DAILY DIGEST: Is rain done in 2019? Is California in a drought? What to know as weather stays dry; Symposium talks benefits of partnership in watershed restoration; The surprising connection between salmon and redwood forests; Toxic algae is ruining our lakes. The solution: beer.; and more …

In California water news today, Is rain done in 2019? Is California in a drought? What to know as weather stays dry; Symposium talks benefits of partnership in watershed restoration; Video: The surprising connection between salmon and redwood forests; Nature up close: Salmon, a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest; Bottom-trawling fishing severely restricted off West Coast starting in January; Get over it? UC Riverside study shows that, while people can come to appreciate recycled water’s benefits, they still don’t want to use it; Toxic algae is ruining our lakes. The solution: beer.; EPA releases review protocol for PFAS; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets beginning at 9:30am.  Agenda items include informational item on a streamlined permitting process for diversions of floodwater and other high flows that support groundwater sustainability; Update on the Water Board’s PFAS investigation efforts; Report on cooling water intake structures; and Office of the Delta Watermaster’s Semi-annual Report.  Click here for the full agendaClick here to watch on webcast.
  • Webinar: FY20 WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Contingency Planning Grants from 9:30am to 10:30am:  Bureau of Reclamation to discuss this funding opportunity.  Click here for webex information.
  • Workshop: Water use studies from 10am to 4pm.  Agenda topics include residential use, variances, and CII uses.  Click here for the full agenda and webex information.

In the news today …

Is rain done in 2019? Is California in a drought? What to know as weather stays dry:  “It’s been warmer than normal. It’s been drier than normal. For most of the region, it hasn’t rained more than a sprinkle or a brief thunderstorm here or there in about six months.  Northern California weather has done a relatively quick 180 in 2019. Heavy rain coming via “atmospheric river” systems drenched the Sacramento Valley, created some flood concerns and filled reservoirs to healthy levels this January through March.  But what spring 2019 had plenty of, fall 2019 has had nearly zilch. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Is rain done in 2019? Is California in a drought? What to know as weather stays dry

Symposium talks benefits of partnership in watershed restoration:  “Creating partnerships was the theme of a Nov. 8 symposium put on by Mountain Counties Water Resources Association at the Ridge Golf Course and Events Center in Auburn.  Titled, A Look Into the Future for California’s Watersheds, Dave Eggerton, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, began by providing an overview of what the symposium would cover.  Emphasizing that “partnerships are there for the taking,” Eggerton cited the upcoming panel discussion of the French Meadows Restoration Project as a successful example where different agencies have come together to restore a watershed. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Symposium talks benefits of partnership in watershed restoration

Video: The surprising connection between salmon and redwood forests:  “Keith Parker, a fish biologist of the Yurok tribe, says the river is the life blood of his culture. Many religious ceremonies revolve around the river because it supports salmon and dozens of other species critical to the ecosystem. Parker describes the cycle in which salmon pass along marine-derived to both predators and the forests. When salmon carcasses are carried out into the forests by smaller animals, they help nurture the redwood forests hundreds of miles upriver.”  Watch the video from KCET here: Video: The surprising connection between salmon and redwood forests

Nature up close: Salmon, a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest:  “Salmon have always held a fascination for me that is difficult to express. They are, at the very least, majestic. … Imagine that when your mother was pregnant with you she took a trip from Phoenix to San Francisco and gave birth to you there. Then you both returned to Phoenix. Now imagine 15 years later you decide to go to San Francisco, but you can’t use a GPS device, or a list of directions, or a map or any other means of navigation. You just go. And you successfully make it there. Impossible, right? Yes, impossible, because you are not a salmon. … ”  Read the full story at CBS This Morning here: Nature up close: Salmon, a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest

Bottom-trawling fishing severely restricted off West Coast starting in January:  “The most extensive ban on dragging weighted nets on the sea floor — known as bottom trawling — becomes law Tuesday, protecting more than 140,000-square-miles of seafloor habitat along the West Coast, including beds of lush coral around the Farallon Islands.  The new regulations, which will take effect Jan. 1 after being published in the Federal Register Tuesday, will protect 90 percent of the seafloor along the coast from Canada to Mexico, the largest contiguous area protected from bottom trawling in the world. … ”  Read more from San Francisco Chronicle here: Bottom-trawling fishing severely restricted off West Coast starting in January

U.S. officials granting $29 million for coastal protection projects, including in California:  “Projects to protect Texas marshes from erosion and an Alaskan village from the Bering Sea are getting help from some of the 44 grants awarded Monday by the National Coastal Resilience Fund, a public-private partnership assisting communities threatened by storms and flooding from rising and warming seas.  The $29 million in grants announced Monday are being matched by nearly $60 million from government agencies and nonprofits in 20 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. … ”  Read more from KTLA Channel 5 here: U.S. officials granting $29 million for coastal protection projects, including in California

Get over it? UC Riverside study shows that, while people can come to appreciate recycled water’s benefits, they still don’t want to use it:  “If people are educated on recycled water, they may come to agree it’s perfectly safe and tastes as good — or better — than their drinking water. They may even agree it’s an answer to the critical water imbalance in California, where the northern third of the state holds 75% of the water despite 80% of the demand coming from the southern two-thirds.  But that doesn’t mean they’re going to use recycled water — and it sure doesn’t mean they’ll drink it. And the reason lies in the word “disgust.”  That’s the result of a series of studies by UC Riverside psychology researchers Mary Gauvain and Daniel Harmon published recently in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology. … ”  Read more from UC Riverside here: Get over it? UC Riverside study shows that, while people can come to appreciate recycled water’s benefits, they still don’t want to use it

Toxic algae is ruining our lakes. The solution: beer.  ” … A woman in North Carolina lost three dogs after they went swimming in a pond this summer. And experts have been warning dog owners in other states, from Washington to Texas, that toxic algae might be lurking in their local waters. The problem is cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, which can be highly toxic to animals of all kinds. But a researcher at the University of Maryland thinks there may a promising tool in helping beat back these blooms—and it’s associated with that beer you drank while playing fetch. … ” Read more from Outside Magazine here: Toxic algae is ruining our lakes. The solution: beer.

EPA releases review protocol for PFAS:  “Contamination of drinking water from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may be the nation’s most pressing drinking water quality issue. With many calling for the expedited banning and removal of PFAS in water sources, a new U.S. EPA procedure to better assess them may be a concrete step in that direction.  “The US EPA has published a systemic review protocol for the toxicity assessment of five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and is now seeking the public’s input on its approach during a 45-day comment period,” according to Chemical Watch. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: EPA releases review protocol for PFAS

In commentary today …

Bipartisanship can save the delta smelt:  Emily Anderson writes, ” … President Donald Trump brought the delta smelt back into headlines when he announced on Oct. 22 that he planned to weaken protections of the delta smelt to further increase farmers’ access to the delta water. This plan threatens an already fragile species, before the announcement, biologist Peter Moyle said that “[t]he probability of the delta smelt surviving the next 3 years is relatively low.” Trump’s decision diminishes those odds even further, leading to a drier delta and a harsher habitat, in which the delta smelt will struggle to survive.  Lawmakers should balance environmental concerns with concerns for public welfare and economics, rather than completely disregard either issue. Creative legislation allows for more comprehensive solutions to problems. ... ”  Read more from New University here: Bipartisanship can save the delta smelt

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath: Water coalition aims to coordinate conservation efforts:  “The Coalition of the Willing, a group of about 50 to 60 individuals who represent a wide range of interests related to water in Siskiyou, Modoc, and Klamath counties, has hired a facilitator whose salary is being financed in part by county funds, with pledges made by state and federal entities.  The water coalition has been meeting since 2018 and started under the facilitation of Alan Mikkelsen, senior adviser to Secretary of the Interior on water and western resources. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Klamath: Water coalition aims to coordinate conservation efforts

OPINION: Siskiyou County Water Users Association on the Compact Commission:  Susan Miller writes, “The Klamath Compact Commission has recently become active, having had two meetings in the last six months after being dormant for 10 years. Our association, Siskiyou County Water Users Association (SCWUA) has attended both meetings making presentations. Chrysten Lambert ostensibly the Federal Representative stated in the last meeting that the purpose of the meetings was education of the public. That being the case, we feel that the information being presented should reflect all sides or viewpoints on a particular issue, rather than strictly being from the environmental agencies’ perspective only. We asked for equal time to present alternative scientific evidence and viewpoints and were refused. To our way of thinking, presenting only the environmental agencies’ perspective is not public education, but public indoctrination. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: OPINION: Siskiyou County Water Users Association on the Compact Commission

Video: Trinity River: What it takes to restore a river for salmon runs:  “A project to restore the Trinity River, a tributary of the Klamath River in northern California, is focused on unlocking the waterway’s potential to maintain its own habitat. The hope is to recreate a hospitable environment for salmon to return and spawn at the historic scales seen prior to mining and damn constructions that changed the river’s flow. Tribes from the area are informing and leading the project because they have a unique perspective on how the river has functioned for time immemorial.”  Watch video from KCET here: Video: What it takes to restore a river for salmon runs

Water release to attract salmon into Putah Creek begins:  “Water flows from the Putah Diversion Dam at Lake Solano will increase starting Tuesday.  The extra 90 cubic feet per second are designed, in part, to attract salmon up the creek – and the flows start a little later than in recent years due to the failure of state Department of Fish and Wildlife pumps in the Yolo Bypass. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Water release to attract salmon into Putah Creek begins

Caltrans hopes to keep Highway 37 from flooding this winter:  “State transportation crews are wrapping up paving and drainage improvement work along Highway 37 ahead of winter rains in an attempt to avert flooding, which in two of the past three years led to multiday closures of the critical North Bay commuter artery.  The roadwork, the bulk of which was completed last month, is part of a larger prevention plan that Caltrans launched this fall to ensure the state highway that links Novato to Vallejo via Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties remains open during the wet weather. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Caltrans hopes to keep Highway 37 from flooding this winter

Goleta: Creek clearing finishing up in time for rain storms on the Central Coast:  “A steady schedule of creek clearing projects has been underway since August in Santa Barbara County prior to the upcoming rainy season.  It is still anyone’s guess what kind of winter we will have. One credible analyst says it will be dry through the end of the year.  A small weather system with rain passes through Wednesday. It is not expected to produce any runoff to make creeks a concern. … ”  Read more from KEYT here: Goleta: Creek clearing finishing up in time for rain storms on the Central Coast

Ridgecrest: GSP’s potential adverse impact on ag:  “When the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority technical and policy advisory committees reviewed a draft sustainability plan, it left many with questions and criticisms.  The plan may also leave uncertainty for the valley’s agricultural industry. They face the brunt of the plan’s water sustainability requirements when the plan is implemented following its submission to the California Department of Water Resources at the end of January. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: GSP’s potential adverse impact on ag

Ridgecrest: Groundwater Authority committees review GSP draft:  “When the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority technical and policy advisory committees received a rundown on the draft version of a groundwater sustainability plan on Nov. 7, committee members had plenty of questions and comments, some praising it answers it provided, others noting it presented more questions than answers.  The document is split into six sections, each explaining how the plan will ensure a sustainable safe yield over the next two decades, with the overall goal to carry on that mission through 2070. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Groundwater Authority committees review GSP draft

Poop to power: Highland sewer plant to generate electricity, opportunity:  “A $32.6 million addition to a water treatment facility rising out of the ground under giant cranes will turn waste into electricity, and provide education, jobs and more to an underserved community, according to the East Valley Water District.  A co-digester that was added to the Sterling Natural Resource Center project in September will turn sewage and food waste into three megawatts of power per year, enough to power about 1,950 houses. ... ”  Read more from the Redlands Daily Facts here: Poop to power: Highland sewer plant to generate electricity, opportunity

Coachella Valley Water District approves taking on debt for first time for $40 million Oasis farm pipeline:The Coachella Valley Water District on Monday approved taking on outside financing for what is believed to be the first time in its 101-year history for a $40 million pipeline to bring more Colorado River water to the region’s farmers, freeing up valuable groundwater for other uses.  A majority of the board voted Monday at a special meeting to give staff the go-ahead to pursue short-term, low-interest “bridge” financing for the Oasis pipeline project, by drawing on a $75 million line of credit CVWD obtained with Bank of the West on July 1. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Coachella Valley Water District approves taking on debt for first time for $40 million Oasis farm pipeline

Get ready to catch a wave in Palm Desert: Council OKs surf resort at Desert Willow:  “A near-$200 million “world-class” surf resort won unanimous approval from the Palm Desert City Council on Thursday, making way for development of a project that includes a 5.5-acre wave lagoon, hotel and residential villas at Desert Willow Golf Resort.  The vote came at the end of a two-hour public hearing that prompted comments from about 15 people — all but three in favor of DSRT Surf resort. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: Get ready to catch a wave in Palm Desert: Council OKs surf resort at Desert Willow

Along the Colorado River …

Commentary: A big battle in Arizona is brewing over a small amount of water. Here’s why it matters,  says Joanna Allhands:  She writes, “Another water battle is brewing, this time over roughly 2,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water in La Paz County.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s not much water.  But GSC Farm wants to permanently transfer its water contract to Queen Creek, which is attempting to reduce its reliance on groundwater.  As in previous attempts to move water off the river to central Arizona, various entities in La Paz, Mohave and Yuma counties are gearing up for a long and bitter fight. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Commentary: A big battle is brewing over a small amount of water. Here’s why it matters

Water scarcity in Nevada hits ‘critical mass,’ state director of natural resources says:  “Nevada’s director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said Nevada has already reached the point of “critical mass” or the breaking point when it comes to the problem of water scarcity.  When asked on Nevada Newsmakers if the development of a proposed relief airport in Ivanpah Valley would push Southern Nevada to the point of critical mass of its water supply, Director Brad Crowell said:  “To be blunt, I think we are already at that point, quite honestly. ... ”  Read more from the Reno Gazette Journal here: Water scarcity in Nevada hits ‘critical mass,’ state director of natural resources says

Environmental groups push federal officials to reject LCR dam proposal:  “Several national environmental organizations are trying to stop proposals for four dams on the Little Colorado River. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, they’re urging federal officials to deny initial applications for the projects.  Save the Colorado, the Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club and others filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Monday. They want officials to reject preliminary permits filed by the Phoenix-based company Pumped Hydro Storage. … ”  Read more from KNAU here: Environmental groups push federal officials to reject LCR dam proposal

Precipitation watch …

The weather system producing gusty winds over portions of the Sacramento Valley & northern mountains this week will also bring a chance of rain & snow to the mountains south of I-80 Tuesday evening – Wednesday.  A cold upper level low pressure will bring the potential for light to moderate rain to Southern California. Estimated rainfall totals range from less than 0.10 of an inch in the Central Coast to 0.75 inches in the Los Angeles County. Slick roadways with a slow commute is one of the possible impacts.

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Recognizing the Delta’s place in the greater watershed and beyond; One small step for the Fish and Game Commission, one large step for Delta management; Delta tunnel contract negotiations: water grab?; Huge Westlands water contract: It looks like they just followed the law; and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Metropolitan statement on offer to compromise to San Diego County Water Authority; New FAQ sheet on the State Water Project; IID Board sets parameters for future Colorado River negotiations

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Proposition 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program Proposal Solicitation

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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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