DAILY DIGEST: Water Board OKs 35-year plan to tackle farm pollution; Groundwater recharge projects get boost under AB 658; New CA law creates path to water industry jobs for Vets; DWR prepares CA water system for next ‘Big One’; and more …

In California water news today, California Water Board OKs 35-Year Plan to Tackle Farm Pollution; Groundwater Recharge Projects Get Boost Under AB 658; New California Law Creates Path to Water Industry Jobs for Vets; DWR Prepares California Water System for Next ‘Big One’; ‘I’m standing right here in the middle of climate change’: How USDA is failing farmers; State requirements face off with federal law in a recent decision requiring more water from Lake Cachuma for steelhead; Aerial view shows environmental disaster at the Salton Sea; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

California Water Board OKs 35-Year Plan to Tackle Farm Pollution:  “California’s Central Valley yields billions of dollars’ worth of fruits and vegetables each year, but its aquifers are overused and polluted. With brown, silty streams pouring from their kitchen sinks, thousands of farmworkers and residents have become habitual buyers and users of bottled water.  The water crisis, largely caused by runoff from farms and dairies, spurred lawmakers earlier this year to dedicate $1.3 billion to improve drinking water supplies. Now water regulators are partnering with farmers to bring safe, affordable water to the valley as state law requires. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: California Water Board OKs 35-Year Plan to Tackle Farm Pollution

Groundwater Recharge Projects Get Boost Under AB 658:  “Assembly Bill 658, signed into law last week, creates new temporary diversion permits allowing for excess surface water capture during high-flow events. Permits automatically expire after 180 days, unless renewed. The law is designed, in part, to encourage groundwater recharge projects that could assist groundwater sustainability agencies and other local agencies to achieve groundwater sustainability requirements under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA. … ”  Read more from BB&K here: Groundwater Recharge Projects Get Boost Under AB 658

New California Law Creates Path to Water Industry Jobs for Vets:  “State legislation co-sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and the Otay Water District has been signed into law, making it possible for veterans to receive credit for their military education and experience when applying for civilian water and wastewater system operator certifications in California.  State legislators, water industry leaders, veteran advocates and business and community organizations gathered at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park today to celebrate Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 1588. ... ”  Read more from the Water News Network here:  New California Law Creates Path to Water Industry Jobs for Vets

DWR Prepares California Water System for Next ‘Big One’:  “Earthquakes are a fact of life in California. Every Californian learns at an early age how to prepare for an earthquake: drop and cover, protect your head, and stay clear of heavy objects that could fall.  But what about the critical infrastructure that is foundational to our economy and way of life – roads, bridges, energy and water systems?  As part of the Great Shakeout 2019, which takes place Oct. 17, DWR is sharing how we are preparing the State Water Project (SWP) for the next big earthquake in California. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: DWR Prepares California Water System for Next ‘Big One’

Ninth Circuit Finds Agency’s Change in Approach to Analyzing Instream Dams’ Impacts on Threatened Species to Be Arbitrary and Capricious:  “On October 3, 2019, the Ninth Circuit ruled on an appeal brought by Friends of the River (FOR), who sought review of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California’s decision on FOR’s challenge to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) management of two dams in the Yuba River—the Daguerre Point Dam and the Englebright Dam. FOR alleged violations of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Administrative Procedures Act regarding two opinions issued by NMFS in 2014—a biological opinion related to Daguerre Point and a letter of concurrence related to Englebright. … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Ninth Circuit Finds Agency’s Change in Approach to Analyzing Instream Dams’ Impacts on Threatened Species to Be Arbitrary and Capricious

California’s Outages Show How Climate Change and Corporate Accountability Are Entangled:  “After millions of people in California were left in the dark last week when Pacific Gas & Electric, the giant utility company that provides service to much of the state, preventatively shut off power to avoid possible wildfires, the conversation quickly turned political. Democrats described PG&E’s actions as the result of rampant corporate greed that, they argued, kept the company from preparing for extreme weather associated with climate change.  “Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Twitter. “PG&E must be held to account.” … ” Read more from TIME Magazine here: California’s Outages Show How Climate Change and Corporate Accountability Are Entangled

Trees That Survived California Drought May Hold Clue To Climate Resilience:  “When California’s historic five-year drought finally relented a few years ago the tally of dead trees in the Sierra Nevada was higher than almost anyone expected: 129 million. Most are still standing, the dry patches dotting the mountainsides.  But some trees did survive the test of heat and drought. Now, scientists are racing to collect them, and other species around the globe, in the hope that these “climate survivors” have a natural advantage that will allow them to better cope with a warming world. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Trees That Survived California Drought May Hold Clue To Climate Resilience

‘I’m standing right here in the middle of climate change’: How USDA is failing farmers:  “.. American farmers are reeling after extreme rains followed by a “bomb cyclone”— an explosive storm that brought high winds and severe blizzard conditions — ravaged the heartland, turning once productive fields into lakes, killing livestock and destroying grain stores. The barrage of wet weather across the country this spring left a record-shattering 20 million acres unable to be planted — an area nearly the size of South Carolina. Other weather-related disasters, from fires in the West to hurricanes in the Southeast, have converged to make the past year one of the worst for agriculture in decades. But the Agriculture Department is doing little to help farmers adapt to what experts predict is the new norm: increasingly extreme weather across much of the U.S. … ”  Read more from Politico here: ‘I’m standing right here in the middle of climate change’: How USDA is failing farmers

White House Nears Infrastructure Permitting Changes:  “The White House has begun reviewing a plan to change the way it issues environmental permits for infrastructure projects.  If the proposal is finalized, it could speed up National Environmental Policy Act reviews for roads, bridges, ports, pipelines, power lines, Internet trunks, and water systems. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg BNA here: White House Nears Infrastructure Permitting Changes

Warming Lakes Worldwide Could Mean More Toxic Algal Blooms:  “In August last year, Florida governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency after a crimson “red tide” of toxic algae flooded the waters of the Gulf, overwhelming popular beaches, shutting down tourism, and making it difficult for coastal residents to breathe. The blooms were linked in part to a US Army Corps of Engineers decision to release huge amounts of nutrient-laden water from Lake Okeechobee after Hurricane Irma dumped record rainfall in the area. This past July, after a particularly wet spring, NOAA predicted that Lake Erie, the fourth-largest of the Great Lakes with a watershed that provides drinking water to 11 million people, would suffer yet another significant toxic algal bloom—a reoccurring problem since 2011. NOAA’s predictions proved accurate ... ”  Read more from Sierra Magazine here: Warming Lakes Worldwide Could Mean More Toxic Algal Blooms

In regional news and commentary today …

Butte County: Chico-based environmental group concerned about domestic wells as farmers propose new groundwater district:  “County water officials went to the Butte County Farm Bureau about four years ago with a message: The 2014 passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)—a sweeping regulatory program intended to curb overuse of the state’s aquifers—will prove crucial to farmers dependent on groundwater, and it was time to get organized.  Rich McGowan, who sits on the farm bureau’s board of directors, told the CN&R that the county’s agricultural groundwater users—primarily growers of almonds, walnuts, pistachios and other tree crops—had been unorganized at the time, working individually or in splintered groups in contrast to the county’s more organized surface water users. … ”  Read more from the Chico News Review here: Chico-based environmental group concerned about domestic wells as farmers propose new groundwater district

‘Emerging’ contamination found in some Oroville and Chico wells:  “At least 17 wells in Chico and Oroville have traces of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, according to new state testing released Monday.  The testing is part of a multi-year effort by California to regulate the class of chemicals, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and perfluorooctanoic acids — shortened to PFAS and PFOA.  There is no agreed-upon safe level for the chemicals. Scientists continue to learn about them and state and federal regulators are working on defining limits for what they call an “emerging” contaminant. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: ‘Emerging’ contamination found in some Oroville and Chico wells

Nielsen: North state disasters encouraging Sacramento cooperation:  “If there’s one positive change that state Sen. Jim Nielsen has noticed in Sacramento, it is a sense of across-the-aisle cooperation in the wake of two years of disasters.  After the 2017 Oroville Dam spillway disaster, 2018’s Carr Fire in Redding and the Camp Fire on the ridge, the sense of sympathy and effort to help has been evident in Sacramento, Nielsen said on Tuesday, during a visit to the Chico Enterprise-Record. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Nielsen: North state disasters encouraging Sacramento cooperation

Trona’s Boom, Bust and Uncertain Future:  “Homewood Canyon is tucked just high enough above the desert floor to offer a little bit of perspective — down to the flat, sandy Searles Valley and across to the craggy, pastel-hued Slate Range.  It’s also just far enough away from Trona, a 100-year-old mining community located 10 miles south, to allow Dave Garrison a little bit of breathing room. He moved here with his wife Deana nine years ago after retiring from two decades of round-the-clock duties dealing mostly with “the same 10 monkeys up the same 10 trees” as a deputy sheriff for San Bernardino County. … ”  Read more from KCET here: Trona’s Boom, Bust and Uncertain Future

