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DAILY DIGEST: A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck; New storm to spread snow, ice, rain coast to coast; Tech provides beacon of hope for the future of ag; USMCA trade deal includes $300M for cross-border pollution; and more …

In California water news today, A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck; New storm to spread snow, ice, rain coast to coast; Tech provides beacon of hope for the future of ag; Scientists from UC campuses study floods, flood socioeconomics; Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package; Monterey County to form groundwater agency for CEMEX site; Poway water crisis turning into political football; USMCA trade deal includes $300M for cross-border pollution; and more …

In the news today …

A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck:  “A year later, issues triggered by a contentious plan by state water regulators to increase unimpaired river flows for the benefit of fish remain firmly mired in red tape.  Last December, as reported here, the outgoing and incoming California state governors were trying to help facilitate stakeholder agreements ahead of the Water Board’s vote that passed its long-proposed plan to require unimpaired river flows of up to 40 percent through the Lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries for the supposed benefit of protecting delta fish. ... ”  Read more from My Mother Lode here: A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck

New storm to spread snow, ice, rain coast to coast:  “A new storm from the West will spread snow, ice and rain through parts of the central and eastern states into early next week.  The energy from this next storm will move into the West Coast by Saturday. It will then spawn a low pressure system in the Southern Plains, which will track toward the eastern states early next week. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here: New storm to spread snow, ice, rain coast to coast

Threat of drought wiped off California map after soaking storms:  “What a difference a couple storms make.  The recent onslaught of soaking rains and snowy days has wiped the threat of drought off the California map.  The latest federal Drought Monitor Map, a way to measure drought that’s mainly used in agriculture, shows only 3.5% of the state as “abnormally dry” with a tiny sliver of yellow on the California-Oregon border. Only a week ago, 85 percent of the state was yellow. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Threat of drought wiped off California map after soaking storms

Heavy precipitation continues to impact California:  “California continues to be pounded by storms with heavy rain and mountain snow.  Over the last two weeks precipitation totals topped 10 inches in much of the Sierra Nevada as snow, and over 15 inches in some areas along the coastal mountains. Within the last week rainfall totals in areas of central and northern California have topped 4.5 inches.  High wind has caused downed trees, power outages, and flight delays. Flash flood warnings were issued in areas recently burned where heavy rain could trigger mud and debris flows.  The snowpack depth at SNOTEL sites at the higher elevations in the Lake Tahoe area is nearly four feet. ”  Read report from NRCS here: Heavy precipitation continues to impact California

Tech provides beacon of hope for the future of ag:  ” … We are in the early stages of yet another great leap forward in global food production, an agricultural technology (agtech) revolution that began just a few short years ago. Prior to 2013, investment in agtech was relatively flat. However, 2013 saw a 75% growth in investment, reaching $860 million, according to AgFunder. Agtech has continued to soar — receiving $16.9 billion in 2018 — and the year-over-year increase will only continue to escalate as farmers battle numerous ongoing challenges, including labor availability, food safety, and water scarcity. … ”  Read the full story from Growing Produce here: Tech provides beacon of hope for the future of ag

Scientists from UC campuses study floods, flood socioeconomics:  “We’ve heard this about earthquakes – it’s not a matter of if but when the big one will hit.  Well, some researchers also say it’s a pretty similar situation for a major flood in the area. A research project currently being undertaken at SoCal and NorCal UC campuses is looking at how flooding could impact the area, including socioeconomic issues.  One of the main tools that will help researchers get the study done is a drone. … ”  Read more from Spectrum 1 here: Scientists from UC campuses study floods, flood socioeconomics

Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package:  “The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final days.  The two items in dispute — the Presidio park project championed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Shasta Dam expansion sought by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy — are among some 200 disagreements that need to be resolved by leadership to finish up the appropriations legislation. … ”  Read more from Roll Call here: Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package

In commentary today …

Don’t go into the tunnel, says Andrew Christie:  He writes, “Last month, at the urging of the SLO County State Water Subcontractors Advisory Committee, the three largest state water subcontractors in the county—Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, and the Oceano CSD—voted to “participate in preliminary efforts associated with the Delta Conveyance Project,” aka the Delta Tunnel.  Votes of support by local jurisdictions bring the project one step closer to reality. Reality is a costly giant tunnel that would divert Sacramento River water bound for the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and transport the water directly to Central Valley farms and urban users in the Bay Area and Southern California. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here: Don’t go into the tunnel

