DAILY DIGEST: Two ranches set out to see if ag and conservation can co-exist facing a water-scarce future; Water releases increase at Lake Shasta, Folsom Lake ahead of storms; CA considers environmental laws on single-use plastics, climate change, wastewater reuse and more; and more …

In California water news today, Water rights (and wrongs): Two ranches set out to see if agriculture and conservation can co-exist facing a water-scarce future; Water Releases To Increase At Lake Shasta, Folsom Lake Ahead Of Pending Storms; California considers environmental laws on single-use plastics, climate change, wastewater reuse and more; California's ‘Big One' could be a volcanic eruption; Cannabis may hinder California's environmental goals; Californians drive energy and environment debate; Trump's war on California; and more …

In the news today …

Water rights (and wrongs): Two ranches set out to see if agriculture and conservation can co-exist facing a water-scarce future: It’s October and the land is thirsty. Shasta Big Springs Ranch is nestled below hillsides studded with scrubby stunted juniper trees. Snow-capped Mount Shasta towers above, dominating the skyline from nearly anywhere here in Northern California’s Siskiyou County. An ice-cold creek gurgles up from lava tube springs deep underground and cuts through the pastures of what was once a verdant ranch.  Now, Shasta Big Springs Ranch is dry, except for a ribbon of silvery thistles along the riverbank. Big Springs used to be a source of water for salmon habitat and agricultural irrigation. Today, it’s a source and symbol of the polarizing divide between farmers and conservationists facing an increasingly water-scarce future. … ”  Read more from The Grist here:  Water rights (and wrongs)

Water Releases To Increase At Lake Shasta, Folsom Lake Ahead Of Pending Storms:  “With four to 10 inches of rain in the forecast, operators at Northern California dams are opening the gates.  The federal Bureau of Reclamation says Lake Shasta and Folsom Lake are above the levels the agency wants with heavy rains on the way.  “Shasta Reservoir is approaching 3.5 million acre feet or about 77 percent full. Folsom is around 606,000 acre feet or about 62 percent full,” said bureau spokesman Todd Plain. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Water Releases To Increase At Lake Shasta, Folsom Lake Ahead Of Pending Storms

California considers environmental laws on single-use plastics, climate change, wastewater reuse and more:  “With statewide restrictions on single-use plastic bags and plastic straws in place, state lawmakers this year will consider a sweeping measure that would force a major reduction of all other single-use plastics.  Meanwhile, a comprehensive bill addressing ocean concerns —  with language still being developed — will call for improving the quality of ocean water and wetlands, better salmon habitats, and rules that would protect whales from being hit by ships. “Those will be the major bills for the environmentalists,” said Dan Jacobson, Sacramento lobbyist of Environment California. … ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here: California considers environmental laws on single-use plastics, climate change, wastewater reuse and more

California's ‘Big One' could be a volcanic eruption:  “California’s next ‘big one’ may not be an earthquake. According to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey, a future volcanic eruption is not only inevitable, hundreds of thousands of people are in harm’s way.  The 50-page report, California’s Exposure to Volcanic Hazards, released Monday, assigns threat levels to eight volcanoes in California — moderate, high, and very high. Most of them are located in the northern and central part of the state. ... ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area here:  California’s ‘Big One’ could be a volcanic eruption

Cannabis may hinder California's environmental goals:  “California's recycling department is tackling the state's organic waste buildup in landfills one food scrap, tree branch and cannabis leaf at a time.  Since cannabis waste – including leaves, trim, stalks, stems and root balls – was confirmed as organic instead of hazardous waste in the state's recently approved industry regulations, cannabis greens are a component of California's organic waste pileup – and subject to the state's efforts since 2014 to cut its volume in landfills by 50 percent by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025.  “Because (cannabis) has been illegal and in this gray area, people have a hard time understanding how much biomass is there,” says Isaac Nichelson, CEO of Circular Systems, a Los Angeles-based company that's working to reduce organic waste. … ”  Read more from US News and World Report here:  Cannabis may hinder California’s environmental goals

Californians drive energy and environment debate:  “The new House of Representatives is rolling out its game plan and strategies for the next two years, and it's clear which state holds the most clout: California.  The Golden State sent 46 Democrats to the House after flipping seven Republican-held seats in November. California now has more Democrats in the lower chamber than the entire congressional delegations of Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Washington combined.  On top of that, the leaders of both political parties in the House call California home. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) may be speaker and second in line to the presidency, but her home base is San Francisco. Rep. Kevin McCarthy leads the GOP and represents Bakersfield in the Central Valley. ... ” Read more from E&E News here:  Californians drive energy and environment debate

Researchers provide curriculum plan – separating scientific chaff from wheat:  “Put a former math and science teacher together with a publishing house founder who has written award-winning science-oriented materials for youths – both individuals bringing to the table a strong interest in “STEM” issues …  And the outcome can be, and in this case is, free, online curriculum materials for teachers to use in “inoculating” students against various forms of science misinformation.  “If people are educated about misleading argumentation techniques,” Andy Zucker and Penny Noyce say in describing their initiative, “they are better able to resist misinformation based on misleading arguments.” … ”  Read more from Yale's Climate Connections here:  Researchers provide curriculum plan – separating scientific chaff from wheat

Trump's war on California: “President Donald Trump loves bashing California—its “ridiculous” sanctuary cities, its “gross mismanagement” of its forests, even the “disgusting” streets of San Francisco. He also enjoys slagging California liberals, like House Intelligence Committee Chair “Liddle” Adam Schiff, House Financial Services Committee Chair “Low IQ” Maxine Waters, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who “has behaved so irrationally & gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat.” On Wednesday, after Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom decided to scale back the state’s troubled high-speed rail project, the president gleefully mocked it as a green fiasco: “Send the Federal Government back the Billions of Dollars WASTED!” … But while California has plenty of problems, from worsening wildfires to overpriced housing to that troubled bullet-train project that became the latest target of presidential mockery, there’s one serious hitch in the GOP plan to make California a symbol of Democratic dysfunction and socialistic stagnation: It’s basically thriving. … ”  Read more from Politico here:  Trump’s war on California

In regional news and commentary today …

Hydrilla eradicated from Shasta County:  “The California Department of Food and Agriculture, working in cooperation with the Shasta County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, has eradicated two hydrilla infestations within the cities of Redding and Anderson, ending a quarantine that began on July 18, 1996.  Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic weed, was last detected in Shasta County in 2006.  CDFA and Shasta County used integrated pest management methods to eradicate these infestations, with the last treatment in 2011.  The affected water systems had been surveyed bi-annually through 2017, with zero hydrilla finds. ... ”  Read more from Lake County News here:  Hydrilla eradicated from Shasta County

California studying cannabis impacts in Mattole River watershed: The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is researching how cannabis cultivators who divert water from Mattole River streams might be impacting the river’s fish and insect populations, though the head of a restoration organization says far more than cannabis is affecting the water.  By fall 2019, the researchers will publish findings on the full environmental effects of cannabis grows. While the research is intended to “support efforts to establish” sustainable cultivation levels, the study’s main focus is analysis, said department representative Janice Mackey. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  California studying cannabis impacts in Mattole River watershed

Potent Atmospheric River Raises Mudslide, Flood Concerns In North Bay:  “An atmospheric river streaming in from north of Hawaii, packing torrential rain, gusty winds and blinding snowstorms, slammed into Northern California Monday, bringing with it the threat of flash flooding and mudslides across the Bay Area.  The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the entire Bay Area ending late Tuesday night. Over the next 48 hours, NWS forecasters warned that rainfall totals in the North Bay could range from 4-to-6 inches near the coast and in the valleys and 6-to-12 inches in the hills and mountains. … ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area here:  Potent Atmospheric River Raises Mudslide, Flood Concerns In North Bay

Newark wetlands dumper sentenced to prison:  “A judge sentenced a self-described “dirt broker” convicted last week of illegal dumping in federally protected San Francisco Bay wetlands to thirty months in prison, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman said Monday.  On Thursday, a jury convicted Carmel resident James Lucero on three counts of unpermitted filling of wetlands and tributaries, violating the Federal Clean Water Act.  Evidence in a district court case showed that Lucero charged contractors and trucking companies for open space to dump construction debris and fill material. ... ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Newark wetlands dumper sentenced to prison

Spillway used at New Bullards Bar with rain in the forecast:  “The Yuba River is expected to rise approximately 14 feet and reach monitor stage by Wednesday morning as the Yuba Water Agency began spilling water from New Bullards Bar Dam on Monday afternoon.  “We are releasing water to make sure we are in compliance with the Army Corps of Engineers flood control protocol regarding the amount of water in the reservoir, and to ensure we have plenty of room in the reservoir to capture the runoff expected in the future storms and the spring snow runoff, as well,” said DeDe Cordell, communications manager for the water agency. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Spillway used at New Bullards Bar with rain in the forecast

Yuba County foothills community gets a second water tower:  “A second water tower in a Yuba County foothills subdivision has residents gushing.  Gold Village, which was plagued for years with water and sewer problems, has been largely remedied for the more than 80 homes off Hammonton-Smartsvile Road northeast of Beale Air Force Base.  “The county took care of it and everything is fine now,” said resident Daryl Davis. “The septic system works fine since they fixed it and they recently put up a second water tank.” … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Yuba County foothills community gets a second water tower

Fresno and Clovis plan on storing as much water as they can from the Fresno Irrigation District: “The Fresno Irrigation District says we are over 140% of average in the Kings County and San Joaquin river watersheds.  Bill Stretch is the General Manager for Fresno Irrigation District. He says Fresno and Clovis are taking water from the irrigation district early in the year.  “If we don't use it there is a chance that we exceed our storage and our reservoirs and then that would be lost to the area,” says Stretch.  According to Stretch if the storms continue there could be a chance that reservoirs will be forced to release excess snow melt. ... ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here:  Fresno and Clovis plan on storing as much water as they can from the Fresno Irrigation District

How much rain has San Luis Obispo gotten this season? Hint: It’s more than average: “San Luis Obispo County has had a wetter winter than average — and some areas have gotten way more rain than normal — but this year’s weather isn’t likely to set records.  As of Thursday, all regions of the county have received more precipitation than usual during this year’s rain season, which began on July 1 and will end on June 30.  Some areas have gotten up to 10 inches more rain to date than average, according to information compiled by John Lindsey, a PG&E meteorologist. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: How much rain has San Luis Obispo gotten this season? Hint: It’s more than average

Water on Kern River on city's west side is not ‘river water':  “Bakersfield residents may have noticed more than a trickle of water in the city's often-dry riverbed, especially near Coffee Road.  And with recent rains and impressive amounts of snow in the Kern County mountains and beyond, it doesn't seem far-fetched to assume the urban Kern River is simply benefiting from some necessary releases from Isabella Dam.  But that assumption would be wrong. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Water on Kern River on city’s west side is not ‘river water’

Jack Baylis on Maximizing Southern California’s Water Infrastructure in a Changing Climate:  TPR Interview:  “Question: California has seen sizable rainfall this winter, with Downtown Los Angeles receiving 12.91 inches of rain since October alone—167 percent above average for this time of year. How much of this rain did we actually capture to benefit Southern California?  Jack Baylis: This year is what we call a “wet year.” If you look at the last 100 years of rainfall in Los Angeles, you’ll see that we average 10-14 inches a year, and then every four to six years, we have one or two wet years like this one, where we get 20-40 inches or more.  Now, as to the benefit: We are capturing as much as we usually do during our wet years, including infiltration into our groundwater basins, but we’re not capturing all we could—we’re far short, in fact. … ”  Read more from The Planning Report here:  Jack Baylis on Maximizing Southern California’s Water Infrastructure in a Changing Climate

Orange County: Sand ‘cubes' will be added to crumbling Capo Beach in attempt to halt erosion: Crumbling Capistrano Beach is getting new sand.  But don’t pack the beach towels just yet — the “sand cubes” won’t be very comfortable to lay on.  In an attempt to protect an area that has been hammered the past few years with big swells, high tides and rising sea levels, an estimated 1,000 cubic yards — or 2.7 million pounds — of sand will be placed along a stretch of the small Dana Point beach, according to Shannon Widor, strategic communications officer for OC Public Works. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Orange County: Sand ‘cubes’ will be added to crumbling Capo Beach in attempt to halt erosion

San Diego: Water transfer between reservoirs set to generate cost savings for South Bay customers:  “The water gushed from a valve near the base of the Loveland Reservoir’s dam at 146,300 gallons per minute, cascading into the Sweetwater River below.  The impressive sight near Alpine — which occurred, purposely, at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 15 — marked the start of an ongoing transfer of water from the Loveland Reservoir to the Sweetwater Reservoir, where the water will be treated by the Sweetwater Authority and later supplied to the water agency’s customers in National City, Chula Vista and Bonita. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: Water transfer between reservoirs set to generate cost savings for South Bay customers

Along the Colorado River …

California district stalls West drought plan over lake money:A California irrigation district with the highest-priority rights to Colorado River water is using its power to demand federal funds to restore the state's largest lake, hoping to capitalize on one of its best opportunities to tackle a long-standing environmental and human health hazard.  The Imperial Irrigation District wants $200 million for the Salton Sea, a massive, briny lake in the desert southeast of Los Angeles created when the Colorado River breached a dike in 1905 and flooded a dry lake bed. The money would help create habitat for migratory birds and suppress dust in communities with high rates of asthma and respiratory illnesses. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  California district stalls West drought plan over lake money:

Committee kills bill to fund groundwater for Pinal County farms:  “A House panel quashed a bid Monday by Pinal County farmers to get the state funds they say they need to produce the extra water needed for the drought contingency plan.  HB 2590 would have advanced $20 million to irrigation districts to drill new wells and construct canals designed to deliver an additional 70,000 acre feet of water a year to the farms. That would partly make up the reduction in the amount of Colorado River water that is now delivered to the farms.  And Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, said the plan is for the money to be paid back once the districts get an anticipated grant from the federal government. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Capitol Times here:  Committee kills bill to fund groundwater for Pinal County farms

And lastly …

Life underwater: Award-winning photos illuminate world beneath the sea's surface:  “It takes a sharp lens, a good eye and a heap of gumption to win the title of Underwater Photographer of the Year.  The competition, which began in the United Kingdom over five decades ago, bestowed this year's honor upon British photographer Richard Barnden for his photograph titled “The Gauntlet.”  … ”  Read more and view pictures from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Life underwater: Award-winning photos illuminate world beneath the sea’s surface

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP, the question edition: December Bay-Delta agreements only smoke and mirrors?; Delta tunnel compromise?; Fallow me to water?; Is Gavin Newsom California’s ‘Denier in Chief?’; Why does the Lower Basin need the Drought Contingency Plan? and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Hydrilla eradicated from Shasta County; Department of Fish and Wildlife conducts watershed study in Humboldt County

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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