DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: SB 1 passes legislature, but Newsom plans to veto it; A look at the giant stack of bills sitting on Newsom’s desk; Forecasters see neither La Nino nor El Nino; Finding the source of feces in the American River; Lawsuit in Ventura County over state water; and more …

Sunrise at Farmers Pond near Bishop, Owens Valley. Photo by RS2Photography.
In California water news this weekend, Newsom plans to veto bill that would have blocked Trump’s rollback of endangered species protections; $400mil in funding to fix Friant-Kern Canal stalls in Legislature; California Steps Up Multimillion-Dollar Battle to Eradicate Nutria from State Wetlands; California Lawmakers Have Piled A Giant Stack Of Bills On Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Desk. Here Are Some Of Them; Forecasters see neither La Nino nor El Nino; Feces are contaminating the American River. Sacramento wants to know the source; Ventura’s awash in water litigation. This time, the target is state water; and more …

The latest on SB 1 …

Newsom plans to veto bill that would have blocked Trump’s rollback of endangered species protections:  “Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to veto a bill passed by California lawmakers that would have allowed the state to keep strict Obama-era endangered species protections and water pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  Newsom’s intentions, confirmed by his spokesman on Saturday, comes less than 24 hours after state lawmakers passed the sweeping legislation. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Newsom plans to veto bill that would have blocked Trump’s rollback of endangered species protections

Newsom breaks with Democrats on environmental ‘Trump insurance’ bill:  “In a break with the Democratic-controlled Legislature, Gov. Gavin Newsom sided with farmers and water agencies Saturday by rejecting legislation aimed at blocking the Trump administration from rolling back endangered species protections.  Over Newsom’s objections, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins pushed forward with votes on what is the most significant legislation she ever authored, the so-called “Trump insurance” bill.  Senate Bill 1 sought to lock in place clean water, air and labor law that existed on Jan. 19, 2017, the day before President Donald Trump took office. The bill was set to expire in January, 2025, when Trump would be scheduled to leave office after a second term. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Newsom breaks with Democrats on environmental ‘Trump insurance’ bill

Gavin Newsom says he’ll veto Trump-defying California environmental bill:  “Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday declined to pick a fight with the Trump administration, announcing he’d veto a bill that would have preserved Obama-era environmental policies and negated the Republican’s regulations.  Newsom announced his opposition to Senate Bill 1 several hours after California lawmakers approved it early Saturday morning, closing a week in which the Trump administration rolled back a 2015 water pollution regulation that aimed to protect wetlands. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Gavin Newsom says he’ll veto Trump-defying California environmental bill

Other SB 1 coverage (less fresh):

In other news this weekend …

$400mil in funding to fix Friant-Kern Canal stalls in Legislature:  “An effort to deliver nearly a half-billion-dollars to fix the subsidence-caused damage to the Friant-Kern Canal has stalled in the California State Legislature.  Senate Bill 559, authored by Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger) failed to reach the California Senate floor ahead of Friday’s legislative deadline for consideration.  Now, the bill is being converted into what’s known as a “two-year bill,” meaning it is eligible to be approved by the end of January next year. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Sun here: $400mil in funding to fix Friant-Kern Canal stalls in Legislature

California Lawmakers Have Piled A Giant Stack Of Bills On Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Desk. Here Are Some Of Them:  “The California Legislature has taken a sweeping new step towards defying the Trump administration’s environmental policies by sending a bill that would codify Obama-era regulations into state law to Gov. Gavin Newsom.  That action, along with measures that would place a $15 billion school and college facilities bond on the March 2020 ballot and require abortion services at public universities, topped the list of lawmakers’ final actions on an unprecedented final day of the legislative session. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: California Lawmakers Have Piled A Giant Stack Of Bills On Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Desk. Here Are Some Of Them

