DAILY DIGEST: UCSD discovers surge in plastics pollution off Santa Barbara; Helping endangered fish return to Suisun Marsh; As temperatures rise, more CA forests will burn; Farmers concerned over how mandatory water cuts from Colorado River will impact agriculture; and more …

In California water news today, UCSD discovers surge in plastics pollution off Santa Barbara; Microplastics are polluting beaches at an alarming rate; Helping Endangered Fish Return to Suisun Marsh; As temperatures rise, more California forests will burn; Farmers concerned over how mandatory water cuts from Colorado River will impact agriculture; Arizona: New border wall could further deplete groundwater supplies; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • California’s Biodiversity Challenge, the second in Secretary Crowfoot’s Speaker Series, from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in Sacramento.  The event will be livestreamed on YouTube.  Click here for a flyer.
  • Public Forum on California’s Water Future at the Fresno County Farm Bureau from 1pm to 3:30pm.  Click here for more information.
  • Water Policy Forum & Dinner in Costa Mesa from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.  The keynote speaker, William Bourdeau, carries the unique perspective of a farmer, Executive Vice President at Harris Farms Inc., Chairman of the Board of the California Water Alliance, and Board Director at Westlands Water District. Click here for more information and to register.

In the news today …

UCSD discovers surge in plastics pollution off Santa Barbara:  “UC San Diego researchers say they have discovered an “explosion of plastics pollution” in the seafloor off Santa Barbara, in an area where little of the material appeared to exist before the end of World War II.  The university’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography claims that the surge may reflect the boom in plastics production that occurred worldwide after the war, largely for use in consumer products, ranging from bottles to clothing. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: UCSD discovers surge in plastics pollution off Santa Barbara

Microplastics are polluting beaches at an alarming rate:  “Microplastics, which never fully biodegrade, can be found everywhere – in the sand, in the water, and at San Diego beaches.  Now, researchers at Scripps Institute of Oceanography say microplastics are being found in the deepest part of the ocean.  “There is some plastic you can see [because] it is big enough, like a broken water bottle, but a lot of it, if I were to sit on the sand, I would find tiny pieces,” said Jennifer Brandon, a biological oceanographer at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. … ”  Read more from Channel 8 here: Microplastics are polluting beaches at an alarming rate

Helping Endangered Fish Return to Suisun Marsh:  “The Suisun Marsh is the largest brackish water wetland on the West Coast, where salt water from the San Francisco Bay meets fresh water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The site, a sprawling estuary of grassland and sloughs, sits south of the city of Fairfield, and has been a focus for habitat restoration by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for more than a decade due to its importance for native fish and wildlife.  DWR is currently overseeing five habitat restoration projects in Suisun Marsh. In October 2019, one of these projects, the Tule Red Tidal Habitat Restoration Project – which converts approximately 600 acres of existing managed wetland into tidal habitat – is expected to finish construction. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Helping Endangered Fish Return to Suisun Marsh

As temperatures rise, more California forests will burn:  “On August 5, a Washington Post headline announced, “This year’s fire season in California could be ‘very active.'” In spite of the wet winter, the Golden State was expected to face “an above-normal chance for large wildfires as [it] heads into late summer and fall.” After a slow start, a heat wave at the end of July seemed to “flip a switch.” Over 4,000 fires have broken out since. Post reporter Diana Leonard sought out 2016 Center for Climate and Life Fellow and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory associate research professor Park Williams to explain why California is expected to burn in 2019—albeit not as much as last year—despite wetter weather. “A today,” Williams told the Post, “is going to have a much more potent influence on flammability than one 150 years ago when temperatures were 3.5 degrees cooler.” … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: As temperatures rise, more California forests will burn

Canal plans to bypass subsidence with 30-mile parallel path:  “As the old saying goes, if you can’t go through something, go around it. And at an estimated cost of $357 million, the Friant Water Authority (FWA) is contemplating a 30-mile parallel canal to circumvent the portion  of the Friant Kern Canal (FKC) that has been negatively affected by subsidence.  Under the “Capacity Correction Project” the FWA is attempting to find a solution to the portion of the FKC that has lost 60% of it’s conveyance capacity, due to subsidence. That in turn has been caused by several years of vigorous groundwater pumping by nearby farms. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here: Canal plans to bypass subsidence with 30-mile parallel path

A quick guide to threatened species in your state:  A list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, listed by state from High Country News: A quick guide to threatened species in your state

Pendley: BLM to begin notifying transferred employees:  “The Bureau of Land Management will begin notifying Washington, D.C., staffers in the next two weeks whether their jobs are being transferred to Colorado and other Western states, according to an internal email obtained by E&E News.  BLM’s acting director, William Perry Pendley, wrote in an email to employees late yesterday that the bureau will hold a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss the still-developing plan to relocate the bureau’s headquarters to Grand Junction, Colo., and other administrative positions to various cities in the West. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Pendley: BLM to begin notifying transferred employees

Water and Conflict Links Discussed at World Water Week:  “Water shortages and climate change are contributing to a rise in conflict, according to experts at World Water Week. Although no major wars have been directly linked to water scarcity, smaller quarrels within countries are becoming more common, researchers say.  “I don’t see big, shooting wars but I think you will have an increasing frequency of very localized conflicts and tensions that could then escalate into much more,” Johan Schaar of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute told the Thomas Reuters Foundation during the event, held annually in Stockholm.  … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here: Water and Conflict Links Discussed at World Water Week

