DAILY DIGEST: SGMA sharpens focus on conjunctive use; Don’t say retreat when talking about sea rise in CA; State’s 2019-2020 budget has millions for water projects; Mammoth Mountain slopes to close July 28; Is Memphis the next California for farming?; and more …

In California water news today, SGMA sharpens focus on conjunctive use; Don’t say retreat when talking about sea rise in California; California’s 2019-2020 budget has millions for water projects; Photos: Major Crude Spill at Chevron Well Site in Kern County; Once hoping for skiing into August, Mammoth Mountain slopes to close July 28; New technology could help salmon swim over hydroelectric dams; The BLM wants to dig 11,000 miles of fuel breaks to stop Western wildfires — will it work?; FCC Prepares to Launch Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force; Is Memphis the next California for farming?; June was the warmest June ever recorded, but there’s a bigger problem; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

SGMA sharpens focus on conjunctive use:  “Requirements to balance supplies in California groundwater basins have refocused attention on how best to achieve recharge, and on what’s known as the conjunctive use of surface and groundwater supplies.  Some irrigation districts have been recharging groundwater in that manner for years or even decades.  In Fresno County, recharging the groundwater aquifer has long been a priority for the Selma-based Consolidated Irrigation District, which serves 5,000 farmers across 120,000 acres. Consolidated General Manager Phil Desatoff said the district has actively recharged groundwater since the 1920s by diverting floodwater to recharge ponds, which are now spread across 1,400 acres. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: SGMA sharpens focus on conjunctive use

Don’t say retreat when talking about sea rise in California:  “Who knew back in 1977, when the Coastal Act was passed, that the sea would rise so quickly? Now, cities and the agency formed to protect the coastline, must deal with it – and with each other.  A workshop on July 12 brought together the League of Cities, California State Association of Counties, local government officials, and the California Coastal Commission. Sea level rise was a key topic, along with one of the most controversial tools in the arsenal.  “The big elephant in the room is managed retreat,” said Imperial Beach councilmember Ed Spriggs, who helped develop the workshop agenda, and whose low-lying community is one of the most vulnerable in California to sea rise. ... ”  Read more from the Easy Reader here: Don’t say retreat when talking about sea rise in California

California’s 2019-2020 budget has millions for water projects and healthcare programs:  “Water and healthcare was forced into the State’s 2019-2020 budget as a priority this year.  With a $22 billion surplus and $215 billion in spending, the southern region of the Central Valley got the financial OK needed from the State’s budget to get some projects off the ground. Brokered in large part by rookie state senator for California’s 14 Senate District, Melissa Hurtado, the southern portion of the Valley has gained tens of millions of dollars of investment in drinking water, asthma mitigation, aging and disability resource centers and Valley Fever research. … ”  Read more from the Sun Gazette here: California’s 2019-2020 budget has millions for water projects and healthcare programs

Photos: Major Crude Spill at Chevron Well Site in Kern County:  “State oil and gas regulators have released a series of photos of a Kern County well site where about 800,000 gallons of crude oil and water have spilled from a Chevron well site.  The area fouled by the incident is in the Cymric Oil Field, near the town of McKittrick and 35 miles west of Bakersfield. Photographs, including an image from a state Department of Conservation drone, show the spill has inundated a roughly 1,000-foot stretch of an unnamed dry creek bed.  The flows — called surface expressions — began adjacent to a Chevron steam injection well on May 10, halted for a time, then started up again on June 8 and once more on June 23. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Photos: Major Crude Spill at Chevron Well Site in Kern County

Once hoping for skiing into August, Mammoth Mountain slopes to close July 28:  “Mammoth Mountain’s ski slopes will close July 28, missing the hoped-for August close but tying with 1982-83 as its third longest season on record.  The popular ski resort, about 300 miles north of Los Angeles in the eastern Sierra, had record-breaking snowfall in February and May. The season ended with 492 inches — 41 feet — of snow at the main lodge and 718 inches — nearly 60 feet — at the summit, according to its website. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Once hoping for skiing into August, Mammoth Mountain slopes to close July 28

