DAILY DIGEST, 7/6: A big rat in congress helped CA farmers in their war against invasive species; New funds to help restore the Salton Sea; Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft; and more …

In California water news today …

A big rat in congress helped California farmers in their war against invasive species:  “California Rep. Josh Harder needed a way to convince the U.S. House of Representatives to pay attention to his speech about invasive species during a meeting in February. So he brought in a hefty rat carcass and laid it on the table next to him.  The taxidermied rat, which Harder called “Nellie,” convinced the House to unanimously pass a bill that supports eradication efforts in states infested with nutria, large rodents also known as swamp rats that are native to South America. ... ”  Read more from Inside Climate News here:  A big rat in congress helped California farmers in their war against invasive species

New funds to help restore the Salton Sea:  “Despite pandemic related fiscal challenges, work on the Salton sea still remains a priority.  Especially for Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, from the 56th district, who helped get funds of over 47-million dollars for new river and Salton sea mitigation projects.  “In the coming months, we’ll be breaking ground in the southern western part of the sea, on the species habitat conservation plan that’s close to three or four-thousand acres of habitat restoration and air quality mitigation. So we’re seeing some work,” said Garcia. … ”  Read more from NBC Palm Springs here: New funds to help restore the Salton Sea

Cal Am responds to desal opposition in Coastal Commission letter:  “California American Water officials are defending the company’s proposed desalination project in response to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s move last month to formally oppose it at the Coastal Commission in favor of a proposed recycled water expansion.  In a letter sent last week to Coastal Commission executive director John Ainsworth, Cal Am vice president Ian Crooks argued the desal project is the only proposal capable of providing an adequate water supply for the Peninsula in response to the Carmel River pumping cutback order set to take full effect at the end of 2021. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Cal Am responds to desal opposition in Coastal Commission letter

AVEK secures infrastructure grants:  “The Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency has been awarded more than $1.2 million in state grants for work on two major infrastructure projects.  The grant funds are from Proposition 1, approved by voters in 2014 to authorize more than $7.12 billion in bonds for state water supply projects. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: AVEK secures infrastructure grants

Higher, wider berm stops flooding in Newport Beach on Saturday night:  “An expanded berm prevented flooding in Newport Beach on Saturday night after Friday’s high-tide deluge, city officials said.  The berm, quickly assembled on Saturday, had sand piled “significantly higher and wider” than the one the waves wrecked the night before, said Newport Beach spokesman John Pope. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Higher, wider berm stops flooding in Newport Beach on Saturday night

Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft:  “An independent audit of Baja California’s water agency alleges that former employees of the utility colluded with international corporations to defraud the state out of at least $49.4 million, according to an auditor and the governor of the state.  Local and international corporations — including such well-known U.S. names as Coca-Cola, FedEx and Walmart — for years took water for use in their Mexican factories, retail stores and distribution centers without fully paying for it, Baja California officials have alleged. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft

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In national/world news today …

US rivers and lakes are shrinking for a surprising reason: cows:  “As a fifth-generation rancher in Colorado, Paul Bruchez knows the value of water. Not only does he raise cattle irrigated by the Colorado River and its nearby tributaries, Bruchez runs a fly-fishing business on those same streams.  “My income, my life, requires a reliable water resource,” he said. But since moving to northern Colorado two decades ago, the Colorado River has shrunk by an average of 20% compared to last century. Climatic conditions are one culprit – the area is suffering the worst regional dry spell on record. But there’s another big problem.  Cows. ... ”  Read more from The Guardian here: US rivers and lakes are shrinking for a surprising reason: cows

Could paying farmers to store carbon help the climate and save farms?  “Scientists estimate the earth’s soil holds two to three times more carbon than the entire atmosphere. That’s a good thing, because cars, planes, factories, and farms churn out CO2 at astounding rates. If farmers could coax their fields to suck up more of the gas and deposit it underground in the form of organic carbon, it could go a long way toward mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The benefits don’t stop there: Increasing soil’s carbon content also protects against erosion and increases biodiversity.  The idea of carbon farming is gaining traction.  … ”  Read more from Mother Jones here:  Could paying farmers to store carbon help the climate and save farms?

Fish worldwide are shockingly vulnerable to climate change:  “Climate change will impact the reproductive success of fish worldwide, according to an alarming new study. The researchers estimate that rising water temperatures will limit the reproductive ability of up to 60 percent of all fish species.  The study authors report that the risks for fish are much higher than previously realized, especially given the fact that in certain developmental stages they are extremely sensitive to rising water temperatures. ... ”  Read more from Earth.com here: Fish worldwide are shockingly vulnerable to climate change

What to watch in House spending bills:  “After months of delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, House lawmakers are beginning work in earnest on fiscal 2021 appropriations bills.  But tight spending caps, election-year messaging and a Senate impasse guarantee measures coming out this week won’t have an easy path to becoming law.  The House Appropriations Committee last night released its State Department, Agriculture and Military Construction proposals. Today the panel will release its Interior-EPA and Energy-Water plans. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: What to watch in House spending bills

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Monthly reservoir report

MONTHLY RESERVOIR REPORT for July

Prepared by Robert Shibatani exclusively for Maven’s Notebook

As of June 30, 2020

The ability of the State to “ride” on its established carryover storage was on vivid display this month. Our north CVP reservoir storage as of today, stands at 96% of our 15-year average. We have 7.579 MAF in storage (or 66.7% of total North CVP storage capacity). Shasta, Trinity, and New Melones, the 3 largest north CVP reservoirs are holding in good shape; they have storage quantities that are 92, 100, and 112% of the reservoirs’ 15-year averages, respectively. Oroville Reservoir stands at about 86% of its 15-year average having 2.157 MAF in storage.

Click here to read the report.

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Weekend Daily Digest

This weekend in California water news:

  • California megadrought? Not if you look at precipitation;
  • How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting water demand;
  • Dry lightning risk rises in the West, thanks to tardy monsoon;
  • A nationwide view shows “evolution” of water quality concerns;
  • SCOTUS Maui ruling ripples through pipeline, power plant cases;
  • Jay Sorensen, Stockton angler and conservationist, has died;
  • Numbers increase for Lake Oroville bald eagles;
  • Microplastic cleanup, research continues at Lake Tahoe;
  • Arizona water transfer proposal gets mixed reviews;
  • and more …


Click here to read the Weekend Daily Digest.

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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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