DAILY DIGEST: MWD Chair Gloria Gray prioritizes reliability of supply & affordability; Toxic algae threatens NorCal waterways; The hard truth about being a 21st century tree in California; An American icon finds a safe home at Lake Oroville; and more …

In California water news today, MWD’s New Chair, Gloria Gray, Prioritizes Reliability of Supply & Affordability; Toxic algae threaten ‘gem of Chico’ – and these 10 waterways in the greater Sacramento area; The hard truth about being a 21st century tree in California; An American Icon Finds a Safe Home at Lake Oroville; Can Small-Scale Farmers Grow a Healthier California?; Forecasters Caution 5G Will Interfere With Gathering Weather Data; Geoengineering: A ‘taboo’ idea could cool Earth, or harm it; and more …

In the news today …

MWD’s New Chair, Gloria Gray, Prioritizes Reliability of Supply & Affordability:  “In this interview, Gray shares how she plans to steer the largest water supplier in the nation through changing political priorities and climate conditions to continue safeguarding the future of California’s water.  TPR: You were recently elected chair of the Metropolitan Water District—the second woman to chair that agency in its history. Share your overarching goals for MWD.  Gloria Gray: The Metropolitan Water District is the largest supplier of treated water in the nation. Our service area includes 19 million people—about one out of every two Californians, or one out of every 17 Americans. Our work as an agency supports a thriving trillion-dollar economy. It’s a huge responsibility to carry out our mission to provide a quality and reliable water supply to the communities we serve, and I’m honored and excited to be a part of it. … ”  Read more from The Planning Report here:  MWD’s New Chair, Gloria Gray, Prioritizes Reliability of Supply & Affordability

Toxic algae threaten ‘gem of Chico’ – and these 10 waterways in the greater Sacramento area:  “The lake visitors call the “gem of Chico,” the local go-to location for a quiet and relaxing day trip on the waterfront, is infested with toxic algae, officials say.  The Butte County Public Health Department warned people on Monday to stay away from Horseshoe Lake after colonies of microscopic cyanobacteria grew out of control and ‘bloomed’ into toxic and potentially lethal algae, poisoning the waterway.  Harmful algae blooms, or HABs, are not new to the area – or to the Central Valley. This is the second alert of freshwater HABs recorded in the past 30 days in Butte County, and the 15th this year in the Valley. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Toxic algae threaten ‘gem of Chico’ – and these 10 waterways in the greater Sacramento area

The hard truth about being a 21st century tree in California:  “The number, so far, is over 147 million dead.  California’s expansive forests have experienced a profound tree die-off since 2010, exacerbated by a long drought between 2012 and 2015. These pine trees are tough, though, and have evolved to withstand parched years in the drought-prone Golden State. But not drought like this, which was amplified by the planet’s relentless, accelerating warming.  “The rules are changing,” said Nathan Stephenson, a U.S. Geological Survey forest ecologist who monitors trees in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. … ”  Read more from Mashable here:  The hard truth about being a 21st century tree in California

An American Icon Finds a Safe Home at Lake Oroville:  “It has been an active spring for bald eagles nesting in and around Lake Oroville and the Oroville Wildlife Area near the Feather River. Environmental scientists from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Oroville Field Division are keeping an eye on seven nesting pairs of bald eagles, four of which are successfully raising a total of eight young eaglets.  Chicks typically fledge – grow feathers and become strong enough to attempt flying – during the months of June and July. During their first several weeks of flight, fledglings still receive parental care, primarily through feeding. ... ”  Read more from DWR News here:  An American Icon Finds a Safe Home at Lake Oroville

South American rodent threatening Delta:  “The state Department of Fish & Wildlife has been awarded $10 million to prevent a large, semiaquatic rodent that Assemblyman Jim Frazier called “the biggest threat to the Delta that nobody has heard about.”  “These destructive, invasive species from South America have caused a great deal of damage to interior waterways in a number of states. We eradicated them once in California, but they started showing up again a few years ago in counties east of the Delta,” Frazier said in a statement released Tuesday by his office. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: South American rodent threatening Delta

Can Small-Scale Farmers Grow a Healthier California? From above, the crops of California’s Central Valley look like a giant tile floor. Some of the tiles are fuzzy; these are the densely planted almond and mandarin groves that dominate large swaths of the Valley. Others are striped; these are rows of grapes growing on long trellises. They stretch for 450 miles across the heart of California, many belonging to industrial farm operators that net millions of dollars a year in profits.  What a satellite image won’t show you are the complicated social and political frameworks that govern the Central Valley. ... ”  Read more from Civil Eats here: Can Small-Scale Farmers Grow a Healthier California? 

How planting trees can improve water quality: “New research offers a hard link between reforestation of marginal, degraded, or abandoned agricultural land and significant benefits in water quality.  This relationship, argues Arturo Keller, a professor of environmental biogeochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, lends itself toward a program that incentivizes facilities that discharge pollutants, and local farmers to plant trees for water quality credits. ... ”  Read more from Futurity here: How planting trees can improve water quality

Smarter Fertilizers Can Reduce Environmental Contamination:  “To feed the world’s growing population, farmers need to increase crop yields. Applying more fertilizer could help. But standard versions work inefficiently and often harm the environment. Fortunately, products that are more ecologically sound—controlled-release fertilizers—are available and becoming increasingly smart. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here: Smarter Fertilizers Can Reduce Environmental Contamination

Forecasters Caution 5G Will Interfere With Gathering Weather Data:So when you’re trying to predict the weather, one of the most important things you need to know is how much moisture is in the air. That information comes from sensors on satellites. But meteorologists say those sensors could be compromised by new wireless 5G technology. … ”  Read more or listen from NPR here: Forecasters Caution 5G Will Interfere With Gathering Weather Data

Berkeley Lab Receives DOE Support for Building to Study Microbe-Ecosystem Interactions for Energy and Environmental Research:  “The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) recently received federal approval to proceed with preliminary design work for a state-of-the-art building that would revolutionize investigations into how interactions among microbes, water, soil, and plants shape entire ecosystems. Research performed in the building could help address many of today’s energy, water, and food challenges. … ”  Read more from Berkeley Labs here: Berkeley Lab Receives DOE Support for Building to Study Microbe-Ecosystem Interactions for Energy and Environmental Research

Geoengineering: A ‘taboo’ idea could cool Earth, or harm it:  “Some scientists are finding fewer risks related to solar geoengineering than determined in earlier studies, adding emphasis to calls for a global body to monitor proposals that would inject substances into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight away from Earth.  A few researchers have also outlined an insurance program that they say might help smaller nations protect themselves from potential but unintended consequences of artificially shading the Earth.  Climate scientists David Keith of Harvard University and Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are among the authors of a paper that attempts to answer a growing political question: Would some nations be worse off if attempts to block solar radiation were combined with emissions cuts to limit the risks of climate change? ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Geoengineering: A ‘taboo’ idea could cool Earth, or harm it

In commentary today …

Why California’s fight against climate change must include clean water David Festa writes,California’s political leaders have made the long-overdue decision to clean up the Central Valley’s contaminated drinking water, and help cash-strapped rural water districts.  The catch: rather than assess a fee on water users or tapping into the state’s budget surplus, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature relied on cap-and-trade money to pay for a portion of the operation.  The decision was cheered by clean water advocates, including my organization, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the roughly one million residents who haven’t had access to clean drinking and bathing water for years. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Why California’s fight against climate change must include clean water

Uh-huh: To save water, LA pays folks to tear out lawns that fight smog costing billionsAndrew Malcolm writes, ” … The drought is over. But the Los Angeles County’s Waterworks Districts are still signing up homeowners under their Cash for Grass program. Their website boasts of having paid to tear out and replace more than two million square feet of “inefficient turf.”  Here’s the problem with that: Every 600 square feet of grass produces enough oxygen to support one human for one day. That’s pretty efficient production of clean air.  No wonder the smog problem is worse. … ”  Continue reading at Hot Air here: Uh-huh: To save water, LA pays folks to tear out lawns that fight smog costing billions

In regional news and commentary today …

New water treatment plant lab lease to bring revenue to Colusa:  “The Colusa City Council has approved a new lease agreement for the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Lab, a facility that has gone unused for the last four years.  The lab has been leased to Colusa Certified and will be used for cannabis testing, said Mayor Greg Ponciano.  As part of the terms of the lease agreement, Colusa Certified will pay the city $10 per sample tested. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: New water treatment plant lab lease to bring revenue to Colusa

Sausalito firm leads plastic cleanup mission in Pacific Ocean:  “Aboard a 140-foot sailing cargo ship, a cleanup crew led by Sausalito environmentalists this month hoisted nearly 40 tons of plastic from the Pacific Ocean.  The 25-day mission to the so-called “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” was the largest cleanup mission that the Ocean Voyages Institute has taken on, according to founder and executive director Mary Crowley.  “We took a big step forward,” she said. “But it’s just the beginning. There’s still a lot to clean up.” … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Sausalito firm leads plastic cleanup mission in Pacific Ocean

Modesto had average rainfall in the year that ended Sunday. There’s more to the story:  “By one measure — rainfall in downtown Modesto — the weather year that ended Sunday was about average.  By more important measures — in the mountains feeding our local rivers — the year was plenty wet. And the figures bring warnings for people planning to visit the streams on Independence Day and later in the summer.  The Tuolumne River flowed at 1,116 cubic feet per second Tuesday at the Ninth Street Bridge in Modesto, the California Department of Water Resources reported. That’s down about half from a week ago but still about 10 times the level in drier times. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Modesto had average rainfall in the year that ended Sunday. There’s more to the story

A bold experiment to recharge Fresno’s aquifer appears to be working:  “The experiment to super-energize water recharging efforts at Fresno’s Leaky Acres appears to be working.  The City Council in December 2017 approved a deal with a company called The Water Group. The issue at hand is Fresno’s underground water supply. There’s a lot of water down there. This has been a boon to Fresno since the 19th century. But groundwater levels have been dropping for decades. For a variety of political and practical reasons, the time has come to replenish the aquifer. … ”  Read more from The Sun here:  A bold experiment to recharge Fresno’s aquifer appears to be working

After More Than A Decade, Lanare’s Water Is Finally Safe To Drink:  “The unincorporated Fresno County community of Lanare has long been a poster child for California’s widespread contaminated drinking water. For the past 13 years, Lanare’s water had tested higher than the state limit for arsenic, but that changed in February, when the water received a passing grade after a $3.8 million state grant paid for two new drinking water wells. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here:  After More Than A Decade, Lanare’s Water Is Finally Safe To Drink

Carmel Lagoon closure work under way:  “With a long-term project still in limbo, Monterey County work crews began the process of elevating the Carmel Lagoon sandbar and closing the lagoon as part of the annual local management effort to balance lagoon habitat protection with minimizing flood risk to nearby communities.  Crews using heavy equipment finished stockpiling more than 100 cubic yards of sand at Carmel River State Beach on Monday in preparation for raising and contouring the sandbar where the river and ocean meet as soon as later this week. A county release indicated the plan was to complete the sandbar elevation work this week, but a subsequent release indicated the closure date has not yet been determined. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Carmel Lagoon closure work under way

Santa Barbara South Coast Water Supply Looks Promising Heading into Summer:  “Santa Barbara County’s water supply outlook has improved significantly with a winter of strong rains, and this is reflected in a noticeably fuller Lake Cachuma.  However, the effects of the years-long drought will take several years for some water sources to recover, said Fray Crease, head of the Santa Barbara County water agency.  “While we received much-needed, above-average rainfall this winter — following seven years of historic drought — we are still experiencing the cumulative impacts of the drought on our water supplies,” Crease said. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Santa Barbara South Coast Water Supply Looks Promising Heading into Summer

Why Santa Barbara’s coastal waters turned turquoise:  “In the summer of 2015, the waters off the coast of Santa Barbara turned a strange bright blue-green, and now the cause has finally been determined.  Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, discovered the culprit behind the tropical hues were aggressive blooms of algae.  A study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, describes both the algae behind the transformation and the circumstances that allowed the algae to thrive. … ”  Read more from Earth.com here: Why Santa Barbara’s coastal waters turned turquoise

Pilot Recycled Water Project Set to Start Soon at Montecito Sanitary District:  “The Montecito Sanitary District plans to start operating and testing its pilot recycled water plant in August, and wants to deliver a relatively small amount of water to the neighboring Santa Barbara Cemetery in November.  Equipment for the pilot project will be set up on the district headquarters at 1042 Monte Cristo Lane, across Channel Drive from the cemetery.  The idea is to test the treatment process on 1-2 acres of cemetery grass, in addition to demonstration gardens and landscaping at the sanitary district property. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Pilot Recycled Water Project Set to Start Soon at Montecito Sanitary District

Southern California: Runoff Collects Bacteria in Storm Drains Before Flowing Into Ocean: To find out what’s in Southern California’s oceans, Spectrum News 1 went below the streets of Los Angeles into a storm drain to track the flow of water. We’re diving into a question scientists are facing: what is in L.A.’s water?  It is not unusual for Cheng Moua to a snag something other than a fish out of the ocean in Long Beach. He said while fishing, he picks up garbage bags and plastic before finding any fish.  While the trash problem might seem bad, the water Moua is standing in could be worse. A portion of the city beach at Coronado Avenue was given an F and landed on the annual Beach Bummer list from Heal the Bay. ... ”  Read more from Spectrum 1 here: Runoff Collects Bacteria in Storm Drains Before Flowing Into Ocean

San Clemente: Nonprofit Proposes to Convert SONGS into Desalination Plant:  “Officials from the nonprofit SolRio Organization for Climate Change Mitigation, Inc. are proposing to turn San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station into a desalination plant.  In order to make the water cost-effective to consumers, the plant would be generated using solar power, officials said.  The plant project alone would cost an estimated $7 billion. … ”  Read more from the San Clemente Times here: Nonprofit Proposes to Convert SONGS into Desalination Plant

Today’s video …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

METROPOLITAN BAY DELTA COMMITTEE: Update on Governor’s water resilience portfolio and Delta conveyance planning efforts

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Conservation coalition outlines goals for Gov. Newsom’s “water portfolio” plan; EPA releases Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) mobile application in the Google Play™ Store

AB 1755 IMPLEMENTATION: Public meeting scheduled for preview and discussion of Open and Transparent Water Data Platform Features

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Water Data~ Water Loss~ Innovations Conference~ Reclamation Grants~ Recharge Incentives~ Environmental Compliance~ Forest Management ~~

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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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