DAILY DIGEST: What’s next after voters spurn bond to fix sinking Friant-Kern Canal; Work begins on $1.5B Shasta Dam raising; SGMA expected to further dampen once-hot market for Kern County farmland; Arizona lawmakers get first look at drought contingency plan; and more …

In California water news today, What’s Next After Voters Spurn Bond to Fix Sinking Friant-Kern Canal; Work begins on $1.5 billion Shasta Dam raising; California’s favorite snow surveyor retires; Delta restoration project moves ahead; Super blood wolf moon, king tides, high surf in forecast; Groundwater pumping restrictions expected to further dampen once-hot market for Kern County farmland; Arizona lawmakers get first look at drought contingency plan; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Delta Conveyance Finance Authority Board Meeting at 11amFor more information, click here.
  • Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, Board of Directors Meeting at 2pmFor more information, click here.
  • Delta Protection Commission meets from 5:30 to 7:30pm in Rio Vista.  Agenda items include consideration of approval of Commission 2018 annual report, an update on Rio Vista Estuarine Research Station (RVERS), consideration of approval of scope of work for recreation chapter update of Economic Sustainability Plan; and an update on Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) certification of consistency appeal process for CA WaterFix and consider approval of letter to DSC.  Click here for the full agenda

In the news today …

Key California Ag Region Ponders What’s Next After Voters Spurn Bond to Fix Sinking Friant-Kern Canal: “Land subsidence from overpumping of San Joaquin Valley groundwater sank portions of the Friant-Kern Canal, the 152-mile conduit that conveys water from the San Joaquin River to farms that help fuel a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy. A plan to fix it helped sink the $8.8 billion Proposition 3 bond measure last November. Now San Joaquin Valley water managers are trying to figure out another way to restore the canal, not only to keep farmers farming, but to aid the valley’s overtaxed groundwater aquifers.”  Read the full article at Western Water here: Key California Ag Region Ponders What’s Next After Voters Spurn Bond to Fix Sinking Friant-Kern Canal

Work begins on $1.5 billion Shasta Dam raising:  “Twenty million dollars of pre-construction work is under way at the Shasta Dam and reservoir in advance of a $1.5 billion project to raise the dam 18.5 ft. Shasta Dam is the largest reservoir in California and second largest in the United States after Grand Cooley.  The need to raise the dam comes down to simple “math,” said Sheri Harral, public affairs specialist of the Bureau of Reclamation Mid Pacific region. … ”  Read more from Construction Equipment Guide here:  Work begins on $1.5 billion Shasta Dam raising

Delta restoration project moves ahead:  “As part of its ongoing commitment to restore Delta ecosystems and habitat, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently took a significant step in launching a 3,000-acre multi-benefit tidal wetlands restoration project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  At the end of 2018, DWR entered into a partnership with Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP), a private company investing in large-scale ecological restoration projects nationwide, to establish the Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration Project. … ”  Read more from Dredging Today here:  Delta restoration project moves ahead

California’s favorite snow surveyor retires:  “As a young employee at the California Department of Water Resources, Frank Gehrke decided to make the annual snow survey a public event in order to connect residents with their water supply. After three decades he’s retiring from the department, but he’s not done measuring the Sierra snowpack.”  Listen to the radio show from Capital Radio here:  California’s favorite snow surveyor retires

He’s ‘Famous’ For Measuring California’s Snow. Now, He’s Retiring After 30 Years — Sort Of.  “A simple web search will pull up nearly a million articles, videos and photos featuring Frank Gehrke. He’s no fashion icon like Kim Kardashian or a dogged politician like Gov. Jerry Brown. But he has broken a lot of news.  Sometimes, it’s bad news, like California suffering yet another year of drought. That’s a realization he alluded to in 2014, when he measured the snowpack near Lake Tahoe. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  He’s ‘Famous’ For Measuring California’s Snow. Now, He’s Retiring After 30 Years — Sort Of.

South San Joaquin Irrigation District, Oakdale Irrigation District join water plan lawsuit:  “Citing what they say would be a disastrous decision for the region, the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts have joined with other members of the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority (SJTA) in a lawsuit challenging the state’s right to arbitrarily increase flows in the Stanislaus and two other rivers.  The injunction request was filed in Tuolumne County Superior Court on Thursday, Jan. 10 against the State Water Resources Control Board over its proposed Bay-Delta Phase 1 unimpaired flow proposal, adopted Dec. 12, 2018. The plaintiffs are OID, SSJID, the Turlock Irrigation District, and the City and County of San Francisco. The Modesto Irrigation District also filed a similar suit. … ”  Read more from the Escalon Times here:  South San Joaquin Irrigation District, Oakdale Irrigation District join water plan lawsuit

