In California water news this weekend …

Judge refuses to divert water for endangered salmon on Klamath River:  “Despite claims the federal government is pushing threatened Coho salmon closer to the brink of extinction by cutting off extra water flows to the Klamath River, a federal judge on Friday refused to intervene in the long-running water dispute.  U.S. District Judge William Orrick III found the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation did not violate a short-term deal struck with the Yurok Tribe in March by halting planned water flows after an extremely dry April reduced the expected water supply.  “It appears the bureau is acting appropriately and complying with the interim plan,” Orrick said during a video conference hearing on the Yurok Tribe’s motions to lift a stay on litigation and issue a temporary restraining order against the federal agency. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News here: Judge refuses to divert water for endangered salmon on Klamath River

SEE ALSO: Court Denies Yurok Tribe’s Motion to Obtain More Klamath River Flows, press release from the Klamath Water Users Association

Orange County water districts consider massive lawsuit over PFAS contamination:  “Nine Orange County water agencies have retained a legal team to study whether to file suit to recoup the $1 billion or more it could cost to purify drinking water in local wells contaminated with PFAS chemicals and to pay for more expensive imported water in the interim.  The PFAS compounds — long used in Scotchguard, Teflon and other products — have leached into groundwater supplies over several decades and have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, liver and kidney damages and ulcerative colitis. It’s likely that 3M and DuPont, the primary manufacturers of PFAS products, would be defendants. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Orange County water districts consider massive lawsuit over PFAS contamination

Unusually intense and prolonged early-season heatwave developing across California:  “It has been an unusually warm spring so far across nearly all of California, but it has also been a pretty wet spring in southern California. Recent rains finally brought some temporarily relief to northern California, although outside of a few favored areas (which saw several inches of precipitation), accumulations were generally pretty light. Most of NorCal remains under moderate to severe drought conditions, however, following an exceptionally dry winter–and this legacy of curtailed winter rains (and, now, a very warm spring) will likely be with us through the summer and autumn to come.  Fire season–which had been off to a very early start across NorCal–was temporarily damped down by this welcome addition of late-season moisture. But it now appears that this fire weather reprieve will be pretty short-lived, as a remarkably intense heatwave builds across California over the coming week. … ”  Read more from Weather West here: Unusually intense and prolonged early-season heatwave developing across California

Spiking temperatures likely to melt remaining sierra snowpack:  “With a spike in temperatures forecasted over the next week, California’s meager Sierra Nevada snowpack is anticipated to melt away very soon.  Snowfall was well below average this past winter, and the California Department of Water Resources reports that the snowpack is currently only 12-percent of average for the date, statewide. The northern Sierra is 17-percent, the central Sierra is 12-percent (includes Mother Lode) and the Southern Sierra is 11-percent.  The National Weather Service’s Hanford Office reports that the temperatures over the next seven days will likely melt the remaining snow across the Sierra Nevada. ... ”  Read more from My Mother Lode here: Spiking temperatures likely to melt remaining sierra snowpack

Drought ‘refuges’ protect young coho salmon from summer heat:  “For young coho salmon, summer is not all fun in the sun: Extended heat and drought can sometimes dry up the small freshwater streams where the endangered fish spend the first year of their lives, leaving them trapped in small pools with limited food and oxygen.  As climate change threatens to bring hotter and drier summers to California, a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and the California Sea Grant provides conservationists and resource managers with valuable insights on how to continue to protect and restore California’s dwindling coho salmon population. ... ”  Read more from UC Berkeley here: Drought ‘refuges’ protect young coho salmon from summer heat

State Water Board adopts regulations for Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program:  “On May 5, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) adopted regulations to update the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP), which oversees the accreditation of environmental testing laboratories that test drinking water, wastewater discharges, and hazardous waste cleanup sites for compliance with state water quality standards. Under the adopted regulations, laboratories are required to implement “The NELAC Institute” (TNI) Standard, a national accreditation standard for laboratory compliance, which will replace the current, state-specific accreditation standard. Specifically, the regulations incorporate by reference the 2016 TNI Standard, Volume 1: Management and Technical Requirements for Laboratories Performing Environmental Analysis (2016 TNI Standard), but with two California-specific exceptions to the 2016 TNI Standard regarding proficiency testing. There is a three-year delayed implementation period before laboratories will be required to comply with the 2016 TNI Standard. ... ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: State Water Board adopts regulations for Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program

Food banks benefit from loss of commercial markets:  “The loss of markets for agricultural products because of COVID-19 has either forced farmers to not plant at all, destroy crops nearing the time for harvest, or in the case of a few, has presented opportunities to donate fresh produce to various food banks.  Don Cameron of Terra Nova Ranch in western Fresno County was able to donate about 400 tons of fresh cabbage to food banks in California. Aside from local Central Valley food banks, like the one in Fresno, food banks from San Francisco to Indio will see some of this cabbage, Cameron said.  “The quality of the crop is beautiful,” he said. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Food banks benefit from loss of commercial markets

Country’s aging dams, a ‘sitting duck,’ facing a barrage of hazards:  “Edenville Dam, the barrier across the Tittabawassee River in Gladwin County, Michigan, that failed this week, was completed in 1925, a greybeard among the state’s dams.  The mid-section of the 54-foot-high, privately-owned structure, whose original purpose was to control floods, gave way on Tuesday evening during heavy rains. Water from the breach rushed downstream, crippling in the process the smaller Sanford Dam, also built in 1925. Set free, the Tittabawassee River spread across the city of Midland, setting a record-high flood peak. Some 10,000 people fled the unexpected deluge.  Or was it unexpected? Perhaps not, say dam experts. At least not when considering the broader picture. ... ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  Country’s Aging Dams, a ‘Sitting Duck,’ Facing a Barrage of Hazards

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In people news this weekend …

Chasing Nigiri:  “From the time he was old enough to slip into a pair of waders, Jacob could be found down at the creek perfecting his fly-fishing technique. In those early days you would find the father and son fishing northern California together everywhere from Putah Creek, little Sierra lakes and the Truckee River. Many times, the fishing trip was based on a random blue dot they found on a map the night before.  “If there was a puddle, we were fishing it,” said Jacob Katz. …   Continue reading at the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Chasing Nigiri

DWR Wins Outstanding Project and Leader Awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers:  “The Oroville Dam Spillways Reconstruction Project and Department of Water Resources State Water Project Deputy Director Ted Craddock, were recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) with the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) awards in Washington, D.C.  “I am honored to receive this award and thankful for the team effort on the Oroville Dam Spillways Reconstruction Project,” said Ted Craddock. “Engineers, contractors, geologist, scientists, dam safety regulators, and other team members worked tirelessly and safely to find solutions to complex situations demonstrating what can be accomplished with successful partnerships among several agencies and industry partners.” ... ”  Read more from DWR News here: DWR Wins Outstanding Project and Leader Awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers

Women in Wildlife scientists partner to save critically endangered Nipomo Mesa lupine and last of California’s dunes:  “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service botanist, Kristie Scarazzo stoops to the ground to eye a short, hairy little plant with hand-like leaves. She’s at the base of a towering sand dune that provides the lupine and her shelter from the whipping wind, blowing sand and bright sun.  “The dunes are magical,” says Scarazzo. “They are like no place else on earth. When I am out here my heart rate goes down and I forget all about myself. There is a vast, peaceful calm.”  Sometimes, after a long day in the field, she still sees the vivid yellows, hot pinks and purples, cream whites and sage greens of the wildflowers that pepper these dunes in the early spring when she closes her eyes. It’s a transformative experience.  Today Scarazzo is surveying for Nipomo Mesa lupine, an endangered plant that is endemic to the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes that extend along the coast, west of the small agricultural town of Nipomo, in rural, southwestern San Luis Obispo County. ... ”  Continue reading at the US FWS here: Women in Wildlife scientists partner to save critically endangered Nipomo Mesa lupine and last of California’s dunes

APPOINTMENTS

From the Office of the Governor:

Jennifer Norris, 51, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy secretary for biodiversity and habitat at the California Natural Resources Agency. Norris has served as fish and wildlife administrator for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service since 2013, where she was deputy field supervisor from 2011 to 2013, assistant field supervisor from 2010 to 2011, critical habitat coordinator from 2009 to 2010, Rio Grande ESA coordinator from 2006 to 2009 and fish and wildlife biologist from 2004 to 2006. She was a biologist at the New Mexico State Land Office from 2001 to 2004. Norris earned a Doctor of Biological Sciences degree in ecology from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Science degree in conservation biology from the University of Michigan. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $167,004. Norris is a Democrat.

Ted Craddock, 53, of El Dorado Hills, has been appointed deputy director of the State Water Project at the California Department of Water Resources, where he has served as the acting deputy director since 2019. Craddock has served in multiple other positions at the California Department of Water Resources since 1994, including assistant deputy director of the State Water Project, project manager of Oroville Spillways Emergency Recovery, chief of utility operations for the Hydropower License Office, program manager of the East Branch Extension, advisor to the State Water Project deputy director, and civil engineer. Craddock is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the United States Society on Dams. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $196,932. Craddock is registered without party preference.

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Sunday podcasts …

Raining Rice in the Sacramento Valley:  Jim Morris writes, “California rice holds many surprises. Whether it’s the vital wildlife connection, the scale and efficiency of growing and milling rice, or the billions of dollars this industry generates for our economy, the impacts are huge. One of the most surprising facets of California rice is happening here in mid spring, planting the crop via airplane, and it is an amazing process.”   Listen to podcast below.  Click here to read more.


Thinking Differently:  Steve Baker writes:  “Communities that think in a different way are communities that will easily adjust to drier times. Pat Mulroy has demonstrated how a city like Las Vegas has accomplished this. You hope for the best and plan for the worst. 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 …

Gualala River Estuary conservation effort takes a $2.1 million step toward success:  “Sometimes it does take a small group of passionate locals to conserve a river estuary forever.  In 2017, 113 acres of scenic and environmentally sensitive coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands surrounding the Gualala River went up for sale for the first time in over 70 years. The community came together, signaled their desire for open space with sensitive public access versus development. The movement began.  Thursday, the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy announced that it has received three grants totaling over $2.1 million for the Gualala River Mill Bend Conservation Project that they are stewarding for the community. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Beacon here: Gualala River Estuary conservation effort takes a $2.1 million step toward success

Windsor agrees to start the process of connecting wastewater services to Lytton Tribe:  “It’s been more than a decade since discussions began about what would happen to wastewater if the Lytton Tribe were to have their lands west of town put into federal trust. At its May 20 meeting, the Windsor Town Council voted unanimously to move forward to the next step, creating an agreement to have the wastewater treated in the town’s facility.  The issue has always been contentious, and while some of that spilled over into this meeting, the public sentiment this time flowed in favor of the plan. ... ”  Read more from the Windsor Times here: Windsor agrees to start the process of connecting wastewater services to Lytton Tribe

Three Creeks Parkway Restoration Project to begin Tuesday in Brentwood:  “Construction crews will soon begin work to restore Marsh Creek along a nearly one-mile, treeless stretch near downtown Brentwood.  Crews are expected to close off the trail in the area from Sungold Park to Dainty Avenue on Tuesday in the first phase of a project to improve habitat and water quality for fish and birds and to create a shady, natural creek corridor for residents while keeping the community protected from floods, according to a Contra Costa County spokesman. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here: Three Creeks Parkway Restoration Project to begin Tuesday in Brentwood

Amador County sends notice of intent to sue California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR):  “In a letter to Patrick Covello, Warden of Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP), and Ralph Diaz, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), Amador County has given a 60-day notice of its intention to sue with regard to violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The county alleges that CDCR is engaging in ongoing violations of the CWA by discharging pollutants from MCSP into Mule Creek, without a permit, as is required by the CWA. ... ”  Read more from the Amador Ledger-Dispatch here: Amador County sends notice of intent to sue California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)

