DAILY DIGEST: Bills on stream gauges and Hollister Ranch beach head to Governor’s desk; More coverage of SB 1; Ninth Circuit rules on agricultural discharges; Pacific ‘blob’ could be trouble for marine life and weather; The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a toxic soup; and more …

In California water news today, Legislature approves Dodd’s stream gauge legislation; Bill to open Hollister Ranch beaches to the public heads to Gov. Newsom. Will he sign it?; Ninth Circuit Places Burden on Dischargers to Prove Clean Water Act Agricultural Return Flow Exception Applies; More coverage of SB 1; ‘Blob’ of warm Pacific water is back — could be trouble for marine life and weather; Berkeley Lab study finds California wildfires increase runoff, groundwater; Saving California’s Kelp Forest May Depend On Eating Purple Sea Urchins; The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is a Toxic Soup; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Legislature approves Dodd’s stream gauge legislation:  “The state legislature has approved a proposal from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, aimed at helping the state manage its water.  “Stream gages provide important information in this era of droughts and flooding, driven in part by climate change,” Dodd said. “This bill is an important step toward managing our water for the long run. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here: Legislature approves Dodd’s plan for water management

Bill to open Hollister Ranch beaches to the public heads to Gov. Newsom. Will he sign it? The state Assembly gave final legislative approval Monday to a bill designed to open up the pristine beaches of Hollister Ranch, giving hope to advocates and officials whose efforts to secure public access have been thwarted for decades by the area’s powerful landowners.  Gov. Gavin Newsom has until Oct. 13 to decide whether to sign the measure, AB 1680, which requires that the public be allowed to enter the ranch by land and access some of its 8.5 miles of shoreline by April 2022. Further access would be phased in under a comprehensive plan to be developed in the next two years. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Bill to open Hollister Ranch beaches to the public heads to Gov. Newsom. Will he sign it? 

Ninth Circuit Places Burden on Dischargers to Prove Clean Water Act Agricultural Return Flow Exception Applies:  “The Ninth Circuit recently held that dischargers bear the burden of showing a court that their discharges meet a statutory exception to the permitting requirement in the Clean Water Act (CWA).  In Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations v. Glaser, No. 17-17130 (9th Cir. Sept. 6, 2019), the Ninth Circuit held that the defendant dischargers, as opposed to the plaintiffs alleging that an unpermitted discharge was occurring in violation of the CWA, must demonstrate to the court that their discharge fits the exception by being composed entirely of return flows from irrigated agriculture.  In addition, the Ninth Circuit defined the terms “irrigated agriculture” and “entirely.” … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Ninth Circuit Places Burden on Dischargers to Prove Clean Water Act Agricultural Return Flow Exception Applies

‘Blob’ of warm Pacific water is back — could be trouble for marine life and weather:  “An ominous warm patch similar to the notorious “blob ” that wreaked havoc along the California coast five years ago has been detected along the West Coast, raising fears among scientists that the fragile ocean ecosystem may be facing another calamity.  A large marine heat wave has warmed the northern Pacific Ocean and is threatening to disrupt sea life from Alaska to Southern California, marine biologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: ‘Blob’ of warm Pacific water is back — could be trouble for marine life and weather

Berkeley Lab study finds California wildfires increase runoff, groundwater:  “A study published Aug. 14 from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, or Berkeley Lab, found that wildfires in California can be beneficial to the state’s water supply.  The study, entitled “Watershed Dynamics Following Wildfires: Nonlinear Feedbacks and Implications on Hydrological Responses,” discovered that post-wildfire areas hold more snowpack during the winter, have a greater amount of summer runoff and have increased groundwater storage, according to a Berkeley Lab news release. … ”  Read more from the Daily Californian here: Berkeley Lab study finds California wildfires increase runoff, groundwater

What are the Top 10 Issues for California Fruit Growers? California’s fresh fruit production is centered in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most agriculturally rich and diverse valleys in the world, so it’s only fitting the new chief of the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) is a lifelong valley resident and passionate advocate. … American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® recently caught up with LeMay to go over what has become known as CFFA’s calling card in the state Legislature (see “Food for Thought”), its annual top 10 issues of chief concern to members. ... ”  Read more from Growing Produce here: What are the Top 10 Issues for California Fruit Growers?

