DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Atmospheric river possible next week; PFAS showing up in waterways, EPA, CA consider regulation; Nutria issues continue for farmers; Polluters are paying much lower fines under Trump, EPA says; The world’s watersheds, mapped in gorgeous detail; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Atmospheric river possible next week for California, raising flood concerns; PFAS showing up in waterways; EPA, CA consider regulation; Safe drinking water trust proposal gains support at Assembly hearing; Nutria issues continue for farmers; Trump says Gov. Gavin Newsom ‘agrees with me’ on California forest problems; Polluters are paying much lower fines under Trump, EPA says; EPA: Wheeler defends rollbacks; The world’s watersheds, mapped in gorgeous detail; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Atmospheric river possible next week for California, raising flood concerns:  “Computer models are showing a growing likelihood of an atmospheric river storm hitting California late next week, raising concerns that if a warm “Pineapple Express” barrels in with enough force, it could melt parts of the state’s big Sierra Nevada snow pack and increase flood risk.  Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists say more will be known in a few days. The storm could still fizzle the way hurricanes that develop far out in the Atlantic Ocean sometimes fail to materialize or make landfall. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  Atmospheric river possible next week for California, raising flood concerns

Chemicals Found in Ski Gloves and Frying Pans Also Showing Up in US Waterways. EPA, California Consider Regulation:  “Politicians and environmentalists are ratcheting up the pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to take the first step in regulating drinking water contaminated with a toxic, long-lasting family of chemicals called PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The agency has not yet announced what steps it will take. A plan that was supposed to be released by late last year has been held up for months, with no official timeline of when the action plan will be announced.  “The EPA is trying to walk away from its responsibilities,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer told Newsday. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Chemicals Found in Ski Gloves and Frying Pans Also Showing Up in US Waterways. EPA, California Consider Regulation

ACWA/CMUA Safe Drinking Water Trust Proposal Gains Support at Assembly Joint Informational Hearing:  “The California State Assembly hosted a joint informational hearing today on the topic of Safe and Affordable Drinking Water and ACWA participated to advocate on behalf of member agencies. The hearing included committee members from Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee, the Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials Committee, and Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3.  The hearing provided Legislators and members of the public in attendance with some initial details about the proposed Safe Drinking Water Trust legislation that ACWA and CMUA are sponsoring. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  ACWA/CMUA Safe Drinking Water Trust Proposal Gains Support at Assembly Joint Informational Hearing

Nutria issues continue for farmers:  “Since the invasive rodent appeared in California last year, nutria issues have continued for California farmers. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has found 379 nutrias in the state as of January 16, 2019. That number has grown from 20 just under a year ago. The vast majority have been found in Merced County, with several more found throughout San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Fresno and Mariposa counties. The first breeding population was discovered in September 2018 near Manteca, with 30 nutrias being captured. … ”  Read more from AgNet West here:  Nutria issues continue for farmers

Little Hoover Commission issues 2017-2018 report:  “The Little Hoover Commission on Feb. 7 released the 2017-2018 edition of its biennial Economy and Efficiency Report, which includes a summary of past recommendations, implementation progress during the past two years and follow-up recommendations.  In the category of Natural Resources and Water, the commission reiterates its recommendation from 2010 that California remove the State Water Project from the Department of Water Resources and state government control. It further recommends that DWR be converted into a broader-scale Department of Water Management that retains all functions of DWR, plus oversees water rights. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Little Hoover Commission issues 2017-2018 report

Trump says Gov. Gavin Newsom ‘agrees with me’ on California forest problems“President Trump asserted Wednesday that Gov. Gavin Newsom agrees with his belief that California has not done enough to prevent severe wildfires.  Speaking to a group of regional newspaper reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said Newsom had recently called him and “he was very nice. He was extremely nice.”  “He was very respectful as to my point of view. I think he agrees with me,” Trump said. “I respect the fact that he called. The forests are, because of whatever reason, are extraordinarily flammable, to put it mildly.” ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Trump says Gov. Gavin Newsom ‘agrees with me’ on California forest problems

Polluters are paying much lower fines under Trump, EPA says:  “Numbers released by the Trump administration Friday show an 80% drop in some penalties levied against polluters, the latest sign that the Environmental Protection Agency has become a less aggressive watchdog.  Injunctive relief — the amount of money polluters commit to pay to correct problems and prevent them from reoccurring — fell from $20.6 billion in fiscal 2017 to $3.95 billion in fiscal 2018. That represents a 15-year low for the agency. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Polluters are paying much lower fines under Trump, EPA says

EPA: Wheeler defends rollbacks:  “EPA acting chief Andrew Wheeler went on the defensive today about the agency’s regulatory rewrites, maintaining that the Obama administration blew past congressional limits on the agency’s power.  That approach “jeopardizes the durability of our rulemaking and upsets the balance of power between the three branches and creates uncertainty,” Wheeler said this morning.  Speaking at an American Law Institute/Environmental Law Institute conference, Wheeler, whom President Trump formally nominated last month for EPA administrator, criticized his predecessors for crafting rules on what he considers shaky legal ground. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  EPA: Wheeler defends rollbacks

Sunday photo essay …

Sundown on an era:  Rich Turner writes, “That special place you go for the renewal you feel — that special place you have come to count on to provide just the tonic you need — that special place that you think will always be there? Well, maybe it won’t be. And how will you feel when what you knew would be there for you is gone or radically changed in some way?  ... ”  Read more from Soundings Magazine here:  Sundown on an era

In commentary this weekend …

Esoteric subsidence report is better than most realize, points out the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “The Department of Water Resources reported last week that the surface level of most of the Sacramento Valley wasn’t dropping, which is incredibly good news.  But it’s the kind of news that most people can not appreciate. We might know it relates to water, but when we turn on our taps water comes out. What’s the big deal?  That’s a reflection of the fact most people — at least in cities and towns in the Sacramento Valley — have no idea where their water comes from. Farmers have a better understanding, but someone in the middle of Chico doesn’t have to worry about such things, and doesn’t care. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Esoteric subsidence report is better than most realize

We don’t trust water board’s chair.  Please, Governor, make a change, says Mike Dunbar:  He writes, “The problem with Felicia Marcus is that she never stopped working for the environmental movement.  Yes, she’s paid by the state to represent all Californians as chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board.  Yes, her position of authority requires her to balance competing needs in making economic life-and-death decisions.  Yes, as leader of the quasi-judicial board, she’s supposed to view all the facts then find a wise path for water use. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  We don’t trust water board’s chair.  Please, Governor, make a change

California’s contaminated drinking water is a disgrace, says the Mercury News:  They write, “For years, Californians regarded access to safe drinking water as a Third World problem.  No more.  About 1 million Californians can’t safely drink their tap water. Approximately 300 water systems in California currently have contamination issues ranging from arsenic to lead to uranium at levels that create severe health issues.  It’s a disgrace that demands immediate state action.  Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes taxing water across California to create a dedicated fund to solve the problem. Imposing a new tax would require a two-thirds supermajority of the Legislature to pass. … ”  Read more form the San Jose Mercury News here:  California’s contaminated drinking water is a disgrace

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Humboldt Bay harbor district eyes fish farm:  “Hundreds of millions of dollars and 80 jobs are coming to Humboldt Bay, according to recent announcements from the harbor district and a Norwegian-owned fish farm company.  The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Board of Directors at a special meeting Monday is set to consider leasing 30 acres on the Samoa Peninsula to California Marine Investments, a subsidiary of Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms, for use as a land-based aquaculture facility. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Humboldt Bay harbor district eyes fish farm

A plan for the Yuba watershed:  “An effort is underway to hire a full-time watershed coordinator focused on forest management projects in the Yuba River Watershed and a grant from the Yuba Water Agency could help.  The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), an environmental advocacy organization focused on the watershed, and Camptonville Community Partnership, a nonprofit organization, are jointly applying for a grant through the California Department of Conservation (DOC) to fund a watershed coordinator position. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  A plan for the Yuba watershed

