DAILY DIGEST: CA clinches new regs just in time for federal rollback; Trump to nominate Bernahrdt as Interior Secretary; Farm Bureau files lawsuit to block plans for San Joaquin River; Petition to list spring Klamath chinook as endangered considered; and more …

In California water news today, California clinches new regs just in time for federal rollback; Trump to nominate Bernahrdt as Interior Secretary; California Farm Bureau Federation files lawsuit to block plans for San Joaquin River; Petition to list spring Klamath chinook as endangered considered; Here’s How California’s 6 Feet of Snow in 24 Hours Compares to Other Snowfall Extremes; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

California clinches new regs just in time for federal rollback: “After more than a decade of drafting and editing, California is poised to finally update its wetlands regulations this spring.  The effort, which began after a pair of Supreme Court decisions limited federal wetlands protections, could be finalized just in time to insulate the state from a Trump administration proposal restricting which wetlands and waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act.  California State Water Resources Control Board Chief Deputy Director Jonathan Bishop said the administration’s Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule “has little to do with our process.”... ”  Continue reading at E&E News here:  California clinches new regs just in time for federal rollback

Trump taps ex-California water lobbyist for Cabinet. Critics call him a ‘swamp creature’: “President Donald Trump on Monday nominated David Bernhardt, the former top lobbyist for a powerful Fresno-based irrigation district, to run the Department of the Interior, raising renewed questions about whether he’d try to steer more California water to his former clients.  Trump announced Bernhardt’s nomination to become Interior secretary on Twitter.  “David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived, and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed!” Trump tweeted. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Trump taps ex-California water lobbyist for Cabinet. Critics call him a ‘swamp creature’

Trump to nominate Bernahrdt as Interior Secretary:  “President Donald Trump will nominate David Bernhardt to be the new Interior secretary.  The announcement in a tweet from the president Monday ends a nearly two-month-long search for a permanent replacement for Ryan Zinke, who in early December announced his resignation amid multiple scandals and ethics investigations. Bernhardt, who was confirmed as Zinke’s deputy in July 2017, has been acting Interior chief since the beginning of the year. … ”  Read more from Politico here:  Trump to nominate Bernahrdt as Interior Secretary

California Farm Bureau Federation files lawsuit to block plans for San Joaquin River: “The California Farm Bureau Federation has filed a lawsuit to block by the State Water Resources Control Board’s plans for the lower river flow of San Joaquin River.  In a press release, the Farm Bureau said that the Board’s plan , which was adopted last December, “misrepresents and underestimates the harm it would cause to agricultural resources in the Central Valley”. According to a media release from the Board, the plan would redirect 30 to 50 percent of “unimpaired flows” in three San Joaquin River in order to “increase fish population” and “restore waterflows”. … ”  Read more from Channel 23 here:  California Farm Bureau Federation files lawsuit to block plans for San Joaquin River

Petition to list spring Klamath chinook as endangered considered: “The California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday will consider a petition to list spring run chinook salmon on the Upper Klamath-Trinity River as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is recommending the Fish and Game commission accepts the petition, which was submitted by the Karuk Tribe and the Salmon River Restoration Council in July 2018, according to the commission’s staff report. If the commission determines listing may be warranted, a one-year review of the run’s status will be conducted before a final decision is made, according to the report. … ”  Read more the Del Norte Triplicate here: Petition to list spring Klamath chinook as endangered considered

Here’s How California’s 6 Feet of Snow in 24 Hours Compares to Other Snowfall Extremes:  “Incredible amounts of snow have fallen throughout parts of the Mountain West since last Friday after a one-two punch from winter storms Kai and Lucian. The Sierra Nevada, straddling the border between California and Nevada, has been particularly hard-hit, where one ski resort tallied 6 feet of snow in just one day.  Taking that crown is June Mountain, east of Yosemite National Park. June Mountain reported 72 inches of new snow in the 24 hours ending 9 a.m. PST Sunday morning. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here:  Here’s How California’s 6 Feet of Snow in 24 Hours Compares to Other Snowfall Extremes

How badly did the government shutdown harm wildfire prep? Democrats want answers“In the wake of a deadly fire season, California lawmakers want to know how much the 35-day government shutdown hindered the U.S. Forest Service’s preparation for the next big wildfire.  They’re pressing President Donald Trump’s administration to account for how much forest management, firefighter training and federal contract work was delayed or canceled because of the shutdown. They also want to know what is being done to make up for lost time. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  How badly did the government shutdown harm wildfire prep? Democrats want answers

In commentary today …

Why Santa Clara Valley Water District filed lawsuit against CaliforniaNorma Camacho writes,Protecting the environment surrounding our waterways is a critical pillar that the Santa Clara Valley Water District stands on. Providing a safe, clean and affordable water supply to the people and businesses of Santa Clara County is another essential pillar.  These two pillars meet in the lawsuit the water district filed on Jan. 11 against the State Water Resources Control Board. The board’s decision to send more water through the San Joaquin River and its tributaries, in an effort to assist endangered and threatened fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, was well meaning but didn’t fully consider our local impacts. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Why Santa Clara Valley Water District filed lawsuit against California

