DAILY DIGEST 1/10/2019: California has protections against Trump rollback of enviro rules; Gov. Newsom to propose more spending on wildfire efforts in new budget; Study confirms climate models are getting future warming projections right; Toward a smarter way of recharging the aquifer; and more …

In California water news today, California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules; Gov. Newsom to propose more spending on wildfire efforts in new California budget; Crystal Geyser pleads guilty to illegally storing arsenic-laden wastewater; Study confirms climate models are getting future warming projections right; Toward a smarter way of recharging the aquifer; New Napa County groundwater agency hears from critics at its first meeting; Project to restore American River for native fish leads to surge in salmon nests; Colorado River water forecast lower than normal despite snowpack; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Delta Independent Science Board Teleconference Meeting beginning at 9am. Agenda items include an update on Delta lead scientist recruitment, review of the Delta Plan ecosystem amendment, the draft social science strategy, and other Delta ISB updates.  For the full agenda, click here.  Remote access via webex available.
  • Delta RMP Steering Committee Meeting beginning at 10am. Agenda items include how the Delta Regional Monitoring Program can participate in collectively implementing the Delta Science Plan, information regarding the update of the Science Action Agenda, and a discussion on FY 2020 monitoring pre-proposals.  Click here for the full agenda.  Remote access available.

On the calendar for Saturday …

  • Delta Community Design Workshop in Walnut Grove from 9am to 6pm: Are you a resident, or business owner interested in historic preservation, pedestrian-friendly streets, and economic development? Please join us for a collaborative workshop – inspired by the community action plans – to share your ideas for physical improvements to Sacramento River Delta communities. Or, come in the late afternoon to the open house to hear the communities’ design proposals. Hosted by the Delta Protection Commission.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules:  “The Trump administration’s sweeping plan to ease environmental review of highways, power plants and other big projects may be less consequential in California, where state law puts checks on new development.  By no means, however, would California go unaffected. Logging, drilling and mining in the Golden State, as well as building a wall at the nation’s southern border, could be much easier to do if the president has his way. ... ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here: California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules

Crystal Geyser pleads guilty to illegally storing arsenic-laden wastewater:  “Bottled water producer Crystal Geyser pleaded guilty Thursday in Los Angeles to federal charges of illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste containing arsenic.  Crystal Geyser’s parent company, CG Roxane, along with two contracted companies, were charged in 2018 with violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Hazardous Materials Transportation Act by their alleged failure to disclose information regarding arsenic in wastewater transported from the bottling plant in Olancha. … ”  Read more from KNBC here: Crystal Geyser pleads guilty to illegally storing arsenic-laden wastewater

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL

Gov. Newsom to propose more spending on wildfire efforts in new California budget:  “Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for the state to invest more money next year to prevent and prepare for disasters after wildfires and earthquakes again wreaked havoc on California in 2019.  Much of the governor’s proposal focuses on efforts to reduce and respond to wildfires, including funding 677 new CalFire positions over five years and allocating $90 million for new technology and a forecast center to better predict, track and battle blazes. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Gov. Newsom to propose more spending on wildfire efforts in new California budget

Exclusive: California climate budget to include $1 billion green loan fund:  “Contending that California needs to better encourage small players with ideas to address the climate crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to include a $1 billion revolving loan program in his new budget Friday to seed recycling, low-carbon transportation and climate-smart agriculture projects, according to a summary document obtained by CalMatters.  The Climate Catalyst Revolving Loan Fund, which would grow over four years, would offer low-interest lending to small businesses and organizations that have green ideas but may not be established or connected enough to compete for venture capital funding. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Exclusive: California climate budget to include $1 billion green loan fund

CLIMATE CHANGE

LAO Report: Assessing vulnerability of state assets to climate change:  “This post summarizes the current efforts being undertaken by state departments to assess the vulnerability of state facilities to the future impacts of climate change. We find that most state agencies are only in the early stages of conducting such assessments, which are a critical first step of a multistep process of planning to reduce risks to state assets and public services. We provide a number of oversight questions the Legislature can use to monitor what progress is being made by individual state departments.”  Read the report from the LAO here: LAO Report: Assessing vulnerability of state assets to climate change

Mountain snowpack grows less reliable as the world warms:  “Snow is not just for family skiing trips or the winter Olympics every four years. Mountain snow provides water for billions around the world and is a key part of annual water cycles. About 75% of water supplies in the western U.S comes from snowmelt, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. But scientists say global warming is causing snow to finish melting earlier in the springtime than historically has been the case – and in smaller quantities – putting western water resources at still more risk. … ”  Read more from Yale Climate Connections here: Mountain snowpack grows less reliable as the world warms

