DAILY DIGEST, July 4th/Friday edition: Trump said water wars ‘easy’ to fix, what do they say now?; Battle over eminent domain in the Delta; Mono County: “Waterless” ranch leases reignite water war; San Diego to assess regional pipeline for delivering Colorado River water; and more …

Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing you and yours a peaceful and enjoyable holiday
–from Maven

In California water news today, Trump said water wars ‘easy’ to fix, what do they say now?; Battle over eminent domain in the Delta; Next climate challenge: Getting the smoky taste out of wine; Best holiday hikes in the Bay Area; Mono County: “Waterless” ranch leases reignite water war; San Diego to assess regional pipeline for delivering Colorado River water; and more …

In the news today …

Trump Said Water Wars ‘Easy’ to Fix. What Do Farmers Say Now?:  “Three years ago, presidential candidate Donald Trump got right to the heart of Central Valley agriculture’s fight over its most precious resource.  “We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane,” Trump told a campaign audience at Selland Arena in May 2016. “It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea.” … On June 28, farmers gathered in Los Banos to ask questions of President Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue.  GV Wire took the opportunity to ask growers if they believed Trump was doing enough to bring water to farmers. ... ”  Read more from GV Wire here: Trump Said Water Wars ‘Easy’ to Fix. What Do Farmers Say Now?

Slap and go: The battle over the state’s eminent domain plan for the Delta was reignited in June, ending with Sacramento County seeking a restraining order against DWR:  “The standoff between Sacramento County and the California Department of Water Resources over the Delta’s future took a twist in June, moving from quiet canals and pear orchards along the river to a courtroom in the central city. That’s where county officials were granted a temporary restraining order against DWR to halt what they call risky and illegal drilling.  At issue is whether the state agency can use eminent domain powers to bore exploratory holes around Courtland without county permits. DWR is conducting the drilling to salvage some version of the controversial California WaterFix, which Gov. Gavin Newsom decided will be a one-tunnel project if it’s built. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here: Slap and go: The battle over the state’s eminent domain plan for the Delta was reignited in June, ending with Sacramento County seeking a restraining order against DWR

Next climate challenge: Getting the smoky taste out of wine:  “The wildfires that lit the hills around John Williams’ winery two years ago changed the way he and many Napa Valley growers view climate change and gave birth to a new area of research into “smoke taint” in wine.  “That whole hillside and that whole hillside were aflame,” Williams said, his arms outstretched, in his vineyard, called Frog’s Leap Winery, one afternoon this week. “I hope it was a little bit of a wake-up call that something is going on.”  When fires raged across Northern California in October 2017, in addition to destroying lives and livelihoods, they also imprinted a smoky scent on some grapes that was reflected in the vintage of wine that followed. Now agricultural researchers have a new climate-related impact to study: how to get the smoky taste out of the wine without affecting the rest of the flavor. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Next climate challenge: Getting the smoky taste out of wine

Diverse Coalition Seeks to Protect California’s Drinking Water Systems Caught in Wildfire Liability: “As wildfire season now is a year-long phenomenon in CA, public drinking water systems and their customers are faced with a double-edged sword. First there’s the damage to their water systems and then there’s the lawsuits for damage to their infrastructure caused by fires they didn’t start.  A diverse group – public drinking water suppliers, labor, and other organization – have joined forces and launched The Coalition for Fire Protection and Accountability. ... ” Read more from California Water News Daily here: Diverse Coalition Seeks to Protect California’s Drinking Water Systems Caught in Wildfire Liability

Extremely Dry Soil Connects Forest Die-Offs To Prolonged Drought, Says New UC Study:  “The U.S. Forest Service estimates 147 million trees in California died following the state’s prolonged drought. New research out of UC Merced suggests a culprit: Extremely dry soil.  Not all California droughts have led to massive forest die-offs. The difference this time, according to an article published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, was the drought’s intense heat and longevity. Together, those factors led to an overdraft of much-needed soil moisture, even deep below the surface, says Roger Bales, Director of UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute and senior author on the study. ... ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here: Extremely Dry Soil Connects Forest Die-Offs To Prolonged Drought, Says New UC Study

