DAILY DIGEST: Garamendi applauds cancellation of twin tunnels, suggests alternative plan; San Joaquin Tributaries Authority files lawsuit challenging new wetlands regs; Millions for climate, enviro priorities in Newsom’s May budget, but not much for Paradise; and more …

In California water news today, Garamendi applauds cancellation of Twin Tunnels, suggests alternative plan to Newsom; San Joaquin Tributaries Authority files lawsuit challenging new wetlands regulations; Capitol-to-Capitol: Finding better water management for California; Q&A: Wade Crowfoot, state’s new Natural Resources Secretary; Millions for Climate, Environmental Priorities in Newsom’s May Budget, but not much for Paradise; With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Workshop: Definition of protected water (SB 4) from 1pm to 4pm: The State Water Resources Control Board will hold a Staff Workshop for interested persons to provide valuable input to staff related to the definition of “protected water” under the Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring in areas of Oil and Gas Well Stimulation.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Garamendi applauds cancellation of Twin Tunnels, suggests alternative plan to Newsom:  “Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to withdraw permits for the proposed Twin Tunnels project in favor of a smaller single tunnel, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, issued a letter to the governor expressing support for the decision while also outlining alternative water plans. … Garamendi, who served as deputy interior secretary under President Bill Clinton and whose district represents more than 200 miles of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, has proposed developing another plan to safeguard the Delta and prioritize things like recycling and building new water storage rather than constructing tunnels. The plan is outlined in a report by Garamendi titled “Little Sip, Big Gulp: A Water Plan for All of California.” … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Garamendi applauds cancellation of Twin Tunnels, suggests alternative plan to Newsom

Legal alert: San Joaquin Tributaries Authority Challenge Recently Adopted State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredge or Fill Material to Waters of the State:  “On May 1, 2019, a group of California agencies and municipalities filed a petition for writ of mandate and complaint for mandatory relief challenging the State Wetlands Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredge and Fill Material to Waters of the State (“Procedures”) in Sacramento County Superior Court. The entity bringing the challenge is the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, a Joint Powers Authority (“JPA”) comprised of several member agencies, including the Modesto Irrigation District, Oakdale Irrigation District, and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. The City and County of San Francisco is also a member. The Procedures were adopted by the State Water Quality Control Board (“Water Board”) on April 2, 2019; however, the Water Board has still not made a copy of the adoption resolution publicly available.  According to the JPA, the Water Board’s adoption of the Procedures was unlawful, and must therefore be set aside for several reasons … ” Read more from Downey Brand here: San Joaquin Tributaries Authority Challenge Recently Adopted State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredge or Fill Material to Waters of the State

Capitol-to-Capitol: Finding better water management for California:  “When it rains in California, it pours.  But when it doesn’t, California’s drought years can have a devastating impact on the state.  California’s water experts are looking for ways to better store water during rainy years like 2019 so the state can have it during years when the rain and snow inevitably dry up.  “The reality is our system was built for a significant snowpack. It was modeled on a snowpack that probably is not as reliable and won’t be in the future,” Public Policy vice-chairman Ed Manning said. ... ”  Read more from Fox 40 here:  Capitol-to-Capitol: Finding better water management for California

Q&A: Wade Crowfoot, state’s new Natural Resources Secretary:  “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, 45, is now charged with executing.  That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Q&A: Wade Crowfoot, state’s new Natural Resources Secretary

Millions for Climate, Environmental Priorities in Newsom’s May Budget:  “California Gov. Gavin Newsom threw some more money into the environmental pot Thursday as part of the state’s May budget revision. The new funding includes about $250 million for climate-related programs, thanks to the state’s cap-and-trade program, and $75 million to fund an assessment of wildfire protection plans.  The update of his January budget proposal, required by the state constitution, reflects tax revenue collected through April 15. The record $213.5 billion spending plan includes about $4 billion in additional revenue above his January budget. The Legislature now has until June 15 to pass a budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins July 1. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Millions for Climate, Environmental Priorities in Newsom’s May Budget

Paradise asked for aid to deal with toxic water system. Gov. Newsom’s budget falls short:  “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget leaves several Camp Fire-beleaguered agencies hanging, including a water district that has requested a $22 million state bailout while it deals with mass contamination of the Paradise drinking water.  Newsom, in his announced budget Thursday, said he would provide $10 million in one-time funds to support Butte County “communities in their recovery from the unprecedented devastation of the Camp Fire.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Paradise asked for aid to deal with toxic water system. Gov. Newsom’s budget falls short

Six Months Later, How Are the Communities Affected by the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire Recovering?:  “Last November, two blazes, the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire, caused mass destruction in California. Here’s how the affected communities are recovering half a year later. … ” Read more from Pacific Standard here:  Six Months Later, How Are the Communities Affected by the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire Recovering?

