jones said of the city’s aging water infrastructure. Jones recently spoke with city council leaders about improvements she’s helped develop for Los Angeles’ infrastructure.  “[It] contributes to a much more difficult time getting your city back up and running,” Jones said. ... ”  Read more from Channel 10 here:  San Diego urged to make water line improvements ahead of future quakes

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona makes progress on Colorado River drought plan:  “Arizona says it’s one step closer to figuring out how to divvy up water cuts as the supply from the Colorado River becomes more limited.  Several Western states that rely on the river are working on drought plans. The federal government wants them done by the end of the year.  While Arizona hasn’t said it would meet that deadline, a committee meeting on the issue announced Thursday it is making progress. The plan isn’t final, including how to fund it.  “I think we are very close,” Ted Cooke, general manager of the Central Arizona Project, said after the committee met. “There are a finite number of remaining issues to sort out. There’s lots of work to do on detail.” … ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Sun here:  Arizona makes progress on Colorado River drought plan

Gov. Doug Ducey: Why I put $30 million toward Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan: Governor Ducey writes, “After a great deal of hard work in recent weeks, water leaders from across Arizona have made significant progress in the effort to protect Arizona’s Colorado River water supplies.  This progress brings us closer to a statewide agreement on Arizona’s internal plan for implementation of the Drought Contingency Plan. The long, hard-fought struggle to develop an Arizona DCP has not yet concluded, as there are still many details yet to be worked out.  But with the introduction of a plan that addresses Arizona’s broad-ranging interests, I am convinced that we can get this done. This is a plan that can garner bipartisan support. ... ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Sun here: Gov. Doug Ducey: Why I put $30 million toward Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan

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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