DAILY DIGEST: Trump administration threatens jail time for CA officials over river project; Governor to act on key legislation for farms, ranches; Eyes in the sky help farmers on the ground; Study: Inadequate groundwater to meet demands in basin targeted by Las Vegas; and more …

In California water news today, Trump administration threatens jail time for California officials over river project; Governor to act on key legislation for farms, ranches; Hope Remains for Friant-Kern Bill Despite Failing to Pass in Legislature; Eyes in the Sky Help Farmers on the Ground; UCLA to assess California drinking water systems to identify risks and solutions; Is the San Gabriel Valley’s water at risk due to homeless camps along the San Gabriel Riverbed?; Study: Inadequate Groundwater for Current and Potential Demands in Basin Targeted by Las Vegas; As Water Sources Dry Up, Arizona Farmers Feel the Heat of Climate Change; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9am.  (Note new start time).  Agenda items include consideration of adoption of emergency regulations revising the Core Water Quality Regulatory Fee Schedules, amending Drinking Water Fee Schedules; and Water Rights Fee Schedules. Click here for the full agendaClick here to watch on webcast.
  • The California Water Commission meets at 9:30am.  Agenda items include DWR Director Karla Nemeth, The Del Puerto Reservoir Project, County drought & water shortage contingency planning, and the Oroville Recovery effort.  For agenda and webcast link, click here.
  • Public meeting for SWP contract amendment for Delta conveyance from 10am to 3pm in Rancho Cordova.  Click here for the agenda and remote listening information.
  • A webinar on Geospatial Patterns of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in US Rivers and Streams from 11am to 12pm.  Presented by the EPA.  Click here to register.
  • A webinar on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program – Applicant Assistance Workshop from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.  Click here to register.

In the news today …

Trump administration threatens jail time for California officials over river project:  “The Trump administration and California officials have sued each other, swapped insults on Twitter and clashed on everything from climate change to immigration.  But threatening someone with jail time? That might be a new one.  The threats came in a dispute over reintroducing winter-run Chinook salmon into the McCloud River, a pristine river above Shasta Dam, as part of a federal plan approved under the Obama administration to try to stave off extinction for the critically endangered fish. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Trump administration threatens jail time for California officials over river project

Governor to act on key legislation for farms, ranches:  “A hectic week for the state Legislature ended with welcome news for California farmers and ranchers—Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he intends to veto Senate Bill 1, which sought to preserve existing California environmental and labor standards from federal changes initiated by the Trump administration.  Water-related provisions of the bill proved problematic for farmers, ranchers and water agencies. For example, SB 1 would apply the California Endangered Species Act to the federally operated Central Valley Project. That provision threatened negotiations to establish voluntary settlement agreements concerning water flows from the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems into the delta. … ”  Continue reading at Ag Alert here:  Governor to act on key legislation for farms, ranches

Hope Remains for Friant-Kern Bill Despite Failing to Pass in Legislature:  “Senate Bill 559 (SB 559) failed to make it to the Senate floor for a vote before the September 13 deadline for the California legislature. The bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Melissa Hurtado seeks to address the failing infrastructure of the Friant-Kern Canal. There is still an opportunity for the legislation to be reconsidered in 2020, as it was extended into a two-year bill during its review in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill will need to clear the state senate before the January 31 deadline for it to remain viable. ... ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Hope Remains for Friant-Kern Bill Despite Failing to Pass in Legislature

Drought tolerant crop being studied in the Valley:  “Big research is happening at the Kearney Agriculture and Extension Center in Fresno County.  Sorghum, a crop that looks similar to corn, is under a microscope.  Jeff Dahlberg, director of the center, said that sorghum is very drought tolerant.  “What we are looking for is the mechanism behind the drought tolerance in sorghum and if we can elucidate the genetics behind that, what we believe is we can use those genetics to see if the genetics in corn, or in rice, or in wheat,” he said. … ”  Read more from ABC 30 here: Drought tolerant crop being studied in the Valley

Eyes in the Sky Help Farmers on the Ground:  “The Central Valley of California doesn’t begin so much with a gradual change in the landscape as with an abrupt line. Suddenly, a barren plain that looks like an apt cue for “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” theme song is interrupted by the first row of leafy, irrigated crops.  Since the 1930s, the region has run on human control of water, carefully distributing the melting mountain snowpack through reservoirs and dams, pumping stations and irrigation pipelines, through drips, sprinklers and intentionally flooded fields. Combined with groundwater pumps, the system turned the valley’s Mediterranean and desert climates into the country’s produce basket, producing one-fourth of the country’s food on just 1 percent of its land. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Eyes in the Sky Help Farmers on the Ground

UCLA to assess California drinking water systems to identify risks and solutions:  “California is the only state to legally recognize a human right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water. But this right is not yet a reality in all communities. About 400 water systems in California are currently known to be noncompliant, with many others suspected of being at high risk of violating quality or affordability standards.  Through a $3 million contract with the California State Water Resources Board, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation will conduct a statewide drinking water needs analysis to identify risks and solutions for water systems and private wells throughout the state. … ”  Read more from the UCLA Newsroom here: UCLA to assess California drinking water systems to identify risks and solutions

Could Sea Level Rise Threaten the Water Coming Out of Some California Taps?  “Most Californians turn on their taps without thinking about where the water comes from or if that flow might trickle out someday. They may not realize how local, state, and even federal water managers work together to ensure a steady water supply now and in the future.  Flooding from earthquake-caused levee breeches or climate change-caused sea level rise could result in more saltwater invading our water supply that travels through the Delta. DWR’s climate scientists and water managers will address ways to plan for potential climate change impacts such as sea level rise at the Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Summit in Sacramento on September 17, 2019. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Could Sea Level Rise Threaten the Water Coming Out of Some California Taps?

Alpine County: Rare California trout species returns to native habitat:  “For the first time in nearly a century, a rare California trout species will swim in a mountain creek that is its native habitat, marking a major milestone that conservationists hope will lead to a thriving population and removal of its threatened status.  About 30 Paiute cutthroat trout will be plucked Wednesday from Coyote Valley Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada wilderness and hauled in cans strapped to pack mules about 2 miles west into Long Valley. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Rare California trout species returns to native habitat

California to increase flows on key river to protect trout:  “California officials have ordered increased water flows on the Santa Ynez River in Santa Barbara County to protect endangered steelhead trout.  The State Water Resources Control Board says Tuesday that its action follows two decades of legal efforts to address long-term declines in native fish populations in the Santa Ynez. … ”  Read more from KSBY here: California to increase flows on key river to protect trout

California’s forage wars:  “Hillary Renick hikes down scree and rocks worn smooth by waves to reach the sandy beach below. The morning fog has receded, but the sky is still gray along the Mendocino County coastline as Renick scrambles up, down, and around Pomo village and nearby sites, where her people harvest traditional foods and collect materials for regalia, such as shells. “The rocky inlets are where the abalone hang out,” says Renick.  Renick, a citizen of the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, and her crew of self-described “guerilla gatherers,” are scouting Glass Beach in Fort Bragg for abalone, seaweed and shells they use for food, regalia and ceremonies. ... ”  Read more from High Country News here: California’s forage wars

In commentary today …

Beyond Senate Bill 1: California has a chance to make water history, says Jeffrey Kightlinger:  He writes, “California’s contemporary effort to modernize the water system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta officially began in 2006. George W. Bush was president Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor. Their administrations signed a planning agreement. And the search for a solution was on.  Thirteen years, two governors and two presidents later, we are all still at it. We have yet to find ways to stabilize important water ecosystems or the reliability of water supplies for the state economy. And we are going to reach a point where we either collectively fail to achieve these two important goals despite years of efforts, or we move forward in historic and meaningful ways that undoubtedly will not please everyone. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Beyond Senate Bill 1: California has a chance to make water history

Dan Walters: Newsom bucks his party on water:  “It had to happen sooner or later.  At some point, California’s “resistance” to President Donald Trump would move beyond flowery rhetoric, tweets and lawsuits and seriously affect Californians.  It happened in the wee hours of Saturday, just before the Legislature adjourned for the year. Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1, the self-described California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2019, and Gov. Gavin Newsom immediately signaled that he would veto it. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Newsom bucks his party on water

SF Chronicle Editorial: The final verdict on Sacramento’s legislative session:  They write, “No one can say the California Legislature’s legislative session lacked for drama: It began with a housing crisis and ended with an anti-vaccine activist throwing what appeared to be blood at state senators.  “That’s for the dead babies!” the activist shouted as she tossed the liquid from the gallery of the Capitol on Friday night. The bill for which she was willing to be arrested on six charges was SB276, which will crack down on medical exemptions for vaccinations. Her shocking action marked the end of SB276’s wild ride, which Gov. Gavin Newsom ended with his signature. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: SF Chronicle Editorial: The final verdict on Sacramento’s legislative session

In regional news and commentary today …

Save the Redwoods Acquires A Forest of Giant Sequoias to Rival Mariposa Grove:  “The Save the Redwoods League has acquired 530 acres of giant sequoia forest in the Sierra Nevada east of Tulare. In both size and in the number of ancient sequoias, the Alder Creek property rivals Yosemite’s famed Mariposa Grove. The $15.25 million purchase, expected to be finalized in December, includes the fifth-tallest tree on earth, the Stagg Tree, a 250-foot-tall, 3,000-year-old giant. It’s one of nearly 500 giant sequoias on the private property.  The nonprofit redwood conservation group works to protect both coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and their cousins the giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum). But most giant sequoias were protected more than half a century ago, leaving Alder Creek as the largest unprotected grove remaining. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: Save the Redwoods Acquires A Forest of Giant Sequoias to Rival Mariposa Grove