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Project farmers face skyrocketing electric bills:  “Electric bills for farmers on the Klamath Project are more than 2000% higher than they were 13 years ago.  But, a meeting is coming up in Klamath Falls to address that problem.  Getting irrigation water isn’t the only challenge facing Klamath Project farmers and ranchers.  The cost of powering pumps to move that water has skyrocketed. … ”  Read more from KOBI Channel 5 here: Klamath Project farmers face skyrocketing electric bills

Sonoma County wine grape harvest shifts into high gear as oversupply looms large:  “As chardonnay grapes dropped into the crusher Tuesday morning at Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma, winemaker Joe Nielsen was hopeful about his first fruit from the 2019 harvest as he watched while was compressed into juice.  This is his 13th harvest but each year comes with challenges ranging from unpredictable weather to his grapes ripening all at the same time. That forces Nielsen to play a role akin to an air traffic controller at a busy airport to schedule pickup of the premium grapes.  “I just think, ‘What can we process in a day comfortably?’ That goes by the wayside when we don’t have a choice,” he said. … ”  Read more from the North Bay Journal here: Sonoma County wine grape harvest shifts into high gear as oversupply looms large

Marin editorial: Here’s hoping salmon habitat is finally being protected, says the Marin Independent Journal:  They write, “Hopefully, the county Board of Supervisors’ approval of a study on the environmental report on potential construction in the San Geronimo Valley watershed is a strong step forward to ending what’s been more than a decade of costly studies and lawsuits.  Hopefully, the county board has approved a thorough and so-called “bulletproof” environmental process that will finally end the years of litigation by the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, or SPAWN, that prevented the county from setting new standards for creekside construction and adopting measures to save the watershed and its important habitat in the life cycle of coho salmon. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin editorial: Here’s hoping salmon habitat is finally being protected

Groundwater Workshop causes concern for Oxnard:  “Groundwater in Ventura County had a severe talk about reductions, Aug 21, as the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency held its fourth workshop about the future.  The proposed new plan will commence in 2020 and will start slow but will ramp up and reduce groundwater pumping in the area significantly. … ”  Read more from the Tri-County Sentinel here: Groundwater Workshop causes concern for Oxnard

Local coalition plans town hall to discuss possible West Basin desalination plant:  “A coalition of local conservation groups is hosting a town hall about a proposed desalination plant in El Segundo that has garnered controversy since it was first proposed more than a decade ago.  West Basin Municipal Water District plans to vote on the $400 million project by the end of this year, according to the Bruce Reznik, executive director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper – part of a coalition that includes Heal the Bay, Desal Response Group, Southbay Surfrider Foundation – that comprises Smarter Water LA. … ”  Read more from The Beach Reporter here: Local coalition plans town hall to discuss possible West Basin desalination plant

State Supreme Court declines to hear desal project challenge:  “Without explanation, the State Supreme Court has declined to consider a legal challenge backed by the Marina Coast Water District and city of Marina against the state Public Utilities Commission’s approval of California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula water supply project.  Last week, the state’s high court issued notice that it had denied the petition for review of the CPUC decision in September last year certifying an environmental review document for Cal Am’s water project, including a 6.4-million gallon per day desalination plant north of Marina, and approving a permit for the proposal. The court did not include any rationale for denying the legal challenge and has rarely considered challenges to CPUC decisions. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: State Supreme Court declines to hear desal project challenge

Along the Colorado River …

Farmers concerned over how mandatory water cuts from Colorado River will impact agriculture:  “Two western states are imposing mandatory water cuts because the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people and about 5 million acres of land across seven states, has dropped to alarmingly low levels.  Nevada and Arizona, concerned that a 20-year drought has dried up much of the river, are trying to rein in water use in an effort to save the disappearing river. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Farmers concerned over how mandatory water cuts from Colorado River will impact agriculture

Last Year’s Federal Western Drought Provisions Yet To Go Into Effect:  “The 2018 federal Farm Bill included several provisions to lessen the effects of persistent drought in the West, but they still haven’t gone into effect. Now, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is urging the Secretary of Agriculture to put them into practice. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports. ... ”  Read more from KNAU here: Last Year’s Federal Western Drought Provisions Yet To Go Into Effect

Arizona: New border wall could further deplete groundwater supplies:  “Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument encompasses more than 330,000 acres of Sonoran desert, and has been designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve. As those protected designations indicate, it’s an incredibly valuable swath of desert landscape for native plants and animals. A stone’s throw from the U.S.-Mexico border lies a large pond, fed from the nearby Quitobaquito Springs.  “It’s been a stable source of water for thousands of years,” said Michael Bogan, an aquatic ecologist and assistant professor at the University of Arizona who has worked in the area for several years. The Hia-Ced O’odham and Tohono O’odham have used it as a place to live and essential water source for a very long time, he said. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: Arizona: New border wall could further deplete groundwater supplies

And lastly …

Burning Man in photos: 100 stunning images of the art, community and more: “Burning Man, the experimental city that rises up out of the playa in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for 10 days each year, has a theme.  This year’s was “Metamorphoses,” and everywhere there were nods to it, from larger-than-life art pieces that evolved over the week to real-life events, including weddings.  I went to my first one last year, and it was sensory overload. I was overwhelmed with surprises everywhere.  But this year was different. … ”  Read more and view photo gallery at the OC Register here: Burning Man in photos: 100 stunning images of the art, community and more

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

GUEST COMMENTARY: Integrated Regional Water Management – Helping Create a Balanced Portfolio for our Water Future

SCIENCE NEWS: Improving habitat at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve; Drone use in fisheries research; A new way to measure how water moves; New viruses discovered in endangered wild Pacific salmon populations; and more …

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Flood-MAR Forum~ Sierra Summit~ USFS Grants~ Conservation Grants~ Biodiversity Day~ Splash ~~

NOTICE: OAL Approves State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State

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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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