DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Surviving the next drought: It’s political in the Central Valley; The end of Cabernet in Napa Valley?; Crash of the kelp forests; Underwater sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart in Santa Barbara channel; Colorado River cuts negligible for AZ, NV; and more …

High Bluff Beach near Klamath; Photo by Diana Robinson

In California water news this weekend, Surviving the Next Drought: It’s Political in the Central Valley; The end of Cabernet in Napa Valley?; The crash of the kelp forests; New maps show how little is left of West Coast estuaries; Deadline passes, Trump’s BLM advances relocation plans; In the Santa Barbara Channel, an underwater sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart; Arizona, Nevada cuts to Colorado River water negligible; 18 Maps From When the World Thought California Was an Island; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Surviving the Next Drought: It’s Political in California’s Central Valley:  “Growers in California’s Central Valley, famous for transforming patches of desert into the world’s most productive farmland, suffered more than any other during a recent stretch scientists mark as the Golden State’s driest since record-keeping began in 1895. The meager rain and snowfall between 2011 and 2015 forced some smaller farmers to give land back to nature or sell their remaining water supplies to bigger, wealthier farmers and developers.  Before the skies finally opened up in late 2016, the saving grace for many Central Valley farmers was groundwater. Farmers that could afford it drilled hundreds of feet below the valley floor, siphoned up water and rescued lucrative crops like almonds, pistachios and grapes. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here: Surviving the Next Drought: It’s Political in California’s Central Valley

The end of Cabernet in Napa Valley?  “Cabernet Sauvignon grapes make America’s favorite wine, and they are the lifeblood of Napa Valley, our country’s most famous wine region. Cabernet accounts for 65% of the grapevines grown in Napa, where last year the crop reached a record $1 billion in gross value.  But Cabernet, like all of California agriculture, is under threat. As Napa’s wine industry continues to confront rising temperatures, increasingly frequent wildfires, intermittent drought and erratic weather, a small but growing contingent of vintners is becoming more vocal about the need to address climate change head-on. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  The end of Cabernet in Napa Valley?

The crash of the kelp forests: A devastating cascade of catastrophes turns vibrant kelp beds into underwater deserts:  While there are flashier species out there, the plight of kelp, the giant tree-like algae that have been a dominant feature of the California coastline, is the one that demonstrates the local oceans dire situation.  Once, the great kelp forests flourished, providing habitat and food sources for myriad native aquatic species, but altered ocean conditions driven by climate change — and one badly timed sea star plague — have left barren oceanic deserts in place of once lush underwater jungles.  “Kelp is really the foundation of an ecosystem, so the whole ecosystem is really upended. When you take that out it can cause traumatic changes,” said Andre Boustany, principal fisheries investigator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here: The crash of the kelp forests

New maps show how little is left of West Coast estuaries:  “The most detailed study ever done of coastal estuaries concludes that nearly 750,000 acres of historic tidal wetlands along the West Coast, including enormous swaths of Bay Area habitat, have disappeared largely as a result of development.  The cutting-edge survey led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that 85% of vegetated tidal lands that once existed in California, Oregon and Washington has been diked, drained or cut off from the sea. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  New maps show how little is left of West Coast estuaries

New Technologies Reducing Uncertainty in Estimation of River Flow:  “Some of the most interesting data in the world of river and stream monitoring come at times when it’s practically impossible to capture—during extreme weather events, for example. Timing alone makes capturing unusual events a challenge, and these kinds of issues have prompted researchers to use classic monitoring data along with new technologies to develop and improve hydraulic modeling for estimating river flows.  Steven Lyon, a Conservation Scientist with The Nature Conservancy, Professor at Stockholm University and Associate Professor at The Ohio State University, spoke with EM about the research. … ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here: New Technologies Reducing Uncertainty in Estimation of River Flow

Indigenous knowledge offers new approach to help forests adapt to new conditions:  “When Jaime Yazzie began planning her research for her forestry thesis, her adviser asked her what species of trees she wanted to save. They would use a computer simulation to measure the effects of a warming, drying environment, and she needed to select which trees to preserve.  “I was a little shocked,” Yazzie said. “In my mind, they’re one big family. To lose one would be like losing a sibling.” … ”  Read more from Phys Org here:  Indigenous knowledge offers new approach to help forests adapt to new conditions

Deadline passes, Trump’s BLM advances relocation plans:  “A top Interior Department official said the agency will now begin executing a plan to transfer the Bureau of Land Management’s Washington, D.C.-based headquarters to Colorado after the conclusion of a congressional review period passed without objections from lawmakers.  Cole Rojewski, director of Interior’s Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, said yesterday during an event sponsored by the Western Caucus Foundation, an arm of the GOP-led Congressional Western Caucus, that the absence of an objection from House and Senate appropriators is the same as if Congress “blessed” the move to Grand Junction, Colo. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Deadline passes, Trump’s BLM advances relocation plans

Sunday podcasts …

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and a deep dive into the San Francisco estuary:  “Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, the editor in chief of and long-time Bay Area science writer, talks about the resiliency of the largest estuary on the West Coast, the challenges facing the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, and the potential impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the San Francisco Bay.”  From the California Sun.


The Radiant Biologist:  Why the future is bright for ducks along the Pacific Flyway.  From the Northern California Water Association.


Nature: the next big thing in climate adaptation technology?  “A unique levee in the Bay Area combines flood protection with wastewater treatment and wetlands restoration.”  From Marketplace Tech. 


A Tribe Without Salmon – For Now:   The Winnemem Wintu People prayed in the 1800s that the Salmon would wait for their tribal people by the ice field.  It’s puzzling that the tribe would have prayed such a prayer at that time. You see, there was plenty of Salmon in the McCloud area water system in the 1800s. Salmon runs have become much less prolific in recent decades for a variety of reason, including the construction of  Shasta Dam. Surprisingly, the Maori Tribal People of New Zealand contacted Chief Caleen Sisk several years ago and told her that they had their Salmon. Water is center stage, once again, in this story about the disappearance and reappearance of Salmon. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  From Steve Baker, Operation Unite®; stevebaker@operationunite.co

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Karuk Tribe Releases Climate Adaptation Plan Calling for More Prescribed Fires:  “Today the Karuk Tribe released a Climate Adaptation Plan which acknowledges that “the effects of climate change including changes in precipitation patterns, decreased snowpack increasing droughts, increasing frequency and severity of wildfires, and disease and pest outbreaks are immediate and occurring now.”  “Climate Change is real and it’s happening now,” stated Bill Tripp, Deputy Director of Karuk Natural Resources Department. “Our plan relies on the best available science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to protect local communities and our culture.” ... ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here:  Karuk Tribe Releases Climate Adaptation Plan Calling for More Prescribed Fires

Bear River invited back into Potter Valley discussions:  “The Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria is being included in discussions surrounding the future of the Potter Valley Project after its chair was asked to leave the most recent committee meeting in June.  Ted Hernandez, chair of the Wiyot Tribe, and Michelle Vassel, tribal administrator of the Wiyot Tribe, told radio station KMUD that the leadership of the Wiyot Tribe and Round Valley Indian Reservation walked out of the meeting in solidarity with Edwin Smith, chair of the Bear River Rancheria, when he was asked to leave by Congressman Jared Huffman’s staff. Since then, the three tribes had a phone conference with Huffman, after which it was agreed Bear River would share a seat at the table with the Wiyot Tribe. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Bear River invited back into Potter Valley discussions

Marysville: How to fix Ellis Lake?  City considering options for water quality:  “Marysville has a unique asset with Ellis Lake, which is located in the heart of the city. But the man-made pond has been less of an attraction and more of a pain in recent years, given its water quality issues — namely with the presence of algae blooms.  Local residents Charlie Mathews and Dale Whitmore – a Yuba Water Agency director and former Marysville councilman, respectively – went before City Council members on Tuesday and proposed a plan to divert water from the Yuba River into Ellis Lake. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Marysville: How to fix Ellis Lake?  City considering options for water quality

SMUD set to buy PG&E’s only hydroelectric powerhouse on the American River for $10.4 million:  “The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is moving forward with plans to buy a hydroelectric powerhouse and reservoir from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for $10.4 million.  In a joint statement, the local utility providers announced that the Chili Bar Hydroelectric Project — a dam, reservoir, spillway and powerhouse that generates electricity north of Placerville on the South Fork of the American River — would be changing hands after SMUD’s board of directors voted Thursday evening to greenlight the purchase. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: SMUD set to buy PG&E’s only hydroelectric powerhouse on the American River for $10.4 million

