DAILY DIGEST: In CA, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was; Some ecosystems offer refuge for wildlife in a warming world; Biological treatment for groundwater contaminant removal; ‘Historic’ winter storm smashes records in West; and more …

In California water news today, Chasing a memory: In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next?; Some Ecosystems Offer Refuge for Wildlife in a Warming World; Scientists assess waters off San Francisco and fear a climatic intruder; Victory for defenders of Californian waterways; Newsom vetoes bill to freeze water, environmental regulations; The Natural Way: Biological Treatment For Groundwater Contaminant Removal; ‘Historic’ winter storm dumps 3 feet of snow, smashes records in West; and more …

In the news today …

Chasing a memory: In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next? If there is a hell for salmon, it probably looks like this.  There were many more golf balls in the water than salmon this summer, whacked there by enthusiasts at Aqua Golf, a driving range on the bank of the Sacramento River.  Below the surface, the gravel salmon need to make their nests had been mined decades ago to build Shasta Dam, 602 feet tall and with no fish passage. The dam cut off access to all of the cold mountain waters where these fish used to spawn.  The hillsides above the river were blackened by wildfire. Houses, instead of forests, stood along the banks. Cars roared by on Interstate 5 as temperatures soared to 105 degrees.  Yet the matriarchs of the orcas that frequent Puget Sound still remember the big winter chinook that used to thrive here. … ”  Read more from the Seattle Times here:  Chasing a memory: In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next? 

Some Ecosystems Offer Refuge for Wildlife in a Warming World:  “Scientists are searching for pockets of ecological resistance in the face of climate change, places that seem to be warming less quickly than others due to unique natural conditions.  The hope is that as the earth continues to get hotter, these “climate refugia” could serve as strongholds for plants and animals. For a decade, scientists have been studying this phenomenon in a steep mountain valley in the Sierra Nevada. Devils Postpile National Monument is known for its distinct geologic formations, where the crumbling columns of rock from an ancient lava bed resemble, well, a pile of posts. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Some Ecosystems Offer Refuge for Wildlife in a Warming World

Scientists assess waters off San Francisco and fear a climatic intruder:  “The scientists leaned over the rail of the research vessel Fulmar to get a closer look at the frenzy of five humpback whales and 150 sea lions feeding near the Farallon Islands when, suddenly, a towering spray shot out of a blow hole and misted the researchers with a stinky mucus-like goo.  The rain of green droplets hardly fazed the researchers, who were used to such indignities and had more important concerns during their annual survey of ocean habitat around the Farallones. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Scientists assess waters off San Francisco and fear a climatic intruder

Victory for defenders of Californian waterways:  “A coalition of river and coastal defenders have won a major victory against the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board), securing an order that requires the Water Board to meet the statutory deadlines for its list of impaired waterways in California.  The lawsuit focused on the Water Board’s violations of the Clean Water Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the latter being California’s guiding clean water law that protects the health of the state’s inland and coastal waters. … ”  Read more from The Ecologist here: Victory for defenders of Californian waterways

Newsom vetoes bill to freeze water, environmental regulations:  “Stuck between allies who supported and opposed it, California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 1, a bill to freeze the state’s environmental regulations to pre-Trump era standards, late Friday.  In his veto statement Friday, Newsom questioned “the efficacy and necessity” of the bill.  Opponents of Senate Bill 1, including five California Democratic Congressmen and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, argued that the legislation restricted scientific advancements in analyzing California’s water needs and air quality conditions by relying on outdated science. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Newsom vetoes bill to freeze water, environmental regulations

The Natural Way: Biological Treatment For Groundwater Contaminant Removal: Nature has long provided guidance to simple and sustainable ways to manage environmental challenges. Biological treatment for potable water is no exception. As more water is required to support human activity worldwide, sources once considered too contaminated or expensive to treat are quickly becoming necessary options. In this area, biological treatment of groundwater is finding its niche as an option for dealing with the challenges of utilizing formerly questionable water sources. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: The Natural Way: Biological Treatment For Groundwater Contaminant Removal

‘Historic’ winter storm dumps 3 feet of snow, smashes records in West:  “One week after summer’s end, a “winter” storm began blasting parts of the West with up to 3 feet of snow, smashing records with low temperatures, heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions forecast into Monday.  Snow was piling up across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The National Weather Service, calling the storm “historic,” said temperatures in some areas would drop as much as 30 degrees below normal.  “Many daily record low maximum temperature records are possible through Monday, especially across the Northern Great Basin, Rockies and Northern California,” the weather service said. ... ”  Read more from the USA Today here: ‘Historic’ winter storm dumps 3 feet of snow, smashes records in West

In commentary today …

With Gov. Newsom’s veto of SB 1, California seems stuck in same old water fight ‘binaries’, says Kim Delfino:  She writes, “California got a Friday night surprise when Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed Senate Bill 1.  SB 1, authored by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, was intended to help California defend itself against the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken environmental, public health and worker safety standards. It sought to provide a stronger and more efficient means for state agencies to fill the gap left by federal rollbacks.  Burying an anti-environmental action on a Friday evening is not necessarily unusual. It is common practice by the Trump Administration. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: With Gov. Newsom’s veto of SB 1, California seems stuck in same old water fight ‘binaries’

Trump administration makes right move in repealing 2015 water rule, says Tom Campbell:  He writes, “Recently, authority over many streams, pools, and lakes in the United States reverted from the federal government to the states.  The Trump administration repealed the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule, under which the federal government claimed authority to regulate virtually any body of water it wished.  A farmer who dug a pond and decided to cover it over again could have been fined for doing so without prior approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Pools of standing water on farm land became subject to possible federal regulation. So did man-made reservoirs, and ponds that filled up only during the rainy season. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Trump administration makes right move in repealing 2015 water rule

In regional news and commentary today …

Tribe Gives Personhood To Klamath River:  “A Native American tribe has granted personhood to a river in northern California making it the first known River in North America to have the same legal rights as a human, at least under tribal law. The Yurok Tribe based near the southern border of Oregon confirmed the new status on the Klamath River. For years, water management systems and climate change have led to lower water flows in the Klamath and fewer salmon – one of the Yurok’s main food sources. We’re joined now by Yurok Tribe General Counsel Amy Cordalis, who is also a tribal member. … ”  Read more or listen from NPR here: Tribe Gives Personhood To Klamath River

SF Giants unveil plan for a 5-acre ‘constructed eco-system’ along bay: “Now that the San Francisco Giants’ underwhelming season is over, the team has big off-season plans — at least in terms of real estate.  Construction should begin this winter on the first phase of the remake of the team’s parking lot south of McCovey Cove along Third Street, including a 5-acre waterfront park with tide pools open to waders and a bayside lawn capable of holding 5,000 people. ... ” Read more from the SF Chronicle here: SF Giants unveil plan for a 5-acre ‘constructed eco-system’ along bay

Los Angeles: At ‘diamond in the rough’ at Whittier Narrows, army of volunteers cleans up nature sanctuary:  “More than 100 volunteers fanned out across the San Gabriel Riverbed at Whittier Narrows nature sanctuary under gloomy gray skies on Saturday to pick it clean of trash buried in sand and snared in the limbs of willow trees and weeds.  Their quarry included shoes, shredded clothing, shopping carts, tires, plastic bottles and an occasional infant car seat.  And the litter kept coming at the 419-acre nature preserve flanked by two freeways and a string of industrial parks in eastern L.A. County: baseballs, water hoses, blankets, televisions and tent poles. Beer bottles, metal scraps, orange traffic cones and suitcases. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: At ‘diamond in the rough’ at Whittier Narrows, army of volunteers cleans up nature sanctuary

Precipitation watch …

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for elevations above 6000 feet through Monday afternoon.

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Defying environmentalists, Newsom vetoes bill to block Trump’s Endangered Species Act rollback; Secretary Bernhardt wants to enlarge Shasta dam; Westlands would benefit; Bird study results questioned; Two new dams near the Grand Canyon?; Nutria as tasty dog treats; and more …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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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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