DAILY DIGEST: Harder introduces bill to fund Valley water projects; Crowfoot on implementing Gov. Newson’s water agenda; Dead fish in the Yolo Bypass, Salmon return to San Joaquin River, Delta smelt on extinction’s edge; Colorado’s innovative thinking for funding water projects; and more …

In California water news today, Harder unveils bill funding Valley water projects, including reservoir near Patterson; California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda; Dead fish wash up near $6.3 million passageway designed to protect them. Why didn’t it work?; A big first for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program: Spring-run Chinook salmon return; Delta smelt: On extinction’s edge; Calif. Cities Devastated by Wildfires Face New Challenge: Benzene in Water; How ski resorts in California are preparing for warmer winters; and more, plus Colorado House passes bill asking voters to OK sports betting for Colorado Water Plan

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Stewardship Council meets this morning at 9am.  Agenda items include a workshop to review preliminary draft Delta Plan ecosystem amendment policies and recommendations and approval of 15 studies selected from the Delta Science Program’s 2018/2019 joint proposal solicitation.  Click here for more informationClick here to watch on webcast.

In the news today …

Harder unveils bill funding Valley water projects, including reservoir near Patterson:  “Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, thinks there is a better way to find water solutions for California’s Central Valley and to stop squandering water in wet years that’s needed in dry years.  His bipartisan water legislation unveiled Wednesday promises federal support for storage and innovation projects to address shortages that too often plague Valley agriculture and communities. Representatives from water districts, agriculture, local and state government and other groups joined the freshman congressman on the Tuolumne River bank in Modesto to announce the bill.  “We know the next drought is just around the corner,” Harder said. Because water infrastructure fell behind the state’s exploding population and agricultural industry in the past 100 years, much of the heavy runoff from wet winters can’t be saved for beneficial purposes, he said. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Harder unveils bill funding Valley water projects, including reservoir near Patterson

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda:  “One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot is now charged with executing. In a Western Water Q&A, Crowfoot discussed what he expects to tackle, including scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and finding ways to make California more resilient to the extreme swings in drought and flood that are expected to come with climate change.”  Read more at Western Water here:  California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda

Dead fish wash up near $6.3 million passageway designed to protect them. Why didn’t it work?: “Dozens of fish carcasses — 13 of them Chinook salmon protected by the Endangered Species Act — rotted in the sun Tuesday a couple hundred yards from a new $6.3 million structure that state officials built specifically to keep that grisly scenario from happening.  Before the winter and spring flood season this year, engineers completed work on the new fish passage along the Fremont Weir, a nearly two mile-long concrete structure atop the Yolo Bypass. The bypass is a 40-mile long engineered flood plain that starts near Woodland and shunts flood waters from the Sacramento River into agriculture fields. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Dead fish wash up near $6.3 million passageway designed to protect them. Why didn’t it work?

A big first for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program: Spring-run Chinook salmon return:  “For the first time in over 65 years, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook adult salmon have completed their life cycle and returned to the Restoration Area. While spring-run have been placed as adults in the river previously, this is the first time Program fish have migrated out of the system as juveniles and returned as adults years later.  So far, five returning adult spring-run Chinook have been trapped in Fyke nets in the lower Restoration Area. The fish were able to outmaneuver predators and avoid the perils of modern water infrastructure before making their way nearly 370 miles out to the Pacific Ocean to mature for 2-5 years before returning to the San Joaquin River. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin River Restoration Program here:  A big first for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program: Spring-run Chinook salmon return

Delta smelt: On extinction’s edge:For the first time ever, a fish survey that’s conducted every autumn by the state turned up zero Delta smelt, considered an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the entire Delta ecosystem.  Once the most abundant fish in the entire estuary, the smelt population has collapsed to the point where not one fish was found in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2018 Fall Midwater Trawl, the lowest in history. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here:  On extinction’s edge

Calif. Cities Devastated by Wildfires Face New Challenge: Benzene in Water:  “Last year, the Camp Fire tore across California, devouring forests and incinerating entire neighborhoods. Residents fled the flames, returning to find empty streets where their neighborhoods had been. It came only a year after the Tubbs Fire set records as it destroyed thousands of homes outside Santa Rosa.  Now that these cities are starting to rebuild, they are discovering that the damage goes even deeper than that. Soaring temperatures from the wildfires melted the PVC water pipes buried underground, causing the plastic to leech chemicals into the water and leaving the cities facing a complicated and expensive repair. … ”  Read more from GV Wire here:  Calif. Cities Devastated by Wildfires Face New Challenge: Benzene in Water

Court limits landmark tribal groundwater case:  “A California court has sided with a Southern California water district in a high-stakes case with a Native American tribe over access to groundwater.  The ruling follows a 2017 decision that found the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians had reserved water rights to groundwater under its lands.  But federal Judge Jesus Bernal said the nearby Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency have not harmed the tribe with their groundwater pumping because the reservation has sufficient water for its needs. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Court limits landmark tribal groundwater case

How ski resorts in California are preparing for warmer winters:  “Skiers know what a good day on Squaw Valley’s KT-22 chairlift looks like: crystalline powder piled up on lift towers; frosted ski hats in the lift line; Jeffrey pines sagging under the weight of new snow.  It’s days like this that inspire thousands of passionate skiers to brave gridlock traffic on Interstate 80 and stand in line for hours to get first tracks on a wide-open powder bowl. They do it because there is something transcendent about floating down a sheer mountain face on a soft blanket of crystals. The high alpine scene is so pristine, so stunningly barren and enticing at once, it is like a living snow globe where it is always winter and the snow is always deep. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  How ski resorts in California are preparing for warmer winters

Disturbing levels of carbon dioxide likely to increase ocean acidity fast, scientists say:  “Unusually high concentrations of carbon dioxide have been blowing out to sea from Bay Area cities and agricultural areas, raising concerns that the previously unknown infusions could increase ocean acidity faster than climate change experts have predicted, Monterey Bay scientists said this week.  The greenhouse gases flowing into the sea could add as much as 25 million tons of carbon dioxide into the ocean every year, roughly 1 percent of the total annual amount from all sources that permeates the sea water, according to calculations by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Disturbing levels of carbon dioxide likely to increase ocean acidity fast, scientists say

Southwestern US sizzles as some locations brace for triple-digit heat:  “After a seasonably mild first three weeks of April, residents across California and much of the southwestern United States are enduring the first significant heat wave of the year.  A ridge of high pressure will continue to strengthen across the Southwest late this week, pushing temperatures into the 90s and even 100s in spots. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Southwestern US sizzles as some locations brace for triple-digit heat

In commentary today …

New bill would repair Friant-Kern canal, benefiting both the Valley and state, says Senator Melissa Hurtado:  She writes, “Today, more than 100 rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley have limited access to clean water, while many others have seen their wells go dry. At the same time, water deliveries and water infrastructure required to fuel the Valley’s economic engine have become unreliable, and in some areas, broken.  Those factors, coupled with the looming implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which will cap access to groundwater supplies, has created a perfect storm for water issues happening all at once. A reliable and clean water supply is a central piece of this year’s agenda for both Gov. Newsom, who has called it a “moral issue,” and for me and many of my colleagues in the Legislature. As a representative of the Central Valley, finding real solutions for these problems is a top priority for me. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: New bill would repair Friant-Kern canal, benefiting both the Valley and state

In regional news and commentary today …

El Dorado Irrigation District approves Upper Main Ditch pipe project:  “After a lengthy Monday morning hearing, the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors approved going forward with the Upper Main Ditch piping project on a 3-2 vote with Directors George Osborne, Mike Raffety and Pat Dwyer voting for it and Director Lori Anzini and board President Alan Day voting against.  That vote came despite a room full of residents speaking heatedly in opposition to the project with most of them from the group Save the El Dorado Canal. ... ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here:  El Dorado Irrigation District approves Upper Main Ditch pipe project

Stockton prison begins treating water contaminated with deadly bacteria:  “California prison officials have started treating water with chlorine following tests that showed a dangerous bacteria was present in water throughout several facilities in Stockton.  Hyperchlorination of the water started Wednesday, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation news release. Officials will treat water at California Health Care Facility as well as neighboring N.A. Chaderjian and O.H. Close youth correctional facilities, where inmates are using bottled water, according to the release. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Stockton prison begins treating water contaminated with deadly bacteria

Tooleville pleads for consolidation in Exeter’s master plan:  “Exeter has been making some headway on fixing what ails their water problem. Just last month Exeter City Manager Adam Ennis received the first draft of a master water system report. And while progress is happening, for some it is not happening soon enough.  Exeter’s water master plan project, approved in July of last year and developed by QK Inc. (formerly Quad Knopf) is intended to identify weaknesses in Exeter’s water system, solutions to those weaknesses and future water needs for the City. As of now, the City is reviewing the report and making notes to send back to QK. And Ennis says he wants to make sure they are as accurate as possible for fear of a mistake when they go to implement solutions. … ”  Read more from the Foothill Sun-Gazette here:  Tooleville pleads for consolidation in Exeter’s master plan

Solution identified for East Orosi after 10 years of unsafe water:  “East Orosi is an unincorporated community in Tulare County of approximately 700 people, nearly all of whom are low-income Latino farmworker families. East Orosi is served by the East Orosi Community Service District (EOCSD), which has been in repeated violation of drinking water standards for nitrate and bacteria for more than 10 years.  The groundwater in the immediate vicinity of East Orosi has nitrate levels that regularly exceed the federal health standard. ... ”  Read more from the Valley Voice here:  Solution identified for East Orosi after 10 years of unsafe water

Crews Start Installing Debris-Catching Metal Nets in Montecito Creeks:  “Construction crews are working in Montecito creeks this week to install anchors for the permitted debris-catching steel nets, after months of permitting and fundraising efforts by the private nonprofit behind the project.  Pat McElroy, former Santa Barbara fire chief and executive director of The Partnership for Resilient Communities, said helicopters will drop off equipment and materials Thursday for installing net anchors in San Ysidro Creek, and Cold Spring Creek is next.  Cables and nets will be installed across the creeks next week, he said. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  Crews Start Installing Debris-Catching Metal Nets in Montecito Creeks

Ventura County: 45-day moratorium on drilling of certain oil wells passes:  “County supervisors have outlawed drilling of certain new oil wells in the vicinity of a major aquifer for 45 days in light of water-safety questions.  The decision Tuesday by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors came a couple of months after scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey reported that they had found petroleum-related gases in wells supplying irrigation water on the Oxnard Plain.  … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura County: 45-day moratorium on drilling of certain oil wells passes

Cooperation Preserves Pauma Valley Groundwater:  “Instead of waiting for Yuima Valley’s precious groundwater supplies to dry up, the Yuima Municipal Water District and local farmers are working cooperatively to create a sustainable long-term strategy for maintaining the region’s economy and quality of life by proactively managing the valley’s aquifer. …Yuima farmers also have relied on groundwater supplies for decades. Crops such as citrus and avocado flourish in the valley, nestled between Palomar Mountain and Valley Center.  But Yuima farmers want a different kind of future than they see unfolding in other groundwater-dependent areas of arid West. … “  Read more from the Water News Network here:   Cooperation Preserves Pauma Valley Groundwater

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado River basin reservoirs benefit from heavy snowpack:  “Reservoirs around the Colorado River basin are in good shape after an exceptionally wet winter.  The largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are expected to be more than half full this year. They haven’t been near capacity since 1999 when drought took hold of the region.  The worst levels of drought have now disappeared from much of the basin that takes in seven Western states. It’s a dramatic turn from this time last year when parts of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California were extremely or exceptionally dry. ... ” Read more from the Denver Post here:  Colorado River basin reservoirs benefit from heavy snowpack

And lastly …

Colorado House passes bill asking voters to OK sports betting for Colorado Water Plan:  Here is some new thinking on ways to fund water infrastructure … “The Colorado House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill to legalize sports betting in the state in order to pay for Colorado Water Plan projects. Sponsored by local lawmakers Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, and Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, HB 1327 would have to be approved by Colorado voters if it passes the Senate.  The lead House sponsors are Republican Minority Leader Patrick Neville and Democratic Majority Leader Alec Garnett. Roberts is a co-sponsor.  “Funding Colorado’s Water Plan is crucial to the future of our state for many reasons,” Roberts tweeted recently. “To have a dedicated source of funding for it would be a major benefit and that’s what this bill does.” … ”  Read more at Real Vail here:  Colorado House passes bill asking voters to OK sports betting for Colorado Water Plan

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT FORUM, Part 4: Case studies from the Bay Delta system

SCIENCE NEWS: Reclaiming the lost salmon population, Conserving wetlands, On the flyway highway, Survive the sound, Microplastics take flight; and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Harder announces SAVE Water Resources Act to address Central Valley water needs; Report: Multi-Benefit Approach for Water Management; Some pollutants increasing in streams following Camp Fire; Salmon spawning habitat restoration project in Redding underway

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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