Monterey: Plan for public buyout of local Cal Am water system set for MPWMD board review:  “A written plan for acquisition and ownership of California American Water’s local water system, and perhaps other privately owned local systems, is headed to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board for review.  Released on Friday, the 15-page plan authored by water district general manager Dave Stoldt outlines a recommended approach to meet the district’s formal policy of pursuing public control of all “water production, storage and delivery assets and infrastructure,” as established by voter-approved Measure J. The plan was written to comply with the district’s public ownership rule requiring a written plan within nine months of the rule’s effective date in December last year, and the presentation to the board is considered informational with no action recommended. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Plan for public buyout of local Cal Am water system set for MPWMD board review

In the Santa Barbara Channel, an underwater sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart:  “The taut rope that was lowering an underwater listening station to the ocean’s floor collapsed on the tug boat’s deck with a slap, signaling to the crew on board that their mission was complete.  They had successfully deployed a sound system in the Santa Barbara Channel.  The device could capture whale calls as far as 30 miles away. Cables connected the listening station — about 600 feet below sea level — to a buoy floating on the surface, which would transmit audio frequencies by satellite to scientists on shore.  The effort in early August was the latest attempt to prevent ships from running into whales in the channel, where large commercial boats coming in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach cross paths with the feeding grounds of endangered blue, fin and humpback whales. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: In the Santa Barbara Channel, an underwater sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart

Los Angeles, State Officials Discuss Increasing Local Water Supplies:  “Los Angeles city and county representatives Friday hosted a discussion with state officials to address ways to increase local water supplies and to support a proposed statewide water system.  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was joined by the California Secretary of Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot, and Secretary of Environmental Protection, Jared Blumenfeld, to discuss the city’s maintenance of its water sources. … ”  Read more from My News LA here: Los Angeles, State Officials Discuss Increasing Local Water Supplies

San Bernardino: Valley District provides seed money for new sources of water: In a region that has already seen two 20-year droughts, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District continues to invest in water supplies to help the region sustain prolonged droughts. A new program offered by Valley District provides financial incentive to local water agencies for projects that produce recycled water or capture storm water.  … ”  Read more from Redlands Community News here: Valley District provides seed money for new sources of water

Chino: Aerojet water samples show no health risk:  “Surface and groundwater samplings taken on the former Aerojet munitions plant in Chino Hills required by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control showed no health risks, according to test results presented by Aerojet.  Aerojet manufactured and tested explosives and chemical warfare agents from 1954 to 1995 at the end of Woodview Road, south of Peyton Drive, under government contracts. ... ”  Read more from the Chino Champion here: Chino: Aerojet water samples show no health risk

Then and Now: Photos of Irvine Lake show dramatic recovery from drought times:  “Irvine Lake looks a lot different today than it did a year ago.  Last September the reservoir looked like a giant puddle at 13 percent of capacity, today, after a rainy winter, the water covers the area and is ready to greet the public on Saturday, Aug. 17.  After a 3-year hiatus, Irvine Lake is reopening for shoreline fishing on Aug. 17. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Then and Now: Photos of Irvine Lake show dramatic recovery from drought times

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona, Nevada cuts to Colorado River water negligible:  “Arizona and Nevada will face their first-ever cuts in Colorado River water next year, but the changes aren’t expected to be overly burdensome for either state.  The water is delivered through Lake Mead, one of the largest manmade reservoirs in the country that straddles the Arizona-Nevada border.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Thursday that Lake Mead barely will fall below 1,090 feet (332 meters) on Jan. 1, triggering cuts for the junior users in the river’s lower basin, at 1,089.4 (332 meters) above sea level. … ”  Read more from the Associated Press here:  Arizona, Nevada cuts to Colorado River water negligible

And lastly …

18 Maps From When the World Thought California Was an Island:  “Glen McLaughlin wandered into a London map shop in 1971 and discovered something strange. On a map from 1663 he noticed something he’d never seen before: California was floating like a big green carrot, untethered to the west coast of North America.  He bought the map and hung it in his entryway, where it quickly became a conversation piece. It soon grew into an obsession. McLaughlin began to collect other maps showing California as an island.  “At first we stored them under the bed, but then we were concerned that the cat would pee on them,” he said. … ”  Continue reading at WIRED Magazine here: 18 Maps From When the World Thought California Was an Island

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Portfolio Webinar~ MCA Guidelines~ Economic Summit~ Drought Manual~ Watershed Symposium~ Splash ~~

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Conservancy Analyst~ Photography Exhibition~ Chili Cook-off~ DSC Meeting~ Delta Cleanup~~

NOTICE: Updated Sacramento Water Allocation Model Available

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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

no weekends

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