In regional news and commentary today …

Humboldt County asks for new environmental review for Sites Reservoir project:  Dan Bacher writes, “Yesterday the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to reconsider its support for the proposed Sites Reservoir project in the Central Valley, due to concerns it would have serious impacts on the Trinity River fishery and the counties water rights, according to a news release from Save California Salmon.  The board voted to send a letter to the Sites Authority asking for an additional environmental review of the project, and a letter requesting protections for the Trinity River’s water and reservoir carry over storage in all future water rights proceedings. … ” Read more from the Daily Kos here: Humboldt County asks for new environmental review for Sites Reservoir project

Major push to save Muir Woods salmon run includes creek, habitat work:  “An all-out attempt to save the historic coho salmon runs through Muir Woods intensified this year as the National Park Service began a creek restoration and habitat enhancement program in the famous redwood grove.  Finding a way to preserve the cherished run of fish that for thousands of years migrated yearly through the redwood-lined coastal watershed is part of an agreement between Marin County and the National Park Service known as the Redwood Renewal project. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Major push to save Muir Woods salmon run includes creek, habitat work

Salmon’s return marks proud day in push for creek restorations, says the Marin Independent Journal:  They write, “Salmon are swimming back into the Lagunitas Creek watershed.  Not only is that a natural phenomena, but it is a sign that hard work at restoring habitat and promoting greater public awareness are paying off.  While salmon returning to spawn is an annual occurrence, their numbers appear to be steadily rising. This year, for the third straight year, both chinook and coho salmon are among those making their way up the creek. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Salmon’s return marks proud day in push for creek restorations

SFPUC completes $5.5M ‘emergency’ fix to leaky wastewater pipe at Islais Creek:  “San Francisco’s public utilities agency has completed a $5.5 million emergency repair to prevent treated sewage from leaking into Islais Creek.  The project status was reported Wednesday to the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, which approved the total project cost at $5.5 million.  When the leak was first discovered in October 2018, the project cost was initially estimated at $2 million, but subsequently increased due to factors including a change in project design and soil conditions. … ”  Read more from the SF Examiner here: SFPUC completes $5.5M ‘emergency’ fix to leaky wastewater pipe at Islais Creek

Monterey County to form groundwater agency for CEMEX site:  “Calling it a move to resolve a dispute between agencies that could endanger local groundwater management efforts, the Board of Supervisors agreed Wednesday to form a groundwater sustainability agency for the Cemex sand mining plant site.  By a 4-1 vote, the county board decided to form the agency specifically for the 450-acre property within Marina city limits that has been claimed by both the Salinas Valley Basin and Marina city groundwater sustainability agencies. ... ”  Read more the Monterey Herald here: Monterey County to form groundwater agency for CEMEX site

Ceres-Turlock water project one more step closer to reality:  “The joint Ceres-Turlock regional surface water project advanced another step toward construction with Monday’s Ceres City Council 4-1 vote.  Only one member of the council, Channce Condit, voted against the third phase of the project design and construction funding agreement.  The cities of Ceres and Turlock formed the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority which is in the process of hiring a design-build consultant to oversee the project to build the facility along the Tuolumne River west of the Fox Grove Fishing Access. … ”  Read more from the Ceres Courier here: Water project one more step closer to reality

The urbanist with a plan for the LA River:  “Franklin Ivar Park, in the shadow of the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles, is a reminder of what the landscape of the city looked like before it was a city. Planted with tall tufty grasses and low shrubs—all of which are drought tolerant and native to California—the design riffs on a creek that once flowed through the area. Now, you’ll find children climbing on boulders, families picnicking on new tables, and birds flocking to leafy trees. At just three-quarters of an acre, the park occupies a formerly vacant space between a busy road and the highway.  “I built parks that are opportunistic,” says Mia Lehrer, the landscape designer who masterminded the new public space. … ”  Read more from Curbed LA here: The urbanist with a plan for the LA River

Southern California: New ‘plant’ at Descanso will turn sewage into reclaimed irrigation water:  “Steering a 165-acre botanical garden through the perils of a statewide drought and record-high temperatures that, not too long ago, scorched thousands of plant species has Descanso Gardens thinking critically about water use in the years ahead.  So, when the site’s largest septic system began failing in 2017, officials looked for more than a mere fix and landed on a compact sewage treatment plant that would turn sewage into reclaimed water suitable for irrigation. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Southern California: New ‘plant’ at Descanso will turn sewage into reclaimed irrigation water

Lawsuit planned over water release from Seven Oaks Dam near Highland; critics say Santa Ana River fish habitat harmed:  “Two wildlife advocacy groups Wednesday announced their intent to sue the San Bernardino County Department of Public Works, as well as other regional and federal government agencies, for allegedly putting a fish species’ habitat at risk with the release of water from the Seven Oaks Dam, which the defendants say was necessary to reduce potential public safety hazards.  According to the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity, the outflows that started on May 11 and continued for several days resulted in high sediment levels that disrupted the spawning activity of Santa Ana sucker fish, which populate the Santa Ana River, coursing through Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Bulletin here: Lawsuit planned over water release from Seven Oaks Dam near Highland; critics say Santa Ana River fish habitat harmed

This San Bernardino Mountains community was swallowed by a lake:  “Communities sprout up and sometimes wither away, but in 1972, the small community of Cedar Springs met its demise when it was swallowed up by a lake.  The San Bernardino Mountains community was located at the confluence of the west fork of the Mojave River, Sawpit Canyon, and Miller Canyon, about 4 miles northwest of Crestline. Today, the location is under the waters of Silverwood Lake, near the boat launch ramp. ... ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here: This San Bernardino Mountains community was swallowed by a lake

Inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s water delivery system:  “A state inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s drinking water delivery system less than three months before the city’s precautionary boil water advisory.  City officials remain adamant that the issues raised by the inspection had nothing to do with the nearly week-long advisory that ended Dec. 6.  The September 2019 inspection, from the State Water Resources Control Board, raised a series of issues – some administrative. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s water delivery system

Poway water crisis turning into political football:  “The water in Poway is safe to drink — this after stormwater contaminated the city’s water supply forcing people to turn off their taps for a week. But now a political battle is brewing.  “As elected officials, we need to step up and hold our colleagues accountable,” said Lakeside Water District Board Member Frank Hilliker. “The mishandling of the Poway contamination incident eroded the confidence of the public of all our water boards.” ... ”  Read more from KPBS here: Poway water crisis turning into political football

San Diego projects improve water quality, fish habitat:  “Two projects underway will enhance fish habitat and water quality at Murray Reservoir.  The reservoir in Mission Trails Regional Park is owned by the City of San Diego and operated by its Public Utilities Department.  “As stewards of the area, it is important for us to improve and enhance the environment in and around Murray Reservoir,” said Shauna Lorance, director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department. “Working closely with state and local agencies allows us to better achieve this goal.” … ”  Read more from the Water News Network here: San Diego projects improve water quality, fish habitat

USMCA trade deal includes $300M for cross-border pollution:  “The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal includes $300 million in funding to address cross-border pollution in the Tijuana River Valley, San Diego’s congressional delegation announced Wednesday.  The funding would be dispersed in four annual installments of $75 million in the form of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants under its Border Water Infrastructure Program. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: USMCA trade deal includes $300M for cross-border pollution

Along the Colorado River …

Conservation key as decades-long drought continues:  “U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Wednesday that Nevada has been a national leader in water conservation by reducing demand on the Colorado River and investing in infrastructure over the past two decades.  In Las Vegas for the Colorado River Water Users Association’s annual conference, Burman declined to say, however, whether she sees Nevada’s share of the river’s water increasing, even though it draws the least amount of water than any other state.  Instead she said Mexico and seven southwestern states served by the river were focused on working within the existing rules and regulations, known as the “Law of the River.” ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here: Conservation key as decades-long drought continues

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

STATE OF THE ESTUARY: CA’s Safer Consumer Products Program: Overview and efforts to protect aquatic health

SCIENCE NEWS: Can salmon eat their way out of climate change?; Integrated approach for managing aquatic invasive species in CA; River management on a changing planet; How snacking suckers engineer an ecosystem; and more…

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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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