DAILY DIGEST, 5/19: What does drought mean for endangered California salmon?; ACWA urges Newsom, Bernhardt to complete voluntary agreements; Judge rejects Trump administration attempt to toss endangered species lawsuit; The 12 most beautiful rivers in the US; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • LEG HEARING: The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water will hold a hearing beginning at 9am.  Click here for the full agenda.
  • WEBINAR: Tribal Regional Water Management from 9am to 12pm, the first of three webinars from DWR.  Click here to register.
  • ONLINE MEETING:  The State Water Resources Control Board will hold an online meeting beginning at 9:30am. Agenda items include recent developments in the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) program and an update on the Board’s efforts to address harmful algal blooms.  Click here for the full agendaClick here to watch on video.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Drinking Water Microbes 101 from 11am to 12pm.  Presented by the EPA.  Click here to register.

 

In California water news today …

Spring-run Chinook salmon – essential to life history diversity:  “In northern California, springtime is marked by wildflower blooms, bird migrations, swollen rivers, and the return of the first salmon of the year to the Klamath River – spring-run Chinook salmon.  This genetically-based life history strategy of Chinook salmon is not only critical to the genetic diversity of the species and the economy for fishing, but also provides a vital source of food and other cultural value for indigenous people of the Klamath Basin.  “You can ask any tribal member right now, and they will tell you that one spring salmon is worth 8-10 fall fish. They are that valuable. If I had two jars sitting here, you could see on the spring fish an inch of red oil and the fall fish sitting right next to it with almost no red ring,” said Keith Parker, a Yurok tribal member and biologist referring to the fat content. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  The natural portfolio:  Spring-run Chinook salmon – essential to life history diversity

What does drought mean for endangered California salmon?  “Increased frequency and severity of droughts threatens California's endangered salmon population — but pools that serve as drought refuges could make the difference between life and death for these vulnerable fish, according to a study by researchers from UC Berkeley and California Sea Grant, a partnership between NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The research could help resource managers strategically protect and restore salmon habitat.  The new study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, tracked nearly 20,000 tagged fish in Sonoma County streams over a seven-year period from 2011 to 2017. The Russian River watershed is home to a highly endangered population of coho salmon, which nearly collapsed in the early 2000’s, but has been recovering since then through a conservation hatchery program and other efforts. … ”  Read more from California Sea Grant here:  What does drought mean for endangered California salmon? 

Letters:  ACWA urges Governor Newsom and the Secretary of Interior Bernhardt to use their leadership in bringing all parties back to the table to complete the work of finishing the voluntary agreements:  Drawn out litigation is not the answer, the letter states.  They write, ” … Voluntary agreements remain the best alternative for providing certainty to over half of the state’s population who depend on these water sources and for maintaining the economic vitality of the Central Valley. Through the voluntary agreements, water agencies have pledged to contribute hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water, hundreds of millions of dollars, and an extensive series of restoration projects to enhance fish and wildlife habitat. With an extensive list of “no regrets” early implementation projects that could begin construction or otherwise be implemented within the next twelve to eighteen months, voluntary agreements have the added co-benefit of immediately injecting tens of millions of dollars into the state’s economy at this critical time. It is imperative that your administration works to resolve differences between the SWP and CVP operations, many of which are most appropriately framed as hypotheses and can be tested through the voluntary agreement’s science program.  … ” Read the letters here: Letter to Secretary Bernhardt  and Letter to Governor Newsom

Letter to Governor: Preserve the application of the Clean Water Act to California’s hydroelectric projects:  “CSPA, as a leading member of a coalition of environmental and fishing organizations, sent a joint letter to Governor Newsom on May 11, 2020 urging his Administration to prioritize action on an urgent threat to California’s rivers, streams, and aquatic life. The increasing avalanche of efforts by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to waive Section 401 water quality certifications under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) for FERC-licensed hydroelectric projects will lead to long term damage of our rivers and fisheries. … ”  Read more from the CSPA here: Letter to Governor: Preserve the application of the Clean Water Act to California’s hydroelectric projects

