DAILY DIGEST: Shaping plans for single Delta tunnel; 81% of California abnormally dry as seasonal rains fail to materialize; Court tosses farmers’ takings claim in Klamath battle; Bigger doesn’t mean better for hatchery-released salmon; A look back at the Clean Water Act movement after 50 years; and more …

In California water news today, Shaping plans for single Delta tunnel; 81% of California abnormally dry as seasonal rains fail to materialize; ACWA releases fact sheet on investing in water resilience; Court tosses farmers’ takings claim in Klamath battle; Bigger doesn’t mean better for hatchery-released salmon; Deep sea octopus gardens intrigue scientists; The water is cleaner but the politics are messier: A look back at the Clean Water Act movement after 50 years; and more …

In the news today …

Shaping plans for single Delta tunnel:  “As plans for a single tunnel in the Delta take shape, a new committee has been created to inform planners of the Delta Conveyance Project’s (DCP) expected impacts across a broad range of interests.  The appointed members of the Stakeholder Engagement Committee (SEC) were announced last month by the board of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA), and the first meeting of the group was planned for Wednesday, Nov. 13, in Isleton. The DCA was formed in May 2018 to manage the design and construction of what was then the California WaterFix, and is overseen by the California Department of Water Resources. … ”  Read more from The Press here: Shaping plans for single Delta tunnel

And we wait. 81% of California abnormally dry as seasonal rains fail to materialize:  “California’s drought-prone hills and valleys are on the verge of another troubling dry spell.  The U.S. government’s Drought Monitor on Thursday classified more than 80% of California as abnormally dry because rain has eluded the state for most of the fall. Forecasting models, meanwhile, suggest little change in the near future — maybe some drizzle late next week, maybe not. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  And we wait. 81% of California abnormally dry as seasonal rains fail to materialize

US Drought Monitor: Much of California now ‘abnormally dry’:  “The U.S. Drought Monitor is now categorizing two-thirds of California as abnormally dry.  The monitor reports Thursday that more than 81% of the state is considered dry, including a small percentage in the first stages of drought.  That’s up from less than 18% last week. … ”  Read more from the AP here: US Drought Monitor: Much of California now ‘abnormally dry’

ACWA releases fact sheet on investing in water resilience:  “ACWA recently released a two-page fact sheet, Investing in Water Resilience for a Reliable Water Supply, to share information on the effects of climate change in California and the need for investments in water management infrastructure.  By the end of the century, the Sierra snowpack is projected to experience a 48% to 65% loss relative to the historic average, which will have significant implications for California’s water supply. The fact sheet provides additional information on reduced snowpack, flooding, extended droughts, sea level rise and wildfires. It also discusses solutions and plans that are critical for the state to maintain a reliable water supply for California communities, the economy and the environment. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: ACWA releases fact sheet on investing in water resilience

Court tosses farmers’ takings claim in Klamath battle:  “A federal appeals court today rejected a claim from farmers in southeastern Oregon that their property rights were violated when federal regulators cut off water deliveries in 2001 to save endangered fish in the Klamath River.  The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit follows 18 years of litigation stemming from a decision from George W. Bush’s administration to cut off water delivery from an irrigation project to safeguard salmon. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Court tosses farmers’ takings claim in Klamath battle

Column: Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s previous job raises questions about a deal for his ex-client:  Michael Hiltzik writes, “The Department of the Interior wants us to know that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has had nothing to do with a contract that will give one of his former lobbying clients, the giant Westlands Water District, permanent access to lucrative federal irrigation water supplies.  Westlands wants us to know the same thing. “Mr. Bernhardt was not involved in any of the discussions” over the contract, Westlands General Manager Tom Birmingham told me. “This has nothing to do with David Bernhardt.” … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Column: Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s previous job raises questions about a deal for his ex-client

Bigger doesn’t mean better for hatchery-released salmon:  “Fish permeate the culture of the Pacific Northwest (PNW). In particular, the iconic salmon has been an important part of the region for thousands of years, from ancient Native American trade routes and legends to modern fishing and sporting. In the area of the Salish Sea — inland waterways including Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca — the cultures, economies, and technologies there are all impacted and influenced by salmon. It is no wonder, then, that salmon are of high conservation interest and constitute a large proportion of hatchery-raised fish in the region. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Bigger doesn’t mean better for hatchery-released salmon

Deep sea octopus gardens intrigue scientists:  “During a recent expedition to study the largest octopus garden ever discovered, scientists stumbled across a second garden about 5 miles away. Located off the coast of Central California, these gardens are home to thousands of octo-moms who have come to take care of their eggs. KAZU reporter Erika Mahoney caught up with the scientists to learn more about what will come of their expedition. … ” Read more from KCBX here: Deep sea octopus gardens intrigue scientists

Panetta seeks new designation for coastal universities on the frontlines of climate change:  “Legislation put forward by a Central Coast congressman would create a new designation for coastal colleges and universities on the frontlines of climate change research and education.  Called the Coastal Resilience Research and Education Act, the bill was introduced Thursday by Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Panetta seeks new designation for coastal universities on the frontlines of climate change

The water is cleaner but the politics are messier: A look back at the Clean Water Act movement after 50 years:  “In June 1969, a Time Magazine article garnered national attention when it brought to light the water quality conditions in Ohio: a river had literally caught fire.  Oil-soaked debris ignited after sparks, likely from a passing train, set the slick ablaze. Local media actually didn’t spend much time reporting on the fire. This was, after all, at least the 13th time a waterway had been set ablaze in Ohio alone, not to mention river fires in Philadelphia, Baltimore and other industrial cities. Time Magazine didn’t even run pictures of this specific fire. Instead, they used stock photos of another fire that happened in the same area in 1957. … ”  Read more from Environmental Health News here: The water is cleaner but the politics are messier: A look back at the Clean Water Act movement after 50 years

In people news today …

Martin settles into new duties as CCID manager:  “A passion for water and agriculture forged a career path for Gustine resident Jarrett Martin.  The 2004 Gustine High graduate was recently named general manager of the sprawling Central California Irrigation District, which encompasses 143,000 acres of land stretching 80 miles along the San Joaquin Valley from Crows Landing to Mendota.  Martin succeeds Chris White in the general manager position. White has become executive director of the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, a coalition of four irrigation agencies which includes CCID. … ”  Read more from Westside Connect here: Martin settles into new duties as CCID manager

Mark Watton, who helped pioneer historic pact to protect region’s water supply, to retire:  “Longtime Otay Water District General Manager Mark Watton, regarded as one of the architects of the historic water-transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District, will retire next year.  Watton, who has represented the water interests of Otay, the county and the state for more than 30 years, said he intends to step down in late February. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Mark Watton, who helped pioneer historic pact to protect region’s water supply, to retire

CalDesal hires Wendy Ridderbusch as Executive Director:  “CalDesal has hired former ACWA Director of State Legislative Relations Wendy Ridderbusch as its next Executive Director, effective Dec. 1.  The nonprofit membership-based organization of public and private entities serves as the leading advocacy organization supporting ocean and groundwater desalination and salinity management in California. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: CalDesal hires Wendy Ridderbusch as Executive Director

In commentary today …

Californians must help kill sleazy Westlands water deal, says the Mercury News here:The Westlands Water District has engaged in some sleazy maneuvers over the years, but this one, which threatens the Bay Area’s water supply, tops them all.  The Trump administration, led by Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt, is poised to give a massive quantity of cheap federal water to the Central Valley water district — the same district that paid Bernhardt’s firm $1.3 million over a five-year period for lobbying services before he took the Interior job. ... ”  Read more from the Mercury News here: Californians must help kill sleazy Westlands water deal

San Joaquin Valley farmers’ new BFF? A liberal politician from San Francisco, says the Fresno Bee:  They write, “A year ago, Democrat Gavin Newsom swept into the governor’s office, capturing 62 percent of the vote in the November 2018 election. Farming interests in the San Joaquin Valley wondered what level of support Newsom might show for their industry. Now, a year later, the answer is that Newsom has demonstrated strong backing for agriculture in the Valley — a surprise considering Newsom’s political history as a liberal from San Francisco, not the most farm-friendly part of the state. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: San Joaquin Valley farmers’ new BFF? A liberal politician from San Francisco

In California, 1 million residents lack clean water. Solutions are on the way, say Lisa Beutler, Tori Klug, and Mike Antos:  They write, “Access to clean, safe water isn’t a given. You may be surprised to hear that this morning, about a million Californians woke up without reliable access to safe and affordable drinking water. While a concerted, multi-dimensional effort ensures that most people in the US have safe drinking water on tap, many remain at risk because of challenges like increasing source water contamination, aging infrastructure, and increasing costs, to name a few. … We believe that solving technical, managerial, and financial challenges without attention to the social and political dimensions will likely fail to provide sustainable solutions. ... ”  Read more from Stantec here: In California, 1 million residents lack clean water. Solutions are on the way

Trump’s EPA is trying to limit science in crafting new regulations, says the LA Times:  They write, “Science doesn’t get much respect from the Trump administration. Among other things, the administration has brushed off as unimportant the effect of burning fossil fuels on global warming, and has ignored the effect of emissions of mercury and other toxins from power plants on the environment and human health.  But now the administration wants to further reduce the influence of science on public policy through a bit of regulatory subterfuge that is stunning in its malign craftiness. If the administration succeeds, we’ll all be the worse for it. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Trump’s EPA is trying to limit science in crafting new regulations

In regional news and commentary today …

Is the end near for Kilarc Reservoir? PG&E plans to drain popular eastern Shasta County fishing spot:  “Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plans to drain Kilarc Reservoir this winter, shutting down a popular eastern Shasta County fishing spot that at one time had a large group of supporters and the backing of an organization called “Save Kilarc.”  PG&E said Thursday that two small powerhouses at the reservoir had been shut down since a canal at the reservoir had been damaged during last winter’s storms. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Is the end near for Kilarc Reservoir? PG&E plans to drain popular eastern Shasta County fishing spot

Flood protection project to displace a dozen Natomas-area homeowners:  “Construction is underway on the levees surrounding Sacramento’s Natomas Basin, home to an estimated 100,000 people.  “Many people do refer to Natomas and Sacramento as the most at-risk region for catastrophic flooding,” said Tyler Stalker, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. … ”  Read more from KCRA here: Flood protection project to displace a dozen Natomas-area homeowners

Vacaville joins broader effort for single groundwater sustainability plan:  “City Council members – sitting as the directors of the Vacaville Groundwater Sustainability Agency – approved a collaboration agreement Tuesday with the other sustainability agencies in the Solano Subbasin in order to keep the groundwater grant funding flowing.  The city had previously entered into a contract with the other agencies within the basin in order to secure a $1 million planning grant for the development of the Vacaville Groundwater Sustainability Plan. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Vacaville joins broader effort for single groundwater sustainability plan

Newark City Council approves 469 homes on edge of wetlands despite environmentalist concerns:  “Marking a milestone decision in a decades-long planning effort, the Newark City Council voted Thursday to approve a massive, 469-home development on the edge of the city’s wetlands.  The council approved the proposal from Mountain View-based developer The Sobrato Organization despite a wave of concerns raised by regional environmental groups and opposition from people who spoke at the packed meeting. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here: Newark City Council approves 469 homes on edge of wetlands despite environmentalist concerns

Pleasanton OKs Study to Treat Chemicals Found In Water Wells:  “Pleasanton’s water utility shut down a drinking water well earlier this year after detecting unsafe levels of toxic chemicals linked to adverse health effects, including cancer and birth defects.  Zone 7 Water Agency, which supplies treated drinking water to Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin, took similar measures after discovering elevated levels of the chemicals in some of its groundwater wells.  The contamination was discovered as part of a new push to assess the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), two common types of man-made chemicals known as PFAS, in drinking water systems and groundwater sources across the state. … ”  Read more from the Independent here: Pleasanton OKs Study to Treat Chemicals Found In Water Wells

Elkhorn Slough group and housing developer seek court decision after two years of wrangling:  “Emotions ran high at a California Coastal Commission hearing on November 8, 2017, as about 60 residents of the Las Lomas community of North Monterey County implored commissioners to approve the 54-unit Rancho Los Robles housing development. They wore white T-shirts that read, “Las Lomas Residents United for a Better Community.” Some took the day off of work to speak, and were bused 162 miles by developer Heritage/Western Communities, after the company promised the project would include a soccer field and a library – things Las Lomas is lacking. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here:  Elkhorn Slough group and housing developer seek court decision after two years of wrangling

Cal Am desal project starts Coastal Commission public review:  “California American Water began making its case to the Coastal Commission on Thursday for a long-planned desalination project at the core of a proposed new water supply for the Monterey Peninsula to offset the state-ordered pumping cutback from the Carmel River.  But the debate over a commission staff recommendation to deny the desal project over its coastal environmental impacts and cost in favor of an alternative, the proposed Pure Water Monterey recycled water expansion project, took center stage. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Cal Am desal project starts Coastal Commission public review

Dozens speak up over Cal Am’s proposed desal plant:  “On Thursday, the California Coastal Commission listened to hours of public comments over California American Water’s proposed desalination facility, which aims to provide water to much of the Monterey Peninsula. Part of the project would be located within the City of Marina, but Marina residents won’t get any of the water.  KAZU’s Erika Mahoney attended a livestream of Thursday’s public hearing. … ”  Read more from KAZU here: Dozens speak up over Cal Am’s proposed desal plant

New sea cave threatens homes at Terramar Beach in Carlsbad:  “Carlsbad has issued a temporary emergency permit allowing property owners to fill a sea cave threatening two expensive blufftop homes at Terramar Beach, a popular surf spot, the city reported this week.  The permit allowed the owners to install gabions, which in this case are plastic cages filled with cobblestones, inside the narrow cave along with sandbags and fabric to prevent the bluff from eroding further, according to the report presented to the Carlsbad City Council. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: New sea cave threatens homes at Terramar Beach in Carlsbad

Endangered white abalone on journey home to San Diego kelp beds:  “In La Jolla Wednesday, hundreds of young white abalone were getting ready for a venture into the wild as part of a campaign to reintroduce the endangered sea creatures to the California Coast.  Marine scientists are transporting 3,200 white abalone from labs where they were born, to the waters off San Diego and Los Angeles. Half of those were set out in cages weeks ago, where they have been acclimating to the new habitat. The rest will be released next week, in tubes set to automatically open the same night. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Endangered white abalone on journey home to San Diego kelp beds

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona water — here are the reasons to be optimistic:  “Arizona Forward is committed to Arizona water.  As Arizona’s oldest environmental advocacy group, Arizona Forward has a water committee made up of more than 60 people tied to various organizations — including cities and counties from across the state. Together, these individuals and organizations explore every facet of our desert’s most precious commodity — water. From exploring how water plays a role in industry operations and recreational uses to seeking the most innovative and progressive sustainability and conservation methods, Arizona Forward honors and supports the champions of Arizona’s future water planning. … ”  Read more from AZ Big Media here: Arizona water — here are the reasons to be optimistic

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: State Water Board streamlines permitting process for diversions of floodwaters to underground storage; CVPIA completes Rio Vista Side Channel Fish Habitat Project; Reclamation awards funding to two CA projects to develop water marketing strategies

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Duck Scoping~ Bird Brunching~ WY2019 Update~ DSC Meeting~ DPC Meeting ~~

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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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