Study confirms climate models are getting future warming projections right:  “For decades, people have legitimately wondered how well climate models perform in predicting future climate conditions. Based on solid physics and the best understanding of the Earth system available, they skillfully reproduce observed data. Nevertheless, they have a wide response to increasing carbon dioxide levels, and many uncertainties remain in the details. The hallmark of good science, however, is the ability to make testable predictions, and climate models have been making predictions since the 1970s. How reliable have they been?  Now a new evaluation of global climate models used to project Earth’s future global average surface temperatures over the past half-century answers that question: most of the models have been quite accurate. ... ”  Read more from NASA here: Study confirms climate models are getting future warming projections right

Trump administration moves to axe consideration of climate change for federal projects:  “President Donald Trump on Thursday proposed sharply limiting environmental reviews of pipelines and other major federally permitted infrastructure projects, a move that would sweep away a hurdle slowing his agenda for unfettered fossil fuel development.  The new guidance would curb federal agencies from considering climate impacts by specifying that agencies are only required to analyze impacts that are immediate, local and direct. The administration’s proposed rule, which will be open for public comment before being finalized, also would relieve agencies of any duty to consider cumulative environmental impacts. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Trump administration moves to axe consideration of climate change for federal projects

NATIONAL

Water and climate update for January 9: First 2020 snowfall in the Mid-Atlantic region:The first snowfall of the new year hit the Mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday.  A winter weather advisory in the Washington D.C. area had businesses, government offices, and schools close early Tuesday afternoon. Power outages and traffic delays were also reported  Storm totals ranged from a coating of ice to several inches of snow. Additional snow squalls continued to impact travel in the area Wednesday.”  Read the report from the NRCS here: Water and climate update for January 9

Toward a smarter way of recharging the aquifer:  “To replenish groundwater, many municipalities inject reclaimed water into depleted aquifers. The injected water has been purified by secondary wastewater treatment, and, in some cases, the water has been treated through tertiary processes and can be clean enough to drink directly.  The original water in the aquifer was chemically stable, in equilibrium with the surrounding rocks, and was slowly recharged by natural processes (water infiltration). However, when more groundwater is consumed than the natural processes can restore, engineered recharging with purified, is needed. Unfortunately, over time, the reclaimed water sometimes becomes contaminated. … ”  Read more from Phys Org here: Toward a smarter way of recharging the aquifer

States recycle Christmas trees for fish habitats: “The holiday season may feel long over, but some people might be still figuring out what to do with their Christmas trees.  South Carolina and West Virginia are among states offering something more useful than just putting the live trees out on the curb: recycling them to help fish habitats.  In South Carolina, this program aimed at underwater habitat improvement has been done for decades, according to David Lucas, the regional public information coordinator at the state’s Department of Natural Resources. … ”  Read more from US News and World Report here: States recycle Christmas trees for fish habitats

As BLM moves westward, critics see steps to neutralize agency:  “The Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters has begun its move West this month, but that hasn’t ended controversy over the change.  The Trump administration says the BLM’s move to Grand Junction, Colorado, puts the agency closer to the nearly 250 million acres of public land it oversees, the vast majority of which is in western states.  But Boise State University Environment and Public Lands Professor John Freemuth believes the move will neutralize the agency, leaving key people out of decision-making in Washington, DC. … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here: As BLM moves westward, critics see steps to neutralize agency

Australia’s raging fires will create big problems for fresh drinking water:  “In the wake of the enormous fires that have razed huge swathes of drought-stricken Australia, scientists fear that when rains eventually fall, they will wash charred debris into rivers, dams, and the ocean, killing wildlife and even tainting the drinking supplies of major cities, such as Sydney.  For many weeks, ash, soot, and blackened gum tree leaves have collected along the shorelines of Sydney’s beaches, clogging the waves and lapping in the tide. … ”  Read more from National Geographic here (note: free registration required): Australia’s raging fires will create big problems for fresh drinking water

In commentary today …

Trump drills into bedrock environmental protections, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  They write,  “Undeterred by the raging Australian wildfires attesting to the consequences of global warming just months after California’s stopped burning, President Trump rolled out another effort to roll back fundamental environmental safeguards Thursday. The administration’s proposed paring of the landmark National Environmental Policy Act, which subjects infrastructure and other projects to environmental and public review, could allow coal, oil and gas projects to proceed heedless of their effects on climate change or other consequences. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Trump drills into bedrock environmental protections