Cities in north Santa Clara County explore water recycling technologies for a sustainable, resilient water supply:  “With increased water demands due to climate change and population growth, solutions for a sustainable and resilient water supply are more critical than ever. That’s why the Santa Clara Valley Water District, now known as Valley Water, and the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View are exploring a potential partnership to help fill the need for future drinking water supplies through new regional water reuse programs. Water reuse can include either traditional recycled water for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation and industrial needs, but it can also include reusing water for future drinking water supplies through advanced water purification technologies. … ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Cities in north Santa Clara County explore water recycling technologies for a sustainable, resilient water supply

Selma residents get drought notices, demand answers from city officials:  “We all know it’s important to conserve water, but are we still in a drought?  California water officials say “no!”  But a number of residents in Selma got a notice on their door telling them we are in a drought and that’s why stage 3 water restrictions are in place.  They called CBS47 to straighten it out. ... ”  Read more from CBS 47 here: Selma residents get drought notices, demand answers from city officials

Is the San Gabriel Valley’s water at risk due to homeless camps along the San Gabriel Riverbed?A report that the homeless living along the San Gabriel Riverbed may have contaminated the water supply has city and water officials scrambling to spread the message that the water in the east San Gabriel Valley is safe to drink, officials said.  An NBC 4 report titled, “Homeless Camps in San Gabriel Valley Threaten Water Supply,” implied cities in the San Gabriel Valley, including Azusa, get their water right from the river, but that’s not the case, said Ken Manning, executive director of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority. … ”  Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here: Is the San Gabriel Valley’s water at risk due to homeless camps along the San Gabriel Riverbed?

San Diego: A Brief History of Pure Water’s Pure Drama:  “San Diego water officials have looked at turning sewage into drinking water for nearly 40 years. The first stab at recycling wastewater involved a series of ponds in Mission Valley that grew hyacinths, long-rooted plants that gobble up sewage and leave relatively clean water behind.  Now, after years of scientific progress, regulatory wrangling, political ups and downs, and searching for the money, the city is getting ready to put shovels in the ground and get to work on a multi-part, multibillion-dollar project that will eventually provide a third of the city’s drinking water. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  A Brief History of Pure Water’s Pure Drama

Along the Colorado River …

Study: Inadequate Groundwater for Current and Potential Demands in Basin Targeted by Las Vegas:  “There is not enough water to support important wetlands and springs in a semi-arid desert ecosystem that straddles the Nevada-Utah border if all permitted and proposed groundwater rights are put to use, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study of the Snake Valley. There also may not be enough groundwater to satisfy the desires of the Las Vegas area, whose water agencies have eyed the valley for decades as a potential supply source. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: Study: Inadequate Groundwater for Current and Potential Demands in Basin Targeted by Las Vegas

As Water Sources Dry Up, Arizona Farmers Feel the Heat of Climate Change:  “Fall is a busy time for Knorr Farms, a family operation that grows peppers, corn, cotton, and other crops on 3,000 acres in Pinal County, one of Arizona’s top growing regions.  Owner Rob Knorr is preparing for a big October pepper harvest and mapping out plans for the next planting season—what to grow, where, and how. Water, as always, is the linchpin. Like other farmers in this parched county, which stretches for more than 5,300 square miles across the Sonoran Desert, Knorr depends entirely on irrigation water from the Colorado River. He receives it from the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a 336-mile canal system that Knorr calls the “lifeline to Arizona agriculture.” … ”  Read more from Civil Eats here:  As Water Sources Dry Up, Arizona Farmers Feel the Heat of Climate Change

Reasons to be optimistic about Arizona’s water future:  “A 19-year-drought almost brought the Southwest to its knees this year as states and water stakeholders wrestled to reach consensus on a plan to conserve Colorado River water for the future.  In a race against Mother Nature, Arizona and six other states were able to make a deal to update the binding seven-state Drought Contingency Plan (DCP). It was needed to address a new, harsh reality: a drier future. The effort was merely a stopgap measure. But as challenges to quench Arizona’s growing cities and towns continue, there are reasons to be optimistic, said experts and state water leaders who came together to discuss solutions at the 2019 Congressional Conference, “Revolutionizing Arizona’s Water Future,” at Arizona State University. ... ”  Read more from Chamber Business News here: Reasons to be optimistic about Arizona’s water future

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BROWN BAG SEMINAR: Viewing estuaries from a ‘macroscope’: How global, regional, and local processes affect the San Francisco Bay and Delta

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Delta Conveyance DCA to vote on establishment of a Delta Stakeholder Committee; State Water Board adopts order to increase flows for Santa Ynez River; Congressional Democrats introduce bill to reverse Trump’s Endangered Species Act rollback

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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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