Saving California’s Kelp Forest May Depend On Eating Purple Sea Urchins:  “A favorite dish for purple sea urchins living off the coast of California is kelp. Problem is, those kelp forests are shrinking dramatically and that’s hurting the marine ecosystem. So a group of scientists ran an experiment to see if these sea urchins can themselves become a top menu item.  Just off the Monterey Peninsula, a boat sways in the ocean. Three divers get ready to jump in. They’re students from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, a graduate school for marine scientists. The assignment: Count purple sea urchins. … ”  Read more from OPB here: Saving California’s Kelp Forest May Depend On Eating Purple Sea Urchins

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is a Toxic Soup:  “Imagine a giant aquatic vortex between Hawaii and California where converging ocean currents stir a toxic soup of discarded fishing nets, bottles, ropes, toilet seats, toothbrushes, bottle caps, bags and microplastics smaller than your pinky nail.  It’s out there, and it has a name: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  You could sail right through it without noticing you are in the midst of almost 2 trillion pieces of plastics churning between the surface and the bottom of the ocean. Most people can’t perceive how big it really is. … ”  Read more from KQED here: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is a Toxic Soup

Special section on SB 1 …

California Weighs ‘Trump Insurance’ Bill to Keep Its Environmental Laws Intact:  “As the Trump administration’s fight with California over environmental policies escalates, the state’s Democratic leaders are readying a direct shot against any new regulatory rollbacks from the president.  Sacramento legislators are poised to vote this week on a bill that would require state agencies to preserve federal standards on the environment, public health and worker safety that were in place on Jan. 19, 2017 — the day before Donald Trump took office. The provisions would sunset at the end of his potential second term in January 2025. ... ”  Read more from Yahoo Finance here: California Weighs ‘Trump Insurance’ Bill to Keep Its Environmental Laws Intact

Feinstein, Costa Support Weakening of CA Legislation that Protects Environmental Laws from Trump:  Dan Bacher writes, “Big California water districts and agribusiness-friendly Democrats are supporting two provisions to weaken California’s environmental protections in Senate Bill 1, state legislation that would protect imperiled Sacramento winter-rum and spring-run Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, green sturgeon and other endangered and threatened fish species from attacks by the Trump Administration.  SB 1, the California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019 (Act), ensures that “protections afforded to Californians under federal environmental and labor laws and regulations as of January 2017, remain in place in the event that President Trump weakens or repeals any of those federal laws or regulations.” ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here: Feinstein, Costa Support Weakening of CA Legislation that Protects Environmental Laws from Trump

Gray comes out swinging, calls SB1 “dangerous”:  “With days five days remaining in the Legislative session, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D–Merced) took an aggressive step in opposing marquee legislation for California’s legislative Democrats.  In a Op-Ed published in CalMatters Monday, Gray chided liberal colleagues for pushing Senate Bill 1, a bill that would tie the state’s environmental laws to Federal standards in place during the final day of the Obama administration. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Gray comes out swinging, calls SB1 “dangerous”

Commentary: In going after Trump, California is going too far with environmental legislation, says Adam Gray:  He writes, “California has made a sport of disagreeing with President Trump.  When he tweets his favorite color is red, one of my progressive colleagues inevitably introduces a bill declaring the best color is blue.  So it was somewhat surprising when legislative leaders decided to use the President’s worst habit—ignoring real science and concrete facts—as a model for priority legislation.   Senate Bill 1 by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins would require that California ignore new scientific findings on natural resources and water issued after January 19, 2017, the day before the Trump took office. That’s not an exaggeration. The date is actually listed in the bill 21 different times. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: In going after Trump, California is going too far with environmental legislation

Why SB 1 Must Ensure that CESA Applies to the Federal CVP: Kate Poole writes, “Having made it through eight legislative committees and one floor vote, Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) now faces its final hurdles before becoming law: a majority “yes” vote on the floor of California’s Assembly, a final procedural vote in the Senate, and a signature from Governor Newsom. The bill’s authors and proponents, including NRDC, have worked long and hard to resolve the vast majority of concerns raised during the legislative session. Now, some are arguing that the bill should be stripped of its longstanding provision applying the State’s own Endangered Species Act to the operations of the federal Central Valley Project. Here’s why that’s a terrible idea. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: Why SB 1 Must Ensure that CESA Applies to the Federal CVP  SEE ALSO: Newspapers Support SB 1 to Protect Against Trump Rollbacks, from the NRDC

Legislature: Beat Up Trump if You Must, but Fix SB 1:  Joel Fox writes, “In the California legislature, standing up for the environment while taking a shot at the Trump Administration is business as usual. But when business as usual casts a wide net that comes with consequences that can interfere with the state’s agriculture and the state’s economy then legislators should have second thoughts. Such is the situation with Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ SB1. The bill is intended to protect the environment against measures put forth by the Trump Administration to weaken current environmental laws. … ”  Read more from Fox and Hounds here: Legislature: Beat Up Trump if You Must, but Fix SB 1

