DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Pattern change will bring first significant rain, snow of season to parched CA; Are atmospheric rivers the reason for NorCal’s extreme weather?; Millions of gallons of oily water still surfacing in a Kern County oil field; Dan Walters on the Westlands contract; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Pattern change will bring first significant rain, snow of season to parched California, Southwest; Are atmospheric rivers the reason for Northern California’s extreme weather?; Millions of gallons of oily water have surfaced in a Kern County oil field, and more keeps coming; California gets good marks planning for sea-level rise; Dan Walters on the Westlands contract; Klamath Tribes agree with court’s ruling; The secret colossal trees of California’s North Coast; Hundreds pack hearing to protest Trump administration proposal to dredge San Francisco Bay; Pacheco Dam safety issued identified; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Pattern change will bring first significant rain, snow of season to parched California, Southwest:  “The first significant rain and snow of the season is expected to develop in Southern California and the Southwest midweek and will bring some relief from abnormally dry conditions.  A change in the upper-level weather pattern will allow rain and mountain snow to develop in the West. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here: Pattern change will bring first significant rain, snow of season to parched California, Southwest

Are atmospheric rivers the reason for Northern California’s extreme weather?:  “It’s been a tough few years for Northern California, disaster-wise. The north state has been hammered in quick succession by catastrophic drought, intense flooding and rampaging wildfires. While it’s reassuring to know such extreme events are historically uncommon, they’re also not simply a result of bad luck.  Scientists have only recently begun to understand that they share a common natural link. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Are atmospheric rivers the reason for Northern California’s extreme weather?

Two-thirds of state ‘abnormally dry,’ but climatologists say not to worry — yet:  “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 Visalia Times-Delta here: Two-thirds of state ‘abnormally dry,’ but climatologists say not to worry — yet

Millions of gallons of oily water have surfaced in a Kern County oil field, and more keeps coming:  “Juan Flores remembers sitting in a meeting in July when his phone started blowing up. He’s a community organizer with the non-profit advocacy group Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. “A fellow colleague in environmental justice work, he literally called me three times,” he says.  Not wanting to disturb his meeting, Flores declined the calls at first. “By the third time, I said now this is something important and serious so let me actually step out and take the call,” he says. The colleague was calling to tell Flores about a Kern County oil seep, which the state refers to as a surface expression. … ”  Read more from KVPR here: Millions of gallons of oily water have surfaced in a Kern County oil field, and more keeps coming

California gets good marks planning for sea-level rise:  “California got an A-grade for its efforts to protect the state’s beaches in the latest coastal survey from the California-based Surfrider group.  The survey looked at how states with coastlines managed sediment, coastal development, coastal armoring, and sea-level rise.  The state’s proactive coastal policies earned a high rating. ... ”  Read more from KPBS here: California gets good marks planning for sea-level rise

A new, non-toxic firefighting foam could be on the way:  “Under pressure from environmental groups, the Defense Department is on the hunt for an aqueous film-forming foam ― the kind it uses to put out fires after aircraft crashes and other incidents ― that doesn’t contain potentially cancer-causing chemicals that leach into ground water.  The Pentagon has put about $10 million into the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program since 2011, according to a Friday DoD release, to eventually create a foam that doesn’t contain perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid, collectively known as PFAS. … ”  Read more from Marine Review here: A new, non-toxic firefighting foam could be on the way

Sunday podcasts …

Helen Keller:  Steve Baker writes, “The challenges of life can present itself anytime in our lives. The life of a deaf and blind woman, Helen Keller, is an example of a sudden and drastic life change that improved because of that beautiful liquid that we call water. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Steve Baker, Operation Unite®; Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems.  Email: stevebaker@operationunite.co


Misdirection and surprise:  “It’s been a while since we produced one of our 5-minute water shorts. Well, the wait is over. This short begins with a discovery. We found out during one of our recording sessions that David has a treasure trove of water jokes he has been posting online. You can visit it here.  Thanks again to @scotty_NoNo for joining us and teaching us a little about comedy!

In commentary this weekend …

Health of our families, communities depends on safe water, says Adriana Renteria and Jennifer Clary:  They write, “California took a historic step forward this summer with the passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. This fund seeks to provide new targeted investments to end the state’s drinking water crisis, where one million Californians are impacted by unsafe water each year. Unfortunately, successful implementation of the fund is on a potential collision course with another California law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act — also known as SGMA — which is being implemented in a manner that ignores the safe drinking water needs of our most vulnerable communities and threatens Gov. Newsom’s vision of providing safe water to all. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Health of our families, communities depends on safe water

Dan Walters: Westlands contract shakes the waterscape:  “California’s perpetual, uber-complex conflict over water progresses much like the tectonic plates that grind against one another beneath its surface. … In much the same way, interest groups constantly rub on each other in political and legal venues, seeking greater shares of the state’s water supply, which itself varies greatly from year to year. And occasionally, there’s a sharp movement that shakes things up.  We may be seeing just such a movement involving the nation’s largest agricultural water agency, the Westlands Water District that serves the western side of the San Joaquin Valley. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Westlands contract shakes the waterscape

Neighboring water deal reeks of cronyism, says the Las Vegas Sun:  They write, “For decades, Nevada has fought to update the 1922-vintage Colorado River Compact so that our state can receive its fair allotment of water from the river.  Now comes news of a sketchy water deal in California that should spur us into action.  The Department of the Interior is proposing to award a highly coveted water supply contract to California’s Westlands Water District, which Interior Secretary David Bernhardt previously represented as a lobbyist.  This not only smacks of a conflict of interest, it has disturbing ramifications for Nevada’s water supply. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Sun here: Neighboring water deal reeks of cronyism

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Klamath Tribes agree with court’s ruling:  “The Klamath Tribes are in agreement with the outcome of the ‘Takings’ case – a federal case involving water allocation in the Klamath Project in 2001 – and see it ultimately as a victory for their senior in-stream water rights.  The case – Baley vs. United States – was ruled in 2017 by Judge Marion Horn as being in favor of senior water rights held by the tribes. An appeal of that ruling by farmers and ranchers with a stake in the case was denied last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals, affirming tribal rights to the water. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Klamath Tribes agree with court’s ruling

Tribes’ water rights at Klamath River upheld by federal circuit court:  “Native American tribal water rights are guaranteed by the federal government to the extent that endangered species, like salmon in the Klamath River, aren’t placed in danger, according to a court decision on Thursday.  The decision ensures that tribes receive priority over a group of farmers who sued the federal government in 2001 for shortchanging irrigation water supply, following a dry year for Oregon’s Klamath basin. … ”  Read more from the Redwood Times here: Tribes’ water rights at Klamath River upheld by federal circuit court

Klamath Project: ‘Erroneous’ data triggers new biological opinion:  “Agriculture producers in the Klamath Project may start the 2020 primary irrigation season with a new biological opinion that informs and governs water management according to environmental requirements under the Endangered Species Act.  That’s because a consultant hired to assist Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office and federal wildlife agencies provided “erroneous” data that informed the most recent 2018 biological opinions, according to a news release. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Klamath Project: ‘Erroneous’ data triggers new biological opinion

Outfitters: Klamath Dam removal plan could damage recreation economy, limit access:  “Pete Wallstrom is a self-described environmentalist who got into the rafting business, in part, to connect people with the natural world.   As such, the owner of Momentum River Expeditions is a big proponent of Klamath River dam removal, a massive project to eliminate four dams and restore a stream that flows from Oregon into northwest California in 2021 and 2022. … But over the past two months, Wallstrom and a collection of outfitters have become alarmed that the project will end up limiting access to the newly restored river and damaging Southern Oregon’s recreation economy. ... ”  Read more from the Statesman Journal here: Outfitters: Klamath Dam removal plan could damage recreation economy, limit access

Arcata city officials say they want to use the wetlands for wastewater treatment for as long as possible:  “The Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure at risk as the sea level rises, but it’s unlikely to be moved farther inland for at least another half century.  The treatment plant isn’t only at risk from rising sea levels potentially inundating it from the west, particularly during a storm surge, but also from rising groundwater and tectonic forces causing the land to sink, according to the 2018 City of Arcata Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment compiled by local sea level rise expert Alderon Laird. Laird has said to expect .9 feet of sea level rising by 2030, 1.9 feet by 2050 and 3.2 feet by 2070. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Arcata city officials say they want to use the wetlands for wastewater treatment for as long as possible

The secret colossal trees of California’s North Coast:  “The General Sherman, a giant sequoia in California’s southern Sierra Nevada, is as wide as a three-lane highway, nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and older than Christ. It’s the champion of big trees, recognized as such for decades by American Forests, a nonprofit that has been ranking the world’s biggest trees since 1940.  Yet, according to some tree experts, Sherman’s top ranking should come with an asterisk. It all depends on how you define biggest. … ”  Read more from the California Sun here: The secret colossal trees of California’s North Coast

Twice burned, Sonoma County’s Pepperwood Preserve has long-term stake in wildfire science and recovery:  “Brittle, blackened leaves on a small bay laurel tree remain frozen just as they were ruffled by the hot north wind of the Kincade fire that stormed Pepperwood Preserve three weeks ago, scorching the 3,200-acre property in the Mayacamas Mountains for the second time in three years.  Nearby, in Hendley Flat at the north end of the sprawling preserve, the shattered 20-foot stump of a venerable “grandmother” valley oak tree stands among downed limbs, another remnant of the massive blaze that scorched 60% of the property dedicated to conservation and education. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Twice burned, Sonoma County’s Pepperwood Preserve has long-term stake in wildfire science and recovery

Hundreds pack hearing to protest Trump administration proposal to dredge San Francisco Bay: Hundreds of people packed a hearing in Pinole, California, to protest the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) plan to dredge San Francisco Bay on behalf of Big Oil yesterday evening.  Community activists presented to Trump administration officials a petition signed by more than 20,500 people opposed to the project. … “Deepening the Bay to accommodate bigger vessels carrying dirty tar sands crude oil puts communities along the water and near the refineries at risk,” said Isabella Zizi, Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth and member of Protect the Bay. “The environmental impact statement for this project completely ignores the harmful air impacts to local communities that would result from increased refinery operations.” ... ”  Read more at the Daily Kos here: Hundreds pack hearing to protest Trump administration proposal to dredge San Francisco Bay

Pacheco Dam safety issued identified:  “California is on track to build a $1 billion dam and create a giant reservoir at Pacheco Pass that will dwarf the existing reservoir and dam near Highway 152 east of Gilroy, with construction beginning in 2024.  New evidence from an independent nationwide study of dam safety suggests a new incentive for the project—safety—in addition to the stated goals of securing long-term drinking water resources and improving fish habitats.  A more than two-year investigation by the Associated Press has found that scores of dams nationwide are in bad shape, and many are in dangerous locations—with Pacheco Pass on the ‘high hazard” list. … ”  Read more from the Gilroy Dispatch here: Pacheco Dam safety issued identified

Porterville: Path To Sustainability: Workshop covers plan for groundwater:  “Groundwater in Tulare County, especially in Porterville, has been a hot topic of discussion for quite sometime. As groundwater levels have begun to subside, a viable and woking plan to maintain the groundwater has been state mandated, and the implementation of this plan is set to be put in action by January 31, 2020. But what exactly is the plan, and who is at stake? The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency (ETGSA) has partnered with other agencies, including the Community Water Center, to devise a draft of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), and on Wednesday night the two agencies held a community workshop at Porterville College to engage the community in the GSP and explain exactly what it is. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Path To Sustainability: Workshop covers plan for groundwater

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority committees briefed on draft plan:  “During a meeting spanning more than three hours on Oct. 7, Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority committee members and the public tore through the initial draft of a sustainability plan.  The draft groundwater sustainability plan was released last week for review by the Policy and Technical advisory committees and was made available to the public via the IWVGA website. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority committees briefed on draft plan

Annual Seal Beach sand berm being built:  “It’s sand berm-building season in Seal Beach. Giant trucks and heavy equipment started arriving in Old Town last week and workers are currently erecting the structure which stretches from south of the Seal Beach Pier to just short of the fence of the Naval Weapons Station. The berm is built annually during November and is usually taken down in April. … ”  Read more from the Seal Beach Sun here: Annual Seal Beach sand berm being built

Newport’s mercury-tainted dredge spoils may be buried deep under harbor floor:  “Newport Harbor dredge spoils deemed too contaminated for disposal in the open ocean may be buried in a deep underwater hole not far from where they’ve accumulated.  The mercury-tainted sediment was found mostly near the turning basin and in the area near Lido Peninsula, reflecting a time when Newport had more shipyards and other industrial uses, according to maps that Harbor Resources Manager Chris Miller showed the city Harbor Commission and Water Quality and Coastal Tidelands Committee this month. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Newport’s mercury-tainted dredge spoils may be buried deep under harbor floor

Along the Colorado River …

Water authority would pay $30 million to Raiders under proposed decade-long advertising contract for water conservation:  “The Southern Nevada Water Authority is proposing a 10-year marketing deal with the future Las Vegas Raiders that will pay the NFL franchise more than $30 million in tax dollars over the next decade, enabling the agency to use team logos and place advertising in the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.  The deal, which is up for approval at the water authority’s board meeting on Thursday, is worth $2.5 million with an automatic annual four percent increase that will see the annual payment top out at about $3.5 million by 2029. … ”  Read more from the Nevada Independent here: Water authority would pay $30 million to Raiders under proposed decade-long advertising contract for water conservation

Precipitation watch …

At last, precipitation to watch!

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

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