New technology could help salmon swim over hydroelectric dams:  “A Seattle company called Whooshh Innovations has developed a creative way for fish to swim over hydroelectric dams. This product creates a pressure difference around the salmon, sucking the fish up a long tube and releasing it at the top of the dam.  “We do introduce a little bit of water to keep them moist and keep their gills moist and all those kinds of things for the few seconds it takes them to get through the system,” said Mike Dearan, Whooshh’s chief engineer. ... ”  Read more from KOMO here: New technology could help salmon swim over hydroelectric dams

WILDFIRES

PG&E using satellite technology in time for 2019 fire season:  “Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is using first of its kind satellite technology with the goal of being the first to know when a wildfire sparks.  With the 2019 fire season underway, PG&E has launched their wildfire tracking system, using heat sensored satellite technology to better track wildfires.  According to the utility company’s spokesperson, Paul Moreno, PG&E has devoted several years of testing and development to incorporate the wildfire detection and alert system. ... ”  Read more from KRCR here:  PG&E using satellite technology in time for 2019 fire season

As trees die in Sequoia, Forest Service hopes new plan will save the ecosystem:  “A massive tree die-off in both the Sierra and Sequoia national forests have caused officials to revise a plan meant to save the parks as climate conditions have worsened.  Across the state, about 147 million trees lie standing dead, according to a report by the U.S. Forest Service, with about 1.4 million acres of the destruction concentrated in both national forests.  A drought starting in 2011, combined with mismanagement of the forests by the Forest Service, left trees vulnerable to intense fire hazards and bark beetle infestations, the report said. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: As trees die in Sequoia, Forest Service hopes new plan will save the ecosystem

The BLM wants to dig 11,000 miles of fuel breaks to stop Western wildfires — will it work? The Trump Administration has a plan to slow down the wildfires ravaging the Interior West.  And it’s a big one.  It calls for creating 11,000 miles of fire fuel breaks across six western states by removing, reducing or changing vegetation in wide swaths mostly along roads and highways.  Laid end-to-end,  from Reno they would stretch roughly to Antananarivo, Madagascar. ... ”  Read more from the Reno Gazette Journal here: The BLM wants to dig 11,000 miles of fuel breaks to stop Western wildfires — will it work? 

Study: Climate Change a Leading Driver of California’s Wildfires“California is heating up.  That heat is driving an increase in the land burned by California wildfires every year as the arid weather dries out forests along the North Coast and Sierra Nevada, according to new research that published this week in the journal Earth’s Future.  Summer forest fires are pushing up the annual burn rates across the state, according to Park Williams, the study’s lead author. ... ”  Read more from KQED here: Study: Climate Change a Leading Driver of California’s Wildfires

AGRICULTURE

FCC Prepares to Launch Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force:  “The Federal Communications Commission is forming a new task force to advise the commission on how to ensure farmers and ranchers have the connectivity they need to use and benefit from precision agriculture.  The task force will work with USDA to develop policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband internet service on unserved agricultural land, with a goal of achieving reliable capabilities on 95 percent of agricultural land in the U.S. by 2025. ... ”  Read more from the American Farm Bureau Federation here: FCC Prepares to Launch Precision Agriculture Connectivity Task Force

Is Memphis the next California for farming? Conservationists want to find out:  “Conservationists at a Washington philanthropy noticed ever more arid growing conditions on California farms.  They asked a simple question.  If drought-prone California can no longer supply the nation as it has for decades, who can  They have no answer yet.  But the question has led them to Memphis. … ”  Read more from Commercial Appeal here:  Is Memphis the next California for farming? Conservationists want to find out

Scientists Desert USDA As Agency Relocates To Kansas City Area:  “Two vital research agencies at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are hemorrhaging staff as less than two-thirds of the researchers asked to relocate from Washington, D.C. to the Kansas City area have agreed to do so.  When U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the planned new location of the research agencies last month, he said it “will be placing important USDA resources closer to many stakeholders” and “increasing the probability of attracting highly-qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture.” … ”  Read more from OPB here: Scientists Desert USDA As Agency Relocates To Kansas City Area

WATER UTILITIES

Cybersecurity Fundamentals Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities Now Available: Water and wastewater utilities provide critical lifeline services to their communities and their regions. Supporting these vitally important functions requires secure information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), yet the sector’s IT and OT networks continue to face an onslaught of threats from cyber criminals, nation states, and others.  To support the sector in its cybersecurity goals, and in response to the continually evolving threats, WaterISAC, the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center, has just published a newly updated resource: 15 Cybersecurity Fundamentals for Water and Wastewater Utilities. … ”  Read more from CWEA here: Cybersecurity Fundamentals Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities Now Available

Finding and training the operator of the future:  “Amid retirement surges across the water workforce, there are ongoing discussions about the urgency to recruit, train, and retain new professionals. Part of this effort involves establishing the water sector as an attractive career path that supports essential infrastructure and protects public health and the natural environment.  However, the water sector faces additional challenges that most sectors do not. Training requirements and certification expectations vary among states and naturally among utilities that differ in size, revenue, and process capacity. But the challenges go deeper. ... ”  Read more from CWEA News here: Finding and training the operator of the future

NATIONAL

As flood risks increase across the US, it’s time to recognize the limits of levees:  “New Orleans averted disaster this month when tropical storm Barry delivered less rain in the Crescent City than forecasters originally feared. But Barry’s slog through Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri is just the latest event in a year that has tested levees across the central U.S.  Many U.S. cities rely on levees for protection from floods. There are more than 100,000 miles of levees nationwide, in all 50 states and one of every five counties. Most of them seriously need repair: Levees received a D on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2018 national infrastructure report card. … ”  Read more from The Conversation here: As flood risks increase across the US, it’s time to recognize the limits of levees

June was the warmest June ever recorded, but there’s a bigger problem:  “In 139 years of record-keeping, this June was the warmest June ever recorded. But June 2019 also revealed a deeper warming reality. The first half of 2019, January through June, finished up as the second warmest half-year on record, newly released NASA data shows. On top of that, each of the last five January through Junes are now the five warmest such spans on record. Only 2016 started off hotter than 2019.  “At this point, the inexorable increase in global temperatures is entirely predictable,” said Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University. ... ”  Read more from Yahoo News here: June was the warmest June ever recorded, but there’s a bigger problem

Top Trump officials tell Bureau of Land Management staff most of them must leave D.C. by end of next year:Senior Trump administration officials confirmed Tuesday that the vast majority of Bureau of Land Management headquarters staffers must leave Washington by the end of next year under the Interior Department’s reorganization plan.  In a 17-page letter to lawmakers, Joe Balash, Interior’s assistant secretary for land and minerals, detailed how the administration plans to move 84 percent of the agency’s headquarters staff west of the Rockies by the end of 2020. The relocation, which The Washington Post first outlined Monday, will move all but 60 Washington-based staffers, a sweeping change to the agency that manages more than 10 percent of America’s land. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Top Trump officials tell Bureau of Land Management staff most of them must leave D.C. by end of next year

And lastly …

Flushing drugs could lead to ‘meth-gators,’ Tenn. authorities say:  “Flushing drugs down the toilet can harm water quality, authorities caution.  In addition to polluting future drinking water, the drugs can also impact wildlife — potentially even leading to the creation of “meth-gators,” according to one Tennessee police department.  Police in the city of Loretto posted a warning — half serious, half kidding — on Facebook, AL.com reports. … ”  Read more from the Desert Dispatch here: Flushing drugs could lead to ‘meth-gators,’ Tenn. authorities say

In regional news and commentary today …

Mendocino Sheriff’s Office investigating illegal cannabis cultivation sites:  “The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is collaborating this week with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CalCannabis Licensing), California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Water Resources Board, Cal Fire, and the California Army National Guard to serve search warrants on public/private lands to investigate identified illegal cannabis cultivation sites, the sheriff’s office said.  All the sites are non-permitted cannabis cultivation sites that are believed to be involved in water diversion and other environmental degradation that impacts several watersheds in the greater Eel River area of northern Mendocino County, the sheriff’s office said. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here: Mendocino Sheriff’s Office investigating illegal cannabis cultivation sites