Why MWD and Other Water Agencies Oppose SB 1:  Doug Obegi writes, “As today’s Los Angeles Times reports, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and other water districts that obtain water from the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project have been heavily lobbying against SB 1 in California (the Trump Defense bill).  These water districts are particularly focused on amendments that would: (1) eliminate a provision requiring that the Central Valley Project comply with the California Endangered Species Act, consistent with section 8 of the Reclamation Act of 1902 (which requires that the feds comply with state laws regarding the control and use of water resources); and (2) further weakening provisions of SB 1 regarding protections under the Endangered Species Act.  If you like Trump’s rollbacks of environmental protections, you’ll love the water districts’ proposed amendments to “fix” SB 1. ... ”  Read more from the NRDC blog here: Why MWD and Other Water Agencies Oppose SB 1

In regional news and commentary today …

Harmful algal blooms found in north Siskiyou waterways:  “Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, have made news statewide and throughout the nation with reports of dogs falling ill or even dying shortly after swimming in waters with suspected blooms, the State Water Board said in a press release.  After performing testing on nearly 60 state waterways with a history of harmful algal blooms, the State Water Board last week put out a “danger” advisory for Iron Gate Reservoir and Copco Reservoir. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: Harmful algal blooms found in north Siskiyou waterways

Chico, Paradise problems may have single solution, says the Oroville Mercury Register:  They write, “Of all the chicken-or-the-egg dilemmas that will determine Paradise’s recovery from the Camp Fire, water may be the most critical.  To rebuild, the town needs water from the Paradise Irrigation District. To survive, PID needs the town to rebuild. One can’t happen without the other, and it’s been tough to figure out how it’s going to work. Which comes first? … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here: Chico, Paradise problems may have single solution, says the Oroville Mercury Register

Antioch Dunes wildlife refuge a hidden gem:  “Many people don’t realize that there is a national wildlife refuge right here in East County. The Antioch Dunes has been a refuge since 1980, but it isn’t always open to the public, so those wanting to check out the site should take advantage when they can.  Usually open the second Saturday of every month for public tours, on Sept. 14 the Mount Diablo Audubon Society will take advantage of the opportunity and invite everyone to come out and see what is happening at the Dunes during the late summer weeks. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here: Antioch Dunes wildlife refuge a hidden gem

No simple fix for Sanger’s leaking water tower:  “Sanger’s water tower at Academy and Fifth has stood tall for 105 years. Recently it started showing its age.  Public works director John Mulligan says the base plate where the water climbs up the pipe into the tank is leaking. … ”  Read more from KMPH here: No simple fix for Sanger’s leaking water tower

Warmer fall predicted for LA as ‘blob’ settles off California coast:  “A massive “blob” of warm water is lurking off the California coast, and it could mean that Los Angeles won’t experience a true autumn. (Does it ever, though?)  UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain says there’s a “high confidence” that temperatures will be warmer than average this fall. That’s partly due to an enormous new marine heat wave that has settled in off the West Coast, extending for more than 1,000 miles offshore, from Alaska to the southern tip of California. ... ”  Read more from Curbed LA here: Warmer fall predicted for LA as ‘blob’ settles off California coast

This is the worst-possible wildfire scenario for Southern California:  “The wildfire that smashes all of California’s previous notions of “the worst that could happen” begins with an illegal firecracker set off by campers in the the San Bernardino National Forest. Patches of this forest, near the spa city of Palm Springs, have burned many times before. But this fire becomes monstrously big in a matter of hours because a severe, multi-year drought and an extra-long hot summer have left an unprecedented number of trees and shrubs bone dry, defenseless to flame. … ”  Read more from Vox here: This is the worst-possible wildfire scenario for Southern California

What is turning the ocean red in Manhattan Beach?  “The blue ocean has turned a rusty red in Manhattan Beach — but what is causing this change in color?  The red tide, as it’s called, is from an algal bloom, according to Valerie Hill, administrative and development director at the Roundhouse Aquarium off the Manhattan Beach Pier.  It was first spotted by one of her co-workers Thursday, Sept. 5, and stuck around through the weekend. By Monday afternoon, winds had pushed the reddish water north of the pier.  “It’s a bit breezy out here today, the wind is creating some chop and breaking it apart a bit,” she said. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: What is turning the ocean red in Manhattan Beach?

San Diego: EPA updates residents on efforts to reduce cross-border pollution:  “A representative from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday evening updated San Diego residents on the EPA’s efforts to reduce transboundary pollution in the water between Mexico and the United States.  Local nonprofit Citizens’ Oversight organized the informal meeting at Balboa Park, where the public had the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns. … ”  Read more from Channel 5 here: San Diego: EPA updates residents on efforts to reduce cross-border pollution

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Why SB 1 must ensure that CESA applies to the federal CVP; Legislature: Beat up Trump if you must, but fix SB 1; CA water resilience – What’s in your portfolio?; It is fall X2 time again; The good, bad, and ugly of CA’s mandated urban water conservation; and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Environmental groups win court victory against Grasslands Bypass Project; State Water Contractors response to Governor’s Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative; Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom reports

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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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