DAILY DIGEST: Let it flow: In about-face, state breaks and shifts levees to restore natural floodplains; This river is too toxic to touch, and people live right next to it; Millennium Tower homeowners propose $100 million solution to sinking problem; and more …

In California water news today, Let it flow: In about-face, state breaks and shifts levees to restore natural floodplains; This river is too toxic to touch, and people live right next to it; Canal project complements Sites Reservoir; Legal alert: U.S. Supreme Court Limits Agency Discretion Under ESA; Millennium Tower homeowners propose $100 million solution to sinking problem; Monterey: Human right to water declaration to be considered by Board of Supervisors; and more …

In the news today …

Let it flow: In about-face, state breaks and shifts levees to restore natural floodplains: “At the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, a winter of heavy rains could inundate about 1,200 acres of riverside woodland for the first time in 60 years. That’s by design: Here, a few miles west of Modesto, work crews removed or broke several miles of levee last spring and replanted the land with tens of thousands of native sapling trees and shrubs.  “We are very eager to see what happens when there is some overbank flooding here,” said Julie Rentner, executive vice president of River Partners, a habitat restoration group that is directing the project, known as the Dos Rios Ranch Preserve. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Let it flow: In about-face, state breaks and shifts levees to restore natural floodplains

This river is too toxic to touch, and people live right next to it:  “The Río Nuevo flows north from Mexico into the United States, passing through a gap in the border fence.  The murky green water reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds, pieces of trash and a load of toxic chemicals from Mexicali, a city filled with factories that manufacture products from electronics to auto parts.  For people trying to cross illegally into the United States, the river offers a route to try to slip past Border Patrol agents. But the water is so polluted that people who wade in get itchy rashes or sores, and anyone who gets even a splash in the mouth becomes violently ill. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  This river is too toxic to touch, and people live right next to it

Canal project complements Sites Reservoir:  “A project to increase water management flexibility in Northern California will benefit from a $449 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the loan last week during a visit to the site in Colusa County where the Maxwell Water Intertie would be built. The canal would connect the Tehama-Colusa Canal with the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District main canal, increasing water management flexibility and improving water supply resiliency. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Canal project complements Sites Reservoir

Legal alert: U.S. Supreme Court Limits Agency Discretion Under ESA: “In a victory for landowners and other regulated entities, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously limited the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s discretion when designating critical habitat under the federal Endangered Species Act. In its Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision last week, the Supreme Court held that only “habitat” may be designated as “critical habitat” under the ESA and that FWS decisions regarding whether to exclude a certain area from a critical habitat designation due to economic considerations are subject to judicial review. … ”  Read more from Best Best & Krieger here:  Legal alert: U.S. Supreme Court Limits Agency Discretion Under ESA

Trump Administration stands alone as the rest of the G20 pledges to fight climate change:  “As 19 of 20 world leaders pledged to fight climate change, President Trump remained the sole holdout. World leaders met in Buenos Aires for the G20 meeting to discuss, in part, trade agreements and the Paris Agreement.  The meeting came just a few days after President Trump sat down to an interview with the Washington Post. On the topic of climate change, Trump reasoned his disbelief of his own administration’s climate report due to his “very high levels of intelligence.” ... ”  Read more from Forbes Magazine here:  Trump Administration stands alone as the rest of the G20 pledges to fight climate change

In commentary today …

California’s costly subservience to fish:  Susan Shelley writes,If a team of Martian explorers landed in California, they would likely report back to their leaders that the state is ruled by a few powerful fish species, and that humans have been forced into involuntary servitude to support them.  What else could a reasonable Martian think? Humans paid billions of dollars over decades to construct water infrastructure capable of irrigating crops and sustaining cities that are hundreds of miles away from rainfall, then throttled the whole system to protect fish. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise by clicking here:  California’s costly subservience to fish

In regional news and commentary today …

Army Corps FY2019 Work Plan: Additional $53.5M for Sacramento District Projects:The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivered to Congress its Fiscal Year 2019 work plan for the Army Civil Works program on November 20, funding an additional $53.5 million to a handful of Sacramento District projects.  Two Northern California projects received a bulk of the Sacramento District work plan funding. … ”  Read more from Dredging Today here:  Army Corps FY2019 Work Plan: Additional $53.5M for Sacramento District Projects

The Yolo Causeway: Quick facts and fun tidbits:  “The Yolo Causeway, an elevated highway that stretches from Davis to Sacramento, is a fixture in the Sacramento Valley that people often overlook. Is this piece of highway really just a way to get from point A to point B?  The causeway crosses the Yolo Basin, a massive wildlife area where a number of plants and animals thrive in the nurturing environment. … ”  Read more from ABC 10 here:  The Yolo Causeway: Quick facts and fun tidbits

Mokelumne River hatchery still drawing large salmon count: “As the salmon fishing season nears its end on the Mokelumne and Sacramento rivers, big numbers of fall Chinook salmon continue to go up the fish ladder at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Mokelumne River Hatchery in Clements.  The count over Woodbridge Dam on the Mokelumne to date is 16,300 salmon, including 5,654 jacks, according to William Smith, hatchery manager. A record number of fall-run Chinook salmon, 19,954, went over Woodbridge Dam in the fall of 2017, the highest number since 1940. The season ends on the rivers on December 16. ... ”  Read more the Stockton Record here:  Mokelumne River hatchery still drawing large salmon count

Millennium Tower homeowners propose $100 million solution to sinking problem: “Homeowners in the sinking Millennium Tower on Tuesday will submit a permit application to shore up the 58-story building by drilling more than 50 new piles down to bedrock, a nearly $100 million fix.  In an application to be filed with the city’s Department of Building Inspection, the Millennium Tower Association laid out plans for a “perimeter pile upgrade,” 52 steel and concrete piles that would shift a portion of the building’s weight from its existing foundation system to bedrock about 250 feet below. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Millennium Tower homeowners propose $100 million solution to sinking problem

Monterey: Human right to water declaration to be considered by Board of Supervisors:  “Monterey County could become the first county to declare a “human right” to water, prioritizing water for personal and domestic use over industry and agricultural use.  On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors is set to consider a proclamation proposed by Supervisor Luis Alejo and the county Health Department’s Environmental Health Bureau stating that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here: Human right to water declaration to be considered by Board of Supervisors

Palm Desert resident sues Coachella Valley Water District over project fund taxes, claims they illegally benefit farmers: “Palm Desert resident Randy Roberts filed a class-action lawsuit against the Coachella Valley Water District on Dec. 3, claiming the cash-rich agency is illegally taxing non-agricultural homeowners and businesses and has diverted more than $60 million to fund projects that often benefit large farmers. Three of the district’s five-member board are farmers, including president John Powell.  “In the Coachella Valley, you have a case where 100 large agricultural producers control the water use, future and rates for more than 400,000 people, including winter renters,” Roberts said in an interview on Dec. 4. “Those on the board of directors with agricultural ties have enriched themselves by millions of dollars at the expense of taxpayers.” ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Palm Desert resident sues Coachella Valley Water District over project fund taxes, claims they illegally benefit farmers

Imperial Irrigation District outage affects 589 customers in Coachella, blamed on a bird:  “An Imperial Irrigation District power outage that affected 589 customers in Coachella was blamed on a bird that struck utility wires.  The outage was reported about 10 a.m. on several streets but power was stored shortly after 11 a.m. spokesman Robert Schettler said.  Streets include Avenue 52, Avenue 53, Grapefruit Boulevard, Bagdad Avenue, Tyler Street, Hill Drive and Sunset Drive. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Imperial Irrigation District outage affects 589 customers in Coachella, blamed on a bird

Along the Colorado River …

Vegas planners prep for ‘doomsday’ on Colorado River:Las Vegas water planners are prepping for a harrowing possibility: The disappearance of the Colorado River.  The river currently flows beyond the Hoover Dam to Arizona, California, and Mexico, according to The Nevada Independent.  “It is hard to fathom, but there is a possible future in which this section of the river — the source of water for millions of Americans from farmers in the Imperial Valley to residents of Phoenix — could dry to a trickle,” the report stated. ... ”  Read more from Water Online here:  Vegas planners prep for ‘doomsday’ on Colorado River

Groundwater more scarce than previously thought:  “As water managers and state officials across the Southwest get closer to nailing down a deal on the future of the Colorado River’s water, a new study shows another source of water may not be assured in the future.  The study from researchers at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of California and the University of Arizona shows that the groundwater supply around the country is smaller than we originally thought. A lot smaller.  For more on this, The Show was joined by UA hydrologist Jennifer McIntosh who was part of this study.”  To listen to the radio show from KJZZ, click here:  Groundwater more scarce than previously thought

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

ACWA CONFERENCE: Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth on the Department’s efforts to confront the challenges ahead

Today’s announcements …

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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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