DAILY DIGEST: Order to stop Shasta Dam raising report upheld by appeals court; Discovering longfin smelt in new habitats raises questions about long-term surveys; State of California proposes plan for Delta levees; PFAS toxins found in drinking water throughout Southern California; and more …

In California water news today, Order to stop Shasta Dam raising report upheld by appeals court; Discovering longfin smelt in new habitats raises questions about long-term surveys; State of California proposes plan for Delta levees; What to know as California’s peak fire months loom; After the fire: How management impacts forest; PFAS toxins found in drinking water throughout Southern California; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Central Valley Flood Protection Board meets beginning at 9am. Agenda items include the monthly update from DWR, an information item on the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Levee Investment Strategy, and two action items on Resolutions of Necessity with respect to the Lower Elkhorn Basin Levee Setback Project.  Click here for agenda and webcast information.

On the calendar tomorrow …

  • The California Water Institute at Fresno State will hold a listening session for the Governor’s water resilience portfolio from 10am to 2pm.  Click here to register.

In the news today …

Order to stop Shasta Dam raising report upheld by appeals court:  “A state court of appeal has upheld a Shasta County Superior Court decision to stop a Fresno-based water district from doing an analysis of the effects of raising the height of Shasta Dam.  The Westlands Water District had asked the California Third District Court of Appeal to overturn the lower court’s preliminary injunction that ordered the district to stop work on an environmental impact report. ... ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Order to stop Shasta Dam raising report upheld by appeals court

Discovering longfin smelt in new habitats raises questions about long-term surveys:  “Longfin smelt – a four-inch-long silvery fish with a lifespan of only two years – once migrated in vast groups from open water to spawn in the less-salty waters of estuaries and wetlands dotting the Pacific coast of North America. But in the San Francisco Estuary – the largest estuary on the west coast – populations began to plummet in the 1980s. … However, while researching the impacts of formerly-industrial site restoration on aquatic ecosystems in the Coyote Creek watershed, a major tributary in the southern San Francisco Estuary, scientists with the University of California, Davis observed surprisingly high densities of reproductive adult smelt in the marshlands, which were not previously known to be heavily exploited by the species. … ”  Read more from ESA here: Discovering longfin smelt in new habitats raises questions about long-term surveys

State of California proposes plan for Delta levees:  “Last week, the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) held a public hearing to review proposed changes to how spending decisions on the maintenance of Delta levees are made, and the plan — known as the Delta Levee Investment Strategy (DLIS) — has drawn criticism from several sources.  Among the criticisms leveled at the DLIS is a concern that Delta towns, including Discovery Bay and Rio Vista, were ranked second among the three risk classifications, and heritage towns like Courtland, Hood, Walnut Grove and Locke received the lowest risk classification. Meanwhile, it’s asserted by critics like Deirdre Des Jardins, principal with California Water Research, that islands and tracts related to the export of Delta water via the State Water Project received the highest prioritization. … ”  Read more from The Press here: State of California proposes plan for Delta levees

If you head to the Delta this weekend, watch out for harmful algae blooms:  “Contra Costa Environmental Health says if you plan on enjoying the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta this holiday weekend, to watch out for dangerous algae blooms.  East Bay Regional Park District has posted an advisory at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley at the kayak launch and around the fishing dock about the blooms that can make people and pets very sick.  The algae blooms, or cyanobacteria, can create green, blue-green white or brown coloring on the surface of slow-moving waterways. … ”  Read more from KTVU Channel 2 here:  If you head to the Delta this weekend, watch out for harmful algae blooms

What to know as California’s peak fire months loom:  “California fire officials have learned through hard experience to temper their optimism.  Having just endured more than a decade of rampaging fires — 14 of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007 — fire bosses say this year the glass is half-full. “We’ve got a few things going for us at the moment,” said Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency. “We still have a snowpack. Our upper elevations haven’t dried out. Because of that, we are able to continue our fuel-reduction projects.” … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: What to know as California’s peak fire months loom

After the fire: How management impacts forest:  “Different management styles for the forest, pre- and post-catastrophic wildfires, were the key talking points during the Aug. 22 “Return to the Burn” tour of the Bland Mountain and Stouts Creek fire areas.  About 50 people participated in the tour that was organized by Communities for Healthy Forests, a nonprofit group whose goal is to provide education about restoring and rehabilitating forests. Featured speakers were Craig Kintop, a silviculturist with the Bureau of Land Management office in Roseburg, David Warnack, deputy forest supervisor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Umpqua National Forest, Phil Adams, timberlands director with Roseburg Resources Co.; and Patrick Skrip, district manager for Douglas Forest Protective Association. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: After the fire: How management impacts forest

Legal alert: California State Water Resources Control Board Significantly Lowers PFAS Notification Levels:  “On August 23, 2019, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced updated, and significantly lowered state notification levels for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  The same day, the State Water Board announced that it has formally requested the Office of Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to develop public health goals (PHGs) for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—two common PFAS compounds. … ”  Read more from Downey-Brand here: Legal alert: California State Water Resources Control Board Significantly Lowers PFAS Notification Levels

UCI scientists awarded $2.7 million for soil nutrient microbiome research:  “A group of University of California, Irvine scientists believes a clue to withstanding climate change could be lurking in fields near their campus. Now the research team from UCI’s School of Biological Sciences and Department of Earth System Science has won $2.7 million in federal funding to dig deeper into how soil microbes respond to drought. Their work is part of the national Genomic Science Program, a U.S. Department of Energy initiative examining ways to best grow biofuel crops in the future. … ”  Read more from University of California Irvine here: UCI scientists awarded $2.7 million for soil nutrient microbiome research

Meeting Water Demands During Drought Years:  “Water. It’s perhaps the biggest issue in the American West. It has inflamed passions and driven ambitious projects for the past century. Now an economist at UC Santa Barbara has investigated how we might be able to mitigate the stress of droughts by changing the incentives for water storage and use. The results appear in the journal Nature Sustainability.  Humans use water for a variety of different ends, but rivers also need water flowing through them to ensure the survival of fish and other wildlife. In fact, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires a minimum stream flow in certain rivers to protect threatened fish. In Oregon’s Willamette River this is also tied to the fishing industry. No water means no salmon, and no salmon means no fishing. ... ”  Read more from Edhat here: Meeting Water Demands During Drought Years

Seaweed ‘forests’ can help fight climate change:  “As the Amazon burns, there’s growing interest in cultivating forests that absorb planet-warming carbon emissions, but that are fireproof.  That’s because these forests are underwater.  An increasing body of research is documenting the potential of seaweed farming to counter climate change as deforestation decimates rainforests and other crucial carbon sinks. Fast-growing oceanic jungles of kelp and other macroalgae are highly efficient at storing carbon. Seaweed also ameliorates acidification, deoxygenation, and other marine impacts of global warming that threaten the biodiversity of the seas and the source of food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people. ... ”  Read more from National Geographic here: Seaweed ‘forests’ can help fight climate change

Mexico facing ‘water zero’:  “Mexico is one of a growing list of countries deemed most at risk of hitting “Day Zero” when they no longer have enough water to meet citizen needs, according to a new report by global research organization, World Resources Institute (WRI).  The nonprofit institute categorized countries into five different levels according to their relative risk of consuming all of their water resources, ranging from “Low Baseline Water Stress” to “Extremely High Baseline Water Stress.”  Mexico is one of 44 countries – representing one-third of the world’s population – that fall into the second-highest category, “High Baseline Water Stress,” meaning that the nation consumes between 40 and 80 percent of the water supply available in a year. ... ”  Read more from Arizona Big Media here: Mexico facing ‘water zero’

In commentary today …

Never Apologize for Being a Farmer, says Adam Gray:  He writes, “As someone who was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, the economic and social values of agriculture are part of who I am. Accountability for our actions is part of our way of life. If you don’t work hard, you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that.  Unfortunately, folks in Sacramento don’t always remember the rules of the game. They demonize successful farmers as “Big Ag.” They claim we waste water, forgetting that irrigation is what puts food on their tables. That’s not waste – it’s hard work.  They want us to make sacrifices they would never ask of other industries, and they want us to make them without any of the help they provide to other industries. … ”  Read more from GV Wire here: Never Apologize for Being a Farmer, says Adam Gray

