DAILY DIGEST: Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water; SGMA enters crucial period; Court issues ruling in Staten Island management case; Coastal flooding to steadily increase, says new federal report; and more …

On the calendar today …
  • FREE WEBINAR: FishPAC Connectivity Case Study: Deer Creek Irrigation Dam, Dunn Creek from 9am to 10:15am.  This webinar will illustrate restoration projects that enhance habitat connectivity, particularly for threatened and endangered species and will focus on Deer Creek Irrigation Dam and Dunn Creek.  Click here to register.
  • ONLINE MEETING: The California Water Commission will meet beginning at 9:30am.  The Water Commission will receive updates on the eight projects that have been approved for conditional funding.  Staff will present options to the Commission to address possible program changes suggested in a May 11 letter submitted by six of the project applicants due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. The Commission will decide on which course of action to take regarding potential program changes requested by applicants.  For agenda and webcast link, click here.
  • WEBINAR: Developing Pathways to Solutions to Wicked Water Problems from 10am to 11am. This seminar will focus on the similar but distinct wicked water issues faced in multiple geographic regions, including the Colorado River Basin and the Middle East. Implementing pathways to solving big water challenges requires interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches; the involvement of stakeholders is extremely important. The webinar addresses key process factors that contribute to mitigating wicked water problems, along with the value of sharing lessons learned.   Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: MWD Update: A Special OCWA Webinar from 12:30pm to 1:30pm.  Metropolitan Water District’s Brad Coffey has not divulged his topic for this year yet, but we are confident he will again educate and delight us all.  Click here to register.
  • Sites Reservoir Virutal Town Meeting from 2pm to 4pm.  Click here to join the meetingClick here for meeting materials.

In California water news today …

Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water:  “U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says she’d like to see more cooperation from California officials as talks aim to resolve a legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects.  The talks are proceeding after Gov. Gavin Newsom filed suit in February to nullify new federal opinions that would ease restrictions on surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act enters crucial period:  “As Covid-19 and social unrest dominates news headlines, another problem beneath Central Valley residents’ feet is coming to surface. This was the first year plans had to be submitted for many irrigation districts through the state of California as part of 2014’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA) outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light. … ”  Read more from The Business Journal here: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

Court issues ruling in Staten Island management case: The Superior Court of California has issued a ruling in the case of the Wetlands Preservation Foundation versus the Department of Water Resources over the Department’s management of Staten Island, ruling against the Department on several of the causes of action.

Click here to view/download the ruling.

Coastal flooding to steadily increase, says new federal report:  “The high-tide flooding that inundated the streets of Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula over the Fourth of July weekend will grow ever-more common throughout the state — and nation — thanks to rising seas, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s report released Tuesday, July 14.  The report noted that there were three high-tide flooding days at NOAA’s Los Angeles monitoring station in 2019. But underscoring growing state and local concerns with damage that rising seas pose to the coast, the agency predicts annual high-tide flooding in the area to spike to six to 10 days by 2030, and 15 to 40 days by 2050. … ”  Read more from the Inland Daily Buleltin here:  Coastal flooding to steadily increase, says new federal report

Dan Walters: State budget ‘balanced’ with massive new debt:  “Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a 2020-21 state budget he described as “balanced, responsible and protects public safety and health, education, and services to Californians facing the greatest hardships.”  Whatever its other virtues may be, the budget is far from “balanced,” at least as most folks outside the Capitol would define it.  The 2020-21 budget spends far more — at least $20 billion more — than projected revenues, even including billions of dollars from the state’s emergency reserve. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: State budget ‘balanced’ with massive new debt

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In national/world news today …

Can we talk? New nationwide flood maps provide opportunities for dialogue:  “For fifty years, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have unintentionally stifled conversations of flood risk. They have encouraged property-owners and governments at all levels to dwell on map details for one static event, rather than flood risks for a range of events under changing conditions (Soden et al. 2017). Now, First Street Foundation has released a new tool that can change how these conversations develop: Flood Factor, a publicly available online resource to help people understand flood risk for an individual property, area, or region.  For each property parcel, several indicators about flooding are provided by Flood Factor including information about past floods, past flood claims, present-day flood risk, and future risks. This makes it possible to learn if a home has flooded from major recent events, is currently at risk, and how that risk changes over time.  … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: Can we talk? New nationwide flood maps provide opportunities for dialogue

300 orgs oppose “Voluntary Water Partnership” Bill, which would coerce struggling communities to sell off public water systems:  “Nearly 300 national, state and local organizations sent a letter to Senate leaders today calling for the rejection of a controversial bill that would coerce struggling communities into selling off vital public water resources. The bill – the Voluntary Water Partnership for Distressed Communities Act (S. 2596) – has been framed by supporters as an “environmental justice” measure. In fact, it would disproportionately impact low-income areas and communities of color by incentivizing water system sales to corporations. Private water companies typically raise water rates on households and cut investment in key infrastructure and water quality. … ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  300 orgs oppose “Voluntary Water Partnership” Bill, which would coerce struggling communities to sell off public water systems

Outdoor recreation and conservation advocates challenge EPA rule granting industry priority over state, public in clean water decisions:  “Citing breathtaking levels of overreach, conservation, fishing, and paddling advocates today filed a complaint in federal court challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule effectively sidelining the role the states and the public have long played in permitting decisions affecting clean water.  “With this rule change, the Trump administration has given corporations the green light to run roughshod over local communities, and has proven it is more interested in corporate rights than states’ rights,” said Andrew Hawley, attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “The judicial branch must intervene to preserve some semblance of balance in our nation. What an opportunity for the courts here: To stop this flagrant overreach steamrolling states and Tribes while preserving essential public health and clean water protection.” … ”  Read more from Cal Trout here: Outdoor recreation and conservation advocates challenge EPA rule granting industry priority over state, public in clean water decisions

Trump to move forward with rollback of bedrock environmental law:  “President Trump is expected to finalize a rollback to one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws Wednesday in a move critics say will be particularly harmful to minority communities.  The changes to the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which mandates environmental reviews of major construction projects and pipelines, are being pitched by the Trump administration as a way to cut regulations, expedite energy and infrastructure projects, and give a boost to the economy. ... ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump to move forward with rollback of bedrock environmental law

House rolls out sweeping bipartisan NDAA amendment targeting toxic chemicals on bases:  “House lawmakers presented an extensive amendment to the annual defense spending bill targeting harmful chemicals that have contaminated hundreds of military bases. The bipartisan measure, headed by Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., is designed to scale back the risks of exposure to toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS, so-called “forever chemicals” because they are not expelled from the human body once ingested. PFAS have been linked to some types of cancer and have contaminated at least 328 U.S. military installations, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization. ... ”  Read more from the Stars and Stripes here: House rolls out sweeping bipartisan NDAA amendment targeting toxic chemicals on bases

Is a wave of PFAS consumer class actions on the horizon?  “Two putative class actions recently filed in the Northern District of California—Ambrose v. Kroger Co. and Nguyen v. Amazon.com, Inc. —preview a new theory of consumer claims relating to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Rather than rely on alleged omissions or representations about health risks, the plaintiffs claim that they relied on marketing statements that indicated the products they purchased (“compostable” disposable dinnerware) were disposable and would completely degrade over time and that the presence of PFAS in the products means those marketing statements were false. That focus on the environmental persistence of PFAS, rather than the substances’ alleged health effects, marks a new approach to PFAS consumer class actions. … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here: Is a wave of PFAS consumer class actions on the horizon?

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In regional news and commentary today …

Trinidad mayor on water and community:  Steve Ladwig writes, “I’d like to share some thoughts on what is happening in Trinidad and what I believe is needed to help us build a sense of community. I’ve been the mayor of this town for several years now and have learned much about the many intersections of thought and beliefs. I wanted to add my piece to recent comments made regarding our town and the folks who make up this community.  I look at Trinidad more like a watershed than simply a square mile of streets, homes and businesses. We provide water to our residents, to some customers in Westhaven, and need to be able to consider new water requests holistically. For years, we’ve been able to keep pace with the demand for water. Only twice since we put in the treatment plant have we approached the critical point where the creek wasn’t able to meet the demand. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Trinidad mayor on water and community