Super blood wolf moon, king tides, high surf in forecast:  “The National Weather Service has forecast surf stemming from a storm offshore will reach between 30 to 35 feet Thursday and king tides will coincide over the weekend with a full lunar eclipse.  The high surf will affect local beaches, jetties and docks. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to stay away from the waterfront as a result.  “Right now we’re expecting the surf at just before sunrise to not be very large but it will go from 10 to 12 feet to up to 35-foot breakers and it will ramp us fast right around sunrise,” said NWS meteorologist Ryan Aylward. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Super blood wolf moon, king tides, high surf in forecast

In commentary today …

California’s proposed water tax: Gavin Newsom’s trickle down economics:  John Phillips writes, “Less than a month into newly minted California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s term, the Golden State has been inundated with a series of rain storms.  Most people peeked up at the droplets and thought of impending mudslides, road closures and traffic jams.  Not Gavin Newsom.  Nope. California’s new governor looked at the rainfall and saw millions of dollars in uncollected water taxes going right down the drain. ... ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here:  California’s proposed water tax: Gavin Newsom’s trickle down economics

Despite climate challenges, California waterfowl continue to thrive:  Larry Venus writes, “California has had it rough of late. The Golden State recently has suffered a historic drought, more than a dozen catastrophic wildfires, and a record heat wave. Scientific experts and policy makers agree, these troubling events aren’t episodic – the consensus is that climate change is actively taking a toll on Mother Earth.  However, despite these challenges, certain animal populations continue to thrive. One such example of resiliency is the healthy population of Northern California waterfowl. Reports show waterfowl populations were high in the Suisun Marsh and Napa/Santa Rosa regions relative to previous breeding seasons. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Observer here:  Despite climate challenges, California waterfowl continue to thrive

In regional news and commentary today …

Sacramento: California farm group, agricultural lenders sponsor Powerhouse Science Center water display:  “Three farm credit banks and the California Farm Water Coalition are sponsoring a California Water exhibit at the Powerhouse Science Center, which will open at the end of next year on the banks of the Sacramento River.  Three co-operative farm lenders – American AgCredit, CoBank and Farm Credit West — and the California Farm Water Coalition have committed $15,000 per year for a minimum of five years to sponsor three interactive exhibits which will show how much water it takes to grow crops, how water is stored and distributed in California and how the state’s farmers are innovating to produce more crops with less water. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Business Journal here:  California farm group, agricultural lenders sponsor Powerhouse Science Center water display

Bay Area: Years of Clearing Trash From South Bay Creeks Pays Off: Salmon Return: “Years of tireless work by hundreds of volunteers appears to be paying off in the South Bay with the return of salmon to locations that had not seen their presence in years.  “It’s the cherry on top of the sundae,” Steve Holmes, Founder and Executive Director of South Bay Clean Creeks Coalition, said. ” All the work by our army, this is what we wanted to see.”  Holmes, a San Jose businessman, started SBCCC (originally Friends of Los Gatos Creek) in 2013. ... ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Years of Clearing Trash From South Bay Creeks Pays Off: Salmon Return

Soquel water district gets earful from Live Oak residents:  “Soquel Creek Water District’s plan to create a water supply source to buffer against ocean saltwater intrusion has earned little significant community resistance since project ideas began to formulate in 2015.  Fears about living next door to a proposed $90 million Pure Water Soquel purification plant, however, has served as a perennial roadblock for water district leaders.  The latest opposition arose Tuesday night, as an organized group of Live Oak neighbors turned out at a district meeting to challenge the district’s favored site, zoned as “light industrial” at Soquel and Chanticleer avenues, adjacent to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Soquel water district gets earful from Live Oak residents

Nacimiento residents sue Monterey County for $120 million over declining water levels: “A group of Lake Nacimiento residents is suing Monterey County for $120 million, claiming officials ignored the needs of recreational users by releasing more water from the reservoir than necessary.  The Nacimiento Regional Water Management Advisory Committee (NRWMAC) — which represents approximately 6,500 residents living around the reservoir — on Tuesday filed a civil lawsuit against the Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA).  The lawsuit, filed in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court in Paso Robles, alleges the county agency has mismanaged the reservoir and “operated the lake in a manner that renders it almost unusable by property owners and visitors for recreation.” … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Nacimiento residents sue Monterey County for $120 million over declining water levels

Gonzales, Soledad working together to find water solutions:  “The cities of Soledad and Gonzales are working together on a regional effort to find solutions for cost-effective wastewater treatment and reuse.  According to Gonzales Public Works Director Harold Wolgamott, the City of Gonzales had an agreement with Monterey One Water, when it conducted a study on its efficiency to study Monterey County down to Gonzales and a little ways further. ... ”  Read more from the Gonzales Tribune here:  Gonzales, Soledad working together to find water solutions

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to hold first meeting of 2019:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. for the first time in 2019.  First on the agenda, the GA will discuss approval of expenditures, provide a financial update, and approve the appointment of Judie Decker as a Policy Advisory Committee representative for the Eastern Kern County Resource Conservation District. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to hold first meeting of 2019

Indian Wells Valley Water District talks water stations, meter rumors, and Groundwater Authority:Bulk water station concerns, the Groundwater Authority, and even Facebook rumors were topics at the Indian Wells Valley Water District board of directors meeting Monday night.  Bulk water station upgrades were a heavily discussed topic by both the board and the public, so much so that the agenda item was moved to the beginning of the meeting after public comments.  All of the updates on the bulk water station upgrades were the same as they were during the plant and equipment committee meeting on Jan. 8. The last day to use the Kendall/Brady location is Feb. 19, where it should reopen in mid-April, though the renovations could be done in as early as four to six weeks. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Water District talks water stations, meter rumors, and Groundwater Authority

Bakersfield: Groundwater pumping restrictions expected to further dampen once-hot market for farmland:  “A new report on Kern’s agricultural real estate market suggests upcoming restrictions on groundwater pumping could drag down farmland values that have only recently stabilized after coming off peaks a few years ago.  The data and forecast by Bakersfield’s Alliance Ag Services LLC reflect broad expectations that local farming will slow overall as a result of the state’s ongoing efforts to bring rampant groundwater pumping under control. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Bakersfield: Groundwater pumping restrictions expected to further dampen once-hot market for farmland

Don’t believe your windshield wipers: Despite storms, Southern California water conservation is still needed:  “As rain continues to pelt Southern California, signs of an abundance of or even too much water are everywhere: Roads are flooded, reservoirs are filling and the wait time for Radiator Springs Racers at the damp Disneyland Resort has been less than a half hour.  But as residents of burn areas evacuate and even heavier rain is forecast for Thursday, those who watch the state and local water supplies note that while the drought is technically over, the need to conserve water is not. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here: Don’t believe your windshield wipers: Despite storms, Southern California water conservation is still needed

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona’s drought plan faces several obstacles, and time is just one of them: “On the first day of the legislative session, Gov. Doug Ducey put water at the top of his State of the State address. More specifically, he wants a drought contingency plan completed, one that keeps the vital Colorado River system at healthy levels.  Ongoing drought and over-allocation means Lake Mead is at risk of dropping to “deadpool” levels. Taken to the extreme, power generation at Hoover Dam would stop, and water no longer could be extracted from the lake.  The drought contingency plan is an attempt to stave that off. Arizona is the only one of the seven Colorado River Basin states that needs legislative approval for its plan, which is part of the overall drought plan for the entire basin. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here: Arizona’s drought plan faces several obstacles, and time is just one of them

Arizona under pressure to pass Colorado River drought plan as deadline nears:  “With just 16 days left until a deadline set by the federal government, the Arizona Legislature is under pressure to push through a Colorado River drought plan that would prevent Lake Mead from dropping to extremely low levels.  Gov. Doug Ducey appealed to lawmakers Tuesday to get the deal done quickly, saying it’s his top priority.  “This is by far the most pressing issue we face as a state,” Ducey said at a news conference. “And the clock is ticking.”  Some potential sticking points remain to be worked out. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Republic here:  Arizona under pressure to pass Colorado River drought plan as deadline nears

Arizona lawmakers get first look at drought contingency plan: “As the deadline for Arizona to adopt a drought plan inches closer, state lawmakers received an early look at the water measures they could vote on later this month.  The draft legislation compiled by the Department of Water Resources looks similar to how water leaders described the measures at a Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee meeting last week.  The six draft measures would allow Arizona to sign onto a multi-state drought plan with six other southwestern states working to stabilize water levels in the Colorado River by agreeing to use less water from the river. … ”  Read more from Arizona Capital Times here:  Arizona lawmakers get first look at drought contingency plan

And lastly …

9 views of the LA River before and after it was paved in 1938: ” … In 2013, just as the LA River’s moment was beginning, we looked at 25 photos from the LA Public Library’s collection showing just how unrecognizable it was before it was paved. Peter Bennett, who runs the Los Angeles River Photos blog, found where nine of those photos were taken, and, using his iPad to match up with the originals, took the same shots of the river as it is in the 21st century. ... ” Read more from Curbed LA here:  9 views of the LA River before and after it was paved in 1938  Of course, there is also the FOVICKS webpage: Friends Of Vast Industrial Concrete Kafkaesque Structures. Check it out here:  Friends Of Vast Industrial Concrete Kafkaesque Structures

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: Harvest, Hatchery Returns, and Straying of Salmon Released at Bay and Delta sites during California’s Drought

SCIENCE NEWS: Idled farmland presents habitat restoration opportunities in San Joaquin Desert; New tools for endangered species recovery; Will sea level rise harm tidal marshlands?; and more …

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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