DAILY DIGEST, 3/30: Largest US dam removal stirs debate over coveted West water; $1.7M for national forests and watersheds in NorCal; Coronavirus has stalled scientific fieldwork; Welcome to water chaos, California, says Wayne Western; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

Largest US dam removal stirs debate over coveted West water:  “The second-largest river in California has sustained Native American tribes with plentiful salmon for millennia, provided upstream farmers with irrigation water for generations and served as a haven for retirees who built dream homes along its banks.  With so many competing demands, the Klamath River has come to symbolize a larger struggle over the increasingly precious water resources of the U.S. West, and who has the biggest claim to them. ... ”  Read more from KOB here: Largest US dam removal stirs debate over coveted West water

$1.7 million for national forests and watersheds in Northern California:  “The U.S. Forest Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $1.7 million in grants to restore forests and watersheds impacted by wildfires within the Lassen National Forest and in the West Carson River watershed in Northern California.  The fund was launched in 2018 to help restore forests and watersheds impacted by wildfires. The 2005 Power Fire and the 2000 Storrie Fire burned more than 65,000 acres of national forest lands and left a significant impact on the landscapes, watersheds, and ecosystems of the region. So far 23 conservation projects have been funded at a cost of $5.6 million dollars. ... ”  Read more from Action News Now here: $1.7 million for national forests and watersheds in Northern California

Redondo Beach: Coastal gas plant will shut down by 2023 as fossil fuels dry up in California:  “The long-awaited sale of 51 acres of prime waterfront real estate in Redondo Beach has been finalized — and it includes a commitment to shutting down the site’s gas-fired power plant, in the latest sign of California’s transition away from planet-warming fossil fuels.  Power plant operator AES Corp. said Monday it had closed on a sale of the land to real estate developer Leo Pustilnikov, in a deal that requires the company to stop operating the gas-burning generators by 2023. As part of the deal, Pustilnikov — who declined to disclose the purchase price — agreed to preserve as much as half of the site as public parkland, including several acres of coastal wetlands that were paved over decades ago. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Redondo Beach: Coastal gas plant will shut down by 2023 as fossil fuels dry up in California

San Onofre treatment plant problem leads to release of 7,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into ocean:  “A water treatment plant at the now-closed San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station released about 7,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, March 25.  In an alert to state regulators, Southern California Edison, which operates the power station, said an unexpected surge of wastewater led to an “upset” at the treatment plant that morning, triggering an alarm but allowing the sewage to flow through a 6,000-foot pipe out into the ocean before workers could turn off the pumps. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  San Onofre treatment plant problem leads to release of 7,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into ocean

Whales are dying, but numbers are unknown. Coronavirus has stalled scientific fieldwork:  “As gray whales began their northern migration along the Pacific coast, earlier this month — after a year of unusually heavy die-offs — scientists were poised to watch, ready to collect information that could help them learn what was killing them.  The coronavirus outbreak, however, has largely upended that field work — and that of incalculable other ecological studies nationwide.  A large network of marine biologists and volunteers in California normally spend this time of year keeping an eye on gray whales, documenting their numbers and counting strandings as the leviathans swim from Mexico to the Arctic.  Scott Mercer, who started Point Arena’s Mendonoma Whale and Seal Study seven years ago, said the watch was called off Wednesday, as he and his wife were told by a local sheriff to disperse and go home. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Whales are dying, but numbers are unknown. Coronavirus has stalled scientific fieldwork

No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge:  “Lisa Robbins runs the generator attached to her family’s mobile home for just a few hours most mornings. With no electricity, it provides heat in this rural high-desert stretch of the Navajo Nation where overnight temperatures often linger in the low 30s this time of year.  Robbins first started hearing the whispers earlier this month — the fever, that sickness, something called coronavirus — but most people in this town of about 900 didn’t seem too worried. It was far off, neighbors told her, a world away in the big cities.  So, Robbins, who rarely has access to the internet or TV news, continued with her daily routine, which includes helping her mother, who sometimes suffers from side effects of a surgery years ago to remove a cancerous stomach tumor. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge

Book review: Save Salmon, Save Ourselves: A new book from veteran author Mark Kurlansky explains why helping to save salmon is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and the planet.  “If you want to know how well the environment is faring these days, look to the fish. Especially salmon.  “Our greatest assaults on the environment are visible in salmon,” writes author Mark Kurlansky in his new book, Salmon: A Fish, the Earth and the History of Their Common Fate.  Following decades of environment abuses, salmon populations in many places, especially the Atlantic, are in dire shape. Some Pacific runs have disappeared, too, and most populations are greatly reduced. Farmed salmon now outnumber wild ones.  How did we get here? …”  Continue reading at the Revelator here: Save Salmon, Save Ourselves

This week in water: “The EPA announced that due to the coronavirus it’s suspending the enforcement of laws that protect air and water.  Some people in the U.S. can’t wash their hands to protect themselves from COVID-19.  Crowded refugee camps around the world are breeding grounds for the coronavirus because of a lack of soap and water, and food.  A company is developing a kit that will provide a real-time map of COVID-19 as it spreads, without the need for testing individuals.” Listen to podcast or read articles here:  This week in water

Return to top

In commentary today …

Welcome to water chaos, California, says Wayne Western:  He writes, “I’d wager most Californians have never heard the term, “Incidental Take Permit.”  It sounds innocuous, right?  In the most basic water-speak, it is a permit to lawfully operate infrastructure, as defined by Endangered Species Act.  What do you need to know? One of these incidental take permits will soon be filed and send our water ecosystem into complete chaos. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Sun here: Welcome to water chaos, California

Return to top

Precipitation watch ...

From NWS Sacramento: Light precipitation will be likely across portions of NorCal through Tuesday.

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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: