DAILY DIGEST: They’re big, furry and could destroy the Delta. California has a $2M plan to kill them; CA’s ‘dry’ farmers grow crops without irrigation; Weekend storm brings several feet of fresh snow to Lake Tahoe; and more …

In California water news today, They’re big, furry and could destroy the Delta. California has a $2 million plan to kill them; California’s ‘dry’ farmers grow crops without irrigation; Weekend Storm Brings Several Feet of Fresh Snow to Lake Tahoe; Can ‘Green New Deal’ avoid cap and trade’s fate?; Steel ring net construction scheduled to begin in the canyons above Montecito; “Pit of Infection’: A Border Town’s Crisis Has Nothing to Do With Migrants; and more …

In the news today …

They’re big, furry and could destroy the Delta. California has a $2 million plan to kill them:  “California’s San Joaquin River Delta is in danger of being overrun by voracious beagle-sized rodents. The state has a plan to deal with them, but it’s going to take a lot of time and money.  Nutria, a large South American rodent, have become an invasive species in several states, including Louisiana, Maryland and Oregon. In March 2017, they were found in Merced County, alarming California wildlife officials because of the rodents’ potential to harm the water infrastructure that nourishes San Joaquin Valley farms and delivers water to thirsty cities. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  They’re big, furry and could destroy the Delta. California has a $2 million plan to kill them

California’s ‘dry’ farmers grow crops without irrigation:  “Jim Leap fondly recalls the first Early Girl tomatoes he grew at UC Santa Cruz’s farm in 1990. Sweet and bursting with flavor, they were raised without a single drop of irrigated water.  Nearly three decades later, he remains deeply committed to “dry farming” — forsaking modern irrigation and relying on seasonal rainfall to grow tomatoes, winter squash, potatoes, dry beans and corn on the 4-acre San Juan Bautista farm that Leap and his wife, Polly Goldman, have owned for eight years. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  California’s ‘dry’ farmers grow crops without irrigation

Photos: Weekend Storm Brings Several Feet of Fresh Snow to Lake Tahoe:  “If you were one of the people in the Bay Area who skipped out on work on Friday to take advantage of a long weekend of fresh powder in the Sierra Nevada, you might’ve gotten more than you bargained for.  A full 5 feet of snow fell at Castle Peak on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, with Squaw-Alpine getting just more than 4 feet. The heavy snow led Caltrans to close Interstate 80 and Highway 50 on Saturday afternoon. Highway 50 reopened late Sunday morning, and Interstate 80 followed suit a few hours later. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Photos: Weekend Storm Brings Several Feet of Fresh Snow to Lake Tahoe

5 feet of snow fell in 24 hours at Sierra Nevada peak:  “Mother Nature dumped as much as five feet of fresh powder at one peak in the Sierra Nevada during a 24-hour period over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.  The 60-inch deluge of snow at Castle Peak near Donner Pass came during the same time period when 49 inches fell at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort, 39 inches dropped in Kingvale along Interstate 80 and 37 inches piled up at Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort located near South Lake Tahoe, the weather service reported. … ”  Read more from NBC LA here:  5 feet of snow fell in 24 hours at Sierra Nevada peak

Can ‘Green New Deal’ avoid cap and trade’s fate?:  “The last time congressional Democrats tried to pass major climate legislation, the effort barely cleared the House before hitting a wall in the Senate.  A decade later, its two main authors are back — this time in support of the “Green New Deal.” And both Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and former Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) have argued in recent days that a “Green New Deal” ultimately has a better chance of passage because of its potential to be more than just a piece of legislation.  What’s emerging is a two-track process. While activists build public support for the most ambitious tenets of the “Green New Deal,” lawmakers in Congress are advancing smaller proposals to keep up the momentum. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Can ‘Green New Deal’ avoid cap and trade’s fate?

In regional news and commentary today …

We must focus on addressing Klamath Basin resource problems through a ‘coalition of the doing’: “The Klamath Tribes acknowledge the efforts, facilitated by the Department of Interior, to provide opportunity to develop solutions to the Klamath Basin’s ongoing water and fisheries battles.  It is our understanding that recent discussions have been focused on basin-wide resource issues including fisheries, water quality, agriculture, and recreation by identifying actions that the local communities are able to implement and maintain. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  We must focus on addressing Klamath Basin resource problems through a ‘coalition of the doing’

North Coast’s Great Redwood Trail would convert decaying railway into 320-mile pathway: “The first steps toward making a more than 300-mile walking and cycling trail from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, crossing some of the North Coast’s most scenic, least-traveled landscapes are set to begin later this year.  Details such as when the Great Redwood Trail could be completed, how the most challenging stretches might be constructed and how much it all will cost remain big unknowns. But advocates of the ambitious plan to convert a decaying railway into a world-class pathway, potentially drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the region each year, say they’re confident it’s not a question of if it’ll happen, but when. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  North Coast’s Great Redwood Trail would convert decaying railway into 320-mile pathway

Marin coho see best spawning season in 12 years; record steelhead season forecast:  “Nearly 12 years have passed since this many coho salmon swam up the Lagunitas Creek watershed to spawn.  By the end of January, surveyors found 332 redds, or salmon egg nests, and about 664 adult coho in the watershed — the highest count since the winter of 2007-08. While this count is still well below the recovery target of 1,600 redds needed to bring the species out of its endangered classification, researchers are optimistic with the recent trend. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin coho see best spawning season in 12 years; record steelhead season forecast

Santa Barbara Audubon Society Talk Marks 50 Years of Protecting Wild Waterways: “Steve Evans, of California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild), will discuss the history and future of the state’s wild and scenic rivers at the next meeting of Santa Barbara Audubon Society, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27, in Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s Farrand Hall, 2559 Puesta del Sol.  The event is free and open to all. Doors open at 7 p.m.  The year 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the landmark law that has protected nearly 2,000 miles of rivers and streams in California. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  Santa Barbara Audubon Society Talk Marks 50 Years of Protecting Wild Waterways

Steel ring net construction scheduled to begin in the canyons above Montecito:  “The Partnership for Resilient Communities is still looking for more than a million dollars to bring steel ring nets to the canyons above Montecito that could slow or stop debris flows.  Construction is already moving forward, however, and could start in just 2-3 weeks.  Former Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Pat McElroy is the Executive Director of the Partnership, and says the nonprofit has raised about $4 million of the estimated $5.4 million needed for the project’s first round of construction. … ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Steel ring net construction scheduled to begin in the canyons above Montecito

‘Critical shutdown’ stops river water from reaching Lake Casitas:  “Runoff from the Ventura River gave Lake Casitas some much-needed relief over the past several weeks until about five feet of muck got in the way.  With no imported water, the lake depends on local rainfall and river runoff, including through a diversion canal above the lake.  In recent years, however, diverting water happened a lot less as a years-long drought dragged on. Rainstorms got fewer and much further between. Lake levels dropped and the local water supply shrank. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  ‘Critical shutdown’ stops river water from reaching Lake Casitas

Oxnard to spend $6 million on upgrading wastewater facilities at highest risk of failure:Work will soon begin on a $6 million effort to upgrade Oxnard’s wastewater treatment plant.  The City Council this week awarded a contract to the Livermore-based GSE Construction Co. to upgrade facilities that are at the highest risk of failure. The project includes repairing settling tanks known as primary clarifiers, bio towers that filter waste and other equipment. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Oxnard to spend $6 million on upgrading wastewater facilities at highest risk of failure

Commentary: Inland Agencies respond to claims of unsafe tap water: clean water for all through sound planning and investments:  The Board Presidents of four Inland Empire water districts write, “Supplying residents and businesses with clean, affordable, high quality water is priority one for water districts and cities throughout California. In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, water agencies and regional planners work to ensure customers have access to safe, clean and reliable water.  The Inland region takes advantage of water supplies from several sources, including local surface water and groundwater, imported water, and recycled water. Through state-of-the-art treatment plants, around-the-clock testing and innovative technologies, regional water suppliers such as Eastern Municipal Water District, Western Municipal Water District, Riverside Public Utilities, and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District provide our customers with the highest quality water available that exceeds all state standards. … ”  Continue reading at the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Inland Agencies respond to claims of unsafe tap water: clean water for all through sound planning and investments

Southern California:  Corps, counties meet to collaborate on flood-risk management, share best practices:  “Directors from flood-risk management agencies representing seven Southern California counties met for the Seven County Flood Control Directors meeting Jan. 31 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District headquarters in downtown LA.  The purpose of the meeting was to provide the Corps’ partners with the latest information about flood-risk management programs and operations, including emergency assistance procedures, regulatory programs and permitting, as well as address matters of concern and interest from each respective county. ... ”  Read more from the Army Corps of Engineers here:  Corps, counties meet to collaborate on flood-risk management, share best practices

“Pit of Infection’: A Border Town’s Crisis Has Nothing to Do With Migrants: For generations, residents of the Southern California border town of Calexico watched with trepidation as their river turned into a cesspool, contaminated by the booming human and industrial development on the other side of the border in Mexico.  Noxious sewage filled with feces, industrial chemicals and other raw waste regularly comes in through the New River, which flows from Mexico’s Mexicali Valley and through Calexico, leaving neighborhoods along the waterway engulfed in pungent fumes. And it’s not just the river: From above, smoke billows from Mexican factories, illicit medical burn sites and tire pits, fueling widespread asthma in the region. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  “Pit of Infection’: A Border Town’s Crisis Has Nothing to Do With Migrants

San Diego’s kelp forests keep a holdfast on coast, despite climate threats: “Off the coast of La Jolla, kelp beds shifted in the surf, their mossy gold fronds twisting down to thick stalks in an underwater grove.  This is California’s other forest, an aquatic counterpart to the state’s storied redwood groves. Like the old growth stands, giant kelp stretch from lush canopies to luminous understories, brimming with life. And like those ancient groves, they face an uncertain future in a changing world. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  San Diego’s kelp forests keep a holdfast on coast, despite climate threats

Along the Colorado River …

Commentary: Drought Contingency Plan isn’t an example of Arizona doing water right:  Robert Robb writes, “Around these parts, you frequently hear the claim that water is something that Arizona does right.  After the Legislature passed two measures related to the interstate Drought Contingency Plan, there was a hardy round of self-congratulations. Another example of Arizona doing water right. Comparisons to the landmark Groundwater Act of 1980 filled the air.  However, the state implementation plan for the DCP isn’t an example of Arizona doing water right. In fact, it sets some very bad precedents which will become obstacles to truly doing water right, as Arizona has to make due with less water from the Colorado River.  But first, some fed bashing. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Drought Contingency Plan isn’t an example of Arizona doing water right

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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 …

 

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for February 11, 2019

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Bureau of Reclamation awards $35.3 million to six water reclamation and reuse projects in CA; EPA announces new water quality trading policy memorandum; EPA announces 2018 annual environmental enforcement results

In announcements today …

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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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