DAILY DIGEST, Monday: The Delta’s sinking islands; Sea lions a tourist attraction in Bay Area, a nuisance farther south; The PFAS and the furious: deserved scrutiny on ‘forever chemicals’; Widespread droughts affect SoCal water sources six times a century; and more …

In California water news today, The Delta’s sinking islands; Sea lions are cash cows in the Bay Area. Farther south, fishermen say, ‘Shoot ‘em’; The PFAS and the furious: the new and deserved scrutiny on the ‘forever chemicals’; Forever litigated ‘forever chemicals’: a guide to PFAS in courts; Coalition forms to back Trump rollback of major environmental law; Meeting set on damaged Shasta County dam; Helping salmon in the Tuolumne River without increasing water flows; Widespread droughts affect southern California water sources six times a century; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • FREE WEBINAR: EPA Grants Award Process from 11am to 12:30pm: If you are interested in applying for EPA grants or are currently managing an EPA grant, please consider attending.  No registration necessary.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

The Delta’s sinking islands:  “A fight over the management of a diked island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is shining a light on a growing conundrum for California water managers, farmers and environmentalists over the best way to restore natural habitat on cropland created more than a century ago by draining marshes.  The courtroom battle over 9,000-acre Staten Island is the latest conflict in the delta over farming, wetlands and the aging levees that, besides preventing flooding, preserve a way of life on the man-made islands. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: The Delta’s sinking islands

Sea lions are cash cows in the Bay Area. Farther south, fishermen say, ‘Shoot ‘em’:  “Sea lions are increasingly living in parallel universes along the California coast, a disparity best observed amid the noisy, stinking spectacle that rolls out daily at San Francisco’s Pier 39 shopping center.  There, hundreds of these enormous, mostly male California sea lions bark, defecate, urinate and regurgitate, but are immensely popular with tourists. As a result, the blubber boys are treated like royalty.  “The sea lions are a godsend: a natural attraction that’s phenomenal for business,” Sheila Chandor, Pier 39 harbormaster, said on a recent weekday as tourists snapped selfies against a backdrop of sea lions piled up like cordwood on docks. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Sea lions are cash cows in the Bay Area. Farther south, fishermen say, ‘Shoot ‘em’

The PFAS and the furious: the new and deserved scrutiny on the ‘forever chemicals’:  “Recently, PFAS has received a growing amount of attention — and scrutiny — from everyone from environmental groups to the mainstream media, and its story continues to unfold. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a new PFAS bill that’s designed to manage this class of cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply, which the White House subsequently announced that President Donald Trump likely would veto.  Given its well-deserved time in the limelight, I thought it would be helpful to ground this conversation in context and explore some implications for circularity. … ”  Read more from GreenBiz here: The PFAS and the furious: the new and deserved scrutiny on the ‘forever chemicals’

Forever litigated ‘forever chemicals’: a guide to PFAS in courts:  “Court dockets are ballooning with litigation over PFAS, a vexing family of chemicals used in many consumer and industrial products.  Some types of the man-made per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are called “forever chemicals,” a shorthand for their ability to build up and stick around indefinitely in people and the environment.  Health risks of some types of PFAS have become clearer in recent years, prompting a rush to the courtroom by people exposed to the chemicals, utilities dealing with contamination, and shareholders facing the financial risks. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg Environmental here: Forever litigated ‘forever chemicals’: a guide to PFAS in courts

Coalition forms to back Trump rollback of major environmental law: “A new coalition aims to garner support for President Trump‘s plans to overhaul the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a major environmental law.  GOP operative Phil Cox is the chairman of the coalition, named Building a Better America. The former executive director of the Republican Governors Association also led Trade Works for America, a pro-trade group that pushed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). ... ”  Read more from The Hill here: Coalition forms to back Trump rollback of major environmental law

In regional news and commentary today …

Meeting set on damaged Shasta County dam:  “A western Shasta County irrigation district wants to hear from residents about a “hazard mitigation plan” it is drawing up to get money to pay for repairs to its ailing dam, which was declared a local emergency.  The Ono Community Services District has been trying since last summer to get money to repair clogged outlet pipes at Misselbeck Dam, about 17 miles west of Redding. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Meeting set on damaged Shasta County dam

Experts fear Trump’s weakening of environmental policy could expose North Coast to drilling:  “A move by the Trump administration to roll back landmark environmental policy intended to ensure vigorous scrutiny of federal infrastructure projects has struck alarm in the hearts of California conservationists, particularly those striving to safeguard North Coast waters from offshore energy exploration and production. … But on the North Coast, where residents enjoy some of the most scenic and productive ocean waters on Earth, a coastline already subject to renewed drilling pressures and proposed wind generation facilities may be at greater risk if the NEPA revisions go through, experts say. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Experts fear Trump’s weakening of environmental policy could expose North Coast to drilling

Marin nonprofit sues for sea turtle protections:  “A new lawsuit by a West Marin conservation group alleges the federal government is failing to protect endangered and threatened green sea turtles by not identifying protected habitat that could help the species recover.  The complaint — filed Wednesday by the Olema-based Turtle Island Restoration Network and two other organizations — asks for a court order requiring government agencies to identify critical sea turtle habitats by a deadline to be determined. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin nonprofit sues for sea turtle protections

SF city hall to swap out bottled water for tap under new pilot program:  “San Francisco city officials and employees will no longer be sipping bottled water, but instead tap water provided by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission under a new pilot program announced Thursday.  The program aims to install new reusable five-gallon containers at nine departments with offices within City Hall, filled with tap water from the city’s water system. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: SF city hall to swap out bottled water for tap under new pilot program

Amador County: 5.9 million gallon spill into Mule Creek not just stormwater:SF City Hall to Swap Out Bottled Water for Tap Under New Pilot Program​  “On December 10, 2019 the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) filed a Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Hazardous Materials Spill Report outlining a 5,981,830 gallon spill stated as stormwater coming from Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP).  MCSP explains in that report “they must open their storm gates when it rains, releasing rain water into the nearby creek. The storm gates were opened for two weeks, 14 days. Opened: November 26, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. Closed December 9, 2019 at 11:40 a.m.” ... ”  Read more from the Amador Ledger Dispatch here: 5.9 million gallon spill into Mule Creek not just stormwater

Helping salmon in the Tuolumne River without increasing water flows:  “Michael Franz owns Franz wholesale ornamental nursery with his brother in the Stanislaus County town of Hickman. He also serves as board member of the Turlock Irrigation District, which delivers water to thousands of acres of almonds and walnuts.  He says there’s better ways to take care of the salmon without increasing water flows. ... ”  Read more from Ag Info here: Helping salmon in the Tuolumne River without increasing water flows

Commentary: Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine, says Marek Warszawski:  He writes, “Remember Jesse Morrow Mountain from a few years ago? This time it’s the San Joaquin River north of Fresno that needs saving from a destructive gravel mine expansion.  Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break and allowed to return to something closer to its natural state. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine

The neverending battle over Martins Beach explained:  “The California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission continue their battle with Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla over public access to Martins Beach on the San Mateo County coast. For 100 years, Bay Area families have been going to this beach, seven miles south of Half Moon Bay, to fish, swim and picnic. The only way onto this scenic beach is a single road through private property. … ”  Read more from KQED here: The neverending battle over Martins Beach explained

Santa Barbara: Wastewater Treatment Plant: SOS or SOL? Now that Santa Barbara’s new City Council has survived the ceremonial niceties of Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony — followed by cookies, small talk and punch — its members are bracing themselves for a cold, hard reality sandwich this coming Tuesday when it comes to the threat of sea-level rise. At this writing, the report is a grim shaggy-dog story with no punch line yet. Crafting one will be the work of the council in the months ahead. … ”  Read more from the Independent here:  Wastewater Treatment Plant: SOS or SOL?

Widespread droughts affect southern California water sources six times a century:  “Severe droughts happened simultaneously in the regions that supply water to Southern California almost six times per century on average since 1500, according to new University of Arizona-led research.  The study is the first to document the duration and frequency of simultaneous droughts in Southern California’s main water sources – the Sacramento River basin, the Upper Colorado River Basin and local Southern California basins. … ”  Read more from EurekAlert here: Widespread droughts affect southern California water sources six times a century

As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom:  “It’s just past noon on a Wednesday, but the bar at the Ski Inn in Bombay Beach, California, is already packed. The crowd is mostly Canadian, snowbirds escaping to the desert spas and country club communities that dominate this southeastern corner of the state, just 50 miles from Mexico. Bombay Beach is not their destination, just a side trip to see the ruins of the once-famous party town.  In the 1950s, Bombay Beach was a celebrity destination. Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys and Bing Crosby frequented its luxury resorts perched at the edge of the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake. … ”  Read more from the Food and Environment Network here: As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Snow returns to NorCal this week; US almond growers struggle to overcome ‘vampire’ image problem; House passes PFAS chemicals bill to push water standards; NEPA overhaul won’t be ‘overnight game changer’; and more …

WEBSITE REBUILD: Responding to survey comments and one more quick survey …

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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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