DAILY DIGEST: New storm to mark end of dry spell; Controlling floods by letting the water come; Did Reclamation do right by Westlands with 55% allocation?; Will salmon and steelhead once again spawn on the Mokelumne above Pardee?; Western drought deal is a go without IID; and more …

In California water news today, New storm to mark end of dry spell in California, Southwest; One Increasingly Popular Way to Control Floods: Let the Water Come; Did Reclamation Do Right by Westlands With 55% Allocation?; Will salmon and steelhead once again spawn on the Mokelumne above Pardee?; Legal Alert: State Water Board Unveils Aggressive Plan to Issue Investigative Orders for PFAS; Western drought deal is a go, without IID and as Salton Sea clean-up remains stalled; White House FY20 budget proposes cuts for EPA, Army Corps; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

New storm to mark end of dry spell in California, Southwest:  “After an extended break from storms, a new storm from the Pacific will eye California and much of the Southwest during the middle to latter part of this week.  While far from some of the blockbuster storms of this past winter, this storm will bring enough rain and snow to slow travel and hinder outdoor activities. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  New storm to mark end of dry spell in California, Southwest

One Increasingly Popular Way to Control Floods: Let the Water Come:  “In California’s Central Valley, 100 miles east of San Francisco, the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers meet. Their waters mingle amid a wide flat plain of shrubs, cottonwood and oak trees. The Dos Rios Ranch Preserve, 1,600 acres of wetlands, river habitat and rolling hills, sits at the site of this juncture. On clear days, the Sierra Nevada rises in the east and the Coast Range to the west.  As Jason Faridi surveys the scene on a recent early morning, the sun’s rays reflect off the river, turning the water the color of egg yolks. A cacophony of bird calls fill the air. Near the water’s margin, waxy milk cartons — cut in half to hold seedling plants — bob up and down. They contain young elderberry and cottonwood plants, stretching their roots toward the clay river bottom. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  One Increasingly Popular Way to Control Floods: Let the Water Come

Did Reclamation Do Right by Westlands With 55% Allocation?  “There is good news from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for Westlands Water District growers.  The Bureau has increased this year’s water allocation to district farmers from the 35% announced last month to 55%.  But, according to the district, the news should have been better considering California’s snowpack and rainfall totals. Westlands noted that Lake Shasta is at 85 percent capacity and 111 percent of its historical average; San Luis Reservoir is at 99 percent capacity and 113 of its historical average. … ”  Read more from GV Wire here:  Did Reclamation Do Right by Westlands With 55% Allocation?

Will salmon and steelhead once again spawn on the Mokelumne above Pardee?  “Record numbers of salmon and steelhead have returned to the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery in recent years, but the outlook is even brighter with the release of a study that shows the possibility of the reintroduction of the iconic salmonid species in a 13.7 mile stretch of the Mokelumne above Lake Pardee.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported a modern record of more than 19,900 fall-run Chinook salmon returned to spawn in the lower Mokelumne in the fall of 2017. The 2018 fall salmon returns were also impressive, with a total return of 17,474 fish. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Will salmon and steelhead once again spawn on the Mokelumne above Pardee?

Legal Alert: State Water Board Unveils Aggressive Plan to Issue Investigative Orders for PFAS:  “On March 6, the California State Water Resources Control Board announced it will soon issue orders to owners and operators of more than a thousand facilities in California requiring environmental investigation and sampling for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known by the acronym PFAS. As “Item 10” in a four-hour meeting providing updates on state and federal programs addressing PFAS, Darrin Polhemus, Deputy Director of the State Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW), and Shahla Farahnak, Assistant Deputy Director of the Division of Water Quality (DWQ), unveiled an aggressive “Phased Investigation Plan.” … ”  Read more from Allen Matkins here:  Legal Alert: State Water Board Unveils Aggressive Plan to Issue Investigative Orders for PFAS

White House FY20 budget proposes cuts for EPA, Army Corps:  “Funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be cut by nearly a third next year under an FY20 budget proposal released by the Trump administration last week. The spending cuts, which would reduce EPA appropriations from their FY19 level of just over $8.8 billion to $6.1 billion next year, would also affect the agency’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) programs.  Under the administration’s request for EPA, the agency would receive $863 million for the Drinking Water SRF next year, $301 million below the program’s FY19 appropriation. The Clean Water SRF would suffer an even larger cut of $574 million, leaving the program with just under $1.12 billion next year. The WIFIA program would receive $25 million, well below its FY19 funding of $68 million. … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  White House FY20 budget proposes cuts for EPA, Army Corps

Climate advocates cheer Trump policy shift on flood insurance: “Climate advocates say an overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program being unveiled by the Trump administration will spur communities around the country to better plan for extreme weather, but could drive up costs for some homeowners.  The changes being announced Monday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency represent one of the most significant reforms in the history of the National Flood Insurance Program. It will tie premiums to the actual flood risk facing individual homes nationwide starting in October 2020. The current system sets prices based largely on whether a home is inside or outside of the 100-year flood plain. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Climate advocates cheer Trump policy shift on flood insurance

In commentary today …

Finally, a new path toward managing water, rivers and the Delta, says Jennifer Pierre:  She writes,For people who closely follow California water, here are headlines in the paper or tweets in your feed that you never see about water operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta:  “Pumping curtailed during next storm due to nearby migrating salmon” Or: “Storm opens water supply window as few fish conflicts detected” Why?  Our rules, cobbled over time from various state water right decisions or federal biological opinions, are too rigid. Pumping rules in the Delta on Nov. 30, for example, are very different than those 24 hours later, regardless of the weather.  Things are done by an aging book. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Finally, a new path toward managing water, rivers and the Delta

Now is California’s chance to save the Salton Sea, says Frank Ruiz:  He writes, “Spectacular landscapes are part of California’s natural identity. I recently led a group on a tour of the Salton Sea and it prompted me to think that we should consider the sea one of these treasures. There’s nothing in California like it.  We visited during a rare rainstorm, so there were waves on the lake and dramatic gray skies. Nonetheless, the landscape was full of life. Waterfowl are making a comeback on the lake, and we saw plenty of Redhead ducks and Canvasbacks in places like Salt Creek. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Now is California’s chance to save the Salton Sea

In regional news and commentary today …

Mendocino County takes on climate change:  “In an effort to address climate change, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will consider creating a committee focused on creating policies to combat and prepare for effects such as drought, wildfires and flooding.  “The cost of reacting to climate change disasters will continue to rise in terms of the loss of tax revenue, increase of staff time managing states of emergency and the need for human services, repairing environmental damage, and removing toxic debris,” notes the staff report describing the resolution creating the Climate Action Advisory Committee, which the board will consider at its meeting Tuesday. “Mendocino County can take proactive steps to reduce the risks associated with climate change and contribute to both California’s climate change initiatives and the global need for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and increase of carbon storage capacity. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Mendocino County takes on climate change

Marin flood project poised to demote Army Corps:  “The marriage of a Ross Valley flood control district with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete a flood control project that began in the 1960s appears to be on the rocks.  There is a strong likelihood that the Flood Control Zone 9 advisory board will move forward without the Army Corps when it meets Tuesday, making it likely that the project will be substantially revised.  Tonya Redfield, program manager for the Ross Valley flood protection program, said the Army Corps has spent most, if not all, of the $1.6 million it has budgeted for the project. The Army Corps and Zone 9 had agreed to split the $3.8 million total cost of the project evenly. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin flood project poised to demote Army Corps

Dam operators release water into Valley rivers as rapid warm up melts Sierra snowpack: “Water is coming out from Friant Dam into the San Joaquin River.  The dam is at about 82 percent of capacity, and the warm weather is melting the mountain snow. Michael Jackson, Area Director for the Bureau of Reclamation, says, the flow out of the dam is being increased.  “Warm weather has hastened the snowmelt runoff season for us,” Jackson said.  ... ”  Read more from ABC Channel 30 here: Dam operators release water into Valley rivers as rapid warm up melts Sierra snowpack

Southern California ‘Super Bloom’ Draws Crowds, Chaos:  “Over the last few weeks, thousands of wildflower enthusiasts have descended on a small Southern California town to experience the “Super Bloom” of California poppies and other wildflowers brought on by a very wet winter. But the chaos of managing the crowds caused the city to temporarily close access to the hills to the public Sunday.  Lake Elsinore, a city of about 66,000 people located in Riverside County, is in the midst of a “Super Bloom” of California wildflowers on the hillsides of the Walker Canyon Ecological Reserve in the Temescal Mountains. California’s deserts experienced similar blooms in 2016 and 2017, during which Lake Elsinore also saw its hillsides blanketed in orange poppies. But those years apparently did not draw the same crowds as have been flocking to the town recently. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Southern California ‘Super Bloom’ Draws Crowds, Chaos

Along the Colorado River …

Western drought deal is a go, without IID and as Salton Sea clean-up remains stalled: “It’s done. The Colorado River Board of California voted 8-1-1 Monday to sign on to a multi-state drought contingency plan, which, somewhat ironically, might not be needed for two years because of an exceptionally wet winter.  The process was fractious until the very end, with blistering rebukes from the river’s largest water user, and charges that state and federal laws were possibly being violated to cross the finish line. The Imperial Irrigation District, a sprawling rural water district in the southeastern corner of California, refused to sign on until the federal government pledged to provide $200 million to clean up the Salton Sea, which has not occurred. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Western drought deal is a go, without IID and as Salton Sea clean-up remains stalled

Outlook improves for Colorado River reservoirs, but a drought deal is still in the works: “Winter storms have covered the Rocky Mountains with snow from Wyoming to northern New Mexico, leaving a bounty of runoff that should boost the levels of the Colorado River’s depleted reservoirs this spring and summer.  The snow that fell during the past month has pushed the accumulated snowpack across the Upper Colorado River Basin to nearly 140 percent of average. Federal officials now estimate there could be enough snow to narrowly avert a declaration of a shortage at Lake Mead next year, which would hold off water cutbacks in the Southwest for another year. ... ” Read more from Arizona Central here:  Outlook improves for Colorado River reservoirs, but a drought deal is still in the works

High Snowpack Could Temporarily Stave Off Colorado River Water Shortage: “High snowpack in the southern Rocky Mountains this winter will likely stave off a shortage declaration in the Colorado River watershed in 2020, relieving pressure on water managers attempting to navigate future scarcity.  New data from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation models show a lessened risk of a key Colorado River reservoir dropping far enough to trigger a first-ever shortage declaration. Snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin is at 138 percent of the long-term median, a level not seen in mid-March since 1997. … ”  Read more from KUNC here:  High Snowpack Could Temporarily Stave Off Colorado River Water Shortage

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Water rights during drought; winter pulsed flows for salmon; Valley water supplies; Community participation in SGMA; Markets for clean water; and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin inflow projections reflect improved hydrological conditions in 2019

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


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.

 

(Visited 948 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply