DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Environment report out on $1B dam proposed for Santa Clara County; How CA is leading the food security fight; CA Fish and Game Commission delays vote on revisions to Delta fisheries and striped bass policy; The Trump obsession comes for CA’s water; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Environment report out on new $1 billion dam proposed for Santa Clara County; How California is leading the food security fight; CA Fish and Game Commission Delays Vote on Revisions to Delta Fisheries and Striped Bass Policy; Is It Too Late to Save Wild Salmon?  To protect the overfished species, one man is going on the offense; Mercury levels in seafood are rising, and climate change is the culprit, study finds; USDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency; Column: The Trump Obsession Comes for California’s Water; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Environment report out on new $1 billion dam proposed for Santa Clara County:  “A plan to build a huge new $1.1 billion dam and reservoir near Pacheco Pass in southeastern Santa Clara County is taking a significant step forward with the release of hundreds of pages of environmental studies.  The project, which would be the first new large dam built anywhere in the Bay Area since Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County in 1998, grew out of California’s recent five-year drought. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Environment report out on new $1 billion dam proposed for Santa Clara County

Radio show: At Selma Open House, Congressman TJ Cox Talks Water, Trade Wars And August Recess:  “Over the last 200 days of legislative session, freshman Congressman TJ Cox has brought the House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raul Grijalva to the San Joaquin Valley for a water tour, co-sponsored Valley Fever legislation, and thrown his support behind a number of Democratic party agenda items. Last weekend, he held an open house at a new district office in Selma. … Listen to the interview above to hear Cox discuss water, the trade war, and how the August break from the legislative session isn’t as much of a “recess” as it seems.”  Listen to the radio show from Valley Public Radio here: Radio show: At Selma Open House, Congressman TJ Cox Talks Water, Trade Wars And August Recess

How California is leading the food security fight:  “Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the Earth’s land and the way people use the land is making global warming worse, a new United Nations scientific report says. That creates a vicious cycle that is already making food more expensive, scarcer and less nutritious.  “The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a co-author of the report. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.” … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: How California is leading the food security fight

CA Fish and Game Commission Delays Vote on Revisions to Delta Fisheries and Striped Bass Policy:  Dan Bacher writes, “After listening to several dozen speakers from the California Striped Bass Association, NCGASA Delta Anglers Coalition and other organizations, the California Fish and Game Commission at its meeting in Sacramento on August 7 directed staff to continue working with CDFW and stakeholders to revise a draft Delta fisheries management policy, including potential revisions to the existing striped bass policy.  The policy will be again discussed at the Commission meeting on December 12, 2019, at the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, First Floor, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento CA 95814. ... ”  Read more from Dan Bacher at the Daily Kos here: CA Fish and Game Commission Delays Vote on Revisions to Delta Fisheries and Striped Bass Policy

Is It Too Late to Save Wild Salmon?  To protect the overfished species, one man is going on the offense:  “Some of the world’s most famous conservationists have been hunters. Teddy Roosevelt, John James Audubon, and Ernest Hemingway each have the somewhat dubious distinction of saving animals’ habitats to try to kill them. Pacific salmon aren’t often mentioned alongside Roosevelt’s elephants or Hemingway’s tigers, but in Tucker Malarkey’s Stronghold (Random House, $28), fish is the biggest game of all.  Malarkey’s protagonist is a charming misfit named Guido Rahr, who also happens to be her cousin. A naturalist almost as soon as he could walk, Rahr got hooked on fly fishing in his late teens, only to realize, to his horror, that the hydroelectric dams, agricultural runoff, commercial fishing industry, deforestation, and climate change in the Pacific Northwest could bring wild salmon to extinction. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here: Is It Too Late to Save Wild Salmon?  To protect the overfished species, one man is going on the offense

Do Salmon Make Decisions as a Group? A baby salmon is, often, the product of its parents’ final burst of life. The two adult fish, having fought their way upriver—skirting predators and navigating sometimes thousands of kilometers inland—end up hovering together, spewing eggs and sperm over the same rocky streambed where they were born. Likewise, their offspring will migrate out to sea, spending several years gobbling up plankton and fish before returning to that stream to start the cycle anew.  Except, occasionally, they don’t. Sometimes, salmon stray on their way home, venturing into unknown waters. Each year, some percentage of migrating salmon always stray, but scientists don’t know why that percentage can vary so much—some years there are many strays and other years there are only a few. Now, some researchers have an idea why, and their work has helped foster a new scientific discipline. ... ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here:  Do Salmon Make Decisions as a Group? 

Mercury levels in seafood are rising, and climate change is the culprit, study finds: “Many popular seafoods, such as cod, Atlantic bluefin tuna and swordfish, have been found to contain high levels of methylmercury, a harmful neurotoxin, with new research revealing that climate change and the resultant warming oceans are responsible.  The research comes from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), and its findings were published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. … ”  Read more from Fox News here: Mercury levels in seafood are rising, and climate change is the culprit, study finds

Legal alert: PFAS Concerns Trigger Regulatory and Legal Responses: “Concerns about rising health risks from a group of chemicals called PFAS in water supplies are spurring responses from both federal and state lawmakers, regulators and courts. Some of these actions will impact local governments and water agencies.  PFOA and PFOS are the most common synthetic organic chemicals that are part of a group of elements referred to as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs. These substances are known for their nonstick, waterproof, heat- and stain-resistant properties. They are used widely in consumer and industrial products, such as fabrics, carpets, firefighting foams, food packaging, and nonstick cookware. Exposure to PFAS through drinking water is of significant concern due to its propensity to accrue in groundwater. ... ”  Read more from Best Best & Kreiger here: Legal alert: PFAS Concerns Trigger Regulatory and Legal Responses

Wells Dug Deeper as Groundwater Recedes:  “Groundwater levels are falling, and wells are drying up. Areas across the United States, including Santa Barbara County, are drilling deeper for fresh water than ever before, according to data from a recent UCSB study led by Assistant Professors Debra Perrone and Scott Jasechko. Although this solution provides temporary relief, it’s ultimately unsustainable, they wrote in a paper published by Nature Sustainability on July 22. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: Wells Dug Deeper as Groundwater Recedes

USDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency:  “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reversed course late Friday, agreeing to key union demands as nearly two-thirds of its research staff will leave the agency rather than move to new headquarters in the Kansas City area.  The announcement follows a tumultuous few weeks at the USDA where employees were given a month to decide if they would uproot from D.C. by Sept. 30 or lose their jobs that same day. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: USDA eases relocation timeline as researchers flee agency

In commentary this weekend …

Column: The Trump Obsession Comes for California’s Water:  Jack Fowler writes, “Tomorrow, the Golden State’s Democrat-run, veto-proof legislature returns from its summer break and is expected to quickly take up S.B. 1, the “California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019.” It has been proposed for one reason: Donald Trump is president. Under his administration, long-standing EPA regulations and analyses, and bureaucratic (state and federal) actions, related to water have been rethought, reviewed, and relaxed. Which comes to the progressive Left as a threat: All that water-denying is now at risk. … ”  Read more from the National Review here: Column: The Trump Obsession Comes for California’s Water

The latest plan to drain the Hetch Hetchy water system doesn’t add up, says the SF Chronicle:  They write, “Grazing deer, wildflower meadows, soaring granite cliffs: Who wouldn’t want another Yosemite Valley a few miles from the ultra-crowded one? That’s the glimmering picture offered in a study that outlines the beauties of draining Hetch Hetchy Valley stoppered by a San Francisco-run dam.  But there is hard reality that can’t be dodged in pursuing a dreamy idea that’s existed as long as the 100-year old water and power system. Pulling the plug on the watery expanse to expose the original valley is much more complicated than a sunny study commissioned by an anti-dam environmental group hoping to pump up its cause. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: The latest plan to drain the Hetch Hetchy water system doesn’t add up

Sunday podcasts …

Watershed Science with Ann Willis:  “In this episode of The Fisheries Podcast Nick Cramer chats with Ann Willis, a Ph.D. student at UC Davis. We start with chatting about her past as a whitewater guide in the Western U.S. and how she transitioned from that to her program now. We then talk about how she is studying civil engineering and using that to improve streams and rivers in California.”


Drought Impacts, Warmer Climate Leave Sierra Forests Primed For Wildfires:  “Despite two years of relatively abundant rain and snow, conditions are still ripe for large-scale wildfires in the forests of the Sierra Nevada because of the recent five-year drought and climate change. The nearly 150 million dead trees, and more to come, could provide the fuel for wildfires that even fire experts say are burning with a ferocity and behavior unseen until now. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.”


Caretakers of the Earth:  Steve Baker writes, “The Arctic and Antarctic regions play a significant role in supporting the life styles that we enjoy today. It gives us the cycles of the seasons, migration of birds, April showers, rise and fall of groundwater table and the first snowfall of winter. How is it that water’s response to the heat of the sun could erase generations of memories of what the good old days were like. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Stephen J. Baker,  Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems; stevebaker@operationunite.co; 530-263-1007

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Yurok Tribe included in lawsuit over Klamath River salmon:  “The Yurok Tribe and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations filed a lawsuit July 31 against the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Marine Fisheries Service, citing low flows and high salmon disease rates under the federal agency’s new management plan for the Klamath River.  The groups are represented by the environmental law firm Earthjustice. … ”  Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here: Yurok Tribe included in lawsuit over Klamath River salmon

Lake County to consider shifting Big Valley groundwater management:  “On Tuesday, the Lake County Board of Supervisors, sitting as the directors of the county’s watershed protection district, will consider forming a new groundwater management agency for the Big Valley basin. Lake County Water Resources Interim Director Scott de Leon writes that “In order to maintain local and sustainable management of the Big Valley groundwater basin, it is in the best interest for the County that the Board of Directors of the Lake County Watershed Protection District approve the resolution authorizing the District to from the Big Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency.” … ”  Read more from the Lake County Record Bee here:  Lake County to consider shifting Big Valley groundwater management

