DAILY DIGEST, 6/25: Interior requests funding for Shasta Dam raise, Sites Reservoir and Friant-Kern Canal under WIIN Act; Appellate Court upholds State Water Board’s drought emergency regulations and curtailment orders issued for Deer Creek; CDFW hatcheries complete release of 20 million young salmon; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

Interior requests funding for Shasta Dam raise, Sites Reservoir and Friant-Kern Canal under WIIN Act:  Dan Bacher writes, “The Trump administration on Monday, June 22, requested $15 million for the Shasta Dam enlargement project, a project that Tribes, fishing groups and conservation organizations say will drove imperiled winter-run Chinook salmon closer to extinction and flood many of the remaining sacred cultural sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.  This $15 million was part of the $108.7 million in funding for surface water storage projects in California under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 that Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Timothy Petty requested in a letter sent to Marcy Kaptur, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Interior requests funding for Shasta Dam raise, Sites Reservoir and Friant-Kern Canal under WIIN Act

$71 million would be allocated for Friant-Kern Canal:  “The Department of Interior has requested $71 million be spent on improvements for the Friant-Kern Canal for the 2021 fiscal year.  The funding for the Friant-Kern Canal accounts for most of the $108.7 of funding for water storage projects in California the Department of Interior is requesting. Congress will now consider approving the funding in the 2021 fiscal year Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.  Department of Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Timothy Petty made the request in a letter released on Monday. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: $71 million would be allocated for Friant-Kern Canal

Appellate Court upholds State Water Board’s drought emergency regulations and curtailment orders issued for Deer Creek:  “On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s determination that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) lawfully adopted emergency regulations and curtailment orders during the State’s most recent drought emergency. The regulations and orders at the center of the court’s decision were issued by the State Water Board in 2014 and 2015 during a period of severe and persistent drought conditions. Then-Governor Brown had declared a state of emergency and signed urgency legislation aimed at expediting drought relief. The legislation had provided, in part, for the adoption of emergency regulations by the State Water Board “to prevent the waste, unreasonable use, unreasonable method of use, or unreasonable method of diversion, of water,” or “to require curtailment of diversions . . . .” Wat. Code, § 1058.5. … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here:  Appellate Court upholds State Water Board’s drought emergency regulations and curtailment orders issued for Deer Creek

CDFW hatcheries complete release of 20 million young salmon:  “Hatcheries operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in the Central Valley just completed the final release of young Chinook salmon raised this year. More than 20 million young salmon, called smolts, raised in four state-run hatcheries were released in various locations throughout the Sacramento and San Joaquin River systems, the Delta, San Pablo Bay and into a coastal net pen. These fish will return as adults to Central Valley tributaries to spawn in two to five years. They will provide a bulk of the commercial and sport catch of Chinook salmon off the California coast. Similarly, annual returns of hatchery reared salmon provide a large portion of the in-river sport fishing catch of Chinook salmon. ... ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: CDFW hatcheries complete release of 20 million young salmon

As state slashes budget, director for proposed Delta tunnel earns twice as much as the governor:  “While the COVID-19 pandemic has blown a $54 billion hole in California’s budget—threatening education and safety programs and forcing 234,000 state employees to take unpaid furloughs—the state’s spending on a proposed massive tunnel project in the Delta hasn’t slowed.  Documents obtained by SN&R reveal that the director of the joint powers authority leading that effort, under the supervision and current financing of the state Department of Water Resources, is getting paid $47,000 every month—twice as much as Gov. Gavin Newsom and significantly more than President Trump. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here: As state slashes budget, director for proposed Delta tunnel earns twice as much as the governor

Partnership preserves vital stream reach for Sacramento River salmon and steelhead:  “Last week, on the flanks of Mount Lassen, the partnership of the Western Rivers Conservancy and the Lassen National Forest completed a project that protects a crucial 1,150-acre property, and a significant branch of South Fork Antelope Creek, a rare stronghold for salmon and steelhead in the Sacramento River system.  Although there were concerns COVID-19 might delay the project, the partners were able to complete it working remotely, adding to the sense of accomplishment and relief for the joint effort. … ”  Read more from the Colusa Sun-Herald here:  Partnership preserves vital stream reach for Sacramento River salmon and steelhead

Franks Tract project sponsors seek input:  “After more than two years of sometimes contentious wrangling, the Franks Tract Futures project is working its way toward a final proposal, and the project sponsors are once more seeking public input.  The project — managed jointly by California Division of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Parks and Recreation — seeks to make changes in Franks Tract with the goal of improving water quality, providing enhanced recreational opportunities and improving the ecology for the benefit of native and desirable wildlife. … ”  Read more from The Press here: Franks Tract project sponsors seek input

California cities: Monsanto settlement to fund water cleanup:  “Major California cities say they’ll use their share of a $650 million settlement to clean up the now-banned chemical PCB from bays, lakes and other waterways polluted for decades.  The giant chemical company Monsanto announced a tentative agreement Wednesday with government entities that had filed suit since 2015 over waterways and estuaries they say were polluted. ... ”  Read more from the AP here: California cities: Monsanto settlement to fund water cleanup

New grant helps assess benefits of satellites for determining water quality:  “Summertime means fun in the water, but as temperatures increase, algal blooms can grow in freshwater and marine ecosystems.  Some algae are natural and life-giving, while others are the result of life out of balance and can have harmful effects. Consisting of bacteria and tiny plankton, they arise quickly and alter the ecosystem by consuming available oxygen, killing fish.  They also pose a health risk as some algal blooms emit toxins — including neurotoxins deadly to pets and harmful to people. Detecting algal blooms from space using satellites is one way to prevent exposure. Analyzing how people react to harmful blooms is another. ... ”  Read more from UC Merced here: New grant helps assess benefits of satellites for determining water quality

Stay away from harmful algal blooms in California waterways:  “California’s lakes, rivers, and streams are a great place to cool down as the temperatures heat up. However, as the warmer weather approaches, so does algal bloom season on our waterways.  Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which naturally occur in waterbodies, can grow very rapidly into an algal bloom due to factors such as warm water temperature, calm conditions, and certain nutrients in the water. … ”  Read more from DWR News here:  Stay away from harmful algal blooms in California waterways

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In national/world news today …

EPA moves to exempt companies from reporting releases of toxic ‘forever chemicals’:  “Federal regulators are crafting an exemption for polluters releasing harmful perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) into the environment in a way that environmental advocates say circumvents a new law meant to address widespread contamination.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule Monday adding 172 PFAS chemicals to a list of those that are required to report when they release them into the air or water, or on land. ... ”  Read more from Earth Island Journal here: EPA moves to exempt companies from reporting releases of toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Water storage and dam management strategies in light of climate change impacts:  “There can be little argument that many of the more than 90,000 dams in this country are in need of immediate attention. The catastrophic failure of two dams in Michigan last month following an extraordinary amount of rain in a relatively short period, highlights a number of issues ... ”  Read more from Nossaman Infra Insight blog here: Water storage and dam management strategies in light of climate change impacts

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In commentary today …

California farmers already practice sustainable agriculture, says Mike Wade with the California Farm Water Coalition:  He writes, “Re “California can lead the world to a more sustainable agriculture industry”; Commentary, April 27, 2020: We’d like to welcome the author to the future he envisions, because it’s already here.  Licensed pest control advisers put the latest science to work on California farms every day. They ensure the best, safest crop protection method is being used, perform pre- and post-application inspections, and report back to the government. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  California farmers already practice sustainable agriculture

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In regional news and commentary today …

Foster City levee nearly $20 million over budget:  “Foster City’s landmark levee improvement project is roughly three years behind schedule and nearly $20 million over budget, officials announced Monday.  Voters approved a $90 million general obligation bond for the project in 2018, and construction was supposed to be complete by December of this year.  Now officials are expecting the project to cost about $109 million and not be complete until September 2023. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Journal here: Foster City levee nearly $20 million over budget

Did salmon always live in San José? After an absence of many decades, Chinook salmon swim up the Guadalupe River in San José most winters. The fish look for places to lay eggs and often find them. If there’s enough water left in the dry season, their offspring swim back down the river in the spring to head out to sea.  Surprisingly, given the generally heated politics regarding fish in California, little else is known about these salmon. Almost no one will dispute that for some matter of decades until the 1980s, salmon did not swim in the Guadalupe. So where do these modern fish come from? ... ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: Did salmon always live in San José?

An expanded Pacheco Reservoir would benefit threatened South Central California Coast Steelhead:  “The proposed expansion of Pacheco Reservoir in southern Santa Clara County is not solely a project aimed at improving our region’s ability to store water for droughts and emergencies.  A collaboration between Valley Water, the San Benito County Water District and Pacheco Pass Water District, the proposed expansion will improve the quality of fish habitat downstream of the dam.  Currently, Pacheco Reservoir is not large enough to allow for sufficient releases of water into Pacheco Creek to support the South-Central California Coast Steelhead, a fish population listed as federally threatened. … ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: An expanded Pacheco Reservoir would benefit threatened South Central California Coast Steelhead

Turlock won’t bail on Ceres & joint surface water plant:  “Ceres’ partner in a planned surface water treatment plant project – the city of Turlock – decided last week to remain with the project.  The Turlock City Council was entertaining thoughts of backing out of the project, which would have left only Ceres undertaking the project to deliver treated Tuolumne River water to homes. Last week the council voted unanimously to proceed with the project.  The two cities form the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority (SRWA) which is expected to award a design-build contract to CH2M Hill Engineers, Inc. this month. Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2021 with operations starting June 2023. … ”  Read more from the Ceres Courier here:  Turlock won’t bail on Ceres & joint surface water plant

PG&E inadequacies cost Ripon $170K to keep water flowing:  “The Ripon City Council recently took some precautions in the event of an extended PG&E power outage.  Elected leaders agreed to purchase a 300 kilowatt portable generator for Well 18 at a cost of $172,000 while renting for another year a 56 kilowatt portable generator for the sewer lift stations at both Parallel Avenue and Oak Avenue at an annual cost of $17,000, and a 10 kilowatt portable generator to be used at the City fueling station at an annual cost of $2,000 during fire season. ... ”  Read more from the Ripon Advance here: PG&E inadequacies cost Ripon $170K to keep water flowing

Paso Robles: Local reps slam water board for delaying Salinas River work after destructive fire:  “Two days after a Paso Robles vegetation fire escaped the Salinas Riverbed and destroyed two homes, 35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham slammed regional water officials in a letter alleging that regulators had “stymied” city efforts to clear the river of flammable vegetation.  The 15-acre blaze that started in the afternoon of June 22 jumped South River Road and took out two homes, damaged nine others, and caused hundreds of households to evacuate before firefighters contained it the next day. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here: Paso Robles: Local reps slam water board for delaying Salinas River work after destructive fire

Paso Robles: Following river fire, local leaders ask CalEPA to prioritize lives over dry grass:  “In the wake of a fire that started in the Salinas Riverbed and forced a third of the City of Paso Robles to evacuate, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), San Luis Obispo County Supervisor John Peschong, and Paso Robles Mayor Steven Martin sent a letter to CalEPA Secretary Jaren Blumenfeld asking the CalEPA and the Central Coast Regional Water Board to prioritize the lives of Paso Robles residents over dry vegetation and sand in the riverbed.  The dry Salinas Riverbed runs directly through the heart of the City of Paso Robles. Encompassing hundreds of acres, the wind-swept riverbed is covered with trees, shrubs, and dry grass. In 2019 alone, over 90 fires started in the riverbed. ... ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Press here: Following river fire, local leaders ask CalEPA to prioritize lives over dry grass

