DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Voluntary agreements shared with State Water Board. Will they replace disputed flow plan?; Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done; Breaking impasse, feds will include Salton Sea in seven-state drought plan, IID says; and more …

Clark Range; Photo by Verna Jigour

In California water news this weekend, Voluntary agreements shared with State Water Board. Will they replace disputed flow plan?; Hurtado introduces legislation to fix Friant-Kern canal; Area congressmen join together to provide federal support for proposed Sites Reservoir; Legislation would add local reps to Delta Stewardship Council; How atmospheric river storms tamed California’s drought; Snow in Forecast for a 2,500-Mile Path From California to Maine; Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done; Breaking impasse, feds will include Salton Sea in seven-state drought plan, IID says; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Voluntary agreements shared with State Water Board. Will they replace disputed flow plan?The top state agencies that manage water and wildlife resources in California submitted a package of voluntary agreements with water districts to the State Water Resources Control Board on Friday, as an alternative to controversial flow requirements approved in December for the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers.  The agreements, hammered out in the waning hours of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and favored by Gov. Gavin Newsom, combine increased river flows with a larger set of tools for restoring salmon in rivers that feed into the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Voluntary agreements shared with State Water Board. Will they replace disputed flow plan?

Modesto Irrigation District Offers Agreement Package in Lieu of Unimpaired Flows:  “Today, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Department of Water Resources submitted a package of voluntary agreements to the State Water Resources Control Board. The package – supported by the Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District, City and County of San Francisco and more than 40 other water agencies, resource agencies and non-governmental environmental groups – is being offered as an alternative to the unimpaired flow paradigm adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board last December. … ”  Read more from Cal Ag Today here:  Modesto Irrigation District Offers Agreement Package in Lieu of Unimpaired Flows

Hurtado introduces legislation to fix Friant-Kern canal:  “Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) along with principal co-authors Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), Assemblymember Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) and Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), today announced the introduction of Senate Bill 559.  The bipartisan-supported legislation would secure California’s water supply by investing $400 million in general funds towards the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the Central Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Hurtado introduces legislation to fix Friant-Kern canal

Hurtado introduces $400 million bill to fix Friant-Kern Canal: “A crowd of over 30 people gathered at the corner of Road 208 and Avenue 96 near Terra Bella Friday morning to listen to State Senator Melissa Hurtado speak about Senate Bill 559, a bipartisan piece of legislation that could bring $400 million to repair the Friant-Kern Canal.  Senator Hurtado (D-Sanger), representing the 14th Senate District in California, along with principal co-authors Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), Assemblymember Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), and Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), announced the introduction of the bill. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Hurtado introduces $400 million bill to fix Friant-Kern Canal

Area congressmen join together to provide federal support for proposed Sites Reservoir:  “North State congressmen from both sides of the political aisle announced a plan Thursday to help provide federal support for the construction of the proposed Sites Reservoir and related water infrastructure in Colusa and Glenn counties.  The Sites Reservoir Project Act, introduced by Congressmen Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, would direct the Bureau of Reclamation to complete a necessary feasibility study for the Sites project and, if deemed feasible, authorize additional funding and technical support. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Area congressmen join together to provide federal support for proposed Sites Reservoir

Legislation would add local reps to Delta Stewardship Council:  “Four new voting members, each appointed by representatives of the Delta region, would be added to the Delta Stewardship Council if a bill authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier becomes law.  “My goal is to ensure appropriate representation for Delta communities in matters that come before the Stewardship Council for decisions,” said Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, in a press release from his office. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Legislation would add local reps to Delta Stewardship Council

How atmospheric river storms tamed California’s drought:  “California’s unusually wet and cold winter has caused epic snow, serious flooding and a renewed interest in umbrellas and portable heaters.  But the atmospheric river storms have also put a huge dent in the state’s water woes — at least for now.  It’s common in a wet winter, though not a guarantee. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  How atmospheric river storms tamed California’s drought

Snow in Forecast for a 2,500-Mile Path From California to Maine:  “Spring may be within sight, but as the calendar flipped to March, forecasters on Friday predicted a walloping storm this weekend, with snow and icy rain expected to coat a 2,500-mile path from Northern California to southern Maine. Rain was also forecast to drench Southern California and much of the South, from Texas to Virginia.  “I think everybody’s just kind of annoyed by it,” said Kent Flake, the commissioner of streets in St. Louis, where crews began treating the roads on Friday morning ahead of an expected six inches of snow. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Snow in Forecast for a 2,500-Mile Path From California to Maine