River flood terraces have cleaned up Napa’s oily industrial past:  “Napa River flood control terraces where wildlife lives and people stroll along a bike path are officially just short of being squeaky clean from an oily past.  Years of monitoring showed a massive 2004 cleanup effort of an industrial area north of Imola Avenue worked. The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board last month officially rescinded its 2001 cleanup order.  That puts the bureaucratic bow on a cleanup done 15 years ago. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: River flood terraces have cleaned up Napa’s oily industrial past

Tiburon beaches reopen as mysterious contamination wanes:  “Marin health officials have reopened beaches along Tiburon’s shoreline after recent water quality tests showed low levels of bacteria, but the source of contamination that shut those beaches down for more than two months remains elusive.  “I’m just as confused as I was before,” said Bill Johnson, chief of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board’s wastewater and enforcement division.  Late last month, Johnson’s agency ordered the town of Tiburon and two Southern Marin wastewater agencies to launch an investigation into the cause of the dirty water. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Tiburon beaches reopen as mysterious contamination wanes

Suisun harbor dredging to start next week:  “Work to ensure wildlife on Pierce Island isn’t affected by the dredging of Suisun City’s harbor pushed the start of that project back a week to Monday, according to Suisun City Hall.  City Manager Greg Folsom said that new start date is tentative, but hopes to see dredging work start in the area from about 600 feet south of the boat docks to the fuel dock area. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Suisun harbor dredging to start next week

USACE Awards Construction Contract for Folsom Dam Raise Dike 8:  “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District awarded a $4.2 million construction contract August 8 to Odin Construction Solutions, Inc., of Rocklin, California, to raise Dike 8 at Folsom Lake by 3.5 feet.  The Dike 8 raise is part of the larger Folsom Dam Raise project, which will raise the height of Dikes 1-8, the Left and Right Wing Dams, and the Mormon Island Auxiliary Dam. ... ”  Read more from the US Army Corps of Engineers here: USACE Awards Construction Contract for Folsom Dam Raise Dike 8

Aeration system repairs return bubbles to Stockton channel:  “The bubbles are back.  The bubbler system that helps aerate water in the Stockton Deep Water Channel downtown has been repaired, the city announced Thursday.  The system is comprised of nine bubble-blowing pipes spaced every 500 feet on the floor of the channel from McLeod Lake west to just short of Interstate 5. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Aeration system repairs return bubbles to Stockton channel

Kern County: Groundwater trading program, first of its kind for Central Valley, is being designed:  “In a first for Kern County and the Central Valley, a groundwater trading program is being designed to help local growers meet new regulations under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act — which kicks in next year.  The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District is working with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a web-based platform growers can use to sell or buy units of groundwater.  New state regulations take effect in 2020 that essentially prohibit water districts in California from taking more water out of the ground than they can put back in on an annual basis. … ”  Read more from KGET here: Groundwater trading program, first of its kind for Central Valley, is being designed

Radio show: Isabella Dam Escapes Damage From Ridgecrest Quakes, Seismic Upgrades Still On Track:  “One of the biggest fears during any earthquake is that the movement could damage major infrastructure. The recent Ridgecrest earthquakes jolted less than 50 miles away from Lake Isabella, where the Isabella Dam is in the midst of a $600 million improvement project by the US Army Corps of Engineers. How did the dam fare during the earthquakes, and how much longer until the upgrades will be complete? We sat down for an update with Army Corps project manager Anthony Burdock.” Listen to the radio show from Valley Public Radio here: Radio show: Isabella Dam Escapes Damage From Ridgecrest Quakes, Seismic Upgrades Still On Track

Town of Apple Valley plans to get bigger if victorious in water suit:  “The town plans to add 40 to 45 members to its staff, but only if a judge decides in the coming months it has the right to acquire its largest water provider and end a three-year legal battle.  If Apple Valley prevails in its eminent domain action against Liberty Utilities, a town official said the acquisition would also result in lower water bills for customers.  However, a jury would still need to decide how much Liberty’s water system costs if San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez decides in the town’s favor. … ”  Read more from the Victorville Daily Press here: Town of Apple Valley plans to get bigger if victorious in water suit

And lastly …

Photos: What the Seas Will Swallow: Alex MacLean’s aerial images of the US East Coast convey just how much infrastructure perches in the coastal danger zone: ” …  In North America, the Atlantic coast is at greatest risk from higher seas. A substantial fraction of the shoreline slopes gently to the ocean with relatively few protective bluffs. And the region has hundreds of kilometers of low-lying sandbar-like barrier islands, some densely developed. Both the US East and Gulf Coasts endure storm surges from perennial hurricanes.  During his flights between Maine and Florida, MacLean noticed something he hadn’t given much thought to before: thousands of industrial sites and vast amounts of critical infrastructure perched perilously close to the water’s edge, not far above the current high water level. … ”  Read more and view photos from Hakai Magazine here: What the Seas Will Swallow

Sunday video …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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