DAILY DIGEST, 7/2: House approves massive infrastructure package; Climate crisis action plan recognizes value of agriculture; July 2020 climate outlook has no good news for the U.S. Southwest; and more …

On the calendar today …

FREE WEBINAR: CV-SALTS Salt and Nitrate Compliance from 10am to 3pm.  The Central Valley Salinity Coalition (CVSC) is hosting a live webinar for municipal and industry consultants in all disciplines of water resource management. The webinar will provide an opportunity to learn firsthand from the people who developed new nitrate and salt permit requirements approved by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Click here to register.

In California water news today …

House approves massivc infrastructure package: “The House yesterday passed a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would help the nation rebuild its crumbling roads and bridges, combat climate change, and promote clean energy and clean drinking water.  But the measure has virtually no chance of becoming law in its current form, with Republicans bashing its resemblance to the Green New Deal and President Trump promising to veto it.  Lawmakers voted nearly along party lines — 233-188 — to approve the “Moving Forward Act,” H.R. 2. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: House approves massivc infrastructure package

Chair Grijalva Hails House Infrastructure Package – Highlights Advances on Water Infrastructure, Habitat and Coastal Protection, Tribal & Territorial FundingChair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today hailed House passage of H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, and highlighted the many environmental conservation and water availability improvements the bill includes.

Click here to read the full statement.

A fact sheet laying out the bill’s improvements in the Natural Resources Committee’s jurisdiction is available at https://bit.ly/31BWJP2,

Highlights include:

  • Investing in modern water infrastructure projects that will provide reliable water supplies in a changing climate. (Chair Grijalva’s H.R. 1904, Rep. Cox’s H.R. 5316, Rep. Huffman’s FUTURE Western Water Infrastructure and Drought Resiliency Act, Rep. Levin’s H.R. 3723, Rep. Cox’s H.R. 5347, Rep. Napolitano’s H.R. 1162, Rep. Torres Small’s H.R. 4891, Rep. Harder’s H.R. 3510, and Rep. O’Halleran’s H.R. 7056)

  • Putting Americans to work strengthening our coasts through a $3 billion grant program for shovel-ready projects to restore Great Lakes and coastal habitats and marine ecosystems, with priority given to qualifying communities of color, and a $50 million-per-year program to build climate-resilient living shorelines. (Rep. Mucarsel-Powell’s H.R. 7387, Rep. Pallone’s H.R. 3115)

  • Improving highway safety and protects key wildlife habitats by establishing a national wildlife corridor network and providing grants to states, Tribes, and private landowners to protect and restore wildlife corridors and wildlife crossings. (Rep. Beyer’s H.R. 2795, Rep. Gallego’s H.R. 5179)

  • Providing much-needed funding to Tribes for the construction, modernization, improvement, and renovation of water, sewer, and solid waste sanitation facilities located on tribal lands. (Rep. O’Halleran’s H.R. 7056)

  • Cleaning up abandoned coal mines and orphaned oil and gas wells to put unemployed oil and gas workers and coal miners to work clearing the way for new infrastructure and economic redevelopment. (Rep. Cartwright’s H.R. 2156 and H.R. 4248, Rep. Lowenthal’s H.R. 4346)

  • Promoting new renewable energy infrastructure by incentivizing the development of wind and solar on public lands and building a workforce for offshore wind. (Rep. Levin and Gosar’s H.R. 3794, Rep. Keating’s H.R. 3068)

  • Bolstering Federal Highway Administration Funding for Puerto Rico ($52,400,251) and the U.S. Territories ($13,929,181).

“This bill is a big part of the Democratic plan for a more sustainable America, and everyone who cares about a cleaner environment can be excited to support it,” Grijalva said today. “The days of building roads and bridges for their own sake, without consideration for climate change, environmental quality or community impacts, are over. This is a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our nation’s infrastructure needs, and I’m glad to vote for it.”

Graves Statement on House Passage of the Speaker’s Partisan Infrastructure Wish List: Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) released the following statement following House passage of the Speaker’s partisan infrastructure wish list (H.R. 2):  “If the Speaker had taken this seriously, the House would have passed a consensus surface transportation infrastructure bill that could move highway, bridge, and transit projects forward with commonsense policies. …

Click here to read the full statement.

“If this effort had been taken seriously, the House would have voted to empower our states and local communities to move ahead with long-term transportation plans and projects to help rural and urban communities alike, providing a dose of desperately needed stability during one of the most uncertain times for transportation sectors and workers that I can remember.

“But that’s not the bill the House approved today. The House passed a bill to appease the Majority’s most liberal Members by turning our transportation system upside down with unworkable Green New Deal requirements. By passing this bill, the Speaker would rather heap an irresponsible amount of debt onto our children instead of seeking market-driven, collaborative, bipartisan solutions to improve our infrastructure.

“To put it simply, the House passed a bill that won’t get signed into law and won’t do anything for our infrastructure.”

Climate crisis action plan recognizes value of agriculture:  “The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis recently released its Climate Crisis Action Plan as a comprehensive framework to address environmental issues moving forward. The plan, ‘Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America,’ outlines ambitious policies to combine economic growth with the development and implementation of environmental solutions. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Climate crisis action plan recognizes value of agriculture

Climate-change research provides tools for farmers to adapt:  “Farmers are already seeing the effects of warmer winter nights and hotter summer days on their crops. Climate change is gradual, but increasing overall temperatures affect many aspects of farming, including where and how crops are grown. Tapan Pathak, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC Merced, is doing applied research that farmers and ranchers can use to adapt to new conditions created by a variable and changing climate.  “You don’t have to shift your practice tomorrow, but if you are thinking of making a 30-year investment, it’s important to know what risks there are for planting different crops,” said Pathak, who is based in the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced. ... ”  Read more from YubaNet here: Climate-change research provides tools for farmers to adapt

The debate over burning dead trees to create biomass energy:  “Jonathan Kusel owns three pickups and a 45-foot truck for hauling woodchip bins. He operates a woodchip yard and a 35-kilowatt biomass plant that burns dead trees, and he runs a crew marking trees for loggers working in national forests. Those are a lot of blue-collar credentials for a UC Berkeley PhD sociologist known for his documentation of how the decline of the timber industry affects rural communities.  What drove Kusel into a side business—logging small and dead trees and burning them in biomass boilers—is fear of fire. In 2007, the 65,000-acre Moonlight Fire blew flaming embers onto his lawn near Taylorsville, California, as he readied his family to evacuate. ... ”  Read more from Wired Magazine here: The debate over burning dead trees to create biomass energy

July 2020 climate outlook has no good news for the U.S. Southwest:  “We’re entering July, the month when most locations across the United States observe their hottest day of the year. And as we move into the sweltering days of mid-summer, odds favor a warmer-than-average July for many areas across the contiguous United States. So break out those fans, remember ways to beat the heat and stay safe, and stick around as we dive into the July 2020 outlook for temperature and precipitation from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.  As a reminder, the monthly outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center are not predictions for the actual temperature or precipitation amount on any given day in July. Instead, the outlooks provide the probability (percent chance) that July temperatures and precipitation at any location will be in the upper, middle or lower third of the climatological record (1981-2020) for July. (As shorthand, we often describe the upper and lower thirds as “well above” and “well below” average, or we say “much wetter” or “much cooler” than average.) The colors (red or blue for temperature; brown and teal for precipitation) indicate which outcome is most likely. Darker colors mean higher chances; not more extreme conditions. ... ”  Read more from Climate.gov here: July 2020 climate outlook has no good news for the U.S. Southwest

Engineers and Operators, meet your new co-pilot: Digital Twin:  “Water utility engineers and operators are a lot like airline pilots—they are both critical decision-makers. There are a million decisions that go into maintaining utility operations during unexpected global events, such as COVID-19, ensuring plant performance during a flood, or helping to determine the best investments for infrastructure upgrades. Having access to the best tools—like pilots use flight simulators and autopilot technology—can make the difference for an engineer and operator making an efficient and confident decision or minimizing operational disruption during unpredictable situations. As utilities look to do more with less, the Digital Twin will transform the water industry much like autopilot technology transformed aviation. … ”  Read more from Brown & Caldwell here: Engineers and Operators, meet your new co-pilot