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Dam removal meetings begin this week:  “Public meetings seeking comment on a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for surrender of the Lower Klamath Project license begin this week, according to a news release from the California State Water Resources Control Board.  The license surrender is one step toward the proposed removal of four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River, three of which are in California. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath Dam removal meetings begin this week

Pure Water Soquel project faces environmental civil lawsuitA leader in a grassroots group pushing for interagency transfers to solve regional water supply shortfalls has filed an environmental lawsuit against Soquel Creek Water District.  The civil lawsuit, filed Jan. 17 and amended Jan. 31 in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, takes aim at the water district’s Pure Water Soquel project, which its board of directors approved in December. The suit points to alleged shortcomings in Pure Water Soquel’s state-mandated environmental impact report, particularly in the areas of response to public comment. Public court documentation for Steinbruner’s amendment was not immediately available Monday. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Pure Water Soquel project faces environmental civil lawsuit

Kern County: From drought to wet weather, farmers benefit from the rain:  “The few wet days across California has helped parts of Kern County get out of the drought.  Rain, snow, and more on the way.  Kern County Agriculture Commissioner, Glenn Fankhauser says this year’s extraordinary wet winter is a plus for farmers.  “The amount water that they can get from the sky is water that they don’t have to worry about purchasing and so that helps their bottom line and allows them to be more sustainable,” Fankhauser said. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield Now here:  From drought to wet weather, farmers benefit from the rain

Healthy snowpack means plenty of water for the Santa Clarita Valley:  “It’s been cold, wet and, in some places, snowy, but the silver lining, so to speak, is that the back-to-back storms have left a snowpack deep enough to provide ample water for the Santa Clarita Valley.  On Thursday, officials with the Department of Water Resources conducted the second Phillips Station snow survey of 2019.  Snowpack testers use a long pole to poke into the snow. What they found was good news for Southern California, said DWR spokesman Chris Orrock. … ”  Read more from the Signal here:  Healthy snowpack means plenty of water for the Santa Clarita Valley

Southern California beaches look more like trash dumps after several days of rain:  “The near constant rainfall over the past few days has washed Southern California’s streets clean, but has turned local beaches into trash dumps.  Seal Beach has been hit particularly hard. The usually clean stretch of sand is now littered with single-use cups, paper, and all the other rubbish that generally sits innocuously in dry gutters and concrete channels like the L.A. River. … ”  Read more from CBS LA here:  Southern California beaches look more like trash dumps after several days of rain

Along the Colorado River …

What’s next for the parched Colorado? The latest on the West’s drought drama: “A major deadline just passed without unanimous agreement among Western states over the future of the Colorado River, so the federal government is one step closer to stepping in on the dwindling river that provides water for 1-in-8 Americans.  The path forward has become murkier for the drought-stricken region now in its 19th year of low water levels after a January 31 deadline failed to garner signed agreements from Arizona and California.  The fate of 40 million Americans’ water access could fall to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. … ”  Read more from the Grist here:  What’s next for the parched Colorado? The latest on the West’s drought drama

National Park Service seeks public comment on low-water plans for Lake Mead:  “The National Park Service (NPS) is accepting comments from the public on its General Management Plan Amendment, which addresses the low-water conditions at Lake Mead.  This amendment provides an overall strategy on how to handle general operations at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area as water levels continue to drop.  In summary, the plan addresses operational needs to maintain lake access and provide an array of safe recreational opportunities at lake elevations over 950 feet. … ”  Read more from Channel 3 here:  National Park Service seeks public comment on low-water plans for Lake Mead

Commentary: We must take care of the Colorado River for economic prosperity, life, says Maite Arce:  She writes, “Water is the foundation of life. But as essential as it is, we often take it for granted and we treat it as a never-ending resource. With Lake Mead and Lake Powell, two of the nation’s largest reservoirs, and the states along the Colorado River basin in a chronic drought condition, the Colorado River is steadily losing its ability to meet all the demands placed upon it.  Thankfully, on Jan. 31 after years of discussion and collaborative efforts between state agencies and water providers, Arizona agreed to accept the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) — an agreement between California, Arizona and Nevada in the Lower Basin, and Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming in the Upper Basin — to reduce each state’s river use as a way to deal with shortages in the water supply provided by the river. … ” Read more from the Arizona Capital Times here: Commentary: We must take care of the Colorado River for economic prosperity, life

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Critically over-drafted groundwater basins, Cal WaterFix costs, safe drinking water, salmon, bureaucrats, and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Feinstein, Harris introduce bill to establish Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area; California Farm Bureau sues to block flows plan for lower San Joaquin River

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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