DAILY DIGEST: End in sight to the parade of storms in the West as May comes to a close; Reclamation bumps westside water allocation to 70 percent; AquAlliance, allies prepare for next wave of water fights; Domino droughts; Butte County concerned over Lake Oroville levels; and more …

In California water news today, End in sight to the parade of storms in the West as May comes to a close; Bureau of Reclamation bumps westside water allocation to 70 percent; AquAlliance, allies prepare for next wave of water fights; Domino droughts; California Senate passes bill targeting controversial water project, State Assembly next; Butte County concerned over Lake Oroville levels; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

End in sight to the parade of storms in the West as May comes to a close: “It’s been an unusually stormy May across the West with constant storms, but it looks like the pattern will start to change as we enter the final days of May.  In the meantime, though, there will continue to be a couple of storms moving around a deep trough that will be in place across the West through the Memorial Day weekend. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here: End in sight to the parade of storms in the West as May comes to a close

Bureau of Reclamation bumps westside water allocation to 70 percent:  “The Bureau of Reclamation updated its 2019 allocation for the Central Valley Project South-of-Delta, increasing the westside water allocation to 70 percent of the contract total.  “The storms experienced in the Central Valley during the past week are unusual this late in the year, bringing the month’s precipitation to over twice its average,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant in a statement. “The late storms provided an added boost to the already above average precipitation for 2019. Snowpack throughout the state is still about 150% of average for this time of year.” … ”  Read more from The Sun here:  Bureau of Reclamation bumps westside water allocation to 70 percent

AquAlliance, allies prepare for next wave of water fights:Barbara Vlamis is smiling. Often, the executive director of the Chico-based advocacy group AquAlliance wears a steely expression, as her work involves David-versus-Goliath battles against powerful interests—namely, government agencies and water brokers. Now, she’s satisfied, even a bit celebratory.  Last spring, Vlamis and groups allied to AquAlliance notched a legal victory regarding environmental impacts of transferring water from the northern Sacramento Valley into the Delta for 10 years. (See “Marching on,” Newslines, March 28, 2018.)   The past few weeks have brought more good news—and grins. … ”  Read more from the Chico News & Review here: Eye of the storm: AquAlliance, allies prepare for next wave of water fights

Domino droughts:  “Could a drought in California be linked to a drought in the Midwest? A recent Stanford-led study published in Geophysical Research Letters finds that regions may fall victim to water scarcity like dominos toppling down a line.  “We know droughts can travel thousands of miles across continents, but it has not been clear exactly how,” said lead author Julio E. Herrera Estrada, a postdoctoral scholar with the Stanford Water in the West program and the Stanford Department of Earth System Science. … ”  Read more from Stanford’s Water in the West here:  Domino droughts

California Senate passes bill targeting controversial water project, State Assembly next: “The California Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require additional environmental review for groundwater transfers that would affect desert areas, which would put a major roadblock in front of a controversial water project proposed in the Mojave Desert by Cadiz Inc.  The company has been trying to pump 16.3 billion gallons of groundwater out of the desert’s aquifer and transport it to the Colorado River Aqueduct. … .”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  California Senate passes bill targeting controversial water project, State Assembly next

‘It’s Raining Plastic’: Researchers Find Microscopic Fibers in Colorado Rain Samples:  “When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.  The U.S. Geological Survey researcher had collected rain samples from eight sites along Colorado’s Front Range. The sites are part of a national network for monitoring changes in the chemical composition of rain. Six of the sites are in the urban Boulder-to-Denver corridor. The other two are located in the mountains at higher elevation. … In 90 percent of the samples Wetherbee found a rainbow wheel of plastics, mostly fibers and mostly colored blue. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  ‘It’s Raining Plastic’: Researchers Find Microscopic Fibers in Colorado Rain Samples

Attacking Global Warming by Adding CO2 to the Atmosphere? Stanford Researchers Have a Plan: “Here’s a novel approach to reversing global warming: Let’s put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  No, seriously.  Researchers at Stanford University this week proposed a new process that they say could help slow the warming of the planet by converting methane gas floating around in the atmosphere into carbon dioxide. ... ”  Read more from KQED here: Attacking Global Warming by Adding CO2 to the Atmosphere? Stanford Researchers Have a Plan

