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DAILY DIGEST: State distributes grants to help implement SGMA; CDFW documents statewide impact of recent drought on fish and aquatic species; Wildlife and way of life in the North Delta?; Trump says ‘air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been’ in US; and more …

In California water news today, State distributes grants to help implement SGMA; CDFW Documents Statewide Impact of Recent Drought on Fish and Aquatic Species; Wildlife and Way of Life in the North Delta?; Legal alert: Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum; California Shows Decreased Use of Most-Hazardous Pesticides; OSU researchers study ways to help rivers amid climate change; Did a burning river really fuel landmark law’s passage?; ‘Intelligent water’ could save U.S water utilities $17.6 billion, report says; Trump says ‘air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been’ in US; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The California Water Commission meets at 9:30am. Agenda items include Action Item regarding Rancho California Water District’s Vail Dam and a discussion on the documenting process for WIIN Act Consistency with Proposition 1; Vote on approval of 2018 State Water Project review; A panel discussion on the Water/Energy Nexus: How Water Agencies Account for Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) Emissions; and a listening session on Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative.  For agenda and webcast link, click here.
  • Webinar: Utility Examples to Mitigate Earthquake Impacts from 11am to 12pm: The second in a webinar series on earthquake resilience for water and wastewater utilities. Hosted by the EPA.  Click here to register.
  • Webinar: Consequences of Groundwater Sustainability in California from 12pm to 1pm:  Speaker is Dr. Jeff Mount.  Presented by the Groundwater Resources Association.  Click here for more information and to register.

In the news today …

State distributes grants to help implement SGMA:  “With some local agencies just months away from a deadline to complete groundwater management plans, local and state officials acknowledge there have been a few speed bumps in distributing grant funding for planning and implementation. But observers say they expect the grant process overall to benefit groups working to comply with provisions of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  “There’s the old adage that there’s no free money; you take the bad with the good and the bad is, these processes always take longer,” Northern California Water Association President David Guy said. … ”  Continue reading at Ag Alert here: State distributes grants to help implement SGMA

CDFW Documents Statewide Impact of Recent Drought on Fish and Aquatic Species:  “One silver lining to emerge from the severe drought that impacted California earlier this decade was that it whetted an appetite to study the event and compile data designed to help fish and aquatic species better weather future droughts.  The state experienced one of the warmest, driest periods in recorded history during this five-year drought (2012 to 2016).  In Jan. 2014, then-Governor Jerry Brown declared the drought a state of emergency. His proclamation directed all state agencies to act to prepare for and mitigate drought-related effects on water supply and aquatic species. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) responded by enacting “drought stressor monitoring” on a statewide level, and recently released a summary report on that effort entitled link opens in new windowStatewide Drought Response: Stressor Monitoring (PDF). … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: CDFW Documents Statewide Impact of Recent Drought on Fish and Aquatic Species

Wildlife and Way of Life in the North Delta?  “Californians ask a lot of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, where the state’s longest rivers meet and deliver snowmelt from the mountains. Water suppliers want to reconfigure the Delta’s plumbing via the ever-contentious Water Fix project, which Governor Gavin Newsom just sent back to the drawing board. State wildlife officials want to boost restoration in the region, and the 2019 Delta Conservation Framework outlines their latest plan. And people in the Delta want to live and farm there as they have for generations.  There may not be a way to give everyone what they want from the Delta. But there are ways to restore ecosystems while preserving local communities. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Wildlife and Way of Life in the North Delta?

Legal alert: Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum:  “A water agency’s resolution adopting new rates for its water service fees is not subject to referendum, a California Court of Appeal held Friday. The California Constitution’s grant of referendum power excludes local legislative enactments providing for tax levies and appropriations for local governments’ usual and current expenses. In Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. Amador Water Agency, the court concluded that the term “tax levies” includes property-related fees, such as water service fees, and are not subject to referendum. … ”  Read more from BB&K here:  Legal alert: Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum

California Shows Decreased Use of Most-Hazardous Pesticides:  “The amount of pesticides used statewide declined in 2017 according to new data from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.  This includes a drop in many of the most hazardous chemicals, including pesticides that are carcinogens, and those with the potential to contaminate groundwater and air.  According to the 2017 Pesticide Use Report, the overall amount of pesticides used in California dropped to about 205 million pounds in 2017. That was a decrease of 2 percent from the previous year.  Agriculture use, which accounts for the greatest pesticide use in California, dropped by 3.7 million pounds (1.9 percent) from 2016. Pesticide use in other applications, including landscaping and structural pest control, also decreased in 2017. … ”  Read more from Cal Ag Today here: California Shows Decreased Use of Most-Hazardous Pesticides

OSU researchers study ways to help rivers amid climate change: “New strategies for river management are needed to maintain water supplies and avoid big crashes in populations of aquatic life, researchers argue in a perspective piece published Tuesday in Nature.  The scientists say a fresh approach is necessary as the climate warms, which has led to historic die-offs like the January event in the Murray-Darling Basin of Australia that saw severe water shortages bring hardship to residents and kill millions of fish.  “The world’s rivers are facing tough times,” said the editorial’s lead author, Jonathan Tonkin, who just completed a post-doctoral appointment in Oregon State University’s College of Science. … ”  Read more from News Channel 21 here: OSU researchers study ways to help rivers amid climate change

Meteorologists discuss how to warn the public about extreme weather:  “California knows the disastrous impacts of climate change. It has the worst air pollution of any state, and several of its counties have recently seen record-setting temperatures. Its climate and topography make it vulnerable to devastating wildfires, such as last year’s Camp Fire, which burned over 150,000 acres of land and claimed 85 lives. So perhaps it stands to reason that, this year, the 100-year-old American Meteorological Society held its annual Conference on Broadcast Meteorology in San Diego. ... ”  Read more from the Columbia Journalism Review here: Meteorologists discuss how to warn the public about extreme weather

Did a burning river really fuel landmark law’s passage?  “In 1969, Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River burned for the last time. It was a short blaze, under control within 30 minutes and fully extinguished within two hours.  One firefighter told local press, who arrived on the scene too late to photograph any flames, that it “wasn’t that big a deal.” The head of Cleveland’s Fire Department called the blaze “unremarkable” because the only damage it caused were a few warped railroad ties.  That’s the true story.  But it’s not how the Cuyahoga River fire — which occurred 50 years ago this week — is often remembered. Instead, it’s described as a major conflagration so significant that it ignited the national environmental movement and sparked passage of the Clean Water Act. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Did a burning river really fuel landmark law’s passage?

‘Intelligent water’ could save U.S water utilities $17.6 billion, report says:  “According to a new report by Arcadis and Bluefield Research, intelligent water can address two of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. water utility sector today: affordability and resilience.  “The research indicates that only 21 percent of utilities feel they are fully able to cover costs of service,” said Eric Bindler, research director for digital water, Bluefield Research. “Meanwhile, it is possible that 36 percent of households won’t be able to afford water in the next five years. It’s clear that resilience and affordability are the biggest concerns facing utilities.” … ”  Read more from Water & Finance Management here: ‘Intelligent water’ could save U.S water utilities $17.6 billion, report says

Price of Water 2019: Even Without Federal Infrastructure Deal, Cities Continue to Invest:  “In the third year of the Trump administration, Congress and the White House have repeatedly discussed a multi-trillion dollar investment in the country’s roads, dams, levees, telecommunication networks, power grids, drinking water pipes, and sewage treatment plants.  Neither side has agreed on such a plan, and a deal seems out of reach at the moment. For drinking water infrastructure, Congress has preferred instead to fortify existing loan funds and grant programs. The country’s metropolitan centers, by and large, are taking advantage of those incremental measures. They are also forging ahead on their own, not waiting on Beltway politics to be resolved before making investments to prepare their water systems for the decades ahead. ... ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: Price of Water 2019: Even Without Federal Infrastructure Deal, Cities Continue to Invest

Trump says ‘air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been’ in US:  “President Trump claimed during his campaign launch on Tuesday night that the United States has “among the cleanest and sharpest” air and water on Earth.  “Something I want to make clear to the media: We have among the cleanest and sharpest — crystal clean, you’ve heard me say, I want crystal clean — air and water anywhere on Earth,” Trump said during his rally in Florida on Tuesday. ... ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Trump says ‘air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been’ in US

Appropriations: Dems weaponize spending bills on energy, environment:  “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has dubbed himself the legislative “grim reaper,” vowing to stifle House leadership’s entire legislative slate, but Democrats are looking to a well-worn playbook to return fire.  With the Senate brick wall ahead of them, House Democrats are using the appropriations process to press their environmental agenda and weaponize GOP climate views that they see as out of sync with the mainstream. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Appropriations: Dems weaponize spending bills on energy, environment

In commentary today …

California Legislature must act to protect environment from Trump’s assaultsTerry Tamminen writes,California is facing an unprecedented and reckless assault by the federal government on our water quality, air quality, worker safety, fish and wildlife and public lands.  Existing federal protections in those areas keep California a special place and keep Californians healthy. But those protections are threatened. Our state government is fighting back, but the past two years have revealed where state law must be strengthened.  For decades, state regulators have relied on federal protections for endangered species to meet California’s independent state legal requirement to protect imperiled species like Northern California’s spring run Chinook salmon. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: California Legislature must act to protect environment from Trump’s assaults

In regional news and commentary today …

Harmful algae found in Lake Oroville, advisory warns: The California Water Board released a Caution Advisory for harmful algae blooms Monday in Lake Oroville.  The blooms of algae were discovered in the Middle Fork of the lake, according to an advisory released on the board’s Twitter Monday. … ”  Read more from Chico Enterprise-Record here: Harmful algae found in Lake Oroville, advisory warns

Glenn County gravel mining operation faces fine:  “A Glenn County gravel mining operation faces a $675,000 fine for water quality violations, according to a news release from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.  According to the release, Orland Sand and Gravel Corporation and its owner Dale Bogart will pay the penalty for violating the terms of a judicially approved 2018 court settlement over impacts to water quality and natural stream beds near the quarry. ... ”  Read more from the Glenn County Transcript here: Glenn County gravel mining operation faces fine

Bay Area: Clock Ticking for Cities to Commit to Greening:  “Managing stormwater is a physics problem, and not a very glamorous one. In decades past, the main objective of managing stormwater was figuring out how fast it could be directed through the Bay Area’s built landscape via storm drains, culverts, and channels, and into the Bay. In decades future, however, the object will be to slow down the runoff, and sink it into greener, spongier surfaces sprinkled throughout our cities and counties, or to run it through more meandering, more natural channels and drainages. Such measures fall under the classification of green stormwater infrastructure. And building more green infrastructure isn’t just some kind of concept or vision. Instead, the region’s water quality regulators want to see more of it from local municipalities – enough to make it a requirement of another five-year federally-mandated permit to discharge stormwater. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Bay Area: Clock Ticking for Cities to Commit to Greening

San Francisco: Humble fire hydrants to be honored with historic markers:  “San Francisco’s Department of Public Works may soon install commemorative plaques to mark the sites of three historic fire hydrants credited with saving parts of The City.  The hydrants, located at 3899 20th St., the northwest corner of Hayes and Buchanan streets, and the northwest corner of Ellis Street and Van Ness Avenue were among the few to continue working during the fires that followed the 1906 earthquake. … ”  Read more from the SF Examiner here: San Francisco: Humble fire hydrants to be honored with historic markers

Contra Costa County: Super-Shore: A Multi-Habitat Experiment at Giant Marsh:  “Interview anyone of any stripe about the Giant Marsh living shorelines project and the same two words will be in every other sentence: high tide.  Each construction step of this California Coastal Conservancy-led effort to build new native oyster reefs interspersed with eelgrass off the Contra Costa County shore must consider the timing of tides. High enough to float a barge or Boston whaler into the shallows, do a day’s work, and get back out again on the next cycle. Three feet at least of draft – the amount of boat below the surface which varies depending on its weight — and preferably not in the middle of the night. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Contra Costa County: Super-Shore: A Multi-Habitat Experiment at Giant Marsh

Officials advise to stay out of San Luis Reservoir water due to algae bloom:  “The California Department of Water Resources is advising people to stay out of the water at the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, arguing it is not safe for skin contact.  The advisory is because of recent blue-green algae bloom. The algae is also known as cyanobacteria. … ” Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Officials advise to stay out of San Luis Reservoir water due to algae bloom

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority meets Thursday:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors meets Thursday, June 20, at 10 a.m.  Among the topics the board will discuss is a presentation on a well monitoring pilot project. Lee Knudtson, of Wellntel, will provide a report on the results of the 60-day trial that demonstrated their well monitoring program of 10 wells within the basin. ... ”  Read more from The Daily Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority meets Thursday

Kern cow manure leads California’s anti-climate change efforts:  “Roy Dowd sniffed the air during a dairy tour he was leading last week on the edge of Bakersfield.  “That’s the smell of money,” joked the director of operations, maintenance and research at a Visalia company, California Bioenergy LLC, helping local dairies turn manure into a new revenue stream.  Don’t hold your nose: Methane from cow manure at local dairies has taken on new value as both a clean-burning fuel and a greenhouse gas to be harnessed. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Kern cow manure leads California’s anti-climate change efforts

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

CA WATER LAW SYMPOSIUM: Questions of common supply: SGMA requirements for interconnected surface water and groundwater

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Joint SWC/DWR funded research sheds new light on endangered chinook salmon on the Sutter Bypass; DISB seeks public comment on draft review of the Interagency Ecological Program; CDFW to host public meetings on lands regulations changes

June 2019 Issue of ESTUARY News – Water, Environment, Climate, Equity

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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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