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In commentary today …

Improving forest health would create jobs, improve economies in rural California, say Henry McCann and Van Butsic:  They write, “The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting urban and rural communities across California. Congress is exploring economic recovery legislation that includes investments in workforce development and infrastructure. And in Sacramento, there have been discussions about focusing future climate and natural resource bonds on economic recovery.  As federal and state decision-makers evaluate the options, they should consider putting Californians to work on improving the health of the state’s headwater forests. This approach would alleviate economic hardships while reducing wildfire risk and generating a suite of other benefits for forest-based communities and the state. … ”  Read more from CalMatters here: Improving forest health would create jobs, improve economies in rural California

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In regional news and commentary today …

Lawmakers herald ‘critical fix’ for Klamath water troubles:  “Members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation on Wednesday announced that the U.S. Senate has passed a “critically needed fix” to existing law intended to provide drought relief for farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin.  U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Representative Greg Walden said in a joint statement that the new legislation alters the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The law’s language allowed irrigators in the Klamath Basin to access $10 million in drought relief funds, but limited how they could be used. ... ”  Read more from KDRV here: Lawmakers herald ‘critical fix’ for Klamath water troubles

Lake County unhappy with the two-basin solution which will decommission Scott Dam and restore water flow to the Eel River:  “Construction of Scott Dam, which created Lake County’s Lake Pillsbury, was completed nearly a century ago, in 1922. Over that time, communities and an entire ecosystem have developed. 450 homeowners and ranchers and an estimated 3,000 non-permanent seasonal residents contribute to both the economy and culture of this unique Northern California community.  The area surrounding Lake Pillsbury has become a home, a beloved home away from home, and a favorite vacation destination for many in our region. … ”  Read more from the Redheaded Blackbelt here: Lake County unhappy with the two-basin solution which will decommission Scott Dam and restore water flow to the Eel River

Turlock and Ceres give final OK to river treatment plant, after 30-plus years of talk:  “A vote Monday was the final approval for a Tuolumne River treatment plant serving Turlock and Ceres.  The $202 million project, discussed off and on since the 1980s, will reduce the cities’ dependence on groundwater. Both have already approved the sizable rate increases that will cover most of the cost. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Turlock and Ceres give final OK to river treatment plant, after 30-plus years of talk

Santa Barbara seals 50-year deal to sell water to Montecito:  “Signing off on a historic deal with its wealthiest — and thirstiest — neighbor, the Santa Barbara City Council this week voted 6-0 to ship a supply of the city’s drinking water to Montecito every year for the next 50 years, rain or shine.  In return, under a Water Supply Agreement that will be signed by both parties in August, the Montecito Water District has agreed to effectively fund 46 percent, or $33 million, of the city’s $72 million desalination plant through 2072, plus interest and a share of operation and maintenance costs. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: Santa Barbara seals 50-year deal to sell water to Montecito

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Along the Colorado River …

Arizona water blueprint aids informed water planning:  “Water is Arizona’s most precious natural resource. Yet, despite its importance, few Arizonans actually understand where their water is sourced.  If someone asked you to identify Arizona’s three major water sources, could you name them? Could you explain why tens of thousands of Arizonans don’t have certainty about their long-term water supplies?  If you can’t answer these questions, don’t feel bad. Most people can’t.  But most people do want to know more about water management in Arizona. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: Arizona water blueprint aids informed water planning

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Today’s featured articles …

BROWN BAG SEMINAR: Engaging Diverse Communities around Water, Climate, and the Environment

Sea Grant is a federal and state partnership between NOAA and 34 university-based programs in every coastal and Great Lakes state, including Puerto Rico and Guam. For over 50 years, Sea Grant has supported coastal communities through research, extension, and education programming.  This seminar is part of the selection process for a California Sea Grant Extension Specialist that will be hired jointly with the Delta Stewardship Council.

The candidate for this seminar is Dr. Joshua Cousins, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 2016 where he studied water resources and stormwater governance in Chicago and Los Angeles. He went on to complete an ecology, evolution, ecosystems, and society postdoc at Dartmouth College in 2018. Since he has been an assistant professor at the college of environmental science and forestry and the state university of New York. His research lies at the nexus of science, technology, and society to shape environmental policy and decision making, including impacts to climate change on natural resource management. His seminar today is titled, Engaging Diverse Communities around Water, Climate, and the Environment.

Click here to read this article.


SCIENCE NEWS: Fish predation on a landscape scale in the Delta; High res mapping survey of water quality constituents in the Delta; Removing fish passage barriers; Remembering Ridgecrest; 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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