DAILY DIGEST: Trump administration surrenders to California, backs off on Delta water fight; 7 trillion tiny pieces of plastic wash into San Francisco Bay every year, new study shows; Race to the bottom: The incredible surge of groundwater extraction in California; and more …

In California water news today, Trump administration surrenders to California, backs off on Delta water fight; Newsom signs Dodd’s water management bill, Tijuana River bill; 7 trillion tiny pieces of plastic wash into San Francisco Bay every year, new study shows; Fall salmon return to Coleman Hatchery; Race to the bottom: The Incredible Surge of Groundwater Extraction in California; Eco-groups sue feds, allege that Glen Canyon Dam plan ignores climate change; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Trump administration surrenders to California, backs off on Delta water fight:  “The Trump administration has retreated on a plan to push more water through the Delta this fall after protests from California officials on the harmful impacts on endangered Chinook salmon and other fish. …In a letter Tuesday to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, Reclamation’s regional director Ernest Conant defended the plan to deliver more water to the irrigation districts that belong to the federal government’s Central Valley Project, saying it was “sound, science-based and lawful.” But he said Reclamation is backing off because it “values its relationships” with Fish and Wildlife and other California agencies. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Trump administration surrenders to California, backs off on Delta water fight

MICROPLASTICS IN SF BAY

7 trillion tiny pieces of plastic wash into San Francisco Bay every year, new study shows:  “Every year, 7 trillion tiny pieces of plastic, roughly equal to 1 million pieces each for every man, woman and child in the Bay Area, flow into San Francisco Bay, according to a the most comprehensive scientific study yet on the subject.  The three-year study found that billions of pieces of “microplastic” — particles smaller than 5 millimeters each, or roughly the size of a pencil eraser — pour through the Bay Area’s 40 sewage treatment plants every year…. ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: 7 trillion tiny pieces of plastic wash into San Francisco Bay every year, new study shows

The biggest likely source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Our car tires:  “Driving is not just an air pollution and climate change problem — turns out, it just might be the largest contributor of microplastics in California coastal waters.  That is one of many new findings, released Wednesday, from the most comprehensive study to date on microplastics in California. Rainfall washes more than 7 trillion microplastics, much of it tire particles left behind on streets, into San Francisco Bay each year — an amount 300 times greater than what comes from microfibers washing off polyester clothes, microbeads from beauty products and the many other plastics washing down our sinks and sewers. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: The biggest likely source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Our car tires

LEGISLATION

Newsom signs Dodd’s water management bill:  “Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced Monday that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed his legislation to help California oversee its water.  “Water is an essential resource in California that must be protected and carefully managed,” Dodd said in a prepared statement from his office. “It is quite simply the lifeblood of our state. Stream gauges provide important information in this era of droughts and flooding, driven in part by climate change. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Newsom signs Dodd’s water management bill

Gov. Newsom signs bill addressing water quality issues in Tijuana River Valley:  “California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law new legislation to further prevent the exposure of harmful chemicals and sewage into the Tijuana River Valley.  Senate Bill No. 690 seeks to reduce exposure to dangerous pathogens, limit beach closures and address water quality issues in the Tijuana River Valley. … ”  Read more from KUSI here: Gov. Newsom signs bill addressing water quality issues in Tijuana River Valley

SALMON

Fall salmon return to Coleman Hatchery; tribal concerns over Chinook population continue:  “Thousands of fall-run salmon have returned to Battle Creek in Shasta County. The Coleman National Fish Hatchery opened the fish ladder Tuesday morning so the salmon will begin to flow into their holding ponds. However, local native American tribes are not exactly praising the return to the hatchery, saying the population is still at risk. … ”  Read more from KRCR here:  Fall salmon return to Coleman Hatchery; tribal concerns over Chinook population continue

Tribal members run 50-mile Trinity Connection advocating for healthy salmon populations:  “Members of four local Sacramento, Klamath, McCloud and Trinity River Tribes ran the 50-mile Trinity Connection Run on Sept. 25 to make a statement regarding the importance of healthy salmon populations to their cultures and livelihoods.  These runners decided to make this effort just days before Gov. Gavin Newsom prepared to veto a bill that would protect California salmon from Trump administration attacks. They joined together from the Sacramento River watersheds and the Klamath and Trinity Rivers on the first-ever Trinity Connection Run for the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s Run4Salmon, according to a press release from the Save California Salmon organization. ... ”  Read more from KRCR here: Tribal members run 50-mile Trinity Connection advocating for healthy salmon populations

Thousands come out to 25th Oroville Salmon Festival for fun, education:  “The celebration of the return of fall-run Chinook salmon from the ocean to the Feather River marked a milestone Sept. 28 as thousands of visitors and residents turned out for the Oroville Salmon Festival’s 25th anniversary.  Morning rain didn’t dampen spirits as hundreds took advantage of the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) tours of the Feather River Fish Hatchery to watch fish jump up the fish ladder and see first-hand how hatchery staff process the fish to get their eggs and fertilize them. Fish are reared in long ponds called raceways until they are large enough to be returned to the river for their swim back to the Pacific Ocean. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Thousands come out to 25th Oroville Salmon Festival for fun, education

SB 1 FALLOUT

Senate Bill 1 Veto Official, Governor Praised:  “Last Friday Governor Gavin Newsom made good on his word by vetoing Senate Bill 1 (SB 1).  The news was celebrated by several agricultural, water, and business groups, as being an important step to ensure that California’s voluntary agreements succeed in better managing water supplies.  “While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California’s environmental and worker protections,” Newsom wrote in a veto letter. ... ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Senate Bill 1 Veto Official, Governor Praised

Environmental Advocates Express Dismay In The Wake Of SB 1 Veto: “Environmental advocates are expressing dismay and a growing distrust toward governor Gavin Newsom in the wake of his vetoing Senate Bill 1. The legislation passed by large margins in both houses. It would have erected a legal shield against the Trump Administration’s attempts to weaken environmental protection of the California’s natural resources. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.”

OTHER STATEWIDE NEWS

California’s water year starts with a large increase in reservoir storage. Here’s why:  “California is enjoying an increase in average water reserves due to increases in snowfall and precipitation, according to the Department of Water Resources.  Statewide, the reservoir is at 128 percent of average, which is about 29.7 million acre-feet. Some of the biggest increases include Lake Oroville, which is currently at 102 percent of its average, compared to 62 percent this time last year; Shasta Lake is at 126 percent (88 percent in 2018) and San Luis Reservoir is at 132 percent (117 percent last year). … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California’s water year starts with a large increase in reservoir storage. Here’s why

Four Lessons From the Front Lines of California’s Water Wars:  Ry Rivard writes, “Four and a half years ago, during the height of the California drought, I started writing about water.  Gov. Jerry Brown had just ordered mandatory reductions for cities across the state. He told the public we must use 25 percent less water, a somewhat arbitrary number that came out of one of the many meetings going on at the time.  Outside of California, the general misimpression was that our taps would run dry and we’d move back to Oklahoma, a futile experiment in settling this state ended not by earthquake or fire, but by thirst. ... ”  Continue reading at the Voice of San Diego here: Four Lessons From the Front Lines of California’s Water Wars

Race to the bottom: The Incredible Surge of Groundwater Extraction in California:  “California agriculture is at an all time peak, grossing around $50 billion in farm and ranch output in 2018. The agricultural giant is responsible for 33% of the vegetables and 66% of the fruits and nuts consumed in the USA. California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, and 34-40 percent of the world’s walnuts and pistachios. But California is also a dry land that suffers from drought and wildfire. There simply isn’t enough water in any given year to support all of the crops and livestock, so farmers and ranchers depend on groundwater pumped from deep, underground aquifers. Groundwater, like oil, is a limited resource, and in California it’s consumed at an alarming rate. … ”  Read more from Rich Pauloo here:  Race to the bottom: The Incredible Surge of Groundwater Extraction in California

NATIONAL NEWS

Top 10 Challenges In Water And Wastewater Construction Projects:  “Can you imagine the excitement and nervousness aerospace engineers must be experiencing when the countdown for rocket launch begins? “Three, two, one, blast off!” The next minutes, hours, and days test the team’s ability, experience, and knowledge put into the project. While this analogy may not be as applicable here, we environmental engineers also experience substantial enthusiasm and anxiety when water or wastewater projects enter the construction and commissioning phases. These stages are the most exciting, intensive, and nervous portions of the entire project lifecycle. ... ”  Read more from Water Online here: Top 10 Challenges In Water And Wastewater Construction Projects

Journal ‘Nature’ retracts ocean-warming study:  “The journal Nature retracted a study published last year that found oceans were warming at an alarming rate due to climate change.  The prestigious scientific journal issued the formal notice this week for the paper published Oct. 31, 2018, by researchers at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. … ”  Read more from Phys Org here: Journal ‘Nature’ retracts ocean-warming study

In commentary today …

Wayne Western Jr.: With booming reservoirs, what is the real culprit in California’s water scare?  He writes, ” … While our major reservoirs are in good shape just ahead of another winter, we still see headlines about fish near extinction, human feces and chemicals in our rivers and waterways, contaminated groundwater, subsidence, harm to disadvantaged communities, and water allocations to farmers that make zero sense.  Good water years should not distract anyone from the real issues we face. But we should get real about why we face these issues. ... ”  Read the commentary at the San Joaquin Sun here:   With booming reservoirs, what is the real culprit in California’s water scare? 

EPA on ‘forever chemicals’: Let them drink polluted water, says Scott Farber:  He writes, “Standing before a room mostly filled with industry lobbyists last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a clear message to the hundreds of American communities with drinking water contaminated with the highly toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS: Let them drink polluted water. … Calling Congressional efforts to clean up legacy PFAS pollution in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2020 “just not workable,” Wheeler instead will continue to study the matter. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: EPA on ‘forever chemicals’: Let them drink polluted water

In regional news and commentary today …

Appeals court dismisses Klamath groundwater dispute:  “The Oregon Court of Appeals won’t resolve a dispute over the impact of Klamath basin wells on surface waters due to newly imposed regulations in the area.  The appellate court has dismissed the case because it’s moot and unworthy of review after the Oregon water regulators adopted different rules governing surface water interference from wells in the Upper Klamath basin earlier this year. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: Appeals court dismisses Klamath groundwater dispute

Sonoma County residents along Russian River could benefit from $1.5 million in new flood aid:  “Russian River communities impacted by the 2019 flood may soon see some help, as a budget trailer bill signed last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom promises $1.5 million to the area that suffered 100 landslides and slipouts and faces at least $155 million in damage.  Although it represents just 1% of the total cost of damage, the allocation matches the largest pledge of state aid to date for affected residents. Federal officials decided this spring the disaster did not qualify for FEMA aid because the flooding didn’t impact enough homes. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Sonoma County residents along Russian River could benefit from $1.5 million in new flood aid

Conservation Before Construction: Bay Area Pilots New State Program:  “The San Francisco Bay Area is already crowded, ranked among the nation’s top ten most congested metropolitan regions, and soon it will be even more packed. Over the next two decades, our population is projected to swell by about one third, surpassing 9 million people. To get ready for this influx, hundreds of regional transportation projects are in the works. But while extra lanes and streamlined interchanges will help ease congestion, road construction can also divide open spaces and destroy wetlands. The Bay Area is piloting a new state program designed to optimize offsets, or mitigation, for these environmental impacts. … ”  Read more from the Bay Area Monitor here: Conservation Before Construction: Bay Area Pilots New State Program

Water year just ended was way above-average for Modesto area. Was it a record?  “River runoff was strong, and reservoir storage was high, with Monday’s end of the water year for Modesto-area suppliers.  The Tuolumne River watershed had 2.98 million acre-feet of runoff in the year ending Sept. 30, 2019, said Constance Anderson, communications division manager with the Turlock Irrigation District. It shares Don Pedro Reservoir on this river with the Modesto Irrigation District. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Water year just ended was way above-average for Modesto area. Was it a record?

Keepers concerned the cost of hauling mountains of trash from the river could rise:  “If it weren’t for an army of volunteers who pick up and haul away mountains of litter and trash along the banks of the upper Kern River above Kernville, the river’s pristine waters might look a whole lot less inviting.  A lot less pristine.  For more than five years, the nonprofit group, Keepers of the Kern, has been trekking weekly into campgrounds and other locations along the upper river, and thanks to donors and sponsors, making sure litter and waste left behind is cleaned up and hauled away. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Keepers concerned the cost of hauling mountains of trash from the river could rise

Santa Maria hosts Public Workshop about State Water Rates and Supplies:  “The City of Santa Maria invited the public to attend a workshop explaining how the City’s share of State Water costs are determined, and efforts to increase the availability of water supplies.  Representatives from the Central Coast Water Authority attended the event to address any questions the public may have.  CCWA owns and operates a water treatment plant that delivers water from the state water project to districts in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties at wholesale prices. … ”  Read more from KSBY here: Santa Maria hosts Public Workshop about State Water Rates and Supplies

Cummings basin water users hear potential changes for allocations from TCCWD:  “The Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District is hoping property owners, existing customers and well owners within the Cummings Valley basin will agree to set ground water allocation amounts for residential and agricultural uses. More than 180 people were invited to a special board meeting Sept. 27 at the district’s office to hear more information on the topic.  “We need to manage this basin for the long-term preservation of everyone’s interest,” said Tom Neisler, general manager for TCCWD. … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here:  Cummings basin water users hear potential changes for allocations from TCCWD

Antelope Valley: Water storage agreements OK’d:  “The Antelope Valley Watermaster gave preliminary approval to the first two water storage agreements to come before the Board tasked with overseeing the 2015 court settlement that set limits on groundwater pumping for users across the Valley.  The Watermaster Board reviewed applications from the Rosamond Community Services District and the Littlerock Creek Irrigation District regarding projects that would, in effect, store water underground in the aquifer by allowing it to percolate through the soil. It may then be withdrawn in the future through wells. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Antelope Valley: Water storage agreements OK’d

Antelope Valley: Recycled water contract extended:  “The Palmdale Water District extended its contract with the Los Angeles County Sanitation District 20 for recycled water, as projects for this water have been delayed for circumstances beyond their control.  The contract was originally signed in October 2016, allowing the District to purchase recycled water from the Sanitation District’s treatment plant in Palmdale for “beneficial use” in projects through the District and the Palmdale Recycled Water Authority, a joint powers agency with the District and the City of Palmdale. ... ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Recycled water contract extended

Conflict, questions surface around $3 million water deal in Ventura County:  “A $3 million deal to help recharge groundwater basins in the Oxnard Plain has turned contentious as questions surfaced about conflicting invoices and proposals.  Back in May, the board of the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency unanimously agreed to pay the United Water Conservation District for about 15,000 acre-feet of water.  Officials said the relatively low-cost release would help recharge aquifers still struggling after years of drought.  That much was clear. Other details were more murky. ... ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Conflict, questions surface around $3 million water deal in Ventura County

Life on the edge: The Carpinteria Salt Marsh:  “Nestled on the edge of town where tidal ebbs and flows inundate the shore, the Carpinteria Salt Marsh spans over 230 acres of some of the most biologically productive and diverse land remaining in Southern California. It is a place of overlapping boundaries, where habitats such as tidal zone, sandy shore, mudflat, tidal channel and salt marsh collide in “ecotones”—the barriers between different habitats which are often even richer in species diversity. This brimming and watery world provides shelter for teeming nurseries of baby fish and crustaceans, a stopover for thousands of migratory birds flying from South and Central America to northern breeding grounds, and a safe home for hundreds of native plant, insect, bird and animal species, including several that are critically endangered.  ... ”  Read more from Coastal View here: Life on the edge: The Carpinteria Salt Marsh

Captive-bred Ridgway’s rails released in Tijuana Slough wetlands following fallout from sewage pollution:  “Seven endangered light-footed Ridgway’s rails burst out of blue cardboard boxes on Tuesday in the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge as part of an ongoing effort to stabilize the population of the endangered birds in Southern California.  The brown birds, just months old, were bred in captivity at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. They were then taken to the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista for monitoring before release.  The program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, has released more than 540 of the Ridgway’s rails over the last roughly two decades throughout Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Captive-bred Ridgway’s rails released in Tijuana Slough wetlands following fallout from sewage pollution

Along the Colorado River …

Eco-groups sue feds, allege that Glen Canyon Dam plan ignores climate change:  “Lake Powell’s long decline may be on hiatus after this year’s snowy winter, but activists still are raising concerns that climate change could render Glen Canyon Dam inoperable.  This time, they are taking their concerns to court, asking a federal judge to invalidate the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s 20-year operating plan for the towering dam that impounds the lake because it fails to account for shrinking flows on the Colorado River and “conceals” the risks that trend poses for the 40 million people who rely on the river for water. ... ”  Read more from the Salt Lake Tribune here: Eco-groups sue feds, allege that Glen Canyon Dam plan ignores climate change

Next step? Make Arizona a strong voice among Colorado River states, says Tom Buschatzke:  He writes, “It didn’t take long for the completion of the Drought Contingency Plan to create value to Arizona and the Colorado River Basin. … 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.  We now have an opportunity to build on the successful Arizona process that led to the DCP signing. … ”  Continue reading in the Arizona Capitol Times here: Next step? Make Arizona a strong voice among Colorado River states

And lastly …

Galleta Meadows Metal Sculptures in Borrego Springs:  Something to add to your bucket list: “Only in California can a State Park be overrun with massive metal sculptures in the name of art. I am not even beginning to complain though as the Galleta Meadows Sculptures in Anza-Borrego are some of my favorite things to take new adventurers to. There are over 130 and as you are driving around they just seem to pop up out of nowhere, it is so awesome. So read on for how to find them and which are my favorites. … ” Continue reading from California Through My Lens here: Galleta Meadows Metal Sculptures in Borrego Springs:

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Water Year 2020 begins with robust reservoir storage; Quirk Bill will address dangerous toxic algal blooms in California’s waters; Vicki Kretsinger Grabert to be honored with an Award of Distinction at UC Davis; Judge rules, petitioners prepare for appeal in Siskiyou County CEQA lawsuit

NEW REPORTS: Water and land use; Building cities to better support biodiversity; Management considerations for protecting groundwater quality; Innovation drives advances in stormwater capture

 

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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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