In California water news this weekend …

Marchlike storm could be last of the season to bring needed rain, sierra snow to California:  “California will see rain and Sierra snow into early this week from a Marchlike system that could be the final spring storm before the state’s dry season arrives.  The stretch of weather since late April has resembled summer, not spring, in much of California.  From April 22 through May 12, a total of 427 daily warm records were either tied or set in California, according to data compiled by NOAA. In San Diego, it’s been the third-hottest start to any May on record, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center.  That hot, dry pattern has now ended. ... ”  Read more from the Weather Channel here: Marchlike storm could be last of the season to bring needed rain, sierra snow to California

California’s budget cuts threaten environmental spending:  “California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget cuts include canceling billions of dollars in climate change spending, a blow to environmental advocates who look to the state as a stopgap for the Trump administration’s weakening of federal protections.  In January, Newsom proposed a $12 billion “climate budget” that, over the next five years, would offer incentives for companies to convert to electric vehicles, give low-interest loans to businesses to clean up their practices and spend billions on projects preparing for floods, droughts and wildfires.  But Thursday, Newsom proposed eliminating most of the foundation for those programs to balance a budget that will have an estimated $54.3 billion deficit. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here:  California’s budget cuts threaten environmental spending

Dan Walters: State has a budget problem — but how big?  “The first step to effectively deal with any problem is defining it accurately — and the recession-battered state budget is a case in point.  There’s no doubt that the pandemic-induced recession is one of the worst in California history and that its negative fiscal effects — both increased spending and reduced revenues — are many billions of dollars.  There is, however, much uncertainty about the dimensions of the budget crisis, and therefore what might be required to “meet the moment,” to use one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s favorite phrases. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: State has a budget problem — but how big?

$1.2 billion in contracts issued for USDA food box program:  “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved $1.2 billion in contracts for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.  USDA will be purchasing fresh produce, meat, and dairy from farmers and ranchers to be dispersed through foodbanks and other nonprofit organizations.  Purchases under the program could total up to $3 billion, as part of a $19 billion coronavirus relief program that was announced last month.  “This is a new, innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families, and USDA moved as expeditiously as federal procurement rules allow to stand up the program and solicit offers,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: $1.2 billion in contracts issued for USDA food box program

Shrub encroachment on grasslands can increase groundwater recharge:  “Grasslands across the globe, which support the majority of the world’s grazing animals, have been transitioning to shrublands in a process that scientists call “woody plant encroachment.”  Managed grazing of drylands is the most extensive form of land use on the planet, which has led to widespread efforts to reverse this trend and restore grass cover due to the belief that it results in less water entering streams and groundwater aquifers.   A new study led by Adam Schreiner-McGraw, a postdoctoral hydrology researcher at the University of California, Riverside, modeled shrub encroachment on a sloping landscape and reached a startling conclusion: Shrub encroachment on slopes can increase the amount of water that goes into groundwater storage. The effect of shrubs is so powerful that it even counterbalances the lower annual rainfall amounts expected during climate change.  … ”  Read more from UC Riverside here:  Shrub encroachment on grasslands can increase groundwater recharge

Increased frequency of connected patterns from drought to heavy rain in regional hotspots:  “Like an undulating seesaw, weather in some regions swings from drought to heavy rain under the weight of climate-induced changes, according to an analysis published in Geophysical Research Letters. The study finds a link between droughts followed by heavy rain events, along with an increased rate of these extreme weather occurrences.  In areas with vulnerable populations and high poverty rates, these swings are likely to exacerbate conditions. This research could inform more effective climate adaptation planning and policies by identifying where these swings are likely to occur. … ”  Read more from Phys Org here:  Increased frequency of connected patterns from drought to heavy rain in regional hotspots

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In people news this weekend …

