DAILY DIGEST, 7/31: Tahoe’s State of the Lake Report released; Modeling the changes to the hydrological cycle after a wildfire; How sheds help ensure healthy water quality for millions of Californians; EPA won’t extend relaxed enforcement, despite surging virus data; and more …

Happy Friday!

In California water news today …

Tahoe’s State of the Lake Report released

Turning out-of-control shrimp into dog treats, learning the lake physics of safe paddleboarding and maintaining a long-term data set during a pandemic are just some of the activities that have made for a unique year at Lake Tahoe.  Today, the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center released its annual Tahoe: State of the Lake Report. The report informs nonscientists about important factors affecting the health of Lake Tahoe. It also intends to provide the scientific underpinnings for ecosystem restoration and management decisions within the Lake Tahoe Basin. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here:  Tahoe’s State of the Lake Report released

The secret life of water after a wildfire: Modeling the changes to the hydrological cycle after a wildfire

In the Western United States, we have seen increases in wildfire frequency and severity. The dry conditions from the onset of climate change has added fuel to the fire. The burning of tens to thousands of square kilometers has left profound changes to the landscape, primarily by removing vegetation, but also by leaving layers of ash and burnt soil. Undoubtedly, these changes to the landscape perturb the balance of hydrological processes. However, the complex feedbacks between these processes makes anticipating the changes to the hydrological cycle challenging.  In California, many of the wildfires occur in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which are the source of 70% of California’s water resources.  Understanding the feedbacks and implications of disturbances on the hydrological cycle can help watershed managers plan for future scenarios with wildfires and climate extremes.  … ”  Read more from AGU-H3S here:  The secret life of water after a wildfire

How sheds help ensure healthy water quality for millions of Californians

You may have noticed them on trips down the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, small buildings, just 10 feet by 12 feet, sticking up out of the water.  Resembling sheds that you typically see in a backyard; these buildings provide protection for something slightly more important than the family gardening tools and lawnmower. These buildings are part of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Continuous Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) and house state-of-the-art water quality sampling and recording technology. … ”  Read more from DWR News here:  How sheds help ensure healthy water quality for millions of Californians

California fisheries relief funding soon to be available for select sectors affected by covid-19

Coastal and marine fishery participants – including licensed commercial fishermen, fish buyers, aquaculture businesses, charter boat owners and guides – who have experienced a loss of income due to the effects of COVID-19 may be eligible for federal relief funding disbursed through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).  The funding is part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This more than $2 trillion economic relief package provides direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses that have been impacted COVID-19. About $18 million in CARES funding was earmarked specifically for fisheries assistance in California. … ”  Read more from CDFW News here: California fisheries relief funding soon to be available for select sectors affected by covid-19

State Treasurer Fiona Ma Announces $1.059 Billion Revenue Bond Sale for Department of Water Resources

“California State Treasurer Fiona Ma announced the sale today of $1.059 billion in California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Water System Revenue Bonds to finance and refinance certain State Water Project capital improvements and refund certain of DWR’s outstanding Water System Revenue Bonds.  The State Water Project is a statewide complex system of dams, water storage facilities, aqueducts, pumping stations and electric generation facilities that have been constructed by DWR to deliver water and protect against flooding. It supplies water to 29 local water agencies, serving a population of 27 million, or 69% of California’s population.  The bonds were well received by the market. The $544.2 million tax-exempt Series BB bonds received over $1.3 billion in total orders, with $280 million from retail accounts, while the $515.2 million federally taxable Series BC bonds received over $2.6 billion in total orders. …

Click here to continue reading this press release.

The refunding bonds are expected to save $55.6 million in debt service costs over the next 15 years, or $47.3 million on a present value basis.

The all-in true interest cost is 1.27 percent. The tax-exempt Series BB bonds consist of maturities from 2022 to 2035, with yields ranging from 0.12 percent to 1.00 percent. The federally taxable Series BC bonds consist of maturities from 2020 to 2035, with yields ranging from 0.13 percent to 1.789 percent.

The bonds are rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s and Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service. The joint senior managers for the sale were Morgan Stanley and Jefferies LLC. The co-senior manager was Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC. Additionally, there were 12 firms participating as co-managers.

A calendar of upcoming state bond sales is available at: BuyCaliforniaBonds.com.

Fiona Ma is California’s 34th State Treasurer. Treasurer Ma oversees an investment portfolio of about $101 billion, more than $32.1 billion of which are local government funds. She serves as agent of sale for all State bonds, and is trustee on outstanding debt of $94 billion.

