DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Drought is over … or not … ; Instagram-hungry crowds are destroying the super bloom; Everything that’s in the Dingell Act; Enviro group wants Scott Dam on Eel River removed; Wet winter likely to keep Colorado River out of shortage next year; and more …

In California water news this weekend, California’s Drought Is Over. What Will That Mean for Water Use?; Drought, schmrought, water experts already fret the next dry year and still preach conservation; Instagram-hungry crowds are destroying the super bloom; Everything that’s in the Dingell Act; State environmental group wants old Scott Dam on Eel River removed; Solano water agency ‘mussels’ up against Berryessa infestation; New Contra Costa Canal ownership change could mean more safety upgrades; Wet winter likely to keep Colorado River out of shortage next year; and more …

In the news this weekend …

California’s Drought Is Over. What Will That Mean for Water Use?  “For the first time in eight years, California is drought-free. According to the United States Drought Monitor, which uses data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parts of the most northern and southern counties are still “abnormally dry,” but the state has no drought conditions to show.  Could the drought’s end mark the return of practices such as excessive lawn-watering? Not necessarily. California’s water conservation has seen ups and downs in recent years: When then-Governor Jerry Brown suspended the drought emergency in 2017, Californians continued to conserve (although their water use later rebounded.) ... ”  Read more from Pacific Standard here:  California’s Drought Is Over. What Will That Mean for Water Use?

Drought, schmrought, water experts already fret the next dry year and still preach conservationYou might think every water manager in the Golden State is sleeping soundly these days.  L.A. rainfall is 158 percent of average. Ten of the 12 state reservoirs are filled to more than 100 percent of their historical average for mid-March — before the all-important snowpack which stands at 152 percent of normal has melted.  For the first time in 376 consecutive weeks, not 1 acre of California is in drought, according to new data released Thursday by The National Drought Mitigation Center, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Nebraska. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star News here:  Drought, schmrought, water experts already fret the next dry year and still preach conservation

Instagram-hungry crowds are destroying the super bloom:  “In the hills of Lake Elsinore, children carried drooping apricot-colored poppies while panting dogs ran alongside them, their paws tainted orange.  Girls braided flowers into their hair and nature photographers juggled tripods and cameras, waiting for the lighting to be just right in Walker Canyon.  Throngs of visitors are trooping to the fields in Riverside County and elsewhere as Southern California revels in a super bloom of wildflowers, thanks to an unusually wet winter. … ” Read more from the LA Times here:  Instagram-hungry crowds are destroying the super bloom

Everything that’s in the Dingell Act: “President Trump just signed into law what’s now called the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, the single most imporant and wide-reaching public lands legislation package since the 1970s. This is an extraordinary achievement in today’s political environment, but what exactly does the Dingell Act do? Here’s your cheat sheet to the law’s 170 separate provisions. … ”  Read more from Outside Magazine here:  Everything that’s in the Dingell Act

In commentary this weekend …

Column: How areas flood, even on sunny days — it’s a thing:  Steve Scauzillo writes, “Unfortunately, finding topics for this column is too easy.  Environmental problems are easily found, as frequent as crime stories. But unlike the kidnappings, hit-and-runs and murders, you don’t hear about them in the news as often.   Today, I want to talk about the very real effects of global climate change.  One of those is sea level rise. … This is not a theory or something in the future. Sea level rise, flooding and the unintended consequences are already happening today. ... ”  Read more at the Whittier Daily News here:  How areas flood, even on sunny days — it’s a thing

Sunday podcast …

Butterflies, Toads and Fish:  Steve Baker writes,We have all been listening to and concerned with decisions related to the California Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. People and life in the Delta each rely on the resources that come with water that flows through the Delta and eventually to the ocean. Bill Jennings,Executive Director of  Sportfishing Protection Alliance, explained to me the history of this Delta and described conditions that cause duress to aquatic species. Recognizing the needs of people, aquatic life and the biologic tapestry of this most important waterway in California, Bill shares a little wisdom.  Listen up. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”

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 …

State environmental group wants old Scott Dam on Eel River removed to help salmon and steelhead:  “A state environmental group is calling for the removal of an old dam on the Eel River, contending it threatens the future of protected salmon and steelhead while acknowledging it is a key part of the North Bay’s water supply.  Scott Dam, a 138-foot concrete dam erected in 1922, is one of five aging dams California Trout asserts are “ripe for removal” to benefit their natural surroundings and communities. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  State environmental group wants old Scott Dam on Eel River removed to help salmon and steelhead

Solano water agency ‘mussels’ up against Berryessa infestation:  “Lake Berryessa does not have a mussel infestation problem right now – and the Solano County Water Agency is working to keep the status quo.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has made those preventive efforts a little easier with a $412,000 grant – which will be matched with Solano County Water Agency funds – to extend and expand the Lake Berryessa Mussel Prevention Program. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Solano water agency ‘mussels’ up against Berryessa infestation

New Contra Costa Canal ownership change could mean more safety upgrades:  “A pending transfer in ownership of the Contra Costa Canal will allow for upgrades in its water quality and safety, but it could also make for changes for hikers and cyclists along some of its trails.  A bipartisan package of public lands bills President Donald Trump signed Tuesday moves the Contra Costa Water District a step closer to gaining ownership of the aging Contra Costa Canal system. Although the district paid the federal government for the canal in 2010, an act of Congress was required to transfer the title from the Bureau of Land Reclamation to the water district. A bill was introduced but not enacted in Congress in 2018, so it had to be reintroduced. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  New Contra Costa Canal ownership change could mean more safety upgrades

Bay Area: Environmental Groups Turn to Plants for Sea Level Rise in Menlo Park:  “A heavy rain pelted the group of volunteers kneeling in a muddy field in Menlo Park’s Ravenswood Preserve, planting small fingerlings of foliage into raised beds — a task that is part of an expanding experiment aimed at preparing the Bay Area shoreline for rising sea levels.  The planting was the latest effort by the environmental group Save the Bay which is attempting to return portions of the bay’s shores back to their pre-developed, natural states. In Ravenswood, the group will raise the plants and eventually use them as transition zones as it converts former commercial salt ponds back to tidal marshes. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Bay Area: Environmental Groups Turn to Plants for Sea Level Rise in Menlo Park

Wet winter brings waterfall bounty to Bay Area creeks and rivers:  “This amazing, wet winter has brought an abundance of waterfalls to Bay Area creeks and rivers. Little Emma Anderson, accompanied by her mom Carrie, was on the hunt at Uvas Canyon County Park recently. The mission: find waterfalls.  It didn’t take the two explorers from Morgan Hill long. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Wet winter brings waterfall bounty to Bay Area creeks and rivers

Monterey:  Water district GM: Listen to consultants on Cal Am buyout feasibility:  “Feasibility of a potential public buyout of California American Water’s local water system should be based on a consulting team’s advice on an acquisition plan that could succeed in a public necessity court trial while seeking cost savings for local ratepayers and keeping all costs contained in water rates.  That’s according to a recommendation from Monterey Peninsula Water Management District general manager Dave Stoldt to be considered by the water board on Monday. The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at water district headquarters, 5 Harris Court at Ryan Ranch in Monterey. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Monterey:  Water district GM: Listen to consultants on Cal Am buyout feasibility

Monterey: Frame water discussion on actual needs and requirements, says Rudy Fischer:  He writes, “It is interesting to go to water district meetings and seeing diametrically opposite sides using the same arguments they have used for years. No one is changing what they say even though an election changed the political landscape quite a bit.  Those who supported the Cal Am desal plant continue to do so; arguing that opponents elected to the district’s board are biased and should recuse themselves. Those who backed Measure J say that anyone they didn’t elect is biased and should recuse themselves. And each side tries to position their arguments before the consultants who will evaluate the feasibility of acquiring the water company even conduct their study. The fact of the matter is that this is the board which will make the decision. Everyone should just get used to that. … ”  Continue reading from the Monterey Herald here:  Frame water discussion on actual needs and requirements

Santa Barbara County supervisors poised to declare end of drought-caused emergency: “Full and rising reservoirs from this winter’s storms have the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors poised to terminate the drought-caused emergency declaration, although South Coast purveyors are worried a water shortage will persist for an extended time, according to a county staff report.  Office of Emergency Management Director Rob Lewin noted that despite the recent abundance of precipitation, it could take years of above-normal or at least normal rainfall before the county’s severely depleted groundwater basins are recharged. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here:  Santa Barbara County supervisors poised to declare end of drought-caused emergency

What are the environmental impacts of two major Ventura water projects? Reports shed light:  “Ventura has released reports detailing the environmental impacts of two sizable projects expected to increase the city’s water supply and reliability while ensuring it complies with the terms of a 2011 legal settlement.  One involves tapping into the city’s long-held investment into state water. A 7-mile pipeline would tap into the Calleguas Municipal Water District, which gets water via the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles.  The other project would capture effluent from Ventura’s wastewater treatment plant, treat it and turn it into drinking water. Residents can learn more about that project at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at City Hall, 501 Poli St. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  What are the environmental impacts of two major Ventura water projects? Reports shed light

Lake Piru 73 Percent Full Due To Largest-Ever State Water Surplus Purchase, Winter Storms:  “A wet winter combined with a purchase of surplus NorCal water has increased Lake Piru’s water level up to five times compared to October of 2018.  United Water’s Lake Piru rose 65 feet in 2019 alone, and is now 73 percent full. In comparison, the lake was only 15 percent full in October of 2018. According to United Water Conservation District water experts, this is five times the amount of water that was previously in the lake. … ”  Read more from KHTS here:  Lake Piru 73 Percent Full Due To Largest-Ever State Water Surplus Purchase, Winter Storms

Along the Colorado River …

Wet winter likely to keep Colorado River out of shortage next year: “For the moment, Mother Nature is smiling on the Colorado River.  Enough snow has piled up in the mountains that feed the river to stave off a dreaded shortage declaration for one more year, according to federal projections released Friday afternoon.  Just a month ago, forecasters expected Lake Mead to start 2020 about 17 feet lower than it is now, below the trigger point for a first-ever federal shortage declaration on the drought-stricken river. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  Wet winter likely to keep Colorado River out of shortage next year

Sunday video …

What is this ‘superbloom’ everybody is talking about?  Watch below … Video by Bob Hawk.

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

THIS JUST IN … Reclamation updates 2019 Central Valley Project water allocations

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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