Riverside-area advocate Bob Stockton dies when hit by van:  “Bob Stockton, whose boundless energy and advocacy enriched the Riverside area and who friends say mentored them personally and professionally, died Wednesday, May 13, when he was struck by a vehicle while jogging in Riverside.  Stockton, 64, was out for a run with wife Kelli on Victoria Avenue east of Horace Street just before 11 a.m. when he was hit by a Dodge van driven by a 64-year-old Riverside woman. Both Stockton and the driver were headed east, police said. Stockton died at the scene. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here: Riverside-area advocate Bob Stockton dies when hit by van

APPOINTMENTS

Julissa de Gonzalez, 30, of Sacramento, has been appointed director of legislation and policy for the Department of Pesticide Regulation at the California Environmental Protection Agency. De Gonzalez has been an external affairs specialist at Covered California since 2019. She was a research analyst at the Little Hoover Commission from 2017 to 2019. De Gonzalez was a legislative aide in the Office of the State Senator Robert M. Hertzberg from 2016 to 2017. She served in the Office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer as a field representative from 2014 to 2016 and as a staff assistant from 2012 to 2014. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $124,980. De Gonzalez is a Democrat.

Brenna Sheldon, 29, of San Francisco, has been appointed special assistant at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Sheldon has been a clinical research coordinator at the University of California, San Francisco since 2018.  She was sales manager at All Power Labs from 2014 to 2016 and a project scientist intern at Engineering/Remediation Resources Group in 2014. Sheldon is a member of University Professional and Technical Employees. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $80,004. Sheldon is a Democrat.

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Sunday podcasts …

Living the Amish Life: Steve Baker writes, “How do Amish communities living in rural areas manage their water needs in today’s world? Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co

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In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Yurok Tribe, Earthjustice seek temporary restraining order to restore water flows to Klamath River:  Dan Bacher writes, “The Yurok Tribe, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), and the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR), represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice, are seeking a temporary restraining order to reinstate water flows in the Klamath River to protect threatened salmon, according to a joint press release issued today.  Earlier this year, the plaintiffs successfully obtained a new three-year plan from the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) for operating the Klamath Irrigation Project to increase springtime flows in the Klamath River. … ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here: Yurok Tribe, Earthjustice Seek Temporary Restraining Order to Restore Water Flows to Klamath River

Klamath: Reclamation working toward adjusted water allocation:  “The 2020 water year is as difficult of a year as anyone could have imagined.  That’s how Jeff Nettleton, area manager for Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office Area describes it, especially with the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe drought, culminating in what Nettleton also calls a “very dire situation” for the Klamath Project.  Nettleton and other Reclamation officials are working toward a significantly reduced version of the April 1 140,000-acre-foot allocation with the Klamath and Yurok Tribes as well as agricultural producers in the Klamath Project in light of an extremely dry May 1 forecast released by National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Reclamation working toward adjusted water allocation

Ben DuVal: Irrational Klamath water management a formula for failure:  He writes, “No one likes to fail. But anyone who has been successful in life is going to tell you that failure is part of a learning curve necessary to be successful.  Yet to repeat failure is the definition of insanity. However, that is exactly what is occurring on the Klamath Project right now. We are taking 20-plus years of bad decisions, based on poor science, and doubling down on them. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: Ben DuVal: Irrational Klamath water management a formula for failure

The City of Trinidad and the Trinidad Rancheria are at odds again over the water supply for the tribe’s hotel project:  “The building of a new hotel on the Trinidad Rancheria has encountered another hurdle as the tribe is now demanding that the City of Trinidad supply the water necessary to supply the hotel or else the tribe will withhold required upgrades to a stormwater management improvement project in Trinidad Harbor, according to a letter the tribe sent to the City of Trinidad. Back in August, the Trinidad Rancheria got a conditional green light from the California Coastal Commission to build a new five-story, 100-room hotel on Scenic Drive. The tribe was only allowed to build the hotel if it found a reliable water source. … ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: The City of Trinidad and the Trinidad Rancheria are at odds again over the water supply for the tribe’s hotel project