In regional news and commentary today …

Oroville Dam fireworks may be a blast from the past, forebay could be new permanent site:  “Crews were seen preparing for the annual Oroville fireworks show Wednesday at the Oroville forebay for the Fourth of July Day celebration.  The site alongside Highway 70 in the northern part of Oroville has been the location for the last three July 4th shows.  The annual event used to be held at the Oroville Dam but was discontinued there after the spillway collapsed and the Department of Water Resources closed the dam to the public until a week ago. … ”  Read more from KRCR here: Oroville Dam fireworks may be a blast from the past, forebay could be new permanent site

Butte County: What is causing those harmful algal blooms? Water and heat:  “Weather conditions that make this a landmark year, like more rain, could be part of the reason for the algae blooms in Horseshoe Lake, putting the upper Bidwell Park lake off limits for use for the foreseeable future.  Swimming in the lake, for humans or dogs, is warned against, and new city signs say exposure to the algae can kill animals. Those who fish need to take special steps in preparing their catch.  According to the  Central Valley Water Quality Control Board, the combination of rain, warm temperatures and still water are causes. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  What is causing those harmful algal blooms? Water and heat

Interview: Researcher on Bodega Bay Mussel Die-Off:  “Jackie Sones knows the area around Bodega way really well. As a research coordinator with the Bodega Marine Reserve, she visits the shoreline nearly every day.  On June 18, she saw something she’d never seen before: hundreds or maybe thousands of dead mussels along the shores of Bodega Bay.  “I’ve been working here for about 15 years,” she said. “We have seen mussel die-offs in small patches in the intertidal zone, but nothing like this.” ... ”  Read more from KQED here: Interview: Researcher on Bodega Bay Mussel Die-Off

GUIDE: Best Holiday Hikes in the Bay Area (Chosen by You):  “Want to explore some new Bay Area hikes for the July 4 holiday weekend? Look no further, the KQED audience has a lot of spectacular trail recommendations for you. Below is a running collection that reporter Miranda Leitsinger has been building since late 2017. … Hiking is undoubtably a Bay Area pastime. When we asked our readers to share their favorite trails a few years ago, we received a few hundred replies from every corner of the bay — Livermore to Pescadero, Muir Beach to Mountain View, San Jose to Sonoma. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  GUIDE: Best Holiday Hikes in the Bay Area (Chosen by You)

Radio show: Commission tasked with protecting the Bay neglects key responsibilities:  “The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission or the BCDC was established in the mid-1960s to regulate development, prevent the destruction of wetlands, and ensure public access to San Francisco Bay. It’s an organization that usually doesn’t get much attention, but now it’s being widely criticized for neglecting its responsibilities to protect the Bay. Earlier this summer, the state came out with an audit criticizing the commission. Other organizations say this is old news — they’ve known about these problems for years.”  Listen to the radio show from KALW here: Commission tasked with protecting the Bay neglects key responsibilities

Public meeting on Franks Tract project:  “A public meeting regarding the Franks Tract Futures project will be held Thursday, July 11 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Scout Hall, 3090 Ranch Lane on Bethel Island.  The meeting will be hosted by UC Davis to seek public input on the Franks Tract Restoration Plan. The current phase of the project involves working with the local communities, local agencies, and interested stakeholders in developing a detailed habitat enhancement plan for Franks Tract using a transparent and collaborative process.  … ” Read more from The Press here: Public meeting on Franks Tract project

Menlo Park: Survey suggests details of possible development on Bay’s salt flats:  “A recent survey sent to certain Menlo Park residents floated the possibility of a development project on a 1,400-acre wetland property on the Redwood City shoreline.  The survey from McGuire Research contains the following question: “Would you support or oppose a proposal for the Saltworks land that would permanently dedicate a substantial majority of the property as publicly accessible open space, active sports fields, the Bay Trail, tidal marsh restoration, flood control, transportation improvements, and a buffer against sea level rise; and, in order to help pay for those public benefits, the fractional remainder of the property would be used for a combination of private, economic uses including housing, office space, school and church sites and neighborhood retail stores?” … ”  Read more from The Almanac here: Menlo Park: Survey suggests details of possible development on Bay’s salt flats

