DAILY DIGEST, 2/18: Is Newsom doing enough to protect the state’s waters?; Trump’s visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans; Better incentives needed to clean up abandoned mines; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

Is Newsom doing enough to protect the state’s waters?  “President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt are expected to visit the San Joaquin Valley in the coming days, in part to approve a controversial water plan that will divert water from rivers to farmland.  Environmental groups and Native American tribal members say Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to be doing more to protect the state’s waters from Trump’s plan, though the priorities Newsom picked in his Water Resilience Portfolio, which manages the state’s waters, are as environmentally unfriendly as they can get.  “We’re really disappointed in the governor right now,” said Regina Chichizola, of Save California Salmon. “We really believed him when he said he was going to fight the Trump administration.” ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Is Newsom doing enough to protect the state’s waters?

Trump’s visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans:  “Days after the White House confirmed President Donald Trump would be traveling to Bakersfield next week, details remained scarce about his visit.  While Trump will be in town Wednesday to discuss agriculture issues with local farmers, as of Friday the Kern County Farm Bureau remained in the dark about the president’s visit, and the Kern County Republican Party similarly had not been informed of Trump’s plans.  Farm Bureau President John Moore said the president could address a “laundry list” of issues facing Central Valley farmers, and added the bureau was in a holding pattern until informed of plans from federal officials. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here: Trump’s visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans

McCarthy comments on president’s planned Bakersfield visit:  “Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Bakersfield on Wednesday, Congressman Kevin McCarthy shared some thoughts with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Features.”  “We need the security of our food supply. Making sure that it’s grown in America, that it’s safe and secure,” McCarthy said on Sunday. “We have a real concern in California because we send most of our water out to the ocean [instead of] sending it down to southern California, to our farmlands in the San Joaquin Valley and others.” … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: McCarthy comments on president’s planned Bakersfield visit

SEE ALSO: Kern County water industry is ready to discuss water concerns with President Trump, from Bakersfield Now

Committee passes two Cox water bills:  “Two bills sponsored by U.S. Representative T.J. Cox-D to help this area with its water situation has cleared a huge hurdle.  The U.S. House of Representatives Committee of Natural Resources approved the Move Water Now Act and the Disadvantaged Community Drinking Water Assistance Act on Wednesday. The committee voted to move both bills to a full vote of the U.S. House of Representatives. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Committee passes two Cox water bills

Will California get another wildflower super bloom? Here’s what the experts predict:  “A lackluster winter rain season has left much of California on the cusp of a drought — so what does that mean for the state’s much-Instagrammed wildflowers?  Particularly rainy winters yielded super blooms throughout the state in 2017 and 2019, from the Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County all the way down to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park east of San Diego.  … ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Will California get another wildflower super bloom? Here’s what the experts predict

UC: Livestock grazing reduces fire fuel loads:  “Thanks to generous support from the newly formed California Cattle Council, UC Cooperative Extension will begin conducting a study to estimate how much fuel livestock consume across California and whether grazing decreases wildfire speed and intensity.  Livestock grazing is the most widespread (and often the only feasible) management practice to reduce fire hazard from herbaceous fuels in California rangelands. Despite that, many public land management agencies do not allow livestock grazing on their lands. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: UC: Livestock grazing reduces fire fuel loads

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In national/world news today …

Prospecting for pollution: the need for better incentives to clean up abandoned mines:  “No one knows exactly how many abandoned mines there are in the United States nor the full extent of environmental impacts they cause. Federal agencies estimate there are hundreds of thousands of such mines, impairing water quality in 40 percent of headwater streams in western states. Cleaning up these sites would likely cost tens of billions of dollars.  Yet quantity and expense are not the only challenges. Federal regulation complicates things further by providing a powerful disincentive for states, local governments, or private groups to assist in the efforts to clean up mines. Environmental regulations make parties working around such mines liable for the sites’ environmental impacts, meaning that no amount of care will protect Good Samaritans from liability should their clean-up efforts fail to end pollution entirely or should a tragic accident occur. … ”  Read more from PERC here: Prospecting for pollution: the need for better incentives to clean up abandoned mines

Microplastics: A macro problem:  “Flying somewhere over the planet, there’s a plane equipped with research-grade, double-sided tape on the outside of its hull. Each time the pilot lands the plane, he removes the tape, seals it in a package, and replaces it with a new one before he takes off again. He then mails the package to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, care of Dimitri Deheyn, Associate Researcher.   Looking at the tape under a microscope, Deheyn sees what he’s looking for: microfibers, stuck to the adhesives. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: Microplastics: A macro problem

Mediterranean rainfall immediately affected by greenhouse gas changes:  “Mediterranean-type climates face immediate drops in rainfall when greenhouse gases rise, but this could be interrupted quickly if emissions are cut.  This is the finding of new research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which adds to the list of known benefits of rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions to keep global heating below 1.5°C.  Decreases in rainfall can impact the water resources of Mediterranean climates, which rely on winter rainfall to supply them through hot, dry summers. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  Mediterranean rainfall immediately affected by greenhouse gas changes

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In regional news and commentary today …

Salmon Cannon company presents in Siskiyou:  “Though the process leading to removal of the Klamath Dams continues to march forward, numerous citizens in Siskiyou County have continued fighting to keep the dams in place. Many of those dam advocates are members of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, which in January hosted a presentation about an alternative fish passage technology the association believes could “make it possible” for the dams to remain.  But the Klamath River Renewal Corporation — the nonprofit organization responsible for decommissioning the dams — stated that a fish passage solution still fails to address other issues that led to the dam removal decision. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Salmon Cannon company presents in Siskiyou

Humboldt Bay a refuge from ocean acidification, but for how long? Growing oysters in beds of eelgrass won’t help them grow faster even though eelgrass acts as a buffer against the ocean acidification that makes it more difficult for juvenile oysters to form shells and develop in their larval state.  Joe Tyburczy, a marine ecologist with California Sea Grant Extension, a statewide collaboration between government agencies and universities focused on coastal and marine science, has been studying eelgrass and its impact on buffering ocean acidification in Humboldt Bay. Tyburczy’s research revealed oysters grown outside of eelgrass beds actually grow faster than ones grown in eelgrass, “which we think may have more to do with flow which is restricted by eelgrass.” … “  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Humboldt Bay a refuge from ocean acidification, but for how long? 

 

Groundwater Sustainability Agency for Montecito Basin gets preliminary approval for grant funding:  “Montecito’s Groundwater Sustainability Agency needs to develop a management plan for the basin, which is pumped by water district and private wells.  The state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act labeled the Montecito Groundwater Basin as “medium priority,” and the district’s board of directors also serves as the board of the Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA).  The agency has preliminary approval for $1.6 million in grant funding it applied for last year, to develop and implement the management plan, spokeswoman Laura Camp said. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Groundwater Sustainability Agency for Montecito Basin gets preliminary approval for grant funding

Planning is paramount for Montecito Water District:  “This time last year, we were “loving the rain,” but as a dry January stretches into a dry February, Montecito Water District customers are eager for status updates on the Water Supply Agreement with the City of Santa Barbara and the new Rate Study. … ”  Read more from Edhat here: Planning is paramount for Montecito Water District

Casitas backs extension for 14,000 or so people served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit:  “An Ojai Valley water agency says it, too, will support an extension for thousands of local property owners pulled into a potential water adjudication.  Earlier this year, the city of Ventura began sending 12,700 legal notices and hundreds of summonses to those who own property near the Ventura River or over one of its four groundwater basins.  They were given 60 days to file a response with the court or potentially lose their right to do so later. Worried about impacts to their property, many said they faced having to pay the required $435 court fee and possibly hire an attorney. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Casitas backs extension for 14,000 or so people served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit

Representative Napolitano announces $393.2 million for Whittier Narrows Dam safety projects (press release):  “Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is providing $393,200,000 for Whittier Narrows Dam as part of its Dam Safety and Seepage Program.  “On behalf of San Gabriel Valley residents and millions more throughout the region, I am thrilled to announce hundreds of millions of dollars for Whittier Narrows Dam, one of the most important flood control projects in the country,” Napolitano said. “Since first learning about flood risk concerns, I have encouraged the Corps to make Whittier Narrows the top budgetary priority, and I am glad it has taken this request seriously by providing significant funding for this dam safety program. I will continue to work closely with the Corps as this project moves forward to ensure these improvements are completed in an expeditious manner.” … ”  Read more from Representative Napolitano’s office here: Representative Napolitano announces $393.2 million for Whittier Narrows Dam safety projects 

City of Oceanside to break ground on Pure Water Oceanside:  “Marking a historic moment for the city of Oceanside and the region, city officials and water industry leaders will break ground on Pure Water Oceanside on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. Scheduled to be completed before the end of 2021, Pure Water Oceanside will be on the map as the first operating recycled water project in San Diego County. … ”  Read more from the Times of San Diego here:  City of Oceanside to break ground on Pure Water Oceanside

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Along the Colorado River …

Arizona: Ranchers, environmentalists on collision course in defining ‘waterway’:  “Tricia Gerrodette worries what will happen to southern Arizona’s San Pedro River if business booms too quickly and too close.  The Sierra Vista resident has given much of her life to the river since 1995. She’s been involved in court cases, spoken at government meetings and been a vocal advocate to protect the river and the ecosystem and communities that depend on it from developments she calls dangerous. Those challenges have ebbed and flowed, but never in her more than two decades of advocacy has she felt more uncertain than now, she said. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Capital Times here: Ranchers, environmentalists on collision course in defining ‘waterway’

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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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