DAILY DIGEST: Central Valley is sinking, but can be saved, says report; Epic whitewater season ahead; Trump energy order targets state water permitting authority; Inside conservatives’ disarray on climate; and more …

In California water news today, The Central Valley is sinking as farmers drill for water. But it can be saved, study says; California is slated for an epic whitewater season; Assemblymember Adam Gray tours flood center, talks emergency preparedness; Coleman Fish Hatchery releases 300,000 salmon to study survival chances, homing instincts; The end of California’s drought could mean fewer cases of West Nile virus; Trump Energy Order Targets State Water Permitting Authority; Inside conservatives’ disarray on climate; Baby fish have started eating plastic. We haven’t yet seen the consequences; and more …

In the news today …

The Central Valley is sinking as farmers drill for water. But it can be saved, study says: “A team of Stanford University researchers believe they have identified the best way to replenish the shrinking aquifers beneath California’s Central Valley.  The groundwater beneath the Central Valley has been steadily depleting, particularly as the state’s $50 billion agricultural industry relied on it during a series of droughts. Each year, more water exits the aquifer than goes into it.  The study from Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, published in the journal Water Resources Research, found that unless action is taken, the ground in that region will sink more than 13 feet over the next 20 years. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  The Central Valley is sinking as farmers drill for water. But it can be saved, study says

California is slated for an epic whitewater season:  “When state surveyors measured the Sierra snowpack on April 2, they found 106.5 inches of snow, with an equivalent of 51 inches of water — meaning that if the area were hit with some sort of cosmic laser beam and everything turned to liquid in a flash, that’s how much water would be left behind. Compared to average measurements for this time of year, those readings represent 200% of normal levels. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California is slated for an epic whitewater season

Assemblymember Adam Gray tours flood center, talks emergency preparedness:  “Water officials and weather experts gave Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced, a flood-themed tour on Friday to talk about flood preparedness and the effects of climate change, according to a news release.  The tour covered the Department of Water Resources’ Flood Operations Center in Sacramento and featured meteorologist and flood management officials, the release said. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Assemblymember Adam Gray tours flood center, talks emergency preparedness

Coleman Fish Hatchery releases 300,000 salmon to study survival chances, homing instincts:  “The Coleman National Fish Hatchery, which is largest salmon fish hatchery in California, released approximately 300,000 salmon fry on Saturday as a part of a three-year study to examine the impact on survival and chances of homing instincts.  The salmon fry are often eaten by predatory species during their descent downstream on Battle Creek from the hatchery in Anderson. ... ”  Read more from KRCR here:  Coleman Fish Hatchery releases 300,000 salmon to study survival chances, homing instincts

The end of California’s drought could mean fewer cases of West Nile virus: “Researchers say the end of California’s drought could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.  Drought is the most important weather-related factor that affects the rate of West Nile infection, scientists say. Mosquito eggs need water to hatch, but dry conditions tend to spur greater transmission of the virus.  “Ironically, when we have drought conditions, that does seem to amplify the West Nile virus transmission cycle,” said Vicki Kramer, chief of the Vector-Borne Disease Section at the California Department of Public Health. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  The end of California’s drought could mean fewer cases of West Nile virus

Trump Energy Order Targets State Water Permitting Authority:  “President Trump signed yet another executive order to ease the building of infrastructure to support fossil fuel development.  The main target of the order is Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which grants states the power to certify that construction projects will not harm water quality. States have used their Clean Water Act authority in recent year to block pipeline proposals — New York state did so in 2016 over the Constitution natural gas pipeline.  … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: Trump Energy Order Targets State Water Permitting Authority

Inside conservatives’ disarray on climate:  “Alex Flint sent the email at 5:24 p.m. on a Tuesday, but it had the tone of a middle-of-the-night manifesto.  In it, the conservative climate activist attacked one of the biggest barriers to progress on global warming — the continued denial of climate science by key voices on the right.  And he didn’t hold back.  Rather than quibble over details, Flint’s mass email earlier this month outright declared that climate denial was not conservatism and that continued ignorance of global warming was a betrayal of conservative values. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Inside conservatives’ disarray on climate

Baby fish have started eating plastic. We haven’t yet seen the consequences:  “Not long ago I went snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean, a half mile off the southwest coast of Oahu. The flanks of the Hawaiian island are steep there, and the bottom quickly disappeared beneath us as we motored out to the site. Looking back, I could see the green slopes of the Waianae Range rising to 4,000 feet behind the beach. Normally the mountains shield the water here from the trade winds. But on that day a breeze created a light chop that nearly obscured what I had come to see: a thin, oily slick of surface water, rich in organic particles, in which newborn fish were feeding and struggling to survive their first precarious weeks. … ”  Read more from National Geographic here:  Baby fish have started eating plastic. We haven’t yet seen the consequences

In commentary today …

Spring Memories of Why We Must Protect Wetlands and Streams:  Dave Evans writes, “Wetlands and streams are personal to me. I grew up wading through wetlands in Northern New York, seeing and smelling skunk cabbage growing near streams before the snow was fully melted, and uncovering crayfish under rocks in the little streams near our house. That’s why it has been difficult for me to write about the Trump Administration’s destructive proposal to dramatically reduce the scope of Clean Water Act (CWA) protection of wetlands and small streams by redefining what constitutes “waters of the U.S.”  I grew up with a long leash, and I’m grateful for that today. ... ”  Continue reading at Reslience.org here:  Spring Memories of Why We Must Protect Wetlands and Streams

In regional news and commentary today …

Salmon survival experiment takes place at Scotty’s Landing:  “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released thousands of salmon fry into the Sacramento River on Saturday.  Multiple agencies participated in the release which is part of a three-year experiment to increase survival rates. ... ”  Read more from Action News Now here:  Salmon survival experiment takes place at Scotty’s Landing

Lake County: The Western pond turtle:  “All along the lazy Lake County shorelines of creeks, ponds and lakes you may be able to sneak up on Western pond turtles to observe their slow-motion antics.  Since they favor locations with logs or boulders on which to laze, that is where to look first. As an example, while on a walk on the bucolic boardwalk at Clear Lake State Park I spied several Western pond turtles within a short amount of time.  Anderson Marsh State Historic Park’s Cache Creek walk allows for a variety of critters to study, including Western pond turtles. ... ”  Read more from Lake County News here:  Lake County: The Western pond turtle

Napa County Passes Contentious Water And Tree Protection Provision:  “After close to a year of non-stop debate about how to protect agriculture and support commerce, the Napa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) passed the final ordinance on Water Quality and Tree Protection last Tuesday April 9th.   It was adopted by a vote of 5-0, with provisions for it to take effect in 30 days. Brad Wagenknecht, a supervisor at the Napa Valley BOS, shares in a recent interview that, “the Board has worked on this for such a long time.” He adds that, as a result, “I think you will be able to recognize the Napa Valley in 50 years.” … ”  Read more from Forbes here:  Napa County Passes Contentious Water And Tree Protection Provision

North Bay’s Highway 37 Is Going to Be a Serious Climate Mess:  “The rainy season is winding down, ending a difficult winter for many North Bay commuters.  Every day, 46,000 people drive Highway 37, the scenic route that connects Marin County with Vallejo, Napa and just about everywhere east.  This thread, though essential, is also tenuous in that it’s strung atop a berm barely above sea level. Traversing the vast salt marshes known as the San Pablo Baylands, the 21-mile stretch is emerging as an early challenge to planners confronting California’s changing climate. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  North Bay’s Highway 37 Is Going to Be a Serious Climate Mess

As two big Ventura projects make their way up, the City Council will get a CEQA primer:  “Ventura policymakers on Monday will get a primer on a law that requires local agencies to consider a project’s environmental impact.   The California Environmental Quality Act — or CEQA, as it’s commonly called — was enacted in 1970. It mandates that a project not be approved if there are ways to lessen the environment effects of a development.  Currently, the city has two significant environmental impact reports, which CEQA requires, making their way through the development process. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  As two big Ventura projects make their way up, the City Council will get a CEQA primer

Court rules for City in Water Rate Refund Suit: “A Superior Court judge recently ruled in favor of the city of San Juan Capistrano, as the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit seeking millions in water rate refunds have been barred from moving the case forward.  In the 12-page “proposed statement of decision” released on March 28, the Orange County court states that the plaintiffs’ claims are “barred by the Claims Act” and that the city owed only refunds for bills that were overcharged between August 2013 and July 2014.  The lawsuit stemmed from the city’s 2015 approval to issue refunds to customers who overpaid for water under San Juan’s previous tiered water rates, which the Fourth District Court of Appeals had affirmed as unconstitutional in April 2015. … ”  Read more from the Capistrano Dispatch here:  Court rules for City in Water Rate Refund Suit

‘There’s So Much Here That’s Still Alive’: Young Filmmakers Document a Dying Salton Sea:  “Massive fish-die offs. Dead birds. A toxic stench.  Bryan Mendez and Olivia Rodriguez are dissatisfied that those sad facts are the only things most Californians ever hear about the Salton Sea, one of the largest inland seas in the world.  “We’ve heard on and on about the birds, the fish, they’re dying. We know that,” says Rodriguez. “How do we transform this narrative, to show there’s also a community of people here?” … ”  Read more from KQED here:  ‘There’s So Much Here That’s Still Alive’: Young Filmmakers Document a Dying Salton Sea

US, Mexico Leaders to Address Tijuana Sewage Spills Affecting South Bay:  “Regional leaders representing both the United States and Mexico will gather in Imperial Beach, California Friday for a rare discussion between the two countries about a flow of sewage crossing the border in the South Bay region of San Diego.  Elected leaders and non-government representatives from both countries hope the meeting at the Dempsey Holder Safety Center Friday afternoon will begin a dialogue as to how to solve the sewage seepage.  … ”  Read more from NBC San Diego here:  US, Mexico Leaders to Address Tijuana Sewage Spills Affecting South Bay

Along the Colorado River …

Environmentalists, lawmakers find compromise on pipeline bill: “Environmental groups have dropped their opposition to a bill they had originally blasted as a way for the state to green-light a controversial plan to pipe water from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas after the bill was amended last week.  In its original form, Assembly Bill 30 would have laid out an easier path for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s long-standing proposal to build a 300-mile pipeline to pump groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas that would come with an estimated price tag of $15 billion, according to groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity, Great Basin Water Network and Nevada Conservation League. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  Environmentalists, lawmakers find compromise on pipeline bill

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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 …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Enviro docs for B.F. Sisk Dam seismic upgrade; Governor’s report on CA wildfires, climate change, and energy future; Eastern Sierra snowpack well above average for 2019

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for April 15

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

In announcements today …

 

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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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