State requirements face off with federal law in a recent decision requiring more water from Lake Cachuma for steelhead:  “For more than 20 years, California pondered what to do about steelhead in the Santa Ynez River.   On Sept. 17, the State Water Resources Control Board finally made a decision. It voted to pass an order that will increase water releases from Lake Cachuma. Since at least 1998, a handful of local, state, and federal agencies and environmentalists have deliberated just what it would take to sustain a fish species on the brink of extinction. The answer has always been water. It was just a question of how much. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here: State requirements face off with federal law in a recent decision requiring more water from Lake Cachuma for steelhead

Santa Barbara County takes a stand against BLM’s oil, gas leasing plan on a split vote:  “A resolution opposing a U.S. Bureau of Land Management plan to open public lands to oil and gas leases in eight counties was approved Tuesday by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, but with only three members supporting it.  Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart sponsored the resolution to put the county’s opposition on record, and it was supported by 1st District Supervisor Das Williams and 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann. ... ”  Read more from the Lompoc Record here: Santa Barbara County takes a stand against BLM’s oil, gas leasing plan on a split vote

Santa Clarita Valley Water opens six new wells near Bakersfield, uncorking “banked” water for SCV:  “Under an agreement to “bank” water outside of the Santa Clarita Valley, local water officials opened six new wells near Bakersfield this week, giving them direct immediate access to the water earmarked for the SCV.  On Monday, with much fanfare and ribbon-cutting, SCV Water and its water banking partners, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District and Irvine Ranch Water District, opened six new groundwater wells and a conveyance system to the Cross Valley Canal in Kern County. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal here: Santa Clarita Valley Water opens six new wells near Bakersfield, uncorking “banked” water for SCV

Santa Clarita: Water heads find groundwater advisers, still accepting applications:  “Water officials who are struck with the task of hammering out a plan to manage Santa Clarita Valley groundwater and have been looking for seven people to serve as the agency’s advisory group have received enough applications to fill each representative group.  Members of the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency, however, plan to keep on accepting applications of those interested in serving on the advisory committee.  “Applications are still open through Friday, but we now have one or more applicants in each category,” agency spokeswoman Kathie Martin said Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here: Water heads find groundwater advisers, still accepting applications

Water In LA Receives C+ Grade While 60 Percent Continues To Come From Outside Region:  “The water quality in Los Angeles is not great, but a new study shows it is improving.  UCLA gave Los Angeles County an overall C+ grade in its annual water report that was released Wednesday.  The report included a C+ grade for water supply and consumption even though 60 percent of the water in L.A. County comes from outside of the region. … ”  Read more from CBS LA here: Water In LA Receives C+ Grade While 60 Percent Continues To Come From Outside Region

Aerial view shows environmental disaster at the Salton Sea:  “The Salton Sea is 35 miles long and 15 miles wide. Tuesday morning, News Channel 3’s Madison Weil got a bird’s eye view of the environmental disaster in the making at the Salton Sea.  Will Worthington, a volunteer pilot for Lighthawk, a company that works with a conservation group educating people on the changing landscape of the sea. ... ”  Read more from KESQ here: Aerial view shows environmental disaster at the Salton Sea

And lastly …

Photos: What San Francisco’s Marina Looked Like After Loma Prieta and Now:  “On Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1989, as evening rush hour was getting underway, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near the Loma Prieta peak of the Santa Cruz Mountains shook the entire Bay Area. The quake killed at least 63 people and injured about 3,700. After the quake, thousands of buildings became uninhabitable, including dozens in San Francisco’s Marina District. Below are photos of what four locations in the neighborhood looked like both after the quake and today. … ” Check it out from KQED here:   Photos: What San Francisco’s Marina Looked Like After Loma Prieta and Now

Precipitation watch …

From NWS Sacramento:Fall time weather systems have started to make their way southward into Northern California. One of these systems brought light rainfall to parts of NorCal overnight and early this morning. Another is forecast to bring more light rainfall to NorCal on Saturday.

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

PERSPECTIVES: DWR Director Karla Nemeth on Oroville Dam, the Governor’s water resilience portfolio, Delta conveyance, the Voluntary Agreements, and more …

SCIENCE NEWS: Chinook salmon flocking to revitalized San Joaquin River; California power shutdowns raise air pollution worries; Our energy grid is vulnerable. Locally sourced power may be the answer; On the Northwest’s Snake River, the case for dam removal grows; and more …

THIS JUST IN … State Water Board Approves Central Valley Water Board Plan to Reduce Nitrate Contamination in Groundwater and Provide Replacement Drinking Water

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Yosemite Conference~ Sustainable Infrastructure~ Basin Water~ Utility Information~ Using P3s~ Splash: Flood Risk ~~

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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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