NRCS partnership to enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency:  “The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is working with American Farmland Trust (AFT) to help enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency.   The San Joaquin Valley Land and Water Conservation Collaboration is being made possible through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program from NRCS, in coordination with state and local partners.  “We’re going to over the next five years, have some pretty sizable achievements,” said AFT California Regional Director Kara Heckert. “To protect our agricultural land in the valley to ensure resilience to climate change through healthy soils, high-quality surface and groundwater supplies, and environmentally sound habitats for fish and wildlife.” ... :  Read more from Ag Net West here: NRCS partnership to enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency

Ripon OKs groundwater JPA with SSJID, Escalon:  “The City of Ripon is now part of the South San Joaquin Groundwater Sustainable Agency.  The Ripon City Council recently approved the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement, partnering with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and City of Escalon.  “The State requires we provide groundwater sustainability,” said City Administrator Kevin Werner on the Groundwater Sustainability Agency as a Joint Powers Authority at the May 12 meeting. ... ”  Read more from the Ripon Advance here: Ripon OKs groundwater JPA with SSJID, Escalon

Master Plan: $30 million for Schafer Dam to be enlarged awarded:  “A needed project at Schafer Dam at Success Lake that was put on hold for 15 years is now going to be completed.  Earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $30 contract to begin construction on Phase I of the Success Reservoir Enlargement Project to enlarge Richard L. Schafer Dam. The project will be for abutment widening of the dam and also the relocation of an existing road near the dam.  … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Master Plan: $30 million for Schafer Dam to be enlarged awarded

After coordination with local government, CDFW lifts fishing delay in Mono County:  “Director Charlton H. Bonham is lifting the delay of the trout opener in Mono County. Beginning May 23, trout season will be open in the county. … in a letter yesterday, Mono County officials requested that CDFW end the delay before May 31, indicating that the county received approval from the California Department of Public Health to move into the Governor’s Phase Two, Stage Two Resilience Roadmap and would begin discussions of reopening. Though county officials requested the opening on May 22, CDFW required one additional day for consultation and processing this request, thus the delay in Mono County will expire at midnight on May 22 and fishing can resume on May 23, 2020.  This decision does not affect the trout season in any other county. … ”  Read the full press release here: After coordination with local government, CDFW lifts fishing delay in Mono County

Santa Barbara’s water outlook foresees sufficient supply to meet demands through fall 2022:  “Santa Barbara’s water supplies are on the way to recovery followed by three average or above-average rainy seasons.  The city’s water-supply forecasting shows there’s sufficient supply to meet demands through fall 2022, while allowing groundwater basins to slowly recover and rest, water supply analyst Dakota Corey told the city’s Water Commission at Thursday’s special meeting. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Santa Barbara’s water outlook foresees sufficient supply to meet demands through fall 2022

SANDAG Board votes to connect Buena Vista Lagoon to ocean:  “The San Diego Association of Governments' Board of Directors voted Friday to allow the Buena Vista Lagoon to connect directly with ocean waters to flush out sediment.  The Buena Vista Lagoon has accumulated sediment during the last 30 years, resulting in the loss of more than 60 acres of open water, SANDAG documents said.  Current conditions have resulted in poor water quality, increased flooding, increased mosquitoes and risk of mosquito-borne diseases and general ecological decline of the lagoon. Without restoration, experts predict the lagoon has no more than 50 years until vegetation takes over and closes it. ... ”  Read more from KPBS here: SANDAG Board votes to connect Buena Vista Lagoon to ocean

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Sunday video …

Microplastics in drinking water: Dr. Scott Coffin of the California Water Resources Board discusses California Senate Bill 1422, an expansion of the California Safe Drinking Water Act to include a provision defining ‘microplastics in drinking water'.

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Featured image credit: Twin Lakes by Don Graham.

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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