DAILY DIGEST, 1/20: Time’s up on groundwater plans: SGMA explained; Journal highlights ecology of offshore oil platforms; It’s fish vs. dams, and the dams are winning; Trump teases plan to roll back key Obama-era water rule, limiting protections for waterways; and more …

In California water news today …

Time’s up on groundwater plans: one of the most important new California water laws in 50 years explained:  “Much of California’s water supply is a hidden asset: Deep below the surface, rocks, gravel and sand store water like a sponge, in an underground zone called an aquifer.  In dry years, this groundwater has been tapped to save farms, keep grass green and provide drinking water to millions of Californians. But over time, people have taken more water out than nature has put back in. Estimates vary, but according to the U.S. Geological Survey, California pumped 41 trillion gallons of water from the ground in about 100 years, through 2013. In some parts of the Central Valley, that means land has been dropping around a foot a year.  … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Time’s up on groundwater plans: one of the most important new California water laws in 50 years explained

UCSB Researchers lead journal issue dedicated to ecology of California’s offshore oil platforms:  “The oil platforms off the Santa Barbara coast are a familiar sight to local residents. The structures tower above the ocean surface like industrial factories. But below the water, the rigs are like high-rise apartment buildings, providing homes to a vibrant community of sea life.  Of California’s 23 federal offshore platforms, many are nearing the end of their lives, and regulators need to decide what to do with the underwater superstructures. Some advocate removing the platforms in their entirety, while others propose leaving their support structures in place to continue acting as human-made reefs. ... ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  UCSB Researchers lead journal issue dedicated to ecology of California’s offshore oil platforms

Sometimes nature needs a little TLC, the ‘kelp lady’ is here to help:  “Nancy Caruso inspired an army of ocean-lovers to jump in and get inspired to restore ocean ecosystems. She and her team of volunteer ocean advocates have rebuilt a decimated kelp forest in Orange county from the ground up, and they’re not stopping there. A shining example of one person who saw a problem, and cared enough to take it on, Caruso’s eyes light up as she describes her efforts. Caruso attributes her success to the volunteers that have supported, bolstered and brought life to, her vision. … ”  Read more from Forbes here: Sometimes nature needs a little TLC, the ‘kelp lady’ is here to help

 

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In national/world news today …

Climate Prediction Center’s February through April Outlook:  “Last week, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued their outlook covering February, March, and April. Warmer than normal temperature are forecast from the Eastern Seaboard through the Mississippi Valley and into the Southwest. Winter’s grip may hold on a little longer in the Upper Midwest with colder than average weather predicted. … ”  Read more from Weather Nation here:  Climate Prediction Center’s February through April Outlook

It’s fish vs. dams, and the dams are winning:  “For thousands of years, alewives and blueback herring have left the ocean to swim up the Hudson River to any one of scores of tributaries to lay their eggs. But in a more recent era, the fish have been literally hitting a wall as dams popped up all over the region, powering grist and woolen mills and later factories.  Today, there are an estimated 2,000 dams in the Hudson River Estuary between New York City and Albany, N.Y. Many are small and obsolete, abandoned by long-shuttered factories and serving no purpose other than to thwart fish migration and harm river ecology.  Now a growing band of environmentalists wants to restore the waters to their natural state. They are targeting dams for removal not only in the Hudson Valley but across New York and the United States. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  It’s fish vs. dams, and the dams are winning

The watershed-based approach to address non-point source nutrients:  “Major U.S. river ecosystems such as the Mississippi are both suffering from and contributing to aquatic dead zones caused by algae blooms in connection with fertilizer runoffs from agriculture. Although the U.S. EPA has not imposed numerical standards that would create enormous financial burdens on local governments and industry, the agency has followed the issue closely and the potential for tougher standards exists.  While many municipalities, industrial water users, farmers and water districts are already tackling the nutrient problem, stricter EPA regulations would force every owner to join them at some financial pain. … ”  Read more from Water & Wastes Digest here: The watershed-based approach to address non-point source nutrients

To conserve marine species, make protected areas mobile:  “Take a good look at the oceans today—there’s a strong chance they won’t look the same in a few decades, scientists say.  As water temperatures rise around the world, some marine animals are already migrating to other areas in response. Habitats are shifting and evolving. Some species are disappearing, and others are moving in to take their place.  The ecological consequences of all these changes—and how they may alter food webs and habitats and entire communities of organisms—remain to be seen. In the meantime, scientists have identified another concern. These kinds of shifts may make it harder to protect marine animals in the future. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here:  To conserve marine species, make protected areas mobile

Trump teases plan to roll back key Obama-era water rule, limiting protections for waterways:  “President Trump announced his administration’s plan for a major rollback to an Obama-era water rule on Sunday, a move the White House believes could pay dividends with the farm vote in this year’s presidential election.  Speaking to the crowd at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Austin, Texas, Trump said he would be scaling back the scope of waters that farmers, manufacturers and other industries must ensure are in compliance with EPA guidelines.  “I am proud to announce that I am taking another step to protect the water rights of American farmers and ranchers,” Trump told the room of Texas farmers. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Trump teases plan to roll back key Obama-era water rule, limiting protections for waterways

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In commentary today …

Gov. Newsom needs to stand up to the Trump administration on the Delta, says John McManus:  He writes, “It’s hardly news that California is under environmental attack from Trump administration policies allowing air and water pollution.  Now Trump’s team is set to impose new environmentally damaging Bay-Delta water diversion and pumping rules. My organization, the Golden State Salmon Association, and our allies have gone to court to block Trump’s effort.  These new rules would wipe out salmon and other wildlife by allowing wholesale siphoning of water from Northern California rivers to a few agriculture operators in the western San Joaquin Valley.  … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Gov. Newsom needs to stand up to the Trump administration on the Delta, says John McManus

NOAA Fisheries Veterans Corps turned my life around, says Ryan Shorrow:  “In 2015, I was separated from the U.S. Army with a General Discharge, Under Honorable Conditions. I returned to California with no idea what I was going to do.  … I joined the CCC in July of 2016 and spent my first year in the traditional Corps program. I did activities such as litter clean up, fire fuel reduction, and invasive plant removal. The work opened my eyes to a whole new world of conservation and natural resource protection, but I felt the need to learn and do more. That’s when I requested a transfer to northern California and found out about the existence of the NOAA Veterans Corps Fisheries Program. I had no idea what “fisheries” meant or that California was home to salmon, but I liked that the job description included “working independently” and “hiking through creeks.” So, I took a leap of faith and took a position in the Vet Corps working at the Ukiah CCC Center. This turned out to be the best decision that I have ever made in my life. ... ”  Read more from NOAA here: NOAA Fisheries Veterans Corps turned my life around, says Ryan Shorrow

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In regional news and commentary today …

McKinleyville Town Center limits loosened to allow wetlands relocation, development:  “The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee made a key decision regarding the future of the McKinleyville Town Center at its meeting Jan. 8.  The committee voted to recommend a less stringent definition of wetlands for the Town Center area. The committee also recommended a policy that would allow the wetlands located on a vacant lot behind the McKinleyville Shopping Center to be reconfigured or even relocated. The recommendations have the potential to open up the property to more development and uses as envisioned by the community. … ”  Read more from the Mad River Union here:  McKinleyville Town Center limits loosened to allow wetlands relocation, development

Nearly 500,000 Sacramento-area residents will be safer because of this Folsom Dam upgrade:  “At the ripe old age of 64, Folsom Dam is about to hit a growth spurt.  Federal crews have begun a five-year effort to raise the height of the dam by 3.5 feet to increase flood protection for 440,000 downstream residents in metropolitan Sacramento, including areas of Arden-Arcade, Rosemont and many areas in the city of Sacramento as far south as the Pocket area and north to upper Natomas. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Nearly 500,000 Sacramento-area residents will be safer because of this Folsom Dam upgrade

East Bay MUD uses wastewater treatment plant to divert storm water:  “Sewer treatment managers are in the process of handling a huge increase in water flows after heavy rains in the East Bay of San Francisco.   “The rain is coming into the sewer pipes of the cities and makes its way to our interceptors,” said Eileen White, a wastewater treatment manager for the East Bay Municipal Utility District. “Yesterday at this time when it wasn’t raining, our flows were about 50 million gallons per day. In the last hour we’ve seen the flows go all the way up to 165 million gallons per day.” … ”  Read more from Storm Water Solutions here: East Bay MUD uses wastewater treatment plant to divert storm water

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Along the Colorado River …

Commissioners, with federal agencies, weigh salinity control in Paradox Valley:  “The main injection well for salinity control in the Paradox Valley is hearing the end of its useful life, prompting a draft document spelling out actions to take.  Montrose County commissioners, who met on Wednesday afternoon with several representatives of the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management, raised concerns over scenic and recreational values, seismic activity and energy use that would come into play, depending on which of four scenarios the Department of Interior selects to address salt loading. … ”  Read more from the Montrose Press here:  Commissioners, with federal agencies, weigh salinity control in Paradox Valley

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And lastly  …

Tesla is accused of ‘stealing’ water by residents of small German town in James Bond-like scheme:  “Elon Musk’s company, Tesla, has hit a major roadblock in its plans to build a giga-factory in a small German town on the outskirts of Berlin. On Saturday, more than 250 residents protested the plans, claiming that the factory would “steal” available water from locals and wreak havoc on wildlife in the area, according to a report from Reuters. … Those who attended the protest chanted slogans about Tesla’s potential to curtail access to water — which was the villainous plot in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace.  “We are here, we are loud, because Tesla is stealing our water,” protesters shouted. … ”  Read more from the Inquistr here: Tesla is accused of ‘stealing’ water by residents of small German town in James Bond-like scheme

Precipitation watch …

From NWS Sacramento:  “Some light precipitation will be possible over the mountains today. A stronger system will bring light to moderate precipitation to the region later tonight into early Wednesday.”

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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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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