DAILY DIGEST: CalEPA Secretary Blumenfeld on CA’s enviro priorities under the Trump Admin; Research cruise off CA finds life lacking in parts of the ocean; Weather pattern foreshadows ‘very active’ NorCal fire season; Several US states face significant stress on water availability; and more …

In California water news today, Radio show: CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld on California’s Environmental Priorities Under the Trump Administration; Research cruise off California finds life lacking in parts of the ocean; Climate Change Could Shrink Oyster Habitat in California; Weather Pattern Foreshadows ‘Very Active’ Northern California Fire Season; What is a ‘California Indian tribe’? How a proposed law unearthed a decades-old wound; Fertilizer, Feast, and Famine: Solving the Global Nitrogen Problem; Several US states face significant stress on their water availability, data shows; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • State Water Resources Control Board meets beginning at 9:30am.  Agenda items include an update on current hydrologic conditions, an update on urban water conservation, a listening session on the Governor’s Water Resilience Portfolio, and the quarterly update from the Delta Lead Scientist.  Click here for the full agenda.
  • Public Forum on California’s Water Future in Redding from 1:00 to 3:30pm.  The California State Board of Food and Agriculture is hosting a series of public forums to allow farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders opportunities to provide input on the California’s Water Future.  For more information, click here.

In the news today …

Radio show: CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld on California’s Environmental Priorities Under the Trump Administration:  “California’s Secretary of Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld oversees the state’s efforts to combat climate change, ensure clean air and water, regulate pesticides and manage waste and recycling goals. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed the former Obama administration official and director of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment to head CalEPA in January. Blumenfeld joins Forum to discuss how the state is responding to the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks and what he sees as the state’s top priorities and challenges.”  Listen to the radio show from KQED here: Radio show: CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld on California’s Environmental Priorities Under the Trump Administration

Research cruise off California finds life lacking in parts of the ocean:  “In parts of the California Current this summer, the ocean was clear, azure, and almost empty.  The high water clarity, and low biological productivity, were some of the defining features that struck scientists returning from a cruise with the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigation (CalCOFI) program, a 70-year study of West Coast waters.  Although the lack of life sounds ominous, scientists said it’s neither good, nor bad, but an interesting observation that will add to their knowledge of the California Current. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Research cruise off California finds life lacking in parts of the ocean

Climate Change Could Shrink Oyster Habitat in California:  “Ocean acidification is bad news for shellfish, making it harder for them to form their calcium-based shells. But several other factors related to climate change could also make California bays less hospitable to shelled organisms like oysters, which are a key part of the food web.  Changes to water temperature and chemistry resulting from human-caused climate change could shrink the prime habitat and farming locations for oysters in California bays, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis. ... ”  Read more from UC Davis here: Climate Change Could Shrink Oyster Habitat in California

Weather Pattern Foreshadows ‘Very Active’ Northern California Fire Season:  “After some relatively quiet summer months Northern California is creeping into August, and several months that could bring very warm weather on top of a significant fuel load for potential wildfires.  “Yeah we have seen that kind of weather pattern in the past,” said Captain Justin Hartman of Cal Fire. He is talking about the latest forecast from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. In short, it says Northern California could be headed toward a ‘very active’ fire season from now through October. ... ”  Read more from KPIX here: Weather Pattern Foreshadows ‘Very Active’ Northern California Fire Season

What is a ‘California Indian tribe’? How a proposed law unearthed a decades-old wound:  “When ancestral remains found during building projects or held by government agencies are returned to a Redding-area tribe in a process called repatriation, members hold a formal ceremony to rebury the findings.  The 126 members of the Winnemem Wintu then ask forgiveness from the ancestors, said Chief Caleen Sisk, for something so taboo as disturbing them in their graves.  “It is a hardship on us, to rebury them, to put them back,” Sisk said. “You don’t mess around in graveyards. You don’t dig them up, you don’t move them, you don’t touch them. We ask for forgiveness that we have to do this.” … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: What is a ‘California Indian tribe’? How a proposed law unearthed a decades-old wound

