DAILY DIGEST: Moving forward with the CA water portfolio; Zero Delta smelt found in CDFW survey two years in a row; Balancing water supply for all is 2020 priority, CFBF says; DWR prepares Oroville Dam spillway for winter releases; Five environmental fights to watch in 2020; and more …

In California water news today, Moving forward with the California water portfolio; Zero Delta smelt found in CDFW survey two years in a row; Balancing water supply for all is 2020 priority, California Farm Bureau Federation says; DWR prepares Oroville Dam spillway for winter releases; Most weather stations in US reset their rain totals today. California isn’t like everyone else though; December has been wet in California, but a predicted dry winter means wildfire danger could return early; New year brings new protections for West Coast seafloor habitat; Five environmental fights to watch in 2020; The last decade of climate change in 7 charts; and more …

In the news today …

Moving forward with the California water portfolio:  “The development of California’s water portfolio continues to progress. A presentation at the most recent meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture highlighted the priorities for establishing the state’s water resiliency portfolio. Board President Don Cameron noted that the development of a water resiliency plan for California is going to need to incorporate several different factors. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Moving forward with the California water portfolio

Zero Delta smelt found in CA Department of Fish and Wildlife survey two years in a row:  Dan Bacher writes, “The Delta smelt, once the most populous species on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, continues its long march towards extinction. For the second year in a row, the CDFW in its annual fall midwater trawl survey in 2019 found zero Delta smelt during the months of September, October, November and December.  Found only in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, the smelt is an indicator species that shows the health of the ecosystem. Decades of water exports and environmental degradation under the state and federal governments have brought the smelt to the edge of extinction. … ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here: Zero Delta Smelt Found in CA Department of Fish and Wildlife Survey Two Years in a Row

HYDROLOGY

Balancing water supply for all is 2020 priority, California Farm Bureau Federation says:  “California water policy leaders say balancing the supply of groundwater by implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, and addressing policies related to water supply and water quality, will continue to be priority issues in 2020.  California water policy leaders say balancing the supply of groundwater by implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, and addressing policies related to water supply and water quality, will continue to be priority issues in 2020. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Sun here: Balancing Water Supply For All Is 2020 Priority, California Farm Bureau Federation Says

Conflicting year for Central Valley water users:  “Overall, 2019 turned out to be a conflicting year for Central Valley water users. It was another year for strong rain and snow in California, but not all farmers were able to take full advantage of the ample water supply. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen explained that it was a year of disappointment mixed with hope for the future.  “2019 was really the two extremes,” Jacobsen noted. “The frustration of not seeing a full water allocation during a year like this year, but we also saw the release of the new biological opinions from the federal government.” … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Conflicting year for Central Valley water users

DWR prepares Oroville Dam spillway for winter releases:  “Department of Water Resources is preparing Oroville Dam’s primary spillway for use this winter season.  The reconstructed spillway was completed this spring and used for the first time in April since the 2017 spillway crisis threatened 188,000 residents downstream. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  DWR prepares Oroville Dam spillway for winter releases

Most weather stations in US reset their rain totals today. California isn’t like everyone else though:  “A new year is a fresh start in so many ways and for weather observations, it means a new year to calculate rain and snow totals.  Most cities in the United States use a specific location to record and collect weather statistics like the high temperature, low temperature and how much rain fell in a bucket that day. Over the years, you can get and average, then calculate following years to see if you are above or below the average. This can help determine droughts or floods, and helps give a broader understanding of each area’s climate and expectations. … ”  Read more from ABC 10 here: Most weather stations in US reset their rain totals today. California isn’t like everyone else though

At year’s end, Southern California’s precipitation remains above normal:  “Thanks to December storms, much of Southern California will ring in the new year with above-normal precipitation.  Meanwhile, the northern part of the state remains mostly below normal after the first six months of the rainfall season, according to Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services.  Northern California’s rainy season got off to a late start, but Southern California’s was a little early this year. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: At year’s end, Southern California’s precipitation remains above normal

