In California water news this weekend …
California’s coast is vanishing due to land subsidence
“A new study from Arizona State University has pinpointed, for the first time, which regions on the California coast are the most vulnerable to a phenomenon known as land subsidence, which is the sudden sinking or gradual downward settling of the ground’s surface. The California coast has been largely spared from sea level rise for decades, but the trend is now set to reverse, and the coastline has already started disappearing due to land subsidence. The ASU team used satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), which can detect the land surface rise and fall with millimeter accuracy, to identify places on the California coast that are sinking. ... ” Read more from Earth here: California’s coast is vanishing due to land subsidence
- Satellite survey shows California’s sinking coastal hotspots, from Phys Org
- Tracking California’s sinking coast from space: Implications for relative sea-level rise, research paper at Science Advances
Are shrimp-flavored dog treats the answer to keeping Lake Tahoe blue?
“Mention shrimp to Geoffrey Schladow and he’ll smile. That’s because his team at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center has come up with an idea to remove the invasive crustacean from Lake Tahoe. Doing so, Schladow says, could help prevent climate change from destroying the lake’s iconic blue hue. “We’d be removing things that cause clarity to decline, and so we’d have broken this cycle between climate change and declining clarity,” said Schladow, the director of TERC. … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Are shrimp-flavored dog treats the answer to keeping Lake Tahoe blue?
Lake Tahoe’s fluctuating clarity worsens amid wet winter
“Lake Tahoe’s fluctuating clarity got worse last year during an especially cold and wet winter as sedimentation, algae growth and a tiny invasive shrimp continued to pose restoration challenges for the famed clear water of the mountain lake straddling the California-Nevada line. The clarity decline came a year after the lake had showed clarity improvement from its worst level in a half-century as climate change continues to drive long-term trends, with rising air temperatures and less precipitation falling as snow, according to the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center. ... ” Read more from CBS 13 here: Lake Tahoe’s fluctuating clarity worsens amid wet winter
Harder again scores millions in federal support for local water storage projects in House funding bill
“After securing substantial support in last year’s funding package, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) announced that this year’s water development funding bill also includes millions in funding for water storage projects which benefit the Central Valley. The bill passed the House today on a vote of 217-197. Once the bill is signed into law, three projects will each receive over $1 million in funding this year – including Del Puerto Canyon, Sites, and Los Vaqueros Reservoirs. These projects are all specifically listed in Rep. Harder’s SAVE Water Resources Act and each received funding in last year’s package. … ” Continue reading at Cal Ag Today here: Harder again scores millions in federal support for local water storage projects in House funding bill
Hydro report: FERC issues declaratory order finding waiver of California Section 401 Authority, FERC Approves Partial Transfer of Klamath Project License, FERC Proposes Changes to Dam Safety Regulations, and more …
Read more at the National Law Review here: Hydro Report
In regional news and commentary …
They tried to tame the Klamath River. They filled it with toxic algae instead.
“The Karuk people define themselves by the Klamath River, just as the Romans did the Tiber or the Egyptians did the Nile. The word “Karuk” means “upstream,” a reference to the waterway, which runs from Klamath Lake in southern Oregon, across the mountains of northern California — where the Karuk live — before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. Every year, at the end of summer, the Karuk celebrate the river, the mountains and the forest in their “making the world” ceremonies. “These ceremonies are to remind us of our responsibility to take care of our place,” said Josh Saxon, executive director of the Karuk tribe. “We believe that we’re related to everything, so we have a responsibility to take care of our relatives, which are the fish and the water and the animals and the sky — everything.” As part of these ceremonies, priests bathe in the river. But from July through November, when the water is warmest, the Klamath fills with blue-green algae that render the river toxic. ... ” Read more from Nexus Media here: They tried to tame the Klamath River. They filled it with toxic algae instead.
Opinion: PacifiCorp should move forward with historic Klamath dams agreement, say Russell “Buster” Attebery, chairman of the Karuk Tribe, and Joseph L. James, chairman of the Yurok Tribe
They write, “For nearly 20 years, Klamath River tribes and our allies have fought tirelessly to see the removal of four aging Klamath River dams. We have engaged in protests, attended countless meetings, commissioned technical reports, filed lawsuits and negotiated directly with dam owner PacifiCorp and dozens of other stakeholders. For us, dam removal is absolutely necessary to restore our struggling fisheries, maintain cultural practices, and provide tribal members who struggle to make ends meet access to traditional subsistence foods. ... ” Read more from Oregon Live here: Opinion: PacifiCorp should move forward with historic Klamath dams agreement
Placer County Water Agency receives 2020 Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award
“The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented the prestigious Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence to Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) for its French Meadows Forest Restoration Project. Placer County Water Agency’s French Meadows Forest Restoration Project aims to improve fire resiliency in the American River watershed by treating more than 22,000 acres of federal forest through ecologically based fuels management, meadow restoration, and prescribed fire. … ” Read more from ACWA News here: Placer County Water Agency receives 2020 Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award
Folsom investigating why copper pipes are leaking inside many homes
“A pinhole size water leak in copper pipes are causing Folsom many residents thousands of dollars in damages. “Three weeks ago it was late night we thought we heard a sprinkler system turning on or something we looked around and finally we saw it dripping from the top of our window seal to the bottom,” Folsom resident Andre White said. … ” Read more from KXTV here: Folsom investigating why copper pipes are leaking inside many homes
Cache Creek flood control continues advancing
“A Cache Creek flood risk management meeting held via Zoom attracted few people and probably didn’t change many minds on the need for a levee north of Woodland. Held this past week by Woodland city officials, the video-based gathering seemed to be viewed mainly by farmers and other large landowners concerned about losing portions of their property through condemnation, being fairly compensated, and even who will pay for future maintenance. … ” Read more from the Woodland Daily Democrat here: Cache Creek flood control continues advancing
Marin judge rejects bid to halt San Geronimo Creek restoration
“A Marin County Superior Court judge rejected a petition filed by a group of San Geronimo residents and golfers to halt creek restoration work in the former San Geronimo Golf Course. The ten residents and golfers, known as the San Geronimo Heritage Alliance, filed the lawsuit in July alleging the creek restoration work by the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, or SPAWN, is illegal. The lawsuit also seeks a court order to have the golf course property owner, the Trust for Public Land, restore the 157-acre property to a golf course. ... ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin judge rejects bid to halt San Geronimo Creek restoration
Monterey: Water district asks state for Carmel River cutback relief
“With a new water supply delayed by state regulatory agencies and political infighting, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board has asked the state water board not to impose Carmel River water reductions due to an inevitable violation of an approaching river cutback order milestone and to start talks on extending the Dec. 31, 2021 deadline for full implementation of the order. The request comes as California American Water’s desalination project awaits its long-delayed Coastal Commission hearing and as the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project experiences another in a series of delays in delivering water to the Peninsula, while a much-touted recycled water expansion proposal remains in limbo. … ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Water district asks state for Carmel River cutback relief
Commentary: Desalination — The Castroville connection, by Grant Leonard
He writes, “For people who do not spend their spare time following the Monterey Peninsula water saga, one of the more curious things about the Cal Am Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project is why Castroville has anything to do with the project. You’d be forgiven if you thought that the desalination project to bring water to the Monterey Peninsula only involved the Cal Am, the Monterey Peninsula cities and the Pacific Ocean. However, Castroville, the Artichoke Center of the World, now finds itself at the center of the desalination project. The reason is rather technical, but basically, this is because the desalinated water will be pumped from the coastal dunes between the ocean and the farm fields north of Marina and a certain percentage of the desalinated water is anticipated to come from the Salinas Valley groundwater basin. … ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Commentary: Desalination — The Castroville connection
Amador County will not pursue lawsuit against CDCR as talks continue on Mule Creek contamination
“On July 10, 2020, both the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the prosecution team of the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board (RWQCB) reached Settlement Agreement and Stipulation for Entry of Administrate Civil Liability Order R5-2020-XXXX to address the discharge of 1,119,746 gallons of contaminated stormwater discharged to surface water over 79 days between January 18, 2018 and April 10, 2019 at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) in Ione. Any person wishing to comment on this matter may submit written comments to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, 11020 Sun Center Drive #200, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on August 19, 2020. … ” Read more from the Amador Ledger-Dispatch here: Amador County will not pursue lawsuit against CDCR as talks continue on Mule Creek contamination
Work on enlarging Tule River Spillway to begin
“Much needed work at Schafer Dam at Success Lake is finally set to begin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District will begin construction to realign Avenue 146 and widen the existing Tule River Spillway at Success Lake in Porterville on Sunday. Avenue 146, including the Rocky Hill Recreation Area, will be closed for the duration of the Phase 1 project, which is expected to be completee in the summer 2021. The Rocky Hill closure includes all access to the shoreline, day use arbors, and boat launch ramp. Boat launches in the Tule Recreation Area on the east side of the lake will remain open. … ” Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Work on enlarging Tule River Spillway to begin
Surfs up! Celebrating public recreation and shorebird conservation at Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County
“In a way that truly embodies the spirit of Californians who banded together to pass the Coastal Act 44 years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Coastal Commission and the community of Lompoc came together this year to amend a closure policy to provide increased beach access to their closest beach, Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County. Managed by Vandenberg Air Force Base, Surf Beach is home to tiny shorebirds that have been tirelessly fighting for survival after years of habitat loss and human activity. Western snowy plovers, often confused with the much more common sanderling, are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and have benefited from protections from human disturbance during the critical summertime breeding season at Surf Beach. … ” Read more from the US FWS here: Surfs up! Celebrating public recreation and shorebird conservation at Surf Beach in Santa Barbara County
Amid Pine Mountain’s ancient trees, a forest ‘thinning’ project triggers protests
“It rises 7,000 feet from the rugged foothills north of Ojai, in Ventura County. Known as Pine Mountain, it is home to rare California chaparral, hundreds of species of native plants and wildlife, and an old-growth pine forest the U.S. Forest Service wants to thin out with chain saws. In the name of forest health and reducing wildfire risk, the Forest Service is proposing to thin 755 acres from Pine Mountain up to the adjacent Reyes Peak, mostly within Los Padres National Forest. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Amid Pine Mountain’s ancient trees, a forest ‘thinning’ project triggers protests
The Los Angeles River as you’ve never seen it — in augmented reality
“Fifty-one miles of territory. Thousands of years of evolution. How to grasp the complexity of the Los Angeles River, its history and its geological diversity in a single sitting? Well, there’s an app for that. “Rio de Los Angeles” is a new augmented reality app produced by RYOT, a production studio run by Verizon Media that specializes in interactive and immersive experiences, in collaboration with digital studios Vrai Pictures and Superbright. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: The Los Angeles River as you’ve never seen it — in augmented reality
House-passed bill includes nearly $385 million to fix Whittier Narrows Dam
“Four years after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers upgraded the flood risk for the Whittier Narrows Dam from high urgency to very high urgency, the U,S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a budget package that included nearly $385 million to fix the dam. The 2016 re-inspection revealed a greater threat of erosion and breach that would cause massive downstream flooding to 1 million Southern California residents in the event of a severe storm event. Inspectors also were alerted to the increased likelihood of spillway gates opening by themselves without prompting. … ” Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: House-passed bill includes nearly $385 million to fix Whittier Narrows Dam
Mesa Water recognized for excellence in governance & transparency
“Mesa Water District (Mesa Water®) was recently reaccredited as a “District of Distinction” by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) for its sound fiscal management policies and practices in district operations. This is the seventh time Mesa Water receives the biannual accreditation – one of the most prestigious awards in local government in the state. “This is a testament to the staff, management team, and Board members’ ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability, which guides our organization,” says Mesa Water Board President Shawn Dewane. “The entire staff is to be commended for these contributions that empower the public with information and facilitate engagement and oversight.” ... ” Read more from ACWA News here: Mesa Water recognized for excellence in governance & transparency
Poseidon desalination proposal for Huntington Beach may face new requirements
“Poseidon Water could be headed back to the drawing board to better compensate for the marine life expected to be killed by its proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach. After hearings this week for one of two remaining major permits needed for the project, several members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board indicated they were dissatisfied with the proposed mitigation for the larvae and other small marine life that would die as a result of the plant’s ocean intake pipes. “I don’t think this mitigation comes close to addressing the impacts this project will have,” said regional board Director Daniel Selmi on Friday evening, July 31, near the end of two 10-hour days of online hearings and public testimony for the proposed permit. … ” Read more from the OC Register here: Poseidon desalination proposal for Huntington Beach may face new requirements
SEE ALSO: Thirsty? This costly plant could let you drink the Pacific, from the LAist
Along the Colorado River …
Las Vegas: Infrastructure investments protect community’s water supply
“Smart investments can help communities weather tough times, so when drought conditions hit the Colorado River Basin in 2000, the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) joined local water agencies to invest in forward-thinking plans and programs to protect Southern Nevada’s water supply. Engineering a deep-water solution, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and its member agencies, including the LVVWD, initiated the engineering design and construction of a 24-foot diameter intake tunnel and Low Lake Level Pumping Station to ensure 2.2 million Southern Nevadans maintained access to their drinking water. ... ” Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here: Las Vegas: Infrastructure investments protect community’s water supply
Fixing the Colorado River will be difficult. Good thing Arizona is starting early, says Joanna Allhands
She writes, “Arizona, California and Nevada have not used this little Colorado River water in more than three decades. The three states that rely on Lake Mead used a little more than 6.5 million acre-feet in 2019, according to a recent Bureau of Reclamation report, almost a million acre-feet less than they are legally allotted. That’s huge. … ” Read more from Arizona Central here: Fixing the Colorado River will be difficult. Good thing Arizona is starting early
Glen Canyon Dam may release more water to cope with COVID electricity needs
“Summer energy demands driven higher as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps more people at home could lead to more water flowing from Glen Canyon Dam into the Colorado River. That could mean rapidly changing conditions for rafters, anglers, hikers or others on the river in Glen Canyon or the Grand Canyon, officials said. The higher flows would be released if the Western Area Power Administration initiates an emergency electrical situation, said Marlon Duke, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees Glen Canyon Dam and the electricity it generates. … ” Read more from Arizona Central here: Glen Canyon Dam may release more water to cope with COVID electricity needs
In commentary this weekend …
U.S. Senate must pass legislation to protect and preserve San Francisco Bay, says Jackie Speier
She writes, “We are facing a perfect storm of unprecedented magnitude: the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis. The Trump administration’s incompetent response has exacerbated the problem, consistently undermining and diminishing the scientific evidence. The same can be said about the federal response to the climate crisis. But while the tangible possibility of a vaccine provides hope against the virus, no such straightforward solution exists for climate change. Saving our planet will require unprecedented focus and investment from every sector of our society and all levels of government — especially the federal government. … ” Continue reading this commentary at the San Francisco Chronicle here: U.S. Senate must pass legislation to protect and preserve San Francisco Bay
In people news this weekend …
Q&A: Meet Letitia Grenier, newest PPIC CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow
“We are excited to introduce Letitia Grenier — Senior Scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Insitute and Aquatic Science Center — as the second appointed Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow! We recently got to know her through an interview. Check out her answers in our latest post. … 1. How does it feel to be the second CalTrout Ecosystem PPIC Fellow? Very exciting. I feel honored to be given this opportunity! The chance to think at a higher level, synthesize across many successful projects, and connect with people who have innovated in the realm of ecosystem restoration is unique and precious. I feel like I am getting the opportunity to learn in a new area and apply my knowledge and experience in a new way. … ” Read more from Cal Trout here: Q&A: Meet Letitia Grenier, newest PPIC CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow
Fresno farming giant Jack Woolf, leader in transforming San Joaquin Valley, dies at 102
“John Leroy Woolf Jr., a pioneering farmer who helped re-imagine the dry and dusty west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley into an agricultural oasis, died Tuesday. He was 102. Woolf, who went by “Jack,” died of natural causes at his Fresno home surrounded by his family including Bernice, his wife of 71 years. “Dad let it be known that when his day came he did not want to be in a hospital, he wanted to be home with his family, and that is exactly what happened,” said his son Stuart Woolf. “He lived a long, full life.” … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Fresno farming giant Jack Woolf, leader in transforming San Joaquin Valley, dies at 102
ACWA presents leadership award to the Water Replenishment District GM Robb Whitaker
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented its 2020 Excellence in Water Leadership Award to The Water Replenishment District (WRD) General Manager Robb Whitaker for his leadership and commitment to sustainable groundwater resources. Whitaker has worked in the field of water resources and engineering and planning for 33 years and has been at WRD since 1991. He was the key architect in the planning and implementation of WRD’s highly successful Water Independence Now Initiative, a 15-year effort to entirely offset WRD’s groundwater replenishment demands with local stormwater and recycled water supplies.
ACWA’s John P. Fraser Water Leaders Fellowship Awarded to Helen Rocha
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented its first-ever John P. Fraser Water Leaders Fellowship to Helen Rocha, an associate civil engineer at the Sacramento Water Agency. Rocha has been a part of the water industry for 10 years and is passionate about the importance of planning and strategizing solutions that help California communities with their existing water supplies, infrastructure and water policies. She has worked with many smaller water districts, which has strengthened her committed to understanding issues relating to aging infrastructure, funding projects, identifying water supply issues and improving system reliability.
Isaya Kisekka named recipient of 2020 Excellence in Education Award by the Irrigation Association
“The Irrigation Association is excited to announce that Isaya Kisekka, PhD, of the University of California, Davis has been named the recipient of the 2020 Excellence in Education Award. This award recognizes a person who teaches irrigation, water management and/or water conservation in affiliation with a two- or four-year institution and has a commitment to not only elevating the level of education but also promoting the field of irrigation as a viable and sustainable career to students. Kisekka is an associate professor of agricultural water management and irrigation engineering and associate irrigation engineer at UC Davis, and he was instrumental in reviving the irrigation curriculum there. ...
State Water Board appointee Sean Maguire re-confirmed by State Senate
“Following the June 18 recommendation by the Senate Rules Committee, the State Senate yesterday unanimously reconfirmed Sean Maguire as a member of the State Water Resources Control Board. The five-member State Water Board provides comprehensive protection for California’s waters. Its mission is to preserve, enhance and restore the quality of California’s water resources and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations. “It is an honor to continue serving California at this critical time as we work to provide safe drinking water for all Californians, care for our environment in new ways, and help ensure reliable water resources for our vibrant economy and vulnerable communities,” Maguire said. “This is no small list of tasks, but they are absolutely essential to our future success as a state.” …
Erin Mellon, 32, of Sacramento, has been reappointed deputy director of communications at the California Department of Water Resources
… where she has served since 2017. Mellon was a communications and outreach advisor at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2016 to 2017, communications director at ChargePoint Inc. from 2014 to 2016 and director at Mercury Public Affairs from 2013 to 2014. She was a communications consultant in the California State Assembly Speaker’s Office of Member Services in 2013, associate deputy media and political specialist at Dewey Square Group from 2011 to 2013 and deputy campaign manager at Victor for Mayor from 2010 to 2011. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $139,836. Mellon is a Democrat.
Clark Blanchard, 41, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy director of legislation at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
… where he has served as assistant deputy director for communications, education and outreach since 2014. Blanchard was associate director of communications at the California Natural Resource Agency from 2010 to 2014. He held multiple positions in the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2006 to 2010, including director of advance, advance representative, and external affairs coordinator. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $125,760. Blanchard is registered without party preference.
THE ECONEWS REPORT: What Will the Next Plan for the Northwest’s Forests Look Like?
“The Northwest Forest Plan — first adopted in 1994 — guides the management of federally owned forest lands in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. A lot has changed in the last 26 years, but the plan has mostly remained static. Until now! Mike Anderson of the Wilderness Society joins hosts Tom Wheeler (EPIC) and Scott Greacen (Friends of the Eel) to preview an upcoming effort to revise this important document, and to think about how to incorporate everything we’ve learned in the last quarter-century.”
Click here for podcast at the Lost Coast Outpost: THE ECONEWS REPORT: What Will the Next Plan for the Northwest’s Forests Look Like?
Different Time Scales
Steve Baker writes, “Who would have known that a 30,000-year-old event would have such a positive impact on the population living in the Denver Basin today? Ancient melted glaciers and glacial rock debris are responsible for the water supply used by the Front Range area of the Denver Basin. Aquifers are as deep as 2,000 feet and produce some great quality water. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.” Podcasts here Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co
In national water news this weekend …
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries propose regulatory definition of habitat under Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed a regulatory definition of the term “habitat” that would be used in the context of critical habitat designations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed definition is part of the efforts of the Trump Administration to balance effective, science-based conservation with common-sense policy designed to bring the ESA into the 21st century. “Our proposed definition of habit is intended to add more consistency to how the Service designates critical habitat under ESA,” said Rob Wallace, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “Improving how we apply this important tool will result in better conservation outcomes and provide more transparency for countless stakeholders such as private landowners, industry, and states.”
Latest Trump proposal on endangered species could limit future habitat, critics say
“A new proposal from the Trump administration that defines habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would limit the areas species will have to recover, critics say. An advance copy of the proposal from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that was obtained by The Hill writes that habitats are “the physical places that individuals of a species depend upon to carry out one or more life processes. Habitat includes areas with existing attributes that have the capacity to support individuals of the species.” … ” Read more from The Hill here: Latest Trump proposal on endangered species could limit future habitat, critics say