In regional news and commentary today …

Ukiah gets OK to release recycled water:  “The city of Ukiah has received “a conditional acceptance letter” to use the recycled water it plans to deliver through its new Purple Pipe System, according to staff at the State Water Resources Control Board.  Public Information Officer Blair Robertson confirmed that the board’s Division on Drinking Water (DDW) had received a “revised Title 22 Engineering Report” from the city on July 19, and expected to complete review of the document within three weeks. The acceptance letter was sent Aug. 13. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Ukiah gets OK to release recycled water

This Bay Area beach, once 23 miles long, is disappearing fast, report says:  “A strip of beach, shielding one of the largest salt marshes in the East Bay from the tides of the San Francisco Bay, is in danger of disappearing.  East Bay Times reports that “Long Beach,” as it is known locally – a stretch of the San Leandro Shoreline Marshlands that used to span at least 23 miles – has been reduced to approximately seven miles, according to an estimate in 2008. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: This Bay Area beach, once 23 miles long, is disappearing fast, report says

PFAS toxins found in drinking water throughout Southern California:  “Wells of nearly two dozen Southern California water agencies have reportable levels of PFAS, a chemical family increasingly linked to cancer, liver and kidney damage, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, low fertility, low birth weight and ulcerative colitis.  Six of those agencies have shut down wells in the past year because of the presence of those chemicals and two more plan closures, an investigation by the Southern California News Group found. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star-News here: PFAS toxins found in drinking water throughout Southern California

Hawthorne residents prepare for 40% water rate increase over 3 years:  “The cost of tap water for more than 45,000 Hawthorne residents — roughly half the city — will go up by about 40 percent on average over three years beginning Jan. 1, 2020.  In a 4-to-1 vote Tuesday, Aug. 27, with Councilman Mike Talleda the lone dissenting vote, the council agreed to allow rate increases for California Water Service customers of roughly 13 percent each of the next three years. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: Hawthorne residents prepare for 40% water rate increase over 3 years

Holiday Beach Closure: Orange County Harbour Closed Due to Sewage Spill:  “Officials have closed Southern California’s Huntington Harbour after a blocked sewer main sent 60,000 gallons of sewage spilling into the water ahead of Labor Day weekend.  The closure applies to Anaheim Bay, Sunset Aquatic Marina, Portofino Cove, Anderson Street Marina and Mother’s Beach. ... ”  Read more from NBC LA here: Holiday Beach Closure: Orange County Harbour Closed Due to Sewage Spill

Thermal residents say kids got sick after EPA reports high arsenic levels in water:  “The Environmental Protection Agency says the drinking water at a Thermal mobile home park contains dangerously high levels of arsenic over the last three months.  Martena Zacarias invited reporter Jake Ingrassia into her home at Oasis Mobile Home Park to show just how bad her water is.  “It comes out with sand and dirt and my sister told me the water started to smell,” Zacarias said, speaking in Spanish. “I don’t know what to do and it’s the only water I’m using.” ... ”  Read more from KESQ here: Thermal residents say kids got sick after EPA reports high arsenic levels in water

San Diego: ‘Leave Shelter Island alone’ — community rejects port’s changes to waterfront areas:  “Shelter Island is fine the way it is.  That’s according to hundreds of vocal community members who packed the Portuguese Hall in Point Loma Wednesday night hoping to sway, occasionally using a threatening or accusatory tone, Port of San Diego staffers and commissioners to rethink forward-looking coastal plans that attendees fear will destroy the character of their town. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego: ‘Leave Shelter Island alone’ — community rejects port’s changes to waterfront areas

And lastly …

See the captivating flux of Western alkaline waters:  “Two million years ago, as glaciers carved much of North America, torrential rains flooded what is now the Western United States, forming vast lakes across the region. … These saltwater landscapes of the West are in a constant flux, transforming from low salinity chartreuses and cyans to alkaline magenta, finally settling into evaporated salty white wastelands. Soaring in a small plane above the landscapes, photographer Aya Okawa captures these unique ecosystems at different stages of their progressions, as salt becomes more concentrated. … ”  Read more and view pictures at High Country News here: See the captivating flux of Western alkaline waters

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Delta Conveyance~ Delta Mercury~ Camp Stoneman~ Pow Wow~ Free Fishing~ DPAC Meeting~~

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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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