DAILY DIGEST: CA could be on the brink of its worst-ever wildfire season; The magic of CA’s swimming holes; AG Becerra fighting Trump on the environment at every turn; Why the FEMA isn’t ready for catastrophes; and more …

In California water news today, California Could Be on the Brink of Its Worst-Ever Wildfire Season; The Magic of California’s Swimming Holes; How ground-based GPS stations help weather forecasters predict heavy rain and flooding; The latest casualty of Trump’s trade war with China? California wine; Atty. Gen. Becerra, It Does Seem Like You Are Fighting Trump On The Environment At Every Turn; Has the Endangered Species Act saved ‘very few’ plants and animals?; Why the U.S. disaster agency isn’t ready for catastrophes; Virgin plastic pellets are the biggest pollution disaster you’ve never heard of; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Coastal Watershed Flood Risk Reduction Program Workshop in Eureka from 1pm to 3pm.  DWR will host a public workshop to provide information about how the Coastal Watershed Flood Risk Reduction Program was established, what the Draft Guidelines cover, and how the solicitation process works.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

California Could Be on the Brink of Its Worst-Ever Wildfire Season:  “After being devastated by wildfires last year, California has gone through several months of being relatively fire-free. But as we head into the heat of late summer, the state is ready to burn. When the ignition happens, experts warn, it could cause wildfires more intense and destructive than anything California has experienced.  Here’s one version of what that could look like: Sometime in the coming days or weeks a storm originating from warm moist air in Mexico becomes drier and more lightning-prone as it heads north. Over California the skies suddenly begin crackling with electricity. ... ”  Read more from VICE here: California Could Be on the Brink of Its Worst-Ever Wildfire Season

A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires:  “Before Terry Lim handed me an aluminum flask filled with a blend of gasoline and diesel and asked me to set fire to the Tahoe National Forest, he gave me a hard hat, a pair of flame-resistant gloves, and a few words of instruction. “You want to dab the ground,” he said. “Just try to even out the line.”  The line was a low ridge of flame, no more than a foot high, creeping toward us through the forest. ... ”  Read more from the New Yorker here:  A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires

The Magic of California’s Swimming Holes:  “There is something about a swimming hole that implies elusiveness. Compare it to the beach, which, at least in California, one could reach from just about anywhere by heading west: The coast is a line, but a swimming hole is a dot on the map, a point in space and time. …  These include spots along the Russian River, which snakes through the redwoods in the Sonoma Mountains, and areas on the Trinity River, which tumbles over the rocks of the formidable Klamath Mountains. ... ”  Check out this post (including some great photos) from the New York Times here: The Magic of Swimming Holes

How ground-based GPS stations help weather forecasters predict heavy rain and flooding:  “Geodesy is the study of Earth’s shape, gravity field and rotation.  An excellent method to study the Earth is by use of high-precision Continuous Global Positioning System (CGPS) stations that are firmly mounted on bedrock and can measure the slow, persistent ground motion of Earth’s crustal plates down to a few millimeters over time.  In the western United States, there are more than 1,200 CGPS stations, including more than 25 on the Central Coast. A few of these stations are classified as Global Positioning System Meteorology (GPS-Met), such as the ones located in Cambria, Los Osos and Point Sal. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: How ground-based GPS stations help weather forecasters predict heavy rain and flooding

The latest casualty of Trump’s trade war with China? California wine:  “Hank Wetzel’s vineyards stretch to the horizon, a swath of green straddling Sonoma County’s Russian River, farmed by generations of Wetzels for half a century.  It is a long way from Shanghai.  Nonetheless, seated outside his tasting room on a recent morning, the 68-year-old patriarch of Alexander Valley Vineyards was scrolling through photos from China on his tablet: A shot of his booth at a giant Shanghai trade show, thronged with customers. Another of Chinese restaurateurs sampling wines at a $1,000 dinner he hosted. And several of the pandas at Shanghai’s zoo. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: The latest casualty of Trump’s trade war with China? California wine

Climate change may damage oyster habitat up and down California, researchers say:  “In California, the native Olympia oyster — nearly wiped out by over-harvesting at the beginning of the 1900s — and the widely farmed Pacific oyster both call coastal estuaries their home.  But the two species may soon be facing a housing crisis prompted by climate change, as new research originating from UC Davis and published in Limnology and Oceanography suggests their habitat may soon shrink, a threat that has implications for oysters grown on the Central Coast, across the state of California and beyond. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Climate change may damage oyster habitat up and down California, researchers say

Atty. Gen. Becerra, It Does Seem Like You Are Fighting Trump On The Environment At Every Turn:  “Last week, the Trump Administration weakened the Endangered Species Act, making the broadest changes to the bedrock environmental law in decades.  The Trump administration’s new rules make it harder to consider the future impacts of climate change when officials are considering whether a species is threatened and should be placed on the endangered species list. It also introduces an economic analysis, which is meant to calculate the impact of protecting a species on the economy. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Atty. Gen. Becerra, It Does Seem Like You Are Fighting Trump On The Environment At Every Turn