Newsom’s new proposed budget cuts 2nd year of Paradise Irrigation District funding:  “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s many proposed budget cuts include the cancellation of a second year of backfill funding for the Paradise Irrigation District, worth $7.3 million.  The California legislature must still vote on the budget before it becomes final.  The proposed change came as a “shock” to North State leaders, said Paradise Irrigation District manager Kevin Phillips, who warned the withholding of the funds could bring recovery to a “screeching halt.” … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Newsom’s new proposed budget cuts 2nd year of Paradise Irrigation District funding

State allots $1.4M for Novato wetlands restoration:  “A new habitat project plans to incorporate workforce training and education for Marin County residents into one of the North Bay’s largest ongoing wetland restoration efforts.  The California Coastal Conservancy backed the project this month with a more than $1.4 million allocation of Proposition 68 funds, which will pay for the bulk of the $2.1 million project. The funds went to the MarinLink nonprofit organization, which is sponsoring the project’s lead organization, the Novato Baylands Stewards. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: State allots $1.4M for Novato wetlands restoration

Monterey: Coastal Commission expected to consider Cal Am project in August:  “Coastal Commission staff has confirmed the full commission is expected to consider California American Water’s Monterey Peninsula desalination project in August after a 10-month delay since it last considered the proposal last fall.  On Thursday, Coastal Commission official Tom Luster confirmed to The Herald that the desal project is expected to be considered by the full commission at its Aug. 12-14 meetings. Luster said that meeting will be conducted entirely by remote hearing with commissioners, staff and the public calling in. He said the commission would provide guidance later on how people can participate, noting that the commission just completed its first all-remote hearings this week. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Monterey: Coastal Commission expected to consider Cal Am project in August

CDCR defiance at Mule Creek State Prison endangers environment, public health:  “In April of 2018, Amador County Public Health received the results of domestic well, monitoring well and surface water sampling near the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP).  All adjacent wells to MCSP test for Fecal Coliform and E. Coli (Escherichia coli). Benzoic acid, a fungistatic compound widely used as a food preservative showed in test results. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was also encountered in some wells, including one result above the public drinking water MCL. This chemical is used as a plasticizer in PVC pipe, household items and IV tubing, and among other things. Numerous constituents were detected in the samples from the stormwater system and the onsite monitoring well, “none of which are for human consumption,” including a cancer-causing chemical tetrachloroethylene. … ”  Read more from the Amador Ledger-Dispatch here:  CDCR defiance at Mule Creek State Prison endangers environment, public health

Regulators express concerns about Huntington Beach desalination project:  “The Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach could be facing rough waters ahead, as several regulatory officials on Friday expressed concerns over the controversial plan.  During a Regional Water Quality Control Board workshop held online, three of the agency’s six board members persistently pressed local officials about the need, consumer cost and environmental harm of the $1 billion project.  The board is tentatively scheduled to a vote July 31 on one of two permits still needed by Poseidon Water before it can negotiate a final contract and begin construction on a project that that company has been pursuing for two decades. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Regulators express concerns about Huntington Beach desalination project

Imperial Beach water pollution closure lifted:  “The Imperial Beach shoreline is back open to beachgoers after being closed due to water pollution, San Diego County health officials announced Saturday.  “Recent water quality testing confirms that Tijuana River flows are no longer impacting these beaches,” said Romina Schiess of the county Department of Environmental Health.  The shoreline was recently closed because of sewage contamination from the Tijuana River entering the United States, Schiess said. … ”  Read more from Channel 7 here: Imperial Beach water pollution closure lifted

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Along the Colorado River …

Questions simmer about Lake Powell’s future as drought, climate change point to a drier Colorado River Basin:  “Sprawled across a desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border, Lake Powell’s nearly 100-foot high bathtub ring etched on its sandstone walls belie the challenges of a major Colorado River reservoir at less than half-full. How those challenges play out as demand grows for the river’s water amid a changing climate is fueling simmering questions about Powell’s future. … ”  Read more from Western Water here: Questions simmer about Lake Powell’s future as drought, climate change point to a drier Colorado River Basin

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Precipitation watch …

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Sunday video …

A beautiful flight above the Sacramento River and the community of Grimes. Drone video shot and edited by John Cannon.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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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