DAILY DIGEST: Congress approves Colorado River drought plan; Sweeping bill could help CA play catch-up on water contamination; Officials look to Mexico for long-term water supply; Clams and water pumping explain phytoplankton decline in Delta; and more …

In California water news today, U.S. Congress approves Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan; Sweeping Bill Could Help California Play Catch-Up on Water Contamination; For Long-Term Water Supply, U.S. Officials Look to Mexico; Clams and Water Pumping Explain Phytoplankton Decline in San Francisco Estuary; Report: Glaciers could disappear from several mountain ranges this century; Soil Erosion In The West Is Getting Worse And The Air Is Getting Dustier; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

U.S. Congress approves Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan:  “A plan to address a shrinking supply of water on a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West is headed to President Donald Trump.  The U.S. House and Senate approved the Colorado River drought contingency plan on Monday.  Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming spent years negotiating the drought plan. They aim to keep two key reservoirs from falling so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower. ... ”  Read more from the Denver Post here:  U.S. Congress approves Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

  • More Colorado River news in the section below …  Take me there

Sweeping Bill Could Help California Play Catch-Up on Water Contamination:  “California has until recently lagged behind other states when it comes to tackling the myriad problems posed by one group of chemicals found with increasing frequency in drinking water systems nationwide. A sweeping new bill requiring testing for the whole group of chemicals, rather than a few, would help change that. It also encompasses disadvantaged communities vulnerable to poor drinking water standards. Nevertheless, current testing limitations would make implementation daunting. … ”  Read more from Capital and Main here:  Sweeping Bill Could Help California Play Catch-Up on Water Contamination

For Long-Term Water Supply, U.S. Officials Look to Mexico:  “An increasing number of solutions to California and Arizona’s long-term water problems now involve Mexico.  Some of the ideas are seemingly far-fetched, like a pipeline to bring water from the Gulf of California to the Salton Sea in Imperial County. Some are already happening, like Mexico agreeing to reduce its water use in the event of a Colorado River shortage.  After decades of warnings, officials who rely on the Colorado River — which provides water to 40 million Americans and Mexicans — have begun to reckon with the long-known fact that cities and farms are expecting to receive more water from the river than the river usually holds. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  For Long-Term Water Supply, U.S. Officials Look to Mexico

Clams and Water Pumping Explain Phytoplankton Decline in San Francisco Estuary:  “A combination of invasive clams and water pumping explains the drastic suppression of phytoplankton in the San Francisco Estuary, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.  Previous studies linked fish declines in the estuary in part to a limited supply of phytoplankton. These tiny microscopic algae make up the base of the food web: Fish eat zooplankton, which eat phytoplankton.  The study, published in the journal Environmental Management, used several modeling steps to investigate the drivers behind the decline. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here:  Clams and Water Pumping Explain Phytoplankton Decline in San Francisco Estuary

Report: Glaciers could disappear from several mountain ranges this century:  “Most glaciers in Central Europe, Western Canada and the United States would vanish in the second half of this century under the current rates of ice loss, according to a new report.  Glaciers have lost over 9,000 billion tons of ice between 1961 and 2016, according to a research letter published in the journal Nature on Monday. This amounts to a block of ice the size of Germany and almost 100 feet thick, or the size of the United States and 4 feet thick, said lead author Michael Zemp. … ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Report: Glaciers could disappear from several mountain ranges this century

In regional news and commentary today …

Watershed group will be testing Lake Almanor:  “Terms like lake level, stratification, water temperature and oxygenation are not uncommon terms to many in the Almanor Basin.  Whether you’re a resort owner, fishing guide, boater or just a local resident that cares about the area you live in, those are probably terms you have used in a discussion about Lake Almanor. ... ”  Read more from Plumas County News here:  Watershed group will be testing Lake Almanor

Nesting Shorebirds Block Sacramento Area High School From Using New Turf Field:  “A pair of nesting shorebirds are preventing Sacramento area high school lacrosse players from practicing and playing games on their brand new field.  Students at Rio Americano High School had hoped to be using a new cork and synthetic turf field by now. But last month construction workers found that two birds called killdeer had laid four eggs in the “I” in the Raiders logo in the east end zone. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Nesting Shorebirds Block Sacramento Area High School From Using New Turf Field

In Marin water rate hike debate, talk turns to salaries and benefits:  “As the Marin Municipal Water District gears up to consider another rate and fee hike this year, some of the public debate has turned to whether the district is paying too much in salaries and benefits to its employees.  While the district has reduced its staff size by about 26 positions since 2010, district officials say health care benefits and pension costs have continued to rise. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  In Marin water rate hike debate, talk turns to salaries and benefits

