DAILY DIGEST, 5/12: Judge temporarily blocks Trump’s California water plan; LAO Report looks at pandemic’s effect on the CA economy; Will drip replace overhead irrigation in farm fields?; Climate models got hotter. Why they might be overshooting; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

Federal judge’s order protects California trout:  “To protect the spring migration of threatened California trout species, a federal judge Monday halted the Trump administration’s bid to supply farmers with extra water from the West Coast’s largest estuary.  Citing the “extremely precarious situation” of juvenile steelhead trout in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd ordered the federal government to reinstate stricter pumping limits for May, established under the Obama administration. Drozd poked at inconsistencies in the feds’ own environmental review and said it was not clear whether the new rules were strong enough to protect a species devastated by decades of increased demand for Delta water. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Federal judge’s order protects California trout


LAO Report: The 2020-21 Budget: California’s spring fiscal outlook: The Legislative Analyst’s Office looks at what the pandemic means for the California economy, their estimate of the budget problem, and their assessment and guidance.  Click here for the report.

MPA update: monitoring iconic kelp forests:  “Some of California’s most important forests don’t have trees. Up and down the West Coast, kelp—a large, plant-like brown algae—supports marine life and local economies.  “It’s really quite an iconic ecosystem,” says Mark Carr, a kelp forest ecologist from UC Santa Cruz. With a growth rate of up to a foot and a half per day, kelp beds are a particularly productive—or fast-growing—ecosystem. “That productivity supports a huge number of species,” says Carr. Otters, seals, shorebirds, and even whales benefit. (Meet some of the species that call California kelp forests home in the video to the right by UC Santa Barbara researcher Katie Davis Koehn, Channel Islands, California.) ... ”  Read more from California SeaGrant here: MPA update: monitoring iconic kelp forests

Will drip replace overhead irrigation in farm fields?  “All growers want to use less irrigation. It not only saves money, but it saves hard-to-find labor hours. But making the switch to more sustainable methods like drip and automation strike many growers as risky.  That’s where researchers step in.  Dr. Aliashgar ‘Ali’ Montazar, a University of California, Riverside researcher, heads up irrigation and water management in Imperial and Riverside counties for the University of California Cooperative Extension system. He has been studying how drip irrigation works in a crop that is grown mostly with overhead irrigation. … ” Read more from the Growing Produce here: Will drip replace overhead irrigation in farm fields?

New approach to hydrological modelling applicable to every river basin in the world:  “Water managers are continuously making decisions to guarantee water safety. These decisions relate to the short term, for example ongoing droughts or, precisely, when there is a risk of flooding. But they can also affect the long term given the more extreme events caused by climate change. All these decisions have one thing in common: they are often grounded on results from hydrological models. ... ”  Read more from Smart Water Magazine here:  New approach to hydrological modelling applicable to every river basin in the world

Climate models got hotter. Why they might be overshooting:  “One of the world’s biggest efforts to study climate change is underway — and it’s happening behind the screens of powerful computers.  Research teams around the world are working to develop the next generation of climate models. Known as the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, or CMIP, it’s a coordinated, international effort to create suites of ever-more-advanced models for use in climate research. There’s a new effort every few years or so, typically timed around an upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  The latest generation of models — CMIP6 — is in progress right now. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Climate models got hotter. Why they might be overshooting

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In regional news and commentary today …

Protesters ‘SLAPPback’ as water fight boils over:  “Four years ago, nine activists in the small town of Weed, Calif., were railing against an Oregon timber company threatening the city’s water supply.  Then the “Weed 9” met an unexpected outcome: They got sued.  “It was devastating,” said Bob Hall, one of the nine and the former mayor of the timber town at the base of Mount Shasta, about 50 miles south of the Oregon border.  With the help of First Amendment experts, the group got the lawsuit tossed by filing a motion under California’s anti-strategic litigation against public participation, or anti-SLAPP, law. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Protesters ‘SLAPPback’ as water fight boils over

$4.1M contract awarded for long-awaited Phoenix Lake dredging project:  “A $4.1 million contract for the long-awaited dredging of Phoenix Lake reservoir, identified as necessary more than 15 years ago, has been awarded to Steve Manning Construction, Inc. of Redding.  The work may begin in June. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  $4.1M contract awarded for long-awaited Phoenix Lake dredging project

Sacramento: ‘We felt safe with everything’: Raft rental reopens with changes on the water:  “Michelle Castano and her family have been waiting for this moment. They finally made it back out on the American River.  “We had a great time. It just opened, I think, yesterday. We’re happy about that. We’ve been looking for a place on the river for a while now,” Castano said. … ”  Read more from CBS 13 here:  Sacramento: ‘We felt safe with everything’: Raft rental reopens with changes on the water

Lomita receives grant to remove chemical from drinking water:  “A grant of up to $2 million will allow Lomita to install a filtration system that removes a potentially carcinogenic chemical from its drinking water, allowing the community to resume using groundwater instead of more expensive imported supplies.  The small city had taken its sole well offline last year and drained its 5 million gallon reservoir after the levels of benzene discovered in its groundwater exceeded state drinking water standards. The community was forced to tap pricey imported water from the Metropolitan Water District to serve its 4,242 residential and commercial customers. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: Lomita receives grant to remove chemical from drinking water

Protection sought for Southern California freshwater minnow:  “The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned today to protect the Santa Ana speckled dace, a small minnow native to Southern California streams, under the Endangered Species Act.  Speckled dace have been eliminated from three-quarters of their former stream habitats in Southern California due to dams, water diversions and urbanization. Remaining dace populations are jeopardized by drought, high intensity wildfires, flooding, invasive species and rapid climate change.  “We’ve already lost seven of our state’s unique freshwater fish species to extinction, and it’d be a shame for California to lose any more,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate at the Center. “Dace are pretty resilient fish if we protect their stream habitats and give them half a chance to recover. Let’s throw Santa Ana speckled dace a lifeline in the form of Endangered Species Act protection.” … ”  Read more from the Center for Biological Diversity here: Protection sought for Southern California freshwater minnow

El Niño impacts on southern California estuaries reveal potential for more frequent closures:  “Some Southern California estuaries may be more vulnerable than others to larger waves and higher water levels associated with El Niño events and climate change, according to a recent study by researchers at the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.  Southern California estuaries usually don’t receive substantial river flows and depend heavily on tides for water circulation. This, combined with migrating sand at the estuary mouth, means that they can be vulnerable to closure–leading to impacts such as increased water levels and flooding of nearby infrastructure, poor water quality and dramatic drops in dissolved oxygen levels which negatively impact species that live in the estuary. … ”  Read more from Sea Grant here: El Niño impacts on southern California estuaries reveal potential for more frequent closures

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Along the Colorado River …

Bruce Babbitt: Here’s how to save the Colorado River:  “It is no exaggeration to say that a mega-drought not seen in 500 years has descended on the seven Colorado River Basin states: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California. That’s what the science shows, and that’s what the region faces.  Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and San Diego have already reduced per capita water use. Yet they continue to consume far more water than the river can supply. The river and its tributaries are still overdrawn by more than a million acre feet annually, an amount in consumption equaled by four cities the size of Los Angeles. … ”  Read more from The Dove Creek Express here: Bruce Babbitt: Here’s how to save the Colorado River

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Today’s featured article …

CENTRAL VALLEY FLOOD PROTECTION BOARD: Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District Feasibility Study

Sutter Bypass levee break; photo by Dale Kolke / DWR

The Central Valley Flood Protection Act of 2008 (SB-5)  was an aspiration to achieve a 200-year level protection for the urban areas in the system and a mandate for DWR to develop the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board to adopt it.   The resulting Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, first adopted in 2012, is the most comprehensive flood management planning effort ever undertaken in California, addressing flood risks in an integrated manner while concurrently improving ecosystem functions, operations and maintenance practices, and institutional support for flood management. …

The 2017 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan’s Investment Strategy looked at the different options for finding the necessary funding, one of which was to investigate the feasibility of retooling the  Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District (SSJDD) to provide a small continuous funding stream for ongoing expenditures of the flood management system.  At the April meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, consultants discussed the upcoming feasibility study.

Click here to read this article.

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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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