DAILY DIGEST: Here’s how much snow has fallen in the Sierra this winter; Twin Delta tunnels oversight bill advances in Legislature; Study: Sea level rise in Bay Area is going to be much more destructive than we think; Reclamation drought plan would nix environmental reviews; and more …

In California water news today, Here’s how much snow has fallen in the Sierra this winter; Twin Delta tunnels oversight bill advances in Legislature; Sea Level Rise in Bay Area is Going to Be Much More Destructive Than We Think, Says USGS Study; Here’s what a ‘very likely’ sequel to California’s 1862 megastorm would look like; Reclamation drought plan would nix environmental reviews; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Here’s how much snow has fallen in the Sierra this winter:  “After a series of storms, multiple “atmospheric rivers” and Sierra deluges, Northern California can boast an impressive amount of snowfall this winter.  The National Weather Service said Tuesday that over the course of the season, more than 50 feet of snow has fallen at the highest elevations. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Here’s how much snow has fallen in the Sierra this winter

Dodd-Frazier–Grayson tunnel oversight bill sails through water committee:  “Legislation that would increase legislative oversight of the California twin-tunnels project has cleared the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.  The committee Tuesday passed the bill authored by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, on a 6-0 vote.  “We all know WaterFix is a project to build tunnels under the Delta to ship water to other parts of the state,” Dodd, who is co-chairman of the Legislative Delta Caucus, said in a statement released Wednesday by his office. “But beyond that, we in the Legislature and in nearby communicates know surprisingly little. And the implications of this project are enormous. My bill is about transparency and ensuring we’re all aware of what’s going on, how much it costs and how it will affect the economy and the environment.” … ”  Read more from The Daily Republic here:  Dodd-Frazier–Grayson tunnel oversight bill sails through water committee  SEE ALSO: Twin Delta tunnels oversight bill advances in Legislature, from the Woodland Daily Democrat

Bill aims to protect waterways, addresses ocean acidification:  “A bill introduced by a state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) that will address ocean acidification and water quality issues has been introduced and it’s being supported by a wide variety of stakeholders.  Senate Bill 69, authored by Wiener, is aimed at reducing land-based sources of pollutants, the restoration of wetlands and the sequestration of greenhouse gases and to protect wildlife and keystone species.  The bill specifically addresses timber harvest practices with an aim to limit the amount of sediment that flows into local rivers and streams and which then impacts the quality of water for bays and the ocean. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Bill aims to protect waterways, addresses ocean acidification

Sea Level Rise in Bay Area is Going to Be Much More Destructive Than We Think, Says USGS Study:  “The ocean is rocked by storms and its tides ebb with the moon. Waves eat away at its edges, rearranging the sand and bringing cliff-side structures crashing into the surf. It doesn’t behave like water in a bathtub.  But for simplicity’s sake (and because scientists are still learning about how climate change will melt glaciers), researchers have generally projected sea level rise as if the ocean will remain still and calm as it creeps up on crucial infrastructure and seaside neighborhoods. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Sea Level Rise in Bay Area is Going to Be Much More Destructive Than We Think, Says USGS Study

New US Geological Survey-led Research Helps California Coastal Managers Prioritize Planning and Mitigation Efforts Due to Rising Seas and Storms: “New U.S. Geological Survey-led coastal modeling research presents state, federal, and commercial entities with varying storm and sea level-rise scenarios to assist with planning for future infrastructure and mitigation needs along the California coast.   The research was published today in the journal Scientific Reports.   While most vulnerability analyses only look at flooding directly caused by sea level rise, this is the first study to examine a combination of the effects related to a changing climate on the California coast. The study modeled the impacts for a wide range of scenarios with sea-level rise increments from 0m to 2.0m as well as an extreme 5.0 m sea level rise case. Those SLR values were then combined with 4 different storm scenarios (average daily conditions, annual storm, 20-year storm, 100-year storm). … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  New US Geological Survey-led Research Helps California Coastal Managers Prioritize Planning and Mitigation Efforts Due to Rising Seas and Storms

Climate change will endanger 3 times more Californians than previous estimates, study says:  “Climate change through the rest of the 21st century could be much more threatening to coastal California than previously anticipated, based on newly published research led by the U.S. Geological Survey.  The new numbers are dramatic: Dynamic flooding in California could total more than $150 billion in property damage and impact about 600,000 people by the year 2100, according to research. When factoring in population trends, extreme scenarios could increase the total number of affected Californians to more than 3 million. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Climate change will endanger 3 times more Californians than previous estimates, study says

The rivers in our skies:  “In December 2016, meteorologist F. Martin Ralph was sitting in a restaurant in San Francisco. On the TV screen, the weather report was talking about a particular kind of weather formation called an atmospheric river, which was headed right for California.  Atmospheric rivers are exactly what they sound like—rivers of water vapor, flowing through the atmosphere. They move from the tropics toward the continents and poles, stretching to as much as 375 miles wide and carrying more water than multiple Mississippi Rivers. … ”  Read more from Sierra Magazine here:  The rivers in our skies

