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DAILY DIGEST: First snow falling at ski resorts in Southern California and Mammoth; Seeking stability, Westlands nears permanent water contract with Feds; Fish in CA estuaries are evolving as climate change alters their habitat; Pope might make environmental destruction a sin; and more …

In California water news today, First snow falling at ski resorts in Southern California and Mammoth; Seeking stability, Westlands nears permanent water contract with Feds; Fish in California estuaries are evolving as climate change alters their habitat; Oroville Dam: Rebuilt spillway recognized for international engineering award; OCWD receives Leading Utility Of The World status; California’s working landscape makes $333-billion impact on state economy; A rising sea doesn’t lift all boats; ‘Fire is medicine’: The tribes burning California forests to save them; Many Native Americans can’t get clean water, report finds; Pope might make environmental destruction a sin; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Stewardship Council meets at 10am. Agenda items include a report out on the Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee meeting earlier this month; Active projects underway in the Delta; and updates from the Delta Conservancy, the Delta Protection Commission, the Delta Watermaster; and the Delta Levee Investment Strategy.  Click here for the full agendaClick here to watch on webcast.
  • The Wildlife Conservation Board meets at 10am at the Resources Building, 1416 9th Street, Sacramento.  Click here for the full agenda.
  • The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, Board of Directors will meet at 2pm at the Tsakapoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento.  For more information, click here.
  • The Delta Protection Commission meets at 5:30pm in West Sacramento. Agenda items include a report from the Delta Protection Advisory Committee; consideration of approval of Delta Protection Commission Tribal Consultation Policy and Implementation; and an update on the Delta National Heritage Area.  Click here for the full agenda.
  • Sea-Level Rise, Extreme Water Levels, and Coastal Erosion … How bad could it possibly be? USGS lecture in Menlo Park at 7pm.  Click here for the flyer.

In the news today …

First snow falling at ski resorts in Southern California and Mammoth:  “Winter may not officially be here, but snow is falling at ski resorts from Southern California to Mammoth Lakes and the Lake Tahoe area. The first snow of the season brought several inches to L.A.-area resorts. Farther north, Mammoth Mountain picked up an inch of new snow with the promise of more on the way. In Southern California and Mammoth, the modest amount of fresh powder isn’t enough to make skiers to rejoice, but cold temperatures mean resorts will be able to make and maintain snow on their slopes. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: First snow falling at ski resorts in Southern California and Mammoth

Seeking stability, Westlands nears permanent water contract with Feds:  “Westlands Water District, Fresno-based agricultural water district, is set to convert its temporary, renewable water service agreements with the Federal government into a permanent contract.  And while Westlands is the first of its class to make the switch, it certainly won’t be the last water agency to do it.  The genesis of the move, along with another high profile change to Federal water policy, date back to the waning days of the Obama administration.  It could also bring a swift end to a Federal lawsuit contesting a recent water agreement. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Sun here: Seeking stability, Westlands nears permanent water contract with Feds

Fish in California estuaries are evolving as climate change alters their habitat:  “The threespine stickleback, a small fish found throughout the coastal areas of the Northern Hemisphere, is famously variable in appearance from one location to another, making it an ideal subject for studying how species adapt to different environments. A new study shows that stickleback populations in estuaries along the coast of California have evolved over the past 40 years as climate change has altered their coastal habitats.  The study, published November 21 in Global Change Biology, looked at variation in the armoring that protects the stickleback from predators, specifically the number of bony plates along their sides (called lateral plates). … ”  Read more from UC Santa Cruz here:  Fish in California estuaries are evolving as climate change alters their habitat

Oroville Dam: Rebuilt spillway recognized for international engineering award:  “The American Society of Civil Engineers has recognized the Oroville Dam rebuild as one of 10 outstanding civil engineering projects.  Two runners-up and a winner will be chosen at the 2020 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement gala in Washington D.C. on March 13. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Oroville Dam: Rebuilt spillway recognized for international engineering award

OCWD receives Leading Utility Of The World status:  “The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has received the status of Leading Utility of the World (LUOW), according to the Global Water Leaders Group, a non-profit organization aiming to create a better story for water worldwide. The inauguration took place at the American Water Summit on Nov. 13 in Houston, Texas. OCWD also received the iconic Golden Tap trophy to commemorate its membership in LUOW.  “We thank the Global Water Leaders Group for accepting us into its prestigious membership as one of the Leading Utilities of the World,” said OCWD President Vicente Sarmiento. ... ” Read more from Water Online here: OCWD receives Leading Utility Of The World status

California’s working landscape makes $333-billion impact on state economy:  “California’s “working landscape” represents the sixth largest economic sector in the state, outpacing the healthcare, real estate and construction industries. That’s according to a recent report issued by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).  “That’s going surprise an awful lot of people, because too many folks here in California just really take our working landscapes for granted,” said ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston, speaking at the California Economic Summit in Fresno earlier this month. Besides traditional agriculture, working landscapes includes fishing, forestry, mining, outdoor recreation and renewable energy. ... ”  Read more from California Forward here:  California’s working landscape makes $333-billion impact on state economy

A rising sea doesn’t lift all boats:With its scenic views, relaxing sea breeze, laid-back atmosphere, and strong surf, Imperial Beach, California, draws visitors every day of the year. But the city, sandwiched between San Diego and the Mexican border, is on the front lines of sea level rise.  “It’s concerning. I’ve got kids,” says Matt Murray, a real estate agent in Imperial Beach. When people looking for homes ask him about sea level rise, he warns them. “I tell them it’s low-lying coastal. But people want to live by the beach.” Continue reading at Hakai Magazine here: A rising sea doesn’t lift all boats

‘Fire is medicine’: The tribes burning California forests to save them:  “When Rick O’Rourke walks with fire, the drip torch is an extension of his body. The mix of diesel and gasoline arcs up and out from the little wick at the end of the red metal can, landing on the ground as he takes bite after bite out of the dry vegetation in the shadow of the firs and oaks.  “Some people are like gunslingers and some people are like artists who paint with fire,” he says. “I’m a little bit of both.” … ”  Read more from The Guardian here: ‘Fire is medicine’: The tribes burning California forests to save them

Mike Thompson co-authors conservation bill:  “Rep. Mike Thompson, D. St. Helena, and Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01) announced Wednesday that their bill — H.R. 925 — the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act (NAWCA) has passed the House and is ready for consideration in the Senate.  This bipartisan bill authorizes $60 million each year for habitat restoration and conservation projects nation-wide. ... ”  Read more from the Times-Herald here: Mike Thompson co-authors conservation bill

Full funding of Land Water Conservation Fund passes key Senate hurdle:  “A key Senate panel has voted to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a move that conservation groups see as a significant victory.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee voted Tuesday morning to permanently authorize and completely fund the program, which was established in 1964 to help with outdoor projects on public lands. The bill passed with bipartisan support out of the committee and now faces a full floor vote.  … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Full funding of Land Water Conservation Fund passes key Senate hurdle

Many Native Americans can’t get clean water, report finds:  “For many people, turning on the tap or flushing the toilet is something we take for granted. But a report released Monday, called “Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States,” shows that more than 2 million Americans live without these conveniences and that Native Americans are more likely to have trouble accessing water than any other group. ... ”  Read more from NPR here: Many Native Americans can’t get clean water, report finds

‘Dark Waters’ faces inconvenient truth of environmental activism:  “Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” won the 2006 Academy Award for best documentary, put the former vice president in front of efforts to raise awareness of climate change—yet had limited impact on federal policies.  Actor-producer Mark Ruffalo is also trying to translate film into political activism with Friday’s theatrical release of his Dark Waters, based on lawyer Rob Bilott’s years-long fight to hold DuPont Co. accountable for chemical contamination that a West Virginia farmer believed was killing his cattle. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg Environment here: ‘Dark Waters’ faces inconvenient truth of environmental activism

House committee advances sweeping legislation to battle ‘forever chemicals’:  “The House Energy and Commerce Committee forwarded on Wednesday major legislation that would target a cancer-linked chemical that is leaching into the water supply.  The legislative package targets a substance abbreviated as PFAS, widely used in a number of nonstick products like cookware and raincoats. One study found that 99 percent of those tested had PFAS traces in their blood, and it’s been deemed a “forever chemical” due to its persistence in both the body and the environment. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: House committee advances sweeping legislation to battle ‘forever chemicals’

EPA weakens safeguards for weed killer atrazine, linked to birth defects:  “The Trump administration plans to weaken environmental safeguards for atrazine, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S., even though it’s known to castrate frogs and is linked to birth defects and cancer in humans and animals.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it would allow 50 percent more atrazine in the surface water along the nation’s waterways, despite the agency’s own assessment, which in 2016 found that the weed killer poses a chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates and suggested that its allowable amount should be significantly decreased. … ”  Read more from Civil Eats here: EPA weakens safeguards for weed killer atrazine, linked to birth defects

Reporter’s Toolbox: ‘Red List’ is among top data resources on threatened species:  “As more and more species are made vulnerable by various human insults to the planet, the rolls of those that are now endangered grows.  Two key databases can help environmental journalists keep track of this evolving story, including one major source about to be updated, most likely with bad news for biodiversity. … ”  Read more from the Society of Environmental Journalists here: Reporter’s Toolbox: ‘Red List’ is among top data resources on threatened species

Pope might make environmental destruction a sin:  “In weighing whether to add “sins against ecology” to the Catholic Church’s official teachings, Pope Francis is bolstering not only his climate credentials, said religious experts, but also his approach to environmental justice.  During a speech Friday at the Vatican, Pope Francis said it was a “duty” to add the “ecological sin against the common home” to the church catechism. His speech came during the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law.  The pope told the crowd of legal experts that ecological sin is an “action or omission” against God, the community and the environment. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Pope might make environmental destruction a sin

In commentary today …

When it comes to climate-change adaptation, as goes California, so goes…the world, says Peter Gleick:  He writes, “It’s almost biblical: Apocalyptic images of fires sweeping through communities. The worst droughts in recorded history, followed by floods overwhelming dams and levees. Homeless encampments. Power outages for millions of people.  Is this the “end of California as we know it” and the result of a “failure to live sustainably” as New York Times opinion writer Farhad Manjoo suggested? …  In another era, Joan Didion poetically described a future in California that “always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past. Here is where the hot wind blows and the old ways do not seem relevant.” … ” Continue reading at Time Magazine here: When it comes to climate-change adaptation, as goes California, so goes…the world

In regional news and commentary today …

Fish habitat project in Tehama County completed:  “Work on the Rio Vista Side Channel Habitat Project in Red Bluff has been completed, marking another milestone for the Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program, with immediate results observed, reports the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Within one week of opening the side channel, endangered winter‐run Chinook juveniles were observed making use of it. ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here: Fish habitat project in Tehama County completed

$11 million from DWR settlement goes to repair roads damaged by spillway emergency:  “In October, Butte County announced a $12 million settlement with the Department of Water Resources. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors recognized the money as well as how it will be allocated.  The primary damage sustained by the Oroville Spillway Crisis was to roadways, which is where a majority of the money will be going. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: $11 million from DWR settlement goes to repair roads damaged by spillway emergency

Plumas County: Public invited to workshop on sustainable Sierra Valley groundwater management:  “The public will have an opportunity to discuss and provide input on local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in the Sierra Valley at a workshop to be held Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 4-6 p.m., at Sierra Christian Church, 81059 Highway 70, in Beckwourth. … ” Read more from the Plumas County News here: Public invited to workshop on sustainable Sierra Valley groundwater management

Davis: Legal jurisdiction, triggers for environmental review central to Putah Creek dispute:  “The Friends of Putah Creek asked Solano County Superior Court Judge D. Scott Daniels on Tuesday to find there was inadequate environmental review on the Winters Putah Creek Park Restoration project and to order appropriate mitigation.  Attorneys for the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and the Solano County Water Agency argued that the group was late in filing its action, and because it did not specifically address flood protection, the request extends beyond the jurisdiction of the state board. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Legal jurisdiction, triggers for environmental review central to Putah Creek dispute

Drones and artificial intelligence help combat the San Francisco Bay’s trash problem:  “Ever since the industrial chemist Leo Baekeland began synthesizing phenol and formaldehyde in 1907, the world has developed a love-hate relationship with the resulting polymer: plastic.  While plastic is convenient, durable, and cheap, 50% of all plastics (about 150 million tons every year, worldwide) are used only once and then thrown away. Even for those who dutifully recycle our plastic water bottles and sandwich bags, we’re only tackling a small part of the problem. ... ”  Read more from Forbes here: Drones and artificial intelligence help combat the San Francisco Bay’s trash problem

From toilets to taps: SF tests new water recycling program:  “Manisha Kothari looked every bit the bartender as she filled a dozen shot glasses, pouring carefully from a slender pitcher.  But what Kothari served on a weekday morning at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s headquarters was not a round of spirits.  It was the culmination of more than a year’s worth of research into how San Francisco might someday tap a new source of potable water, turning what’s now a waste product into clear, cool drinking water. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  From toilets to taps: SF tests new water recycling program

San Francisco’s emergency water system to expand:  “San Francisco Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously declared a State of Urgency, calling on the city to expand its Emergency Firefighting Water System to ensure the entire city is protected in the event of a major earthquake or fire.  Currently, the water system only covers about one third of the city, leaving neighborhoods in the city’s west and south sides vulnerable. … ”  Read more from The Patch here: San Francisco’s emergency water system to expand

Santa Clara: Valley Water and community partners develop a water reuse master plan for water supply sustainability:  “Every drop of water on our planet is recycled. Water continually flows through the natural water cycle – evaporating from Earth’s surface to the atmosphere and coming back down to the surface again as precipitation. The water that comes into our homes, businesses, and schools is the same water used thousands of years ago by our ancestors.  In Santa Clara County, Valley Water found a way to speed up the natural water cycle that uses innovative technologies to create millions of gallons of advanced purified and recycled water every day. … ”  Read more from Valley Water here: Valley Water and community partners develop a water reuse master plan for water supply sustainability

New Inyo County and City of Bishop Flood Maps and Appeals Process:  “A community’s flood risk changes over time. Updating a flood insurance rate map helps protect lives and property by showing how those flood risks have changed. FEMA has completed a new flood hazard study for Bishop Creek. Preliminary flood insurance rate maps for Inyo County reflect how your risk may have changed. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  New Inyo County and City of Bishop Flood Maps and Appeals Process

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority report: positive 2020 budget requires increased pump fee:  “Budget discussions will be the top item for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority as it tackles its 2020 finances at its board meeting on Thursday. The open session starts at 11 a.m. in the Ridgecrest City Hall council chambers, 100 W. California Ave.  According to a staff report, the budget IWVGA initially faced a negative balance of $515,718 by the end of 2020, in part due to underperforming pump fee revenues and the required projected expenses for running the groundwater authority. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority report: positive 2020 budget requires increased pump fee

$500-million desalination plant would pull drinking water from Santa Monica Bay:  “Over the objections of Heal the Bay and a coalition of environmental activists, the West Basin Municipal Water District — a water wholesale agency that serves Marina del Rey, Malibu, Culver City, West Hollywood and most of the South Bay — voted Monday to continue pursuing plans to build a nearly $500-million ocean water desalination facility near the El Segundo Generating Station along Vista Del Mar. … ”  Read more from The Argonaut here: $500-million desalination plant would pull drinking water from Santa Monica Bay

1st major fall storm lingers after dumping 4+ inches of rain on San Diego County:  “A Flash Flood Advisory expired overnight but the remnants of Southern California’s first major storm of the fall season were expected to bring several more rounds of showers Thursday.  Thunderstorms developed just off the coast Thursday morning. The National Weather Service issued a Marine Weather Statement for the waters off Orange and San Diego county beaches due to the scattered showers. … ”  Read more from NBC San Diego here: 1st major fall storm lingers after dumping 4+ inches of rain on San Diego County

Imperial Beach residents worry storm could lead to sewage spill:  “With rain on the way, there are concerns again about sewage in the water in Imperial Beach.  The first rain storms of the season moved into the region Tuesday, bringing significant rainfall throughout San Diego County along with the possibility of runoff that runs along the Tijuana River. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: Imperial Beach residents worry storm could lead to sewage spill

Along the Colorado River …

East side development renews concerns about water and growth:  “The Arizona Department of Water Resources held a meeting in Bullhead City to hear public input on a proposed transfer of water rights from a farm in La Paz County to the town of Queen Creek in central Arizona.  ADWR officials heard a lot of input. Twenty-five speakers went to the microphone to express their support or opposition to the proposal, essentially a sale of fourth priority Colorado River rights from a private business to a public entity. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Public Media here: East side development renews concerns about water and growth

Water crisis looms if Colorado fails to meet its legal obligations to other states, study warns:  “Water sufficient for more than 1 million homes on the Front Range could be lost and thousands of acres of farmland on the Western Slope and Eastern Plains could go dry if the state can’t supply enough water from the drought-stricken Colorado River to downstream states as it is legally required to do, according to a new study.  Among the Colorado River Risk Study’s key findings:  In the next 25 years, if the state does nothing to set more water aside in Lake Powell, the Front Range could lose up to 97% of its Colorado River water. … ”  Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Water crisis looms if Colorado fails to meet its legal obligations to other states, study warns

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

STATE OF THE ESTUARY: An overview of Department of Pesticide Regulation’s Surface Water Protection Program

NEWS WORTH NOTING: DWR issues notice for soil investigations for data collection in the Delta; Delta Stewardship Council completes first five-year review of Delta Plan; IID Board issues letter in support of New River emergency

SCIENCE NEWS: What would a powerful earthquake feel like where you live?; Improving salmon abundance forecasting; Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about turkeys; and more…

NAPA/SONOMA COUNTY: Update to upcoming meetings to help farmers successfully comply with the general permit

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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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