December has been wet in California, but a predicted dry winter means wildfire danger could return early:  “Southern California’s wettest December in nearly a decade quashed any danger lingering from destructive wildfires in fall, but experts warn that red flag conditions could return as early as April.  The series of storms that drenched the state the past few months appear to be part of a trend toward weather extremes. They came on the heels of autumn’s record-high temperatures and furious, wind-driven fires. … ”  Read more from KTLA Channel 5 here: December has been wet in California, but a predicted dry winter means wildfire danger could return early

AGRICULTURE

Sites Project Authority hiring executive director:  “The Sites Project Authority is hoping to make substantial progress on the off-stream water storage project proposed for Colusa and Glenn counties in the new year and will look to hire a new leader at the beginning of 2020 to help with the next phase.  Project leaders conducted a comprehensive organizational assessment in 2019 and determined there was a need for an executive director to help complete Phase 2 of the project, which will include navigating the state’s complex regulatory landscape, securing project permits and finances, and completing the environmental review process. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Sites Project Authority hiring executive director

Biologically integrated farming project gets $1 million grant:  “The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded funding for a project to be administered through the Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) grant program.  “The BIFS grants program has helped established some long-lasting, valuable Integrated Pest Management agricultural systems,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Biologically integrated farming project gets $1 million grant

COAST/MARINE

New year brings new protections for West Coast seafloor habitat:  “Along with the new year, the West Coast is getting new protections for corals and sponges that live on the seafloor.  Regulations starting Jan. 1 restrict bottom trawl fishing on about 90% of the seafloor off Oregon, Washington and California.  Bottom trawlers drag weighted nets along the seafloor to catch dozens of groundfish species, including lingcod, Dover and petrale sole and all kinds of rockfish. In the process, they can damage corals and sponges that live on the ground. … ”  Read more from OPB here: New year brings new protections for West Coast seafloor habitat

Environmentalists, lawmakers see big year ahead for new laws intended to help the coast:  “Offshore windmills, new washing machines and a $4-billion climate-change bond are just some of the items on the environmental agenda as state legislators ready for a 2020 session in which global warming and plastic waste may loom larger than ever.  The Legislature doesn’t get back to work until Jan. 6, but momentum has been building for several key measures introduced but not finalized in 2019. These include a $4-billion bond that Democrats hope to pass by June so it can qualify for the November ballot. … ”  Read more from the Redlands Daily Facts here: Environmentalists, lawmakers see big year ahead for new laws intended to help the coast

Kelp! They need somebody … to eat sea urchins:  “Denise MacDonald held out a tray of spiny purple sea urchins. The roe, served in the shell and the color of egg yolk, contrasted nicely with the urchin’s dark, purple spines. MacDonald, director of global brand marketing at a company called Urchinomics, invited me to have a taste. I scooped up a blueberry-sized amount with a spoon.  It’s good: salty, fresh, creamy.  “Tastes like the sea,” I said.  “But with a buttery aftertaste,” said MacDonald.  Urchinomics and its partner, the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, are running a trial designed to develop methods for ranching purple sea urchins for profit, while at the same time addressing the consequences of a nasty ecological chain reaction. ... ”  Read more from KCET here: Kelp! They need somebody … to eat sea urchins

Wet and wild: sea creature stories that went viral in 2019:  “The ocean off Southern California is known for its vibrant sea life – and this year some spectacular moments were seen from the sea and shared with the world.  There were dolphins that leaped, sharks that scared, and even a stealthy whale that swam next to some surfers who, without video proof, would never have known it was nearby.  Here are some of the year’s favorite local sea creature stories to make headlines in 2019 … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: Wet and wild: sea creature stories that went viral in 2019

OTHER STATEWIDE

Tree-thinning projects to prevent California wildfires may be approved faster:  “California regulators have streamlined the state’s permit process to make it faster to approve tree-thinning projects intended to slow wildfires.  They approved a vegetation management program based on analyzing the potential environmental damage from removing different types of fuel. New projects can use the preapproved analysis rather than starting fresh each time to meet the state’s strict environmental requirements. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Tree-thinning projects to prevent California wildfires may be approved faster

Fires, floods and more: A view of California from space in 2019:  “The year began amid the ashes of the deadliest wildfire in California history. Then came torrential rains, the superbloom, a marine heat wave, and fires again.  They are events that foreshadow a future pattern of more extreme wildfires and rainstorms as climate change drives the Earth’s temperatures higher. The 2019 events prompted now familiar responses from politicians confronted with catastrophe across the state: disaster relief money, funding for scientific studies, and recriminations against bankrupt utility Pacific Gas and Electric. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Fires, floods and more: A view of California from space in 2019

NATIONAL

Five environmental fights to watch in 2020:  “2020 is shaping up to be a busy year on the energy and environmental front.  The Trump administration is pushing ahead with their broad regulatory rollback, while on Capitol Hill House Democrats are looking to pass legislation on their ambitious clean energy agenda.  Hovering over those moves will be the approaching presidential election, certain to raise the stakes for Washington’s environmental policy fights. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Five environmental fights to watch in 2020 

The last decade of climate change in 7 charts:  “As this hottest-on-record, godforsaken decade draws to a close, it’s clear that global warming is no longer a problem for future generations but one that’s already displacing communities, costing billions, and driving mass extinctions. And it’s worth asking: Where did the past 10 years get us?  The seven charts below begin to hint at an answer to that question. … ”  Read more from Grist here: The last decade of climate change in 7 charts

Water experts’ #1 recommendation for protecting future water supplies? Take care of nature.  “Droughts striking Asia, Africa, the U.S. and elsewhere have meant steep water shortages, while inequities in infrastructure leave some drinking water worldwide unsafe even when it’s technically available. These realities underscore the need to improve water resilience: The water systems we rely on must be able to meet our needs even when faced with dramatic change.  Over the past few years, United Nations reports have noted that making water systems more resilient is “key to maintaining access in a climatically uncertain future” and “much more work is needed” to accomplish this goal. But what should that work be? … ”  Continue reading at Ensia here: Water experts’ #1 recommendation for protecting future water supplies? Take care of nature.

In regional news and commentary today …

CDFW: Contamination “minor” in Big Chico Creek following fire:  “Contamination in Big Cheek Creek appears to be minimal, according to John Amis of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife after Tuesday morning’s fire destroyed the Hunts & Sons Northstate Distribution Center at 310 Nord Avenue.  The water used to fight the fire seeped into a nearby storm drain which releases into the creek. … ”  Read more from KRCR here: CDFW: Contamination “minor” in Big Chico Creek following fire

Zone 7 approves study of toxic chemicals in tri-valley wells:  “The Zone 7 Water Agency will hire a consultant to study PFAS and PFOS found in some of the district and figure out how they can eliminate any potential threat they may pose to drinking water.  The board acted unanimously at its Dec.18 meeting, and set a limit of $261,000, plus a 10% contingency in case the cost goes higher than the estimate. The board followed the staff report’s recommendation to select Carollo Engineers, of Walnut Creek, to conduct the study. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Zone 7 approves study of toxic chemicals in tri-valley wells

Palo Alto: With recycled water deal signed, attention shifts to contentious Baylands site:  “Hailing it as a “historic” agreement, Santa Clara County’s primary water supplier, Valley Water, enthusiastically approved on Dec. 10 a 76-year deal with Palo and Mountain View to construct a water purification plant in the Baylands with the intent of greatly expanding use of recycled water. … ”  Read more from Mountain View Voice here: With recycled water deal signed, attention shifts to contentious Baylands site

Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion:  “Facing the continued creep inland of seawater intrusion into irrigation supplies, the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board has approved expansion of its water service area to include an additional 700 acres of coastal farmlands.  The agency’s board of directors unanimously agreed at Dec. 18 meeting to award a $3.2 million contract to build the new so-called F-Pipeline Project to San Luis Obispo-based Specialty Construction, Inc. After finalizing the project’s environmental impact study update last month, construction is expected to begin as early as late January on the seaward side of San Andreas Road. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion

Looking back, 2019: A twist in the Monterey Peninsula desalination saga:  “Reaction has been predictably mixed to a new report that concludes the Monterey Peninsula may be able to get by with recycled water instead of desalinated water for the next two decades and perhaps beyond.  Compiled by Monterey Peninsula Water Management District General Manager Dave Stoldt, the report concludes lower projected demand for water on the Peninsula suggests the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project with a proposed expansion could provide enough water to meet the state-ordered Carmel River pumping cutback order and meet future demand through 2043 and maybe longer even without California American Water’s proposed desalination plant. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Looking back, 2019: A twist in the Monterey Peninsula desalination saga

Tooleville gets ear of State Water Board:  “Maria Olivera is thirsty for change in Tooleville and she recently found out she will have more power than ever to turn the tide of contaminated water troubling her town.  Olivera has lived in the small, rural town east of Exeter since 1974 and never had any water problems at her home on East Morgan Avenue, one of two streets that dead end into the Friant-Kern Canal that make up the town of about 200 people, until 2001. That’s when the state began issuing boil advisories for the water coming out of her tap due to a high level of nitrates, an odorless and tasteless contaminant which can cause blue baby disease if ingested at high levels by infants or pregnant women. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here: Tooleville gets ear of State Water Board

Ridgecrest: 2019: The year that was — Water: Authorities continue to hammer out water plan:  “2019 for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority remained simmering as the joint powers authority continued its work on its groundwater sustainability plan.  As the leadership changed to the IWV Water District, with Ron Kicinski taking over as chair and Don Zdeba assuming the role of acting general manager, debates continued over what shape the GSP should take. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: 2019: The year that was — Water: Authorities continue to hammer out water plan

It’s back to the future for Ballona restoration effort:  “A report nearly 15 years in the making, the final environmental analysis for the Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project released Dec. 20 favors an ambitious reconfiguration of the state ecological reserve in Playa del Rey.  The leading option would remove nearly two miles of concrete levees along Ballona Creek to create a more naturally curving channel connected to the marsh plain, with lower ground elevation north of the creek to allow for coastal flooding of a saltwater marsh area. It also calls for new trails and bike paths, public parking and other visitor serving educational features.  Each of these elements remains controversial among local wetlands advocates, however. … ”  Read more from The Argonaut here: It’s back to the future for Ballona restoration effort

L.A. is losing the battle against urban runoff:  “Marina del Rey, Santa Monica and other Westside communities have been sluggish in expanding their ability to capture toxic urban runoff before it reaches the ocean, according to a recent analysis by Heal the Bay.  Citing seasonal fluctuations and the difficulty of consistent water quality testing, scientists with the Santa Monica-based water quality nonprofit measured the progress that local watershed areas made from 2012 to 2018 toward achieving stormwater retention targets established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. … ” Read more from The Argonaut here: L.A. is losing the battle against urban runoff

Ramona: Proposed three-phase concept for sharing water facilities:  “In December 2012, Ramona Municipal Water District General Manager David Barnum presented its board of directors with a three-phase concept for sharing water facilities with the city of Poway.  A condensed version of the Ramona Sentinel’s report on Barnum’s long-range vision for a mutual agreement in which both agencies could potentially operate more efficiently is reprinted here. … ”  Read more from the Ramona Sentinel here: Ramona: Proposed three-phase concept for sharing water facilities

San Diego: Water district boards move toward detachment:  “The boards of directors of the Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utilities District have each adopted Resolutions of Application to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and annex into the Eastern Municipal Water District, Metropolitan Water District’s wholesaler.  Virtually all of the water used by both agencies comes from MWD’s Skinner Water Treatment Plant in southwest Riverside County via MWD’s aqueduct. RMWD and FPUD are the only two water agencies in San Diego County with direct connections to the MWD aqueduct. Both districts are able to serve their customers with these connections without using any SDCWA facilities. … ”  Read more from Village News here: Water district boards move toward detachment

Along the Colorado River …

Drone on the range: Farmers take to the skies to save water and money:  “Farmers for decades have used huge machines to plant, grow and harvest their crops, but more and more Arizona farmers today are using tiny, remote-controlled aircraft to boost yields and save water and money.  Kelly Thorp, an agricultural engineer for the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, uses drones to monitor the center’s test fields, taking detailed images of the cotton plants to gauge the condition of the soil and how much water the crop needs. … ”  Read more from Pinal Central here: Drone on the range: Farmers take to the skies to save water and money

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on State Water Project operations

SCIENCE NEWS: California, climate change and the trauma of the last decade; Los Angeles may store water under a lake drained to fill its faucets; Extending El Niño event predictions to a year; Pollution in Polish rivers and the cucumber solution; and more …

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


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.

California water news, sliderbox

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: