DAILY DIGEST: Researchers probe the toxic soup from wildfire; Public-funded Oroville Dam advertising called ‘propaganda’; Addressing inequality in flood risk; Wild swings in extreme weather are on the rise; New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users; and more …

In California water news today, Researchers probe the toxic soup from wildfire; Public-funded Oroville Dam advertising called ‘propaganda.’ Here’s how much it cost; Addressing inequality in flood risk; California Coastkeeper Alliance releases climate change plan for coastal areas; Climate whiplash: wild swings in extreme weather are on the rise; Potter Valley Project water coalition makes strides toward two-basin solution; Feel like the S.F. Bay used to be bluer? You’re not imagining it; New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Stakeholder Meeting – Wholesale Water Supplier Water Loss Report in Glendale from 10am to 2pm.  DWR will discuss the draft legislative report and recommendations on the feasibility of developing and enacting water loss reporting requirements for urban wholesale water suppliers. Click here to register for webinar or to attend in person.

In the news today …

Researchers probe the toxic soup from wildfire:  “Matt Rahn was about 200 feet away when flames started climbing up the side of the garage and creeping toward the car inside.  A wildfire researcher with California State University San Marcos, Rahn was at the edge of a fire that would go on to burn 4,240 acres across California’s Amador and El Dorado counties. He was there to study the smoke rising off blackening shrubs and trees. Watching the garage burn, though, he realized that firefighters fending off flames without any real lung protection were inhaling more than airborne remnants of burnt plants. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Researchers probe the toxic soup from wildfire

Public-funded Oroville Dam advertising called ‘propaganda.’ Here’s how much it cost:  “The state agency that manages Oroville Dam is on the PR offensive nearly three years after its spillways collapsed, triggering the evacuation of nearly 200,000 Sacramento Valley residents.  The latest public relations effort cost California water ratepayers $29,000 to produce an eight-page color advertising insert that ran in recent days in six Sacramento Valley newspapers including The Sacramento Bee. The advertorial praises the dam and profiles the Department of Water Resources employees who manage it. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Public-funded Oroville Dam advertising called ‘propaganda.’ Here’s how much it cost

Addressing inequality in flood risk: “More than 7 million Californians live in places that are at risk of flooding. But not every community is well prepared to recover from floods. A new study, headed by experts at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), is looking at how flooding affects social inequality in flood-prone parts of the state. We talked to project leads Richard Matthew and Brett Sanders about the issue. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  Addressing inequality in flood risk

Surfrider study calls for allowing the ocean to advance inland:  “While California scored the only “A” in a new environmental assessment of the nation’s beaches, the state’s sole shortcoming in the report pulls back the curtain on a growing conflict over whether beachfront homeowners should be allowed to protect their property against rising seas.  Some argue that protecting coastal homes, roads and train tracks with boulders and other types of seawalls is the most practical way to deal with sea-level rise. But the Surfrider Foundation, which issued the new report, is among those who believe that approach should be avoided. It says the result is the elimination of beaches as the ocean washes away sand and waves pound directly onto the armoring. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Surfrider study calls for allowing the ocean to advance inland

California Coastkeeper Alliance releases climate change plan for coastal areas:  “The California Coastkeeper Alliance released its Ocean Climate Resiliency Action Plan Wednesday, a roadmap to mitigate the effects of climate change and sea level rise on coastal areas like northern San Diego County.  The plan includes objectives such as recycling 100% of wastewater along the coast by 2040, requiring the use of nitrate removal technology at wastewater treatment plants, establishing a state program for wetlands restoration and creating a state fund to help coastal communities respond to sea level rise without using harmful tactics like sea walls. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: California Coastkeeper Alliance releases climate change plan for coastal areas

Climate whiplash: wild swings in extreme weather are on the rise:  “From 2011 to 2016, California experienced five years of extreme drought, during which numerous high temperature records were broken. These hot, dry years were followed by the extremely wet winter of 2016 -2017, when, from October to March, an average of 31 inches of rain fell across the state, the second highest winter rainfall on record.  All that rain meant a bumper crop of grasses and other vegetation, which, as hot and dry conditions returned, likely contributed to a combustible mix of fuels that played a role in the severe fires that have swept California in the past two years. … ”  Read more from Yale E360 here:  Climate whiplash: wild swings in extreme weather are on the rise

Scientists join Democrats in panning EPA’s ‘secret science’ rule:  “Democrats tore into an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan Wednesday that would bar the agency from relying on scientific studies that don’t release their underlying data — a controversial proposal resurfacing this week with reports that the agency may expand the reach of the rule.  The proposal — which the agency said will not be finalized until next year — was pushed by former Administrator Scott Pruitt as an attempt to battle “secret science.” … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Scientists join Democrats in panning EPA’s ‘secret science’ rule

And lastly … Venice ‘on its knees’ after second-worst flood ever recorded:  “The worst flooding in Venice in more than 50 years prompted calls Wednesday to better protect the historic city from rising sea levels as officials calculated hundreds of millions of euros in damage.  The water reached 1.87 meters (6.14 feet) above average sea level Tuesday, the second-highest level ever recorded in the city and just 7 centimeters (2½ inches) lower than the historic 1966 flood. Another wave of exceptionally high water followed Wednesday. … ”  Read more from the Ledger-Dispatch here:  Venice ‘on its knees’ after second-worst flood ever recorded

In regional news and commentary today …

Potter Valley Project water coalition makes strides toward two-basin solution:  “A local coalition formed in the hopes of maintaining the most important aspects of the Potter Valley Project is making progress toward a two-basin solution, Janet Pauli told the Ukiah City Council at its last meeting.  “Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) envisioned a two-basin solution (for the hydro-electric dam owned by Pacific Gas and Electric), and what that means is a way to ensure water supply stability, while at the same time creating habitat restoration in both (the Eel and Russian) river systems for listed and threatened species,” said Pauli … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here: Potter Valley Project water coalition makes strides toward two-basin solution

Supervisors submit letter supporting Sierra Valley groundwater grant:  “Members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors ratified a letter in support of the Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District application for grant funding Tuesday, Nov. 5.  The letter is for a Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant, Round 3 SGM planning.  “Plumas County strongly supports the Sierra Valley Groundwater Management District application for Round 3 program funding as this funding is critical to achieving sustainable groundwater management in the Sierra Valley Groundwater Basin,” said supervisor and Board Chairperson Kevin Goss in the letter. … ” Read more from Plumas County News here: Supervisors submit letter supporting Sierra Valley groundwater grant

UC Davis plants 5,000 sugar pine seedlings at Lake Tahoe:  “UC Davis ecologist Patricia Maloney and a team of researchers collected seeds from 100 sugar pine trees that survived the California drought and bark-beetle infestation that killed more 129 million other trees between 2012 and 2016.  The researchers spent two years cultivating 10,000 seedlings at the Forest Service’s Placerville Nursery. They were then moved to the UC Davis Tahoe City Field Station. …”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: UC Davis plants 5,000 sugar pine seedlings at Lake Tahoe

Rural water district holds first election since 1970s:  “With four candidates vying for three seats, Kurt Kautz, Mark Wilson and Paul Hensleigh were elected to serve on the Omochumne-Hartnell Water District’s five-member board.  Suzanne Pecci, who came in fourth place, was the lone candidate who was not elected.  The Nov. 5 election marked the first time since the 1970s that a board election was held in the 56-year-old, 30,000-acre district that extends from Grant Line Road to Highway 99, and from the Jackson Highway to Dillard Road. There are about 1,200 parcels within those borders. … ”  Read more from the Elk Grove Citizen here: Rural water district holds first election since 1970s

Feel like the S.F. Bay used to be bluer? You’re not imagining it:  “If the Heart of the Ocean is a big blue diamond, the Heart of San Francisco Bay would be a big muddy emerald — or maybe more like a jade stone? Malachite? What I’m saying is, she’s green.  It hasn’t always been that way, though. When Bay Curious listener Justin Hartung was growing up in Oakland, he remembers the bay being blue. After moving to New York for college in the early ’90s, and returning to the East Bay a couple of years ago, he noticed a big difference in the hue of the harbor.  “I remembered it being much more blue,” he says. “So I wondered if that was a thing, or if I was just remembering things incorrectly.” … ”  Read more from KQED here: Feel like the S.F. Bay used to be bluer? You’re not imagining it

Bay Area: San Antonio Creek deemed dirty:  “The board charged with overseeing the water quality in much of the San Francisco Bay Area unanimously approved a plan requiring local businesses, residents and government agencies to reduce the amount of fecal bacteria they put into the Petaluma River watershed, including San Antonio Creek.  At a meeting in Oakland on Wednesday, members of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board voted unanimously to implement the plan, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load [TMDL]. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Sun here: San Antonio Creek deemed dirty

As the sea rises and climate changes, a bay area city plans 469 single family homes on a bayshore flood zone:  “Planners, climate scientists, and environmentalists generally agree that two of the most critical measures California should take to reduce its carbon emissions are to build more dense urban housing near transit and to restore carbon-sequestering wetlands.  On Thursday, the East Bay city of Newark will consider approving 469 single family homes and 2,739 parking spaces at the edge of the San Francisco Bay shoreline, on a 430-acre parcel where conservation groups and state and federal agencies have for decades hoped to restore wetlands. The city’s Planning Commission approved the development on Oct. 22, and city staff has recommended the project proceed. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: As the sea rises and climate changes, a bay area city plans 469 single family homes on a bayshore flood zone

Newark considering controversial 469-home development at edge of Baylands:  “A long-brewing environmental battle over plans to build nearly 500 single-family homes on a large swath of property right next to Newark’s wetlands is coming to a head Thursday, when the City Council is to consider approving the massive development.  Environmentalists and residents who believe the site is better suited for wetlands restoration than pricey homes have lined up against city officials and prominent developers who have been planning to build there for decades. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Newark considering controversial 469-home development at edge of Baylands

Save Newark’s wetlands, while we still can, says Florence LaRiviere:  She writes, “During the hot summer months, my husband and I would put the kids and our dinner in the car and escape out to a broken-down picnic table near the Palo Alto harbor. We loved visiting the tidal marsh there in the evening, when the sun was setting and the tide put all the cordgrass into motion. Later on, we found out that the harbor was being maintained by a dredge that would scoop the mud out of the channel, swing the arm around and dump everything right on top of the marsh. Many acres of wetlands were lost that way in the 1950s, and we started getting concerned about the well-being of our local haunts. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Save Newark’s wetlands, while we still can

State investigates Alpine Creek spill:  “State authorities are investigating a spill that fouled Alpine Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  On Sept. 30, a truck was on its way to a county job site and tried to take a shorter route on Alpine Road near La Honda. On a sharp bend, the truck spilled about 1,000 gallons of asphalt emulsion product used on roads and some diesel fuel into a tributary that flows into Alpine Creek, officials said. ... ”  Read more from the Half Moon Bay Review here: State investigates Alpine Creek spill

Santa Cruz City Council adopts strategy to increase water supply:  “The Santa Cruz City Council is on board with changes to the Water Supply Advisory Committee’s plan to increase water supply in Santa Cruz.  The council unanimously approved a revised water supply augmentation strategy presented by the city of Santa Cruz Water Commission on Tuesday.  The plan, recommended by city staff, is a revised work plan from the Water Supply Advisory Committee, a group of nearly 15 Santa Cruz and Live Oak residents appointed to address the city’s water supply issue. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Santa Cruz City Council adopts strategy to increase water supply

Monterey: Now that a public buyout of Cal Am has been declared feasible, is it doable? “It’s definitely economically feasible.”  That’s from Dave Stoldt, general manager of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, the agency that was tasked by the will of the voters who passed the ballot measure known as Measure J, to determine whether or not a public buyout of California American Water is feasible. ... ” Read more from the Monterey Weekly here: Now that a public buyout of Cal Am has been declared feasible, is it doable? 

Monterey: Consultant: Cal Am purchase can be paid for with rate savings:  “It will cost Monterey Peninsula ratepayers about $574.5 million, all in, to acquire California American Water’s local water system, but that cost can be covered in rate savings under public ownership with some leftover to lower local customers’ water bills.  However, there remain variables that could lead to higher costs that might threaten those projected savings and the resulting “economic feasibility” of a public takeover. There is also a risk of significant “stranded costs” if expected eminent domain litigation to force such an acquisition goes awry. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Consultant: Cal Am purchase can be paid for with rate savings

Along the Colorado River …

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users:  “As climate change continues to sap the Colorado River’s water, some users face serious legal risks to their supplies, according to a new analysis by researchers in Colorado and New Mexico.  Declining flows could force Southwest water managers to confront long-standing legal uncertainties, and threaten the water security of Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. ... ”  Read more from KUNC here: New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

‘Science be dammed’: learning from history’s mistake on the Colorado River:  “A new book explains why policymakers nearly 100 years ago chose to ignore the best science on the Colorado River’s flow — and the dangers if we repeat their mistake.  In late October we joined a group of academics and water managers who gathered at the University of Arizona to hash over a pressing set of questions: As water scarcity overtakes the Southwest, what do we know about the Colorado River, and what do we need to know? … ”  Read more from The Revelator here: ‘Science be dammed’: learning from history’s mistake on the Colorado River

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

LIVING SHORELINES: Linking estuary habitats and building capacity to adapt to rising seas

SCIENCE NEWS: Can the long-lost abalone make a comeback in California; How to start adapting to CA’s “Precipitation Whiplash”; The vulnerability of salmon populations to climate change; When turkeys attack; and more…

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Working Landscapes ~Water Workgroup~ Flood Webinar~ Ecosystem Symposium~ Funding Rules~ Splash ~~

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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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