DAILY DIGEST, 6/22: Heat and drought to stifle West through end of June; People, ag, and water in California; Column: CA officials deliver another “water-block” over Shasta Dam; Federal judge denies Democratic AGs’ bid to halt Trump WOTUS rule; and more …

  • WEBINAR: Building socio-ecological resilience by confronting environmental injustice: A participatory approach from 11:45 to 12:45. This series of public webinars on the human dimensions of California water and environmental management and policy issues is part of the hiring process for a California Sea Grant Extension Specialist based at the Delta Stewardship Council.  Candidate is Matthew Jurjonas, Ph.D with the Nature Conservancy.  Click here for Zoom link.

In California water news today …

Heat and drought to stifle West through end of June:  “The building heat from the weekend will continue to blossom this week across much of the West, bringing several days of triple-digit heat for some communities and worsening drought for others.  Cities like Fresno and Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley of California topped out over the weekend around the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark, with even more extreme heat to come.  “The last time that Phoenix was below 100 degrees was on June 9, and this hot streak is showing no signs of letting up,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sojda. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here: Heat and drought to stifle West through end of June

People, agriculture, and water in California:  “Agriculture is California’s predominant use of managed water. Agriculture and water together are a foundation for California’s rural economy. Although most agriculture is economically-motivated and commercially-organized, the sociology and anthropology of agriculture and agricultural labor are basic for the well-being of millions of people, and the success and failure of rural, agricultural, and water and environmental policies.  The economic, ethnic, and class disparities and opportunity inequalities in urban life are urgent problems today. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  People, Agriculture, and Water in California

Column: Calif. officials deliver another “water-block” over Shasta Dam, says Wayne Western:  He writes, “The State of California revealed the latest trick up their sleeve in regards to slowing or stopping water delivery to millions of Californians through the Central Valley Project earlier this month.  The State Water Resources Control Board has rejected the Sacramento River Temperature Plan by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The Temperature Plan has been months in the making in order to coincide with this year’s hydrology.As we have witnessed in the numerous lawsuits and injunctions filed by California against the Federal government to stop water from flowing people in our state, the Sacramento River Temperature Plan presented another opportunity for an anti-taxpayer roadblock, or should I say water-block. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Calif. officials deliver another “water-block” over Shasta Dam

A proud California dairy farmer battles for survival in wildly uncertain times:  “After 67 years of living and breathing dairy farming in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Scott Magneson cannot, will not, stop.  Every morning before dawn, when the valley fog is still resting on his fields in thick clouds, he checks the barns. Then he starts on the to-do list, which outlasts the day. In another farm tradition, Magneson rarely leaves his land. He can’t remember the last time he and his wife Pat (who does the bookkeeping) took a vacation.  Magneson, a big, ruddy-faced man who has earned his broad shoulders, is working all he can to ensure his farm—with 600 Holsteins, 500 acres, and 12 full and part-time workers—survives wildly uncertain times. ... ”  Read more from Inside Climate News here: A proud California dairy farmer battles for survival in wildly uncertain times

Radio report: Ag order 4.0: fertilizer limitations remain a major concern:  “Central Coast counties are facing a potential operation-changing new regulation in the Ag Order 4.0. Although the proposed rules are only for that region, it could be precedent-setting for the rest of the state. Monterey County Farm Bureau Executive Director Norm Groot said fertilizer limitations are still a significant concern in the proposal, and it could limit how many cycles some growers can produce in a given year.”  Listen to the radio report from AgNet West here: Ag order 4.0: fertilizer limitations remain a major concern

California takes on microplastics in water supply:  “Microplastics, those tiny bits of plastic that break apart but never break down organically, are haunting the state’s drinking water and agriculture, including cannabis growers, by contaminating the water that plants take up through their vascular system for growth.  The full extent of the problem is not fully known. California‘s State Water Board is nonetheless leading an ambitious international effort to standardize methods for monitoring microplastics in drinking water, surface water, sediment and fish tissue.  In a critical first step to further the understanding of microplastics in our drinking water and the environment, the Board today adopted an official definition of “microplastics” in drinking water.  ... ”  Read more from The Leaf here: California takes on microplastics in water supply

Bringing Back Kelp: Can California’s offshore forests be recovered?  “One early summer morning in 2018, Jon Holcomb steered his fishing boat out of Noyo Harbor, just south of Fort Bragg, and headed toward Caspar Point, a jagged promontory along the rocky Mendocino coast. There, he anchored in about 20 feet of water. Yards away, waves roared.  A longtime commercial sea urchin fisherman, Holcomb stayed up top, minding the boat, while his friend and fellow diver, Harry Barnard, submerged himself in the slate-blue water.  Under the waves, rock outcroppings covered in spiked purple orbs looked like coronavirus-infected human cells. Other than Barnard and those quarter-size echinoderms, the ocean bottom appeared lifeless. Holcomb and Barnard were there to vacuum up the urchins with a large plastic tube Holcomb had built, called an air lift. In a video taken of the work, Barnard used a long hook to flick urchins off of the rocks and into the mouth of the air lift, where they were sucked into a 350-pound bag. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: Bringing Back Kelp: Can California’s offshore forests be recovered?