People in the news …

Stapleton Celebrated for Decades of Leadership in San Diego Region: “State and federal dignitaries praised retiring San Diego County Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton today for decades of public service and her achievements in securing safe and reliable water supplies for the region.  Stapleton announced her retirement from the Water Authority earlier this month, prompting several commendations during the Water Authority Board of Directors regular February meeting.  California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said in a letter that she valued Stapleton’s expertise on water issues. … ” Read more from the Water News Network here:  Stapleton Celebrated for Decades of Leadership in San Diego Region

Sunday podcast …

The Golden Triangle: Stephen Baker writes, “We just seem to get it both ways. Receiving too much water on not receiving enough each bring their benefits and difficulties. This year’s 153% snow pack and the accompanied big gulp that has filled up reservoirs across California is a good thing. But seeing that the atmospheric storms are likely to continue into March brings pause. I wonder how much of a good thing this really is. Today, we visit with Dr. Laurie Johnson. Her message includes the low probability, atmospheric river 1000 storm scenario that poses some very introspective questions on scenario planning that affect the entire state. What is the golden triangle and how does this describe flood recovery? Are we ready?

Stephen J. Baker, producer of Operation Unite’s Living Water® radio series, “Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing”, has completed 258 episodes from around the world since 2006. Each story is a real circumstance of one water relationship that exists in the world.  Contact Operation Unite® if you would like your organization’s water relationship to be shared with the masses.  Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems; Operation Unite®; stevebaker@operationunite.co; 530-263-1007

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Storms’ aftermath: Huge brush piles and rising water: “Saturday was a storm cleanup day for those taking trailer and truck loads of broken tree limbs and brush to a drop-off in the Shasta Gateway Industrial Park in Shasta Lake.  Residents had been hauling and unloading the tree debris that fell ever since the Redding area’s mid-February snowstorm, creating huge piles at the industrial park. Shasta Lake officials planned to close the site at the end of the day Saturday.  Mark Wagner, the swim coach for Shasta College and the Redding Swim Team, was out Saturday with his children dropping off broken tree limbs from the storm. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here:  Storms’ aftermath: Huge brush piles and rising water

Restoration project improves salmon habitat in Mendocino County creek:  “A four-year restoration project on James Creek in Mendocino County has led to “the return of spawning coho salmon to the upper reaches of a tributary of Big River,” the Mendocino Land Trust announced.  The project was a collaboration between the Land Trust, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Jackson Demonstration State Forest, and “initial post-restoration informal surveying has already shown increased coho salmon spawning activity, demonstrated by several coho salmon nests (known as redds) and coho salmon carcasses upstream from the restoration site,” the Land Trust explains. … ” Read more from the Ukiah Daily News here:  Restoration project improves salmon habitat in Mendocino County creek

Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done:  “Tetanus shot. Bleach. Protective gloves. Power washers.  R3 Hotel owner Jeff Bridges has the drill down.  So even after 8½ feet of floodwater inundated his Guerneville hotel, bar and restaurant last week, Bridges viewed it as a problem with a solution well in hand.  “This will be my fourth redo at the Triple R, so I just take it in stride,” said Bridges, who started at the downtown resort four major floods ago and bought the place with his partner in 2011. “It will be a total gut job and renovation. But it will reopen bigger, better and more sparkly than before.” … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done

Flooded but unfazed: Guerneville stands tall as muddy waters slowly ebb:  “Dawn broke under bright blue skies Thursday in Guerneville, and with it came hope that the soggy ordeal might soon be over for the nearly 2,000 people still stranded on day two of the Russian River flood.  But it won’t come fast. And it won’t be cheap.  The brown lake of floodwater that transformed downtown into a 300-yard island of dry land had receded a bit by noon, but it looked like the townsfolk will still be marooned until late Friday. Or even Saturday. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Flooded but unfazed: Guerneville stands tall as muddy waters slowly ebb