Here’s what a ‘very likely’ sequel to California’s 1862 megastorm would look like:  “Dale Cox isn’t your typical prophet of the apocalypse. But in his work at the U.S. Geological Survey, the bald, bearded, and technically-precise project manager spends an inordinate amount of time on catastrophe. Since 2006, Cox has worked with the interdisciplinary Science Application for Risk Reduction division in an effort to model hypothetical but entirely feasible disasters—and sell local governments on prevention methods.  The division’s best-known project to date is ARkStorm, a realistic scenario of a California-wide meteorological disaster that would cause floods, mudslides, and an estimated $725 billion in damage. While it sounds Biblical in nature (and you would need an ark to ride it out), the name stands for “atmospheric river 1,000,” an unusually intense version of the winding, water-dense currents that were pummeling California when Cox spoke with me from his office in Sacramento. … ”  Read more from Popular Science here:  Here’s what a ‘very likely’ sequel to California’s 1862 megastorm would look like

West Coast Waters Grow More Productive with Shift Toward Cooler Conditions:  “The ocean off the West Coast is shifting from several years of unusually warm conditions marked by the marine heat wave known as the “warm blob,” toward a cooler and more productive regime that may boost salmon returns and populations of other ocean predators, though it is too early to say for certain, a new NOAA Fisheries report says.  … The 2019 ecosystem status report for the California Current Ecosystem that was presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council this week notes overall increases in commercial fishery landings and revenues (with a few notable exceptions), as well as higher numbers and growth of California sea lions and some seabirds. … ”  Read more from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center here:  West Coast Waters Grow More Productive with Shift Toward Cooler Conditions

In regional news and commentary today …

New Klamath water plan threatens salmon, communities, says Regina Chichizola:  She writes, “On March 6, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) issued a public Environmental Assessment on the Operations Plan for the Klamath Irrigation Project. This plan is will lead to the new Klamath River Biological Opinion, or water plan. The BO controls flows in the Klamath River and may determine whether ESA listed coho salmon and Lost River suckers will survive another generation. It will definitely decide how many chinook salmon people have for harvest for Tribal members and commercial fishermen. … ”  Read more from the Redwood Times here:  New Klamath water plan threatens salmon, communities

Paradise Irrigation District sends water plan to state: “The water within the Paradise Irrigation District is clean.  The trouble is, the infrastructure within in the district may not be, according to Paradise Irrigation District’s Kevin Phillips.  Phillips, PID’s interim general manager said on Tuesday, the district has a plan to get a handle on where, how deep and widespread any contamination to its infrastructure is.  “The water is clean but some of the pipes are contaminated, that’s why (contamination) is so random,” he said. “One service line can be contaminated, but the one next door isn’t. If the water were contaminated, then it would be everywhere.” … ”  Read more from the Paradise Post here:  Paradise Irrigation District sends water plan to state

Satellite imagery shows swollen Russian River dumping into the Pacific Ocean: “Amid a winter marked by torrential rains, the Russian River is visible from space.  The National Weather Service shared a satellite image of the North Bay from March 11 and you can see the swollen, muddy-colored waterway snaking through a sea of greenery.  In the last week of February, the Russian River exceeded flood stage by more than 13 feet, triggering the most severe flooding in more than two decades. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Satellite imagery shows swollen Russian River dumping into the Pacific Ocean

Speier blasts Trump over Cargill decision: “U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier took to the House floor Tuesday to admonish the Trump administration for declaring the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City exempt from certain federal protections — a move that has reopened the door to development of the site.  “I’m outraged, but not surprised the political appointees in the EPA’s Washington office have decided that the Redwood City salt ponds in my district do not include waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act,” she said in a video of her floor speech. “[The EPA determination] is completely in line with this administration’s record of gutting environmental protections in the name of corporate interests.” ... ”  Read more from the San Mateo Daily Journal here:  Speier blasts Trump over Cargill decision

Storm challenges detailed at El Dorado Irrigation District meeting:  “It was “all hands on deck” in February for staff of the El Dorado Irrigation District as they battled with the elements.  Detailed at Monday’s meeting, the board of directors got a snapshot view of how the storms we experienced last month affected the district and the herculean efforts it took to keep the system running throughout the month. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here:  Storm challenges detailed at El Dorado Irrigation District meeting

Friant Water Authority: FWA: Strathmore flooding not the result of canal subsidence or overflow:  “The Friant Water Authority Tuesday morning issued the following statement regarding the flooding in Strathmore last weekend with the hope of clearing up some possible misunderstandings as to the cause of the flooding:  “The flooding experienced in a residential neighborhood in Strathmore near the Friant-Kern Canal over the weekend is not due to overtopping of the Friant-Kern Canal’s banks — which did not occur — and is also not related to subsidence problems or conveyance restrictions on the Friant-Kern Canal, but rather to drainage from Frazier Creek. The Friant-Kern Canal’s integrity has not been compromised. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Friant Water Authority: FWA: Strathmore flooding not the result of canal subsidence or overflow

Paso Robles groundwater committee seeks public input on supply projects, pumping fees:  “North County political leaders responsible for the health of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin are launching discussions about which multi-million-dollar water projects could help solve the aquifer’s woes—and how basin pumpers will pay for them.  In the future, the basin, which serves much of Paso Robles wine country, could start receiving water from the State Water Project, Lake Nacimiento, and/or the Salinas Dam. ... ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Paso Robles groundwater committee seeks public input on supply projects, pumping fees

Controversy over plans to triple Santa Barbara County’s oil production in Cat Canyon continues:  “A project offering to triple Santa Barbara County’s oil production continues stirring debate. Environmentalists believe a proposal to add dozens of oil wells in Cat Canyon could trigger the next oil spill and contaminate the Santa Maria Groundwater Basin, while supporters insist it would boost the local economy by adding jobs and tax revenue.  On Wednesday, supporters and opponents of the West Cat Canyon Revitalization Project spoke before the Planning Commission during an 8-hour meeting in Santa Maria. … ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Controversy over plans to triple Santa Barbara County’s oil production in Cat Canyon continues

Poseidon is a bad deal for Orange County, says Steve Bone:  He writes, “Why is Poseidon trying to hide the real costs of its water boondoggle?  Because it doesn’t make any sense for ratepayers. Consider: 1. The privately owned Poseidon water project would depend on a massive public handout of $400 million.  2. On top of that subsidy, Poseidon would charge ratepayers significantly more for its water than any of the alternative water supply projects recently evaluated by the independent Metropolitan Water District of Orange County (MWDOC). … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Poseidon is a bad deal for Orange County

Riverside County Supervisors boost funding for emergency flood control projects: “Riverside County supervisors on Tuesday, March 12 unanimously approved an additional $1.5 million in expenditures by the Flood Control & Water Conservation District for emergency projects to protect communities at risk of flooding along the eastern boundary of the burn-scarred Cleveland National Forest.  The Board of Supervisors, without comment, authorized district General Manager Jason Uhley to expand the budget for Murrieta-based construction firm KIP Inc. to $3.75 million, up from the current allotment of $2.25 million. … ”  Read more from the Valley News here:  Supervisors boost funding for emergency flood control projects

Salton Sea management effort lags as water continues to recede:  “Imperial Valley officials are reportedly close to finishing an important habitat restoration project at the Salton Sea.  The remake of Red Hill Bay was supposed to be a model for a management plan around the shrinking lake, but the effort is two years overdue and still months away from completion. The Salton Sea needs a management plan because water is evaporating faster than it’s being replaced, and that’s leaving large swaths of lakebed exposed to the elements.  “You got the Salton Sea probably a mile out there. Along the shoreline. You see the playa here,” said Bruce Wilcox, California Resources Agency Assistant Secretary of Salton Sea Policy. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  Salton Sea management effort lags as water continues to recede

Along the Colorado River …

Reclamation drought plan would nix environmental reviews: “As the Trump administration moves toward a drought contingency plan for the Colorado River, the Bureau of Reclamation is pushing legislation that would exempt its work from environmental reviews.  That includes potential impacts on what has emerged as a major sticking point in the drought negotiations: Southern California’s Salton Sea, a public health and ecological disaster.  Draft legislation obtained by E&E News would authorize the Interior secretary to implement the drought plan “notwithstanding any other provision of law” and “without delay.” … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Reclamation drought plan would nix environmental reviews

Money for farmers bill revived in the Arizona Senate:  “Rebuffed by a House panel, a Globe lawmaker convinced a Senate committee on Tuesday to give Pinal County farmers $20 million to help drill new wells to replace Colorado River water they will be giving up.  The 6-3 vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee came after Republican Rep. David Cook argued that the farmers were promised the cash as part of the drought contingency plan enacted by state lawmakers at the end of January. He wasn’t the only one to make that claim.  “The promise made during these negotiations was, ‘We will collectively give you money that you would not have to be able to produce water you otherwise would not produce by 2023,’ ” said Dan Jones, an attorney for several irrigation districts. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Capital Times here:  Money for farmers bill revived in the Arizona Senate

Here’s the problem with that March 19 drought contingency plan deadline:  Joanna Allhands writes, “Arizona has less than a week to weigh in on how the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation should step in to prop up Lake Mead, a significant water source for the state.  Yet the governor’s office says it hasn’t started preparing comments. And that appears to be the stance every other Colorado River basin state is taking: Don’t think about making comments. Don’t talk about making comments. Comments are just a myth.  Why such reluctance to weigh in on something that could have such deep, long-term implications for each state? ... ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Here’s the problem with that March 19 drought contingency plan deadline

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Sen. Dodd’s twin tunnels oversight bill advances; State Water Board announces investigation and sampling of potential sources of PFAS; Water rights compliance checklist for 2019

BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: Smelt in Hot Water: Is Thermal Stress the Final Blow for Delta Smelt?

SCIENCE NEWS: New research on sea level rise along California coast; A long view of California’s climate, Delta Social Science Task Force meeting; Pi me a river; Wetlands and carbon storage; and more …

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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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