San Jose Water Company wants to charge residents more for conserving water:  “In recent years at the behest of then-Gov. Jerry Brown and other officials, residents in and around San Jose scaled back on watering lawns and long showers to conserve water.  But, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.  San Jose Water, the local water company, recently sent out a public notice saying it wants to impose a year-long surcharge beginning this summer. The reason? To recover what it described as an “under-collection” of more than $9 million in fixed costs. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  San Jose Water Company wants to charge residents more for conserving water

The historic Baldwin Lake at Arboretum is severely polluted; county wants to spend $8 million on cleanup: The Los Angeles County Flood Control District has committed $8 million toward the restoration of Baldwin Lake, a severely polluted body of water that is the centerpiece of the county Arboretum visited by 400,000 people annually, officials said.  The 144-year-old lake, dug out by 19th Century real estate pioneer Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin on his estate, has been dying a slow death because of the accumulation of street runoff laced with heavy metals, automobile brake fragments and other chemicals that create algae blooms and strong odors. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  The historic Baldwin Lake at Arboretum is severely polluted; county wants to spend $8 million on cleanup

It’s time to push the pause button on the Cadiz water project, says Richard Roth:  He writes, ““Whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting,” a quote frequently if probably erroneously attributed to Mark Twain, is as true a statement today as it was during Twain’s time in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  And, for the past 20 years, there certainly has been plenty of fighting going on over the amount of water that can be sustainably withdrawn from a water basin underneath the Mojave Desert. Cadiz, a Mojave land owner, has proposed, and continues to propose, to pump water — and lots of it — from the Mojave aquifer and sell it to water districts hundreds of miles away, at a profit, potentially destroying the Mojave Desert in the process. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  It’s time to push the pause button on the Cadiz water project 

Along the Colorado River …

U.S. Congress approves Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan:  “A plan to address a shrinking supply of water on a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West is headed to President Donald Trump.  The U.S. House and Senate approved the Colorado River drought contingency plan on Monday.  Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming spent years negotiating the drought plan. They aim to keep two key reservoirs from falling so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower. ... ”  Read more from the Denver Post here:  U.S. Congress approves Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

As The Colorado River Basin Dries, Can An Accidental Oasis Survive?:  “Juan Butrón-Méndez navigates a small metal motorboat through a maze of tall reeds here in the Mexican state of Sonora. It’s nearing sunset, and the sky is turning shades of light blue and purple.  The air smells of wet earth, an unfamiliar scent in the desert.  Butrón-Méndez lives nearby and works for the conservation group Pronatura Noroeste as a bird monitor. … ”  Read more from KUNC here:  As The Colorado River Basin Dries, Can An Accidental Oasis Survive?

Five Years Later, Effects Of Colorado River Pulse Flow Still Linger:  “From inside a small airplane, tracing the Colorado River along the Arizona-California border, it’s easy to see how it happened.  As the river bends and weaves through the American Southwest, its contents are slowly drained. Concrete canals send water to millions of people in Phoenix and Tucson, Los Angeles and San Diego. Farms, ribbons of green contrasted against the desert’s shades of brown, line the waterway.  Further downstream, near Yuma, Arizona, the river splits into threads, like a frayed piece of yarn. ... ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Five Years Later, Effects Of Colorado River Pulse Flow Still Linger

In Colorado River’s Final Hundred Miles, Small Signs Of Life Return:  “It’s mid-morning in the Sonoran desert and already the temperature is rising.  Karen Schlatter suggests we find some shade, a relatively easy task at Laguna Grande, a restoration site along the Colorado River’s historic channel in Mexico. It’s managed by the Sonoran Institute, where Schlatter is associate director of the binational environmental group’s Colorado River Delta program. … ”  Read more from KUNC here:  In Colorado River’s Final Hundred Miles, Small Signs Of Life Return

Soil Erosion In The West Is Getting Worse And The Air Is Getting Dustier:  “Soil erosion in the West is getting worse. And that’s creating more dust – which isn’t good for ecosystems, human health or the economy.  A study from the U.S. Geological Survey says more than 200 thousand square miles of land in the U.S. is more susceptible than ever to soil erosion from wind. And roughly two-thirds of that is on federally managed land in the West. ... ”  Read more from KRCC here:  Soil Erosion In The West Is Getting Worse And The Air Is Getting Dustier

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: The Trump/Bernhardt plan for the Delta; Drought and decision making; Deep adaptation; Is San Diego reviving idea of own Colorado River aqueduct?; What went wrong with WOTUS; and more …

DELTA STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL: Some good news for Delta smelt

NEWS WORTH NOTING: State Senate confirms Wade Crowfoot; Wildlife Conservation Board funds stream flow enhancement projects; State Water Contractors release fact sheet on Voluntary Agreements; Reclamation releases enviro docs addressing improved water quantity, quality in San Luis Reservoir

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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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