DAILY DIGEST: New dam proposal in Sierra stirs debate over CA energy policy; What’s all this about a water tax?; Gray whales washing up dead along SF coast; Winterlike weather storm to bring rain, snow; and more …

In California water news today, New dam proposal in Sierra Nevada stirs debate over California energy policy; What’s all this about a water tax?; Gray whales, starving, washing up dead in startling numbers along SF coast; Winterlike weather pattern to send unusually powerful May storm into California late this week; A tale of cows and salmon (with photos); and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

New dam proposal in Sierra Nevada stirs debate over California energy policy:  “Up a remote canyon in the towering eastern Sierra, a Southern California company has an ambitious plan to dam the area’s cold, rushing waters and build one of the state’s first big hydroelectric facilities in decades.  The project, southeast of Yosemite near the town of Bishop (Inyo County), faces long regulatory odds as well as daunting costs. But residents of the Owens Valley downstream and state environmentalists are not taking it lightly. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  New dam proposal in Sierra Nevada stirs debate over California energy policy

NOTE:  This has been covered extensively by the Sierra Wave.  See also:

What’s all this about a water tax? Gov. Gavin Newsom has made repairing hundreds of failing drinking-water systems in California a big priority since taking office, giving fresh momentum to an entrenched problem the state’s leaders have long struggled to resolve.  But his proposed solution — a $140 million yearly tax raised in part through fees on urban water districts — has raised eyebrows in a state where residents already feel overtaxed. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  What’s all this about a water tax?

Fire Forced Me From My Home. Then Water Trapped Me There.  “I’ve lived in Idyllwild for the last 45 years. It’s a small town in the Southern California mountains, and it’s about a mile high where most people live. We don’t have any traffic lights. We don’t have fast food. We don’t even have a Starbucks. But we have many, many hiking trails. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through here on our ridge. People come from all over to visit us, because they like to get away from the city. Back when I had my art gallery, people would come in and say they were just so happy to be here in these natural surroundings. This past July, the town had to evacuate the mountain because of a wildfire. … ”  Read more from the New Republic here:  Fire Forced Me From My Home. Then Water Trapped Me There.

Gray whales, starving, washing up dead in startling numbers along SF coast:  “Exhausted, emaciated gray whales are going belly up along the coast of San Francisco this year at a rate seen only once — during a two-year period 20 years ago — since whaling was banned and the leviathans were pulled from the brink of extinction.  The death toll, part of a disturbing mass die-off from Mexico to Alaska, is happening largely because there is too little food in the ecosystem to sustain the behemoths on one of the world’s longest migrations, experts say. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Gray whales, starving, washing up dead in startling numbers along SF coast

A Lot of the Stuff We Throw in Those Recycling Bins Is Really Just Trash:  “For most Californians, it’s a no brainer. Toss all your recyclables into a big blue bin, a truck comes to take it, and it all somehow gets recycled.  But it turns out this easy-as-1-2-3 scenario is at least part fantasy.  Much of what’s in our blue bins is simply trash — meaning, it doesn’t get recycled, but ends up in landfill. Last week KQED’s Brian Watt spoke about the issue and what can be done about it with Mark Murray, who directs the advocacy group Californians Against Waste. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  A Lot of the Stuff We Throw in Those Recycling Bins Is Really Just Trash

Winterlike weather pattern to send unusually powerful May storm into California late this week:  “After sunshine and pleasant weather grace California early this week, a powerful storm system will barrel into the state during the middle to latter part of the week.  The return of a winterlike weather pattern, driven by a large dip in the jet stream, will be the culprit for driving this rare storm into the West Coast.  Rain will first move into Northern California on Wednesday before overspreading the rest of the state by Wednesday night and Thursday. ... ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Winterlike weather pattern to send unusually powerful May storm into California late this week

In commentary today …

Awareness, enforcement needed to protect beach wildlife, says the Marin Independent Journal:  They write, “National Park Service officials say they are looking for the owner of a dog that attacked and killed a seal pup on North Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore.  The pet was off-leash, despite numerous signs that dogs must be kept on-leash in the park. Worse, that stretch of the park was off limits to dogs, even on-leash, because it is a stretch of the beach protected as habitat for sensitive wildlife, including the snowy plover.  Dogs running off-leash are not uncommon on the park’s beaches.  Posted signs are widely ignored. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Awareness, enforcement needed to protect beach wildlife

California is making a weak effort to turn agriculture into a climate change fix, says Jacques Leslie: He writes, “Agriculture generates 9% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it the state’s fourth-largest emitter, after transportation, industry and buildings. But agriculture — often seen as an enemy of the environment — is the only one of these sectors with the potential to also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Healthy soil teems with life — more than a billion microorganisms per teaspoon — along with, crucially, carbon. Unfortunately, tilled soil releases a lot of that carbon, which combines with oxygen to add CO2 to the atmosphere. ... ”  Read more at the LA Times here:  California is making a weak effort to turn agriculture into a climate change fix

In regional news and commentary today …

Only FERC will decide Klamath Dam removal, not Compact Commission, says Richard Roos-Collins:  He writes, “Various parties have recently claimed that the Klamath River Compact Commission has authority over the proposal to remove four dams in the Klamath Hydroelectric Project.  They argue that the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) is illegal because it does not petition for the consent of the Compact Commission.  This argument, while creative, is wrong. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Only FERC will decide Klamath Dam removal, not Compact Commission

A tale of cows and salmon (with photos):  “Northcoast Regional Land Trust works to bring life back to estuary.”  View photo gallery/video from Eureka Times-Standard here:  A tale of cows and salmon (with photos)

Pepperwood Preserve readying for $5 million wildfire rebuild project:  “Pepperwood Preserve is poised to join the rebuilding wave that has engulfed much of the North Bay since the voracious wildfires of 2017 destroyed nearly 8,500 homes and other structures in the region.  The education and research organization on a 3,200-acre tract in the Mayacamas Mountains northeast of Santa Rosa has architectural plans and county permits in hand, with a local contractor set to build.  “We are shovel ready,” said Lisa Micheli, president of the nonprofit foundation that operates the facility off Porter Creek Road. ... ”  Read more form the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Pepperwood Preserve readying for $5 million wildfire rebuild project

Soquel Creek should reexamine water need, says Scott McGilvray:  He writes, “Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD) has defined its water supply need as 500 million gallons per year. That statement of need is used as justification for the recycled water Pure Water Soquel project, budgeted at $95 million. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz Water Department Director Rosemary Menard has recently announced that the annual water demand in Santa Cruz is 2.7 billion gallons per year, not 3.2 billion gallons as previously believed.  Does not the discovery of 500 million gallons of surplus water justify reexamination of the need for Pure Water Soquel? … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Soquel Creek should reexamine water need

SLO wants to use water from Nacimiento pipeline to generate electricity:  “The California Energy Commission is offering the city of San Luis Obispo a $3 million loan to build a 261-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system as well as a 264-kilowatt hydroelectric generation system — both located at the city water treatment plant on Stenner Creek Road behind Cal Poly.  By generating its own power at the treatment facility, SLO could earn savings of $266,863 annually compared to its current power bill, according to a commission report.  Furthermore the loan could be paid back in just over 11 years, while the facility generates renewable power for many more years after. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: SLO wants to use water from Nacimiento pipeline to generate electricity

Santa Clarita: Sanitation District gets 3 more years to complete chloride plan:  “State water regulators gave local sanitation officials three more years to carry out their plan to reduce the amount of chloride that ends up in the Santa Clara River.  On Thursday, officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District met with members of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to learn if their request for more time was approved. It was.  “We are pleased to report that today the Regional Board adopted the time schedule order mentioned below, which provides additional time to complete the chloride-compliance project — until January 2022,” Sanitation District spokesman Bryan Langpap said in a written statement late Thursday afternoon. … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here:  Sanitation District gets 3 more years to complete chloride plan

Mojave: Remote water tanks help bighorn sheep:  “Volunteers and government employees hauled water to two tanks for desert bighorn sheep in the Old Dad Peak area of Mojave National Preserve April 30.  Employees from California Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service joined volunteers from the Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheep to complete the task.  Four groups of storage tanks with drinker boxes in the Old Dad Peak area support close to 100 desert bighorn sheep, according to the NPS. There are no springs or natural water sources in the area, so the sheep depend on humans who provide water. ... ”  Read more from the Hi Desert Star here:  Remote water tanks help bighorn sheep

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Toward safe and reliable drinking water for all Californians; Coalition in Mendocino County forming to acquire Potter Valley Project; Endangered frog species blocking Camp Fire cleanup; Are Santa Clara Valley farmers paying too little for precious water?; and more …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for May 13, 2019

Today’s announcements …

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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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