In commentary today …

Gavin Newsom’s plan for California water is a good one. Stay the course, says the LA Times

They write, “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new blueprint for California water policy offers a stay-the-course agenda for projects and policies intended to help cope with a warming climate and more volatile weather patterns that already are affecting the state’s irrigation, environmental and drinking water supplies. There are no moonshots and few surprises, and that’s fine; it will be challenging enough to ensure that all Californians are hooked up to safe and reliable water supplies to meet their needs for the coming decade and beyond.  The “Water Resilience Portfolio” released Tuesday is in essence a laundry list of projects already in development or at least in the discussion phase. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Gavin Newsom’s plan for California water is a good one. Stay the course

PPIC Poll: Sacrificing for the Environment—To a Point, says Joel Fox

He writes, “The Public Policy Institute of California’s extensive environmental survey revealed that Californians are strong on environmental protections, but some answers make you wonder how far residents will go to back-up their pro-environment views.   When asked if they would be willing to make major lifestyle changes to address global warming, respondents overwhelmingly agreed. More than seven out of ten adults said they would be willing to sacrifice.  But in the same poll, when asked if they would be willing to pay more for electricity generated by renewable energy to reduce global warming only 47% were willing to pay more for electricity. … ”  Continue reading at Fox and Hounds here:  Sacrificing for the Environment—To a Point

Groundwater sustainability is a necessity more than ever, says Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida with the Union of Concerned Scientists

He writes, “The immediate emergency of COVID-19 has been a powerful reminder that the most valuable things in our lives are our families, friends, and the welfare of our communities. The current pandemic is a threat to those closest to us today in a way that presages what we will experience on an accelerating basis due to the climate emergency. In a place like California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV), Latinos account for 70 percent of COVID-19 cases, even though they represent 42 percent of the population. Improving access to clean and affordable water even as the pandemic grows more urgent, is critical to reducing the types of burdens worsened by the COVID-19 crisis. Continuing the hard work on groundwater sustainability required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) could lessen the impact of future crises in the valley. The low level of preparation communities have experienced around the pandemic, echos what these same communities face for water management on a daily basis and will face with future climate change threats unless fundamental changes are made locally. … ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here: Groundwater sustainability is a necessity more than ever

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary today …

Conservation groups challenge national forest grazing and cattle trespass that is harming salmon habitat along the California-Oregon border

The Klamath Mountains of northern California and southern Oregon are a global center of biodiversity and endemic species. The area harbors one of the richest temperate coniferous forests in the world, with complex geology and topography, diverse meadows, and over 3,500 plant species. Native fish fauna here is numerous, but is chronically under threat from excessive and uncontrolled cattle grazing. On July 30th local and regional conservation groups objected to a decision by Forest Service managers to reauthorize grazing within the Klamath River’s Beaver Creek watershed.  The Grazing Reform Project, Western Watersheds Project, and Environmental Protection Information Center filed an “Objection” because the decision to reauthorize grazing, if it is implemented, will result in unacceptable damage to Critical Habitat for Coho salmon and will continue unacceptable damage to riparian areas, wetlands, and water quality in headwater basins of the Klamath and Applegate Rivers. …

Click here to view/download full press release.

With Klamath Dam removal plan going sideways, Gov. Newsom pleads with Warren Buffett to salvage deal

With a historic Klamath River dam removal agreement in jeopardy, California Governor Gavin Newsom has reached out to billionaire financier Warren Buffett, imploring him to salvage the deal.  In an impassioned letter sent Wednesday, Newsom said the dams have devastated salmon runs, sickened the river and caused suffering among Native American tribes in the Klamath basin. “The Klamath River dam removal project is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we act according to our values,” his letter reads.  ... ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: With Klamath Dam removal plan going sideways, Gov. Newsom pleads with Warren Buffett to salvage deal

Several arms of Shasta Lake closing due to low water levels

Like every summer, for agriculture downriver, water being released from Keswick Dam means the lake level is dropping.  So some arms of Shasta Lake are being closed off in the name of safety.  …”  Read more from KRCR here:  Several arms of Shasta Lake closing due to low water levels

Commentary: Is the removal of Scott Dam really the key to Salmon and Steelhead recovery?

Devon Jones, Executive Director or the Mendocino County Farm Bureau writes, “On July 15, the Ukiah Daily Journal published an opinion piece written by representatives from Cal Trout and Trout Unlimited recommending the removal of Scott Dam to restore salmon and steelhead populations. Here are some additional points that should be mentioned.    A million fish?  The earliest data related to fish counts in the Eel were based on the numbers of fish processed at the multiple canneries in Humboldt County. Early accounts of the mass canning of salmonid species lead to the ban of commercial fishing directly in the Eel River estuary in the 1920s.  The only long-term record of direct fish counts on the Eel River comes from data collected since 1933 at the Van Arsdale Department of Fish and Wildlife station, which is on the Upper Main Fork of the Eel River. ... ”  Read more at the Ukiah Daily Journal here: Is the removal of Scott Dam really the key to Salmon and Steelhead recovery?

Despite delays and limitations, volunteers keep the Petaluma River clean

After fewer than two hours walking a section of the Lynch Creek Trail Saturday morning, a group of eight river cleanup volunteers had already hit the jackpot.  Their winnings? Two large black trash bags stuffed to the gills with discarded junk and detritus, culled from brambly river banks along one of the city’s most popular trail systems.  But for Ben Goldberg, that early-morning win was only motivation to keep going.  “We can do better than that!” he yelled, a cloth face mask struggling to stay up through wide grins. “We’re having a blast, playing music and spending the morning helping out, it’s great!” … ”  Read more from the Argus-Courier here: Despite delays and limitations, volunteers keep the Petaluma River clean

Camarillo: $5M in federal funding granted for city’s desalter

Progress continues on the city’s $66.3-million North Pleasant Valley Groundwater Desalter Facility, which has received nearly $5 million in federal funding.  The grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation will be used for the desalter plant that will treat brackish groundwater from the nearby Pleasant Valley Groundwater Basin. … ”  Read more from the Camarillo Acorn here:  $5M in federal funding granted for city’s desalter

Santa Ana Regional Water Board nears decision on Huntington Beach desal plant, hearing days of public arguments for and against

The 20-year battle between seawater desalters and Orange County environmentalists and community activists neared a turning point Thursday, the first in a series of final public hearings around a Huntington Beach desalination plant proposal before local regulators.  Hearings and public comments at the state regional water board started Thursday, are continuing today, and could continue to Aug. 7, if needed, with a vote on the required permits for the $1 billion water desalting project planned at the end of the hearings. … ”  Read more from the Voice of the OC here:  Regional Water Board nears decision on Huntington Beach desal plant, hearing days of public arguments for and against

Boosting diversity, transparency of San Diego boards could lead to better decisions, says the San Diego Union-Tribune

They write, “Members of San Diego’s 40-plus boards and commissions — from the Accessibility Advisory Board and the Airports Advisory Committee to the Wetlands Advisory Board and the Youth Commission — have long been less diverse, older and richer than the city at large. They have also often been so low-key that little is known about their actions. Given that a number of these panels make crucial decisions and offer valued guidance to the Mayor’s Office and City Council, this needed to be addressed.  Thankfully, the council figured this out, voting 8-1 this week to reform how boards and commissions operate. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  Boosting diversity, transparency of San Diego boards could lead to better decisions

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Utah pipeline project based on inaccurate studies, says Andrew Kramer

He writes, “If constructed, the proposed 140-mile Lake Powell Pipeline would be a multi-billion dollar project, one of the most expensive in state history.  Although the pipeline would only serve Washington County, its proponents want the entire state to subsidize the LPP. As taxpayers who’d be required to pay for this mammoth project, we deserve accurate information and well-reasoned analysis that demonstrates the need and economic viability of the pipeline. Instead, studies by the Division of Water Resources (DWR) and the Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD) are biased, incomplete and don’t fairly consider feasible, much less costly alternatives. … ” Continue reading at the Salt Lake Tribune here:  Utah pipeline project based on inaccurate studies, says Andrew Kramer

Colorado: Cash for water creates win-win for ranchers, consumers

Water is the lifeblood of hay production and using less is risky in southwest Wyoming, where ranchers are lucky to get one high-quality cutting of hay a year. But that is exactly what Eric and April Barnes decided to do, after being asked by Trout Unlimited (TU) to participate in a four-year, water-management initiative called the System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP), implemented by the Upper Colorado River Commission.  Eric laughs and acknowledges he was “scared to death” to reduce his water use the first year and trust TU and the commission, but he’s glad he did. … ”  Read more from Drovers here: Cash for water creates win-win for ranchers, consumers

Commentary: Choosing the high ground

Greg Walcher writes, “Stephen Sturgeon, a Utah State University historian, wrote a legislative biography of Western Slope congressman Wayne Aspinall, called “The Politics of Western Water.” He laments that Colorado controls less than half of its water, because of legal requirements. “Colorado has lost nearly every court battle it has fought to keep exclusive control of its water supply,” he writes. “As a result, Colorado has been forced to enter into interstate water compacts with all of its neighbors except Oklahoma, plus all the states in the Colorado and Rio Grande river basins.”  Though they already have over half of Colorado’s water, the other states are never satisfied, always wanting to “renegotiate.” Perhaps Colorado loses so many water battles with other states because it has fought on the wrong ground. ... ”  Read more from the Grand Junction Sentinel here: Choosing the high ground

