DAILY DIGEST: Microplastics found in Lake Tahoe; Harder declares war on nutria; State agency hopeful Chevron’s massive Kern County spill is finally over; Pink ‘watermelon snow’ in Yosemite; Jay Famiglietti on future of water security; U.N. report: Ag practices add to climate threat; and more …

In California water news today, Microplastics: Not Just an Ocean Problem; Swamp Rats Have Invaded Central Valley District, Prompting California Congressman to Declare War; State Agency Hopeful Chevron’s Massive Kern County Spill Is Finally Over; State Official Gives Zone 7 Look Ahead At the Single Delta Tunnel; Pink ‘watermelon snow’ found in Yosemite’s high country; The Paleo Climate of California; What a drier and hotter future means for the arid Southwest; Jay Famiglietti: The Future Of Water Security; To rein in global warming, healthy forests and sustainable diets are key, U.N. says; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Riverine Stewardship Program Public Workshop – Eureka from 9:30am to 4:30pm.  DWR will host an Applicant Assistance Workshop for the Riverine Stewardship Program on to provide information on how to apply for a grant.  Click here for more information.
  • California Fish and Game Commission Listening Session at 11am in Sacramento:  The California Fish and Game Commission is hosting a public listening session to allow stakeholders an opportunity to provide input on California’s water resilience portfolio and, specifically, on water resiliency for fish and wildlife.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Microplastics: Not Just an Ocean Problem:  “On a recent day at the beach at Lake Tahoe, paddle boarders glide along cobalt blue waters, sunbathers lay out their chairs for the day, and Katie Senft is leaning over, staring intently at the sand.  Senft is a staff researcher at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. She and three interns are looking for microplastics—tiny fragments of plastic smaller than a grain of rice—along the shoreline.  From the infamous “Garbage Patch” islands of floating plastic to the guts of fish and bellies of birds, plastics of all sizes are ubiquitous and well-documented in the ocean. But little data exists on microplastics in lakes. If Senft’s preliminary research at one of the clearest, cleanest lakes in the world is any indication, the problem is widespread in freshwater systems, as well. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here: Microplastics: Not Just an Ocean Problem

Swamp Rats Have Invaded Central Valley District, Prompting California Congressman to Declare War: “Rep. Josh Harder’s opponents have called him a “shady venture capitalist” and “rabid socialist extremist” who only cares about “big donors and socialist Democrats in San Francisco.”  But last weekend, dressed in shirtsleeves and rubber waders, the freshman Democratic congressman from Turlock tried to buck that image. Harder sloshed through waist-deep muddy water in 90-degree heat as he accompanied state wildlife officials to check animal traps for signs of nutria. The invasive swamp rat has taken up residence in his Central Valley congressional district, threatening to damage levees, disrupt the state’s water supply and knock the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem out of balance. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here:  Swamp Rats Have Invaded Central Valley District, Prompting California Congressman to Declare War

State Agency Hopeful Chevron’s Massive Kern County Spill Is Finally Over:  “State regulators say they’re cautiously optimistic that a major release of crude oil from a Chevron well in Kern County — an episode that has continued for three months — is finally over.  Chevron told state officials Wednesday that more than 1.3 million gallons of oil and water have flowed to the surface in the Cymric oil field, 35 miles west of Bakersfield, since May 10. An estimated one-third of that, or 445,130 gallons, is believed to be crude petroleum.  The spill, which Chevron and the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources describe as a “surface expression,” has led to a major cleanup operation near the town of McKittrick. … ”  Read more from KQED here: State Agency Hopeful Chevron’s Massive Kern County Spill Is Finally Over

State Official Gives Zone 7 Look Ahead At the Single Delta Tunnel:  “Since Gov. Gavin Newsom scrapped former Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels plan earlier this year and reduced it to a single tunnel, the state is starting to work out the nuts and bolts of the new approach.  Executive Director of the Delta Conveyance Authority (DCA) Kathryn Mallon told Zone 7 Water Agency directors at their July 16 meeting what they should look for as the new plan develops. ... ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: State Official Gives Zone 7 Look Ahead At the Single Delta Tunnel

Pink ‘watermelon snow’ found in Yosemite’s high country:  “If you have been hiking Yosemite’s high country recently and noticed the snow is pink, you don’t need a new eyeglass prescription.  Some snow that lasts through the summer at elevations above 9,500 feet has a slightly reddish or pink color. It’s sometimes called “watermelon snow.” Yosemite rangers explained what causes it in a Facebook post ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Pink ‘watermelon snow’ found in Yosemite’s high country

Oysters in peril as warming climate alters the water in their habitats:  “Human-caused climate change is increasingly harming oysters in Tomales and San Francisco bays and could soon devastate shellfish across California, as the chemistry of the water in estuaries morphs and livable habitat shrinks, a UC Davis study has found.  Even moderate changes in water temperature, acidity and dissolved oxygen make it harder for native and commercial oysters to grow their calcium-based shells, a situation that does not bode well for the future, concluded the paper published this week in the journal Limnology and Oceanography. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here: Oysters in peril as warming climate alters the water in their habitats

The Paleo Climate of California:  “Decoding the growth rings of long-living trees like redwoods—species of which can live for 3,000 years—is akin to peering back in time. Drought, flood, fire, and other climate events affect a tree’s health across history, and can be read in the chemical analysis of a given year of growth. Ice cores from the Arctic, sediment from the ocean floor, and mineral deposits from caves also reveal data embedded in the earth.  Corals are a recent addition to this body of prophecy. Scientists now know that deep-sea corals off the coast of California live for hundreds of years, too—and they record a ring for every year of their growth, just like a redwood. What their growth rings tell us about past ocean conditions can also illuminate our planet’s future. … ” Read more from Sierra Magazine here: The Paleo Climate of California

What a drier and hotter future means for the arid Southwest:  ““It’s a dry heat” is usually considered a positive expression, a relief on high-temperature days, and salve for the reality that the southwestern U.S. has never been what you’d call water-rich. But now human-caused climate change is adding new credence to the region’s bone-dry reputation – and not in a good way.  For starters, that’s because regional temperatures are on the rise, according to a late 2018 federal government assessment report. Between 1901 and 2016, temperatures increased across the Southwest, with the greatest upturns in California and Colorado. This warming trend – together with its diminished snowfall – have intensified recent droughts. … ”  Read more from Yale Climate Connections here: What a drier and hotter future means for the arid Southwest

Across U.S., Eruptions of Toxic Algae Plague Lakes, Threatening Drinking Water and Recreation:  “Microcystins are poisonous toxins that can form in blooms of blue-green algae. In recent years, algae blooms – actually microscopic bacteria called cyanobacteria – have erupted in hundreds of lakes nationwide, putting at risk Americans whose drinking water comes from those lakes, or who swim, ski or fish in them. If ingested, microcystins can cause adverse health effects in people and animals, ranging from skin rashes to serious illness and even death. … ”  Read more from EWG here:  Across U.S., Eruptions of Toxic Algae Plague Lakes, Threatening Drinking Water and Recreation

Jay Famiglietti: The Future Of Water Security | Serving Up Science:  “Water is critically important to agriculture as well as many aspects of our lives. On this week’s segment Sheril and Karel speak with Dr. Jay Famiglietti, director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada about the future of water.  … ”  Listen to radio show and read excerpts here: The Future Of Water Security | Serving Up Science

Here are the places in the U.S. most strained for water: “The United States has enough water to quench its farms and cities — especially compared to other countries wrestling with more drastic impacts of a warming global climate. But water supplies here look more stressed the closer you look at certain parts of the country. The Post’s Bonnie Berkowitz and Adrian Blanco report on the World Resources Institute’s country-by-country analysis of annual limits on water supplies. ... ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Here are the places in the U.S. most strained for water

To rein in global warming, healthy forests and sustainable diets are key, U.N. says: Slashing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and power plants won’t be enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change. To meet the goals of the Paris climate accord, experts say, humanity also needs a new approach to managing the land beneath its feet.  A sweeping new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights the myriad ways that rising temperatures have impacted agriculture, wildfire risk, soil health and biodiversity. The report also examines how land and its uses can exacerbate the effects of global warming — or help mitigate them.  “It tells us that land is already doing a lot of service for us, but also that we can do a lot with land,” said Louis Verchot, a forester at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Palmira, Colombia. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: To rein in global warming, healthy forests and sustainable diets are key, U.N. says

U.N. report: Agricultural practices add to climate threat:  “A landmark U.N. climate report published Thursday warns that continued damage to land and forests including to produce food will further undermine efforts to hit the goals of the Paris climate deal.  By focusing on the interplay between climate change, land and food security, the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tackles a politically sensitive issue. Climate change raises tricky questions about how to save the planet while feeding the world. ... ”  Read more from Politco here: U.N. report: Agricultural practices add to climate threat

‘Desertification’ and the Role of Climate Change:  “Desertification has been described as the “the greatest environmental challenge of our time” and climate change is making it worse.  While the term may bring to mind the windswept sand dunes of the Sahara or the vast salt pans of the Kalahari, it’s an issue that reaches far beyond those living in and around the world’s deserts, threatening the food security and livelihoods of more than two billion people.  The combined impact of climate change, land mismanagement and unsustainable freshwater use has seen the world’s water-scarce regions increasingly degraded. This leaves their soils less able to support crops, livestock and wildlife. … ”  Read more from Reslience.org here: ‘Desertification’ and the Role of Climate Change

In commentary today …

For Toxic ‘Forever’ Chemicals, We Need More Than a Temporary Fix, says Albert C. Lin:  He writes, “ Today, we may be facing the next asbestos: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Stain resistant, waterproof, and grease repellant, PFAS are widely used in nonstick cookware, food packaging, clothing, furniture, and fire retardants. Their best-known applications include Teflon, Scotchgard, and GORE-TEX. But for more than a decade now, PFAS have been linked to increased cancer risk, reduced fertility, immune system suppression, and stunted growth and learning.  Known as “forever chemicals” because they do not easily break down, PFAS have found their way into drinking water supplies and into a variety of foods, and almost all Americans have detectable levels of PFAS in their blood. Yet federal regulators have taken few measures to protect citizens from PFAS’s harms — and when they have acted, they’ve been seemingly a step behind at every turn. That must change. ... ”  Continue reading at Undark here: For Toxic ‘Forever’ Chemicals, We Need More Than a Temporary Fix

In regional news and commentary today …

Spillway boat ramp reopens Friday at Lake Oroville: “The Lake Oroville Dam spillway boat ramp will officially reopen to the public (at least, on a partial basis) on Friday — more than two and a half years after it was closed in the aftermath of the spillway incident in February 2017.  “We are thrilled to announce the reopening of the largest boat ramp facility at Lake Oroville,” said California’s Department of Water Resources director, Karla Nemeth, in a press release. “We want to thank the public for their patience during the Oroville spillway’s reconstruction.” ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Spillway boat ramp reopens Friday at Lake Oroville

Program offering no cost irrigation evaluations to Northern California:  “Local land owners have to opportunity to get their irrigation systems inspected free of charge as part of a Summer Irrigation Evaluation Program currently being offered across Northern California.  Jay Thomas, engineering technician for the Irrigation Training Facility at California State University, Chico, Research Foundation, said this program is part of a mobile irrigation laboratory that services the growers of Northern California. The program is being coordinated by California State University, Chico, and is funded by the United States Bureau of Reclamation mid-Pacific Region. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Program offering no cost irrigation evaluations to Northern California

Hydrilla detected in Clear Lake Keys area; survey planned:  “County officials reported that a recent detection of the invasive aquatic weed hydrilla in an area of Clear Lake is triggering additional survey and study efforts.  The Lake County Water Resources Department will be supporting the Lake County Agricultural Commissioner and the California Department of Food and Agriculture in an extensive survey in response to a recent detection of hydrilla within the Clear Lake Keys area of Clear Lake in Lake County. … ”  Read more from the Record-Bee here: Hydrilla detected in Clear Lake Keys area; survey planned

Sonoma County hires ombudsman to help with septic rules:  “Sonoma County has hired a new ombudsman, Alisha O’Laughlin, to help river residents deal with the new maze of regulations targeting older sewage disposal systems along the Russian River and its tributaries.  “She knows the river,” said Susan Upchurch, district Director for Fifth District County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.  O’Loughlin, a Guerneville resident, will work out of the Sonoma County Administrator’s office and will also maintain part-time office hours in Monte Rio, said Upchurch. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here: Sonoma County hires ombudsman to help with septic rules

Creek Through Muir Woods Set For Restoration Project:  “A species of salmon on the brink of extinction is getting a second chance at Muir Woods as park officials work to restore the fish’s habitat.  Redwood Creek runs through the heart of Muir Woods, one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the entire Bay Area. The creek is about to be drained and restored, all to protect endangered baby Coho salmon. … ”  Read more from KPIX here: Creek Through Muir Woods Set For Restoration Project

New South Bay Community Land Trust asks water district for land:  “A nonprofit group dedicated to securing land for affordable housing is asking the Santa Clara Valley Water District to donate some of its public land for low-income housing  — beginning with San Jose’s Mayfair district.  The South Bay Community Land Trust, the region’s first land trust for affordable housing, launched in late April and its leaders attended the water district’s homeless encampment committee meeting Monday afternoon to make the pitch for the public agency gifting the land to the community land trust. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Spotlight here: New South Bay Community Land Trust asks water district for land

Lake Tahoe Water Wars, Part II:  “Litigation over water rights in western Nevada began as early as 1864 on the Carson River and just a bit later the Truckee River when the first retaining dam was built at Lake Tahoe’s outlet. It was just the beginning of bi-state water wars between the Silver State and California, a volatile conflict that continued for well more than a century.  Water rights will always be a hot topic in Nevada, the driest state in the Union, where cities, miners, farmers and ranchers compete for this limited natural resource. The fact that two-thirds of Lake Tahoe, as well as the lake’s only outlet, lies within California adds significant political juice to the hydrological battle. … ”  Read more from Tahoe Weekly here: Lake Tahoe Water Wars, Part II