Preserving a conservation legacy for future generations in Santa Barbara County:  Steve Henry writes, “The rolling hills of the Santa Barbara backcountry offer a pristine backdrop of undeveloped, contiguous lands that provide safe haven for wildlife and a way of life for generations of Californians. From orchards and vineyards to cattle ranches and preserved open spaces, these lands make Santa Barbara County one of the most picturesque and serene places on Earth.  Above ground, cattle lazily graze the hillside, while below ground, small yellow and black salamanders rest after mile-long treks to meet their mates in the vernal pools and stock ponds that dot the landscape after winter rains.  Family-run ranches and neighboring open spaces serve a vital role for the local economy, and their preservation is vital for the survival of the native wildlife that find respite on their lands, from the majestic bald eagle to the enigmatic California tiger salamander. The pressures of a growing human population and development continue to threaten this way of life. … ”  Continue reading at the US FWS here: Preserving a conservation legacy for future generations in Santa Barbara County

More money requested for LA’s River restoration:  “Members of Los Angeles Congress drafted a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday, June 22 asking for a bigger budget for the upcoming river restoration project in the works.  The Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration project revolves around restoring the 11 miles of river from Griffith Park to Downtown LA and maintaining already existing flood management.  The plan outlines, “restoration includes the reintroduction of ecological and physical processes, such as a more natural hydrologic and hydraulic regime that reconnects the river to historic floodplains and tributaries, reduced flow velocities, increased infiltration, improved natural sediment processes, and improved water quality.” ... ”  Read more from Canyon News here:  More money requested for LA’s River restoration

Ramona: Panelists set to explain laws limiting water consumption:  “Panelists from several water districts will give updates on new laws affecting water consumption in California during an American Liberty Forum of Ramona (ALFOR) event set for Saturday, June 27.  The free forum on Water Regulations Today and Tomorrow will be held at Ramona Mainstage, 626 Main St. Doors open at 11 a.m. and a video program starts at 11:30 a.m.  The focus will be on Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  Panelists set to explain laws limiting water consumption

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Along the Colorado River …

Arizona starts talks on addressing dwindling Colorado River:  “Arizona is getting a jump start on what will be a yearslong process to address a dwindling but key water source in the U.S. West.  Several states and Mexico rely on the Colorado River for drinking water and growing crops. But climate change, drought and demand have taken a toll on the river that no longer can deliver what was promised in the 1920s.  … Arizona water officials are gathering Thursday to start talking about what comes next, while other states have had more informal discussions. … ”  Read more from the AP via the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Arizona starts talks on addressing dwindling Colorado River

For now, no border wall will split Cocopah reservation along the Colorado River:  “President Donald Trump’s border wall now stretches along just more than 200 miles of U.S.-Mexico borderland. Progress hasn’t slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic; in some places it’s even accelerating. But there’s a tiny swath of tribal land along the lower Colorado River where that’s not the case.  The Cocopah Reservation sits in the river’s delta, a corner of the borderland where California, Arizona and Mexico meet. Members of the Cocopah Indian Tribe are among the 40 million residents of Western states who receive a share of water from the vast Colorado River basin. ... ”  Read more from Cronkite News here: For now, no border wall will split Cocopah reservation along the Colorado River

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Today’s featured articles …

DELTA SCIENCE NEEDS, PART 2: What do managers need to know to effectively make decisions in the future Delta?

Aerial view looking south along Old River; in the center is Fay Island.
Photo by Ken James / DWR

Jennifer Pierre, Paul Souza, and Campbell Ingram discuss what their needs are for managing the Delta into the future:  Will this be the decade of flow?

The Delta is changing much faster than we can respond to, and if rather than being reactive, we want to start to get ahead of things, we need to be thinking about what changes lie ahead and what science and tools managers and decision makers will need to manage those changes.  That was the topic of discussion for the second Science Needs Workshop hosted by the Delta Science Program which brought together Jennifer Pierre with the State Water Contractors, Paul Souza with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Campbell Ingram with the Delta Conservancy to discuss what they saw as their needs for science and tools for managing the Delta into the future.

Click here to read this article.


Unified Geologic Map of the Moon by NASA, GSFC, & USGS

SCIENCE NEWS: Rapid genetic tools to id fish in the field, Did salmon always live in San José?, Can California’s kelp forests be recovered?; Machine learning helped demystify earthquake swarm; and more …

Click here to read this article.

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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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