Low on water, California farmers turn to solar farming:  “If California is to meet its goal of running on 100-percent clean electricity by 2045, fields that once grew hay are going to have to start producing electrons. That’s according to a new report from The Nature Conservancy that estimates the state will need to cover an area at least twice as large as Yosemite National Park with solar panels and wind turbines.  That may seem like an ambitious ask, but the amount of California land devoted to renewable energy is already slated to grow exponentially. ... ”  Read more from Grist here:  Low on water, California farmers turn to solar farming

State works to tackle nutria problem:  “When a pregnant female nutria turned up in a Merced County beaver trap over two years ago, the State of California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife collectively held its breath.  “We all crossed our fingers and knocked on wood that it was a solo animal,” Valerie Cook recalled.  Today, Cook oversees much of the CDFW’s Nutria Eradication Program, formed shortly after that first nutria was captured. In the following months an additional 25 were discovered, kicking off an eradication effort that has since seen nearly 700 of the invasive, semi-aquatic rodents taken in five counties throughout the state. ... ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here: State works to tackle nutria problem

Fertilizer, Feast, and Famine: Solving the Global Nitrogen Problem:  “Commercial organic and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer helps feed around half of the world’s population. While excessive fertilizer use poses environmental and public health risks, many developing nations lack access to it, leading to food insecurity, social unrest and economic hardship.  A team of scientists, led by the University of California, Davis, has published a study that identifies five strategies to tackle the problem. These include applying fertilizers more precisely, getting nitrogen to where it’s needed most, removing nitrogen pollution from the environment, reducing food waste and empowering consumers to think about sustainable food options. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here: Fertilizer Feast and Famine Solving the Global Nitrogen Problem

Data Saves Water: Better use of data analytics could save the world’s water supply:  “The world is enduring a water crisis at the hands of rising demand, prevalent leaks, reduction in supply and an uptick in droughts, and businesses, municipalities and individuals are feeling the pressure to use water resources more responsibly. … In efforts to combat water loss amid drought, it becomes more critical for everyone—individuals, businesses and municipalities—to have an accurate, real-time understanding of water usage and demand. That information can be powered by data. … ”  Read more from Water & Waste Digest here: Data Saves Water: Better use of data analytics could save the world’s water supply

Seeing the Forest & the Trees: A history of PFAS regulations & treatment:  “The discovery of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) decades ago ushered in an entirely new and diverse family of chemicals. The strong chemical bond between fluorine and carbon imparts PFAS compounds with stability, resistance and durability to heat, water and oil. These enabling properties are critical to the performance of industrial and military applications and consumer products, such as fuel-efficient cars and planes, electronics, semiconductors, life-saving medical devices and firefighting materials.  Although PFAS is a helpful acronym, its common use and misuse among regulators, legislators and the general public masks the array of chemical structures within the PFAS family. ... ”  Read more from Water & Waste Digest here: Seeing the Forest & the Trees: A history of PFAS regulations & treatment

Several US states face significant stress on their water availability, data shows:  “A handful of US states – including New Mexico and California – are facing significant strains on their water supplies that will only intensify with global heating, according to new rankings.  New Mexico tops the list and is the only state with “extremely high” pressures on its water availability. The state’s score is on par with the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and Eritrea in Africa, the World Resources Institute (WRI) found.  California ranks second, followed by Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska. ... ”  Read more from The Guardian here: Several US states face significant stress on their water availability, data shows

USDA science agencies’ relocation may have violated law, inspector general report says:  “A plan to move two Agriculture Department scientific agencies from Washington to Kansas City may have run afoul of the 2018 appropriations act, according to a report released Monday from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General.  In August 2018, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveiled a plan to relocate the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which oversees $1.7 billion in scientific grants and funding, and the Economic Research Service, a federal statistical agency that publishes influential reports on agricultural trade and rural America. Both agencies lease office space in the District. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: USDA science agencies’ relocation may have violated law, inspector general report says

