DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Avalanches in June? Heavy Sierra Snowpack Still Poses a Risk for Some Hikers; Lessons Learned from the State’s first Groundwater Sustainability Plan; Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) adds cutting-edge capabilities for Corps projects; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Avalanches in June? Heavy Sierra Snowpack Still Poses a Risk for Some Hikers; Inviting but deadly: Officials say to stay out of rivers; Lessons Learned from the State’s first Groundwater Sustainability Plan; Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) adds cutting-edge capabilities for Corps projects; FWS Moves To Add Quantitative Measures To Recovery Plans; America’s ‘Sagebrush Sea’ in the West is going up in smoke. Will anyone help?; Could Bacteria Target Algal Microcystin Toxins Released Into Water?; USDA Research is Driving Technological Innovation; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Avalanches in June? Heavy Sierra Snowpack Still Poses a Risk for Some Hikers:  “Heavy snowfall in winter and spring in the Sierra Nevada, followed by relatively cool then rising temperatures in June, has led to an ongoing risk of avalanches into the summer — posing a threat to long-distance hikers on the famed Pacific Crest Trail, experts say.  Thousands of people attempt to hike what’s known as the PCT every year, more than 2,600 miles through California, Oregon and Washington. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Avalanches in June? Heavy Sierra Snowpack Still Poses a Risk for Some Hikers

Inviting but deadly: Officials say to stay out of rivers:  “The weather is hot, the outdoors is inviting and the water is cool. What could go wrong?  Emergency responders say a lot can go wrong. They warn that often, by the time they’re called in to help, it’s too late.  “People need to stay away from the river, stay out of the water,” Nevada County sheriff’s Lt. Bob Jakobs said. “Rivers are extremely dangerous right now. And with the snowpack and river runoff, we expect it to be this way for some time.” … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Inviting but deadly: Officials say to stay out of rivers

Records set as California’s water year comes to a close: “The 2018-19 California water year will close with some good and some great news.  June 30, 2019, marks the end of the California water year, which began July 1, 2018. The water year got off to a slow start, but then ramped up around January and February throughout California. … ”  Read more from ABC 10 here: Records set as California’s water year comes to a close

Following record early June heat, a rather quiet summer pattern will prevail through early July:  Daniel Swain writes, “After a relatively cool and unusually wet spring across most of California, a very early season heatwave scorched much of the northern part of the state during the first week in June. This heatwave was especially unusual in that it was most intense (in a relative sense) right along the immediate coast of the San Francisco Bay Area–driven by an offshore flow pattern more reminiscent of September than June (a month when June Gloom is usually in full swing). … ”  Continue reading at the California Weather Blog here: Following record early June heat, a rather quiet summer pattern will prevail through early July

Lessons Learned from the State’s first Groundwater Sustainability Plan:  “All eyes were on the Borrego Valley this spring, and not just for their second “super bloom” in two years. The Borrego Valley GSA is the first in the state to release a full draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan; a new management framework required under 2014 legislation. Many are looking to the Borrego Valley GSP as a test case for the other 138 agencies currently drafting their plans, and the many stakeholders anxiously awaiting those plans. … ”  Continue reading from the Local Government Commission’s Livable Places newsletter here: Lessons Learned from the State’s first Groundwater Sustainability Plan

Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) adds cutting-edge capabilities for Corps projects:  “On a recent Saturday morning, several men stood around a table talking about the specifications and capabilities of a new work tool. From the enthusiasm level, you might have thought they were gathered in a car dealer’s showroom discussing the latest sports car. No, this group was chatting about a different kind of high-speed toy—a cutting-edge Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), or what the public might call a “drone,” which was recently added to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s high-tech toolbox. … ”  Read more from the Army Corps of Engineers here: Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) adds cutting-edge capabilities for Corps projects

FWS Moves To Add Quantitative Measures To Recovery Plans:  “In its newly-released proposed recovery plan for the Desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) has put into action its internal plan to add quantitative criteria to recovery plans.  The pupfish recovery plan, originally adopted in 1993, contained only qualitative criteria when adopted.  In its proposed revisions to the pupfish’s recovery plan, the Service adds quantitative criteria for whether the pupfish should be considered for delisting or when it has “recovered,” including the number of established populations that would make the species eligible for delisting, as well as the new requirement that a Tier 2 population of the species must persist for at least 20 years. … ” Read more from the Endangered Species Law and Policy here: FWS Moves To Add Quantitative Measures To Recovery Plans

America’s ‘Sagebrush Sea’ in the West is going up in smoke. Will anyone help?  “… The so-called sagebrush sea that stretches from Wyoming to California is literally going up in smoke. The mix of shrubs and native bunch grasses that is home to 350 species of wildlife, from sage grouse to mule deer and migratory birds, has lost about half of the 247 million acres it once covered.  Although forest fires in mountain communities in California and beyond capture more headlines, rangeland fires in the Great Basin are burning much greater swaths of the West. … ”  Read more from the Reno Gazette Journal here: America’s ‘Sagebrush Sea’ in the West is going up in smoke. Will anyone help?

Could Bacteria Target Algal Microcystin Toxins Released Into Water?  “In 2014, the Toledo Water Crisis left about 500,000 people without access to safe drinking water for several days. Since that time, the city has been working hard to combat harmful algal blooms (HABs), and so has Dr. Jason Huntley of the University of Toledo. Dr. Huntley spoke to EM about his recent work searching for bacteria that occur naturally in water and are safe for humans—but not for microcystins that cause HABs.  “Before I started this project, I had no idea how many millions of gallons of water the City of Toledo purifies from Lake Erie,” comments Dr. Huntley. “It’s actually an amazing amount of work that they do day in and day out.” ... ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here: Could Bacteria Target Algal Microcystin Toxins Released Into Water?

Forbes tech summit takes closer look at future of food:  “Day one of the 2019 Forbes Ag Tech Summit opened with a pitch session highlighting some very innovative companies vying for a $200,000 prize. It ended with some sharp words on what ag tech is missing, along with a CEO’s plea to bridge the urban-rural divide.  Forbes CEO Steve Forbes noted the ongoing trade war was for a good cause but acknowledged it harms U.S. agriculture. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Forbes tech summit takes closer look at future of food

USDA Research is Driving Technological Innovation:  “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual Technology Transfer Report (PDF, 14.9 MB), which highlights innovations from scientists and researchers that are solving problems for farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers; and creating opportunities for American businesses to thrive. Secretary Perdue discussed the release of the Technology Transfer Report at the Forbes AgTech Summit held in Salinas, CA during a fireside chat with Mike Federle, the CEO of Forbes.  USDA’s Technology Transfer Report (PDF, 14.9 MB) revealed 320 new inventions from USDA laboratories in fiscal year 2018, along with 471 licenses, 120 patent applications and 67 actual patents. ... ”  Read more from Ag Net here: USDA Research is Driving Technological Innovation

Trump rejects need for climate action at G-20: US has ‘cleanest’ water and air ‘we’ve ever had’:  “President Trump broke with the Group of 20 (G-20) nations on the need for climate change action on Saturday, saying the United States has the “cleanest water we have ever had.”  “We have the cleanest water we have ever had,” Trump said at a news conference at the G-20 summit in Japan. “We have the cleanest air we’ve ever had, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the tremendous power of what we’ve built up over a long period of time and what I’ve enhanced and revived.” … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump rejects need for climate action at G-20: US has ‘cleanest’ water and air ‘we’ve ever had’

Sunday podcasts …

Water is Just Too Cheap:  Steve Baker writes, “Cool, clean and safe drinking water is perceived by the public as a natural phenomenal so getting the public behind large water projects is a very difficult task. Andrew Stone, Executive Director of the American Ground Water Trust shares his view and suggests that it become the normal understanding that the water user is really in charge. Conservation, recycling and protection ethics is what is need to help the public understand the cause and effect of their actions. 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 regional news and commentary this weekend …

Top of Oroville Dam to reopen:  “The Department of Water Resources will reopen public access to the top of the Oroville Dam on Saturday.  It marks the first time since the spillway was discovered broken in February 2017 that the top of the dam has been open to the public. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Top of Oroville Dam to reopen

Fearful of being the next Paradise, Grass Valley confronts its fire vulnerability: “When Josiah Johnston and his wife, Kate Wilkin, hung flyers around their neighborhood last year, they didn’t know how many people might respond to their invitation to discuss fire safety.  The couple, who had moved to the Sierra foothills from the Bay Area, wanted to reduce their risk of wildfire, especially with a newborn son. Although their home sits near thick forest and sees an occasionally menacing wind, they quickly learned that even longtime residents of the area hadn’t given serious thought to the danger — at least until the Camp Fire destroyed a similarly vulnerable community in Butte County in November. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Fearful of being the next Paradise, Grass Valley confronts its fire vulnerability

Solano County: Reuse of treated wastewater could save water for other needs:  “The 2018-19 Solano County grand jury concluded that if treated wastewater could be used to irrigate crops that saved water would help meet the water needs of a growing population.  “If effluent could substitute for water to irrigate crops, that usage would dramatically decrease Solano County’s growing need for water, the report issued Thursday concludes.  “As the population of Solano County increases, such an undertaking would contribute significantly to the water supply.While costs may be prohibitive, such a change might be desirable under extreme drought conditions.” … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Reuse of treated wastewater could save water for other needs

Monterey: Cal Am desal project appeal headed to Coastal Commission next month:  “A Coastal Commission hearing on whether California American Water and others can appeal the Marina city denial of a key permit for the proposed desalination project is set for July 11 in San Luis Obispo.  Cal Am, two members of the Coastal Commission and two local appellants are challenging the Marina city Planning Commission’s March 7 denial of a coastal development permit for the $329 million desal project, including seven slant source water wells and associated infrastructure proposed for the CEMEX sand mining plant, and segments of a source water pipeline to the desal plant and transmission main pipeline from the desal plant located inside both the city’s jurisdiction and the Coastal Zone under the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction. … ”  Continue reading at the Monterey Herald here: Cal Am desal project appeal headed to Coastal Commission next month

The yearly rainfall results are in. How much precipitation fell on the Central Coast?  “Sunday, June 30, marks the end of the 2018 rainfall year season, while Monday, July 1, is the start of the 2019 rainfall year season. The National Weather Service forecast offices in California changed from a “rainfall year season” to a “water year” designation in 2015.  Hydrologists define a water year as the 12-month period that starts Oct. 1 and continues through Sept. 30 the following year. A rainfall-year season is defined as the 12-month period beginning July 1 that extends through June 30 of the subsequent year. The rainfall year season is designated as the year it started. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: The yearly rainfall results are in. How much precipitation fell on the Central Coast?

Ventura County: After years of planning, contract awarded for Camarillo desalter plant:  “Nearly two decades in the works, a Camarillo water desalter plant is finally becoming a reality.  The Camarillo City Council on June 17 met to discuss new bids to construct the project after rejecting all previous bids in December due to budget constraints.  “It’s with great anticipation that this item is presented to City Council tonight. The project team on the desalter has been working hard for many years to get to this point, as you are well aware” said Dave Klotzle, the city’s director of public works. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura County: After years of planning, contract awarded for Camarillo desalter plant

Orange County: SMWD Certifies San Juan Creek Watershed Project:  “Plans to capture stormwater runoff by installing rubber dams at San Juan Creek will move forward, as Santa Margarita Water District on Friday, June 21 certified the Environmental Impact Report for its San Juan Watershed Project.  SMWD is working with the city of San Juan Capistrano and South Coast Water District for the first phase of the project, which, when completed, is expected to provide 5.6 billion gallons of reliable drinking water each year. … ”  Read more from the Capistrano Dispatch here: SMWD Certifies San Juan Creek Watershed Project

San Diego County Water Authority Celebrates 75 Years of Service to San Diego County:  “The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors celebrated the agency’s 75th anniversary during today’s Board meeting, which included 20 proclamations honoring the agency for its service to the region dating back to 1944.  Cities across the region joined the state Assembly and Senate, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and other state and local leaders to formally mark the occasion. The San Diego City Council and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors even proclaimed today “San Diego County Water Authority Day” in honor of the agency’s legacy of water supply reliability. … ”  Read more from the Water News Network here: San Diego County Water Authority Celebrates 75 Years of Service to San Diego County

Along the Colorado River …

Navajo, Hualapai water-rights bills get warm reception in House hearing: “Tribal leaders urged House lawmakers Wednesday to support a handful of bills that would guarantee water to their tribes in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico and fund the water treatment plants and pipelines to deliver it.  The appeals from leaders of the Navajo and Hualapai tribes were well received by members of a House Natural Resources subcommittee, who called the agreements the result of “years of hard work and compromise” by all parties.  The bills would guarantee 81,500 acre-feet of Colorado River water to Navajo communities in Utah and 4,000 acre-feet to the Hualapai and their Grand Canyon West development. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here:  Navajo, Hualapai water-rights bills get warm reception in House hearing

Pinal farmers may still face water reduction despite massive snowpack:  “Pinal County farmers may still face slight water reductions next year despite the healthy snowpack in the Rocky Mountains, officials say.  The Central Arizona Water Conservation District board heard a Colorado River conditions update at its June 11 meeting. The update reported an excellent May in terms of Colorado River Basin run-off, yet board members underscored that still-half-full reservoirs point to the need for continued conservation. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: Pinal farmers may still face water reduction despite massive snowpack

Sunday video …

Beautiful view of the sunflowers growing in Sean Doherty’s fields in Dunnigan. This crop spans over 50,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley and is grown for seed. John Hannon drone video.

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

THIS JUST IN … Governor Newsom announces appointments and reappointments of several of the state’s top water and wildlife policy officials

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

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