Fight over Gualala River logging plan heads to federal court:  “A five-year battle over plans to log in the remote Gualala River flood plain has taken a big step up with a powerhouse environmental group’s declaration to take the case to federal court, alleging the commercial tree harvest would harm protected fish, frogs and birds.  Friends of Gualala River, a grassroots group with an email list of about 600 people, now has the legal muscle of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental organization with a global reach and a $20 million annual budget, on its side.  “It is a welcome turn of events,” said Charles Ivor, president of the Gualala-based group that has stalled a 342-acre state-approved timber harvest plan since 2016. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Fight over Gualala River logging plan heads to federal court

Sacramento:  Volunteer worries toxic algae in McKinley Park pond will worsen:  “The McKinley Park pond is home to fish and a variety of waterfowl.  But right now, they are in danger because of what’s growing in the water, said Judy McClaver, who spoke with FOX40 Tuesday over the phone.  “As the pond warms up, more of this algae grows,” McClaver explained. … ”  Read more from KTXL here: Volunteer worries toxic algae in McKinley Park pond will worsen

Are there plans to fill more of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County this summer? As more people enjoy local trails this summer, they may notice many of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County are empty and dry.  There’s no reason to be alarmed. In fact, the absence of water in many of the 100 percolation ponds owned by Valley Water is a sign that our underground water basins are mostly full and healthy. … ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Are there plans to fill more of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County this summer? 

Leak at pumping station threatens water supply for thousands in Redlands:  “Thousands of Redlands residents are being urged to cut their water consumption and fill tubs and other containers for emergency use as crews work to repair a major leak in the city’s system, officials said Tuesday.  The leak, which was reported Monday and occurred in a 16-inch transmission line at a pumping station near Ford Park, could spill as much as 5 million gallons of water a day — creating potential pressure problems for approximately 23,000 residents, according to the city. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Leak at pumping station threatens water supply for thousands in Redlands

Imperial Irrigation District seeks Salton Sea consideration in lawsuit over Colorado River water:  “The Imperial Irrigation District has filed its opening brief in a case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that it launched last year in an attempt to halt the implementation of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River. IID wants to see it paused until the Salton Sea is also considered.  The two behemoths in the world of Western water are locking horns in court over the plan, which is an agreement made between California, Nevada and Arizona to keep more water in Lake Mead, the man-made lake created by the Hoover Dam. Nearly 40 million people rely on water from the Colorado River system, but growing demand across the West and a warming climate are threatening the important waterway. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: Imperial Irrigation District seeks Salton Sea consideration in lawsuit over Colorado River water

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Along the Colorado River …

A tale of two Arizona rivers: how lawsuits are shaping the Verde and San Pedro:  “It’s a tale of two rivers: The Verde, which flows south from near Flagstaff, Ariz. to metro Phoenix, and the San Pedro, which begins in Mexico and flows north to Winkelman, Ariz.  In some ways, the rivers differ drastically. The San Pedro is one of the last undammed rivers in the Southwest, while the Verde has many dams, including Horseshoe and Bartlett northeast of Phoenix. Parts of the Verde are protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act — protections the San Pedro doesn’t share.  But for all the differences, there are many similarities. … ”  Read more from KUNC here: A tale of two Arizona rivers: how lawsuits are shaping the Verde and San Pedro

Colorado’s decennial water rights abandonment lists published July 1, 2020:  “It’s that time again! Once a decade the State of Colorado reviews water rights for potential abandonment. On July 1, 2020, the Colorado Division of Water Resources released its decennial proposed abandonment lists pursuant to the State’s statutory requirement to examine water rights in the State for abandonment. The lists released earlier this month are the beginning of a lengthy process that eventually makes its way to water court. A court finding of abandonment terminates a water right, or a portion thereof, including the priority date. … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Colorado’s decennial water rights abandonment lists published July 1, 2020

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Today’s featured content …

BROWN BAG SEMINAR: Understanding the human dimensions of social agro-ecological systems: What motivates farmer decision-making and policy change?

GUEST COMMENTARY: California Almonds and Salmon – Contrasts in Sustainability

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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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