DAILY DIGEST: CA moves to block Trump from rolling back enviro protections; Bill to establish the Ecosystem Resilience Program advances; National relevance of Klamath takings case reflected in Monday hearing in D.C.; There’s an avid group of people who fly fish for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River; and more …

In California water news today, George Skelton: California moves to block Trump from rolling back its environmental protections; Bill to establish the Ecosystem Resilience Program advances; High-tide flooding poses big problem for US, California, federal scientists warn; National relevance of Klamath takings case reflected in Monday hearing in D.C.; Lawmakers brawl over PFAS riders; As Fresh Water Grows Scarcer, It Could Become a Good Investment; There’s an avid group of people who fly fish for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River; Colorado may go all in on gambling to fund conservation; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Independent Science Board will meet from 9:00am to 4:30pm in Sacramento.  Agenda items include status update on reviews in progress, Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee’s efforts on improving interagency science, an overview of the Delta Conservation Adaptive Management Action Strategy, and California Energy Commission staff will provide an overview of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment.  Click here for the agendaClick here to watch on webcast.
  • WEBINAR/SEMINAR: Multivalent Stormwater Actions in an Era of Climate Change from 11am to 12:30pm.  Click here for more informationClick here to watch on webcast.

In the news today …

George Skelton: California moves to block Trump from rolling back its environmental protections:  “There’s a new twist in the California-Trump brawl in the state Legislature. It’s aimed at overriding the president’s power to weaken environmental protections.  Put simply, any federal protections President Trump tried to gut would immediately become state regulations in their original, strong form.  For example: If Trump attempted to weaken endangered species protections for imperiled salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta so he could pump more water to Central Valley farms, the state would automatically adopt those federal fish safeguards as its own.  In fact, that’s a very real potential scenario. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California moves to block Trump from rolling back its environmental protections

Bill to establish the Ecosystem Resilience Program advances:  “Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) is carrying Assembly Bill 933, which will establish the Ecosystem Resilience Program within the Department of Conservation to provide funding for Watershed Coordinators to develop and implement watershed improvement plans. AB 933 passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on July 9, 2019, on a 7-1 vote.  “Despite the proven success of the Watershed Coordinator Program, it has received very limited funding for several years,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris. “During this period of climate change, it is imperative that we invest in our diverse ecosystems throughout our state and ensure they are managed effectively for years to come.” … ”  Read more from the OC Breeze here: Bill to establish the Ecosystem Resilience Program advances

High-tide flooding poses big problem for US, California, federal scientists warn:  “The nation’s coasts were hit with increased tidal flooding over the past year, part of a costly and perilous trend that will only worsen as sea levels continue to rise, federal scientists warned Wednesday.  Surging ocean water was most disruptive along the Atlantic seaboard, where roads, homes and farmland were sometimes frightfully submerged last year. Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Wilmington, N.C.; and several other cities set new records for flooding, the scientists said. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  High-tide flooding poses big problem for US, California, federal scientists warn

More Extreme Wet, Dry Seasons on the Horizon in California:  “California will get shorter bursts of more intense rainfall as the climate warms, a new study by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests.  The study, “Precipitation regime change in Western North America: The role of Atmospheric Rivers,” was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. It projects that California will face greater extremes of wet and dry seasons, with rainy periods dominated by atmospheric rivers — powerful plumes of airborne moisture that drench the West Coast. … ”  Read more from GovTech here: More Extreme Wet, Dry Seasons on the Horizon in California

National relevance of Klamath takings case reflected in Monday hearing in D.C.:  “A longtime court case involving the shutoff of water to multiple water users in the Klamath Basin in 2001 attracted wide-ranging attention from Pacific Northwest-based organizations and those within the legal community in Washington, D.C., on Monday.  Nearly 90 minutes of oral arguments were heard Monday at the U.S. Court of Appeals at the Federal Circuit. The case, which water users lost in 2017, is being appealed.  “The trial court’s decision of course was that, although some members of the class, water users, individuals, have property interests in water rights, some do not based on the specifics of contracts, so that’s one issue that had to be addressed,” said Paul Simmons, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: National relevance of takings case reflected in Monday hearing in D.C.

