DAILY DIGEST, 6/18: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry; Algae in California Aqueduct causes water challenges in Dos Palos; Dan Walters on the end game for state budget; EPA won’t regulate perchlorate; and more …

On the calendar today …
  • WEBINAR: WOTUS and Maui – Parallel Developments Impact the Clean Water Act and Source Water Protection Webinar from 10am to 11:30am.  Presented by the American Water Works Association. Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: CASA-CWEA Wipes Webinar 1: Legislative and Public Outreach Efforts from 11am to 12:45pm.  Presented by the California Water Environment Association.  Click here to register.
  • ONLINE MEETING: Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, Board of Directors Meeting from 2pm to 5:30pm.  For more information, click here.

In California water news today …

Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry:  “The goal of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, is to better regulate the state’s water reserves. But as the law rolls out, a new study predicts tens of thousands of people could lose their drinking water.  Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as 12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040. Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up hundreds of millions of dollars. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry

Algae in California Aqueduct causes water challenges in Dos Palos:  “A high level of algae in the California Aqueduct has caused problems over the past several days in Dos Palos.  City Manager Darrell Fonseca explains, “Our siphon intake at the aqueduct clogged, and that reduced our water supply, and then as we did receive the water it takes longer to treat at the plant. Fortunately, our system was able to handle it. It just takes longer, but it also meant reduced pressure to a lot of residents, and for a while, no pressure at all.” … ”  Read more from KFSN here: Algae in California Aqueduct causes water challenges in Dos Palos

Anglers, others urged to watch for harmful algal blooms when recreating on the water:  “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is urging anglers and other recreational water users to be vigilant about checking for harmful freshwater algal blooms (HABs) while out enjoying California’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams and creeks this year.  Algae and cyanobacteria, the organisms that cause HABs, have existed for billions of years as essential components of freshwater ecosystems. But when certain conditions accelerate their growth – warm temperatures, stagnant water flows and excessive nutrients – they can multiply very rapidly creating “blooms.” These blooms can produce toxins and taste and odor compounds that pose health risks to humans and animals. When blooms pose a risk, they are referred to as harmful algal blooms or HABs. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Anglers, others urged to watch for harmful algal blooms when recreating on the water

Dan Walters: What’s the end game for state budget?  “Drafting a state budget for California is always a difficult process, given the state’s diverse and often conflicting interests, but it became infinitely more so during the century’s first decade.  Although Democrats controlled the Legislature, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, the state was slammed by what was then the worst recession since the Great Depression, and the budget required a two-thirds legislative vote, which gave minority Republicans leverage.  Those impediments often meant weeks- or even months-long stalemates, frustrating groups that depended on the budget’s flow of money, particularly public employee unions. Their solution was Proposition 25, a 2010 voter-approved ballot measure that reduced the required budget vote from two-thirds to a simple majority, effectively excluding Republicans from participation. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: What’s the end game for state budget?

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In national/world news today …

Drinking water: EPA won’t regulate rocket fuel toxin:  “EPA will not set drinking water limits on perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient linked to fetal and developmental brain damage.  The agency in a final action today said it determined perchlorate does not meet criteria for regulation as a drinking water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act, citing “best available science and the proactive steps that EPA, states and public water systems have taken to reduce perchlorate levels.”  EPA also said it is withdrawing a regulatory determination issued in 2011 to regulate perchlorate under the federal law. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Drinking water: EPA won’t regulate rocket fuel toxin

Senate approves $2.8B plan to boost conservation, parks:  “The Senate has approved a bipartisan bill that would spend nearly $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands, a measure supporters say would be the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century.  The 73-25 vote on Wednesday sends the Great American Outdoors Act to the House, where approval is expected. The bill would spend about $900 million a year — double current spending — on the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund, and another $1.9 billion per year on improvements at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and rangelands. … ”  Read more from the AP here: Senate approves $2.8B plan to boost conservation, parks

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In commentary today …

Supreme Court must prevent uncompensated theft of Western water, say Cliff Bentz, Rep. Greg Walden, and Rep. Doug LaMalfa:  They write, “The Fifth Amendment protects the right to life, liberty, and property. This week, the Supreme Court should take a critical step to protect the private property rights of farmers and ranchers in the Western states. Their rights were infringed upon by a lower court ruling that upended the water laws of the region and abandoned over a century of federal deference to state law for adjudicating and administering water rights.  The Supreme Court is considering whether to grant review in Baley v. United States, a case that involves bedrock principles of Western law, federalism, and the Fifth Amendment. ... ”  Read more from the Washington Examiner here: Supreme Court must prevent uncompensated theft of Western water

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In regional news and commentary today …

McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring to be protected in vault:  “The project will be funded via the Sacramento River Funding Area for the Prop 1 Round 1 Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Grant Solicitation.  After years of planning, McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring house replacement project will get underway soon as the Department of Water Resources has selected this project for the draft recommended funding list.  The current wooden structure with corrugated roof will be replaced with a concrete vault to insure protection from erosion and habitat contamination. ... ”  Read more from Mt. Shasta News here:  McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring to be protected in vault

City Planner: storm drains are a vital part of Mount Shasta’s water system writes, “Mount Shasta is a community that prides itself on clean water. In the past when water-related issues have come before City Council, meetings are often crowded to the point of overflowing. It is surprising, then, that one of the most important water topics in our city receives so little attention.  I’m talking of course about Mount Shasta’s storm drain system. Storm drains are vital infrastructure that capture runoff from rain and snowmelt and direct it out of the City, eventually to Lake Siskiyou and the Sacramento River. … ”  Read more from Mt. Shasta News here: City Planner: storm drains are a vital part of Mount Shasta’s water system

California lawmakers reject Gov. Gavin Newsom’s funding cut to Paradise Irrigation District:  “The California State Assembly has passed a state budget – one that rejects Gov. Gavin Newsom’s funding cut to the Paradise Irrigation District.  California lawmakers approved a state spending plan to address an estimated $54.3 billion budget shortfall. But the plan rejects the cut to the P.I.D. as well as many of the governor’s other proposed cuts to public education and health care. … ”  Read more from KRCR here: California lawmakers reject Gov. Gavin Newsom’s funding cut to Paradise Irrigation District

Lake County: According to scientists, Clear Lake is now clearer that it has been in the last 50 years:  “The most common complaint about Clear Lake is the algae. The lake is more than two million years old and algae has been part of its existence from day one. Recently there have been several warnings for local residents to be careful where they come in contact with the water because of algae blooms. The concern is for a type of algae called cyanobacteria which is often called blue-green algae.  It is actually a living organism and is one of the oldest living fossils in the world, going back billions of years. It lives in the water and reproduces by photosynthesis. Which means that sunlight causes it to bloom and make its own food.  Even though many people hate it, blue-green algae serves a purpose. ... ”  Read more from the Lake County Record-Bee here: Lake County: According to scientists the lake is now clearer that it has been in the last 50 years

Sierra’s yellow-legged frog still threatened, but officials have hope:  “The mountain yellow-legged frog once thrived in the Sierra Nevada, but today there is less than 100.  The yellow-legged frog is a popular topic with researchers and was once an abundant amphibian species but has declined 95% since 1995.  The yellow-legged frog is a keystone species meaning that they are both predator and prey. They eat insects, eggs, tadpoles and even other frogs. In return, they are consumed by native garter snakes. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Sierra’s yellow-legged frog still threatened, but officials have hope

Georgetown Divide Public Utility District moving ahead with water transfer:  “Announced at the June 9 meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors, the water agency is close to finishing a water transfer agreement with Westlands Water District.  The agreement will call for selling up to 2,000 acre-feet of water to Westlands, the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of farmland in western Fresno and Kings counties. ... ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Georgetown Divide Public Utility District moving ahead with water transfer

Central Coast: Ag order 4.0: farm impact stories needed:  “Industry members still have time to voice concerns about Ag Order 4.0 before the comment period ends.  The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board will continue accepting feedback until Saturday, June 20. Industry members are being encouraged to share how they will be impacted by the proposed draft order.  “We’re looking for comment letters from the boots-on-the-ground so to speak;  the farmers, the farm operators, and the landowners who will see what those impacts are going to be to their particular farming operation or their land,” said Norm Groot, Executive Director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau. “At this point, it’s a little late to mail a letter so we suggest everything be submitted electronically.” … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here:  Central Coast: Ag order 4.0: farm impact stories needed

Federal approval of oil well at Carrizo Plain National Monument sparks outrage:  “To most Southern Californians, the Carrizo Plain National Monument is best known for its stunning wildflower blooms and bone-white Soda Lake.  But to environmentalists, the plain is a well-preserved window into California’s past — a time before the sprawling grasslands of the Central Valley were overtaken by agriculture and development.  Now, those environmentalists are voicing outrage over a May 21 decision by the federal Bureau of Land Management to allow an oil well and pipeline project within the monument. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Federal approval of oil well at Carrizo Plain National Monument sparks outrage

Los Angeles study seeks storm water program:  “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, water usage in places already lacking proper infrastructure is increasingly becoming a concern.  A 2018 study by Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) reveals how storm water infrastructure builds resilience, health, jobs and equity.   According to the study, a Los Angeles County storm water program would create over 9,000 local jobs and generate over $14 billion in economic benefits.  … ”  Read more from Storm Water Solutions here: Los Angeles study seeks storm water program

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Along the Colorado River …

A long-simmering water battle comes to a boil in Southern California:  Sammy Roth writes, “If, like me, you live in Los Angeles — or Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix or Salt Lake City — you drink water from the Colorado River. You probably eat vegetables grown with Colorado River water, and maybe you eat beef fed on alfalfa grown with Colorado River water. When you switch on a light or charge your phone, some of the electricity may be generated by Colorado River water.  The Colorado, in other words, makes life possible in the American West.  Nowhere is that more true than the Imperial Valley … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  A long-simmering water battle comes to a boil in Southern California

Earth Observatory: Colorado Delta: Green Lagoons No More:  “When conservationist Aldo Leopold first paddled the Colorado River Delta in 1922, he was awed by the delta’s seemingly endless maze of green lagoons. “On the map, the Delta was bisected by the river, but in fact the river was nowhere and everywhere,” he wrote in A Sand County Almanac.  The wildlife, especially, entranced him. “A verdant wall of mesquite and willow separated the channel from the thorny desert beyond,” he continued. “At each bend we saw egrets standing in the pools ahead, each white statue mashed by its white reflection. Fleets of cormorants drove their black prows in quest of skittering mullets; avocets, willets, and yellow-legs dozed one-legged on the bars; mallards, widgeons, and teal sprang skyward in alarm.”  If he were to return and see today’s Colorado River Delta, Leopold would likely be amazed by how much it has changed. ... ”  Read more and view satellite picture from NASA’s Earth Observatory here: Colorado Delta: Green Lagoons No More

 

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Today’s featured article …

SCIENCE NEWS: Spring-run chinook return to San Joaquin River; The fish food story; Rolling out the un-welcome mat; A community effort to recover the Elk River; Seaweed takes Monterey Bay scientists on trip ‘through time’; and more …

 Click here to read this article.

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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