DAILY DIGEST: Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater; Wildfire panel recommends extending safeguards to water agencies; Federal fisheries regulators accused of defying federal court order; Proposed border wall threatens SW’s last free-flowing river; and more …

In California water news today, Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater; Wildfire panel recommends extending safeguards to water agencies; Ocean conservationists accuse federal fisheries regulators of defying a federal court order; North Coast mussel die-off an alarming sign of warming world’s threat to marine life; Scientists studying effects of hatchery-raised salmon on wild salmon; Are pistachios the nut of the future?; Let Rivers Flood: Communities Adopt New Strategies for Resilience; Officials removed climate references from press releases; Proposed Arizona-Mexico Wall Threatens Southwest’s Last Free-Flowing River; and more …

In the news today …

Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater:  “A local water district is developing a novel, market-based groundwater trading program that, if successful, could be expanded or copied to help Central Valley farmers cope with new state restrictions against over-pumping the region’s aquifers.  The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District’s pilot program, set for testing later this summer or early fall, would allow certain landowners to buy or sell groundwater to or from another property owner within the district. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

Wildfire panel recommends extending safeguards to water agencies:  “When the Thomas Fire reached Ventura city limits early on Dec. 5, 2017, a critical tool to help curb the flames quickly disappeared: water.  Some of the more than 500 people who ultimately lost their homes sued Ventura over that lack of water, though they later directed their energy at Southern California Edison, which investigators found caused the fire.  Nearly a decade earlier, what became known as the Freeway Complex Fire started in Orange County, the result of a disabled vehicle. The fire raced from Route 91 across Chino Hills State Park and into the city of Yorba Linda. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Wildfire panel recommends extending safeguards to water agencies

California Assembly OKs Clean Drinking Water Fund:  “The California state Assembly has approved a bill that would spend up to $130 million a year to improve drinking water.  About a million people in California don’t have access to clean drinking water. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a tax on residential water bills to fix that. But lawmakers rejected it. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: California Assembly OKs Clean Drinking Water Fund

Ocean conservationists accuse federal fisheries regulators of defying a federal court order:  “A year and a half ago, a federal judge ordered regulators to recalculate a catch limit for a population of northern anchovy. When nothing happened, environmental groups went to court, and then went to court again, and finally got the judge to enforce her ruling.  Now, the National Marine Fisheries Service has published a new catch limit. It’s almost identical to the previous one and Oceana, a conservation nonprofit, says the agency is repeating much of the same improper scientific methodology that landed them in court to begin with. “I have never seen an agency fight and resist a court order like this,” says Andrea Treece. She’s an attorney with Earthjustice, which specializes in environmental litigation and is suing the federal government on behalf of Oceana. ... ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Ocean conservationists accuse federal fisheries regulators of defying a federal court order

North Coast mussel die-off an alarming sign of warming world’s threat to marine life:  “As a scientist, Jackie Sones trains her focus on observable data — what can be documented, quantified and compared.  But it’s taken some effort recently to keep her emotions at bay as she worked among tens of thousands of empty, gaping mussel shells, appraising the scope of a rare mass die-off along the rocky shoreline of the North Coast.  In yet another sign of the toll exacted by rising temperatures on the ocean environment, a period of extreme heat last month appears to have killed off a large portion of the mussel bed in Bodega Bay. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  North Coast mussel die-off an alarming sign of warming world’s threat to marine life

Scientists studying effects of hatchery-raised salmon on wild salmon:  “Tens of millions of salmon spawned and raised in hatcheries are released into waterways like the Columbia River every year.  The goal is to increase the numbers of the endangered fish. It is no doubt an important effort. But some wonder if this tinkering with Mother Nature could be harming wild salmon.  Scientists with NOAA Fisheries spent the first part of the summer along the Columbia River in Kalama and are hoping to answer that question. … ”  Read more from KGW Channel 8 here: Scientists studying effects of hatchery-raised salmon on wild salmon

Are pistachios the nut of the future?  “Inside a climate-controlled laboratory at the Duarte Nursery outside Modesto, California, 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 2 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 Grist here: Are pistachios the nut of the future?