Paradise: Service lines with contaminated water are getting replaced:  “State and local officials believe benzene contamination in the water systems in areas burned by the Camp Fire is limited to isolated pockets after ongoing testing, they said at a community meeting on Monday.  Benzene, thought to come from melted pipes, and other volatile organic chemicals linked to cancer have been found at unsafe levels in some samples taken from the water distribution systems. A no-drink advisory in the Paradise Irrigation District will be lifted at each location as testing confirms no unsafe levels of the chemicals in the service lines. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here: Paradise: Service lines with contaminated water are getting replaced

‘A beach for 25 is now for 4’: With Lake Tahoe full of water, the beaches are disappearing:  “Christine Virdee was looking for a beach on Lake Tahoe’s east shore Sunday night to let her dog play, but after driving around for an hour or so, she could only find rocky shore.  Over the past month, runoff from a melting snowpack has filled Tahoe up to its rim, and the beaches on the reservoir straddling California and Nevada are shrinking. The sixth-largest lake in the country is stunningly beautiful in all its blue-water glory, but sand is scarce. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: ‘A beach for 25 is now for 4’: With Lake Tahoe full of water, the beaches are disappearing

California Tahoe Conservancy hosting public meeting on climate change impacts at Lake Tahoe:  “The community is invited to a meeting on climate change and its impacts on key resources at Lake Tahoe.  The California Tahoe Conservancy and its partners are hosting the meeting Tuesday, July 16, at the South Tahoe Public Utility District office, 1275 Meadow Crest Drive in South Lake Tahoe, California. The meeting will run from 5-7 p.m.  As part of the development of a Climate Adaptation Action Plan for the Tahoe Basin, the Conservancy seeks community input to inform an assessment of how the Basin is vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, according to a press release from the Conservancy. ... ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: California Tahoe Conservancy hosting public meeting on climate change impacts at Lake Tahoe

Commentary: Climate change, upland development and Napa’s drinking water reservoirs: Patrick Higgins writes, “Climate change is causing toxic cyanobacteria proliferation world-wide including in Australia, China, New Zealand, North America and even in the Bay Area.  Commonly known as blue-green algae, cyanobacteria are actually ancient organisms that are photosynthetic bacteria. These organisms thrive in warm water and, while not all cyanobacteria are toxic, species capable of producing toxins are causing serious problems for human and animal health around the globe.  In addition to the warming of the atmosphere and water, nutrient inputs from human activity are a common co-factor stimulating toxic blooms. There is a lesson here for Napa River watershed residents. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Climate change, upland development and Napa’s drinking water reservoirs

EBMUD To Install Backup Generators In Case Of Wildfire Power Outage:  “The East Bay Municipal Utility District is preparing for mass power outages this wildfire season by installing emergency backup generators in cities all over the East Bay.  Pacific Gas and Electric has warned customers that, when fire danger is high, the company could cut electricity in some areas for up to five days as a preventative measure. … ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area here: EBMUD To Install Backup Generators In Case Of Wildfire Power Outage

Monterey: Cal Am to start desal plant work soon after county permit approval:  “California American Water is planning to begin work on its desalination plant project in September after a split Board of Supervisors granted a permit for the proposal on Monday.  By a 3-2 vote, the county board approved a combined development permit for the 6.4-million gallon per day desal plant on a 25-acre site on Charlie Benson Road near the Marina landfill off Del Monte Boulevard, denying appeals by the Marina Coast Water District and Public Water Now challenging the county Planning Commission’s previous project permit approval. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Cal Am to start desal plant work soon after county permit approval

Central Coast could see waves of ‘killer heat’ by 2036. These cities will be the hottest:  “Extreme heat days where high temperature and humidity become dangerously sweltering will be a lot more common across California and on the Central Coast, according to a report released Tuesday morning by the Union of Concerned Scientists. By the end of the century, more than one-third of the United States will experience heat conditions once a year, on average, that are so extreme they exceed the current National Weather Service heat index range — if we don’t take action, the scientists said. That’s literally off of the charts.  Historically, fewer than 2,000 people nationwide have experienced such conditions in an average year. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Central Coast could see waves of ‘killer heat’ by 2036. These cities will be the hottest

