DAILY DIGEST 2/24: Trump fallout continues; Mystery of malformed fish in Delta solved by analyzing ‘ear rocks’; San Diego water fight about to kick into high gear; Are potty habits spreading the Coronavirus?; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Groundwater Sustainability Plan Community Workshop in Easton from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. The seven GSAs in the Kings Subbasin have worked individually on a developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). This plan will determine how groundwater will be managed for years to come and includes important issues that can affect the water you use at home.  The purpose of this workshop is to present the final GSP and provide an opportunity for community residents to learn how to participate in groundwater planning. Download bilingual English/Spanish flyer here.

In California water news today …

Mystery of malformed fish in California solved by analyzing ‘ear rocks’: In 2011 researchers of NOAA and the University of California noted a high number of deformed fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River, California. More than 800 specimens of Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus) were collected, still alive, but showing malformations of the spine. Toxic metals can cause such growth anomalies. To see if the animals were exposed to such contaminants, the researchers analyzed the chemical composition of the animal’s otoliths.  Otoliths, translated from the Greek meaning “ear rocks”, are calcium carbonate concretions formed in the inner ear of animals, including humans, to perceive movement and gravity. … ”  Read more from Forbes here: Mystery of malformed fish in California solved by analyzing ‘ear rocks’

SEE ALSO: Spinal deformities in Sacramento-San Joaquin delta fish linked to toxic mineral selenium, from EurekAlert

Low Sierra snow pack could mean early start to fire season:  “NASA satellite images taken this past week from more than 400 miles above Earth show snow pack levels in the Sierras at just 54 percent of their historical average for this time of the year.  The most recent data is sparking concerns that parts of California are slipping back into a drought — and that the 2020 fire season could begin much sooner.  “Forested areas, especially those with a lot of dead trees, will dry out much sooner without as much snow pack or runoff when the warmer weather comes,” warned one fire official. “We could be looking at a very active 2020 fire season in the Sierra.” … ”  Read more from Sierra News here: Low Sierra snow pack could mean early start to fire season

Most California cities refuse to retreat from rising seas. One town wants to show how it’s done:  ” … At a time when Del Mar, Pacifica and other coastal cities are fighting to defend their homes and roads from the rising sea, Marina has embarked on a path less traveled. Here in this Army turned university town, residents are learning how to adjust with the ocean as the water moves inland.  Sea walls are forbidden, and sand replenishment projects seem unnatural in a city so proud of its native environment. Officials instead are embracing ideas that have been political suicide elsewhere: Require real estate disclosures for sea level rise, move infrastructure away from the water, work with the private resort in town to relocate its oceanfront property — a policy known as managed retreat. … ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here: Most California cities refuse to retreat from rising seas. One town wants to show how it’s done

Return to top

Trump visit news and commentary …

Video: Panel: Will President Trump’s historic memorandum create a new water war with Governor Newsom for Valley farmers?  “President Trump’s promise to Valley farmers could create a new water with the Governor Gavin Newsom and the state. Trump signed a water memorandum on Wednesday pledging to open the federal pumps to allocate more water to Valley farmers in the Central Valley down to Los Angeles. It’s based on biological opinions, science and new technology. However, Newsom vows to block any new biological opinions and vows to protect the delta smelt and salmon runs. The Sunday Morning Matters panel with Bill McEwen, Paul Betancourt and Amanda Renteria weigh in if Newsom should block it and if the memorandum is enough to actually help farmers and dried up farmland.”  Watch at KSEE here:  Panel: Will President Trump’s historic memorandum create a new water war with Governor Newsom for Valley farmers?

Don’t be fooled, Modesto farmers — Trump’s California water plan doesn’t help you, says the Modesto Bee:  They write, “President Donald Trump promised in a Central Valley visit on Wednesday that his new water edict would benefit farmers, drawing applause and adulation from a Kern County crowd. But the brash move is more likely to hurt than to help growers, whether in Bakersfield or Modesto.  That’s because his plan may blow up delicate negotiations among all interests receiving water from rivers flowing to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, especially those here in the Northern San Joaquin Valley — the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Don’t be fooled, Modesto farmers — Trump’s California water plan doesn’t help you

Trump reignites California water wars, says Dan Walters:  He writes, “California’s decades-old conflict over distribution of water among farmers, urban users and environmental enhancement bears an uncanny resemblance to the decades of sectarian struggles in the Middle East — minus the bloodshed.  In both arenas, periodic efforts are made to forge enduring peace agreements, but just when they seem to be bearing fruit, they are undermined by some new flareup.  Gov. Gavin Newsom has been trying to finalize what predecessor Jerry Brown began, a series of so-called “voluntary agreements” that would shift water from San Joaquin Valley farmers to bolster flows through the environmentally fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. They are “so-called” because agricultural water districts were willing to entertain such deals only because the state Water Resources Control Board was poised to unilaterally impose curbs on farmers’ supplies. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Trump reignites California water wars

Newsom hopes to broker a peace treaty in California’s water war. Some worry he’ll cave to Trump, says George Skelton:  He writes, “Gov. Gavin Newsom may be piloting a lifeboat that will rescue the sinking California Delta. Or he may be in water over his head on a doomed mission.  The governor gets angry with skeptics who say he’s being delusional. But history sides with the doubters.  “I love reading all that, ‘Hey, he’s naive. He’s being misled,’” Newsom recently told a forum sponsored by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, his voice rising with a touch of sarcasm.  “It means we’re doing something a little different.” … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Newsom hopes to broker a peace treaty in California’s water war. Some worry he’ll cave to Trump

Return to top

In national/world news today …

Scientists gather to study risk from microplastic pollution:  “Tiny bits of broken-down plastic smaller than a fraction of a grain of riceare turning up everywhere in oceans, from the water tothe guts of fish and the poop of sea otters and giant killer whales.  Yet little is known about the effects of these “microplastics” — onsea creatures or humans.  “It’s such a huge endeavor to know how bad it is,” said Shawn Larson, curator of conservation research at the Seattle Aquarium. “We’re just starting to get a finger on the pulse.” … ”  Read more from the AP here: Scientists gather to study risk from microplastic pollution

This week in water: Are Potty Habits Spreading the Coronavirus?The rapid spread of COVID-19 is believed to be through coughing and sneezing, but new research suggests it may also be transmitted through human poop. JP Morgan Bank, the single biggest funder of fossil fuel companies in the world, is freaking out about climate change. The small snapping shrimp creates a crackling noise that sounds like sizzling bacon—and it’s getting louder as oceans warm. Poll: Nearly 60 percent of respondents say they would be more likely to support candidates who favor the Green New Deal. “BPA-free” plastic products could be as harmful to human health as those products that contain the controversial chemical. Why do whales migrate? It could be they want a spa day.” Listen to podcast or read transcript from H2o radio here: This week in water: Are Potty Habits Spreading the Coronavirus?

Return to top

 

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath: Clashing views on proposed recycled water project:  “A proposed recycled water project in Klamath Falls may be either hugely beneficial or a major disaster, depending on whom you ask. A class D recycled water project is being proposed by Klamath Falls’ South Suburban Sanitary District in order to help meet new regulations put in place by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. But the proposal has been met with a good deal of opposition recently from numerous Klamath Falls residents, many of whom have organized to form the group United Neighbors Against Wastewater Intrusion. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath: Clashing views on proposed recycled water project

Clear Lake in Lake County is a bird lover’s dream:  “In a land of superlatives, Clear Lake holds its own. It’s not only the largest natural freshwater lake wholly within California; it’s also the one of the oldest on the continent. Located in a broad dry valley just north of the Napa Valley, its ancient origins are maintained by the same geothermal forces that draw thousands of visitors to wine country hot springs and spas every year.  As is true of any place where geological diversity meets water, Clear Lake boasts of some of the richest and most diverse wildlife habitat in the state, including natural wetlands, mudflats, mature riparian forest, chaparral and grassland ecosystems. ... ”  Read more from the Sonoma Index-Tribune here: Clear Lake in Lake County is a bird lover’s dream

Orange County: One idea, two cool things: desalinated water and renewable energy:  “The contraption, reminiscent of Rube Goldberg, would produce two of Southern California’s most precious and essential resources: water and electricity.  The electricity would be renewable. And the drought-proof, desalinated ocean water could prove more environmentally friendly — and cheaper — than the water produced from three other desalters proposed for Southern California.  The idea, developed by Silicon Valley-based Neal Aronson and his Oceanus Power & Water venture, caught the attention of the Santa Margarita Water District. The agency quickly saw the project’s viability to fill a void.  “Somebody looked at a problem differently than anybody has in the past,” said district General Manager Dan Ferons. “It’s really creative and got us excited about it. … It could become a primary source of water for south Orange County.” … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: One idea, two cool things: desalinated water and renewable energy 

Water fight about to kick into high gear; Fallbrook, Rainbow to take on San Diego County Water Authority:  “Within the next few weeks, two water districts will be filing unprecedented applications to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority.  Instead, they intend to buy water directly from the Metropolitan Water District via the Eastern Municipal Water District in Riverside County, thereby saving both districts millions of dollars annually.  The Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District say they are in a unique position to divorce themselves from the Water Authority because Metropolitan pipes run right past their geographic areas. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Water fight about to kick into high gear; Fallbrook, Rainbow to take on San Diego County Water Authority

San Diego’s landmark water recycling project may face longer delays than expected:  “San Diego’s long-awaited Pure Water project, a sewage recycling system that would boost the city’s water independence, is facing legal challenges that could last longer and cost more than city officials previously anticipated.  A dispute that emerged last year over the use of unionized construction workers to build the project became more complex last fall when state lawmakers tried to solve the problem by intervening.  They passed a law requiring any part of the project that receives state funding to use a union-friendly project labor agreement. But a group of local contractors who want to use non-union workers quickly filed a lawsuit contending that the move was illegal. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego’s landmark water recycling project may face longer delays than expected

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Freedom at too high a price: groundwater depletion in rural Arizona: Wells are going dry in rural Arizona, leaving residents struggling. A recent investigation by The Arizona Republic and a documentary by NBC News tell the stories of residents of groundwater-dependent regions within La Paz and Cochise counties whose households have been affected by falling water tables. When wells do not reach the diminished aquifer, families have to haul water from friends’ properties or spend thousands of dollars to dig new wells and replace equipment. The uncertainty pushes down property values.   The affected residents have at least one thing in common: their neighbors. ... ”  Read more from the Harvard Political Review here: Freedom at Too High a Price: Groundwater Depletion in Rural Arizona

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: CA Fish and Game Commission ends striped bass population mandate; Despite drought, ski resorts not worried; Groups urge Newsom to work with feds on water; and more …

Return to top

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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: