DAILY DIGEST: As SGMA plows forward, small farmers seek more engagement; New spill in Kern County oil field; What we know about Newsom from the 1,042 bills sent his way; BLM cites threat to environment as a reason for more border wall in San Diego; and more …

In California water news today, As Groundwater Law Plows Forward, Small Farmers Seek More Engagement; New Chevron Crude Spills Emerge in Kern County Oil Field; Forest plans affect grazing, logging, water; Guerrilla Gatherers: California tribes are breaking the law to maintain their traditional ways of life.; The Quiet, Intentional Fires of Northern California; Here’s What We Know About Newsom From The 1,042 Bills Sent His Way; E.P.A. Bypassed Its West Coast Team as a Feud With California Escalated; BLM cites threat to environment as a reason for more border wall in San Diego; New national effort to predict, respond to algae blooms; Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners showcase stunning scenes from nature; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9:30am.  Agenda items include consideration of adoption of a Resolution approving Amendments to the Water Quality Control Plans for the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Basins and the Tulare Lake Basin to incorporate a Central Valley -Wide Salt and Nitrate Control Program  (CV-SALTS); Consideration of a proposed Resolution to amend the Water Recycling Funding Program Guidelines; consideration of a proposed Resolution to amend the Proposition 1 Storm Water Grant Program Guidelines for the Round 2 Funding Solicitation; and an informational item on testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at licensed childcare centers.  Click here for the full agendaClick here to watch on webcast.
  • Public meeting regarding SWP Contract Amendment for Delta Conveyance from 10am to 3pm.  Click here for how to attend in person or by webcast.
  • Webinar: Wicked Water Problems: Can Network Governance Deliver? Integrated Water Management Case Studies from New Zealand and Oregon, USA from 10am to 11am.  Presented by the American Water Resources Association.  Click here to register.
  • Oroville CNA IRB and Community Ad Hoc Group Meeting 5 beginning at 2pm.  Click here for more information.
  • GRA San Francisco Bay Branch: PFAS in California: Core Scientific Principles and Policy Recommendations from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Oakland. Click here to register.  You do not need to be a member to attend.
  • GRA Central Coast Branch: Innovative Plume Stability Evaluation and Groundwater Monitoring Program Optimization from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Santa Barbara.  Click here to register.  You do not need to be a member to attend.

In the news today …

As Groundwater Law Plows Forward, Small Farmers Seek More Engagement:  “Dennis Hutson’s rows of alfalfa, melons, okra and black-eyed peas are an oasis of green in the dry terrain of Allensworth, an unincorporated community in rural Tulare County. … Just like for any grower, managing water is a daily task for Hutson and his helpers. That’s why he’s concerned about what could happen under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the state’s overhaul of groundwater regulations. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here: As Groundwater Law Plows Forward, Small Farmers Seek More Engagement

New Chevron Crude Spills Emerge in Kern County Oil Field:  “Thousands of gallons of crude petroleum began spouting out of the ground near a part of Chevron’s steam injection well network in a Kern County oil field over the weekend, prompting a new cleanup effort and state response.  The two new spills, one of which covered the length of two football fields, are in the northwestern portion of the Cymric Oil Field, in the same area where a larger uncontrolled release of 234,000 gallons of oil has taken place since August. ... ” Read more from KQED here: New Chevron Crude Spills Emerge in Kern County Oil Field

Forest plans affect grazing, logging, water:  “Precedent-setting plans affecting logging, grazing and other activities in national forests bring concerns for California agricultural and forestry groups, which say the plans must allow for continued multiple uses of federal lands.  National forests cover millions of acres in California and benefit the people of the state by supporting local economies and jobs, environment and wildlife, and serve as a filter for more than half of the state’s water supply. With increased attention to forestland due to megafires and droughts, dead and dying trees and pests and disease, the California Farm Bureau Federation and other organizations weighed in on draft plans that outline how national forestland in the state could be managed for the next dozen years or longer. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Forest plans affect grazing, logging, water

California Asked to Protect Joshua Trees as Threatened Species:  “Between climate change and the Trump administration’s denial of federal protection this year, things look bleak for the iconic Joshua trees of the Mojave Desert. That’s why an environmental advocacy group on Tuesday asked California to step in and shield the species under state law.  Research indicates the future for the Joshua tree is grim, given its susceptibility to shifts in climate and the relentless urban sprawl eating away at the undeveloped wilderness the species calls home. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News here: California Asked to Protect Joshua Trees as Threatened Species

Guerrilla Gatherers: California tribes are breaking the law to maintain their traditional ways of life.  “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 coastline of Mendocino County, California, 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 “guerrilla gatherers” are scouting Glass Beach in Fort Bragg for abalone, seaweed, and shells they use for food, regalia, and ceremonies. … ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here: Guerrilla Gatherers: California tribes are breaking the law to maintain their traditional ways of life.

The Quiet, Intentional Fires of Northern California:  “In the wake of catastrophic wildfires like the one in 2018 that burned the California city of Paradise, wildfire management has become a pressing topic, to say the least. Especially under scrutiny is the US Forest Service’s hundred-year policy of suppressing fire—on the surface it makes sense. Fire burns houses and kills people. It’s a terrible, uncontrollable enemy. Right?  Not necessarily. The native communities across California have been practicing traditional, controlled forest burning techniques for 13,000 years. From the great grasslands of central California to the salmon runs of the Klamath River, the Miwok, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, and other nations have tended and provided for those plant and animal species that were useful to them. … ”  Read more from WIRED Magazine here: The Quiet, Intentional Fires of Northern California

Here’s What We Know About Our Governor From The 1,042 Bills Sent His Way:  “Californians will soon be allowed to eat roadkill but be prohibited from buying fur coats.  Abortion pills will become available on college campuses, but tiny bottles of shampoo will be banned from hotel rooms.  High school and middle school kids will get a later first bell, but schools won’t be forced to give kindergarteners a full-day program.  Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed and vetoed the year’s final batch of legislation last weekend, making decisions that will shape California in ways big and small. … ”  Continue reading at the LAist here: Here’s What We Know About Our Governor From The 1,042 Bills Sent His Way

FEDERAL ISSUES

E.P.A. Bypassed Its West Coast Team as a Feud With California Escalated:  “When the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew Wheeler, accused California of allowing “piles of human feces” on city streets to contaminate sewer systems, leaders of the agency’s West Coast region hastily convened an all-hands meeting of the San Francisco staff.  At that meeting, E.P.A. officials informed staff members that Mr. Wheeler’s torrent of allegations about the state’s water pollution were exaggerated, according to five current and former E.P.A. officials briefed on internal discussions. Moreover, the accusations, contained in a Sept. 26 oversight letter, had been developed without the knowledge of the California-based staff, which would normally issue such notices. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: E.P.A. Bypassed Its West Coast Team as a Feud With California Escalated

BLM cites threat to environment as a reason for more border wall in San Diego:  “Standing in the foothills of the Otay Mountain Wilderness Area, where San Diego’s 14 miles of border fence ends and rugged terrain begins, the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management wanted to see for himself on Tuesday the public land that will soon be the site of about two new miles of additional barrier.  The visit by William Perry Pendley to San Diego comes about a month after his boss, the U.S. Department of the Interior secretary, transferred temporary jurisdiction of 560 acres of federal lands to the U.S. Department of the Army to construct 70 miles of new border fencing. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: BLM cites threat to environment as a reason for more border wall in San Diego

AGRICULTURE

How States are Helping Farmers Adopt Sustainable Practices:  “Joel Erickson grows corn, soy, oats, and alfalfa and raises beef cattle with his family on 1,500 acres of land in Southwestern Minnesota. Last spring, he used a $25,000 loan from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s AgBMP Loan Program to buy a compost turner. He started using it over the summer and immediately noticed the process was faster, more efficient, and required less fuel than what he’d been using before. ... ” Read more from Civil Eats here: How States are Helping Farmers Adopt Sustainable Practices

The nitrogen dilemma: can we reduce fertilisers and still feed the world? More than any other aspect of the climate crisis, it is the over-production of carbon dioxide that has been demonised – and rightly so. But nitrogen, and its abundant use in commercial fertiliser, also leads to air pollution and climate change.  The problems are numerous. When nitrogen-based fertiliser runs into water systems it can result in toxic algae blooms, leading to oxygen depletion and vast oceanic ‘dead zones’. Evidence suggests their use also contributes to air pollution, increased rates of cancer and reduced biodiversity, as well as emitting nitrous oxide – an extremely potent greenhouse gas. … ”  Read more from Geographical here: The nitrogen dilemma: can we reduce fertilisers and still feed the world?

TOXIC ALGAE

New national effort to predict, respond to algae blooms:  “Harmful algae blooms that shut down fisheries and sicken people are the target of new research funding from NOAA across the nation.  NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science will spend $10.2 million in fiscal year 2019 to fund studies into harmful algae blooms – by now so common that they have their own shorthand name of HAB.  About $8.4 million of that will cover the first year of new 3- to 5-year projects, and $1.78 million will go to 3-year projects already in process. Funded under existing NOAA programs, new projects will begin in Alaska, California, Chesapeake Bay, Florida, the Great Lakes, New England and the Pacific Northwest. ... ” Read more from National Fisherman here: New national effort to predict, respond to algae blooms

Toxic Algae Blooms Are More Severe, Says a Study That Examined 30 Years of Data:  “Costly, and potentially toxic, algae blooms have gotten worse over the past 30 years, according to a new study that looked at freshwater lakes around the world.  Climate change may be making efforts to control these blooms more difficult, the study said.  Algae blooms occur when a population of microscopic phytoplankton in a body of water increases rapidly, sometimes because of fertilizer or other nutrients being washed into the lake or river. Some blooms, such as cyanobacteria, release toxins that can sicken or kill animals and people. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here: Toxic Algae Blooms Are More Severe, Says a Study That Examined 30 Years of Data

In regional news and commentary today …

Red Bluff water is safe, says city manager: “The city wants residents to know water is safe to drink.  A rumor has been flying around town the city’s water is unsafe after last week’s Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Public Safety Power Shutoff, but that is untrue, said Richard Crabtree, city manager.  During the power outage, the city’s drinking water continued flowing, although water pressure may have been lower than usual, Crabtree said. No contamination of the water occurred. Water is regularly tested by the California State Water Board. ... ”  Read more from the Red Bluff Daily News here: Red Bluff water is safe, says city manager

DWR to pay Butte County $12 million for damaged roads:  “Butte County has settled the lawsuit against the state’s Department of Water Resources, stemming from roadway damage caused by the Oroville Dam spillway incident in February 2017.  Repair efforts by DWR resulted in heavy truck traffic on roads maintained by Butte County. The DWR has agreed to provide the county with $12 million for repairs to many of the impacted roads and emergency services. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here: DWR to pay Butte County $12 million for damaged roads

Colusa County: Farmers sought to represent county’s subwatershed board:  “The Colusa Glenn Subwatershed Program board of directors is seeking nominees to represent growers in Colusa and Glenn counties, according to a press release.  CGSP assists its members to meet requirements of the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  According to the press release, the ILRP is now a “waste water discharge general order for growers within the Sacramento River Watershed of a third-party group.” The order is a mandated program through the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region. … ”  Read more from the Colusa Sun Herald here: Colusa County: Farmers sought to represent county’s subwatershed board

Tubbs fire zone landowners felling dead trees, thinning brush to protect Santa Rosa-area creek:  “Dark skeletal trees cover the slopes along Mark West Creek as it snakes through the Mayacamas Mountains north of Santa Rosa — a drainage scorched by the Tubbs fire two years ago.  “It came through very hot,” said Lynn Garric, who’s lived for 35 years on a 40-acre tract west of Calistoga Road. “Everything was black after the fire.” … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Tubbs fire zone landowners felling dead trees, thinning brush to protect Santa Rosa-area creek

Marin’s wet year offers little comfort for firefighters:  “The ample rainfall in Marin County this past water year has acted as a double-edged sword.  While the storms that touched down in the winter and spring filled reservoirs and moistened vegetation, they also created more fire fuel that is now beginning to fully dry out during what firefighters are calling a critical period in the fire season.  “Late heavy rains can end up pushing the fire season off,” Novato fire Chief Bill Tyler said Tuesday. “In that regard, it can be helpful early on in the fire season. The problem is that it’s going to increase the volume of your native and non-native grasses.” ... ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin’s wet year offers little comfort for firefighters

Alameda County Water District considers enormous $72 million land purchase:  “The Alameda County Water District is considering paying $72 million in what would be the largest land sale in California to preserve water quality, the East Bay Times reported.  The N3 Cattle Co. site — an 80-square-mile, 50,000-plus acre Livermore property that hit the market at $72 million earlier this year — is also the largest private holding currently on the market in California. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Business Times here: Alameda County Water District considers enormous $72 million land purchase

SFO to spend more than $1 billion to hold back the bay:  “Building airports on low, flat, somewhat isolated coastal areas with good visibility made sense at one time, but not so much now that sea level rise is a serious threat.  As government officials around the world look for ways to protect their coastlines against the effects of climate change in the decades to come, planners at San Francisco International are moving ahead with a proposal to build a 10-mile-long seawall around the facility to protect it from the rising waters of San Francisco Bay. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: SFO to spend more than $1 billion to hold back the bay

Sides battle over Monterey Bay’s anchovy population:  “A fishing industry group says it has new findings supporting its contention that there is a healthy population of anchovies, which is counter to a nonprofit’s lawsuit challenging how the number of anchovies are determined. Meanwhile, Monterey fishermen say there are tons of the little guys in the local fishery. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Sides battle over Monterey Bay’s anchovy population

Lathrop seeks state permit to discharge into SJ River:  “The City of Lathrop is now a quarter of a million dollars closer to earning a permit that will allow for the discharge of treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River.  On Monday the Lathrop City Council approved setting aside $250,000 from the wastewater connection fee fund to continue to further the process towards what has been a longstanding goal of doing away with the ponds and spray fields that are currently used by the city. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Lathrop seeks state permit to discharge into SJ River

Santa Barbara County board of supervisors votes to approve resolution opposing oil drilling:  “The Santa Barbara County board of supervisors is taking a stand against the Trump administration.  The resolution was sponsored by First District County Supervisor Gregg Hart in response to the Trump Administration’s plan to open more than one million acres of lands throughout the coastal and interior regions of central California to new oil drilling and fracking. … ” Read more from KEYT here: Santa Barbara County board of supervisors votes to approve resolution opposing oil drilling

Ventura OKs $200 million-plus plan to remove wastewater from estuary. Here’s what’s next.  “The Ventura City Council approved a $200 million-plus plan Monday that will give the city more drinking water and greatly reduce the treated wastewater its sewer plant releases into the Santa Clara River estuary.  The big-ticket item in the city’s plan is a new plant that will take wastewater that once went into the estuary and treat it to drinking water standards, then inject it into the city’s underground wells, where it will mix with the existing groundwater. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Ventura OKs $200 million-plus plan to remove wastewater from estuary. Here’s what’s next.

Coastal Commission postpones hearing on Del Mar sea-rise plan:  “Del Mar and the California Coastal Commission have mutually agreed to postpone Wednesday’s hearing on the city’s plan for adapting to rising sea levels.  The Coastal Commission staff had recommended that the board reject Del Mar’s plan unless the city agrees to a list of 25 detailed modifications. Del Mar’s City Council agreed last week to stand by the plan as it is, with no changes. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Coastal Commission postpones hearing on Del Mar sea-rise plan

And lastly …

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners showcase stunning scenes from nature:   “It could almost be a scene from a slapstick comedy: a marmot stands frozen in fear, slack-jawed and balanced on one foot, as it suddenly notices a charging fox.  The dramatic image, captured with perfect timing by Chinese photographer Yongqing Bao, has won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, given out annually by London’s Natural History Museum.  He was chosen from a longlist of various category winners, all of whom managed to record the oddities, rivalries and beauty of the natural world. … ” Check out the photo gallery from CNN here.

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAM REMOVAL: Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t

NEWS WORTH NOTING: State Water Contractors provide $7 Million in funding for the Tule Red Tidal Restoration Project; New SGMA resource on water quality available from the State Water Board

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program’s resilience education grant competition now open

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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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