Bears, elk, sharks crown landmark wildlife surge:  “The recovery and revival of more than a dozen major wildlife species in California could be one of greatest overlooked stories in a generation.  Wildlife species, including bears, elk, sharks, whales, eagles and others are at their highest populations in more than a century, a direct result of habitat protection and crackdowns on commercial take and poaching, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. ... ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here: Bears, elk, sharks crown landmark wildlife surge

Has the Endangered Species Act saved ‘very few’ plants and animals?:  “The Trump administration has finalized new rules to weaken the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a bedrock wildlife conservation law that bars the development of lands where at-risk species live.  In a Fox Business interview, Wheeler defended the regulatory changes, stating that the ESA has “recovered very few species.” Government statistics show that 47 species of plants and animals deemed at risk under the ESA have been “recovered,” out of nearly 2,000 that have appeared on the list.  But Wheeler is using a very strict definition of what it means to save a species from extinction. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Has the Endangered Species Act saved ‘very few’ plants and animals?

Why the U.S. disaster agency isn’t ready for catastrophes:  “The Federal Emergency Management Agency has wasted more than $3 billion and misused thousands of its employees by responding to hundreds of undersized floods, storms and other events that states could have handled on their own, an investigation by E&E News shows.  FEMA has chronically overestimated the damage to U.S. states from small disasters and underestimated the capacity of states to respond to them. Those errors triggered at least 325 unnecessary deployments of money and personnel since 1998.  The errors also resulted in homeowners and businesses receiving $725 million in low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration, E&E News found. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Why the U.S. disaster agency isn’t ready for catastrophes

How Much Hotter Are The Oceans? The Answer Begins With A Bucket: “If you want to know what climate change will look like, you need to know what Earth’s climate looked like in the past — what air temperatures were like, for example, and what ocean currents and sea levels were doing. You need to know what polar ice caps and glaciers were up to and, crucially, how hot the oceans were.  “Most of the Earth is water,” explains Peter Huybers, a climate scientist at Harvard University. “If you want to understand what global temperatures have been doing, you better understand, in detail, the rates that different parts of the ocean are warming.” ... ”  Read more from KLCC here: How Much Hotter Are The Oceans? The Answer Begins With A Bucket

Virgin plastic pellets are the biggest pollution disaster you’ve never heard of:  “Some 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a township adjacent to a state forest, oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell is building a sprawling new plant to support what it sees as the future of its business: making millions of tons of new, virgin plastic.  US president Trump visited the facility last week, highlighting the 5,000 construction jobs it has created. The plant is just one of more than 300 new plastic facilities proposed or permitted for the US in the near future. Shell, along with other major oil and gas companies like Exxon, sees plastic as one avenue for growth as natural gas prices plummet—and, longer-term, as a way to weather the world’s slow rejection of fossil fuels as an energy source. … ”  Read more from Quartz Magazine here: Virgin plastic pellets are the biggest pollution disaster you’ve never heard of

In commentary today …

Editorial: California must fight back as Trump guts Endangered Species Act, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  They write, “As never before, California legislates for the nation as much as itself. Immigration law, tailpipe emissions and farm pesticides are on the list that Sacramento takes up in defiance of the Trump administration. Leaders elsewhere take note and join the cause.  Now comes the latest test: a chance for California to stop a serious weakening of wildlife preservation laws embodied in the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act. It’s an alarming though not surprising move from a White House that dumped the Paris climate pact, welcomes coal burning power plants and muzzles federal scientists from speaking out. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here: Editorial: California must fight back as Trump guts Endangered Species Act

Editorial: Trump’s plan to move BLM jobs west is a shallow pretext to gut the agency’s mission, says the LA Times:  They write, “Part of the problem with the constant flow of news out of the White House — from offensive tweets to potentially disastrous policies — is that acts that would have seemed outrageous in previous administrations slip past, hidden by the smoke of the Trumpster fire. The administration’s plan to effectively gut the Washington-based Bureau of Land Management is a case in point.  Some Trump administration policymakers, as well as some influential members of Congress, are philosophically opposed to the federal government owning public lands, much of which happens to be in the West, including about 80% of land within Nevada and 46% of California. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Editorial: Trump’s plan to move BLM jobs west is a shallow pretext to gut the agency’s mission

In regional news and commentary today …

Lake Oroville spillway boat ramp will be open for all of Labor Day weekend:  “The Lake Oroville spillway boat launch will be open for Labor Day, Sept. 2.  Typically closed Monday to Thursday for ongoing construction, the Department of Water Resources and California State Parks announced the holiday exception in a news release Friday.  After two years of closure as DWR repaired the Oroville Dam main and emergency spillways, the ramp reopened Aug. 9 for public access from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Lake Oroville spillway boat ramp will be open for all of Labor Day weekend

Lake County Supervisors to consider resolution to participate in Potter Valley Project consortium:  “The Board of Supervisors is to consider a resolution to participate in a group that will look at water supply and endangered species in connection to changes to the Potter Valley Project.  The board will meet beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, 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 the Lake County Record-Bee here: Lake County Supervisors to consider resolution to participate in Potter Valley Project consortium

Facing water crunch, Clovis gets to work on drought resiliency:  “When it comes to securing a strong future for water deliveries, Fresno City Hall through its half-billion-dollar Recharge Fresno project gets a lot of hard-earned publicity of the good sort.  But don’t overlook the fine work being done in a similar regard by Clovis City Hall. Fresno’s neighbor to the northeast is busy making sure it, too, is drought resilient during what figures to be a 21st century full of impressive growth. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Sun here:  Facing water crunch, Clovis gets to work on drought resiliency

Bakersfield: Despite lower flows, river to remain wet for near future:  “Ask around and many agree: just the sight of water in the Kern River on a hot day has its own cooling effect.  And there’s no denying a wet river looks better — and makes everything around it look better — than a dry one. Lucky for us, water is expected to remain in the river for weeks to come, though it won’t be quite as deep and full as it has been in the recent months. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Bakersfield: Despite lower flows, river to remain wet for near future

Goleta Water District Updates Permit to Sell Recycled Water to Ag Users:  “The Goleta Water District has updated its recycled water permitting so it can now sell to agricultural customers, although not many of them are interested in buying.  Recycled water, which the district has produced and sold since 1997, cannot be used for groundwater recharge, but was used for landscape irrigation, construction dust control, industrial cooling, and toilet and urinal flushing.  State law has allowed more uses in the intervening years, and with a modernized permit, the district can now sell recycled water for agricultural irrigation and industrial and manufacturing uses, said Ryan Drake, the district’s water supply and conservation manager. ... ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Goleta Water District Updates Permit to Sell Recycled Water to Ag Users

6 things to know about Cadiz’s plan to pump water in San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert:  “The story behind a proposal to pump water from under the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County is a long and complicated one.  Since its approval in 2012, the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project has been tied up in litigation from environmental groups, fought over in the state legislature and faced hurdles by state and federal government officials.  Here’s more about the Cadiz water project ... ” Continue reading at the San Bernardino Sun here: 6 things to know about Cadiz’s plan to pump water in San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert

Odor advisory issued for Salton Sea area; hydrogen sulfide leads to rotten-egg smell:  “An odor advisory was issued Sunday for the Salton Sea area in Riverside County due to elevated levels of a gas that smells like rotten eggs, according to state air regulators.  The advisory was issued for the Coachella Valley and will remain in effect until at least Monday because of winds from the south, with peak concentrations of hydrogen sulfide emissions occurring in the morning hours, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said in a statement. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Odor advisory issued for Salton Sea area; hydrogen sulfide leads to rotten-egg smell

San Diego: Coastal Commission frowns on trenching idea for bluff-top railroad:  “A proposal to place the railroad tracks in a trench at the edge of the bluff in Del Mar raises “serious concerns” about erosion and access to the beach, according to the California Coastal Commission.  “This new potential alternative … would hamper efforts to plan for sea-level rise and erosion, thereby resulting in the loss of significant public access and beach resources,” said the commission’s Zach Rehm, a senior transportation program analyst, in a letter to the San Diego Association of Governments.  The bluff trench is one of several ideas being considered by SANDAG, the area’s regional planning agency, to safeguard the tracks at the edge of the eroding coastline. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego: Coastal Commission frowns on trenching idea for bluff-top railroad

Along the Colorado River …

Does southern Utah need the Lake Powell Pipeline? asks Tom Butine:  He writes, “The Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) proposal arose from a belief that Utah has an unused share of the Colorado River and a fear of water shortages stifling Washington County’s rapid population growth. Although many leaders across the state say southern Utah needs the LPP, this statement is not based on facts. Decisions about the LPP should be driven by a strategic plan, based on verified facts rather than beliefs and fears, answering the following questions in sequence … ”  Read more from the Salt Lake Tribune here: Does southern Utah need the Lake Powell Pipeline?

And lastly …

A look inside the ‘secret’ crown jewel of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid: “On a recent helicopter ride above downtown San Francisco, photographer Ryan Fitzsimons discovered the top of the Transamerica Pyramid is made out of glass.  Fitzsimons clicked several images of the top of the tower and shared them on his Instagram page and with SFGATE. “I thought it would make a cool image and a good story, because I think most people are unaware,” he explained. ... ”  Check out the pictures here:  A look inside the ‘secret’ crown jewel of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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 …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for August 19

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.

 

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