DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Fighting fire has made CA more vulnerable to flames; Ag census: Farmland receding in CA; Frazier: Delta region ‘held hostage’ by SoCal special interests; Interior: Bernhardt faces hefty to-do list; Clean Water Act: Trout Unlimited crunches the numbers on ephemeral streams; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Fighting fire has made California more vulnerable to flames; Ag census: Farmland receding in California; Assemblymember Jim Frazier: The Delta region is ‘held hostage’ by SoCal special interests; Interior: Bernhardt faces hefty to-do list; Clean Water Act: Where EPA saw no data, Trout Unlimited crunched the numbers; $1.3 Million Awarded in Grant Funding for Water Desalination Projects; Irrigation, drought, sea level rise and more are causing salt to build up in soils around the world. What can we do?; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Fighting fire has made California more vulnerable to flames:  “Any day now, California will start to burn, as can be expected of a place where the rains stop for five months every year. It’s destined to burn.  The natural landscapes of the state evolved to survive those fires, but we tried to stop them. We not only failed, but we made things worse. We clogged the forests with vegetation. We allowed in plants not adapted to fire, which ended up increasing the fuel for the inevitable flames, making the fires hotter and more destructive. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Fighting fire has made California more vulnerable to flames

Ag census: Farmland receding in California:  “Agriculture appears to be slowly receding in California.  Though it still leads the nation in production, the Golden State lost more than 1 million acres of farmland and some 7,000 farms from 2012-2017, according to the USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Ag census: Farmland receding in California

Assemblymember Jim Frazier: The Delta region is ‘held hostage’ by SoCal special interests:  “Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), co-chair of the Legislature’s Delta Caucus, spoke out in frustration when his bill to increase local representation on the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) died in a committee hearing after Southern California water special interests lobbied against it.  The DSC consists of seven voting members; only one of these represents the Delta. Frazier’s AB 1194 would have added four voting members from the Delta region to the Council, according to a statement from Frazier’s Office. … ”  Read more from Dan Bacher at the Daily Kos here:  Assemblymember Jim Frazier: The Delta region is ‘held hostage’ by SoCal special interests

$1.3 Million Awarded in Grant Funding for Water Desalination Projects:  “DWR released the first round of projects to be awarded grant funding by the Water Desalination Grant Program as part of the Continuous Application Process (CAP1). The following water districts and cities will receive a total of $1.3 million for the construction, planning, and design of potable water desalination facilities for both brackish and ocean water sources. … ”  Read more from DWR News here:  $1.3 Million Awarded in Grant Funding for Water Desalination Projects

Central California Heat Waves Linked to Indian Ocean Storms:  “Heavy thunderstorms over the Indian Ocean might not mean much to the average Californian, but a study published Friday has uncovered a link between the storms and heat waves in the Golden State.  The study published Friday in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences doesn’t specifically mention a butterfly effect and natural disasters, but does lay out a pattern of heat waves following tropical storms. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Central California Heat Waves Linked to Indian Ocean Storms

NATIONAL

Interior:  Bernhardt faces hefty to-do list:  “David Bernhardt has his work cut out for him once he finishes celebrating his confirmation as the Trump administration’s second Interior secretary.  Approved by the Senate yesterday on a 56-41 vote, and officially assuming the office at 9 last night, the lawyer and former lobbyist already recognizes many of the looming challenges through his service as Interior’s hands-on deputy secretary since August 2017 (E&E News PM, April 11).  “He knows the department inside and out,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said yesterday.  But now, the buck stops with him. The 49-year-old Bernhardt will be the decider in a way he wasn’t while serving as the backup to former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.  Consider. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Interior:  Bernhardt faces hefty to-do list

National Archives joins investigation into Interior Chief’s missing calendars:  “The National Archives and Records Administration gave the Interior Department until late April to address Democrats’ allegations that newly confirmed Secretary David Bernhardt may have been destroying his official calendars, according to a letter POLITICO obtained Friday.  The letter adds new pressure to a department that is facing investigations by House Democrats who question whether Bernhardt has violated federal record-keeping laws. ... ”  Read more from Politco here:  National Archives joins investigation into Interior Chief’s missing calendars

Learn how changes to the Clean Water Act could hurt your region before it’s too late:  “The Environmental Protection Agency has made moves to shrink national water protections for two years. In July 2017, the EPA and Army Corps formally proposed rescinding the Clean Water Rule; a proposal that has not yet been finalized. Then in February 2018, the agencies suspended the Clean Water Rule until February 2020. Now, it’s go time: The administration is proposing revisions to the Clean Water Act, introduced in 1972 as a way to curb widespread pollution in United States waterways. The would-be replacement is rife with rollbacks that would affect every American. ... ”  Read more from Popular Science here:  Learn how changes to the Clean Water Act could hurt your region before it’s too late

Clean Water Act: Where EPA saw no data, Trout Unlimited crunched the numbers:  “A new analysis from Trout Unlimited shows the U.S. Geological Survey underestimates the number of streams nationwide that flow only following rain.  The fishing and conservation group says that for every mile of stream mapped in the National Hydrography Dataset, another 1.5 miles of ephemeral streams exist.  The analysis comes as the Trump administration is soliciting comments on its Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule that would eliminate Clean Water Act protections for ephemeral streams, which flow only following rainfall. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Clean Water Act: Where EPA saw no data, Trout Unlimited crunched the numbers

Trump Gutted Green Rules But Plans to Run on His Environmental Credentials:  “Donald Trump is preparing a novel campaign strategy for a president who’s pulling the U.S. from the international Paris accord on climate change, cheer-leading for coal, one of the dirtiest source of power, and suggesting that wind turbines cause cancer.  He’s going to tout his environmental credentials. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here:  Trump Gutted Green Rules But Plans to Run on His Environmental Credentials

Drought Coverage in the Continental U.S. Drops to a 21st Century Record Low:  “Drought’s expanse over the Lower 48 states of the U.S. dropped to a 21st century record low in early April, according to one analysis.  As of April 9, only 4.36% of the contiguous U.S. was classified in drought by the weekly drought monitor analysis issued by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here:  Drought Coverage in the Continental U.S. Drops to a 21st Century Record Low

Irrigation, drought, sea level rise and more are causing salt to build up in soils around the world. What can we do?  “The water tastes salty and the rice barely grows in the coastal villages of the Ca Mau peninsula at the southern tip of Vietnam’s Mekong River delta.  Thi Tran, a young woman who farms 2 acres (0.8 hectares) of rice and vegetables while her husband works on the fishing boats in the Gulf of Thailand, says she fears for her family.  “When we moved here 10 years ago it was OK to farm. But we struggle to grow anything now and have to buy fresh water,” she says, speaking through a translator. “The soil and the water gets saltier. If I don’t grow rice, I do not have anything to feed my family. We can only use this water for gargling and cooking. I think we will have to leave.” … ”  Read more from Eco-Business here:  Irrigation, drought, sea level rise and more are causing salt to build up in soils around the world. What can we do?

Sunday podcast …

A Farm Worker’s Worry: Steve Baker writes, “The summer of 2009 was a sad situation for farm workers in the Central Valley of California. Mother Nature wasn’t sending enough water into the bread basket of our nation. Only ten percent of the expected water was delivered. The problem for a farm worker is; when there is no water, there is no work.  That means farm workers must leave California to find more steady employment.  How do you find a balanced condition that allows a seasoned farming community to stay at the farm?    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 commentary this weekend …

Going native: Fishy reasoning behind the state’s Stanislaus River water grab:  Dennis Wyatt writes,Farmers, by trade, are experts in sustainability and by extension common sense.  Growers along with 1.5 million Northern San Joaquin Valley residents could end up on the receiving end of an economic Armageddon perpetuated by the state Department of Water Resources on behalf of the threatened Chinook salmon.  Over the course of the past decade as the state sharpened its claws to tear into the historic and legal superior water rights held by the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and Oakdale Irrigation District based on laws the state itself crafted and implemented, some of those growers have been asking why the state has not considered establishing a Stanislaus River fish hatchery for the purpose of producing more Chinook salmon.  It’s a good question no one can seem to answer. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Going native: Fishy reasoning behind the state’s Stanislaus River water grab

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Del Norte: Water quality talk turns contentious:  “Smith River Neighborhood Watch coordinator Joni Forsht began by telling local Easter lily bulb growers that though the goal wasn’t to put them out of business, she wanted them to change their methods “as far as what you’re putting on the lily bulbs and where it’s going.”  But before Wednesday’s meeting was over, the growers said they felt attacked.  They took issue with Forsht’s claim they were using glyphosate on their fields as well as independent fisheries biologist Carl Page’s statement that he had seen cattle physically walking into the Smith River estuary and its tributary, Tillas Slough. … ”  Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here:  Del Norte: Water quality talk turns contentious

Marin supervisors receive harrowing report on climate change, sea-level rise:  “Climate change is already negatively affecting the health of Marin residents and within 15 years attendant sea-level rise could threaten the county’s shoreline buildings, roads and original utility systems.  This was the sobering message Marin supervisors received after Supervisor Kate Sears requested an update on the local health impacts of climate change and efforts to prepare for sea- level rise.  “The important question to ask right now is when will climate change begin to affect the health of our community,” Kathy Koblick, a director in Marin County’s division of public health, told supervisors. “The answer is: it is now. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin supervisors receive harrowing report on climate change, sea-level rise

Turlock: Local legislator calls out water board:  “Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) chastised the State Water Resources Control Board yesterday for arguing that the harm caused by the Bay-Delta Plan to the drinking water of disadvantaged communities is not “significant.” Gray’s comments came as his legislation, Assembly Bill 637, cleared the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee with bipartisan support.  In response to criticism that the Bay-Delta Plan ignores impacts to disadvantaged communities, the State Water Board issued a master response arguing that because the board is not a federal agency it does not have to consider impacts to these communities significant. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Turlock: Local legislator calls out water board

Indian Wells Valley Water District talks GSP, updates on improvements:  “The Indian Wells Valley Water District took some time during its board meeting Monday night to discuss the Groundwater Authority’s feelings on the approaching deadline for the groundwater sustainability plan while giving general updates on public outreach and bulk water station upgrades.  During a meeting last week, the Groundwater Authority’s policy advisory committee expressed concern with the timing of the completion of the GSP — due to the state by the end of January 2020. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Water District talks GSP, updates on improvements

Earth Day cleanups at the LA River — largest such events in the U.S. — will celebrate 30th year:  “Perception is reality. This is undoubtedly true when talking about the Los Angeles River.  What was called a concrete tomb, a 51-mile ditch bisecting forgotten neighborhoods far from the glitter of Hollywood and the verdant Santa Monica Mountains, or ignored altogether is now seen, recognized, even celebrated as a real urban river with unlimited potential. In particular, an 11.5-mile stretch in Elysian Valley that includes the Glendale Narrows has water year-round, a dirt bottom for absorption, birds, turtles, parks and the occasional kayaker. … ”  Read more from the Whittier Daily News here:  Earth Day cleanups at the LA River — largest such events in the U.S. — will celebrate 30th year

What the latest Eastern Sierra snowpack measurement means for the LA Aqueduct: “The final snowpack measurement in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains showed levels well above average after winter’s unrelenting storms in California.  The snowpack is an important measurement for water managers who determine how much water Southern California can expect to received from the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a system of channels and tunnels that stretches hundreds of miles from the eastern side of the 400-mile long Sierra Nevada Mountain range to Los Angeles. Snow in the mountains melts in spring, running off into the aqueduct and other water delivery systems around the state. … ”  Read more from NBC LA here:  What the latest Eastern Sierra snowpack measurement means for the LA Aqueduct

San Diego: Local Leaders Fight U.S., Mexican Governments Over ‘Funky’ Ocean Water at Southern Beaches:  “With recurring sewage spills, some San Diegans are still afraid to go into the water at some of the county’s southern-most beaches. Now, local leaders are fighting the U.S. and Mexican governments to clean up the waste-filled waters near the border.  Plastic bottles, tires, and other trash can be seen along the Tijuana River Valley — not to mention the microscopic chemicals and diseases that could harm beachgoers. ... ”  Read more from NBC 7 here:  Local Leaders Fight U.S., Mexican Governments Over ‘Funky’ Ocean Water at Southern Beaches

Imperial Beach residents march for clean water:  “Fed up neighbors in Imperial Beach are taking action over the pollution problem. The coastline in South County has been plagued by sewage spills coming from Mexico for years.  On Saturday morning, dozens of volunteers spent the day cleaning the beach. … ”  Read more from NBC San Diego here:  Imperial Beach residents march for clean water

Along the Colorado River …

After Colorado River Drought Plan, What’s Next for Water in Arizona? Even though the roller-coaster negotiations over the Drought Contingency Plan have finally come to an end, Arizona’s water problems, which are far more complex than just a Colorado River shortage, are not over.  To Cynthia Campbell, they never will be, because managing water in a desert is a never-ending, ever-evolving task, both in cities and throughout the state.  “We’re sitting in the middle of the desert, trying to grow a city. Which defies logic, for many people,” said Campbell, the water resource management adviser for the city of Phoenix. … ”  Read more from New Times Phoenix here:  After Colorado River Drought Plan, What’s Next for Water in Arizona? 

Precipitation watch …

From the National Weather Service: A weak weather system will bring cooler temperatures & mountain snow showers Monday – early Tuesday, mainly above 6,000-6,500 feet.

Sunday video …

From the Department of Water Resources:

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

OROVILLE SPILLWAY: Photo gallery and videos of the spillway’s first use

CALENDAR EVENTS: Symposium: Moving beyond myths; Workshop on access to sanitation for homeless; Managing wastewater in a changing climate; Safe and reliable? The future of California water

In announcements this weekend …

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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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