DAILY DIGEST, weekend/Monday edition: SB 1 advances to CA Assembly; Delta island sells for $1.2 million; Wildlife experts unsure how federal rollbacks will affect Sacramento Valley bird populations; Jury awards Atwater $63 million in groundwater pollution suit against oil giant Shell; and more …

North Fork Merced River, Mariposa County; Photo by Verna Jigour

In California water news this weekend, SB 1 Advances to California Assembly; California issues toxic algae warnings ahead of Labor Day; ‘First time I’ve ever sold an island’: Agent lands Delta deal worth $1.195 million; Wildlife experts unsure how federal rollbacks will affect Sacramento Valley bird populations; Jury awards Atwater $63 million in groundwater pollution suit against oil giant Shell; Radio show: Cymric Oil Seep Appears To Have Stopped – But Now There’s A Much Bigger One; PFAS new concern for dairy farmers; EPA Proposes Narrowing of Water Quality Certification Authority Under Clean Water Act; Tensions Rise Over Interior Department Relocations; and more …

In the news this weekend …

SB 1 Advances to California Assembly:  “Earlier today, California Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) by Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) advanced from the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 1 will now be considered on the California Assembly floor before the Legislature adjourns on September 13th.  “I am disappointed that SB 1 was released off suspense file with amendments that make it much worse for farming and California as a whole.” Said Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals), who serves as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, shared with the California Water Alliance. … ”  Read more from Cal Ag Today here: SB 1 Advances to California Assembly

California issues toxic algae warnings ahead of Labor Day:  “California water officials on Friday warned people who plan to enjoy the state’s lakes and reservoirs this Labor Day weekend to be cautious about harmful blue-green algae.  State Water Resources Control Board said some areas of at least 10 lakes and reservoirs have a “danger” level of algal toxin, which can make people sick and kill animals. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: California issues toxic algae warnings ahead of Labor Day  SEE ALSO: Toxic algae warnings issued for some Bay Area lakes, from the San Jose Mercury News

‘First time I’ve ever sold an island’: Agent lands Delta deal worth $1.195 million:  “An entire Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta island is going for $1.195 million.  Tony Wood of KW Commercial is the listing agent for the nine-acre Brannan Island in Isleton, about one hour south of Sacramento.  “We are in the process of selling the property to a new owner,” he said Thursday while meeting on the island with the buyers to discuss operations and closing escrow. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: ‘First time I’ve ever sold an island’: Agent lands Delta deal worth $1.195 million

Wildlife experts unsure how federal rollbacks will affect Sacramento Valley bird populations:  “Some birds in Butte County could be under more threat after President Donald Trump’s administration recently announced rollbacks to the Endangered Species Act.  In 1973 President Richard Nixon signed the federal act. The bill is credited with saving America’s national bird, the bald eagle, which nests and breeds in Lake Oroville. Other notable animals which were protected include: the California condor, grizzly bear, northern gray wolf, northern spotted owl and the American alligator. California has its own version, called the California Endangered Species Act. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Wildlife experts unsure how federal rollbacks will affect Sacramento Valley bird populations

Jury awards Atwater $63 million in groundwater pollution suit against oil giant Shell:  “A jury has ordered Shell Oil Company to pay the City of Atwater a total of $63 million in damages in a groundwater pollution suit.  The decision, reached Friday after a four-month trial in Merced County Superior Court, awarded Atwater $53 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, according to a news release from the city.  The lawsuit stemmed from the highly toxic chemical 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), which can pose a risk to public health and can contaminate drinking water. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here: Jury awards Atwater $63 million in groundwater pollution suit against oil giant Shell

Radio show: Cymric Oil Seep Appears To Have Stopped – But Now There’s A Much Bigger One:  “In early July, our sister station KQED first reported a huge oil seep in the Cymric Oilfield of western Kern County. At that time, hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil had been bubbling up to the surface for more than two months, yet neither the public nor lawmakers had been notified.  Then, in early August, the state announced the seep appeared to have stopped and cleanup efforts had begun. However, that wasn’t the end of the story—environmental groups worry the incident continues to put soil and groundwater at risk, and regulators revealed that Chevron, the company operating the lease where the oil reached the surface, has just been issued a violation for a much bigger seep that’s been growing intermittently in the same oilfield since 2003.  To find out more, FM89’s Kerry Klein spoke with KQED News Editor Ted Goldberg, who originally broke this story to the public.”  Listen to the radio show from Valley Public Radio here: Radio show: Cymric Oil Seep Appears To Have Stopped – But Now There’s A Much Bigger One

PFAS new concern for dairy farmers: “Substances used in some types of firefighting foam and household products since the 1940s are causing new concern for U.S. dairy producers.  They’re called PFAS — short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — and this year led to the demise of a 4,000-cow dairy in Clovis, N.M.  Elevated levels of the chemicals showed up in of the dairy’s wells last summer and were found in the milk, according to media reports. The contamination on the dairy has been linked to nearby Cannon Air Force Base and its former use of firefighting foam containing the compound. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: PFAS new concern for dairy farmers

EPA Proposes Narrowing of Water Quality Certification Authority Under Clean Water Act:  “The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a lengthy proposed rule clarifying the substantive and procedural requirements for water quality certifications under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that the changes are “intended to increase the predictability and timeliness of Section 401 certification by clarifying timeframes for certification, the scope of certification review and conditions, and related certification requirements and procedures.” The proposed rule would significantly narrow the authority of states and Indian tribes when acting on Section 401 certification requests.”  Read more from California Land Use and Development Report here: EPA Proposes to Narrow Water Quality Certification Authority Under the Clean Water Act

Federal Agencies Issue Major Changes to Endangered Species Act Regulations:  “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a set of three new final rules that substantially revise regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act. The new rules change the criteria and procedures for (1) establishing protections for “threatened” species; (2) the listing and delisting of species and the designation of critical habitat; and (3) the interagency consultation process under Section 7 of the ESA, which is used to determine whether a federal action would jeopardize a listed species’ continued existence or result in an adverse modification of a listed species’ designated critical habitat. As described in our prior update, the FWS and NMFS published proposed rules on these three topics on July 25, 2018.”  Read more from California Land Use and Development Report here:  Federal Agencies Issue Major Changes to Endangered Species Act Regulations

Tensions Rise Over Interior Department Relocations:  “The Trump administration is butting heads with lawmakers over its effort to move an agency’s headquarters and hundreds of employees out of Washington, and the conflict has started to turn personal.   The Interior Department is moving forward with its plan to relocate about 250 Washington-based Bureau of Land Management employees to western states, including 27 who will serve at the agency’s new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado, despite pushback from its Democratic overseers in Congress. Lawmakers have accused Interior of failing to justify the decision and adequately include Congress, stakeholders and employees in the process. … ”  Read more from Government Executive here: Tensions Rise Over Interior Department Relocations

Sunday podcast …

Common Sense and an Honest Effort:  Steve Baker writes: “I’ll bet you haven’t heard this fish story.   Is there a fish in Lake Tahoe that can break a 50 pound dacron braided fishing line? Michael McCluskey thinks so. Close your eyes and enjoy listening to Michael tell his fish story. Are you a believer?? Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Operation Unite®; stevebaker@operationunite.co

In commentary this weekend …

Colorado River: The West’s precious, but limited resource:  Brenda Burman writes,One hundred fifty years ago, John Wesley Powell and his small band of courageous explorers captured the nation’s imagination as they completed their first expedition down the Colorado River. Powell and his team faced the unknown, and they came through the river’s canyons with a hard-earned appreciation for the Colorado River as a precious, but limited resource. His vision of diverting water for agriculture contributed to the Reclamation Act of 1902 and the birth of the Bureau of Reclamation. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Colorado River: The West’s precious, but limited resource

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Test results in: No blue-green algae in samples taken at Lake Tahoe:  “The test results are in and they appear to give an “all clear” on the possible presence of toxic algae in Lake Tahoe.  Samples taken from the lake found no cyanobacteria, also referred to as blue-green algae, and no quantifiable toxins, according to Doug Smith, assistant executive officer with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Test results in: No blue-green algae in samples taken at Lake Tahoe

Woodland banking surplus winter water for use during summer:  “Woodland is sitting atop what is essentially an underground reservoir containing millions of gallons of freshwater.  And for much of the past three years, the city has been banking excess water during the winter months to use during the summer when it isn’t allowed to make withdrawals from the Sacramento River.  The funnels for depositing all that water are placed in John Ferns, Christiansen and Freeman parks throughout the city with the possibility of two more scheduled for construction in the future. … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here: Woodland banking surplus winter water for use during summer