State, federal officials take different paths trying to stop utilities from causing wildfires:  “Nearly two years after one of the deadliest corporate crimes in California history — a utility-sparked wildfire that killed scores of people and destroyed the city of Paradise in rural Butte County — state and federal officials have staked out differing positions on how to prevent history from repeating itself.  Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Public Utilities Commission created a new division to monitor wildfire safety plans from California utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric, whose equipment and negligence ignited the Camp Fire in November 2018. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: State, federal officials take different paths trying to stop utilities from causing wildfires


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In national/world news today …

Federal judge denies Democratic AGs’ bid to halt Trump WOTUS rule:  “A federal judge in San Francisco on Friday denied an 11th-hour bid by a coalition of Democratic attorneys general to halt implementation of the Trump administration’s controversial new definition of streams and wetlands that warrant federal protection.  In a 15-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg concluded that the blue state attorneys general didn’t have enough of a chance of winning their challenge to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to warrant a preliminary injunction or a delay in the rule’s implementation. … ”  Read more from Politco here: Federal judge denies Democratic AGs’ bid to halt Trump WOTUS rule

Trump water rule halted in Colorado, can take effect elsewhere:  “The Trump administration’s adoption of narrower protections for wetlands and waterways can take effect almost everywhere in the nation, except Colorado, while courts review whether the move was legal.  A federal Judge in California on Friday rejected a request for a nationwide injunction of the rule. Hours later, a federal Judge in Colorado agreed to freeze the federal rule within that state.  The California court’s decision is a major blow to environmentalists and states that had hoped to block the Navigable Waters Protection Rule across the country before it takes effect Monday. Colorado, meanwhile, is celebrating its success in blocking the rule in the Centennial State. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here: Trump water rule halted in Colorado, can take effect elsewhere

Green groups challenge Trump water rollback:  “A coalition of environmental groups sued the Trump administration on Monday, challenging a rollback of protections for the nation’s waterways originally put in place under the Obama administration.  The Navigable Waters Protection Rule finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January limits federal protections for smaller bodies of water, a move critics say risks contamination of larger ones used for drinking water.  The suit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Sierra Club, other environmental groups, and a number of tribes, argued the Trump administration erred in removing protections for wetlands and streams that result from rainfall. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Green groups challenge Trump water rollback

This week in water:  “The great American outdoors just got a lot greater.  The EPA defied a court order and will not set a drinking water standard for a known endocrine disruptor.  Public restrooms could spread the coronavirus, according to a study published last week.  There’s a plume of dust from the Sahara extending over the Atlantic Ocean and it’s visible from space.  Could blowing soap bubbles help pollinate flowers?”  Read stories/listen to podcast here: This week in water

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In regional news and commentary today …

Trinidad Rancheria makes McKinleyville pipeline plea:  “A proposal by the Trinidad Rancheria to connect to McKinleyville’s water system received a mostly chilly reception from the public during a meeting last week of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD) Board of Directors.  A majority of more than three dozen written comments submitted to the district were in opposition to the pipeline, with many saying they are against the rancheria’s proposed hotel.  Others expressed concerns that the water line would spur additional growth in the Westhaven area and result in urban sprawl.  But according to tribal representatives, the proposal has nothing to do with the Hyatt hotel, which would have 100 rooms and stand five-stories tall adjacent to the existing casino. ... ”  Read more from the Mad River Union here: Trinidad Rancheria makes McKinleyville pipeline plea

Southern California: SB-625 fallout continues: Metropolitan Water District warns of incompatible office:  “Hews Media Group has obtained a letter from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger addressed to California State Senator Sam Bradford (D-Carson) outlining MWD’s position on Bradford’s SB-625, the bill he co-sponsored with Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia that would put Commerce-based Central Basin Municipal Water into receivership and dissolve the board of directors, five of which are elected. … ”  Read more from the Los Cerritos News here: SB-625 Fallout Continues: Metropolitan Water District Warns of Incompatible Office

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Along the Colorado River …

The one that got away: a look at Glen Canyon 40 years after it was filled:  “When the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1966, it was a major development for water management in the arid west. It would also transform Glen Canyon, sometimes described as America’s “lost national park,” into the second largest man-made reservoir in the country.  On June 22, 1980, Lake Powell reached its capacity for the first time, marking a grim milestone for environmentalists who have never forgotten the loss of Glen Canyon. Before the waters began pouring in, it was a maze of towering sandstone cliffs and spires, with thousands of indigenous ruins now mostly lost. … ”  Read more from KUER here: The one that got away: a look at Glen Canyon 40 years after it was filled

Colorado’s oldest water rights get extra protection from state engineer:  “For the second time, the state’s top water cop has directed the Western Slope’s oldest and most valuable water rights to be left off the once-a-decade abandonment list. That means hundreds of these mostly irrigation water rights have been granted immunity — even though they are no longer being used — from the threat of “use it or lose it,” further enshrining them in the state’s system of water administration and dealing a blow to the validity of the well-known adage. … ”  Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Colorado’s oldest water rights get extra protection from state engineer

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Weekend Daily Digest

This weekend in California water news:

  • Unfinished budget business at the Capitol;
  • Appellate court rules Water Board’s emergency orders during drought were not unreasonable or arbitrary;
  • Researchers find that using forests to offset carbon emissions will require a better understanding of the risks;
  • Another NorCal heatwave next week, but progressive pattern continues;
  • Vineyards are adapting to warming temperatures by growing trees;
  • Podcast:  Why spring- and summer-run salmonids are so damn interesting and weird;
  • Sunday commentaries: A social justice perspective of the Delta tunnel project; An attempt to steal valley water in the dark of night, and shared vision for water in the San Joaquin Valley;
  • Dry weather prompts restrictions for some junior water right holders on the Scott River;
  • Remarkable drop in Colorado River water use a sign of climate adaptation;
  • and more …

Click here to read the Weekend Daily Digest.

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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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