DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Midwinter dry spells like this are not unusual in California, even in wet years; New California environmental laws; What drifting car tires can tell us about dead sea otters; Trump rule would exclude climate change in infrastructure planning; and more …

Train crossing Delta near Bacon Island. Photo by Jim Maurer.

In California water news this weekend, Midwinter dry spells like this are not unusual in California, even in wet years; New California environmental laws; Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage; What drifting car tires can tell us about dead sea otters; Trump rule would exclude climate change in infrastructure planning; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Midwinter dry spells like this are not unusual in California, even in wet years:  “California has an extended period of dry weather in the winter almost as regularly as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, said meteorologist Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services.  Medium-range forecast models aren’t projecting significant rain in the state for at least a week. Null compiled data for San Francisco based on the last 69 rainfall seasons, which are measured from July 1 to June 30, and found that dry periods during December and January averaged 19 days. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Midwinter dry spells like this are not unusual in California, even in wet years

New California environmental laws:  “It happens every January… New year, new laws.   From a ban on smoking at state beaches and parks to a requirement that new homes include solar panels, here is some of the California environmental legislation that took effect Jan. 1, 2020. … ”  Read more from KQED here: New California environmental laws

Will Californians be fined for showering & doing laundry the same day?Can you get fined for taking a shower and doing laundry on the same day? Not so, according to an association representing California water agencies.  In a statement issued Thursday, the Association of California Water Agencies shared clarifying information about water-use targets set forth by California Senate Bill 606 (Hertzberg) and Assembly Bill 1668 (Friedman), which was signed into effect in May 2018. … ”  Read more from Goodday Sacramento here: Will Californians be fined for showering & doing laundry the same day?

Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage:  ” … Industrial scale agriculture creates tricky challenges. For instance, “triple rinsed” prepackaged salad mixes use a lot of water (2 million gallons a day). This rinse water is ideal for reuse but contains minute amounts of fertilizers including phosphates that make the water difficult and expensive to clean. The wastewater treatment system can remove these chemicals but the process is resource and energy-intensive.  A project in the Salinas Valley aims to remove contaminants like phosphate from the water at a lower cost using much less energy. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage

What drifting car tires can tell us about dead sea otters:  “In 1995, scientists tossed 33 car tires into the Pacific Ocean. Their hope was that the drifting rubber would show them how oil spills affect sea otters—and more than 20 years later, the tires have finally done their job.  Sea otters are more vulnerable to oil spills than any other marine mammal. They lack the blubber that keeps whales, seals, walruses, and other marine mammals warm, and instead rely on dense fur that traps a layer of insulating air close to the body. Anything that compromises the waterproofing of that fur can bring an otter down quickly.  “It’s the reason we focus on them,” says Colleen Young, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “On top of the effects that oiling has on any animal … sea otters are susceptible to hypothermia.” … ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here: What drifting car tires can tell us about dead sea otters

Trump’s 2020 plan: Change the rules on rules:  “In the first half of 2020, Trump officials are hurrying to fundamentally change the way environmental rules are crafted.  The administration plans to finalize regulations that could hamstring future presidents from making rules that rely on public health studies or fail to fully consider the benefits to Americans.  Trump’s regulatory plan released last fall showed hundreds of “economically significant” actions that the administration plans to finalize this year. Of those, at least 18 are noteworthy environmental rules — on air pollution and emissions to drilling and water quality. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Trump’s 2020 plan: Change the rules on rules

Trump rule would exclude climate change in infrastructure planning:  “Federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when they assess the environmental impacts of highways, pipelines and other major infrastructure projects, according to a Trump administration plan that would weaken the nation’s benchmark environmental law.  The proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act could sharply reduce obstacles to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other fossil fuel projects that have been stymied when courts ruled that the Trump administration did not properly consider climate change when analyzing the environmental effects of the projects. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Trump rule would exclude climate change in infrastructure planning

How can we adapt to climate change? This online hub has answers:  “If the 2010s were the decade when we confirmed we were right about climate change — with a growing number of people worried as fires, floods and droughts announce a climate emergency here and now — then the 2020s will be the decade when we’ll need to face the crisis head on.  Even as we strive to stop the globe from getting hotter still in order to avoid another “lost decade,” we’ll also have to adjust to changes already happening.  The good news: There’s no need to start from scratch, thanks to the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE), a collection of more than 2,000 vetted resources on climate adaptation compiled since 2010 by EcoAdapt, a nonprofit based in Washington state. … ”  Read more from Ensia here: How can we adapt to climate change? This online hub has answers

A lesson in persistence: Taking on cyanobacteria in Florida:  “As we hear more and more about algal blooms of different kinds across the United States, teams of scientists are working hard to ensure that they don’t become our new normal. One project in Florida is taking a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem—including genetic analysis.  The team’s work is part of a full-court press in Florida recently, making a serious push to understand what is triggering more frequent blooms. Jose Lopez, Ph.D., of Nova Southeastern University, the primary investigator on the genetic analysis portion of the project, spoke to EM about the project and his work on it.  “This is a very good project,” explains Dr. Lopez. “We’re excited about it, and it’s a lesson in persistence.” ... ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here: A lesson in persistence: Taking on cyanobacteria in Florida

Lethal algae blooms – an ecosystem out of balance:  “Toledo’s water crisis lasted for nearly three days. But the water wasn’t toxic due to an oil spill or high lead levels, as in Flint, Michigan. Toledo’s water was tainted by something altogether different: an algae bloom.  Toledo is not alone. According to scientists, algae blooms are becoming more frequent and more toxic worldwide. … The causes of the blooms vary, and in some cases are never known, but in many parts of the world they are being increasingly linked to climate change and industrialised agriculture. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here: Lethal algae blooms – an ecosystem out of balance

In people news this weekend …

John Carlon retires from restoration firm River Partners:  “John Carlon of Chico, who co-founded one of the largest on-the-ground habitat restoration nonprofits in the Western U.S., has retired from his 21-year post as River Partners’ president.  Carlon has been working to protect and restore California’s rivers since 1991, according to the press release announcing his retirement. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here: John Carlon retires from restoration firm River Partners

Kathie Martin ­— Building bridges as water PIO:  “Water.  Necessary for life, but a substance we take for granted.  Kathie Martin, the public information office of SCV Water, said before she came to the Santa Clarita Valley, she didn’t really know all the intricacies of water delivery, or water politics.  “It’s been a learning curve, fascinating and rewarding,” she said. “Water is such a critical component of our lives. I love the challenge of sharing with our customers the value of the water we provide.” … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here: Kathie Martin ­— Building bridges as water PIO

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery:  “Federal agency representatives on Friday night kept the conversation going with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley about continued efforts to save two Klamath Basin sucker species from extinction.  Merkley, an outspoken advocate of the sucker fish, held a similar summit regarding the sucker species in November 2018. The gathering prompted more research and new ways of trying to solve the plight of the endangered sucker, what many Friday called a “mystery;” and one currently without a known solution. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery

Fort Bragg: Funding for bull kelp restoration studies expected in 2020:  “It’s been more than five years since doctors Laura Rogers-Bennett and Cynthia Catton among others, started raising the alarm about the demise of the Northern California coast’s bull kelp forest.  In that time, the nearshore nursery for a host of sealife has lost 90 percent of its overstory, replaced by purple urchin “barrens” – bare patches on the ocean floor populated only by mostly tiny purple sea urchins, seeking more kelp, often starving themselves. … ”  Read more from the Fort Bragg Advocate here: Fort Bragg: Funding for bull kelp restoration studies expected in 2020

Herbicide spraying proposed to curb broom plants in small parts of Mendocino National Forest:  “Mendocino National Forest plans to use herbicides and hand tools to remove and control invasive broom plants now sprouting in the footprint of the Ranch fire, which in 2018 scorched about 288,000 acres in the sprawling forest that spans Lake, Glenn and Colusa counties.  The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the rugged woodlands, says the broom treatment project needs to start in spring to prevent regrowth of Scotch, Spanish and French broom plants, which can form impenetrable thickets and constitute a wildfire hazard, said Punky Moore, a Mendocino National Forest spokeswoman. … ” Read more from the Fort Bragg Advocate here: Herbicide spraying proposed to curb broom plants in small parts of Mendocino National Forest

Santa Rosa wastewater quandary linked to Kincade fire could get worse as rainy season ramps up:  “Nearly two months after the Kincade fire was fully contained in northeastern Sonoma County, Santa Rosa is struggling with an after-effect of the massive blaze: its wastewater disposal pipeline at The Geysers was disabled for six weeks, backing up the Sebastopol-area plant with about 400 million gallons of treated wastewater.  As a result, by February city water officials anticipate nearing maximum capacity at the plant’s storage ponds, forcing them to release treated effluent into the nearby Laguna de Santa Rosa, a step that would put customers on the hook for an estimated $400,000 in environmental charges. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Santa Rosa wastewater quandary linked to Kincade fire could get worse as rainy season ramps up

Proposed seawall project aims to boost Belvedere’s emergency preparedness:  “A proposed flood-prevention project aimed at improving Belvedere’s emergency preparedness while also beautifying the two roads in and out of the island is set to get a public airing this month.  The project, which could cost $26 million, would strengthen seawalls, levees and utility lines, while also adding sidewalks and parks along San Rafael Avenue and Beach Road, said Craig Middleton, city manager.  Renderings of the project will be presented to the public in a series of workshops at City Hall starting in the third week of January, Middleton said. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Proposed seawall project aims to boost Belvedere’s emergency preparedness

Monterey Bay part of rapidly increasing ocean acidity:  “Monterey Bay shellfish are being threatened by rising ocean acidity twice the rate of the global average, a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study suggests.  Higher acid levels off the California coast kill off coral and make it harder for organisms like clams and oysters to build their shells, according to the study. It also causes more frequent and more toxic algae blooms. In the recent past, a toxin causing paralytic shellfish poisoning has been detected in Monterey County mussels, clams and whole scallops, prompting state health officials to issue warnings. ... ”  Read more from Monterey Herald here:  Monterey Bay part of rapidly increasing ocean acidity

Seniors at Ventura County mobile home park go without running water for days:  “A water emergency in Newbury Park has mobilized the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.  The impacted community is the Vallecito Mobile Home Park, which is occupied by 300 senior citizens.  “I have been without water for four days. It has been horrible,” says resident Tina Sandoval De La Torre. … ”  Read more from ABC 7 here:  Seniors at Ventura County mobile home park go without running water for days

Can you fight fires while saving water? LBFD system reclaims millions of gallons per year:  “Until recently, any time Long Beach firefighters practiced using their high-powered hoses, the water they sprayed ended up in the drain.  In any given year, that added up to millions of gallons that washed away during training exercises.  “The old way of doing training was either doing it dry or, if you really wanted to do training while flowing water, that water went directly into the gutter and was completely wasted,” Long Beach Fire Engineer Mike Shrout said. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here: Can you fight fires while saving water? LBFD system reclaims millions of gallons per year

Laguna Beach plans creek erosion project:  “Laguna Beach is scheduled to break ground in March on a $797,000 construction project intended to prevent further erosion along a stretch of the Laguna Canyon Channel that runs in front of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) and Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.  Additionally, Riverside-based contractor James McMinn, Inc. will build a retaining wall, install landscaping, and reconstruct the pedestrian bridge used to access the animal shelter. The city expects the work to be completed within six months, Shohreh Dupuis, assistant city manager and director of public works, wrote in a prepared statement. … ”  Read more from the Laguna Beach Independent here: Laguna Beach plans creek erosion project

Trash creates massive stormwater clog in Tijuana, and fixing it could mean a mess for San Diego:  “It started with last month’s heavy rains that brought an unprecedented volume of debris tumbling down Tijuana’s Matadero Canyon: old mattresses, used furniture, discarded construction material. That led to a clogged storm drain by the border fence, authorities said, and the flooding of a nearby sewage pump station.  The resulting pool of trash and sewage-contaminated water has now been raising fears in San Diego. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Trash creates massive stormwater clog in Tijuana, and fixing it could mean a mess for San Diego

Along the Colorado River …

Time to move faster on cutting Colorado River use, conservationist warns:  “Arizona and the other Lower Colorado River Basin states need to cut their water use more and faster to bring the river’s falling reservoirs into sustainability, a longtime water conservation advocate says.  The Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada need to cut total water use by 18% from their 2000-2018 average to bring Lakes Mead and Powell into a long-term state of balance, says Brian Richter.  Richter is president of the nonprofit group Sustainable Waters and a former director and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Water program. … ”  Read more from Tucson.com here: Time to move faster on cutting Colorado River use, conservationist warns

Predictions of 1922 no reason for Lake Powell Pipeline, says Steve Hogseth:  He writes, ” … While living in Kanab, I attended an informational meeting regarding the Lake Powell Pipeline held at the Kane County Courthouse roughly five years ago. I had a conversation with one of the men explaining the proposal, and he cited the Colorado River Compact of 1922 as “justification” to build the pipeline. Without getting into the rainfall-snowfall-climate conditions of 1922 as a predictor for then-future moisture/water conditions, and the questionable 1922 forecasting accuracy (projections in population, agriculture, industry, per capita usage, etc.) as to “what the conditions would be 92-100 years later,” it is now apparent that 1922 compact was “considerably off the mark” for today’s situation. … ”  Read the full commentary at the Salt Lake Tribune here: Predictions of 1922 no reason for Lake Powell Pipeline

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

Click here to read more editions of the Daily Digest.

Daily emailsSign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post!

Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!

—————————————-
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

(Visited 841 times, 2 visits today)

Leave a Reply