DAILY DIGEST: Is it too early to talk drought?; Landslides, mudslides and debris flows regardless of El Niño; Groups call on state to protect wetlands from Trump rollbacks; It was the ‘land of the free’. Then the water disappeared; and more …

In California water news today, Is it too early to talk drought?; Landslides, mudslides and debris flows regardless of El Niño; A trillion acre-feet of water? Trinity County water diverters to pay $10,000 for lax reports; Livermore Valley water reductions may be next; From California budget to water, Brown leaves lasting mark; Groups call on state to protect wetlands from Trump rollbacks; 2018 was a milestone year for climate science (if not politics); It was the ‘land of the free’. Then the water disappeared; and more …

In the news today …

California remains dry.  Is it too early to talk drought? When it comes to California’s water supply, 2018 will end with a whimper.  California’s two largest reservoirs are not even half full. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which functions as an additional set of reservoirs, is below normal for this time of year.  And there’s not a major storm in sight.  “We’ll ring in the new year with mild, quiet weather,” Cory Mueller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said Thursday. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California remains dry.  Is it too early to talk drought?

Landslides, mudslides and debris flows regardless of El Niño:  “When it comes to predicting the weather, there is little question that science plays a major role. But meteorologists will be the first to tell you that when it comes to predicting El Niño or La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) systems, most bets are off.  After a series of devastating and deadly wildfire events across California this year, the advent of December and the arrival of the traditionally wet winter season in many parts of the state is a welcome sign. But after two years of exceptionally dry conditions and with the outbreak of a series of major wildland fires that have created a chain of patchwork burn zones across the state, fears over serious mudslides and unexpected environmental issues are surfacing as heavy rains cascade across fire-scarred slopes that are bare of vegetation. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Landslides, mudslides and debris flows regardless of El

A trillion acre-feet of water? Trinity County water diverters to pay $10,000 for lax reports:  “The California State Water Resources Control Board approved a $10,000 settlement last month after two property owners were accused of deliberately making years’ worth of false water diversion reports.  Louis and Darcy Chacon own property by Price Creek in Trinity County, a tributary of the Trinity River, and were accused of knowingly inflating their reported amounts of creek water usage, according to a news release issued Thursday by the control board. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  A trillion acre-feet of water? Trinity County water diverters to pay $10,000 for lax reports

Livermore Valley water reductions may be next:  “Central Valley farm irrigation districts and some Bay Area cities will be receiving 30% to 50% less water during part of the year as a result of a mandated reduction in supplies ordered by the State Water Resources Control Board (WRCB).  The levels would be set for above and below normal water years, including dry periods, between February and June each year. That is the period that water flows need to be at sufficient levels to support endangered fish and plant species in the Delta. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here:  Livermore Valley water reductions may be next

From California budget to water, Brown leaves lasting mark:  “California Gov. Jerry Brown leaves office Jan. 7 after a record four terms as the state’s chief executive. After serving from 1975 to 1983, he was re-elected by voters in 2010.  Here’s a look at his record: … ”  Read more from ABC News here:  From California budget to water, Brown leaves lasting mark

Groups call on state to protect wetlands from Trump rollbacks:  “Conservation groups are urging the state to better protect California’s wetlands in the face of imminent rollbacks by the Trump administration. The State Water Resources Control Board has been working on a new wetlands policy for more than a decade, but has not yet released a final draft. Rachel Zwillinger, water policy adviser for the nonprofit group Defenders of Wildlife, says she hopes incoming Governor Gavin Newsom will make this a priority. … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here:  Groups call on state to protect wetlands from Trump rollbacks

2018 was a milestone year for climate science (if not politics):  “2018 was a hot year — in fact, the fourth warmest on record. The only years that were, on average, warmer were the past three, according to the World Meteorological Organization.  It has been warming for decades now. But 2018 brought several major new and markedly more precise reports from scientists about what climate change is doing to the weather and how dire they expect the consequences to be.  That didn’t stop President Trump and others from continuing to question the evidence. ... ”  Continue reading at NPR here:  2018 was a milestone year for climate science (if not politics)

In regional news and commentary today …

Public comment sought on Klamath Dam report:  “Public comment is sought for a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for surrender of the Lower Klamath Project license, according to a news release from the California State Water Resources Control Board.  The license surrender is one step toward the proposed decommissioning and removal of four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Public comment sought on Klamath Dam report

Roseburg Forest Products expects lawsuit to affirm water rights in California:  “A senior vice president with Roseburg Forest Products said Wednesday his company, embroiled in a water war with the “Weed 9,” expects its water rights to be upheld in court.  Stuart Gray, senior vice president and general counsel for the company, released an identical statement it did on Dec. 18 in response to picketing at its Springfield offices.  About 50 residents from Weed, California, say a nearly century-old judgment guarantees the northern California community water rights to at least some of Beaughan Springs. Roseburg Forest Products maintains that it has absolute rights to the water from the springs. ... ”  Read more from The News Review here:  Roseburg Forest Products expects lawsuit to affirm water rights in California

$67 million lawsuit: Bay Area mushroom grower fouled waterways with manure: “The Bay Area’s largest mushroom grower faces a $67 million lawsuit, accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure, according to officials with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.  The county filed the lawsuit today against Monterey Mushrooms Inc., based in Watsonville, charging that it intentionally dumped wastewater at its Morgan Hill facility containing toxic levels of ammonia into Fisher Creek, a 14-mile long ephemeral stream that flows into Coyote Creek, through the Coyote Valley of southern Santa Clara County, then into the San Francisco Bay. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  $67 million lawsuit: Bay Area mushroom grower fouled waterways with manure

Ten ways the Southern California coast is changing:  “Southern California’s coastline has been changing since it was part of the Pangaea supercontinent 300 million years ago, sometimes slowly and sometimes suddenly.  The past year offered hints that changes of the past half century may be accelerating. Nature’s changing face, human development and efforts to make peace between the two can be startling at times.  Here are 10 ways the past year has been significant. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  Ten ways the Southern California coast is changing

The West Coast’s biggest bird oasis is dying. Will it be saved?  “During migration season, birds pack the wetlands at the edge of the Salton Sea. Ducks dive, pelicans skim across the water’s surface, and hundreds of other species stalk the shores and bob on the surface of California’s largest, and most unusual, lake.  The Salton Sea is a vast, shallow body of water percolating in the hot desert inland of San Diego and a key stopover point for many birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. Over the years, as other wetlands along the flyway have been lost to development, drought, or other causes, it has taken on an outsized importance for migrating birds. Nearly all of California’s population of eared grebes, for example, stop over at the lake, and at least a third of all the white pelicans living in North America dip in and out of its waters on their migratory travels. … ”  Read more from National Geographic here:  The West Coast’s biggest bird oasis is dying. Will it be saved?

Along the Colorado River …

It was the ‘land of the free’.  Then the water disappeared:  “Breakneck agricultural development by well-heeled out-of-staters has upended conservative orthodoxy in this parched rural county.  “We were the ‘Land of the Free’ for the longest time,” state Rep. Regina Cobb (R) said recently at a Republican forum. “We wanted to be able to put wells where we wanted to. We didn’t want monitoring. We didn’t want metering. We didn’t want government coming in and telling us what to do.”  “Until,” she told an audience where some wore “Make America Great Again” hats, “we saw the number of wells that were being put into the ground.”  Seven years ago, there was virtually no farming in Mohave County. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  It was the ‘land of the free’.  Then the water disappeared

Snowpack has declined by an average of 41 percent in the Rocky Mountains over past 3 decades: “It’s been a great winter in Summit County. Storms have been coming in regular and heavy, the fluffy stuff has been sticking around and the metrics prove that this winter’s snowfall is doing at least twice as well as last year’s.  Unfortunately, the snow on the ground today is a pale shadow of what Summiters were seeing a few decades ago. Recently released research reveals that today’s mountain snowpack is about 41 percent less than it was back then. … ”  Continue reading at Sky Hi News here:  Snowpack has declined by an average of 41 percent in the Rocky Mountains over past 3 decades

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Trinity River diverter fined for deliberate misstatements in water diversion reporting; Couple reports water use of over 1 trillion acre-feet

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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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