Levee Improvements Move Ahead in the Lower Natomas Basin:  “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews are making great progress on levee improvements in the lower Natomas Basin.  Their new commander Col. James Handura took a closer look recently at the work being done at two sites. … ”  Read more from Dredging Today here: Levee Improvements Move Ahead in the Lower Natomas Basin

South Sacramento County habitat plan reaches major milestone:  “The South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) has reached a major milestone by receiving permits from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a water quality certification from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.  A permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife also is under preparation and anticipated soon, HCP spokesperson Gene Endicott said in a July 29 news release. … ”  Read more from the Galt Herald here: South Sacramento County habitat plan reaches major milestone

Stockton: Presence of blue-green algae in San Joaquin River a threat to humans, animals:  “One month ago, a report was made to California water officials warning of blooming cyanobacteria — blue-green algae — on the surface of the San Joaquin River about 20 miles west of Stockton.  The algae, evidenced by floating scum or foam, can appear blue, green, blue-green, white or brown. The algae also can look like floating paint. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Stockton: Presence of blue-green algae in San Joaquin River a threat to humans, animals

Carpinteria: Beachfront home remodel sparks moral quandary for planning commissioners:  “At the Aug. 5 meeting of the Planning Commission, commissioners approved all of the evening’s applications, however, they did so with fraught pessimism in the first—an extensive beachfront remodel—and easy optimism in the last—acquisition of 21.2 acres of the Bluffs for a public park. ... ”  Read more from Coastal View here: Carpinteria: Beachfront home remodel sparks moral quandary for planning commissioners

Los Angeles County criticized for not taking action on Devil’s Gate dust concerns:  “County Public Works officials updated residents on the progress of the Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal in a La Cañada Flintridge City Council study session Tuesday, sharing measures being taken to reduce diesel emissions and dust at the 50-acre hauling site.  But minutes into their presentation, residents and city officials — who for months have called on the county to install an on-site tire wash station and ensure all hauler beds are covered or tarped — could hardly contain their disappointment with a mitigation response they consider too little, too late. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Los Angeles County criticized for not taking action on Devil’s Gate dust concerns

Southern California: Environmental groups move to sue South Bay refinery over mishandling of hazardous waste: “Several environmental groups moved Wednesday to sue the Phillips 66 refinery in the South Bay, accusing it of years of mismanaging hazardous waste that could pose a health risk to people living near its Wilmington and Carson facilities.  The groups’ planned lawsuit comes four years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first raised concerns about the oil refinery’s practices.  Environmental advocates said their decision to take legal action was the result of frustration with what they said was lax oversight by federal and state regulators. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Environmental groups move to sue South Bay refinery over mishandling of hazardous waste

Plan To Stabilize Del Mar Coastal Bluffs Moves Forward:  “Work to stabilize the coastal bluffs through Del Mar is moving forward, following a vote Monday by the Del Mar City Council.  Council members approved an encroachment permit Monday night, allowing SANDAG to work on a 1.6 mile stretch of coastline. This is Phase 4 of SANDAG’s bluff stabilization project, which began 18-years ago. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: Plan To Stabilize Del Mar Coastal Bluffs Moves Forward

And lastly …

Trailing the Pacific Crest from Space:  “There is no award for completing the walk from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington. … The PCT is not the longest National Scenic Trail—that designation goes to the North Country Trail—but it set the stage for trails that followed. The remarkable length of the Pacific Crest Trail, passing through 48 wilderness areas and some extremely demanding terrain, is especially apparent from space. NASA Earth Observatory identified locations along the trail where satellites and astronaut photography offer a unique perspective. … ”  Read more from Earth Observatory here: Trailing the Pacific Crest from Space

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BROWN BAG SEMINAR: Open Data: Making Connections for Better Science, Synthesis, and Service

STATE WATER PROJECT: An overview

SCIENCE NEWS: A diverse Delta: Integrating social and natural sciences; Removing tiny shrimp may help climate-proof Lake Tahoe’s clarity; Microplastics: Not just an ocean Problem; Swimming worms in SF Bay, Climate change and methylmercury, and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: In-Delta water users post outstanding compliance record for calendar 2018 water use reports; State Water Board revokes water right license for failure to report annual diversions; State Water Contractors release State Water Project fact sheet

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Applications Now Open for AgSharks Startup Pitch Competition to Win $250,000 Minimum Investment

NOW OPEN: Application Period for 2020 California Sea Grant State Fellowship Program

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Stream Enhancement~ Coastal Grants~ Specialty Crops~ CalData Meeting~ FMA Conference ~~

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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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