DAILY DIGEST, 1/28: Atmospheric rivers that hit CA getting a boost from melting Arctic ice; Study: Climate change threatens world’s wine supply; The neverending battle between San Diego v. MWD; and more …

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On the calendar today …

  • FREE WEBINAR: Legionella Management and Treatment hosted by the EPA from 11am to 12:30pmRegister at this page.

In California water news today …

Atmospheric rivers that hit California getting a boost from melting Arctic ice:  “The fast-melting ice in the Arctic may be the primary cause of extreme weather across the globe, including some of the most violent, damaging storms to hit the Bay Area and California, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography study has found.  The Scripps paper, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first definitive study of the links between melting polar ice and changing climatic conditions reaching to the tropics, a cause-and-effect relationship that scientists had plenty of evidence for but had never precisely documented to this extent. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Atmospheric rivers that hit California getting a boost from melting Arctic ice

Another approach to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act:  “It’s known as SGMA and it’s foreboding to many growers, but there’s better ways to think about it, according to Michael Franz who owns Franz Wholesale Nursery, along with his brother in the town of Hickman, Stanislaw County. He also sits on the Board of the Turlock Irrigation District, which delivers water to thousands of acres of almonds and walnuts.  “SGMA is a really tough conversation,” said Franz. ... ”  Read more from Ag Info here: 🔓 Another approach to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Governor’s budget addresses growing wildfire risks:  “In recent years, California has experienced some of the worst wildfires on record, and the risk is increasing as the climate warms and precipitation becomes more variable. Governor Newsom’s proposed budget supports an array of tools for reducing the threat of wildfire. Funding for these investments would come from the state General Fund, a proposed climate resilience bond, and the greenhouse gas reduction fund (GGRF). The budget prioritizes three wildfire-related areas … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  🔓 Governor’s budget addresses growing wildfire risks

California wildfire reality: new alert systems and forest management key as climate change continues:  “We’re living in the new California reality of catastrophic wildfires and weeks of forced power outages.  So, how did we get here?  A panel hosted by Operation Sierra Storm at South Lake Tahoe brought together leaders of Cal Fire’s new Wildfire Resilience Program, PG&E and the National Weather Service to discuss just that and what to expect in 2020. ... ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  🔓 California wildfire reality: new alert systems and forest management key as climate change continues

Chevron Official Tells California Lawmakers Repairs Caused 2019 Oil Spill:  “A senior Chevron official told California lawmakers on Monday a 2019 incident that spilled over a million gallons of water and oil into a creek bed was likely caused by its attempts to patch up a shuttered well.    During an oversight hearing at the state Capitol, Billy Lacobie said the very thing Chevron was trying to prevent happened while the company was securing a previously abandoned well at its oilfield in Kern County. The head of operations at Chevron’s six California oilfields told lawmakers and state officials that the spill did not harm surrounding drinking water supplies or farms and had a minimal impact on wildlife. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  🔓 Chevron Official Tells California Lawmakers Repairs Caused 2019 Oil Spill

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In national/world news today …

Study: Climate change threatens world’s wine supply:  “More than half of the areas around the world suitable for growing grapes used for wine could become unsuitable for the purpose in 80 years due to climate change, according to a new study.  A study published Monday in the National Academy of Sciences’ online journal said that 56 percent of wine-growing regions could be unsuitable by 2100 should the Earth’s climate warm 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit in that time. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  🔓 Study: Climate change threatens world’s wine supply

The Pacific Ocean is so acidic that it’s dissolving Dungeness crabs’ shells:  “The Pacific Ocean is becoming more acidic, and the cash-crabs that live in its coastal waters are some of its first inhabitants to feel its effects.  The Dungeness crab is vital to commercial fisheries in the Pacific Northwest, but lower pH levels in its habitat are dissolving parts of its shell and damaging its sensory organs, a new study found.  Their injuries could impact coastal economies and forebode the obstacles in a changing sea. And while the results aren’t unexpected, the study’s authors said the damage to the crabs is premature: The acidity wasn’t predicted to damage the crabs this quickly. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  The Pacific Ocean is so acidic that it’s dissolving Dungeness crabs’ shells

Critics question data used in rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections:  “Critics say the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) water policy unveiled Thursday is one of the biggest rollbacks to water policy in decades, but it’s tough to know the extent of its impact because of challenges that come with mapping America’s waterways.  “I’ve never seen an EPA regulation so utterly divorced from the facts and so apparently uninterested in developing them,” said Jon Devine, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s director of federal water policy.  … ”  Read more from The Hill here: 🔓 Critics question data used in rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections

Trump’s USDA chief, unlike Trump, backed water efficiency:  “If President Trump wants to understand the risk of rolling back water efficiency standards that have been in place for almost 30 years, he can turn to a member of his own Cabinet.  Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has signed off on regulations that treat water-efficient toilets and shower heads as effective tools to save Americans from droughts and other risks.  In 2007, when Perdue was Georgia’s governor, the state was in the grips of a historic and extreme drought, and Atlanta was months away from losing its primary water source. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  🔓 Trump’s USDA chief, unlike Trump, backed water efficiency

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In commentary today …

California’s water department must face the reality of climate change and diverse needs, says Bill Dodd:  He writes, “As we enter a new decade, California faces increasing environmental challenges caused by climate change, creating an uncertain future for our water resources. We need bold leadership to address these impacts. It is time for California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) to implement water policy for the state that shores up our precious waterways and diversifies water supplies in the face of these imminent threats.  Scientists have long cautioned about the plight of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, the largest estuary on the West Coast, home to many important species, and hub of California’s major water diversion and delivery projects. Warnings detail how fish and wildlife will disappear due to mismanagement, and climate-driven impacts will increase droughts and reduce snowpack. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California’s water department must face the reality of climate change and diverse needs

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In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Dam removal draws closer:Extremely likely.  That’s how Dave Meurer, community liaison for Klamath River Renewal Corporation, describes the possibility of the removal of four dams along the Klamath River.  The draw-down of John C. Boyle, Copco 1 and 2, and Iron Gate Dams, and their removal, are set to begin starting in January 2022, pending a decision for the go-ahead by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to Meurer. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Klamath Dam removal draws closer

‘Creekman’ helps Putah health from ground up:  “There are more than 100 festivals, jamborees, fairs and carnivals around the world that are dedicated to insects – part of an expanding eco-tourism scene that likely had its roots in religious or cultural events.  Ken W. Davis, an aquatic biologist and wildlife photographer, prefers the more isolated ambiance of nature’s waterways – and the quiet of his lab – and has been studying aquatic invertebrates for 30 years. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  ‘Creekman’ helps Putah health from ground up

Reversing history in the San Francisco Bay:  “Since the 19th century, close to 90 percent of the marshland that historically ringed San Francisco Bay has been lost to development. The effects of that loss include diminished wildlife habitat, increased flood risk, degraded water quality, and far fewer opportunities for nature-based recreation.  In 2016, more than two-thirds of voters across nine counties supported ballot Measure AA, a $12 per year parcel tax over 20 years to provide $500 million in restoration funding to reverse some of those effects.  Now, Measure AA funds administered through the State of California’s San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority are funding a range of wetland restoration, flood management and wildlife-oriented public recreation projects are blooming around the Bay, including on the area’s two largest National Wildlife Refuges managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here: 🔓 Reversing history in the San Francisco Bay

Morro Bay city leaders say King Tides give ‘disconcerting’ preview of sea level rise:  “Over the past two months, KSBY News has been working with Morro Bay High School’s journalism class on an in-depth reporting project. It’s part of a new initiative by our parent company, Scripps, called National News Literary Week, teaching young people about the importance of accurate reporting. The students told us they wanted to report on an environmental issue for their online newspaper, The Morro Bay Spylass. Together, we looked into sea level rise and its impact on our coastal communities.  … ”  Read more from KSBY here: 🔓 Morro Bay city leaders say King Tides give ‘disconcerting’ preview of sea level rise

City of Corcoran sues well-known dairy company for $65 million:  ” The city of Corcoran and Curtimade Dairy have been neighbors for more than 100 years.  But about four years ago, their relationship turned contentious.  The city said it planned to sue the dairy for contaminating its drinking water wells with nitrates, a contaminant that if consumed, can interfere with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to body tissues. … ”  Read more from ABC 30 here: 🔓 City of Corcoran sues well-known dairy company for $65 million

Carpinteria Salt Marsh still recovering from impacts of Thomas fire, debris flows:  “The Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve is still recovering from habitat loss and food-web changes that occurred after the 2017 Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flows.  That assessment was offered Sunday during a public forum in Santa Barbara.  Large woody debris, sediment and other material washed into the wetland from the fire-scarred foothills above Carpinteria during a powerful storm on Jan. 9, 2018. Materials poured from Santa Monica and Franklin creeks into the marsh. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: 🔓 Carpinteria Salt Marsh still recovering from impacts of Thomas fire, debris flows

Volunteers uproot invasive plants from Carpinteria Salt Marsh:  “A team of volunteers spent Sunday morning tearing out the last remnants of invasive ice plant from a section of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh.  Personnel from Channel Islands Restoration escorted the volunteers through a private gate to the project site on Sand Point Road.  Elihu Gevirtz, Channel Islands Restoration Senior Ecologist, said ice plants are native to South Africa and Australia. They were brought to California sometime in the last 100 years for landscaping and erosion control. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara News  Press here: 🔓 Volunteers uproot invasive plants from Carpinteria Salt Marsh

Checking the Rearview Mirror: Santa Clarita Valley Water’s 2nd Year: Commentary by Bill Cooper: As you drive, it’s a good idea to check your surroundings frequently. It helps you make good decisions, anticipate issues, check your blind spots, and make course corrections to keep you on route to your destination.  It’s also helpful to check your mirrors, too.  So, as we begin our third year of operations as Santa Clarita Valley’s integrated regional water agency, it’s a good time to check our rearview mirror and see how far we’ve come in just two years. ... ”  Read more from SCV News here: 🔓 Check ing the Rearview Mirror: SCV Water’s 2nd Year | Commentary by Bill Cooper

Ontario sets 0% water conservation goal:  “Despite growing concerns of a below-average rainfall season, the city of Ontario revoked mandatory conservation measures this week, setting a 0% water conservation target with state regulators.  “We currently don’t have a water supply shortage. We have enough water so we reported that to the state,” Scott Burton, utilities general manager of the Ontario Municipal Utility Co., said during an interview on Thursday, Jan. 23.  The City Council approved the change from mandatory Stage 2 water conservation to voluntary conservation on Tuesday, Jan. 21. ... ” Read more from the Daily Bulletin here: Ontario sets 0% water conservation goal

San Diego v. MWD: There’s no water under the bridge in the feud that won’t end:  “Just days before Christmas, Mayor Kevin Faulconer became the first mayor since Jerry Sanders in 2012 to appear before the 36-member board of the San Diego County Water Authority. The city is the largest member agency of the Water Authority with 10 board members.  Faulconer was there to dip a toe into the decade-long courtroom fight between the Water Authority and Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.  “We are really at an important juncture in our regional water history, in terms of the path that we choose to go forward,” he told Water Authority directors that day. The mayor noted their responsibility to “that $231 billion regional economy” and the “quality of life” for more than 3 million residents. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  🔓 San Diego v. MWD

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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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