DAILY DIGEST: Climate change upending agriculture and land use in the Central Valley; No plans to use Lake Oroville’s main spillway this summer; Salmon season is booming, fisherman say; Device to trap plastic waste in Pacific Ocean relaunches; and more …

In California water news today, A Time of Reckoning in the Central Valley: Climate change is upending agriculture and land use; No plans to use Lake Oroville’s main spillway this summer; Salmon Season Is Booming, Fisherman Say; Device to trap plastic waste in Pacific Ocean relaunches; A run through Colorado’s Yampa whitewater reveals the wildness that remains. But will the West’s rivers survive urban demands?; Dividing waters: How a compact call might unfold on Western Slope; and more …

In the news today …

A Time of Reckoning in the Central Valley: Climate change is upending agriculture and land use:  “Inside a climate-controlled laboratory at the Duarte Nursery outside Modesto, an experiment is taking place that could help determine what food we will eat for decades to come. Rows of steel racks contain numerous tiny almond, apple, walnut, pomegranate, pecan, avocado, fig, and pistachio trees in small translucent plastic cylinders. The saplings, planted in a high-nutrient agar mix that accelerates growth, are no more than two inches high and a few weeks old. Each is being subjected to versions of the stresses experienced just outside these walls in fields across the Central Valley: declining levels of water, escalating levels of salt. The big overarching, if unmentionable, force driving these experiments is climate change, which is beginning to roil the Central Valley. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  A Time of Reckoning in the Central Valley: Climate change is upending agriculture and land use

The Disrupters Meet the Disruption: How Tech Aims to Save Big Ag From Climate Change:  “The disrupters of Silicon Valley and its tributaries have finally trained their GPS on the most fundamental of all human needs—food. In San Francisco recently, 1,300 venture capitalists, gene scientists, bio-tech visionaries and startup aspirants gathered to probe what they consider to be the nearly digitally virgin terrain of agriculture. It’s a terrain that’s being profoundly transformed by the biggest disrupter of all: climate change. … ”  Read more from KQED here: The Disrupters Meet the Disruption: How Tech Aims to Save Big Ag From Climate Change

Photo Essay: Climate Change in the Central Valley:  “Photographer Jonno Rattman spent a week photographing the Central Valley for Bay Nature’s summer 2019 cover story, “A Time of Reckoning”. He was struck, as he traveled, by the near total absence of people — it was, he says, one of the brightest, emptiest landscapes he’s ever worked in. … ”  View pictures at Bay Nature here: Photo Essay: Climate Change in the Central Valley

No plans to use Lake Oroville’s main spillway this summer:  “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) says it is unlikely that they will be using the rebuilt spillway at Oroville Dam this season. They said if they end up having to use the main spillway they will notify the public and media first.   Currently they are only releasing water from the Hyatt Power Plant at 4009 cubic feet per second (cfs).  ... ”  Read more from Action News Now here: No plans to use Lake Oroville’s main spillway this summer

After California’s Historic Drought, Salmon Season Is Booming, Fisherman Say:  “If you’re a fan of salmon, you may be in for a real treat as fisherman in California say this season is shaping up to be one of the best in a decade.  But it’s not just good news for those fishing as this will result in a huge difference in store prices, as well. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: After California’s Historic Drought, Salmon Season Is Booming, Fisherman Say

A potentially deadly fungus that can travel up to 75 miles in the air is spreading, and California’s droughts are making it worse:  “As droughts and dust storms become more common in the Southwest U.S., a fungal infection that can cause pneumonia and fatal meningitis is infecting more people than ever before. In recent years, infectious spores have traveled far beyond what scientists thought were the limits of the endemic.   Valley fever (also called Coccidioidomycosis) is caused by inhaling spores of fungus (called coccidioides) found in dry soil. ... ”  Read more from Insider here: A potentially deadly fungus that can travel up to 75 miles in the air is spreading, and California’s droughts are making it worse

Device to trap plastic waste in Pacific Ocean relaunches:  “A floating device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in second attempt to clean up a huge island of trash swirling in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.  Boyan Slat, creator of The Ocean Cleanup project, announced on Twitter that a 2,000-foot (600-meter) long floating boom that broke apart late last year was sent back to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this week after four months of repair.  A ship towed the U-shaped barrier from San Francisco to the patch in September to trap the plastic. But during the four months at sea, the boom broke apart under constant waves and wind and the boom wasn’t retaining the plastic it caught. … ”  Read more from the AP here: Device to trap plastic waste in Pacific Ocean relaunches