Here’s what Bernhardt could do on climate — if he wanted to:  “Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s go-to lines on climate policy are straining under pressure.  The Interior Department enjoys broad authority to respond to climate impacts, but the department’s obligations — especially when it comes to curbing greenhouse gas emissions — have become a major point of contention as Bernhardt justifies the administration’s energy and deregulatory agenda in narrow, legalistic terms.  Once the department’s top lawyer, Bernhardt argues that no law says Interior “shall” scale back oil and gas development due to their emissions. Interior evaluates climate change in environmental assessments, but going further is outside the law, he reiterated yesterday. ... ” Read more from E&E News here: Here’s what Bernhardt could do on climate — if he wanted to

And lastly … Just in time for summer: Your Guide to America’s Public Lands:  “America’s public lands are owned by the people and managed on our behalf by federal and state governments. That means you get to use them for all sorts of fun things for little to no charge. Here’s how to do that. … ”  Continue reading at Outside Magazine: Your Guide to America’s Public Lands

In regional news and commentary today …

Trump administration withdraws support letter of Klamath Dam removal“The U.S. Department of the Interior has withdrawn its support for a proposal to remove four dams on the Klamath River near the California-Oregon border.  Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt wrote a letter last week to the secretary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking her to rescind a previous Interior secretary’s letter in support of the Klamath River project.  “Accordingly I hereby withdraw the 2016 letter as unnecessary to the current proceedings before FERC,” Bernhardt wrote. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here:  Trump administration withdraws support letter of Klamath Dam removal

Butte County concerned over Lake Oroville levels:  “There are more concerns over lake levels in Oroville as Butte County leaders take initiative to explore alternative options for safety measures.  The Department of Water Resources (DWR), a leg of the State Water Project, manages the Oroville Dam. On Wednesday, DWR officials remained adamant in saying they have no plans to release water from the Oroville Dam spillway.  “I’m very concerned about the lake levels,” District 1 Supervisor Bill Connelly said Tuesday during the Board of Supervisors meeting. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Butte County concerned over lake levels

Into a new world: 180,000 salmon get a head start on their voyage to the ocean as scientists hope to improve survival:  “The raceways at Coleman National Fish Hatchery are the only home a select group of salmon fry has ever known. Feeding was regular, and there were no predators. Life was easy.  Then they were released into an alien world — one with water currents, predators and no guaranteed meals. Life, literally, became uncertain.  To help prevent excess fish loss for this at-risk species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a pilot project with key partners to release 180,000 marked juvenile salmon into the Sacramento River 75 miles downstream from the hatchery, at Scotty’s Landing, near Chico, California. … ”  Continue reading at the US FWS here:  Into a new world: 180,000 salmon get a head start on their voyage to the ocean as scientists hope to improve survival

Reclamation district proposes flood risk assessment for South Yuba County:  “A south Yuba County reclamation district is proposing a new property assessment on residents to maintain levee operations, meet state and federal flood protection requirements and address internal drainage issues within its boundary that covers Linda, Olivehurst and Plumas Lake.  Property owners within Reclamation District 784’s boundaries will have until the July 1 deadline to vote on the annual flood risk reduction services assessment, which would essentially consolidate two similar property assessments already in effect and help close a funding gap the district is experiencing. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Reclamation district proposes flood risk assessment for South Yuba County

Lake Tahoe: The fight against invasive species continues:  Joanne Marchetta writes, “While it felt like spring had finally arrived, we all know Mother Nature can be fickle, especially at Lake Tahoe.  For those who love to play in the snow, it was a fantastic winter, and a banner year for the Sierra snowpack. Despite some cooler weather now, steady warmer temperatures are on the way and our attention is shifting from the mountains to the lake.  Boating season is here, and our ongoing battle in the fight against aquatic invasive species continues. For 11 years, more than 40 agencies and private nonprofit partners have worked to prevent the further spread of aquatic invasives. ... ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Lake Tahoe: The fight against invasive species continues

DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now:  “It appears Solano County and Vallejo have avoided a potentially costly state shift in the groundwater sustainability priority for the Napa-Sonoma Lowlands.  While the final decision by the Department of Water Resources has not been made, the state agency has for now backed off its proposal to increase the priority status from very low to medium for the lowlands.  “That would have required us, Napa County, possibly (the Solano County Water Agency), American Canyon and the city of Vallejo to form (Groundwater Sustainability Areas),” Misty Kaltreider, hydro-geological analyst for the Solano County Department of Resource Management, said in a phone interview. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now

Sonoma County approves a plan to offset Groundwater Fees in the Santa Rosa Plain:  “On Tuesday, May 21, the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Water Agency(Sonoma Water Board) and the  Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (County Board) approved a plan to offset a fee that is likely to be imposed on groundwater users in the Santa Rosa Plain (an area extending from Santa Rosa west to Sebastopol, north to Windsor and south to Cotati). Under the plan, the County and Sonoma Water would contribute a total of up to $240,000 annually for three years to the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA). … ”  Read more from the Sonoma Gazette here:  Sonoma County approves a plan to offset Groundwater Fees in the Santa Rosa Plain

Marin Voice: Water district needs ‘strong dose of transparency’:  Richard L. Harris writes, “In the early 1990s I served as a Marin Municipal Water District director. At the time, MMWD had the second-highest water rates in the United States. Under the board’s direction, the district renegotiated outstanding debt, implemented a new capital plan and rate structure and brought operating expenses into balance with revenues. The result was a $12.5 million annual profit.  Since then, water consumption has declined roughly 9% due to conservation, while operating expenses have nearly tripled.  … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin Voice: Water district needs ‘strong dose of transparency’

Radio show: Bay Area Experiences Wettest May in 20 Years: “We’ve come a long way since the mandatory water restrictions of 2015: atmospheric rivers have delivered almost two inches of rain to the Bay Area so far this month, Northern California reservoirs are near capacity and Sierra snowpack is well above the average for this time of year. But should the state still be saving water in case of a drought? We’ll check in on the health of the state’s water supply and how the wet winter and spring may affect the upcoming fire season.” Guest: Paul Rogers, Mercury News.  Listen to show from KQED here: Radio show: Bay Area Experiences Wettest May in 20 Years

120,000 chinook salmon released into Monterey Bay:  “Sport and commercial fishermen report that the 2019 Salmon season, so far, is the best it’s been in years.  Part of the success could be attributed to the annual stocking of Chinook or King salmon in the Monterey Bay.  On Tuesday, 120,000 juvenile Chinook were released to support the local sport and commercial fisheries, and even a portion of the economy. … ”  Read more from Channel 8 here:  120,000 chinook salmon released into Monterey Bay

Monterey advances plan to shore up eroding beaches: “A massive plan to temporarily halt beach erosion from undercutting a number of structures in Monterey and surrounding areas was advanced Tuesday by the Monterey City Council.  Over the next 50 years portions of coastal dunes of southern Monterey Bay are predicted to erode at a rate of between 1 foot and 6 feet a year, said Kimberly Cole, Monterey’s community development director. As a result, there are a number of structures at high risk and require action to prevent their loss.  Among the structures noted are Monterey Beach Resort, Ocean Harbor House condominiums, Monterey La Playa townhomes, Sanctuary Beach Resort as well as pumping stations and other infrastructure near beaches. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Monterey advances plan to shore up eroding beaches

Merced: Tricolored Blackbirds Part of Dairy’s Conservation Story:  ““I was shocked to hear 10 percent,” Diamond J Dairy Co-Owner Luciana Jonkman said when she learned how the flock of tricolored blackbirds who had inhabited one of their silage fields measured up to the entire population. “If that’s 10 percent, there really are very few.”  The tricolored blackbird is federally listed as a Bird of Conservation Concern and the California-native is considered threatened in the state. Jonkman and her husband Wiebren learned that a colony of 25,000 birds called one of their Diamond J Dairy fields ‘home’ for about 60 days. “10 percent at 25,000, across the entire globe? That’s pretty amazing,” Jonkman said. … ”  Read more from Ag Net here: Tricolored Blackbirds Part of Dairy’s Conservation Story