Radio show: How climate change is fueling megadroughts in the Western US:  “On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we're discussing a new study from Columbia University about an emerging climate-driven megadrought in the Western US.  Researchers used hydrological modeling and tree-ring reconstructions of summer soil moisture to show that the period from 2000 to 2018 was the driest 19-year span since the late 1500s.  Guests: Jay Lund, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis; Benjamin Cook, research physical scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York; Jim Robbins, veteran journalist and author of The Wonder of Birds: What they Tell Us About the World, Ourselves and a Better Future”  Listen to the radio show here:  How climate change is fueling megadroughts in the Western US

Return to top

In national/world news today …

Judge rejects Trump administration attempt to toss endangered species lawsuit:  “A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss a challenge to its rollback of endangered species protections, ruling late Monday that the 17-state lawsuit can proceed.  The August rule significantly weakens protections under the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing economic factors to be weighed before adding an animal to the list and limiting how aspects such as climate change can be considered in listing decisions. ... ”  Read more from The Hill here: Judge rejects Trump administration attempt to toss endangered species lawsuit

EPA takes next step to implement PFAS legislation (press release):  “​Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances. The agency is publishing a final rule that officially incorporates these requirements into the Code of Federal Regulations for TRI.  “EPA continues to prioritize and make progress to protect the health and well-being of communities across the country that are working to address PFAS,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The inclusion of these 172 PFAS on the TRI list will provide EPA and the public with important information on these emerging chemicals of concern.” … ”  Read more from the EPA here: EPA takes next step to implement PFAS legislation

INSIGHT: Computers in Our Sewers—Digitization of the Water Sector:  “Have you ever dropped your phone in the toilet and decided to leave it there?  That is what wastewater utilities all over the world are deciding to do. Well not exactly the smartphones we use every day and not directly in toilets, but these utilities are purposely deploying smart devices into sewage networks. Simply put, the wastewater collection system of many urban centers is receiving a digital makeover. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg News here: INSIGHT: Computers in Our Sewers—Digitization of the Water Sector

Return to top

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Project Drought Response Agency continues helping farmers:  “Klamath Project Drought Response Agency continues to provide programs to assist Klamath Project farmers in this uncertain irrigation water season, according to a news release.  This week, the KPDRA is initiating a program to provide financial assistance to farmers who irrigated between March 1 and May 12, 2020, but will not be able to irrigate for the remainder of this season due to the unexpected reduction in water supply to the Klamath Project. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Klamath Project Drought Response Agency continues helping farmers

Yuroks, others seek to reinstate Klamath River water flows to protect salmon:  “The Yurok Tribe, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations and the Institute for Fisheries Resources are seeking a temporary restraining order to reinstate water flows on the Klamath River.  From a Friday Earthjustice news release: … ”  Read more at the Mad River Union here: Yuroks, others seek to reinstate Klamath River water flows to protect salmon

Trinidad Rancheria & council in water fight:  “The Trinidad Rancheria is alleging that the City of Trinidad has failed to work with the tribe to provide water for its proposed hotel. Because of this the rancheria has informed the city that a much-anticipated stormwater project will be put on hold until the dispute is resolved. … In August, the California Coastal Commission granted the tribe approval to build a 100-room, five-story hotel near its casino on Scenic Drive overlooking Trinidad Bay. But there was a catch – the rancheria needed to secure a water supply. The rancheria gets its water from the City of Trinidad and asked for additional water for the hotel. … ”  Read more from the Mad River Union here: Trinidad Rancheria & council in water fight

Foothills Network files for rehearing of 401 Waiver on Nevada Irrigation District’s Yuba-Bear Project“CSPA and allies in the Foothills Water Network (Network) filed a Request for Rehearing on an “Order on Waiver of Water Quality Certification” for Nevada Irrigation District’s (NID) Yuba-Bear Hydroelectric Project.  The Network filed the Request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on May 15, 2020.  Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act requires an applicant to obtain a certification by a state agency that operation of a project under a new FERC license will be consistent with the state’s standards for water quality. In California, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is responsible for issuing 401 certifications for hydroelectric projects. ... ”  Read more from the CSPA here: Foothills Network files for rehearing of 401 Waiver on Nevada Irrigation District’s Yuba-Bear Project

Pacific Tunnel EIR approved by El Dorado Irrigation District:  “Rehabbing the Pacific Tunnel came one step closer as the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors approved a mitigated negative declaration for the project at its May 11 meeting.  Located east of Fresh Pond and south of Highway 50, the project, if ultimately approved, will mean improvements to the upstream and downstream portals of the tunnel as well as replacing the existing timber invert and timber sidewalls inside the canal tunnel with shotcrete. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Pacific Tunnel EIR approved by El Dorado Irrigation District

Progress continues on Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection project in South County:  “As our community continues to respond to the COVID-19 global health crisis, Valley Water remains focused on continuing to deliver safe, clean drinking water to our community, and protect homes and businesses from flooding.  During this unprecedented time, Valley Water and its project contractor Graniterock Company are continuing work on the Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection Project in South County. This is considered an essential infrastructure project in accordance with the Shelter in Place Order issued by the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. ... ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Progress continues on Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection project in South County

Imperial Valley: Oral argument scheduled in case over water rights:  “The Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal, in the Michael Abatti, et al. v. Imperial Irrigation District case, has scheduled oral argument starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 12 in the San Diego courtroom.  “It has taken a long time to get to this point, so IID is pleased to learn that oral argument has been scheduled in this case, and the district will now have its day in court to defend the public interest and the reasonable and beneficial use of water by all of its water users,” said IID board President Norma Sierra Galindo.  “The outcome of this case will shape the future of the Imperial Valley's water rights,” Galindo said. “It goes to the heart of IID's responsibility as trustee of the district's historic water rights, and to whom it is owed: private interests or the public.” ... ”  Read more from IID here: Oral argument scheduled in case over water rights

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Looming drought concerns Arizona water group:  “The Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona likes to say it represents Arizona agriculture “from ditch bank to dinner plate” indicative of the fact that its members range from farmers and ranchers to irrigation groups and trade associations — all of them concerned about water flow along the 1,450-mile-long Colorado River.  Formed in 1978, the Mesa, Ariz.-based council has had Chris Udall as its executive director for the past 15 years. The group was planning another annual conference in May, but the coronavirus prompted organizers to postpone it tentatively to July 24, at which time the topic will be “Bridging The Gap”. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Looming drought concerns Arizona water group

Colorado: Complex dynamics of water shortages highlighted in study: “Within the Colorado River basin, management laws dictate how water is allocated to farms, businesses and homes. Those laws, along with changing climate patterns and demand for water, form a complex dynamic that has made it difficult to predict who will be hardest hit by drought.  Cornell engineers have used advanced modeling to simulate more than 1 million potential futures – a technique known as scenario discovery – to assess how stakeholders who rely on the Colorado River might be uniquely affected by changes in climate and demand as a result of management practices and other factors. Their results are detailed in “Defining Robustness, Vulnerabilities, and Consequential Scenarios for Diverse Stakeholder Interests in Institutionally Complex River Basins,” published May 12 in the journal Earth’s Future. The report specifically examines a section of the Colorado River’s upper basin, where agricultural, municipal, recreational and industrial activities with rights to the water are worth an estimated $300 billion a year. ... ”  Read more from Cornell University here: Colorado: Complex dynamics of water shortages highlighted in study

Return to top

And lastly ...

The 12 most beautiful rivers in the US:  “There are over 250,000 rivers in the US. Crucial sources of food, water, power, and transportation, they've played an important role in American history.  They also happen to be gorgeous natural wonders.  Here are 12 stunning rivers that flow through the US. … ” Check it out at Business Insider here: The most beautiful rivers in the US

Return to top

Precipitation watch ...

Return to top

Also on Maven's Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Delta pumping, Improbable comeback not looking probable, Chasing Nigiri, COVID-19 and population growth; and more …

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: