DAILY DIGEST: ‘Miracle March’? Feet of Sierra snow beginning this weekend is just what CA needs; New forecast tool looks three weeks ahead for chances of atmospheric rivers; PFAS in drinking water could cause cavities and tooth decay; and more …

In California water news today …

‘Miracle March’? Feet of Sierra snow beginning this weekend is just what California needs: Much-needed snow will blanket California’s Sierra Nevada high country this weekend into next week, bringing hope of a “Miracle March” that could replenish vital, water-providing snowpack after a record-dry February.  A major change in the weather pattern is ahead for Northern California as unsettled and colder conditions will emerge. This change will be accompanied by low pressure that will track southward near the West Coast this weekend and will remain near California early next week before this system pushes eastward into the Great Basin. ... ”  Read more from the Weather Channel here:  ‘Miracle March’? Feet of Sierra snow beginning this weekend is just what California needs

New forecast tool looks three weeks ahead for chances of atmospheric rivers:  “While the Pacific Northwest experienced serious flooding in January and February, areas farther south are bracing for drought after an extremely dry winter. People in these dry regions are hoping for a “Miracle March” to deliver substantial rain and snow to alleviate drought risk. However, a new experimental forecast tool looking out as far as three weeks shows little chance of this happening. The tool focuses on the odds of atmospheric rivers hitting the region over the next three weeks. Atmospheric river storms can deliver up to half of California’s total annual precipitation and cause 90 percent of flooding in the state, while a lack of enough of these storms can lead to drought. ... ”  Read more from the Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes here: New forecast tool looks three weeks ahead for chances of atmospheric rivers

National water and climate update: March 1 water supply forecasts for the western U.S.:  “The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.  The water supply forecasts for the western U.S. have been just released based primarily on the snowpack in the mountains. Water supply for spring and summer use is less than normal, indicated by orange colors in the map. A very dry February in the Sierra Nevada and Southwest has decreased the expected snowmelt streamflow in this area. The areas with above normal expected water supply conditions are indicated in green along the east slope of the Rocky Mountains. Alaska currently has a mostly above normal forecast for water supply.”  Click here to read this report.

Do your kids have cavities/tooth decay? It could be from a chemical found in drinking water:  “Children with higher concentrations of a certain chemical in their blood are more likely to get cavities, according to a new study by West Virginia University School of Dentistry researchers.  Manufactured chemical groups called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances are universal as a result of extensive manufacturing and use. Although manufacturers no longer use PFAS to make nonstick cookware, carpet, cardboard and other products, they persist in the environment. Scientists have linked them to a range of health problems—from heart disease to high cholesterol—but now R. Constance Wiener and Christopher Waters are exploring how they affect dental health. … ”  Read more from Sci Tech Daily here:  Do your kids have cavities/tooth decay? It could be from a chemical found in drinking water

Trump administration takes major step to improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act (press release):  “Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a new method for conducting biological evaluations under the Endangered Species Act to assure that pesticide registration review actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act do not jeopardize endangered species. The updated method ensures that — when available — the agency will use high-quality historical data that reflects where and how certain pesticides are used.  “Responsible pesticide use is an essential tool for managing America’s farmland,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA’s improved methodology will better protect and promote the recovery of endangered species while ensuring pesticide registration review decisions are conducted in a timely, transparent manner and are based on the best available science. I want to thank our federal partners for working together to implement the 2018 farm bill and for helping EPA bring our pesticide assessment process into the 21st Century.” … ”  Read more from the US EPA here: Trump administration takes major step to improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act

SEE ALSO:

Legal battle over the border wall tests the limits of Trump’s power:  “The United States is in the midst of a national emergency—and it’s not related to the coronavirus. This emergency, the one President Donald Trump said that he “didn’t need to” declare, is about the construction of the wall along the US-Mexico border. And it’s once again landing the Trump administration in federal court, as environmental groups, led by Sierra Club, challenge the president’s constitutional authority to transfer military funds to help build the wall.   Before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, an attorney for the US House of Representatives—who was there in support of the Sierra Club’s position—cautioned that the government was arguing for “limitless interpretation” of a statute that allows the president to transfer military funds in the face of a national emergency. Such an interpretation, the attorney added, “goes against Congress’s intent.”  … ”  Read more from Sierra Magazine here: Legal battle over the border wall tests the limits of Trump’s power

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In regional news and commentary today …

One upside of dry weather: Ukiah wastewater plant ponds repaired:  “At least one positive aspect of getting no rain in February of 2020 was that infrastructure damaged in the super rainy February of 2019 could finally be repaired.  While in January of this year it looked unlikely that the weather was going to provide even a 10-day stretch without rain, February then offered 29 straight days, allowing for repair work needed at the Wastewater Treatment Plant because of flooding that occurred more than a year ago. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  One upside of dry weather: Ukiah wastewater plant ponds repaired

Central Coast: How a landmark conservation project saved 82,000 acres of California coast from development:  “On Feb 18, 2005, five happy men posed for a photo, standing side-by-side outside the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.  They were celebrating the close of escrow on a $95 million conservation easement that covered 82,000 acres of the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon.  Their champagne toasts 15 years ago commemorated more than the five-plus years of indefatigable work by them and dozens of other people to put the easement in place. They also were saluting a future in which the ranch would remain essentially undeveloped. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: How a landmark conservation project saved 82,000 acres of California coast from development

Paso Robles works to keep Salinas riverbed clean:  “In March, Paso Robles Water Treatment Plant Laboratory Supervisor Mark Scandalis told the City Council that litter and vandalism continue to be a problem in the Salinas riverbed. Scandalis outlined specific actions the City is taking to combat trash, vandalism, and theft at the new facility.  Working with the Community Action Team, a special police group that works with homeless, displaced and at-risk individuals, Scandalis said the City collected 21.8 tons of trash in one day.  “The laboratory has some wells that are in the river, and the homeless congregate around them, they vandalize, and it makes our jobs unsafe to do, so we wanted to call the CAT team to help us out with cleaning up the places where we have to work,” said Scandalis. He continued, “The CAT team is a very welcome part of our facility now.” ... ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Press here: Paso Robles works to keep Salinas riverbed clean

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District to assess the long-term reliability of local water:  “Water agencies across the San Bernardino Valley depend on San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District to provide them with supplemental water from Northern California as well as ongoing water security.  That security is based not only on Valley District’s ability to import supplemental water supplies from the State Water Project and other sources, but on the district’s ability to effectively forecast the future water supply needs of local agencies. These forecasts enable Valley District to quantify how much water it needs to import to ensure local agencies never run out of water, even during periods of extended drought. … ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here: San Bernardino Valley Water District to assess the long-term reliability of local water

Oysters return to Long Beach’s Alamitos Bay:  “Ostrea lurida, meet Crassostrea gigas.  This isn’t a match made on some social media dating site. Actually, it is the work of Orange County Coastkeeper, the Costa Mesa group that seeks to protect the region’s water resources so they are swimmable, drinkable and fishable for present and future generations.  Last Saturday, members of Coastkeeper and about 35 volunteers got together to bring together the Olympia oyster (ostrea lurida) and the Pacific oyster (crassostrea gigas) in the Jack Dunster Marine Reserve in Alamitos Bay. … ”  Read more from Grunion here: Oysters return to Long Beach’s Alamitos Bay

Poseidon desal plant gets fresh analysis, but coronavirus delays Friday meeting:  “Two issues that could decide the fate of the proposed Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach will have to wait for public debate, as the meeting of the Regional Water Quality Control Board planned for Friday, March 13, has been cancelled because of the coronavirus.  A water board staff report prepared for the meeting provides apparent justification for the board to approve the project, but it also notes the board may disagree and request a revision. Poseidon Water needs just two more permits to go forward — one from the water board and then one from the Coastal Commission. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Poseidon desal plant gets fresh analysis, but coronavirus delays Friday meeting

Days of rain on tap for Southern California as storm system returns:  “After a mostly dry start to the year, March is shaping up to be somewhat of a white knight for Southern California’s rainy season.  A slow-moving storm that sprinkled the region with rain for a day earlier in the week barreled back into the area Thursday morning, bringing heavy rain and a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Days of rain on tap for Southern California as storm system returns

Imperial Irrigation District Board opposes new legislation that could impact service to its Coachella Valley customers (press release):  “The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, during its regular meeting of Tuesday, March 10, unanimously opposed recently introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 2629, by Assembly Member Chad Mayes (42nd Assembly District).  If enacted, the legislation would require the California Energy Commission to produce a report to the Legislature that recommends options for the district’s continued electrical service to its customers in the Coachella Valley. The rights to provide those same customers with electrical service were part of a broader 99-year compromise agreement reached between local governments IID and the Coachella Valley Water District in 1934. That agreement will reach its full term in 2033. … ”  Read more from the Imperial Irrigation District here:  Imperial Irrigation District Board opposes new legislation that could impact service to its Coachella Valley customers

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Along the Colorado River …

Climate change already is diminishing the Colorado River, U.S. researchers find:  “A warming climate already is reducing stream flows in the Southwest’s largest watershed, according to a new study from scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey. And as the planet continues to heat up, it said, the shortages are likely to get worse.  Using hydrologic models, researchers found that the Colorado River Basin is extremely sensitive to slight variations in temperature. In their new paper in the journal Science, they show that for each degree average Celsius temperatures rise, flows in the Colorado are likely to decline more than 9%. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here:  Climate change already is diminishing the Colorado River, U.S. researchers find

A short-lived fight over a groundwater bill produced a big lesson for Arizona, says Joanna Allhands:  She writes, “House Bill 2880 clearly ruffled some feathers.  Not necessarily because people thought it was bad water policy. Some of the bill’s initial opponents said it was a good idea that should apply everywhere.  But there was plenty of behind-the-scenes muttering over the bill, which has passed the House and after a few wording changes that pacified the opposition, is now moving through the Senate.  So, yes, the kerfuffle was short-lived. But it contains an important lesson for Arizona as we work to fix the problems vexing our limited – and dwindling – groundwater supply. ...”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  A short-lived fight over a groundwater bill produced a big lesson for Arizona

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Precipitation watch ...

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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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