‘It feels like something out of a bad sci-fi movie’: A top climate scientist quit USDA, following others who say Trump has politicized science:  “One of the nation’s leading climate change scientists is quitting the Agriculture Department in protest over the Trump administration’s efforts to bury his groundbreaking study about how rice is losing nutrients because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Lewis Ziska, a 62-year-old plant physiologist who’s worked at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service for more than two decades, told POLITICO he was alarmed when department officials not only questioned the findings of the study — which raised serious concerns for the 600 million people who depend on rice for most of their calories — but also tried to minimize media coverage of the paper, which was published in the journal Science Advances last year. … ”  Read more from Politco here: ‘It feels like something out of a bad sci-fi movie’: A top climate scientist quit USDA, following others who say Trump has politicized science

In regional news and commentary today …

‘Share our culture’: Yurok Tribe to offer canoe tours of Klamath River in 2020:  “Next spring, the Yurok Tribe will begin its Redwood Canoe Adventure Tour and it will utilize six hand-crafted redwood canoes made using traditional tribal tools and techniques.  It’s a part of a larger vision for economic development on the Klamath River and something the tribe put several years of work into in the hope it will become a chief tourism attraction.  Visitors will be able to take two-hour tours on the Klamath to learn about tribal customs, the flora and fauna found on the river and the cultural lifestyle of the tribe. According to the tribe, it’s an opportunity you won’t find anywhere else in the world due to the unique relationship between the Yurok people and the Klamath River. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: ‘Share our culture’: Yurok Tribe to offer canoe tours of Klamath River in 2020

Big winter lifts McCloud to No. 1 for annual precip in state:  “In a weather anomaly verified for the first time, a weather station in Siskiyou County recorded the highest annual precipitation for California’s weather season.  The weather station at Stouts Meadow, located at an elevation of 5,400 near the headwaters of the McCloud River, recorded 126.76 inches of precipitation for the season. The federal Bureau of Reclamation operates the station.  The record number overshadowed the 122.2 inches recorded at the No. 2 site, the Venado station operated by the Department of Water Resources and located on a ridge north of Armstrong Redwoods State Park. That is near the Russian River, which received epic flooding in February. … ”  Read more from Mt Shasta News here: Big winter lifts McCloud to No. 1 for annual precip in state

Nevada County authorities seize over 5K pot plants, arrest 1 person:  “Nevada County authorities say they seized over 5,000 suspected marijuana plants in a series of busts last week, netting millions of dollars worth of pot and arresting one man.  The Thursday and Friday execution of eight search warrants at eight sites across the county stemmed from a statewide operation targeting spots that possibly were polluting state waterways and watersheds.  The operation led to the seizure of 5,324 suspected cannabis plants, which were destroyed. Authorities also issued 22 state Water Resources Control Board violations, 26 violations from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and 60 county marijuana code compliance violations, a release states. … ”  Read more from The Union here: Nevada County authorities seize over 5K pot plants, arrest 1 person

Sacramento: Contaminated soil to be buried in place at Sacramento Railyards:  “A five-month construction project is scheduled to begin this week to control contaminated soil at the Sacramento Railyards.  Workers will focus their effort in the northwest corner of the railyards where contaminated soil was stockpiled during previous cleanups.  The California Department of Toxic Substances Control is overseeing the project in the 9.3-acre Lagoon Study Area, near the Sacramento Water Treatment Plant. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Sacramento: Contaminated soil to be buried in place at Sacramento Railyards

11 arrested, guns seized in huge ‘black market’ marijuana grow at Sacramento wildlife preserve:  “Wildlife officers made nearly a dozen arrests last month, shutting down a massive “black market” marijuana grow operation discovered at side-by-side properties on the Cosumnes River Preserve, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Monday.  More than 15,000 marijuana plants were “eradicated,” 3,000 pounds of processed marijuana were seized, about 1,900 pounds of trash were cleaned up and 11 total suspects were arrested in connection with the south Sacramento County operation, Fish and Wildlife said in a news release. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: 11 arrested, guns seized in huge ‘black market’ marijuana grow at Sacramento wildlife preserve

