In California water news today, Winter storms bound for Sierra, Lake Tahoe this week; Nuts getting a bad rap for sinking the California Aqueduct; Spotlight on Tule Red Restoration Project; Nutria: the rodents of unusual size; LAO Report: The 2020-21 budget overview; Native species or invasive? The distinction blurs as the world warms; The past and the future of the earth’s oldest trees; Detecting microplastics first step in assessing environmental harm; Officials seeking FEMA funds to repair problem Shasta County dam; Is California’s Salad Bowl the next Silicon Valley?; Tulare County: Growers still unclear on how much groundwater they can use; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Winter storms bound for Sierra, Lake Tahoe this week:  “The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a series of winter weather advisories and watches up and down the Sierra's eastern front as a series of storms make their way into the region.  A winter weather advisory goes into effect at 4 p.m. Monday for parts of California along the Nevada line north of Reno. It begins at 7 p.m. Monday in the Lake Tahoe area where as much of 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow is possible at the highest elevations with winds gusting up to 100 mph over the Sierra ridge tops. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Winter storms bound for Sierra, Lake Tahoe this week

SEE ALSO: Several inches of rain, ‘more than normal’ snow expected to hit Northern California, from the San Francisco Chronicle

Nuts getting a bad rap for sinking the California Aqueduct:  “State water officials are blaming almond and pistachio orchards for sinking the California Aqueduct before all the evidence is in, according to one western Kern County water district manager.  “They need to do more homework,” said Jason Gianquinto, General Manager of the Semitropic Water Storage District. “It’s easy to say, ‘Hey, this area is subsiding and, by the way, there’s ag here.’ But it’s not taking into account where the water for that ag is coming from.  “It’s a knee jerk reaction.” ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here (note: requires free registration): Nuts getting a bad rap for sinking the California Aqueduct

Spotlight on Tule Red Restoration Project:  “A celebration ceremony for the completion of the Tule Red Restoration Project – one of the most significant tidal wetland rehabilitation efforts in California’s recent history – took place recently at the edge of the Suisun Marsh in Solano County’s Grizzly Bay region. ... ”  Read more from Dredging Today here: Spotlight on Tule Red Restoration Project

Nutria: the rodents of unusual size:  “Nutria, also known as coypu or swamp rats, are large rodents that live in areas with lots of freshwater. These mammals are native to South America and were introduced into the United States between 1899 and 1930 through the fur industry, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Nutria are now considered a nuisance in the U.S. and other parts of the world where their populations have grown and their presence has disrupted the native ecosystem. … ”  Read more from Live Science here: Nutria: the rodents of unusual size

LAO Report: The 2020-21 budget: Overview of the Governor's budget:  “This report presents our office’s initial assessment of the Governor’s budget. We estimate the Governor had a $5.9 billion surplus to allocate to discretionary purposes in 2020-21. The Governor allocates most of the surplus toward one-time purposes, including maintaining a positive year-end balance in the state’s discretionary reserve. Under the administration’s estimates, total reserves would reach $20.5 billion at the end of 2020-21—this represents a $1.7 billion increase from the 2019-20 enacted level. California continues to enjoy a healthy fiscal situation. Despite its positive near-term picture, the budget’s multiyear outlook is subject to considerable uncertainty. In addition to describing the condition of the budget under the Governor’s proposal, this report discusses tools the Legislature can use to mitigate against these heightened risks.”  Click here to read the report.

Is climate change showing up in the daily weather forecast? It’s complicated. Early this month, scientists announced a surprising discovery: The “fingerprint” of climate change is now detectable in everyday weather. In fact, evidence of global warming can be found in the planet’s weather every day, minute, and second since 2012.  But wait —you, a person who actually paid attention in your high school atmospheric science class, say — weather and climate are not the same! Right you are, dear reader. Weather is what happens in the moment (rain passing through, or the current temperature outside). Climate is average weather over time. When scientists warn of a 2 degree C temperature increase by the year 2100, they’re talking about a change in the climate. That’s why we call it climate change and not weather change. … ”  Read more from the Grist here: Is climate change showing up in the daily weather forecast? It’s complicated. 

Native species or invasive? The distinction blurs as the world warms:  “Across the warming globe, a mass exodus of tens of thousands of species is transforming the distribution of biodiversity — and challenging fundamental tenets in conservation policy and science. Are policymakers, land managers, and conservationists prepared?  In recent years, scientists have documented countless species shifting their ranges toward the poles, higher into the mountains, and deeper into the seas in response to the changing climate. … ”  Read more from Yale E360 here:  Native species or invasive? The distinction blurs as the world warms

The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees:  “About forty-five hundred years ago, not long after the completion of the Great Pyramid at Giza, a seed of Pinus longaeva, the Great Basin bristlecone pine, landed on a steep slope in what are now known as the White Mountains, in eastern California. The seed may have travelled there on a gust of wind, its flight aided by a winglike attachment to the nut. Or it could have been planted by a bird known as the Clark’s nutcracker, which likes to hide pine seeds in caches; nutcrackers have phenomenal spatial memory and can recall thousands of such caches. This seed, however, lay undisturbed. On a moist day in fall, or in the wake of melting snows in spring, a seedling appeared above ground—a stubby one-inch stem with a tuft of bright-green shoots. … ”  Read more (or listen) from the New Yorker here: The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees

Microplastics are everywhere, but their health effects on humans are still unclear:  “Plastic pollution is getting under our skin. Literally. As plastics have become ubiquitous in modern society, so too has plastic pollution, including that of tiny plastic particles. These microplastics have been detected in the air, water and even in some foods, making their presence in our bodies essentially inevitable.  “We definitely know we’re exposed, there’s no doubt,” says Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of Toronto in Canada, who studies human-made pollutants in fresh and saltwater environments. “We drink it, we breathe it, we eat it.” ... ”  Read more from Discover Magazine here: Microplastics are everywhere, but their health effects on humans are still unclear

Detecting microplastics first step in assessing environmental harm:  “They are collaborating with SiMPore, a company that uses nanomembrane technology initially developed at the University, to devise ways to quickly filter and identify particles of plastic 5 mm or smaller in drinking water samples. They will then test the ability of these particles to cross a microscale barrier that simulates the lining of a human intestine.  “We want to see to what extent the particulates that you consume in your drinking water can pass through your gut and into your other organs,” says Greg Madejski, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of James McGrath, professor of biomedical engineering. Madejski is coordinating the research with the lab of Wayne Knox, professor of optics. Both McGrath and Knox are affiliated with the Materials Science Program. … ”  Read more from the Environmental News Network here: Detecting microplastics first step in assessing environmental harm

In regional news and commentary today …

Officials seeking FEMA funds to repair problem Shasta County dam:  “Officials in Shasta County are preparing to apply for federal emergency management funds to repair a dam from which they can no longer release water, that officials say is in danger of flooding during a major storm event.  Twenty miles west of Redding, near the communities of Igo and Ono, the Misselbeck Dam holds back the Rainbow Lake reservoir. In 2018 the Carr fire burned up the vegetation surrounding the 12-acre reservoir. ... ”  Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: Officials seeking FEMA funds to repair problem Shasta County dam

Willits approves $97,200 for preliminary engineering on groundwater project:  “During the Jan. 8 Willits City Council meeting engineering project manager Andrea Trincado Slater introduced a resolution to approve a professional services contract with LACO Associates for a not to exceed amount of $97,200 for preliminary engineering on the City’s Groundwater Improvement Project and an action to approve a budget amendment of $27,200 from the City’s Water Fund to pay for part of the contract.  One of the City’s long term goals is to improve its groundwater infrastructure and become capable of providing “a sufficient amount of water” to meet public demand if the surface supply of water becomes unavailable due drought conditions, or potential damage from earthquakes and fires. ... ”  Read more from Willits News here:  City approves $97,200 for preliminary engineering on groundwater project

Lake County: Land Trust receives state grant to complete 200-acre wetlands property purchase:  “Thanks to a state grant, the Lake County Land Trust is in the midst of finalizing its largest property purchase to date, one which is meant to preserve a key area of Clear Lake’s wetlands.  The state Wildlife Conservation Board approved a $675,000 grant for the 200-acre Wright property purchase at its Nov. 21 meeting.  “It’s really exciting. It’s a keystone project for us, so we’re thrilled,” said Land Trust President Valerie Nixon, who noted that the Land Trust has been interested in the property for at least 15 years. ... ”  Read more from Lake County News here: Land Trust receives state grant to complete 200-acre wetlands property purchase

West Marin coalition aims to boost Walker Creek fish habitat:  “West Marin ranchers and a local conservation group are teaming up to plan habitat restoration projects along Walker Creek to restore the once bountiful, but now diminished, runs of coho salmon and steelhead trout.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Point Reyes Station-based Marin Resource Conservation District a nearly $350,000 grant this month to begin planning the restoration work along the Tomales Bay tributary. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: West Marin coalition aims to boost Walker Creek fish habitat

Saving Water in Silicon Valley: San Jose Water uses permanent leak detection to address water loss:  “For many cities throughout the country, severe drought conditions have reduced water sources, making water an even more invaluable commodity. San Jose Water was faced with such a challenge after one of the worst droughts to the region in U.S. history. After a successful pilot program, the utility selected EchoShore-DX sensors by Echologics to become a central part of its water loss control program. … ”  Read more from Water Finance and Management here:  Saving Water in Silicon Valley: San Jose Water uses permanent leak detection to address water loss

Is California’s Salad Bowl the next Silicon Valley?  “As I point my motorcycle south on US 101 toward Salinas, I sit and consider the city for the first time since I moved to the Bay Area from San Diego a year and a half ago. Until then, Salinas had been for me nothing more than another name with a number next to it on a green freeway sign delineating distances to cities on my route to other destinations, like Monterey.  But, as I recently learned, Salinas is much more than a name on a sign. The local economy is dominated by agriculture. Fertile soils that yield fields full of over 80 different fresh-produce varieties have awarded Salinas the nickname “the Salad Bowl of the World.” … But something else is growing in Salinas: a movement that has some wondering whether Salinas Valley is the next Silicon Valley — but a better, more equitable, and more productive version. … ”  Read more from SynbioBeta here: Is California’s Salad Bowl the next Silicon Valley?

Blow a 600-foot hole in the dirt alongside the San Joaquin River? Scrap that idea, 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: Blow a 600-foot hole in the dirt alongside the San Joaquin River? Scrap that idea

Tulare County: Growers still unclear on how much groundwater they can use:  “The first question asked at the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board meeting on Friday represented the frustration of growers who are still facing the unknown.  “It’s 2020,” the grower said, who went on to ask the board, referring to growers, “what can they pump?”  The ETGSA board is still working through the process on how much water growers can pump out of the ground. The agency, which covers virtually all of Southeastern Tulare County, must submit a Groundwater Sustainability Plan to the state by January 31. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Growers still unclear on how much groundwater they can use

Owens Valley groundwater basin is officially “low”:  “The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority has been flailing in limbo as the California Department of Water Resources stood poised to publish the final priority rating for the state’s  groundwater basins, as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Then, in mid-December, the OVGA received word, the priority list had been finalized and the Owens basin was officially low. … ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley groundwater basin is officially “low”

Snow levels dipping and widespread rain is on tap for Southern California this week:  “Break out the umbrellas and hang onto those heavy coats because the region’s first significant winter storm of 2020 is expected to unleash rain and snow Thursday.  After what has been a mostly dry January, a chilly winter storm is expected to move into the northern portion of the state Tuesday before making its way down the coast to Los Angeles County by late Thursday morning. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Snow levels dipping and widespread rain is on tap for Southern California this week

SoCal: King tides threaten roads and cover beaches in preview of sea level rise:  “On a stretch of Sunset Beach where the overfull Huntington Harbour is higher than Pacific Coast Highway, a pump is ready to keep the road from flooding. In Long Beach, seawater has overtaken Bayshore Beach. The water laps against Balboa Island’s recently elevated seawall on Balboa Island and it crashes onto the boulders protecting beachfront homes in Capistrano Beach.  So far, the ocean reaches these points just a few times a year, when the alignment of the sun and the full moon conspire to create the high water levels known as king tides. One such time is now: King tides will peak in the mornings from Friday, Jan 10, through Sunday, Jan. 12. ... ”  Read more from The Beach Reporter here:  King tides threaten roads and cover beaches in preview of sea level rise

Weekend sewage spill closes beaches in Long Beach:  “The shoreline in Long Beach temporarily closed Monday, Jan. 13, due to a sewage spill that occurred over the weekend.  Environmental Health Operations Officer Judeth Luong said it’s unclear how long the closures will last, but best practices dictate that the city should get at least two clean water samples before reopening the beaches. The samples take about 24 hours to test, so the shutdown will likely last at least 48 hours. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: Weekend sewage spill closes beaches in Long Beach

Along the Colorado River …

What's on Tap for Arizona Water in 2020? Five Issues to Watch:  “Each year, water becomes a little more scarce in the Southwest, and each year, everyone in Arizona jostles a tad more fiercely to hold onto their precious shares of this vital resource.  Plenty of work is on the docket for 2020 and beyond to manage and preserve Arizona's water supply, even if that work might not write history the way last year's signing of the Drought Contingency Plan did. … ”  Read more from New Times Phoenix here: What’s on Tap for Arizona Water in 2020? Five Issues to Watch

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

ANECITA AGUSTINEZ, DWR TRIBAL POLICY ADVISOR: The Language of Water

BLOG ROUND-UP: Delta tunnel planning moves full speed ahead; MWD suggests SoCal has too much water?!; CVPIA hijacked by enviro advocates; Myths vs. Facts: 2019 biological opinions; Birds, farms and a Carolina girl; and more …

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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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