Huge cleanup awaits along Russian River as high toll of flooding emerges:  “Russian River floodwaters receded from all but the lowest-lying areas Friday, pulling the river’s watery curtain out of homes and away from most surface streets, giving residents and merchants a clearer look at the extensive damage and sprawling cleanup to come.  Norma Pichardo, 38, climbed the mud-slickened spiral staircase leading to her family’s second-floor apartment on Sycamore Court. Across the courtyard, the torrent of runoff seemed to have moved through the first floor garage of Fife Creek Commons without causing major damage. Not so among about a half-dozen nearby homes like hers clustered on lower land. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Huge cleanup awaits along Russian River as high toll of flooding emerges

$73,000 grant supports watershed protection and reduced wildland fire danger on FRC campus:  “Feather River College is working on a unique joint effort to reduce wildland fire danger on campus and improve watershed health in support of Spanish Creek and the Upper Feather River Watershed.  The project is currently planning best options to hand-thin a 100-acre timbered portion of campus, construct 2 miles of trails that can serve as permanent fire lines and propose under-burning on 20 acres.  The trails would also provide educational and recreational opportunities for the public and campus and community. … ”  Read more from the Plumas County News here:  $73,000 grant supports watershed protection and reduced wildland fire danger on FRC campus

Bay Area: Peninsula cities seek more oversight on water projects:  “It’s a treasure that is all too easy for Palo Alto to take for granted — an abundant supply of pristine water that flows from the Sierra Nevada snowpacks and passes through the Hetch Hetchy system before splashing out of local showers and faucets.  But while the water is famously clear, the process by which it gets here can be a bit opaque. Palo Alto is one of 25 cities that belong to the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA), which manages the member cities’ supply agreement with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. … ”  Read more from Palo Alto Online here:  Bay Area: Peninsula cities seek more oversight on water projects

Relicensing, litigation and potential agreements moving forward for TID:  “Lawsuits, relicensing and settlements surrounding the local water supply are moving along at a swift pace, and on Tuesday, the Turlock Irrigation District invited the community to its Board of Directors meeting for an update on the topics.  TID Director of Water Resources and Regulatory Affairs Steve Boyd provided farmers and other water stakeholders in attendance with a report that brought them up to speed on the final license application for Don Pedro, which first began eight years ago, and the ongoing legal battle surrounding the State Water Resources Control Board’s decision to implement 40 percent unimpaired flows along the San Joaquin River and its tributaries for the betterment of fish. He also explained how the two processes are intertwined and now beginning to come together. ... ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here: Relicensing, litigation and potential agreements moving forward for TID

Trial date set in Apple Valley water lawsuit:  “A trial date has been set for Apple Valley’s eminent domain lawsuit against Liberty Utilities, a case that will determine whether the town will win the right to take the company’s water system.  Earlier this month, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez set the trial for 10 a.m. Sept. 30, according to court records. Liberty officials, who declined to comment for this story, have indicated the trial could take as many as 30 court days.  The town filed its complaint in early January 2016. During the trial, Alvarez will decide whether the town’s acquisition of Liberty’s water system is a more necessary use to the public. … ”  Read more from the Desert Dispatch here:  Trial date set in Apple Valley water lawsuit

Court Tentatively Rules Moulton Niguel is Obligated to Pay its Share of Treatment Facility Improvements:  “A preliminary court ruling issued this week places Moulton Niguel Water District on the hook for roughly $2 million in delinquent payments related to capital improvement and maintenance costs for a wastewater treatment facility at Aliso Creek.  The Riverside County Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 26, tentatively ruled that Moulton Niguel is responsible for paying its share of the bills toward the Coast Treatment Plant’s upkeep in Laguna Niguel until February 2030.  Moulton Niguel “is legally obligated to pay its proportional share of all costs, including capital costs and items, necessary to operate and maintain the Coastal Treatment Plant,” the tentative ruling states. … ”  Read more from the Capistrano Dispatch here:  Court Tentatively Rules Moulton Niguel is Obligated to Pay its Share of Treatment Facility Improvements

