DAILY DIGEST: The power of modeling: Preparing for the future with data from the past; Are we doomed by climate change?; Technology offers options to farmers; Removing Klamath dams estimated to cost more than $400 mil; Delta festival: Burning Man on boats?; and more …

In California water news today, The Power of Modeling: Preparing for the Future with Data from the Past; Are We Doomed by Climate Change?; Technology offers options to farmers; Hope Springs Eternal: The New Wave Of Startups Fighting Drought; ‘Snow droughts’ are coming for the American West; Here are some of the USA’s most endangered species; Environmentalists express worry over BLM reorganization; bureau downplays concerns; Removing Klamath dams estimated to cost more than $400 mil; Toxic groundwater lies beneath Phoenix, and a cleanup has been delayed for years; Ephemerisle Festival in the Delta:  Burning Man on boats?; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Infrastructure Funding Fair at the Coachella Valley Water District from 8am to 12pm.  Registration is free and walk-ins are always welcome.
  • Water Resilience Portfolio Listening Session at the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board meeting which starts at 9am.  Click here for agenda and meeting location.  (Note: this event is listed as a listening session on the Governor’s website but I don’t see it listed on the agenda.)
  • Maurice Hall on holistic groundwater management at the GRA Inland Empire branch meeting in Riverside from 6pm to 8pm.  For more information and to register, click here.  You do not have to be a member to attend.
  • Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Review Workshop in El Nido from 6pm to 8pm.  Hosted by Self-Help Enterprises.  Visit the event page at Self Help Enterprises.

In the news today …

The Power of Modeling: Preparing for the Future with Data from the Past:  “Computer models are in use every day, all around us. Car makers use them to test the safety of vehicles, meteorologists use them to predict the weather, and marketing professionals use them to analyze connections between people and products.  Rooted in math and science and computer programming, models are also an important tool in water management, allowing the Department of Water Resources (DWR) staff to make informed decisions about water operations for people, farms, and the environment. … ”  Read more from DWR News here:  The Power of Modeling: Preparing for the Future with Data from the Past

Are We Doomed by Climate Change? Mediterranean climates, like California’s, typically follow boom and bust cycles, marked by a predictable shift between cold and wet and hot and dry. But the changing climate will amplify that pattern with weather that is, at times, wetter and at other times hotter.  California’s recent drought was the state’s worst in centuries, scientists have said. It began in December 2011, and lasted more than five years, killed or mortally injured more than 100 million trees, exacerbated the state’s groundwater deficit and pushed fish species toward extinction. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here: Are We Doomed by Climate Change?

Technology offers options to farmers:  “Amid employee shortages, groundwater issues and other challenges, farmers in Monterey County and elsewhere are looking to the tech sector to help them bring their crops to market.  Parker Jones is one of those seeking to help farmers do more with less. Two months ago, he launched a custom-farming operation, Hermanos Automated Services, renting out a weeding machine that largely replaces hand labor in lettuce fields. It’s made by British-based Garford Farm Machinery.  “It’s all about the software,” Jones said. “The plant spacing is different from plant to plant or line to line. We just enter the measurements in the computer, click ‘Go’ and run the machine. Really, it’s not much to it besides that.” … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Technology offers options to farmers

Hope Springs Eternal: The New Wave Of Startups Fighting Drought:  ” … Defining drought is complicated, but it is mainly based on the impact to water users. Both surface water and groundwater were depleted during California’s crisis, which forced many communities to choose between drinking water and agricultural irrigation. In poorer areas, people saw their wells run dry or become contaminated by fertilizers and pesticides. Around 10% of all drinking-water wells in California are contaminated with nitrate that exceeds safe standards, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  This is why many water-focused businesses focus on providing clean drinking water. ... ”  Read more from Forbes here: Hope Springs Eternal: The New Wave Of Startups Fighting Drought

‘Snow droughts’ are coming for the American West:  “On April 1 each year, researchers ski and snowshoe out into the high mountains of the western Unite States to jab stakes into the bright, crystalline snow, checking the thickness of the blanket. But in 2012, many researchers could barely travel on snow to their test sites—and when they got there, there was almost no snow to measure.  2013 was almost as bad. 2014, the same. And in 2015, on the April 1 assessment, many sites across the Sierra Nevada mountains were bald and snowless—the worst snow drought, scientists found, in at least the last 500 years. … ”  Read more from National Geographic here: ‘Snow droughts’ are coming for the American West

Radio show: Changes to Endangered Species Act Weaken Wildlife Protections:  “The Trump administration is moving forward with changes to the Endangered Species Act that will weaken protections for “threatened” species and make room for greater corporate input. Credited with saving the bald eagle and grizzly bear, the 1973 Endangered Species Act currently protects more than 1,600 species in the United States and its territories. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, amongst other state attorneys general, have already promised to fight back against these rollbacks. Forum takes a closer look at what these changes mean for the future of wildlife in California and the greater United States.” Listen to radio show from KQED here:  Changes to Endangered Species Act Weaken Wildlife Protections

Here are some of the USA’s most endangered species:  “The Trump administration announced a major overhaul Monday to the Endangered Species Act that it said would reduce regulations. Environmentalists said the changes would push more animals and plants to extinction because of threats from climate change and human activities.  The changes end blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and allow federal authorities for the first time to take into account the economic cost of protecting a particular species.  With the Endangered Species Act in the news, here are a few of the USA’s most endangered or threatened species … ”  Read more from the USA Today here: Here are some of the USA’s most endangered species

Environmentalists express worry over BLM reorganization; bureau downplays concerns:  “Reorganizing the Bureau of Land Management and moving a sizable contingent of employees from the nation’s capital to the Western United States, federal officials say, will save the government money and connect the bureau’s workers more with the land they oversee.  But environmentalists are decrying the move as a step toward toning down the agency and the precursor to a sell-off of public lands in the American West.  Under the reorganization, announced earlier this summer, 61 of the bureau’s positions would remain in the Washington, D.C., area to manage core tasks such as information requests, legislative affairs and budgetary matters, said Joe Balash, assistant secretary for land and minerals management. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Sun here: Environmentalists express worry over BLM reorganization; bureau downplays concerns

At The Table Or On The Menu? Critics Of BLM Move To Colorado Say It’s Designed To Weaken The Agency:  “Critics of the Trump administration’s decision to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Grand Junction fear the real goal is to weaken the bureau.  These concerns and suspicions have only been heightened by recent statements and actions from administration leaders. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appointed William Perry Pendley as acting BLM director. For years, Pendley advocated selling off the public lands of the agency he’s now leading.  … ”  Read more from Colorado Public Radio here: At The Table Or On The Menu? Critics Of BLM Move To Colorado Say It’s Designed To Weaken The Agency

In commentary today …

SB1 … Fix it or nix it, says the California Water Alliance:  They write, “Water is life in California. Earlier this year, Sacramento politicians introduced Senate Bill 1 (SB1) which seeks to inject politics into California’s environmental regulations. SB1 will restrict water deliveries to the Central Valley and make California even more unaffordable.SB1 puts our communities in danger.  The California Water Alliance is a non-profit and non partisan organization with a mission to increase the water supply for municipal, agricultural and environmental needs. We have been working with a digital public affairs company to raise awareness about this dangerous piece of legislation. … ”  Read more from Cal Ag Today here: SB1 … Fix it or nix it

In regional news and commentary today …

Removing Klamath dams estimated to cost more than $400 mil:  “Removing four hydroelectric dams along the lower Klamath River in Southern Oregon and Northern California is expected to cost just under $434 million and could happen by 2022, according to a new filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  The Capital Press reports the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corp. submitted plans with FERC in 2018 to decommission and demolish J.C. Boyle, Copco Nos. 1 and 2 and Iron Gate dams, which block about 400 miles of upstream habitat for migratory salmon and steelhead. … ”  Read more from the Associated Press here: Removing Klamath dams estimated to cost more than $400 mil

Klamath: All aboard for sucker recovery:  “Removing four hydroelectric dams along the lower Klamath River in Southern Oregon and Northern California is expected to cost just under $434 million and could happen by 2022, according to a new filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  The nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corp. submitted plans with FERC in 2018 to decommission and demolish J.C. Boyle, Copco Nos. 1 and 2 and Iron Gate dams, which block about 400 miles of upstream habitat for migratory salmon and steelhead. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: All aboard for sucker recovery

Butte County considering project to send treated water from Paradise to Chico:  “Butte County, California Water Service and Paradise Irrigation District are kicking off the lengthy process on a project to pipe water from Paradise to Chico.  The project would seek to restore some viability to PID, which lost most of its customers after the Camp Fire. It would also reduce demands on the groundwater basin currently used for water in Chico to boost long-term sustainability. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here: Butte County considering project to send treated water from Paradise to Chico

Sutter County: Brazen Thieves Use Bolt Cutters To Vandalize Levee Gate, Possibly Putting Community At Risk:  “Officials in Sutter County are looking to two brazen thieves who used bolt cutters to vandalize a levee gate, and allegedly stole a John Deere Gator from an 81-year-old farmer.  The crime has neighbors upset especially in a flood-prone region. Officials say the damage here will put the entire community at risk over time.  The levee is an important safety measure and not the place for recreational vehicles. Officials want to drive that message home by catching the culprits and discouraging others from following in their tracks. … ”  Read more from Channel 13 here: Brazen Thieves Use Bolt Cutters To Vandalize Levee Gate, Possibly Putting Community At Risk