In commentary today …

Groundwater markets pose a risk to communities on wells or small water systems, says Amanda Monaco:  She writes, “In our economy, we commoditize things. We buy and sell potato chips. We buy and sell computers, coffee, cars and spring rolls. On the world wide web, you can even buy cans of “unicorn meat.” Some items, however, should not be left to the market. They are too sensitive or too important to be commoditized. One of those precious items is our groundwater.  Yet, this is what several new local water groups, called groundwater sustainability agencies, are considering doing with this resource: allowing those with money to buy the ability to pump more groundwater from others. For small rural communities next to big farms that have lots of buying power, this “pay to pump more” scheme could mean those communities will suffer as their wells go dry. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Groundwater markets pose a risk to communities on wells or small water systems

In regional news and commentary today …

A new outdoor experience: Yuba City to expand Feather River Parkway:  “A new outdoor experience will be coming to the heart of Yuba City by the end of the year as officials begin the process of expanding Feather River Parkway.  By the end of fall, officials plan to expand the current 60-acre park by another 84 acres. The new expansion will have 10 acres of preserved woodland, an additional approximately two miles of walking and biking trails, two acres of enhanced wetlands and other recreational amenities. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  A new outdoor experience: Yuba City to expand Feather River Parkway

Highway 37 could see $10 million in new state funding toward long-term solution:  “Local and state officials said they will be closely watching a vote by a state transportation panel next week that could unlock $10 million for environmental and engineering studies needed to advance a long-term solution to flooding on a stretch of Highway 37.  The allocation would not support short-term work to address the troubled section of highway in Marin County just east of Highway 101, but it would be geared to longer-term fixes meant to raise the roadway to safeguard it from tides and rising sea levels. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Highway 37 could see $10 million in new state funding toward long-term solution

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority weighs Wellntel value:  “A pilot to help monitor groundwater well levels was presented to the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors Thursday — and ultimately turned down despite some recommendations to continue it.  Lee Knudtson of Wellntel presented his data on an 80-day test project that monitored 12 monitoring points. ... ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority weighs Wellntel value

Padre Dam Board approves interim funding agreement for regional water purification project:  “The board for the Padre Dam Municipal Water District has voted unanimously for a financing package that clearly outlines the costs to each of the four agencies building the East County Advanced Water Purification Project.  The approval for an interim $9.4 million funding agreement on June 19 was part of a series of steps the Santee water district took towards constructing a massive water reclamation facility that will cost about $660 million total. … ”  Read more from the East County Magazine here: Padre Dam Board approves interim funding agreement for regional water purification project

Along the Colorado River …

Can Utah’s water supply keep up with its booming population? Will Utah’s water supply catch up with the state’s rising population, expected to double by 2065?  It was one of the several questions posed at Utah State University’s Research Landscapes series focused on Utah’s waterscapes. The event Tuesday at the O.C. Tanner headquarters in Salt Lake City attracted a mix of state and local government officials, businesses leaders, developers and nonprofit organizations. ... ”  Read more from Deseret News here: Can Utah’s water supply keep up with its booming population?

A run through Colorado’s Yampa whitewater reveals the wildness that remains. But will the West’s rivers survive urban demands?  “Nobody knew what to expect as sediment-heavy currents funneled seven yellow rafts into Warm Springs Rapid, a roiling 150-yard gauntlet on the Colorado River’s last mostly uncontrolled major tributary.  The rafts carried water-policy professionals who, as governments worldwide increasingly manipulate rivers to get water for growing populations, wanted a natural reference point. Their five-day foray last month was designed to connect them with the wildness that remains and also to forge a meeting of minds as the competition for water among Western states increases. ... ”  Read more from the Denver Post here: A run through Colorado’s Yampa whitewater reveals the wildness that remains. But will the West’s rivers survive urban demands?

Dividing waters: How a compact call might unfold on Western Slope:  “Coloradans use, or deplete, an annual average of 2.5 million acre-feet of water from the state’s various river basins that send water down the Colorado River system to Lake Powell, according to a new study on water use and water rights presented Thursday in Grand Junction by the Colorado River District to more than 130 water managers and users.  Of the 2.5 million of annual average consumptive use, the study found that 1.6 million is tied to pre-Colorado River Compact water rights that are not subject to curtailment under the terms of the 1922 compact, which requires that the upper-basin states of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico send a certain amount of water to the lower-basin states of California, Arizona and Nevada. … ”  Read more from the Aspen Times here: Dividing waters: How a compact call might unfold on Western Slope 

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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 …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for June 24

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Draft California Waterfowl Habitat Program Proposal Solicitation Notice Available for Public Comment

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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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