DAILY DIGEST: Trump overhauls enforcement of Endangered Species Act; CA to regulate PFAS; NorCal braces for more power shut-offs; Burn. Build. Repeat: Why our wildfire policy is so deadly; USFWS moves towards including qualitative criteria in all species recovery plans; Salmon cannons, Floating robots, and more …

In California water news today, Trump Overhauls Enforcement of Endangered Species Act; California Will Check on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water. What You Need to Know; ‘Absolutely catastrophic’: Northern California braces for more PG&E shut-offs; Feds Extend Review For Controversial Forest Plan; Burn. Build. Repeat: Why our wildfire policy is so deadly; USFWS Moves Towards Including Qualitative Criteria in All Species Recovery Plans; The Salmon Cannon Is Taking Everyone for a Joy Ride in a Very Efficient Fish Tube; Floating Robot Could Clean Plastic Out Of The Ocean; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Riverine Stewardship Program Public Workshop – Fresno from 1 to 4pm.  DWR will host an Applicant Assistance Workshop for the Riverine Stewardship Program to provide information on how to apply for a grant.  For more information, click here.

In the news today …

Trump Overhauls Enforcement of Endangered Species Act:  “The Trump administration is completing major changes Monday to the way it enforces the landmark Endangered Species Act, in a move that it says will reduce regulatory burdens but critics say will drive more creatures to extinction.  The administration was making public a final version of a rule overhauling the way the federal government handles protections for plants and animals at risk of extinction. Information about the rule was obtained by The Associated Press beforehand. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Trump Overhauls Enforcement of Endangered Species Act

California Will Check on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water. What You Need to Know:  “Over 75 years, a billion-dollar industry has grown up around a group of toxic chemicals that helps keep carpets clean, makes water roll off of camping equipment, and stops your food from sticking to frying pans. There are nearly 5,000 of these chemicals in a class called PFAS, for perfluoralkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.  We’re just beginning to understand the risk they pose. What chemists know is that the tough carbon-fluorine bonds in these “forever chemicals” make them break down very slowly in the environment — posing a persistent risk to water supplies. … ”  Read more from KQED here: California Will Check on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water. What You Need to Know

‘Absolutely catastrophic’: Northern California braces for more PG&E shut-offs:  “Northern California communities hit by some of the worst wildfires the state has ever seen are now preparing for another kind of disaster: prolonged power shut-offs caused intentionally by Pacific Gas and Electric Co.  PG&E has used its aggressive new strategy to prevent its equipment from starting another fire only on one weekend so far this year. But the utility is poised to turn off the lights much more often in the coming months as hot, dry and windy weather persists during the most dangerous part of wildfire season. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: ‘Absolutely catastrophic’: Northern California braces for more PG&E shut-offs

Burn. Build. Repeat: Why our wildfire policy is so deadly:  “Standing on Shingletown Ridge and gazing west toward the setting sun, Bruce Miller eyes a rainbow of colors. He sees pink: the dusky sky blanketing a postcard-perfect valley 3,000 feet below. He sees gray: distant snow-capped mountains. He sees brown: century-old pine and oak trunks towering more than 100 feet above him. And he sees green: the profit he hopes to make by turning this 274-acre patch of forest into a subdivision for buyers looking for jaw-dropping views.  “This would be your high-dollar lot here,” the hearty 68-year-old tells me, halting our hike through a tangle of manzanita and poison oak to unfurl a map and point out the boundaries of a future home site. A sheer drop at the property’s rear reveals a stunning panorama. It also invites flames. “Fire,” Miller says, “burns uphill.” ... ”  Read more from Grist here: Burn. Build. Repeat: Why our wildfire policy is so deadly

Feds Extend Review For Controversial Forest Plan:  “The U.S. Forest Service has extended public comment period on a controversial plan to relax environmental permitting for new logging and forest management projects across millions of acres of federal forest lands.  The proposal would upend long-held environmental practices that have been in place since 1970, and make it easier for timber harvesting and bulldozing forest roads in all 20 of California’s federal forests, including national forests in Mendocino, Tahoe, Los Padres, and Lassen. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Feds Extend Review For Controversial Forest Plan

EPA Plans to Rewrite Clean Water Act Rules to Fast-Track Pipelines:  “The Trump administration is proposing changes to federal regulations that could fast-track the approval of natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure. Environmental advocates say the move will weaken the ability of states and tribes to protect their waters.  The proposed changes to Clean Water Act permitting rules, announced Friday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would limit the amount of time states and tribes can take to review new project proposals to a “reasonable period” of no more than one year, with the definition of “reasonable period” left to federal agencies to determine and the clock starting from the initial request for a permit, with no pauses or restarts. … ”  Read more from Inside Climate News here: EPA Plans to Rewrite Clean Water Act Rules to Fast-Track Pipelines

USFWS Moves Towards Including Qualitative Criteria in All Species Recovery Plans:  “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is systematically revising species recovery plans issued under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On August 6, 2019, USFWS published three notices of availability announcing public comment periods on its draft revisions to 70 recovery plans covering 121 species across the United States. … ”  Read more from Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law and Policy here: USFWS Moves Towards Including Qualitative Criteria in All Species Recovery Plans

The Salmon Cannon Is Taking Everyone for a Joy Ride in a Very Efficient Fish Tube:  “The recent re-discovery online of an old video of a salmon cannon transporting migratory salmon between bodies of water is Internet gold and people want in.  “This salmon cannon transports the fish between bodies of water,” Cheddar tweeted last week.  The pressurized “fish tube” as it called is the environmentally-friendly brainchild of a company appropriately called Whooshh Innovations. ... ”  Read more from Time Magazine here: The Salmon Cannon Is Taking Everyone for a Joy Ride in a Very Efficient Fish Tube

Floating Robot Could Clean Plastic Out Of The Ocean:  “By the year 2050, our oceans are projected to have more plastic fragments in them than fish. That statistic comes from the San Diego non-profit “Clear Blue Sea.” The group has partnered with young engineers to do something about it.  In the waters off Mission Point Park, there was an odd sight on Friday morning: A floating contraption called FRED, which stands for Floating Robot for Eliminating Debris.  A lot of hard work by a committed group of students, interns and volunteers went into making FRED, with the goal of cleaning up the huge garbage patch called the Pacific Gyre. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: Floating Robot Could Clean Plastic Out Of The Ocean

In commentary today …

SB 1: Bad legislation is bad legislation, says Bill McEwen:  He writes, “It doesn’t matter how many times you try to dress it up. Or bring it back with a new number.  SB 1 is not only redundant, anti-science, and a barrier to environmental progress, it would put a brake on California’s economy, too.  We’re talking about Senate Bill 1, which is officially titled the California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019.  Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) says the bill is an “insurance policy against the exploitation of our natural resources and our people.” … ”  Read more from Cal Ag Today here:  SB 1: Bad legislation is bad legislation

It’s Long Past Time to End the Delta Smelt Demagoguery, says Kevin Drum:  He writes, “Over at National Review, Jack Fowler takes on a bill pending in the California legislature to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … This is so tiresome. Why not just tell the truth and argue your point honestly? Here is the latest inventory of the “infamous” delta smelt … The delta smelt is practically extinct in the wild already. So could the delta be repopulated by taking up the farmers’ offer to “hatch and repopulate the fish,” as Fowler says? That certainly sounds like common sense! … ”  Read more from Mother Jones here: It’s Long Past Time to End the Delta Smelt Demagoguery

California and the Bay Area Have More Environmental Work to Do, says Nancy Skinner:  She writes, “Here in the Bay Area, we pride ourselves on being environmental trailblazers. Our achievements include pioneering curbside recycling, prohibiting the use of ozone-depleting Styrofoam, and leading the effort to ban plastic bags, straws, and utensils.  California, likewise, has long been a global leader on environmental and climate change issues. But there is still much work to do, particularly when it comes to reducing air pollution, meeting our renewable energy goals, and slashing the amount of plastic trash that litters our beaches, parks, and waterways. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: California and the Bay Area Have More Environmental Work to Do

In regional news and commentary today …

Yurok Tribe welcomes Rios to Rivers back to Requa:  “As the group of young adults with the nonprofit international exchange Rios to Rivers rounded the bend in the Klamath River and came within earshot of the Requa Boat Ramp, some 50 Yurok tribal members rose to their feet in welcome.  “We are here today to stand with our people who are coming down the river, and the advocacy and hard work they have done,” Yurok Chairman Joe James told those gathered.  “Not just for the Klamath River, but for what they do in their homeland and internationally.” ... ”  Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here: Yurok Tribe welcomes Rios to Rivers back to Requa

Popular Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp reopens after 30 months:  “Steven and Cindy Bolt couldn’t have been happier.  For the first time since February of 2017 and the Oroville Dam spillway crisis they could launch their houseboat from the spillway’s boat ramp.  “It’s been our favorite place to come,” said Cindy. “And it’s been a long time.” … ” Read more from KRCR here: Popular Oroville Dam Spillway Boat Ramp reopens after 30 months

Supervisors to consider committee to support Middle Creek Restoration Project:  “The Board of Supervisors’ agenda this week include several key water-related matters, from groundwater to lake health and the Potter Valley Project.  The board will meet beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, in the board chambers on the first floor of the Lake County Courthouse, 255 N. Forbes St., Lakeport.  The meeting can be watched live on Channel 8 and online. Accompanying board documents, the agenda and archived board meeting videos also are available at that link. … ”  Read more from Lake County News here:  Supervisors to consider committee to support Middle Creek Restoration Project

Tomales Bay cleanup permit approved by state regulators:  “The California Coastal Commission approved an after-the-fact cleanup job for the Charles Friend Oyster Co. after cultivation equipment that damaged eelgrass habitat was removed from Tomales Bay.  Charles Friend Oyster Co. is the parent company of the Tomales Bay Oyster Co. and maintains approximately 62 acres of state tidelands along the West Marin shore under a coastal development permit. The commission approved the cleanup permit on Thursday with no discussion. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Tomales Bay cleanup permit approved by state regulators

Monterey Bay: Following the DNA trail in the Pacific Ocean:  “Hilary Starks couldn’t wait to get her first three samples of the day. She was standing expectantly on the deck of the 117-foot research vessel Western Flyer in 2015, searching the waters of Monterey Bay below. The winch on deck started moving as pulleys and wires slowly lifted what she was waiting for: a 5-foot submersible carrying large plastic bottles full of seawater.  Starks, then a lab technician at Stanford University, knew that there were myriad bits of genetic information floating in the 1-liter bottles, hidden to human eyes. And modern DNA-deciphering machines would later reveal secrets about the ecosystem the Western Flyer was sailing over. ... ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey Bay: Following the DNA trail in the Pacific Ocean

Orange County: Brea’s Private Water Woes:  “Brea’s elected City Treasurer Rick Rios has been spending a lot of time in recent months at a tiny, nondescript historical building on the eastern edge of Whittier Boulevard that houses one of the region’s oldest water companies, California Domestic Water.  Rios is asking a lot of questions about how the city buys it’s water – up to $40 million in purchases over the past two decades, according to a 2016 Orange County Register probe by my former colleague Teri Sforza – ringing alarm bells about the secrecy of water dealings and implications for local taxpayers across North Orange County. ... ”  Read more from Voice of OC here: Orange County: Brea’s Private Water Woes

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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 …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for August 12

NEWS WORTH NOTING: DWR’s climate change science leadership highlighted in fourth assessment brochure; Legal action opposes federal approval of Southern California dam

PUBLIC HEARING on CV-SALTS Amendment scheduled for September 17

FUNDING/COMMENT OPPORTUNITY: Water Recycling Funding Program (WRFP) Guidelines

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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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