New channels planned for the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe:  “The California Tahoe Conservancy had originally planned to get work started on their $9 million, multi-stage Upper Truckee River project to restore and enhance over 500 acres of floodplain this fall, but that has been postponed until 2020.  They will be redirecting the Upper Truckee River flows to a historical network of channels through the current Marsh while creating new channels for the river in the vicinity of the Silverwood neighborhood. These new channels will capture flow during periods of high water to spread the river throughout the Marsh. The main channel will continue to carry all of the flow during low-water periods. ... ”  Read more from South Tahoe Now here: New channels planned for the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe

Tulare Irrigation District applies for groundwater grant:  “The Tulare Irrigation District is seeking a grant to develop a groundwater exchange market with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.  The grant would determine the viability of a water market for the Kaweah subbasin, which would involve the groundwater sustainability agencies managing the subbasin: Mid-Kaweah, Greater Kaweah and East Kaweah.  Paul Hendrix, the general manager for the Mid-Kaweah groundwater sustainability agency (GSA), said all three GSAs would be involved in developing a water market for the Kaweah subbasin and deciding how the market is shaped. ... ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here: Tulare Irrigation District applies for groundwater grant

Bakersfield: Cal Water working on new regulation to keep water flowing when power goes off:  “Water. It’s a vital part of life. And it’s the California Water Service ‘ s, or Cal Water, job to make sure most of Bakersfield and parts of Kern County have clean safe water.  Kevin McCusker is a community affairs spokesman for Cal Water. He said, “From the meter box at the point of connection at their residence then it goes into their house where it’s used for any number of things. From indoor use, so they might use it for drinking and bathing and for outdoor use irrigation.” … ”  Read more from Channel 23 here: Cal Water working on new regulation to keep water flowing when power goes off

Commentary: Bringing clean water home to Kern County:  Beth Pandol writes, “The State Water Project, commonly known as the SWP, is a lifeline for Kern County and California that each day delivers water to a large portion of Bakersfield’s homes and Kern County farms and business. The SWP helped make Kern County the number one agricultural county in the nation and ensures Bakersfield always has a clean, high quality supply of drinking water while protecting our region against drought. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Bringing clean water home to Kern County

Antelope Valley: Water District assessments will be lower:  “Continuing a trend spanning the past five years, assessments on properties in the Palmdale Water District will be slightly lower this year.  The District Board of Directors on Monday, approved assessing just under 22 cents per $100 of property value, about a half-cent lower than last year.  The assessments are levied each year to pay for the District’s portion of the fixed costs of the State Water Project, which carries water from Northern to Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Antelope Valley: Water District assessments will be lower

Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett sues city of Ventura for Thomas Fire records:  “An elected official is suing the city of Ventura over its refusal to release records related to how personnel responded and how critical equipment and infrastructure held up during the Thomas Fire.  Steve Bennett filed the lawsuit in Ventura County Superior Court on Aug. 2. Bennett is a county supervisor whose district includes Ventura, but he filed the suit as a city resident.  He has been frustrated with the lack of information released by the city about the fire, especially why water became unavailable and how resources were deployed. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett sues city of Ventura for Thomas Fire records

Along the Colorado River …

Toxic groundwater lies beneath Phoenix, and a cleanup has been delayed for years:  “The water beneath a large swath of Phoenix isn’t fit to drink.  A plume of toxic chemicals has tainted the groundwater for decades, and it’s now at the center of a bitter fight over how the aquifer should be cleaned up and what should happen to the water in the future.  At issue are questions about why the cleanup has proceeded slowly, which government agency should lead the effort, and whether the polluted water, which isn’t flowing to household faucets, is releasing chemicals into the air at levels that may pose health risks for people in the area. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: Toxic groundwater lies beneath Phoenix, and a cleanup has been delayed for years

And lastly …

Ephemerisle Festival in the Delta:  Burning Man on boats?  “I’d just finished chopping up a watermelon with a dull hatchet on the wing of a floating platform called Siren Island when a party boat named The Entanglement motored over to offload a group of half-naked passengers.  Guests of Siren Island, a two-tiered wooden isle affixed with four spindly maple tree branches, were relaxing in the late-afternoon sun on the calm waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. They took turns plunging their hands into a steel basin of black lagoon mud then spreading it on one another’s skin — limbs, torsos and faces. The dozen or so passengers aboard The Entanglement had spotted the action from across the channel and were eager to indulge themselves. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Burning Man on boats?

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

LOCALIZING CALIFORNIA WATERS: Erik Ekdahl on Water Management in the Uncertain Future

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Governor Newsom appoints two new members to the California Water Commission

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Pacific Flyway Conservation Proposal Solicitation Notice

NOTICE: Adjudicated Water Right Petition for Change in Siskiyou County

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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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