Lawmakers brawl over PFAS riders:  “House Democrats are at odds with the White House, Senate Republicans and each other over provisions in defense policy legislation that aim to address toxic chemicals found in drinking water.  Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, were once championed for their nonstick and water resistant properties. But the man-made substances have been linked to thyroid issues, birth defects and other health problems.  As a result of the military’s long-standing use of PFAS in firefighting foam, the House and Senate National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2020 includes provisions against the chemicals. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Lawmakers brawl over PFAS riders

As Fresh Water Grows Scarcer, It Could Become a Good Investment:  “Water is easy to take for granted. It falls from the sky, and, though it’s vital, we sometimes treat it as if it’s worthless. How often have you seen sprinklers running in the rain?  Yet the prospect of shortages in the years ahead could make water a precious commodity. That represents an opportunity for investors.  A small group of traditional mutual funds and exchange-traded funds already invest in it, mainly in companies that contribute to the delivery, testing and cleaning of potable water. Those companies stand to grow as governments around the globe strive to stem the expected water shortfalls. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here: As Fresh Water Grows Scarcer, It Could Become a Good Investment

Climate, NIMBY concerns drive move to floating power plants:  “Climate-conscious local and state officials are increasingly embracing electricity sources that float on water, as they seek ways to convert their least-coveted spaces into hubs of electricity.  This summer alone, developers broke ground on California’s largest floating solar project, located on a wastewater treatment pond in Sonoma County. In Florida, county commissioners greenlighted similar concepts for artificial lakes near Miami. And Maine’s Legislature pushed through a power-purchase contract for a long-delayed floating wind pilot.  That barely scrapes the surface of the technology’s potential, according to federal researchers. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Climate, NIMBY concerns drive move to floating power plants

In commentary today …

It’s not too late to save California’s salmon, but here’s what we need to do:  Rene Henery writes, “The recent United Nations report estimating as many as one million species are facing extinction may have been received by many readers as another blow chronicling our collective decline. The fate of these species and perhaps humanity itself, however, rests on our ability to internalize the report’s findings as a call to action. Fortunately, to help meet this call, science is also providing us a roadmap to recovery.  This is particularly true for California’s wild Chinook salmon, which survived four million years of ice, floods, and drought to bring nutrients from the ocean, the origin point of life on earth, to the coast range, the Central Valley, and the Sierras. Today, these fish fuel a multi-million-dollar industry that’s essential to coastal communities and beyond. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: It’s not too late to save California’s salmon, but here’s what we need to do

In regional news and commentary today …

‘Floodier future’ expected in Humboldt Bay, other coastal regions:  “The future for coastal regions like Humboldt County is expected to get “floodier.”  A report released Wednesday by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sunny day flooding, also known as tidal flooding, will continue to increase. This year, Humboldt Bay is expected to experience six to 12 days of sunny day flooding after experiencing 12 such days in 2018. … ”  Read more from the Redwood Times here: ‘Floodier future’ expected in Humboldt Bay, other coastal regions

Major projects proposed for Thermalito Forebay:  “The Feather River Center is trying to get three proposed projects for the Thermalito Forebay funded through the Supplemental Benefits Fund.  Imagine an eight lane sprint race course in the north Forebay or even a large boating instruction and safety center facility. These are just some of the ideas tossed around by members of the Feather River Center, but the center hasn’t gotten nearly what it asked for from the fund in the past. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Major projects proposed for Thermalito Forebay

Construction is underway at Sacramento’s McKinley Park:  “Construction is well underway at East Sacramento’s McKinley Park.  Crews are digging and removing 66,000 yards of dirt to make room for an underground vault. It will be used to catch rainwater during a storm in order to alleviate flooding around the park.  A fence surrounds the construction site. Behind the fence, crews are hauling away dirt. Workers will eventually put the 6 million-gallon water vault 22 feet underground. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Construction is underway at Sacramento’s McKinley Park

Delta: Owner hopes to resurrect 300-foot ship as Isleton hot spot:  “More than 50 people attended a public hearing on Wednesday, centered on moving a 300-foot boat that’s currently moored in Little Potato Slough in San Joaquin County to Isleton.  The Aurora ship has been sitting vacant for years in San Joaquin County. Its owner wants to move it to Isleton’s public marina, refurbish it and open it up as a business.  If it moves to Isleton’s waterfront, the ship could be used to host weddings and parties, be a bed and breakfast and provide a home for the owner’s family to run the business. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Delta: Owner hopes to resurrect 300-foot ship as Isleton hot spot

The fight over Monterey Peninsula’s water future is a debate over who gets to decide“What is at stake is the water supply for the Monterey Peninsula. Consuming water drawn from the Carmel River is no longer feasible, neither ecologically nor legally. But the power to decide on an alternative supply is largely vested in the hands of public officials from outside the region.  After years of analysis and debate, the California Public Utilities Commission, which is located in San Francisco, ruled in September that the best way forward was for California American Water to construct a $329 million desalination plant on the Peninsula. … ”  Read more from Monterey County Weekly here:  The fight over Monterey Peninsula’s water future is a debate over who gets to decide

Opinion: The future of Monterey County water:  Melodie Chrislock writes,The Monterey County Board of Supervis\ors will decide July 15 if California American Water is permitted to build its $329 million desal plant. The supervisors will be hearing appeals brought by Public Water Now and the Marina Coast Water District challenging the county Planning Commission’s decision to allow Cal Am to proceed with this seriously flawed venture.  There are some major problems with the proposed plant. ... ”  Read more from the Voices of Monterey Bay here:  Opinion: The future of Monterey County water

Residents, panelists and stakeholders game out the future of groundwater in Visalia:  “Community members, local activists and advocacy organizations met last week to discuss sustainable groundwater markets at a roundtable in Visalia.  The event included a presentation on groundwater issues, a panel discussion with experts in water sustainability and a game centered around understanding groundwater markets.  “We need to come together as a community to figure out this issue [of groundwater sustainability],” said Michael Prado Jr., a member of the Sultana Community Service District. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here: Residents, panelists and stakeholders game out the future of groundwater in Visalia

Allensworth: The town that refuses to die:  “When drinking water gets contaminated, there’s usually a polluter to blame. Most likely it’s the fault of big industry spewing out toxic fertilizers or synthetic chemicals.   But in nearly 100 communities in California, this isn’t the case. They have water that is contaminated with a naturally occurring chemical: ArsenicAllensworth, California is one of those communities. … ”  Read more from KALW here:  Allensworth: The town that refuses to die

A $50,000 grant will go toward getting more residents involved in finding a fix for Cuyama’s water problems:  “While many areas in California rely at least partially on groundwater for drinking, plumbing, and irrigation, few are completely dependent on groundwater as a sole water source, and even fewer pump so much water each year that basins are slowly running dry. But Cuyama is one of those places, and an environmental justice grant is expected to get community members closer to a solution.  Since at least the 1950s, Cuyama’s groundwater basin has been in an overdraft condition, meaning more water is being used than is being replenished by rain. Since then, little action has been taken to sustain Cuyama’s only water source, and according to the Cuyama Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency, water pumping has actually increased over the years as the area’s agricultural production has expanded. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here: A $50,000 grant will go toward getting more residents involved in finding a fix for Cuyama’s water problems

Ridgecrest earthquake: Trona working to restore water service, rebuild roads:  “Running water service is still out for most residents of Trona, hard hit by last week’s earthquakes.  But local and state officials and nonprofits like the Red Cross continue working hard to bring relief to the area and restore services.  At a town hall Wednesday morning at Trona High School, families were given hot meals, bottled water and ice, and information about ongoing repair work. Representatives from county and state agencies, utility companies and road repair agencies were all there to provide updates on the ongoing work. … ”  Read more from ABC 7 here: Ridgecrest earthquake: Trona working to restore water service, rebuild roads

‘Potentially harmful’ blue-green algae found in Lake Isabella, lake users should exercise caution:  “The Kern County Public Health Services Department is urging anyone who spends time at Lake Isabella to exercise caution to avoid ‘potentially harmful’ algae.  The department recently received water samples from eight different locations in Lake Isabella, and two water samples indicated the presence of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, at a cautionary level. This type of algae can be considered potentially harmful. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: ‘Potentially harmful’ blue-green algae found in Lake Isabella, lake users should exercise caution

There’s an avid group of people who fly fish for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River:  “At 6 a.m. on a recent Saturday, I donned a borrowed pair of waders with a hole just above the butt, wrestled some waterproof boots over my feet and stepped into the muck of a particularly deep patch of the Los Angeles River.  I came in search of Cyprinus carpio, the common carp, a.k.a. sewer salmon, mud marlin, pond pig, river rabbit, dumpster dolphin, ghetto grouper and septic steelie. If an accumulation of nicknames can be a metric for the amount of affection — however begrudging — that we humans have for a particular animal, it makes sense that the lowly carp is swimming in sobriquets. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: There’s an avid group of people who fly fish for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River

Coastal Commission rejects Newport homeowners treating beach as their backyard:  “The California Coastal Commission on Wednesday blocked Newport Beach’s attempt to allow many oceanfront homeowners to keep or install landscaping and other property on the adjoining public beach. They said that it was, in effect, privatization.  The city sought to amend its Local Coastal Program, a development agreement with the state, to allow — for a fee paid by the homeowners — up to 15 feet of encroachments on the far east end of the Balboa Peninsula known as Peninsula Point.  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Coastal Commission rejects Newport homeowners treating beach as their backyard

DWR-Funded Project in Victorville Improves Flood Safety, Groundwater Recharge:  “State representatives and local San Bernardino County agencies recently celebrated the completion of the Stormwater Flood Reduction Project – a DWR-funded effort that will improve flood control and water supply reliability for the City of Victorville.  The newly constructed Amethyst Basin will help capture stormwater and decrease downstream flows, protecting public infrastructure and Interstate 15, which is located near the basin. ... ”  Read more from DWR News here:  DWR-Funded Project in Victorville Improves Flood Safety, Groundwater Recharge

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado may go all in on gambling to fund conservation:  “Can sports gambling save Colorado’s water?  Gov. Jared Polis (D) and the state Legislature are betting it can. They have passed and signed a bill that puts the question of legalizing sports gambling to Colorado voters on a ballot measure this November.  Proposition DD would impose a 10% tax on gambling proceeds. A big chunk of that money would go to implementing the state’s water plan.  The measure has received scant attention, but it has sparked controversy in the environmental community — including charges that it greenwashes the politically and morally sticky gambling issue. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Colorado may go all in on gambling to fund conservation

Why We Shouldn’t Be Celebrating the “End of Drought” in Colorado:  “Yes, rivers are high. Yes, you can light campfires again. And yes, for the first time in nearly two years, no part of Colorado is experiencing drought conditions. So, can we finally stop worrying about water scarcity?  According to experts, the answer is no. Though 2019 has brought deep snowpack and heavy rain, we’re still in the midst of a 19-year drought that threatens waterways, landscapes, and communities throughout the West. … ”  Read more from 5280 Magazine here: Why We Shouldn’t Be Celebrating the “End of Drought” in Colorado

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BROWN BAG SEMINAR: Towards multi-functional resilient landscapes: environmental heterogeneity as a bridge among diverse ecosystem services

SCIENCE NEWS: Invertebrates with altitude: Effects of drought in mountain streams; Vintner steps forward to protect endangered salmon; Fish hitch a ride in bird guts; Is wildfire management ‘for the birds?’; and more …

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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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