San Benito: Groundwater plan is moving along:  “Adopted in 2014, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) sets milestones that must be met to achieve groundwater sustainability. The law requires formation of local groundwater sustainability agencies—or GSAs—to guide groundwater management in basins and sub-basins classified by the state as medium- or high-priority. The local agencies must work together with groundwater users to develop groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) that will guide decisions affecting groundwater use and fees.  The San Benito County Water District is the GSA for the North San Benito Basin and is preparing a GSP in partnership with Santa Clara Valley Water District (now known as Valley Water), for small areas of the basin that extend into Santa Clara County. ... ”  Read more from Benito Link here: San Benito: Groundwater plan is moving along

Seaside re-allocates its water supply to better align with demand:  “The Seaside City Council took action at its last meeting in re-allocating water to supply new businesses and housing projects. But a new category will be considered to allocate the resource to accessory dwelling units as well.  “The city has about 40 acre-feet per year of water that remains unallocated,” said Jon Wizard, a Seaside city councilman, in his newsletter about upcoming council meeting topics. “Depending on how the council votes, the city may be able to free up some of that water so residents can remodel their homes, build granny units, convert vacant lots into new homes, etc.” … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Seaside re-allocates its water supply to better align with demand

Water = prosperity: Manteca, farmers benefit from SSJID foresight:  “Nestled in the rustic Stanislaus River canyon below the western horizon from busy Highway 108-120 in the bottomland of Tuolumne County is arguably the most critical chunk of concrete ever poured when it comes to powering the Manteca economy. It is here some 35 miles to the northeast of Manteca you’ll find Goodwin Dam. The 400-foot high dam was completed in December of 1912 primary as a storage and diversion point for the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and its 110-year-old partner – the Oakdale Irrigation District. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Water = prosperity: Manteca, farmers benefit from SSJID foresight

Bakersfield: Hard Rock casino could ease county’s water worries, officials say:  “As the Tejon Tribe casino makes its way through the regulatory process, concerns have been raised over the impact the complex will have on the county’s groundwater.  However, county officials believe the casino may actually use less water than the farms that currently occupy the planned site just south of Bakersfield. But questions do remain as to how much water the casino will actually need to operate. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Hard Rock casino could ease county’s water worries, officials say

Ventura readies the spigot for state water:  “Ventura started paying for its right to state water in 1971.  On Monday night, policymakers took the biggest step yet to being able to access it.    The Ventura City Council voted 6-0 to approve a study certifying no major environmental impacts would result from building the 7-mile pipeline near Camarillo. The action means the city’s next move is hiring a consultant to draft the interconnection’s final design. ... ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Ventura readies the spigot for state water

San Clemente’s man-made reef, likely the world’s largest, is getting bigger:  “It’s not your typical construction site.  A half mile offshore of Calafia State Beach in San Clemente, a bulldozer scoops quarry boulders off a barge and dumps them in the ocean. Nearby, divers examine placement of July’s rocks to make sure they match the blueprint. And on the elevated deck of a nearby barge, two biologists keep watch for sea lions and other mammals, calling a temporary halt to work when any swim into the construction area. ... ”  Read more from the Press Telegram here: San Clemente’s man-made reef, likely the world’s largest, is getting bigger

And lastly …

The eerie Americana of photographer Ed Freeman – in pictures:  “After a 25-year career in the music industry, during which he produced Don McLean’s American Pie, Ed Freeman returned to his original love of photography. While driving around southern Californian deserts to photograph landscapes, he was struck by the beauty of the desolate buildings he passed on the way. “I wanted to appreciate these old, falling-apart buildings that no one pays any attention to. So I photographed them as if they were the most important thing on Earth,” he says. “I really love the desert: it’s a place of independence and freedom, and during the winter the weather is beautiful. It’s incredibly peaceful and quiet: you can drive a hundred miles and not see a single person” … ” Read more and check out the pictures from the California Sun here: The eerie Americana of photographer Ed Freeman – in pictures

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Fighting construction destruction in the Delta; Groundwater law and “the water budget myth”; One small water district explains the challenge of clean, affordable water; “Hero insurance companies save thousands”; Fracking and public health; and more …

GUEST COMMENTARY: What Does Climate Change Really Mean to California’s Water Resources?

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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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