DAILY DIGEST 1/27: Predator fish that anglers love faces uncertain future in CA water wars; Study: More rain and less snow means increased flood risk; Grant funds salinity research in the Valley; Reclamation invests in novel invasive mussel research; and more …

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On the calendar today …

  • BROWN BAG SEMINAR/WEBINAR: Dr. Jay Lund on Integrated Modeling and Delta Science and Policy at 10:45am: Click here to attend in person or to listen remotely.
  • LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT HEARING: Cymric Oil Spill and California Oil & Gas Policy: How safe and sustainable is oil extraction in the Golden State?: The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.  3:30 pm or upon the call of the chair.  Click here for more information.
  • GRA SoCal: PFAS in the Orange County Groundwater Basin: Occurrence, Regulation, and Impacts on Local Water Supply at 6pm at the Orange County Water District in Fountain Valley.  Click here to register.  You do not have to be a member to attend.

In California water news today …

More rain and less snow means increased flood risk, Stanford study reveals:  “As the world warms and precipitation that would have generated snowpack instead creates rain, the western U.S. could see larger floods, according to new Stanford research.  An analysis of over 400 watersheds from 1980 to 2016 shows that winter floods driven by rainfall can be more than 2.5 times as large as those driven by snowmelt. The researchers also found that flood sizes increase exponentially as a higher fraction of precipitation falls as rain, meaning the size of floods increased at a faster rate than the increase in rain.  The study, which appears in the January issue of Water Resources Research, is particularly salient for people planning infrastructure while taking global warming into account. … ”  Read more from Stanford News here:  🔓 More rain and less snow means increased flood risk, Stanford study reveals

Predator fish that anglers love faces uncertain future in California water wars:  “In California’s never-ending water and fish wars, the striped bass doesn’t get nearly the publicity as its celebrity counterparts, the endangered Chinook salmon and Delta smelt.  Yet the striped bass is at the heart of a protracted fight over California’s water supply, 140 years after the hard-fighting fish, beloved by anglers, was introduced here from the East Coast.  Wealthy agricultural and Southern California urban water interests, tired of seeing their Central Valley water supplies reduced to protect native fish, have been quietly waging a war against the bass because they prey on hatchling salmon and adult smelt. They’ve repeatedly tried to introduce legislation or change regulations that would reduce the numbers of striped bass from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Predator fish that anglers love faces uncertain future in California water wars

‘Normal winter’ expected to fill state’s lakes:  “A “normal winter” is forecast into spring, predicted the Bay Area’s weather wizard, Michael Pechner of Golden West Meteorology.  On the heels of last year’s milestone rain and snow totals for much of Northern California and with residual high lake levels going into fall, a normal winter would fill most recreation lakes for summer camping, boating and fishing and provide good winter conditions for snow sports into April. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  ‘Normal winter’ expected to fill state’s lakes

Researchers aim to cure Valley’s salty soil with $2.5m grant from NSF:  “California’s Central Valley has some of the most productive agricultural land in the world, but the accumulation of salt from irrigation water is decreasing crop productivity and threatening the industry’s long-term sustainability.  A new project out of UC Merced — funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation — seeks to address this problem by developing an innovative, environmentally friendly and economically feasible system to desalinate and reuse agricultural drainage water.  The project is being led by UC Merced professors Yanbao Ma, James Palko and YangQuan Chen, in collaboration with researchers from UC Santa Cruz, the University of Arizona, and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service center in Fresno County. … ”  Read more from UC Merced here:  🔓 Researchers aim to cure Valley’s salty soil with $2.5m grant from NSF

With some oil drilling on hold, lawmaker wants state to do more to prevent releases:  “State regulators have placed dozens of new oil drilling permits on hold over the last two months after announcing a moratorium on applications for an extraction method tied to a series of large, uncontrolled crude petroleum releases last year in Kern County.  In November, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced a pause on new permits for the technique that injects high pressure steam far underground to release oil trapped in rock formations.  The state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources stopped issuing new permits for the technique and planned to have experts from Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories study conditions in the Cymric field west of Bakersfield, where massive amounts of oil and water have flowed to the surface since 2003. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  🔓 With some oil drilling on hold, lawmaker wants state to do more to prevent releases

Reclamation invests in novel invasive mussel research:  “The Bureau of Reclamation has signed a $755,800 cooperative agreement with Biomilab LLC to develop a novel technique to control invasive quagga and zebra mussels. Biomilab is pursuing this goal using cutting-edge methods of cell culture, genetic engineering and genomic modification.  Biomilab received the only full award in Reclamation’s Eradication of Invasive Mussels in Open Water Prize Competition in 2018. The prize competition was a theoretical challenge and sought innovative solutions to eradicate invasive quagga and zebra mussels from large reservoirs, lakes and rivers in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner. This contract is building upon what was learned in this prize competition. … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: 🔓 Reclamation invests in novel invasive mussel research

Finding wildfire’s fingerprint in the atmosphere:  “Wildfires seem to be everywhere in the news lately. For those of us in the United States, and particularly in California, “wildfire season” evokes a clear sense of dread, having personally touched so many us. (I have several friends who lost homes—thankfully, though, nothing more—during the 2017 Thomas Fire in my hometown.) Last year, a public uproar ensued when photos of the burning Brazilian Amazon spread across Twitter and eventually to international news outlets. In Indonesia, ultrafine particles from agricultural practices that ignite peatlands have serious effects on the health of tens of thousands of people in the region each year. … ”  Read more from EOS here: 🔓 Finding wildfire’s fingerprint in the atmosphere

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In commentary today …

Trump administration’s WOTUS definition ends decades of confusion, federal overreach, says Andrew Wheeler:  He writes, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army fulfilled yet another one of President Donald Trump’s promises by issuing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule on Thursday. The rule establishes a new definition for Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, and clarifies the limits of federal control under the Clean Water Act. After 45 years of constant litigation and uncertainty, the Trump administration’s new rule brings regulatory certainty to American farmers, landowners and businesses, and should significantly curtail the need to hire teams of attorneys to tell them how to use their own land. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Trump administration’s WOTUS definition ends decades of confusion, federal overreach

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In regional news and commentary today …

Column: What’s in store for Arcata’s marsh?  “One of the things that we humans have struggled with for centuries, and some countries continue to do so, is how to dispose of sewage and wastewater. People whose sewage is treated in Arcata have a big advantage that has been copied many thousands of times across the world. The Arcata wastewater treatment center and the marsh are the result of science and engineering that is currently under review.  Humboldt State University faculty were largely responsible for the science and engineering that got the marsh treatment going. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  What’s in store for Arcata’s marsh?

Lathrop replacing 3,506 residential water meters: “New state-of-the-art water meters that will provide accurate, real-time readings of how much water Lathrop’s residential customers use are on the way.  The Lathrop City Council approved a consent calendar item that will allow city staff to purchase the remaining 3,506 water meters in the city that have not yet been updated – approving the expenditure of $436,760 and a contingency of $43,676 to modernize the aging system. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Lathrop replacing 3,506 residential water meters

New water recycling projects will help battle Central Coast’s seawater invasion:  “For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins.  But the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep underground. The additional groundwater will both enhance potable water supplies and help prevent saltwater from seeping further into coastal California’s massive subterranean reservoirs. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  New water recycling projects will help battle Central Coast’s seawater invasion

New film highlights Tooleville’s fight for clean drinking water:  “Yolanda Cuevas saw herself on the big screen for the first time during the Saturday premiere of “The Great Water Divide: California’s Water Crisis” in Exeter.  The short documentary focuses on Tooleville, a hamlet in eastern Tulare County where children can’t wash their hands, dishes or vegetables without supervision because the water is tainted with multiple contaminants.  “It’s very difficult,” said Cuevas, a longtime Tooleville resident featured in the documentary. “We work double for water we can’t drink.” … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  New film highlights Tooleville’s fight for clean drinking water 

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Along the Colorado River …

Advocates: EPA’s new clean-water rules hit Arizona, Southwest hardest:  “Clean-water rules unveiled Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency could remove the vast majority of Arizona’s waterways from federal oversight, a change environmentalists call bad news in a region where water is “super precious.”  But Trump administration officials hailed the “common sense” changes to the Clean Water Act that they say will no longer cover the intermittent streams and wetlands that meant “constant litigation and uncertainty” for landowners. The new rule will apply only to linked, free-flowing waterways. … ”  Read more from the Eastern Arizona Courier here:  Advocates: EPA’s new clean-water rules hit Arizona, Southwest hardest

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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Image credit: CA streamflow assessment map, courtesy of Belize Lane.   From this paper: Lane, B. A., Dahlke, H. E., Pasternack, G. B., & Sandoval‐Solis, S. (2017). Revealing the diversity of natural hydrologic regimes in California with relevance for environmental flows applications. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association53(2), 411-430.

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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