Pure Water Monterey in default on agreement after missing Monday deadline:  “Pure Water Monterey, the highly touted recycled water project, is in default on a water purchase agreement with California American Water after failing to meet a Monday deadline for delivering potable water even as the project’s costs rise amid the delay.  But Cal Am has decided not to exercise its right to terminate the agreement, at least not yet, and continued to express support for the project. … ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Pure Water Monterey in default on agreement after missing Monday deadline

High levels of lead found in drinking water at 4 SLO County schools: “Almost two years of tests have revealed excessive levels of lead in drinking fountains and faucets in California’s schools, including four campuses in San Luis Obispo County, according to records kept by the State Water Resources Control Board.  But state officials and an environmental organization can’t agree on how pervasive the problem is.  State officials this week said the testing, ordered by the Legislature in 2017, showed lead in excessive concentrations in the water coming out of at least 291 different drinking fountains, faucets and other fixtures in California’s K-12 schools. In most cases, the fixtures have been fixed or removed, state records show. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: High levels of lead found in drinking water at 4 SLO County schools

Mono County: “Waterless” Ranch Leases Reignite Water War and Invite CEQA Scrutiny:  “The case of County of Mono v. City of Los Angeles, ongoing in Alameda County Superior Court, is but the latest chapter in a century-long battle over water sourced by the City of Los Angeles from the eastern slope of California’s Sierra Nevada range. Last August, Mono County sued the City of Los Angeles, its Department of Water and Power, and Board of Water and Power Commissioners (collectively, the “City”) for reducing water deliveries to 6,400 acres of City-owned ranchland and increasing water exports from the county without first conducting environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq.  In both context and form, the County of Mono case is strikingly similar to some of the earliest CEQA case law, examining the fundamental question of whether the City’s decision to change its historical water management practices constitutes a “project” subject to CEQA’s environmental review requirements. … ”  Continue reading at the Hunter Report here: Mono County: “Waterless” Ranch Leases Reignite Water War and Invite CEQA Scrutiny

Santa Barbara County grand jury says Cachuma Project needs entirely new contract:  “Santa Barbara County Water Agency should seek a completely new contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation rather than simply renewing the 1995 Cachuma Project contract in 2020, a grand jury found during an investigation into the contract process.  Grand jurors came up with nine findings and recommendations for resolving each of those findings. … ”  Read more from the Santa Ynez Valley News here: Santa Barbara County grand jury says Cachuma Project needs entirely new contract

San Diego: Study to Assess Regional Pipeline for Delivering Colorado River Water:  “A new study will explore the viability of a regional pipeline to transfer water from the Colorado River to benefit multiple users in San Diego County and across the Southwest.  The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors approved funds for the two-year study at its June 27 Board meeting. The pipeline system is one of a handful of ideas being discussed by San Diego County water leaders to enhance partnerships and solutions that make sense locally and more broadly as part of Governor Newsom’s Water Portfolio Program to develop resiliency statewide. … ”  Read more from the Water News Network here: Study to Assess Regional Pipeline for Delivering Colorado River Water

Imperial Beach hit with another 858K gallons of Tijuana runoff:  “Days before South Bay locals head out to enjoy Fourth of July festivities, thousands of gallons of sewage flowed into the South Bay’s coastline Tuesday.  The runoff comes a week after millions of gallons of sewage flowed into Imperial Beach’s coastline from the Tijuana River. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: Imperial Beach hit with another 858K gallons of Tijuana runoff

Why Some People Don’t Want the BLM Headquarters to Move West:  “The Bureau of Land Management’s current headquarters is a bland grey building, marble columns bracketing the front and flags flying overhead, in a sea of federal buildings lining the streets of the country’s capital. On the fifth floor, the agency’s public servants dutifully complete the day-to-day policy work, responding to Congressional requests and coordinating with fellow federal agencies. Recently, the Department of Interior asked Congress for $10.5 million in the next fiscal year to pursue relocation efforts and an additional $12.1 million to consolidate bureaus into 12 regions across the West.  Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in his written statement during the appropriations hearing that the DOI is “considering relative cost, accessibility and the specific functions where it makes sense to be closer to field assets.” The BLM declined to comment. ... ”  Read more from 5280 Magazine here:  Why Some People Don’t Want the BLM Headquarters to Move West

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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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