Dam it all: More than half of the world’s long rivers are blocked by infrastructure:  “It hasn’t even been a week since the U.N. released a depressing report on biodiversity, and now, a new study in Nature shows that 63 percent of the world’s longest (at least 620 miles) rivers are impeded by human-built infrastructures such as dams and reservoirs. Dam(n).  Rivers are a key source of food and water for agriculture, energy, and humanity. They’re critical to many cultures and communities and home to a plethora of species like salmon and trout. They also bolster ecosystems by restoring groundwater and serve as a buffer against drought.  But with the increasing demand for more water, energy generation, and flood management, the construction of dams, levees, reservoirs, and other river-obstructive infrastructures is becoming ubiquitous. … ”  Read more from Grist.org here:  Dam it all: More than half of the world’s long rivers are blocked by infrastructure

Looking for Info About Bottled Water Quality? Good Luck.:  “A dead frog in a bottle of purified bottled water might seem pretty memorable. But not, apparently, to the New Jersey Department of Health. Though the state’s 2012 annual report on bottled water mentions a consumer complaint about the incident, the agency has no record of its probe into the potential unusual contamination, according to the state’s response to a public records request recently filed by Consumer Reports.  The incident isn’t just bizarre—it also underscores how little information is readily available to consumers interested in the quality of their bottled water, and how hard it can be for them to get it.  ... ”  Read more from Consumer Reports here:  Looking for Info About Bottled Water Quality? Good Luck.

Promoting cross-sector one water solutions:  “Traditionally, the planning and water management sectors have tended to collaborate solely within their own communities. It is important to bridge the disconnect between planners and water resource managers not just within a given community but also across communities. Incorporating new approaches across sectors can increase resiliency in a community, add value to water systems, and create economic and social health for communities. Unfortunately, the mechanisms to integrate land use planning, urban planning, and comprehensive planning considerations into water resource activities are not well defined. Nonetheless, while there are barriers to coordinating across both sectors, there are effective ways to link up planners and water resource managers.  … ”  Read more from Water World here:  Promoting cross-sector one water solutions

In commentary today …

How better wastewater management can help California adapt to climate change:  Caitrin Chappelle and Henry McCann write, “Our public health relies on wastewater management to treat sewage and remove pollutants coming from our homes and businesses.  This system is fundamental to protecting our health. In California, treated wastewater also is a critical source of water for the environment, and, increasingly, a source for recycled water. Climate change is worsening water scarcity and flood risks. Advancements in engineering and technology can help prepare wastewater agencies for a changing climate. But significant shifts in policy and planning are needed to address these challenges. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: How better wastewater management can help California adapt to climate change

In regional news and commentary today …

Sacramento: Homeless Digging Into Crucial Flood Levees Putting Thousands Of Homes In Danger:  “There’s a growing threat to the levees that protect the surrounding areas from flooding and as it turns out, the city isn’t doing much to stop it.  “This is public infrastructure and needs to be preserved,” said Tim Kerr, general manager for the American River Flood Control while inspecting the levee damage.  Sometimes erosion can be caused by fallen trees or rodents, but now they’re finding faults intentionally caused by homeless people carving out campsites. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Homeless Digging Into Crucial Flood Levees Putting Thousands Of Homes In Danger

Radio show: Bethel Island: Sounds from the outer edges of the Bay:  “In this Audiograph, we go to a place that’s a little more than an hour’s drive from San Francisco, right in the middle of the California Delta — Bethel Island.  It’s tiny, only five square miles, and you have to cross a bridge or use a boat to get there. There’s no traffic light, no supermarket, and no school. But a few thousand people call it home. Including Reporter Ashleyanne Krigbaum’s dad.”  Listen at KALW here:  Radio show: Bethel Island: Sounds from the outer edges of the Bay

Another Pine Flat Dam release begins:  “Another Kings River flood release has been started from Pine Flat Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers but like a recent late winter flood release this one is aimed at spurring water demand within the 28 member agencies that have rights to divert Kings water. The strategy immediately had its intended effect, said Kings River Watermaster Steve Haugen.  The Kings River Water Association (KRWA) today (May 9) reported Corps officials declared the flood release Wednesday in response to the California Department of Water Resources’ latest Sierra Nevada runoff forecast that was based on a much-above-average snowpack found to be remaining in the high country May 1. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Another Pine Flat Dam release begins

Mono Supervisors react to proposed hydroelectric project:  “The Mono County Board of Supervisors didn’t mince their words or hide their feelings about the massive hydroelectric project proposed for Wheeler Crest, Lower Rock Creek and Owens River gorges at Tuesday’s meeting.  “What are these people thinking? Are they insane?” was Supervisor Bob Gardner’s reaction. Supervisors Stacy Corless and Jennifer Halferty described the project as “horrible and ridiculous,” and “appalling and far-fetched,” respectively. Comments from the public were equally adamant: Premium Energy Holding, LLC’s application to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission for a permit to study the feasibility of the reservoirs and penstocks had no redeeming qualities. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Mono Supervisors react to proposed hydroelectric project

Trump plan to allow new fracking on California coast, Central Valley moves forward:  “The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with its plan to open up federal land in California’s Central Valley and Central Coast to more oil and gas drilling, including fracking.  The Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Office released new documents on its proposal for oil and gas leasing and development on the public land it administers. The field office’s boundaries stretch across 11 California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Trump plan to allow new fracking on California coast, Central Valley moves forward

California Central Coast, Bay Area to open for drilling:  “A more than five-year moratorium on leasing land in California for oil and gas development will be coming to an end with a May 9 Interior Department plan to open up about 725,000 acres across the state’s Central Coast and the Bay Area for drilling.  The decision comes just two weeks after the Trump administration released its plan to reopen more than 1 million acres of public land and federal mineral estate in eight counties in Central California to fracking. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg BNA here:  California Central Coast, Bay Area to open for drilling

Coastal Commission Approves Santa Barbara’s Updated Local Coastal Plan:  “In a unanimous vote, the California Coastal Commission agreed Thursday to certify the city of Santa Barbara’s years-in-the-making update to its Coastal Land Use Plan.  “This is a monumental milestone in a six-year work effort for the city,” said City Planner Renee Brooke. “Going into today’s hearing with both the Coastal Commission and city staff supportive of the policies in the Land Use Plan is indicative of our tireless approach to working collaboratively with the commission staff.”  The city sent a contingent of officials to the meeting, which was held in the Oxnard City Council chamber. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Coastal Commission Approves Santa Barbara’s Updated Local Coastal Plan

Bunker Hill Basin reported below full after 2017-2018 water year:  “According to an engineering investigation released by the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District on March 7, the Bunker Hill Basin, which stores the groundwater used by the San Bernardino Valley, remains 570,718 acre-feet below full water storage following the 2017-18 water year.  The district covers an area of approximately 50,000 acres, about 60 percent, of the basin and manages the recharging activities of the Bunker Hill Basin. As the area’s water conservation district, the district is required by the California Water Code to prepare an engineering investigation to compile and analyze the area’s precipitation and water storage levels each year. ... ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here:  Bunker Hill Basin reported below full after 2017-2018 water year

Poseidon’s restoration obligations on deck at Coastal Commission meeting: “Poseidon Water might be fighting for its desalination future in Huntington Beach, but the corporation’s representatives will be in front of the California Coastal Commission for an entirely different matter on May 9: the restoration and conversion of a 90.9-acre salt pond to tidal wetlands and 34.6-acrer Otay River floodplain site in San Diego.  The restoration project is actually part of Poseidon’s mitigation obligations, which are attached to the water company’s desalination plant in Carlsbad. ... ”  Read more from The Log here:  Poseidon’s restoration obligations on deck at Coastal Commission meeting

Regional water quality board to hold meetings in Newport Beach about proposed regulation of copper in bay:  “The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board will hold workshops Thursday and Friday in Newport Beach about proposed copper regulation in Newport Bay.  The workshops are part of a potential adoption or revision of proposed amendments to incorporate total maximum daily loads for copper, plus action plans for other metals, in the bay’s waters.  Copper enters the water via “anti-fouling” paint on boat hulls. The paint is intended to prevent damaging barnacles or algae from sticking to vessel bottoms. But water experts say the copper also harms the gills and nervous systems of fish and kills invertebrates that other marine animals feed on. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Regional water quality board to hold meetings in Newport Beach about proposed regulation of copper in bay

San Diego: Lindo Lake getting some help from the county:  “Lindo Lake County Park in Lakeside is going to get some of the TLC its fans have been waiting for.  The San Diego County Board of Supervisors last week voted unanimously to move ahead with a $7.5 million improvement project for the park’s two popular lakes.  The improvements will be the county’s first effort in a planned two-part renovation of the lakes and surrounding acreage at the 55-acre park. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  Lindo Lake getting some help from the county

Along the Colorado River …

With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future: “Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.  Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. … ”  Read more from Western Water here:  With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future

Drought Contingency Plan Commentary: Were they even in the same meeting?  Greg Walcher writes, “George Bernard Shaw once quipped, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” That could apply to the famous 2009 meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Pope Benedict XVI, after which she reported that they discussed “poverty, hunger, and global warming.” The Pope, however, reported that he had politely but firmly admonished that her “pro-abortion politics” put her “in serious difficulties as a Catholic.” Several reporters openly wondered if the two had even been in the same meeting.  Similar skepticism might apply to the many divergent views of the newly adopted “Drought Contingency Plan” (DCP) for the Colorado River. … ”  Read more from the Grand Junction Sentinel here:  Were they even in the same meeting?

Hualapai Tribe Hopes Water Settlement Finally Happens This Congress:  “The Hualapai reservation, on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, borders the Colorado River.  But tribal Chairman Damon Clarke notes a sharp irony.  “The Colorado River runs right right behind our backyard on the (border) of our reservation if you look at the map,” said Clarke in an interview. “And we don’t get a drop from it. You guys, down there in the Valley, you get tons and tons of water from the river.” … ”  Read more from KJZZ here:  Hualapai Tribe Hopes Water Settlement Finally Happens This Congress

And lastly …

Also on Maven’s Notebook 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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