Let Rivers Flood: Communities Adopt New Strategies for Resilience:  ” … The United States just endured the wettest 12 months on record, and flooding this spring resulted in federal disaster declarations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Dozens of other states and counties declared emergencies, and at the time of this writing, floods had already claimed 67 lives nationwide. They’ve also caused billions of dollars in property damage and swamped farmers have experienced billions more in economic losses.  In all of these cases, we see a common thread: It’s not just the direct blows from nature that are the problem. We’ve made things worse by paving over floodplains, channelizing rivers, and draining wetlands.  But change could be on the horizon. Today more and more communities are beginning to realize that 20th century development practices are harmful. It’s ushering in a new era of thinking about floodplain management — one that involves letting rivers behave like rivers. ... ”  Read more at The Revelator here: Let Rivers Flood: Communities Adopt New Strategies for Resilience

Officials removed climate references from press releases:  “A March news release from the U.S. Geological Survey touted a new study that could be useful for infrastructure planning along the California coastline.  At least that’s how the Trump administration conveyed it.  The news release hardly stood out. It focused on the methodology of the study rather than its major findings, which showed that climate change could have a withering effect on California’s economy by inundating real estate over the next few decades.  An earlier draft of the news release, written by researchers, was sanitized by Trump administration officials, who removed references to the dire effects of climate change after delaying its release for several months, according to three federal officials who saw it. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Officials removed climate references from press releases

In commentary today …

California needs Sites Reservoir, say Fritz Durst and Douglas Headrick:  They write, “California’s aging water infrastructure desperately needs an upgrade.   Shorter, more intense rain storms, less snowpack and more prolonged stretches of drought reflect the reality of climate change. There’s no one project, no single action, that will save California from a dry and unreliable water future.  We need a broad portfolio of solutions that includes storage above and below ground, conservation, and other options such as traditional recycled and potable reuse to help ensure we can better manage this vital resource when the next inevitable drought comes along. And we also need cooperation at local, state and federal levels to advance a 21st century solution.  One part of that solution is the proposed Sites Reservoir. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  California needs Sites Reservoir

In regional news and commentary today …

Group faces uphill battle to get sand-retaining groins on Oceanside beaches:  “A group of Oceanside residents is pushing for what they say is the best solution to the city’s shrinking beaches — building rock structures known as “groins” — but it’s likely to be an uphill battle.  Groins are lines of boulders or concrete placed on the beach that stick out like fingers into the surf to catch and hold the sand, preventing it from eroding away.  “This is a logical, feasible … thing to do,” said Nick Ricci, a member of the group Save Oceanside Sand. The SOS group is trying to get city officials to back the proposal, which would require the approval of the California Coastal Commission and other state and federal agencies. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: Group faces uphill battle to get sand-retaining groins on Oceanside beaches

Along the Colorado River …

Proposed Arizona-Mexico Wall Threatens Southwest’s Last Free-Flowing River:  “Only one undammed river in the American Southwest still flows freely, and it begins just south of the border, in Sonora, Mexico.  From there, the San Pedro River courses north into Arizona, a rare and unbarricaded corridor that is a haven and vital water source for a vast array of plants and wildlife, including beaver, javelina, jaguar, the hog-nosed skunk, the Southwestern willow flycatcher, migrating songbirds, and the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. … ”  Read more from New Times Phoenix here: Proposed Arizona-Mexico Wall Threatens Southwest’s Last Free-Flowing River

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: State agencies report on progress of Voluntary Agreements; CA’s coast is disappearing under rising seas and our choices are grim; Spring Delta smelt surveys reveal record low numbers; Holiday visitors leave more than 1,800 pounds of trash at Lake Tahoe; and more …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for July 8

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Delta Plan Amendment Regarding Delta Levees Investment Strategy

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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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