Clovis Secures Its Future Growth With Fresno Irrigation District Water Deals:  “The Clovis City Council has approved landmark water deals with the Fresno Irrigation District that officials say will secure the city’s growth for decades to come.  According to the Clovis General Plan, the city expects 280,000 residents in 2083 — 2.5 times its 110,000 population. Plans call for Clovis to grow northeast and southeast.  The deals approved Monday on a 4-0 vote, with Mayor Drew Bessinger absent, took nearly 18 months to negotiate. ... ”  Read more from GV Wire here:  Clovis Secures Its Future Growth With Fresno Irrigation District Water Deals

One Water LA: A Guide Towards Sustainable & Integrated Water Management:  “The City of Los Angeles has completed the One Water LA 2040 Plan. A roadmap connecting plans, ideas, and people to arrive at better and more fiscally-responsible water planning solutions.  The One Water LA Plan takes a holistic and collaborative approach to consider all water resources from surface water, ground water, potable water, wastewater, recycled water, dry-weather runoff, and stormwater as “One Water.” Through ongoing collaboration, the City’s departments and regional agencies identified new ways to integrate their respective practices and services by leveraging resources and maximizing benefits. … ”  Read more from CWEA News here:  One Water LA: A Guide Towards Sustainable & Integrated Water Management

Mayor Garcetti nominates NRDC’s Tracy Quinn to replace Mark Gold on Metropolitan board:  “Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Tuesday nominated a longtime water-resources expert for a seat on the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors.  Tracy Quinn serves as the California director of water efficiency for the Natural Resources Defense Council and has almost two decades of water policy experience.  “Tracy has dedicated her career to making water conservation a way of life, so that our families can always count on access to clean, healthy water,” Garcetti said. … ”  Read more from My News LA here: Mayor Garcetti nominates NRDC’s Tracy Quinn to replace Mark Gold on Metropolitan board

L.A. River planners float three design proposals for a major new park:  “The three design schemes look totally distinct on paper and come with different names — “Island,” “Soft Edge,” “The Yards” — but they all have the same goal: restore wildlife habitat, plant people-friendly landscapes and develop flood-control strategies for a place that has been the subject of so much neglect, speculation, dreaming and debate: the L.A. River.  Some of the loudest conversations about the transformation of the 51-mile L.A. River center on Taylor Yard, what had been a greasy, soot-filled tangle of rail lines and boxcars. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: L.A. River planners float three design proposals for a major new park

Task force formed to relocate homeless encampments at risk of fire and flood in LA County:  “The Los Angeles County will create a task force to relocate homeless people from encampments near areas of high risk for fire or flood.  Authored by supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis, a motion approved by the board last week said homeless people often seek shelter on secluded hillsides or along waterways with risks of fire and flood.  A December 2017 fire was blamed on a cooking fire at a homeless encampment. That fire became what’s known as the Skirball Fire, burning 422 acres, damaging 12 structures and destroying six homes, according to the motion. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here:  Task force formed to relocate homeless encampments at risk of fire and flood in LA County

IID votes to lower conserved water payments to farmers:  “After nearly two hours of contentious debate, the Imperial Irrigation District board voted unanimously July 9 on a hybrid plan to lower payments made to farmers for their on-farm conservation program.  The purpose for conserving water was not necessarily the drought conditions of the past two decades, but the 2003 QSA in which the San Diego County Water Authority received transferred water from the Valley via Metropolitan Water District (MWD), first through fallowing then as growers geared up, to conserved on-farm water. … ”  Read more from the Desert Review here:  IID votes to lower conserved water payments to farmers

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

MET WATER PLANNING & STEWARDSHIP COMM: Secretary Crowfoot talks about the water resilience portfolio, Delta conveyance, and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: DWR releases final California Water Plan Update 2018; Senator Harris, Feinstein, colleagues warn USGS of scientific data suppression

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Petition for a statutory adjudication of water rights in the Fresno River watershed

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Rose Foundation accepting LOIs for CA Watershed Protection Fund

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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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One comment

  • Richard Freeman

    Thank you for enclosing the letter from several Senators to the head of the USGS. Not a novel observation, but predictably, not one of those Senators is Republican. The staggering hubris and conceit of that party – as if they and their families do not rely on the same water and air as do Democrats.

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