Return to top

In national water news today …

Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill

A group of Democratic senators on Thursday introduced companion legislation to the House’s “Environmental Justice for All” bill aimed at addressing environmental inequalities faced by low-income and nonwhite communities.  The legislation, unveiled by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) Cory Booker (N.J.) and Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), would require the government to consider the cumulative impacts of certain permitting decisions, meaning they would have to consider how a new permit would interact with existing sources of nearby pollution.  … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill

Feinstein, Kennedy introduce legislation to eradicate nutria

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) to introduce legislation to amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act.  The legislation would authorize an additional $6 million a year to increase assistance for states participating in the Nutria Eradication Program, which provides funding to states that implement initiatives to eradicate the invasive species. The measure also makes financial assistance proportional to the total area of a state that is affected by nutria. … “

Click here for Senator Feinstein and Senator Kennedy's statement.

“The explosive population growth of the nutria rodent could overwhelm our farms and wetlands if we don’t take aggressive action now. In California, there could be as many as 250,000 nutria within five years that could cause more than $1.2 billion a year in agriculture losses and eradication costs. Our bill will make all states eligible for federal funds to control this invasive species and stop its spread before we lose control of the situation,” said Feinstein.

“Louisiana’s wetlands protect our state from hurricanes and other serious storms. For years, nutria have devoured miles of our marshes, and some areas have no chance of growing back. This bill would help prevent these invasive swamp rats from further destroying Louisiana’s marshland,” said Kennedy.

EPA won’t extend relaxed enforcement, despite surging virus data

The EPA isn’t considering extending its temporary enforcement policy beyond its Aug. 31 expiration date, despite surging coronavirus case rates, an agency spokesman said.  The policy, issued on March 26, is meant to give relief to regulated entities unable to comply with certain reporting obligations because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, the Environmental Protection Agency “retains the authority to exercise enforcement discretion on a case-by-case basis regarding any noncompliance, including noncompliance caused by the Covid-19 public health emergency,” according to the spokesman. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg Law here: EPA won’t extend relaxed enforcement, despite surging virus data

American Society of Civil Engineers unveils interactive map of construction-ready infrastructure projects in the United States

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) today released a new interactive map of construction-ready infrastructure projects that span the categories of dams, inland waterways, water systems and multimodal freight corridors across the country. This map of America’s Construction-Ready Infrastructure Projects is a not a comprehensive list of every project in the queue across the country; rather, it is a snapshot of infrastructure projects that could move forward quickly with federal funding and appropriations.  “At a time when people are confined to their homes, need jobs and with low interest rates for project funding, we have an opportunity to fast-track construction, but America is stuck until Congress acts,” said K.N. Gunalan, “Guna,” Ph.D., P.E., President, American Society of Civil Engineers. … ”  Read more and access the map at the American Society of Civil Engineers here:  American Society of Civil Engineers unveils interactive map of construction-ready infrastructure projects in the United States

Toxics group spurs nationwide efforts to ban PFAS in packaging

A coalition that decades ago fought heavy metals in food packaging is expanding its efforts, urging states from New Hampshire to California to ban “forever chemicals” in all forms of packaging.  The Toxics In Packaging Clearinghouse developed landmark legislation in 1989 that led to limits on lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium in food packaging in 19 states. Now, in its first major update in decades, the group is circulating draft model language for a ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in any concentration. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg Law here:  Toxics group spurs nationwide efforts to ban PFAS in packaging

Plastics, pathogens and baby formula: What’s in your shellfish?

The first landmark study using next-generation technology to comprehensively examine contaminants in oysters in Myanmar reveals alarming findings: the widespread presence of human bacterial pathogens and human-derived microdebris materials, including plastics, kerosene, paint, talc and milk supplement powders.  The study — led by scientists from the University of California, Irvine, in collaboration with Environmental Defense Fund, Cornell University and the University of Queensland — was conducted in the eastern Andaman Sea through partnerships with local researchers in Myanmar in the densely populated but still rural Tanintharyi region. The study concludes that coastal urbanization and lack of sewage treatment increases contamination in seafood and can cause potential health risks to humans, even large distances from pollution sources. … ”  Read more from the University of California Irvine here: Plastics, pathogens and baby formula: What’s in your shellfish?

Return to top

National water and climate update…

The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.

dmrpt-20200730

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Relief Fund~ Rebound Resources~ Performance Dashboard~ Delta Success ~~

HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS: Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom (FHAB) reports updated in last 7 days

Return to top

 

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.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: