DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: The environmental downside of cannabis cultivation; Officials: State reservoirs looking ‘robust’; The West’s worst fires aren’t burning in forests; Why what you know about the water cycle might be misleading; and more …

In California water news this weekend, The Environmental Downside of Cannabis Cultivation; Officials: State reservoirs looking ‘robust’; California fishermen report the biggest salmon season in a decade; California Bill on PFAS Chemicals Advances, But in Watered Down Form; ‘Centers of Insurrection’: Central Valley Farmers Reckon With Climate Change; The West’s worst fires aren’t burning in forests; Why what you know about the water cycle might be misleading; Podcast: The Incredible Shrinking Hydraulic Laboratory; IID board hears plans to pipe QSA water directly to San Diego; and more …

In the news this weekend …

The Environmental Downside of Cannabis Cultivation:  “Thanks to the legalization of recreational cannabis in 10 states and the District of Columbia, sparking up a joint in these areas is as easy as ordering a glass of wine.  Spending on legal cannabis, which includes 33 states and the District of Columbia that allow medical cannabis use for conditions such as glaucoma, chronic pain, and the side effects of cancer treatments, topped $12 billion worldwide in 2018, according to industry analysts, and is expected to increase to $31.3 billion by 2022. With all that potential profit on the line, it’s no surprise there is growing interest in legalizing cannabis cultivation. California has issued around 10,000 cultivation permits. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of cannabis farms in the Golden State increased 58 percent and the number of plants increased 183 percent. ... ”  Read more from J-Stor here: The Environmental Downside of Cannabis Cultivation

Officials: State reservoirs looking ‘robust’:  “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Thursday it will increase the 2019 State Water Project allocation to 75 percent from 70 percent. According to DWR officials, this will be the final allocation for the calendar year. The initial allocation in November 2018 was 10 percent.  “This winter’s robust storms resulted in above average snowpack and reservoir levels bringing California a much-improved water year from last year,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a press release. “The full reservoirs will provide a healthy buffer for if we return to drier conditions next year.” ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Officials: State reservoirs looking ‘robust’

FISH NEWS

California fishermen report the biggest salmon season in a decade: “California commercial fishermen are reporting the biggest king salmon season in a decade, on the heels of three years of disastrously low catches because of the drought. The sudden bounty has resulted in a price drop for the coral-pink, fatty fillets to $20 per pound in many markets, down from the $30- to $35-per-pound range of recent years. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California fishermen report the biggest salmon season in a decade

Anglers Show In Force to Oppose Big Ag-Backed Repeal of California Striped Bass Policy:  Dan Bacher writes, “At its June meeting in Redding, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to move the proposed policy on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fisheries management from the Wildlife Resources Committee to the full Commission at their August 7 meeting in Sacramento for further review and potential changes.  Scores of anglers throughout the state attended this meeting to oppose the proposed repeal of 1996 Striped Bass Policy and adoption of the new Delta Fisheries Management Policy. … ”  Read more at the Daily Kos here: Anglers Show In Force to Oppose Big Ag-Backed Repeal of California Striped Bass Policy

STATE LEGISLATION

California Bill on PFAS Chemicals Advances, But in Watered Down Form:  “A California Senate committee has voted in favor of a bill requiring that water providers notify their customers if they detect a class of chemicals called PFAS in drinking water.  The Environmental Quality Committee passed AB 756 on Wednesday, 6-0. The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee. If it passes there, the full Senate will vote on it. PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are waterproof, grease-repellent, and heat-resistant chemicals that are fairly ubiquitous, found in popcorn bags, firefighting foams, nonstick pans, makeup, and even food like ground beef. Scientists estimate there are 4,700 PFAS, some of which have been linked to cancer, infertility, developmental disorders, increased cholesterol and weakened immunity. ... ”  Read more from KQED here: California Bill on PFAS Chemicals Advances, But in Watered Down Form

State budget allocates funding for atmospheric river forecasting:  “On any given year, the Yuba-Sutter region will experience flooding or drought conditions depending on the number of atmospheric rivers that come through the area. For water managers, it becomes a balancing act of making sure there are enough resources available for use while also ensuring public safety.  With the passing of the state’s budget last week for the upcoming fiscal year, legislators made funding available to help water managers improve their understanding of atmospheric rivers. Local officials say that research will help take some of the uncertainty away of how best to manage those important resources, given the state’s variable climate. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here: State budget allocates funding for atmospheric river forecasting

CLIMATE CHANGE

‘Centers of Insurrection’: Central Valley Farmers Reckon With Climate Change:  “… This scene on the eastern edge of the Central Valley in remote Stanislaus County is almost jarring, so unlike any of the other almond groves in the area, which are mostly barren of undergrowth—the telltale sign of herbicides like glyphosate sprayed abundantly in these parts. But here at the Burroughs Family Farm is an outpost of what Nina Ichikawa, director of the Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley, describes as “centers of insurrection” spreading slowly but steadily across the Valley—test cases in how to cope with the instability of climate change. ... ”  Read more from KQED here: ‘Centers of Insurrection’: Central Valley Farmers Reckon With Climate Change

How is climate change affecting oceans? Check the tide pools:  “On a sunny afternoon in mid-April, Professor Eric Sanford crouched in a tide pool off Bodega Bay and turned over algae-covered rocks in search of a chocolate porcelain crab, a dime-size crustacean with blue speckles.  The creature has been spotted in small numbers around Bodega Bay for decades. But five years ago a severe marine heat wave, dubbed “the blob,” caused a sharp increase in its numbers north of the Golden Gate, says Sanford, a marine ecologist who researches climate change and coastal ecosystems at UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Lab. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: How is climate change affecting oceans? Check the tide pools

Trump proposal nixes review of long-term climate impacts:  “The White House on Friday proposed reversing an Obama-era policy that directs agencies to consider the climate impact from various projects.  The draft guidance would change the way agencies evaluate the environmental effect of things like pipelines and oil and gas drilling.  “Agencies should analyze reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences of major Federal actions, but should not consider those that are remote or speculative,” the guidance said in a section about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump proposal nixes review of long-term climate impacts

In Courtrooms, Climate Change Is No Longer Up for Debate:  “In September 2017, San Francisco experienced its hottest day on record, with temperatures reaching a searing 106 degrees. Weeks later, the city joined Oakland to announce it would sue five major fossil fuel firms — BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips — for the costs of building sea walls and other infrastructure to protect residents from global warming.  When the case reached court the following year, federal district judge William Alsup ordered a tutorial on climate change in which he asked both sides a series of pointed questions, including what caused the planet’s ice ages and what the main sources of CO2 in the atmosphere were. … ”  Read more from Undark Magazine here: In Courtrooms, Climate Change Is No Longer Up for Debate

OTHER NATIONAL NEWS

Wild Weather Is Endangering World’s Oldest Form of Clean Power:  “The Kariba Dam has towered over one of Africa’s mightiest rivers for 60 years, forming the world’s largest reservoir and providing reliable electricity to Zambia and Zimbabwe.  But as drought grips the region, flow on the Zambezi river has dwindled to a third of what it was a year ago. Last month, Zambia’s state-owned power utility began cutting output, unleashing daily blackouts that leave more than 17 million people in the dark. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here: Wild Weather Is Endangering World’s Oldest Form of Clean Power

The West’s worst fires aren’t burning in forests:  “Between the town of Elko, Nevada, and the Idaho border stretches some of the most remote land in the Lower 48, rolling hills and arid basins as far as the eye can see. Last July, this section of the Owyhee Desert was scorched by a fierce, fast-moving blaze with 40-foot flames, the largest wildfire in state history. In the end, the Martin Fire burned 435,000 acres, including some of the West’s finest sagebrush habitat. Now, the raw range wind whips up the bare earth into enormous black clouds that roil on the horizon. ... ”  Read more from High Country News here: The West’s worst fires aren’t burning in forests

Supreme Court: Justices overturn precedent in win for landowners:  “Landowners shouldn’t have to jump through state-level hoops before heading to federal court to accuse the government of taking their property, the Supreme Court ruled today in a decision that overturns a decades-old precedent.  In a 5-4 opinion, the justices sided with Pennsylvania resident Rose Mary Knick on a property rights issue likely to have ripple effects on land use and environmental regulations.  The fight centers on an alleged burial ground on Knick’s land in western Pennsylvania’s Scott Township. A local ordinance requires landowners to allow public access to old cemeteries and burial sites. Knick challenged the policy as a violation of her property rights but ran up against what many critics call a Catch-22 in takings litigation. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Supreme Court: Justices overturn precedent in win for landowners

Why what you know about the water cycle might be misleading:  “Are the diagrams of the water cycle we’re accustomed to misleading?  That depends on the diagram, but that’s likely the case because most diagrams don’t account for human interaction or water pollution, according to a new study led by BYU researchers published in Nature Geoscience Monday.  That’s important, they say, because the human role in the water cycle drastically changes what we know about the water cycle and how it works. As a result, they believe, any omission helps give learners a false sense of global water security. … ”  Read more from KSL here: Why what you know about the water cycle might be misleading

Sunday podcasts …

The Outfall Podcast: The Incredible Shrinking Hydraulic Laboratory:When David Werth started this lab over five years ago he literally bet the house by maxing out his credit cards and getting an instrumental loan to start the lab. His bet paid off. David is one of those guys that is full of passion when he is describing the lab. This is one of only a few labs in the world that conducts hundreds of physical hydraulic model studies for a variety of water intake and pump stations.  This episode explains why physical models are still important, why a dimensionless number holds a secret to scaling a model, and why water doesn’t always behave the way we think it will.” (Podcast Source)
For more information on David Werth’s work, check out this article: Where Art and Hard Core Engineering Mix: The World of Physical Models


Death by 1000 Cuts:  Steve Baker writes, “De minimis groundwater uses by domestic water wells, at first glance, just doesn’t strike a big problem for county and borough officials across the country.  That is what everyone thought in Montana until a hydrogeologic study was completed near the small ranch town of Absarokee, Montana. Turns out, permit exempt wells or unregulated wells can have a cumulative impact on the health of an aquifer. But there is an answer so listen up. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  (Stephen J. Baker, Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems; Operation Unite®; stevebaker@operationunite.co; 530-263-1007)

In commentary this weekend …

Commentary: Eleven years to save San Francisco Bay, say Laura Tam and Julie Beagle:  They write, “The impacts of climate change used to be considered future threats — ones that paled in comparison to the multitude of daily challenges we face as a society. But in the past few years, we Californians have experienced direct repercussions of our world’s inability to stop the climate crisis. From catastrophic fires in Santa Rosa and Paradise that filled the Bay Area’s skies with smoke, to flooding along Highway 37 and San Jose’s Coyote Creek, we’ve tragically lost people, homes, workplaces, and temporary access to schools, jobs and hospitals. The climate crisis is the current crisis — and it is unfolding far more rapidly than we once expected. And sea level rise, once considered a relatively slow-moving disaster, is also accelerating. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Commentary: Eleven years to save San Francisco Bay, say Laura Tam and Julie Beagle

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Some Siskiyou lakes won’t be stocked in 2019:  “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced changes to the summer trout stocking schedule in backcountry waters in its Northern Region as a result of the candidacy of the Cascades Frog (Rana cascadae) for listing as an endangered or threatened species.  The Cascades Frog is found in a variety of habitats such as large lakes, ponds, wet meadows and streams at mid- to high-elevation ranges from the Klamath-Trinity region, along the Cascades Range axis in the vicinity of Mount Shasta, southward to the headwater tributaries of the Feather River. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: Some Siskiyou lakes won’t be stocked in 2019

Vallejo: Lake Dalwigk to receive habitat enhancement:  “Multiple local agencies and groups are starting the second year of habitat enhancement around Lake Dalwigk in Vallejo, it was announced.  The Solano Resource Conservation District, in partnership with Vallejo Flood & Wastewater District, the Greater Vallejo Recreation District and the Vallejo Watershed Alliance, will begin rehab work Monday.  “Work will begin on trimming the palm trees around the lake, removing dead debris and small growths around the base and trunks, as well as two clumps of palms near the north corner, and some dead and diseased sycamores,” said wastewater district spokeswoman Jennifer Kaiser in a news release. “This coming winter, more than 200 native trees and shrubs will be planted around the lake.” … ”  Read more from the Vallejo Times-Herald here: Vallejo: Lake Dalwigk to receive habitat enhancement

Success Dam renamed for Richard Schafer:  “On June 10, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 2695 to name Success Dam, located in Tulare County, after Richard L. Schafer, the longtime Tule River Water Master.  Yesterday, June 21, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, who introduced the piece of legislation for the name change, presented on the House Floor and shared some of his thoughts. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Success Dam renamed for Richard Schafer

San Bernardino: Groundwater at spreading basins near record levels:  “Groundwater levels near our spreading basins are reaching record levels, thanks to recurring winter and spring storms and the use of surplus imported water to help fill our recharge basins. … ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here: Groundwater at spreading basins near record levels

Court throws out federal approval of Cadiz water pipeline:  “A federal judge has struck down Trump administration decisions that cleared the way for Cadiz Inc. to build a water pipeline across public land in the California desert.  The ruling is a blow to the company’s decades-long effort to pump groundwater from beneath its desert property 200 miles east of Los Angeles and sell it to urban Southern California.  Cadiz wants to use an existing railroad right of way across federal land to pipe supplies from its proposed well field to the Colorado River Aqueduct. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Court throws out federal approval of Cadiz water pipeline

IID board hears plans to pipe QSA water directly to San Diego:  “After false starts and real stops, the San Diego County Water Authority is once again trying to make inroads into taking their QSA transferred water directly from the Imperial Valley, bypassing its current deliverer, the Metropolitan Water District.  Dan Denham, assistant general manager of the SDCWA, proposed several pipeline scenarios for QSA-conserved water at the meeting of the Imperial Irrigation District Tuesday, June 18.  Denham proposed several pipeline routes, two southern and one northern from various points in the Valley to San Diego County. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Review here: IID board hears plans to pipe QSA water directly to San Diego

Along the Colorado River …

A tiny creature threatens Utah’s $1.8 billion Lake Powell pipeline:  “Utah’s push to develop the $1.8 billion Lake Powell pipeline, held up for years by political wrangling, funding feuds, reams of red tape and massive amounts of paperwork, is now being threatened by a tiny creature: the quagga mussel.  The nonnative mollusk, infesting Lake Powell since 2013, has been wreaking havoc on boating facilities and Glen Canyon Dam and is the subject of an inconvenient quarantine process to ensure that what happens in Lake Powell stays in Lake Powell. ... ”  Read more from the Salt Lake Tribune here: A tiny creature threatens Utah’s $1.8 billion Lake Powell pipeline

Sunday video …

From Sacramento Valley’s YouTube channel:  A beautiful scene of the Sacramento River at the Tower Bridge. Drone video shot and edited by John Hannon.

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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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where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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