Bakersfield: Public Hearing on Fracking in Valley Not Recorded – ‘I Feel Like The Process Is Rigged’: ““Absurd,” “insulting,” and “insane” were some of the many critiques levied during a public meeting in Bakersfield on Tuesday night against a recent Bureau of Land Management environmental analysis, which brings the agency one step closer to opening over a million acres of federal land to hydraulic fracturing.  The analysis, a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released in April, found no significant impacts associated with fracking the region, which includes land along parts of the Central Coast and in Kern, Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties. “The federal government has reaffirmed that hydraulic fracturing is a safe method of production in California,” wrote a spokesperson for the Western States Petroleum Association in an email statement. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here: Bakersfield: Public Hearing on Fracking in Valley Not Recorded – ‘I Feel Like The Process Is Rigged’

Indian Wells Valley: Update on imported water provided:  “A firm hired by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority is already in the initial phase to find sources of imported water for the valley, according to a progress report delivered at a Thursday board meeting.  IWVGA general manager Don Zdeba briefed the board of director that Capitol Core Group, which was retained in March, is looking at what water supply options are available and how to secure funding to ultimately purchase and develop infrastructure to deliver into the valley. ... ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here:  Indian Wells Valley: Update on imported water provided

Long Beach: Pacific Visions: More than just a fish story: “Twenty-one years after opening, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach has just completed its first major expansion project, a new wing (or fin, in this case) called Pacific Visions. It’s a two-story, 29,000 square foot building with a blue-paneled facade and a fluid shape that’s somewhat like a violin case and somewhat like a huge dollop of seawater.  It was designed by EHDD out of San Francisco, an architectural and urban design firm whose other projects include the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. So clearly EHDD knows how to swim with the fishes, so to speak. ... ”  Read more from the Easy Reader News here: Long Beach: Pacific Visions: More than just a fish story

Power Struggles Over the Coachella Valley’s Water Supply Have Dominated Recent Headlines. What’s Really Going On?  “Local news reports as of late have included alarming updates on a spate of disputes that have cropped up involving local water agencies.  For example, there’s the outrage expressed by the Desert Hot Springs-area’s Mission Springs Water District over what it refers to as the west valley-area Desert Water Agency’s “seizure” of groundwater management.  Or perhaps you saw a headline regarding the Imperial Irrigation District’s concern over the recent legislative action taken by local Assemblymember Chad Mayes. ... ”  Read more from the Coachella Valley Independent here:  Power Struggles Over the Coachella Valley’s Water Supply Have Dominated Recent Headlines. What’s Really Going On?

Along the Colorado River …

‘These are parks’: Signs of life returning to the depleted Colorado River Delta:  “Karen Schlatter suggests we find shade, a relatively easy task at Laguna Grande, a restoration site along the Colorado River’s historic channel in northern Mexico. It’s managed by the Sonoran Institute, where Schlatter is associate director of the binational environmental group’s Colorado River Delta program.  We head to a stand of 30-foot cottonwoods within the intensely managed site. Beneath the canopy, away from the direct sun, the temperature drops quickly.  “This forest here is probably five years old,” Schlatter said. “Trees and habitat can establish really quickly in the Colorado River Delta when you give it the adequate conditions: water, sunlight and not very high soil salinity.” … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here:  ‘These are parks’: Signs of life returning to the depleted Colorado River Delta

House panel includes funding for Pinal farmers in bill:  “The House Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday to pass the fiscal year 2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies funding bill, which includes critical funding designed to support central Arizona farmers.  U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Tucson, led the effort to secure the funding from her position on the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. The language included in the report provides $40 million in areas experiencing extended drought conditions, specifically for well construction projects that lead to conservation of surface water, such as the Pinal County infrastructure project included in the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan agreement. … ”  Read more from Pinal Central here: House panel includes funding for Pinal farmers in bill

Precipitation watch …

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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