In regional news and commentary today …

New Napa County groundwater agency hears from critics at its first meeting:  “Local environmentalists want to make sure Napa County’s new groundwater oversight agency hears their voices, a step that agency members said they intend to take.  County supervisors formed the Napa Valley Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency on Dec. 17 with themselves as the governing board. Critics wanted an agency board with diverse interests, such as the groundwater users and the environment. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: New Napa County groundwater agency hears from critics at its first meeting

Project to restore American River for native fish leads to surge in salmon nests:  “The American River is seeing an increase in native fish nests following a fall project carried out by federal, state and local agencies to re-establish natural spawning habitats.  The American River Fishery Restoration Project stretched through September 2019 and poured 14,000 cubic yards of gravel into the riverbed near Fair Oaks, while creating a side channel to rejuvenate 5.5 acres of spawning and rearing habitat. A November analysis by the Sacramento Water Forum tallied 345 salmon redds in the restored area, compared to zero redds in 2018. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Project to restore American River for native fish leads to surge in salmon nests

Where and when to see King Tides in the Bay Area this weekend:  “Some of 2020’s highest tides will start rolling into the Bay Area Friday. These king tides, as they are colloquially known, occur when the aligned gravitational pull of the sun and moon generate extreme waves that can rise a few feet higher than usual.  These days, the tides are frequently observed as a preview of a climate-change-driven rise in sea level, and how it might affect coastal communities. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Where and when to see King Tides in the Bay Area this weekend

Livermore: New million dollar water supply expansion study starts rolling:  “Local water agencies are moving ahead on a study of alternatives that could bring more water to the Tri-Valley to keep up with population growth. Part of the study would include educating water customers about the alternatives and their costs.  Zone 7 Water Agency will be the administrator of the study, with results expected by the end of June 2022. The Valley’s three public water retailers — Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) —will join Zone 7 in equally sharing the $1 million projected cost, at $250,000 each. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Livermore: New million dollar water supply expansion study starts rolling

Santa Clara: Crews repair Anderson spillway:  “Valley Water crews were taking advantage of the current spell of dry, sunny weather Jan. 6 by completing some long-needed work at the bottom of Anderson Dam’s spillway.  Work crews were using heavy machinery to restore eroded “riprap,” a mixture of rocky material at the base of the spillway where water falls into Coyote Creek when Anderson Reservoir fills beyond its capacity, explained Valley Water spokesman Matt Keller. ... ”  Read more from the Morgan Hill Times here: Santa Clara: Crews repair Anderson spillway

Commentary: Valley Water updates groundwater charge zones:  John Varela writes, “In Santa Clara County, the largest supply of water is hidden beneath our feet.  Local groundwater basins can hold more water than all of Valley Water’s 10 reservoirs combined, and serve as our primary reserve in times of drought. Groundwater provides nearly all the water used by residents and businesses in South County.  Because the amount of groundwater pumped out far exceeds what is naturally replenished by rainfall, Valley Water’s groundwater management activities are critical to maintaining healthy groundwater basins. … ”  Read more from the Morgan Hill Times here: Guest view: District updates groundwater charge zones

A tech billionaire has fought for a decade to block access to a public beach. Now California is suing.  “For generations, Californians flocked to Martins Beach, a scenic stretch in San Mateo County. They came to fish, swim, sunbathe and surf at the beach known for a rocky, shark tooth-shaped outcrop that juts out of the water and makes for an iconic backdrop.  Then, in 2008, Silicon Valley billionaire and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla bought a huge swath of land abutting the coast, which included the only access road to the popular beach. Within a year, he decided he didn’t want to share, closing a gate to the beach and painting over billboards advertising it as open to the public. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: A tech billionaire has fought for a decade to block access to a public beach. Now California is suing.

SCV Water releases report on wells:  “The majority of the groundwater wells currently drawing water for the SCV Water agency contain enough of a non-stick chemical, which is a suspected carcinogen, that water officials are now required by the state to notify the county about the find.  Of the agency’s 45 operational wells, 29 of them were found to contain tiny amounts of of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here: SCV Water releases report on wells

Dynamic Water Technologies saves millions of gallons of water at LA City Hall East:  “A pilot program to evaluate better methods to save water in drought-stricken California demonstrates that governments and businesses can save millions of gallons of water annually by changing how they treat the water used to cool their buildings or used in industrial processes.  After 18 months of operation at LA City Hall East, a treatment system installed by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Dynamic Water Technologies showed more than a 90 percent savings in chemical costs, and a water-use reduction from 5.95 million gallons a year to 4.78 million, a savings of 1.17 million gallons – or 20 percent less water. … ”  Read more from Water World here: Dynamic Water Technologies saves millions of gallons of water at LA City Hall East

Owners of former Warner Center Rocketdyne site have a plan for cleanup, but activists push back:  “A sprawling Warner Center parcel that formerly housed a manufacturer of rocket engines that launched astronauts into space has been long marketed as a potential high-rise urban district.  But decades of pollution left the soil and groundwater laced with cancer-causing toxins and chemicals.  Recently, property owner United Technologies Corp. has asked the state to change cleanup requirements of the property from residential to commercial standards, according to the documents filed with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which oversees the remediation efforts. ... ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here: Owners of former Warner Center Rocketdyne site have a plan for cleanup, but activists push back

Talking desalination dollars:  “South Coast Water District will gear up to undertake its next milestone for desalination: financing the project.  On Thursday, Jan. 9, after press time, General Manager Rick Shintaku requested authorization from SCWD’s Board of Directors to enter into an agreement with Clean Energy Capital to conduct a cost analysis for the proposed desalination project. … ”  Read more from the Dana Point Times here: Talking desalination dollars

Camp Pendleton’s Water Resources Division:  “Camp Pendleton is one of the only locations in Southern California where drinking water is locally provided and not outsourced.  Camp Pendleton’s Water Resources Division employs a team of professional engineers and state-certified water operators to manage the systems that treat Camp Pendleton’s water. The WRD team works to remove any contaminants that would impact the health and safety of all personnel who train, work or have families on the West Coast’s premier expeditionary training base. … ”  Read more from DVIDS here: Camp Pendleton’s Water Resources Division

San Diego: Workforce diversity focus of ‘Women in Water’ Conference:Career opportunities for women in the water and wastewater industry at every level are the focus of the third annual Women in Water Symposium January 16 at Cuyamaca College.  Vanessa Murrell, grant manager for the Center for Water Studies at Cuyamaca College, said the conference’s goal in its third year is to create a community of people with the interest and aptitude to take on what were previously considered non-traditional careers.  She says women have never been excluded from the water industry, but didn’t see it as a viable career field. ... ”  Read more from the Water News Network here: Workforce Diversity Focus of ‘Women in Water’ Conference

Column: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution:  Michael Smolens writes, “San Diego hasn’t seen this kind of progress toward blunting the sewage-contaminated flows from Tijuana in decades.  The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Column: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado River water forecast lower than normal despite snowpack:  “An early forecast shows water supplies in the Colorado River Basin are likely to be lower than normal this year, despite high snowpack in the Rocky Mountains.  It all goes back to the fall. States that rely on the Colorado River also rely on monsoonal rains that are supposed to arrive like clockwork in late summer. But that didn’t happen in 2019, leaving soil throughout the region sapped of moisture.  “It ended up being the ninth-driest and third-hottest monsoon on record dating back to 1895,” said Cody Moser, a forecaster with the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: Colorado River water forecast lower than normal despite snowpack

Planning for a future with less Colorado River water:  “The Colorado River is often called the lifeblood of the western U.S., supplying water to tens of millions of people across seven states and Mexico. But a new book argues that science from a century ago predicted the river couldn’t support as many farms and cities as boosters wanted. As dams were built and water agreements hammered out, development interests chose only the science that supported their plans, setting the stage for today’s tense negotiations among water managers trying to make do with less water. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: Planning for a future with less Colorado River water

Arizona’s water supply a major issue for legislative session:  “Republican and Democratic Leaders of the Arizona House are again eyeing the state’s water supply as a major issue for the coming legislative session that starts next week.  GOP House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Democratic Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez both highlighted overpumping in the state’s rural areas as a major issue when lawmakers return to work on Monday. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: Arizona’s water supply a major issue for legislative session

Turf battle: Hydrogels could help at ASU West save water and money:  “Arizona’s notorious dry heat can make it tough and expensive to keep playing fields green without wasting water. That’s why Phoenix Water Service Department officials are injecting conservation technology known as hydrogels into soccer fields at Arizona State University’s West campus.  The school and the department have teamed up to use a $100,000 grant to pilot the injection of hydrogels – small, granular saltlike elements that can absorb up to 500 times their weight in water – under the turf. Once hydrogels absorb water, they can dispense up to 96% of it, which could make them an effective tool for conserving this most precious resource. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here: Turf battle: Hydrogels could help at ASU West save water and money

Precipitation watch …

From the National Weather Service: “Another weather system will bring light precipitation later tonight and Saturday.

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Proposition 68~ DPAC Meeting~ Delta Workshop~ DPC Meeting~ Bridge Closure~ Estuarine Symposium~ Public Comments ~~

NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED for Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Peer Review Committee

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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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