Federal EPA fines Suisun Marina for lack of spill plan:  “The Solano City Marina has agreed to pay a $1,500 fine for failing to “develop, certify and implement a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure plan” as required by the Clean Water Act.  Janet Hull, the recreation manager for Suisun City, said the violation was not for any kind of spill or other environmental issue.  “It’s a matter of having that kind of plan in place if you have fuel storage tanks,” Hull said. “We have that plan in place now, so we’re good.” … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Federal EPA fines Suisun Marina for lack of spill plan

Point Reyes Lighthouse’s rebirth: Mystery solved, $5 million renovation done:  “After 14 months of construction, $5 million spent and the discovery of a 90-year-old mystery box, the Point Reyes Lighthouse in West Marin County is projected to reopen in October, confirmed the National Park Service.  As crews deconstructed the original tower and peeled away 150 years of wear and history, they found a bigger job ahead of them than first anticipated — and inside a wall, something of a time capsule. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Point Reyes Lighthouse’s rebirth: Mystery solved, $5 million renovation done

SF State Saves FogCam, Internet’s Longest-Running Webcam, After it Almost Shuts Down: “Anyone wanting to evaluate the thickness of Karl the Fog, witness the view from the San Francisco State University campus, or simply see the live feed from the world’s longest-running webcam, will be able to continue visiting the San Francisco FogCam website for the foreseeable future.  FogCam’s creators announced recently that the webcam would be shutting down at the end of this month — but S.F. State confirmed on Friday it will take over the project that began on its campus. … ”  Read more from KQED here: SF State Saves FogCam, Internet’s Longest-Running Webcam, After it Almost Shuts Down

County leaders move forward with plans to control flooding, debris flows in Montecito:  “More than a year and a half after the Montecito mudslides, the efforts to rebuild the community are still underway, but this week the county took several major steps towards recovery.  The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department announced Friday it was moving forward with several projects to improve flood control in Montecito, including basin improvements, debris control net installation, and construction on a new debris basin. … ”  Read more from KEYT here: County leaders move forward with plans to control flooding, debris flows in Montecito

Earthquake fault long thought dormant could devastate Los Angeles, researchers say:  “Scientists citing new research say an earthquake fault along the Los Angeles coast, previously believed to be dormant, is active and could cause a destructive 6.4 magnitude earthquake if it ruptured.  And if it linked with other faults, it could trigger an earthquake in the magnitude 7 range, according to a team of researchers from Harvard, USC and the U.S. Geological Survey.  The fault, known as the Wilmington Blind-Thrust fault, stretches for about 12.5 miles, running northwest from Huntington Beach, directly beneath the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, past the east side of the Palos Verdes Pensinula and out toward Santa Monica Bay. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Earthquake fault long thought dormant could devastate Los Angeles, researchers say

Seal Beach: Local Coastal Program discussed at public meeting:  “Is maintaining public access to the beach important? How about protecting marine resources? Or preparing for sea level rise? These were some of the priorities discussed last week at the city of Seal Beach’s third public meeting in its effort to develop a Local Coastal Program, or LCP.  If certified by the California Coastal Commission, an LCP can give the city more control over some development projects in the city’s coastal zone, an area that covers nearly everything between the beach boardwalk and Westminster Boulevard. ... ”  Read more from the Sun here: Seal Beach: Local Coastal Program discussed at public meeting

Closure lifted at Huntington Harbour, after tests show no sewage contamination following 60,000-gallon spill:  “Results of water quality tests conducted in the Huntington Harbour show the water was not contaminated, and the county on Friday, Aug. 30, lifted a closure put in place Thursday.  The Orange County Health Care Agency’s Environmental Health division had issued the closure after concerns that 60,000 gallons of sewage may have flowed into the harbor.  “I am grateful for the hard work of the agencies involved, and happy that Huntington Harbor waters will be open for Labor Day weekend,” Michelle Steel, vice chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement Friday. “The closure yesterday was a precautionary measure, but testing has shown the waters were not contaminated.” … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Closure lifted at Huntington Harbour, after tests show no sewage contamination following 60,000-gallon spill

Sunday video …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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

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