Oceanside takes step toward water independence with $2.6 million grant: “Oceanside announced it will receive a $2.6 million federal grant to build two more of the wells that the city has used for more than 20 years to supply a portion of its drinking water.  The wells pump brackish water from what’s called the Mission Basin, an area near the airport, the old swap meet property and the San Luis Rey River. The city filters the water using the same reverse osmosis process used on a much larger scale in Carlsbad to desalinate seawater.  Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss called the grant a “great opportunity” and “another step toward Oceanside’s water independence.” … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Oceanside takes step toward water independence with $2.6 million grant

Along the Colorado River …

Breaking impasse, feds will include Salton Sea in seven-state drought plan, IID says:  “There may be hope for finalizing a sweeping Colorado River drought contingency plan after all. Imperial Irrigation District officials announced at a special board meeting late Friday that the federal Bureau of Reclamation has agreed to their condition that the drought package include restoration of the Salton Sea.  They said federal officials will write a strong letter of support backing IID’s requests for $200 million in Farm Bill funding for wetlands projects around the shrinking sea, which is California’s largest inland water body. The projects are aimed at keeping down dust along the shorelines and salvaging deteriorating habitat for fish and birds.  ... ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Breaking impasse, feds will include Salton Sea in seven-state drought plan, IID says

We can plan for a ‘leaner’ Colorado River as we save the Salton Sea, says Ted Kowalski:  He writes, “Over the past five years, the seven Colorado River Basin states have been working to develop a series of drought contingency plans (DCPs) to safeguard water levels at Lake Mead. Responding to a 19-year drought, leaders throughout the basin are at last close to finalizing the agreements necessary to bolster conservation and safeguard water levels on the river.  The DCPs will ensure that the Colorado River basin can balance water supplies and demands in a way that supports a healthy river and environment. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  We can plan for a ‘leaner’ Colorado River as we save the Salton Sea

‘Water Question’ series looks at how long Colorado River can sustain us:  “The question comes up with every dire media report or bleak new forecast about the Colorado River: How much longer can Nevada’s largest community continue to rely on a single source of water to power its prosperity?  It’s an important question, maybe the most important.  No Southwestern state gets less water from the river than Nevada.  No major city depends on that water more than Las Vegas.  But the Colorado is in trouble. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  ‘Water Question’ series looks at how long Colorado River can sustain us

As Arizona nears completion of Colorado River plan, deal remains unfinished in California:  “Water poured into an artificial wetland next to the Gila River near Sacaton as Arizona’s leading proponents of a Colorado River drought plan celebrated the state’s progress in moving toward a deal.  Leaders of the Gila River Indian Community touted the restoration project as an example of putting water back into a river that has was sucked dry over the years, and a symbolic step in promoting sustainable water management in the state. The inauguration ceremony on the reservation featured traditional singing by men and boys who shook gourd rattles in unison. ... ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  As Arizona nears completion of Colorado River plan, deal remains unfinished in California

Balancing the access to groundwater for Pinal County community: “For generations, the Gila River ran mostly under the Gila River Indian Community. Now, along one small stretch of desert, it glistens in the sun marking the site of a newly constructed aquifer recharge system which allows the community to capture groundwater, store it for later use, and most importantly lessen the Gila’s reliance on Colorado River water.  The conservation project is considered an important part of Arizona’s drought contingency plan. … ”  Read more from ABC 15 here:  Balancing the access to groundwater for Pinal County community

Is the recent drought on the Colorado River the new normal?  ““What is the current understanding of the changing streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin (UCRB) and the drivers of this change?” This question was the focus of a 2-day workshop hosted by the Physical Sciences Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory, which brought together experts in global and regional climate modeling, hydrologic modeling and theory, and observational analysis. The timing of this workshop is opportune. Water year 2018 saw inflow into Lake Powell, a key indicator of the hydrology of the basin, ranking among the lowest in the historical record. … ”  Read more from EOS here:  Is the recent drought on the Colorado River the new normal? 

Precipitation watch …

From NWS Sacramento:  “A brief break is expected Monday before a wetter multi-day system begins Tuesday, becoming heavier on Wednesday. Given recent wet conditions, there will be a threat for urban, small stream, and river flooding.”

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

THIS JUST IN … Voluntary Agreements Progressing to Improve Habitat and Flow in the Delta and Key Watersheds

THIS JUST IN … Department of Water Resources requests 60 day stay in Cal Water Fix hearings at the State Water Board

This weekend’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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

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