Bay Area weather: Another round of snow coming to the hills:  “The Bay Area could wake up to snow-capped hills Sunday morning for the second time in one week.  The National Weather Service says snow levels are forecast to fall as low as 1,500 feet as a cold storm moves into the region Saturday night. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Bay Area weather: Another round of snow coming to the hills

Elkhorn Slough’s fight to adapt to climate change:  “Stretching 7 miles inland from the center of Monterey Bay at Moss Landing, Elkhorn Slough is a tidal marsh whose waterway is part of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It is known by visitors for its pickleweed, mud flats and hundreds of species of birds. A population of California sea otters also calls the slough home. Managers have tackled erosion from neighboring farms, many of which have been purchased by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation to implement erosion control and organic growing to protect the slough. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Elkhorn Slough’s fight to adapt to climate change

CCWA, Santa Barbara County Agencies Ask County to Reassign State Water Contract: “Santa Barbara County supervisors on Tuesday directed staff to analyze assigning the State Water Project contract to the Central Coast Water Authority, although several board members voiced concerns about the potential move.  The CCWA wants complete control of the contract, which is currently assigned to the Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  CCWA, Santa Barbara County Agencies Ask County to Reassign State Water Contract

Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District named a state-of-the-art district: “The Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District received a positive review in a recent Kern County grand jury report, which called it a state-of-the-art water district.  This was due to the successful overall operations of managing all three fresh water basins in the Tehachapi area, maintaining dams to protect from flooding and using natural gas engines to pump more than 150,000 gallons of water per minute up from the California Aqueduct. … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here:  Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District named a state-of-the-art district

San Diego’s infrastructure backlog soars to 1.86 billion:  “San Diego needs an extra $1.86 billion over the next five years to fix city sidewalks, put in new streetlights, build new libraries and solve a host of other infrastructure problems, according to a report scheduled to be presented to the City Council on Monday.  Mayor Kevin Faulconer has long said infrastructure is one of his top priorities, and declared last year that his proposed budget included the largest amount dedicated to infrastructure in city history. But the so-called “infrastructure deficit” — the amount of money the city needs for its infrastructure minus the amount of revenue it expects to take in — has still been growing. ... ”  Read more from KPBS here:  San Diego’s infrastructure backlog soars to 1.86 billion

Along the Colorado River …

Column: Despite signs of interstate cooperation, the decline of Lake Mead isn’t near being solved, says Michael Hiltzik:  He writes, “On the surface, things have seemed to be looking up in recent weeks for the future of Lake Mead.  The Western storms of the last month have fostered the impression of a respite, at least temporarily, from the region’s long drought. Earlier this month, Arizona legislators passed a sheaf of crucial measures signaling their willingness to cooperate in an interstate drought contingency plan, staving off federal intervention.  Yet these are stopgaps.  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Column: Despite signs of interstate cooperation, the decline of Lake Mead isn’t near being solved, says Michael Hiltzik

Commentary: Imperial Irrigation District ties Colorado River plan to Salton Sea funds.  Make it happen, says the Desert Sun: The Imperial Irrigation District holds among the oldest and largest rights to water from the Colorado River and is using that as leverage to get what it sees as a better deal in current drought contingency plan negotiations involving states that draw from the river.  Among the hardball tactics IID is putting in play: A demand that the federal government provide $200 million for efforts to bolster the beleaguered Salton Sea.  We’ve taken IID to task for some of its actions and policies in the past, but we’re right there in the batter’s box with the agency on this. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Imperial Irrigation District ties Colorado River plan to Salton Sea funds.  Make it happen

And lastly …

The world’s watersheds, mapped in gorgeous detail:  “These maps are both data-rich and absolutely gorgeous. … The maps are the work of Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs, 33, who combines expertise in GIS with a passion for beautiful maps. ... ”  View maps from the Big Think here:  The world’s watersheds, mapped in gorgeous detail

 

Precipitation watch …

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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