California lawmakers fail to pass sweeping plastic pollution plan:  “In a setback for environmental groups, California lawmakers early Saturday morning ended the 2019 legislative session without passing two bills that would have been the most ambitious effort in the nation to reduce the massive amounts of plastic pollution that are washing into oceans, rivers and lakes around the world.  The bills, which each cleared one house but not both chambers as required, would have required companies that sell products widely found in grocery stores and fast-food restaurants to reduce plastic pollution 75% by 2030. That could have come through recycling, composting or reduction in the amount of packaging. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here: California lawmakers fail to pass sweeping plastic pollution plan

California Steps Up Multimillion-Dollar Battle to Eradicate Nutria from State Wetlands:  “There’s no certain answer as to how the nutria population re-emerged after being declared eradicated in California decades ago but the population is spreading and causing serious concern. The Department of Fish and Wildlife was recently awarded $10 million to wipe out the large, invasive rodents and that effort is now well underway.  “There are amazing little wetlands scattered throughout the state that people have no idea are even present,” says Greg Gerstenberg, senior wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “That’s exactly where they thrive.” ... ”  Read more from KPIX here: California Steps Up Multimillion-Dollar Battle to Eradicate Nutria from State Wetlands

San Diego leaders, environmental group call for full permanent funding of Land and Water Conservation Fund:  “An environmental group and several San Diego community leaders rallied Friday in an effort to highlight the need to pass legislation to protect an important federal land conservation program.  The Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego chapter and local leaders gathered to throw their support behind H.R. 3195 , a bill Rep. Mike Levin is supporting that would permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: San Diego leaders, environmental group call for full permanent funding of Land and Water Conservation Fund

The ‘blob’ is back: Here’s how it could impact fall weather:  “An unusually large patch of warmer-than-average water called “the blob” has been growing over the past few months across much of the northern Pacific.  A similar pattern occurred between 2014 and 2015, with significant weather impacts across North America.  This year, a swath of warmer-than-average water stretches from Alaska, where it began forming in June, all the way south to Baja California, Mexico. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here:  The ‘blob’ is back: Here’s how it could impact fall weather

Forecasters see neither La Nino nor El Nino:  “The tropical Pacific Ocean probably won’t be particularly warm or cool this winter, climatologists said Thursday, depriving forecasters of their best clue to how much snow will pile up in the Cascade Range and the rest of the Northwest.  Over the past month, odds improved that sea-surface temperatures along the equator will be close to average for months to come, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center.  Meanwhile, chances that an El Nino or La Nina weather pattern will form are slight. El Nino is linked to warmer Pacific Northwest winters. La Nina is associated with colder winters. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: Forecasters see neither La Nino nor El Nino

Sunday podcast …

Helping Communities Help Themselves: Steve Baker writes, “A new form of governance structure regarding water has actually been pioneered in Walla Walla, Washington. Collaboration by everyone involved was necessary. Even the Governor participated in recognizing this novel approach and the inclusion of native tribes in Washington. Trading water use instead of money raises prosperity and new business opportunities. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Operation Unite®; Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems; stevebaker@operationunite.co

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Siskiyou County: Environmental agencies assist with illegal cannabis counter-drug raids:  “With illegal cannabis grows across Siskiyou County, many times the California State and Regional Water Control Board along with Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will assist the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office in counter-drug operations.  Assistant District Attorney Martha Aker explained that environmental charges are one of the only felony charges prosecutors can level against those working the illegal cannabis grows. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Siskiyou County: Environmental agencies assist with illegal cannabis counter-drug raids

Klamath Salmon Youth Camp Aims to Help Families Advocate for Salmon:  “On September 14th and 15th Tribal families and youth, and other salmon dependent people from all over Northern California will converge at the Bluff Creek Resort near Weitchpec, CA to to discuss how to protect, and honor, the Klamath and Trinity River’s salmon.  Trainings and discussions will be focused on ways to advocate for clean water and Tribal rights, community organizing, media skills, banner making, silkscreening, and traditional skills such as processing salmon. There will also be updates on the Klamath dam removal process and Trump administration water planning. … ”  Read more from the Redheaded Blackbelt here: Klamath Salmon Youth Camp Aims to Help Families Advocate for Salmon

Commentary: Removing Klamath dams key to fish recovery, says Robert Lusardi, PhD:  He writes, “A 2017 comprehensive study of salmon, steelhead and trout in California showed that half of the steelhead and salmon populations native to the Klamath River are in danger of extinction within the next 50 years. Removing the four aging hydroelectric dams from the river would significantly improve ecological and geomorphic conditions throughout the Klamath watershed and play a key role in returning these fish to stable population levels. … ”  Read more from Mt. Shasta News here: Removing Klamath dams key to fish recovery

Humboldt grapples with sea level rise:  “Humboldt County is stepping up its planning for sea level rise in the Humboldt Bay area and is pursuing creation of a multi-jurisdictional agency to deal with it.  ​What was described at the September 3 Board of Supervisors meeting as the “huge implications” of sea level rise is motivating the county to form a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) with the City of Eureka and infrastructure agencies.  ​According to a staff report, the Humboldt Bay region has the highest rate of relative sea level rise on the U.S. West Coast. As water elevation rises, land is subsiding due to tectonic activity and soil conditions. ... ”  Read more from the Mad River Union here: Humboldt grapples with sea level rise

Feces are contaminating the American River. Sacramento wants to know the source:  “A stretch of the American River in Northern California contains significant levels of E. coli bacteria, a sign of fecal contamination, according to Sacramento County officials.  Tiscornia Beach, an area on the lower American River frequented by summer visitors, tested 7.5 times higher than the safety threshold on Tuesday, according to data from the county and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Samples of river water taken two weeks earlier at nearby Discovery Park tested almost 5.5 times higher than the safety threshold. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: Feces are contaminating the American River. Sacramento wants to know the source

Don’t panic: ‘Full-scale’ training exercise planned at Folsom Dam next week:  “A multi-agency training exercise Wednesday will bring a large presence of law enforcement and emergency responders to Folsom Dam.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns and operates Folsom Dam, announced a “full-scale training exercise” at and near the dam between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday.  “The public may see emergency response vehicles and personnel throughout the day participating in the exercise at the dam or on the surrounding federal property,” the bureau said Thursday in a news release. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Don’t panic: ‘Full-scale’ training exercise planned at Folsom Dam next week

State Water Board Authorizes Major Recycled Water Project:  “Efforts to increase recycled water use in California got a significant boost this week with the State Water Board’s issuance of an order authorizing the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s (Regional San) South Sacramento Agriculture & Habitat Lands Recycled Water Program (South County Ag Program or Program) to deliver an average of 45 million gallons per day (mgd) of recycled water from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP) for agricultural irrigation and fish and wildlife habitat enhancement purposes. ... ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: State Water Board Authorizes Major Recycled Water Project

Gilroy: Environmental report favors new reservoir:  “Construction of a new Pacheco Reservoir has been given an important thumbs-up in a new environmental impact statement released last month.  The project would build a new dam and expanded reservoir on the North Fork of Pacheco Creek that could hold 140,000 acre-feet of water, a substantial increase from the 5,500-acre-foot capacity of the existing reservoir built 80 years ago. ... ”  Read more from the Gilroy Dispatch here: Gilroy: Environmental report favors new reservoir

Pure Water Monterey recycled water project delays continue:  “Completion and operation of the much-anticipated Pure Water Monterey recycled water project have been delayed again and it is now expected to miss another key water delivery deadline set for the end of this year.  But an accelerated proposed timeline envisions California American Water starting to extract water banked in the Seaside basin from the recycled water project by February or March, before the current six-month waiting period. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Pure Water Monterey recycled water project delays continue

Fresno County hits record crop value with full water allotment:  “Commodity prices across some crops, record cotton yields and ample water supplies combined to catapult Fresno County’s gross crop value to a record $7.88 billion in 2018, eclipsing last year’s figure by over 12 percent, and besting the previous record by nearly as much.  “Fresno County’s agricultural strength is based on the diversity of crops produced,” said Fresno County Agriculture Commissioner Melissa Cregan. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Fresno County hits record crop value with full water allotment

Water wars: Exeter, Tooleville feud for clean water access:  “The fight for clean water in eastern Tulare County turned “ugly” this week, as Exeter City Council voted “no action” on measures that would have allowed its unincorporated neighbor to connect to the city’s water supply.  Exeter Mayor Mary Waterman-Philpot pointed toward “public perception” as a reason for nixing discussions with Tooleville, a tiny community down the road from Exeter that has struggled with multiple contaminants in its drinking water for decades. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: Water wars: Exeter, Tooleville feud for clean water access

West Kern Water District has a safe supply:  “While other water districts are facing cutbacks in the amount of water they can provide to their customers under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), the West Kern Water District, which supplies Taft, outlying Westside communities and the oil and power industry with water, is sitting pretty.  In fact, its sitting on a 10-year supply (about 260,000 acre feet) and, in most years, it takes in an average of 4,000 acre feet more than it needs, according to a report WKWD General Manager Greg Hammett presented to the Kern Groundwater Authority last week. … ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here: West Kern Water District has a safe supply

Ventura’s awash in water litigation. This time, the target is state water:  “A nonprofit that advocates on behalf of water issues is suing Ventura for what it claims is a faulty environmental report prepared in anticipation of the city connecting to state water.  The Santa Barbara-based California Water Impact Network, co-founded by Patagonia owner Yvon Chouinard, filed the suit Sept. 4 in Ventura County Superior Court.   An environmental impact report is required by the state on new projects and big developments to give the community information on traffic, emissions, cultural and historical resources and a variety of other issues. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Ventura’s awash in water litigation. This time, the target is state water

Sea-level rise threatens Orange County’s coast from top to bottom:  “From flooded neighborhoods and roads to disappearing beaches and crumbling bluffs, Orange County faces a range of drastic losses as a result of rising sea levels, according to a presentation to the state Coastal Commission on Friday.  Early signs of those effects are already seen everywhere, from Seal Beach and Huntington Beach in the north through Doheny Beach and Capistrano Beach in the south.  “Sea-level rise is going to change the coast in quite significant ways,” Sean Hecht told the commission at its meeting in Newport Beach’s city council chambers. Hecht is co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: Sea-level rise threatens Orange County’s coast from top to bottom

San Diego: Agreement close on Buena Vista Lagoon restoration:  “A proposal to keep deeper, more open water at the western end of the Buena Vista Lagoon is part of modifications that could make a proposed restoration at last palatable to all the property owners involved.  “It would still remove the weir, but would also protect the St. Malo open areas, as well as create some critical areas of deeper water,” said Keith Greer, regional principal planner for the San Diego Association of Governments, in a presentation Tuesday to the Carlsbad City Council. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego: Agreement close on Buena Vista Lagoon restoration

Along the Colorado River …

How do we sustain the Colorado River past 2026? Here’s how Arizona intends to find outTom Buschatzke and Ted Cooke write, “It didn’t take long for the completion of the Drought Contingency Plan to create value to Arizona and the Colorado River Basin. Its focus on stabilizing Lake Mead and creating incentives to “bank” water in the reservoir already are paying dividends.  We can say with confidence that DCP is already a success.  DCP is providing a safe harbor while we work on important issues leading up to 2026, when the existing guidelines for the operation of the Colorado River system expire. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: How do we sustain the Colorado River past 2026? Here’s how Arizona intends to find out

And lastly …

Sacramento photographer shares striking American River photos:  “A Fair Oaks photographer is on a mission to capture fleeting moments along the American River Parkway that can be easily overlooked with earbuds, conversations and focusing on the trail.  Sam Davidson captures striking photos of wildlife.  “I’m just trying to get people to stop, look around, listen and take in what’s around you,” Davidson said. “You could walk around and find things, but you’d be amazed what comes to you if you just sit and wait and watch and listen.” ... ”  Read more and view pictures from KCRA Channel 3 here: Sacramento photographer shares striking American River photos

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

no weekends

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