Hey folks!

Check out the new clickable index to the Daily Digest below. Click on the link on the right of the gray box to expand the table of contents. Then click on your headline of interest to be taken directly to that story in the Digest. Click on the Return to Top at the bottom of each section to return back to the Table of Contents. I hope you find this a useful new feature. Let me know what you think.

Have a great weekend!

Regards, Maven

In California water news this weekend …

Feinstein bill would fix San Joaquin Valley canals

Western Growers has announced its support for legislation by California Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein that seeks to address severe subsidence impacts that have substantially reduced the carrying capacity of the state’s water delivery system.  Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Feinstein bill would fix San Joaquin Valley canals

New high-tech system protects Lake Tahoe from invasive species

A highly advanced aquatic invasive species containment system is up and running in the Tahoe Keys with the goal of preventing, what scientists say, is the number one threat to Lake Tahoe.  The Tahoe Keys contain 172 acres of waterway. It’s the largest source of boating at the lake, as well as the largest infestation of invasive aquatic species.  “Tahoe Keys are ground zero for aquatic invasive species at the lake, in particular aquatic weeds,” said Jesse Patterson with the League to Save Lake Tahoe. … ”  Read more from the KCRA Channel 3 here:  New system protects Lake Tahoe from invasive species

Scientists search for source of microplastics in the Lake Tahoe Basin and nearby Sierra

Monica Arienzo is an assistant professor of hydrology at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno. Last year, Dr Arienzo discovered microplastics in the water of Lake Tahoe and snow of the nearby Sierra. The problem with microplastics she learned, they’re everywhere.  “Everywhere we’ve looked, we’ve identified microplastics. Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that are about the size of a pencil eraser and smaller. So we look down to a size of about a bacteria cell size,” Arienzo said in a phone interview. “And we’ve been finding these pretty much everywhere we look.” … ”  Read more from the Sierra Nevada Ally here: Scientists search for source of microplastics in the Lake Tahoe Basin and nearby Sierra

California had a plan to bring clean water to a million people. Then the pandemic hit

The water is too contaminated to safely drink, but residents of this farmworker community in the Central Valley pay $74 a month just to be able to turn on the tap at home.  Their bills are even higher if they use more than 50 gallons a day, a fraction of daily water consumption for the average California household. And when Fresno County finishes building a new well that has been planned for years, the price will increase again to cover the cost of treating manganese-laced water pumped from hundreds of feet below. … ”  Continue reading from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California had a plan to bring clean water to a million people. Then the pandemic hit

Bill that allows California to apply for swamp rat-eradication funding passes House

California is one step closer to being able to apply for millions of dollars in its fight against nutria, giant swamp rodents.  In 2003, Congress passed The Nutria Eradication and Control Act, which established a fund to help Maryland and Louisiana battle the animals. Recently, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation that now allows California to also receive support. The bill now heads to the Senate. ... ”  Read more from CBS 13 here: Bill that allows California to apply for swamp rat-eradication funding passes House

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In national water news this weekend …

Democrats push environmental policies in $259.5B budget package

The House added a number of environmental measures to the budget Friday, voting to block the Trump administration from drilling in the arctic or rejecting grants for projects and studies tied to climate change.  The measures were included in a $259.5 billion spending package that passed with a 224-189 vote.  Lawmakers voted on a series of amendments to the budgets for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior on Thursday and Friday, seeking to block funding from being used to implement a number of Trump administration rollbacks. … ”  Read more from the Hill here: Democrats push environmental policies in $259.5B budget package

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In people news this weekend …

DWR Environmental Scientist Veronica Wunderlich discusses her work with reptiles and amphibians

Veronica Wunderlich is a Department of Water Resources (DWR) senior environmental scientist with a focus in herpetology – the study of reptiles and amphibians.  Veronica recently spoke on DWR’s Water Wednesdays live educational series –view her talk on DWR’s YouTube channel. DWR will also replay her talk on July 22.  Below, Veronica discusses how she got started in herpetology –she even had snakes as pets as a kid, her current work, and how to translate a passion and interest in wildlife into a career – “If you really love the creatures you work with, you will never regret working with them.” … ”  Continue reading at DWR News here: DWR Environmental Scientist Veronica Wunderlich discusses her work with reptiles and amphibians

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Podcasts …

THE ECONEWS REPORT: A State of the Klamath Update: A Spirited Discussion on What That Big Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Decision Means

Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission either moved along the Klamath Dam removal project, or else it threw a big wrench in the works. S. Craig Tucker, consultant to the Karuk Tribe, and Mike Belchik, senior water policy analyst with the Yurok Tribe, joins Scott Greacen (Friends of the Eel) and Tom Wheeler (EPIC) for a spirited discussion on the new news about the state of dam removal. What does the FERC ruling mean? Will it speed up dam removal or slow it down?

Listen/download EcoNews Report at the Lost Coast Outpost here:  THE ECONEWS REPORT: A State of the Klamath Update: A Spirited Discussion on What That Big Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Decision Means

 


Water is Too Important to Ignore

Steve Baker writes, “What happens when you have more water commitments than water that is actually available in the watershed? Most of the time, domestic water users assume groundwater will always be available so when it isn’t, it becomes a real catastrophe. Now, in some states like Washington, domestic property owners pay quite a sum of money to just get access to the groundwater beneath their property. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co


Infrastructure Report: The urgent need for investment in Western U.S. water systems

Our guests, Christine Arbogast and Patrick O’Toole, recently wrote an opinion piece in the Reno Gazette Journal arguing it is time to invest in Western water infrastructure. Arbogast is president of the National Water Resources Association, and Patrick O’Toole is a cattle and sheep rancher from Wyoming and president of the Family Farm Alliance. What is the nature and scale of the western water infrastructure problem? What is the potential crisis in the event of inaction? Short of Congress acting in a big way, what other solutions exist? We discuss.

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In regional water news and commentary …

Yuba Water advances major flood risk reduction project

Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors Thursday authorized staff to move forward with a new design of an estimated $225 million secondary spillway at New Bullards Bar Dam, marking an important step forward for the agency’s largest project to reduce flood risk since the dam was built.  The board had previously approved a tunnel design for the secondary spillway; however, during the detailed design work, it became clear that an alternative, open-channel design would be more effective in terms of public safety, cost and overall environmental impact. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Yuba Water advances major flood risk reduction project

Tahoe national forest crews battling record number of escaped campfires

The Tahoe National Forest is seeing a record-breaking number of campfires burning out of control, maxing out resources.  CBS13 tagged along with Tahoe National Forest Public Affairs Officer Joe Flannery Thursday to learn more about the problem. Our journey started on the water in a Nevada County Sheriff’s boat. Flannery hiked into the forest to show us the widespread damage of an escaped campfire, one of many just this season. … ”  Read more from CBS 13 here: Tahoe national forest crews battling record number of escaped campfires

Toxic algae blooms spark warnings along Stockton waterfront

The downtown Stockton waterfront has received danger warnings in three different areas from the state due to hazardous blue-green algae blooms.  The California Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board said lab results from July 14 revealed high levels of a toxin called microcystins in scum samples from Mormon Slough, the downtown marina and Morelli Park Boat Launch that ranged from four to more than 20 times the state’s Tier 3 danger threshold. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Toxic algae blooms spark warnings along Stockton waterfront

Monterey Mushrooms to pay $1.2M in settlement agreement

In a settlement with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Monterey Mushroom, Inc., has agreed to pay $1.2 million for unauthorized wastewater discharges to Elkhorn Slough tributaries.  Monterey Mushrooms was found to have discharged a combined total of about 4.6 million gallons of process wastewater and/or polluted stormwater from two mushroom-growing facilities located in Royal Oaks into the tributary between January and April 2017, according to a press release from the State Water Resources Board. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey Mushrooms to pay $1.2M in settlement agreement

We need water in the Kern River, says Kelly Damian

She writes, “For a few glorious weeks this spring, there was water in the Kern River. At a time when death was just beginning to pant in the face of our country, the water was a reminder of both the changefulness and continuity of life.  The water in that river once belonged to the ocean, then the clouds, then the mountaintops. It was seawater. It was rain. It was snow. Rivers hold spiritual meaning for many of the world’s religions for good reason. The passing water mirrors our own lives. We are born. We live. We die. It is a futile form of hubris to ignore this. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: We need water in the Kern River

Santa Barbara:  The desalination plant is the solution for thirsty arid regions, says

He writes, “As a lifelong environmentalist, I feel that all students and residents in the Western States (Nebraska on westward) should read Cadillac Desert (1986) by Marc Reisner. His book talks about how water is everything in the West and how politics and land schemes have influenced where and who gets water and at what price. The negative environmental impacts of all the various water projects (e.g., California State Water Project) are staggering! Furthermore, people are inherently selfish which shows in the riparian rights (established during the 1849 Gold Rush) and the drilling of private wells into aquifers. … ” Continue reading at the Santa Barbara Independent here: The desalination plant is the solution for thirsty arid regions

San Diego’s big recycled water project wins in court

San Diego’s oft-delayed Pure Water project – a bid to create a third of the city’s water from recycled sewage – scored a victory in court Friday that could get the $5 billion project back on track.  Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss ruled there was no conflict between a state law that prohibits cities from banning union-friendly construction contracts if they want state funding, and a 2012 ballot measure that prohibited the city from requiring those very contracts on city projects. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: San Diego’s big recycled water project wins in court

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Along the Colorado River …

For many on the Navajo Nation, getting water requires travel, a wait in long lines and lots of patience

Filling up a portable water tank at the public tap outside the post office in Monument Valley is an exercise in patience. Five or 10 pickup trucks carrying 250-gallon tanks wait in a line around the edge of a dirt lot most summer days, often in temperatures that top 100 degrees.  There are no trees to block the sun. Some vehicles idle with engines and air conditioners running. Other drivers roll down the windows and place foldout shades in the windshield to block the glare.  “I waited for two hours,” said Christopher Chee, a resident of the Oljato community who was at the tap in late June on his monthly trip to fill up water for his eight-person household. “We’ll also use it to water our corn and for our sheep.” … ”  Read more from the Salt Lake Tribune here: For many on the Navajo Nation, getting water requires travel, a wait in long lines and lots of patience

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Sunday video …

A drone flyover of the Glenn Colusa Irrigation District. John Hannon video.

And lastly …

You’d never guess nestled within this ordinary beige building is the future of farming

A handful of cows graze peacefully on the land adjacent to Kalera’s parking lot. And from the outside, that’s pretty much the only farm-like thing about the place — otherwise, it’s just another beige block of new construction near the airport.  To motorists whizzing past, it likely registers as a storage facility — if it even registers at all.  The entry — save the colorful logo, is generic as well, though a window in an adjacent conference room offers a glimpse of the marvels inside. Nine towering tiers, shelving awash in a glow I’d call “Rave-X Pink” if it were a nail polish, house lush, growing plants as far as your color-addled eyes can see. … ”  Read more from the Orlando Sentinel here: You’d never guess nestled within this ordinary beige building is the future of farming

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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

Featured image credit: Lake Tahoe from the top of Mount Tallac.  Photo by Jonathan Cook-Fisher.

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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