DAILY DIGEST, 4/9: Column: From the pumps to courtrooms, Trump’s water boost is making waves; McCarthy letter criticizes state decision; Illustrating the power of collaboration to restore salmon runs; Managing PFAS in environmental due diligence; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news and commentary today …

Column: From the pumps to courtrooms, Trump’s water boost is making waves:  Wayne Western writes, “How radical are our state leaders and environmentalists in regards to California water? Very.  On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Drozd, an Obama appointee, denied a temporary restraining order on Delta pumping sought by a cavalry of usual suspects. The plaintiffs were the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Defenders of Wildlife, and Golden Gate Salmon Association. They argued vigorously for limiting pumping for a window of a few days.  I repeat: days. Not a week, not a month, nor even season. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Column: From the pumps to courtrooms, Trump’s water boost is making waves

Fight over water: McCarthy letter criticizes state decision:  “The fight of the state’s water continues with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision last week to protect fish under the California Endangered Species Act.  On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy-R and other members of Congress sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom criticizing that decision.  Last week, the CDFW issued an Incidental Take Permit to the Department of Water Resources for long-term operations of the State Water Project. The State Water Project provides a water storage and delivery system of reservoirs, aqueducts, power plants and pumping plants for California. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Fight over water: McCarthy letter criticizes state decision

SEE ALSO:

Illustrating the power of collaboration to restore salmon runs:  “One of a number of habitat restoration success stories includes ongoing collaborative work to bring back the salmon population on Northern California’s Butte Creek.  A recently launched website developed through a partnership between the California Rice Commission and the Northern California Water Association shares the Butte Creek success story through a documentary video produced by Emmy Award winning producer, photographer and editor Kit Tyler. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Illustrating the power of collaboration to restore salmon runs

Record-setting storm to continue crawl over California into Friday:  “A nearly stationary storm will be slow to wring out all of its moisture over central and Southern California into the end of the week.  The storm has been pestering the region since the beginning of the week, bringing record-setting rainfall to some locales.  On Monday, Los Angeles and Lancaster, California, received more rain in 24 hours than they typically receive during the entire month of April. These cities joined Burbank and Palmdale, California, in setting new rainfall records for the date. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here: Record-setting storm to continue crawl over California into Friday

Race to save rare California frog beats coronavirus lockdown:  “Slammed by heavy winds and bearing precious amphibian cargo, the helicopter heaved skyward from a remote mountain ranch on the Baja California Peninsula.  With an outbreak of the coronavirus threatening to shut down the border between the U.S. and Mexico, biologists on both sides agreed it was time to act after months of wary deliberations. “It’s a go,” they announced. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Race to save rare California frog beats coronavirus lockdown

IN MEMORIAM: William R. Gianelli:  “William R. Gianelli, the Water Education Foundation’s second president and a leading figure in California water during construction of the State Water Project, died March 30, 2020, in Monterey County. He was 101.  Mr. Gianelli was president of the Foundation from 1985-1989 and made a major financial donation that helped the Foundation create an educational program for young professionals from diverse backgrounds, which was named the William R. “Bill” Gianelli Water Leaders Class in his honor. The year-long program began in 1997 and now includes more than 400 graduates. … ”  Read more from the Water Education Foundation here: IN MEMORIAM: William R. Gianelli

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Legal briefs …

Oil Wells: “A California appeals court upheld a ruling against advocacy groups challenging the state’s issuance of 213 permits to drill new oil wells in Kern county. The state Department of Conservation did not violate the California Environmental Quality Act, the court ruled, because the project approvals were ministerial and did not require an environmental review.” Via Courthouse News.

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In national/world news today …

Democrats, nonprofits urge congress to help keep water flowing:  “Hundreds of utilities and dozens of state governors and regulatory agencies have responded to the coronavirus emergency by suspending the practice of shutting off water for residents who are late paying their utility bills.  The governors of California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Ohio are among those who ordered public utilities to keep water flowing to homes during the pandemic for health reasons. Public service commissions in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Wisconsin that oversee investor-owned utilities have acted to prohibit shutoffs as well.  These orders also direct utilities to eliminate late fees during the emergency period. … ”  Read more from the Bloomberg Law here: Democrats, nonprofits urge congress to help keep water flowing

Water shutoffs are suspended, but the bills will still be due:  “Hundreds of utilities and dozens of state governors and regulatory agencies have responded to the coronavirus emergency by suspending the practice of shutting off water for residents who are late paying their utility bills.  The governors of California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Ohio are among those who ordered public utilities to keep water flowing to homes during the pandemic for health reasons. Public service commissions in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Wisconsin that oversee investor-owned utilities have acted to prohibit shutoffs as well.  These orders also direct utilities to eliminate late fees during the emergency period.  But what about after the emergency period? … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here: Water shutoffs are suspended, but the bills will still be due

Managing PFAS in environmental due diligence: The future’s uncertain:  “Environmental lawyers and consultants remember Feb. 14, 2019, as the day the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delivered a heart shaped box of promised regulatory actions called the PFAS Action Plan. It was a much anticipated, and to some, overdue response to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). However, as Forrest Gump said about a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re going to get.” The PFAS Action Plan has provided little aid to, and actually a few impediments in, the field of environmental due diligence in business transactions. ... ”  Read more from the National Law Review here:  Managing PFAS in environmental due diligence

The low down on the EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan:  “In a time when many people in the world are inside their houses to stop the spread of covid-19, it is easy to forget that good news still exists. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Water Reuse Action Plan is a bit of good news. The Plan, announced on February 27, 2020, by EPA Administration Andrew Wheeler, prioritizes the use of recycled water.  The Plan identifies 37 actions to be led by federal, state, local, and private sector interests. The actions will occur across 11 themes. The themes include coordinating and integrating federal, state, tribal, and local water reuse programs and policies, improving the availability of water information, and promoting both the development and deployment of technology. … ”  Read more from Planet Watch here: The low down on the EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan

Rising tides, troubled waters: the future of our ocean:  “The blob went unnoticed at first. In the summer of 2013, a high-pressure ridge settled over a Texas-size area in the northern Pacific, pushing the sky down over the ocean like an invisible lid. The winds died down, and the water became weirdly calm. Without waves and wind to break up the surface and dissipate heat, warmth from the sun accumulated in the water, eventually raising the temperature by 5 degrees Fahrenheit — a huge spike for the ocean.  When scientists noticed this temperature anomaly in the satellite data, they had never seen anything like it. Everyone knew about heat waves on land, but in the ocean? ... ”  Read more from the Rolling Stone here:  Rising tides, troubled waters: the future of our ocean

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In regional news and commentary today …

El Dorado County: Save the Canal lawsuit denied by judge:  “A lawsuit over the El Dorado Irrigation District’s plan to pipe the Upper Main Ditch was denied by Superior Court Judge Dylan Sullivan in a final ruling issued March 27.  The lawsuit filed by a Pollock Pines-based group called Save the Canal challenged approval of the project and certification of the project’s Environment Impact Report by EID’s Board of Directors. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Save the Canal lawsuit denied by judge

Environmental review for public water takeover bid gets under way:  “A full environmental review of a proposed public buyout of California American Water’s local water system is underway despite the coronavirus pandemic that a top Monterey Peninsula Water Management District official says has slowed work on the takeover bid.  On Monday, the water management district issued a notice of preparation of an environmental impact report for the potential acquisition of the Cal Am water system, as well as a related district boundary adjustment. The notice provides a 30-day public comment period starting on Monday for input on the scope and content of the environmental review. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Environmental review for public water takeover bid gets under way

Santa Maria: Rock Front Ranch permanently conserved for wildlife, grazing by Rangeland Trust:  “The 300-acre Rock Front Ranch east of Santa Maria will be conserved as a haven for wildlife and grazing land for livestock by the California Rangeland Trust’s purchase of a conservation easement on the property.  A Rangeland Trust spokeswoman said the ranch, located approximately 30 driving miles from Santa Maria on Highway 166, remains privately owned.  The conservation easement to ensure its preservation was made possible by contributions from the community, the spokeswoman said. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here: Rock Front Ranch permanently conserved for wildlife, grazing by Rangeland Trust

More rain drenching San Diego county but full local reservoirs do not secure local water supply:  “The San Diego region is being drenched by a rare spring storm system, but all that moisture isn’t adding much to the region’s supply of drinking water.  The snow was falling in the San Diego county mountains on Wednesday, pretty heavily in some places.  That comes courtesy of a slow-moving cold storm system coming into the region from the north. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: More rain drenching San Diego county but full local reservoirs do not secure local water supply

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Precipitation watch ...

Distribution of Landfalling Atmospheric Rivers over the U.S. West Coast during Water Year 2020: October through March Update, from the Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes

WY2020_March_Summary

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

ERIC AVERETT: Water allocation strategies in the context of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Eric Averett is General Manager with the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District, which is one of several water districts within Kern County.  Kern County is the largest basin in the state, is designated as critically overdrafted, and is arguably one of the most complex with respect to the number of water interests that are involved.  In addition, they have had to deal with approximately 500,000 acres of undistricted or ‘white land’ areas.  In this presentation from the Western Groundwater Congress, Mr. Averett discusses how his district and Kern County have been grappling with how to establish groundwater pumping allocations.

Click here to read this article.

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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