WEEKLY CA WATER NEWS DIGEST for May 17 – 22: Predicting atmospheric rivers, Guest commentary on beavers

A list of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …

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This week’s featured articles …

FEATURE: Predicting and planning for extreme precipitation from atmospheric rivers

On Feb. 27, 2019, an atmospheric river 350 miles wide and 1,600 miles long barreled through the sky, funneling moisture from the tropics to Sonoma County and dumping over 21 inches of rain over two days, causing the Russian River to crest at 13.4 feet above flood stage, flooding the town of Guerneville.  Damages were estimated at well over US$100 million.

The phenomenon is not new.  Formerly called a ‘Pineapple Express’, by the late 1990s, scientists discovered that much of the world’s moisture was transported from the tropics to higher latitudes by similar systems, which became known as ‘atmospheric rivers.’  These rivers in the sky can sometimes be the larger than any on earth, capable of transporting 15 times the volume of the Mississippi River.

Atmospheric rivers are doubled edged swords.  In dry conditions, atmospheric rivers can replenish water supplies and quench dangerous wildfires; in wet conditions, they can cause damaging floods and debris flows, and cause damages that can cost hundreds of millions of dollars.  Their presence or absence can make the difference between drought, a normal healthy water supply year, or floods.

To address the challenges atmospheric rivers present, the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) was established at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography to advance scientific understanding of atmospheric rivers and their role in extreme events and to improve forecasting capabilities.  Earlier this year, a webinar hosted by the Scripps Corporate Alliance highlighted the Center’s accomplishments.

Click here to read this article.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Leave it to Beavers: significant partners in dealing with climate change

Guest commentary by Gail Sredanovic in consultation with Heidi Perryman:

Think a babbling clear stream is the only healthy one? Think again. Once hunted almost to extinction, beaver were once much, much more numerous, and their ponds and wetlands created a very different waterscape of a  kind far better adapted to climate change and drought. There is abundant research to document this.  Here is what the Water Institute of the Occidental Art and Ecology Center has to say:

“Extensive research has recently heightened recognition of the important role beaver (Castor canadensis) can play in watershed health and climate change resiliency. The species’ ecological services include enhanced water storage, erosion control, habitat restoration and creation, listed species recovery, the maintenance of stream flows during the dry summer period, and other beneficial adaptations to our changing climate conditions.

Click here to read this guest commentary.

In water news this week from around the web …

WEEKEND DAILY DIGEST: Marchlike storm could be last of the season; Dan Walters on the state budget; Temporary restraining order sought to restore water flows to Klamath River; Questions simmer about Lake Powell’s future; and more … READ IT HERE: Weekend Daily Digest

MONDAY: After rolling out $19bil in cuts, Calif. seeks funds for Trump water lawsuit; Flights into the stratosphere study changes to atmospheric rivers; Legislation to speed Anderson Dam project passes committee; and more … READ IT HERE: Monday’s Daily Digest

TUESDAY: 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 … READ IT HERE: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

WEDNESDAY: Trump EPA’s targeting of San Francisco pollution may bring investigation; Even in dry year, Valley farmers see a bump in water allocation; Court of Appeal rules in Delta water rights case; Trump uses virus to permanently suspend rules on industry; and more … READ IT HERE: Wednesday’s Daily Digest

THURSDAY: As California beaches reopen, seawall construction becomes legislative battleground; Tiny bugs can clean Valley drinking water but at what price?; Less water could sustain more Californians if we make every drop count; and more … READ IT HERE: Thursday’s Daily Digest

FRIDAY: Fong demands answers on CA’s water lawsuit spending; Interior Dept. sued over Obama-era law to cement Valley water contracts; CRISPR a tool for Delta smelt conservation; LAO overview of Governor’s budget revision proposals for resources; and more … READ IT HERE: Friday’s Daily Digest

Other news items this week …

Weekly features …

Other publications …

Funding opportunities this week …

Announcements this week …

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