DAILY DIGEST 1/8/2019: Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans; Myth about huge CA fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die; UCR investigates some of the nation’s worst nitrogen pollution; ‘Multiheaded Hydra’ of PFAS products under CA scrutiny; and more …

In California water news today, Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans; California's salmon barely survived the 20th century, (but will they vanish before the next one?); Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true; DWR honors apprenticeship program’s newest graduates; UCR investigates some of the nation’s worst nitrogen pollution; ‘Multiheaded Hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny; Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy, says Dan Errotabere; and more …

In the news today …

Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans:  “Farm organizations welcomed a new water planning document from state agencies while they analyzed the document's proposed strategies.  Titled the California Water Resilience Portfolio and released last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration described the document as an effort to guide water management in a way that works for people, the environment and the economy.  The draft portfolio document addresses safe drinking water, flood risks, depleted groundwater aquifers, water supply uncertainty for agriculture, and native fish populations. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans

State releases draft of water resilience plan:  “State agencies released a new water planning document that contains a number of recommendations to help California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, aging infrastructure and other challenges.  The California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Food and Agriculture developed the full draft of the water resilience portfolio, fulfilling Gov. Gavin Newsom’s April 29 executive order calling for a portfolio of actions to ensure the state’s long-term water resilience and ecosystem health. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here: State releases draft of water resilience plan

California's salmon barely survived the 20th century, (but will they vanish before the next one?)  “Mike Hudson began commercially fishing about 25 years ago. Fishing was productive enough that he paid off his boat and made some decent money — especially from his primary target, Chinook salmon, the most valuable seafood from local waters.  “I was able to turn this into a pretty hopping little business,” said Hudson, who has sold his fish for years at the Berkeley and El Cerrito farmers markets.  But a little more than ten years ago, the Chinook population collapsed — the outcome of unproductive ocean conditions combined with excessive water diversions from the Central Valley rivers the salmon spawn in. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Express here: California’s salmon barely survived the 20th century, (but will they vanish before the next one?)

Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true:  “California will impose new limits on water usage in the post-drought era in the coming years — but a claim that residents will be fined $1,000 starting this year if they shower and do laundry the same day isn’t true.  It wasn’t true when the state’s new conservation laws were enacted in 2018, and it isn’t true now — despite a recent report on a Los Angeles television station that riled up conservatives on social media and prompted the state Department of Water Resources to issue a statement debunking the claim. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true

DWR honors apprenticeship program’s newest graduates:  “Eighteen apprentices are well on their way to jumpstarting their professional careers after completing the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) Apprenticeship Program.  A graduation luncheon held in December in Bakersfield celebrated the 2019 graduating class for their success in completing their training and journeyperson certification. ... ”  Read more from DWR News here: DWR honors apprenticeship program’s newest graduates

Year starts with near-average snow, storage:  “A wet December has left its mark in the mountains, and many of the state's reservoirs remain at or above average storage levels as 2020 begins.  The state Department of Water Resources took its first snow survey of the year at Phillips Station in El Dorado County last week, and found 33.5 inches of snow and a snow-water equivalent of 11 inches, about 97% of average for the location. Statewide, DWR found a snow-water equivalent of 9.3 inches, or 90% of average. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Year starts with near-average snow, storage

UCSB studying new strategies to prevent wildfires:  “A UC Santa Barbara professor is working to develop new strategies to help prevent and respond to wildfires.  Professor Charles Jones will take a comprehensive look at the issues affecting wildfires in a newly awarded $3.3 million project he will lead in 2020.  This is just one of the many research projects funded by the University of California Lab Fees Program every year. ... ”  Read more from KSBY here: UCSB studying new strategies to prevent wildfires

UCR investigates some of the nation’s worst nitrogen pollution:  “Nitrogen pollution, largely from automobile exhaust, can reduce drinking water quality and make air difficult to breathe.   Thanks to a $1.1 million grant, UC Riverside scientists will soon understand how much nitrogen dry ecosystems in Southern California can absorb before they produce negative effects.   “Levels of nitrogen pollution in Riverside’s atmosphere, and in the areas that surround this city, are among the highest in the country,” said UCR soil scientist Peter Homyak, who is leading the new study. “Nitrogen pollutants can move downwind from megacities like Los Angeles, adversely affecting our air, water, and soils.” … ”  Read more from Environmental News Network here: UCR investigates some of the nation’s worst nitrogen pollution

California energy policy has reduced carbon emissions. By exactly how much, nobody knows:  “The California Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report Monday on how well the state's energy policies are working in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The analysis found that the state requirement that utilities continually increase the amount of renewable energy they provide has been a “significant” driver in curbing emissions.  The LAO, however, was not able to determine exact figures for how much the cut in emissions is attributable to state law versus other factors, and the agency cited as problematic a lack of specific research that evaluates California climate policy. … ”  Read more from KQED here: California energy policy has reduced carbon emissions. By exactly how much, nobody knows

Agricultural representation in mainstream media is a concern:  “A lack of agricultural representation by major media outlets is becoming more of a concern, particularly in recent years. The concept of appropriate coverage of the agricultural industry was the topic of discussion at a recent California Press Foundation conference in San Francisco. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen was one of the panel members who noted some of the concerns about how ag is represented to a broader audience. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Agricultural representation in mainstream media is a concern

PFAS

‘Multiheaded Hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny:  “California has its eye on “forever chemicals,” and is taking a closer look at safer alternatives in common consumer products, including stain-resistant coatings for boots and food packaging items.  The state this year could require rug and carpet makers to come up with safer alternatives for their stain- and water-resistant products. After-market treatments with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that help consumers protect their boots, clothes, and other textiles from rain, snow, and grease could also face the same fate.  So, too, could food packaging items, even as bans on PFAS in single-use bowls, plates, and utensils take effect Jan. 1 in San Francisco and other cities in the state. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here: ‘Multiheaded Hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny

California holds technical PFAS seminar to inform public of state of science and possible future drinking water regulations:  “Last month, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) hosted a comprehensive two-day seminar on per- and polyflouroaklyl substances (PFAS) in California. PFAS are a family of an estimated 4,000-6,300 chemical compounds that have a variety of applications due to their stability in the environment.  Although some reports suggest that these chemicals are ubiquitous in the environment, such pervasiveness may be explained by sampling for parts per trillion, in contrast to the parts per billion or million for which most chemicals are sampled.  Presenters at the California PFAS seminar included staff members from the State Board, as well as staff members the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), and the Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC). … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here: California holds technical PFAS seminar to inform public of state of science and possible future drinking water regulations

Trump officials voice opposition to ‘forever chemical' bill:  “The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage a class of cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply.  The chemicals, known by the abbreviation PFAS, are used in a variety of nonstick products such as raincoats, cookware and packaging, and have been found in nearly every state in the country. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump officials voice opposition to ‘forever chemical’ bill

Aggressively addressing PFAS at EPA (Press release from EPA):  “Aggressively addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is an active and ongoing priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  “Under President Trump, EPA is continuing to aggressively implement our PFAS Action Plan – the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.  “For the first time in Agency history, we utilized all of our program offices to construct an all-encompassing plan to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect our nation’s drinking water. We have moved forward and continue to forward with several important actions, including the maximum contaminant level process, that will help affected communities better monitor, detect, and address PFAS.” ... ”  Read more from the EPA here: Aggressively addressing PFAS at EPA

In commentary today …

Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy, says Dan Errotabere: He writes, “The Mercury News and East Bay Times editorial “Newsom is being played by Big Ag on Delta water” asserted: “Gavin Newsom is being played by Big Ag interests as he tries fruitlessly to negotiate a truce in California’s water wars.” Gov. Newsom has proven that he will not be played by anyone or any interest group – be it an agricultural, urban, or environmental interests.  The editorial asserts Newsom capitulated to Westlands Water District when he vetoed SB1. But Westlands was only one of numerous water agencies that opposed SB1; others included large urban agencies, including Valley Water and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here: Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy

In regional news and commentary today …

San Francisco Bay could triple threatened otter population, study says:  “San Francisco Bay could act as a haven for California’s threatened southern sea otters and could potentially triple the existing population, according to a new study led by Sonoma State University.  Historical evidence including archaeological finds supports that the bay once hosted a large population of otters prior to the mid-19th century, the study states. While the bay and surrounding areas have undergone significant changes during the past 150 years, the study’s lead author, Brent Hughes, said their findings show otters could still flourish if reestablished. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: San Francisco Bay could triple threatened otter population, study says

How we can live with humpback whales in San Francisco Bay: “The Bay Area is where the world comes together, connected through the internet giants that dominate the region’s economy. But in the past few years, it’s also a place where people and some of the biggest animals on the planet intersect.  As you may have noticed, humpback whales have been feeding in San Francisco Bay beginning in 2016. That’s a result of decades of conservation, and it’s something to be celebrated. As a whole, the humpback whale population in the North Pacific has grown from about 2,000 in the 1970s to more than 20,000 today. ... ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here: How we can live with humpback whales in San Francisco Bay

Valley land has sunk from too much water pumping. Can Fresno County fix it? The Fresno County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan on Tuesday meant to maintain groundwater and keep users from pumping too much from underground basins.  The supervisors adopted plans for two areas connected to the Delta-Mendota subbasin. Officials throughout the San Joaquin Valley have been required by the state to adopt a plan by the end of the month. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Valley land has sunk from too much water pumping. Can Fresno County fix it? 

Judge: Modesto Irrigation District overcharged 122,000 electric customers to help farmers. What happens next?:  “A judge has ruled in favor of two Modesto Irrigation District customers who allege the utility has overcharged its electric customers to provide a subsidy to its farm water prices.  Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger M. Beauchesne issued his decision Dec. 30 in the lawsuit filed by Andrew Hobbs and Dave Thomas. Each sued the MID in 2016, and their lawsuits were combined into one.  The lawsuit is being litigated in two phases. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Judge: MID overcharged 122,000 electric customers to help farmers. What happens next?

Tulare County: Group raises nearly $16 million to buy Alder Creek giant sequoia grove:  “The donations ranged from $1 to several million. The money came from across the country and around the world.  Save the Redwoods League raised nearly $16 million — more than half of it in four months — to close a deal for 530 acres of the Alder Creek Grove of giant sequoias.  The century-old conservation group took title to the Sierra Nevada property on Dec. 30, realizing a long-held dream of acquiring the world’s largest private holding of the world’s largest trees. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Tulare County: Group raises nearly $16 million to buy Alder Creek giant sequoia grove

Demystifying cannabis regulations in Santa Barbara County:  “Cannabis—whether you support or oppose it, you certainly can’t avoid this topic. But due to the patchwork of local regulations and its status as a Schedule I drug, there’s still confusion over how cannabis is regulated. This article aims to clarify the regulatory regime governing cannabis farms in Santa Barbara County (“County”). Our hope is that with greater understanding of the cannabis industry’s regulatory burden, there will be greater support for policies that allow legal cannabis cultivators to remain viable vis-à-vis extremely sophisticated black market operators who ignore their regulatory and tax responsibilities. … ”  Click here to read the entire article.

Newsom wants an extra $220 million for Salton Sea plan in upcoming California state budget:  “California Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include an additional $220 million for the Salton Sea Management Program, a 10-year plan to reduce the environmental and public health hazards plaguing the communities that surround the fast-drying body of water.  The proposed increase, which would boost the state's total commitment to $891 million over the duration of the program, comes after Imperial County in October declared a local state of emergency at the sea, which straddles Riverside and Imperial counties. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Newsom wants an extra $220 million for Salton Sea plan in upcoming California state budget

Poway mayor addresses claims against city after boil water advisory:  “The mayor of Poway on Tuesday addressed the four claims filed against the city since the boil water advisory in November that carried over into the first week of December.  Two of the claims were filed by business owners and two others were filed by private citizens. One resident wrote in his claim that his pregnant wife and toddler became sick from the contaminated water. … ”  Read more from Channel 5 here: Poway mayor addresses claims against city after boil water advisory

Along the Colorado River …

Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River:  “Along with long-term drought and climate change, the overcommitment of the Colorado River is a big reason why Lake Mead has dropped to historic levels in recent years.  Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.  “Unfortunately, Arizona’s facing some of the largest cuts, and it really puts Arizona in a political vice,” said Brad Udall, a research scientist at Colorado State University. “You can’t take that much water out of the (Central Arizona Project) canal, the entire 1.2 million acre-feet, and do justice to Arizona’s water needs. Yet that’s what the 1968 law says.” ... ”  Read more from Cronkite News here: Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River

Feds say tiny snail in Utah, Arizona can no longer be listed as endangered:  “The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service said this week that it plans to take the Kanab ambersnail off the list of endangered species because the tiny snail is neither endangered – nor its own species.  The service said new scientific evidence shows that the Kanab subspecies, found in just three sites in the Colorado River watershed, is not genetically different from other, more common ambersnails. With no clear distinction, the service said it is no longer justifiable to list it as endangered, a status the snail has enjoyed since 1992. ... ”  Read more from Cronkite News here: Feds say tiny snail in Utah, Arizona can no longer be listed as endangered

Precipitation watch …

Progressively colder storms to unleash winter weather hazards in Northwest:  “Storms will continue to roll through the northwestern United States every couple of days through mid-January. As colder air plunges south, snow and ice will cause disruptions across parts of region, including areas near sea level along the coast.  The separation from each storm may be barely noticeable with showers likely to litter the coastal areas and snow likely to fall at varying rates over the mountains for many days — and each storm will unleash a heavy surge of precipitation and occasional strong winds. ... ”  Read more from AccuWeather here: Progressively colder storms to unleash winter weather hazards in Northwest

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

ACWA PANEL: Establishing groundwater allocations under SGMA

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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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