DAILY DIGEST, 9/9: Making the most of water for the environment; DWR releases draft Guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans; Newsom: ‘No patience for climate change deniers’ amid historic wildfires; Nation’s largest solar farm approved for Tulare County; and more …



On the calendar today …

DELTA SCIENCE NEEDS: Pre-workshop virtual discussion series from 9:15am to 10:30am

The final session on September 9 will kickoff at 9:15 AM via Microsoft Teamswith a panel discussion among Joaquin Esquivel (State Water Resources Control Board), Carl Wilcox (California Department of Fish & Wildlife), and Darcy Austin (State Water Contractors) on the main challenges related to science governance in the Delta science enterprise and any potential solutions.  Join via Microsoft Teams or by phone at phone: +1 916-432-5700 (Conference ID: 857 436 175#).

WEBINAR: Inland desalination and concentrate management from 10am to 11:30am

With world population increasing and reliable freshwater supplies becoming more limited, desalination is a rapidly growing water supply alternative in many locations. Desalination offers a means of providing freshwater from abundant saline water sources.  The increased use of inland desalination has created a need for advancements in concentrate management. AWWA Manual M69, Inland Desalination and Concentrate Management discusses key issues involved in developing inland desalination facilities and using related concentrate management and disposal methods.  Presented by the American Water Works Association.  Click here to register.

California’s Super Salmon, Floodplains: The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet for Growing Salmon from 1pm to 1:30pm

Why are floodplains good for juvenile salmon? Join DWR scientist Hailey Wright to follow salmon fry down the Sacramento river on their journey to the ocean. We’ll look at why floodplains are so important and DWR is doing to help bring back this important piece of habitat for them.  Watch live on YouTube or register through Zoom to ask Hailey questions. A recorded version will be available on DWR’s YouTube channel after the program is over.

WEBINAR: Climate Change Action: The Role of Natural Solutions at 2pm

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment is convening a series of webinars focusing on important emissions reduction elements to be considered as part of a U.S. playbook of climate solution options. The webinars will explore deployment potential, scalability, and mitigation and/or adaptation benefits as compared to costs.  On September 9, our first session Climate Change Action: The Role of Natural Solutions will address topics such as: the national and global scope of opportunities, the role of different kinds of incentives, and opportunities and risks for co-benefits to soil fertility, food security and forest health.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Video: Making the most of water for the environment

Decades of water and land management practices have altered California’s rivers and substantially changed their flow patterns, with devastating effects on native fish and wildlife. Current river management practices have failed to reverse this decline. At a virtual event last week, Ted Grantham—the first PPIC CalTrout Ecosystem Fellow and a cooperative extension specialist at UC Berkeley—described a new approach to river management that would restore seasonal components of river flow to sustain physical and biological processes necessary for ecosystem health. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here: Video: Making the most of water for the environment

DWR releases draft Guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans

The California Department of Water Resources released its long-awaited draft Guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans last week. The Guidebook is designed to assist urban water suppliers with preparing UWMPs that are due to DWR on July 1. DWR also released its draft 2020 Agricultural Water Management Plan Guidebook related to long-term water supply and demand strategies for agricultural water planning. The 2018 water conservation legislation (Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668) created new requirements for both plans. … ”  Read more from BB&K here: DWR releases draft Guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans

California wildfires …

‘You can’t manage it’: Agriculture undersecretary takes heat during North State visit

As California burns, the U.S. undersecretary of agriculture got an earful of criticism Tuesday about how the the nation’s forests are being managed.  As part of his visit to the North State on Tuesday to learn more about the fires, U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jim Hubbard had a listening session in Red Bluff with about 20 ranchers, loggers and others who contract with the U.S. Forest Service.  With hundreds of thousands of acres of national forest burning just miles away, Hubbard and other Forest Service officials were told the agency’s management practices were making the forests worse and more susceptible to fire. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: ‘You can’t manage it’: Agriculture undersecretary takes heat during North State visit

SEE ALSO: Rep. Doug LaMalfa and Agriculture Undersecretary talk forest management, from the Red Bluff Daily News

Newsom: ‘No patience for climate change deniers’ amid historic wildfires

As California battles another round of life-threatening wildfires, Gov. Gavin Newsom emphasized Tuesday that the state will continue to pursue policies that combat climate change as it faces a prolonged vortex of disasters.  Multiple fires erupted over the holiday weekend, including one south of Yosemite National Park that forced dramatic military helicopter rescues and another in Southern California that drew international attention because its suspected cause was a pregnancy gender reveal ceremony. The new round of blazes have forced millions of residents in the nation’s most populous state back indoors due to unhealthy air, all in the midst of the pandemic. … ”  Read more from Politico here:  Newsom: ‘No patience for climate change deniers’ amid historic wildfires

‘Ground zero’ for dead trees. How California mega-drought turned Creek Fire into inferno

“California’s mega-drought officially ended three years ago but may have turned the Creek Fire into a monster.  By killing millions of trees in the Sierra National Forest, the historic drought that ended in 2017 left an incendiary supply of dry fuel that appears to have intensified the fire that’s ravaged more than 140,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada, wildfire scientists and forestry experts said Tuesday.  “The energy produced off that is extraordinary,” said Scott Stephens, a wildfire scientist at UC Berkeley. “Large amounts of woody material burning simultaneously.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: ‘Ground zero’ for dead trees. How California mega-drought turned Creek Fire into inferno

California fires: Five reasons why this year is so bad

” … Three of the four largest fires in California history are all burning at the same time now. On Tuesday, 2.3 million acres already had burned this year statewide — an area more than 20 times larger than the city of San Jose — and the most in any year since modern records began, with two months still remaining in fire season.  What’s driving our record fire year? A combination of heat, freak lighting, drought and overgrown forests, experts say. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: California fires: Five reasons why this year is so bad

California’s Creek Fire creates its own pyrocumulonimbus cloud

” … “The pyrocumulonimbus cloud created aerosol index values indicate that this is one of the largest (if not the largest) pyroCb events seen in the United States,” according to Dr. Colin Seftor, Atmospheric Scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. … ”  Read the article from NASA here: California’s Creek Fire creates its own pyrocumulonimbus cloud

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Radio show: Plan to remove 4 Klamath River dams may stall again

Klamath River tribes have been advocating for the removal of four large dams along the river for nearly 20 years. The dams — one in Oregon and three in California — were built in 1918. Before the dams, tribes had stewarded and fished from the Klamath River for thousands of years. But after the dams were built, the health and number of fish in the river dramatically decreased. In 2010, tribes joined the company that owns the dams and other stakeholders in an agreement to remove the dams in 2020. The plan was later delayed to 2022, and now it may stall again because of a recent decision by federal regulators. We hear from Amy Bowers Cordalis, general counsel for the Yurok Tribe, about the river’s history and what’s going on with the dam removal project.”  Listen to the radio show from OPB here:  Radio show: Plan to remove 4 Klamath River dams may stall again

Progress on St. Helena dam removal ends years of daily fines

The pending removal of the Upper York Creek Dam has put a stop to a daily $70 fine that’s been levied against the City of St. Helena for almost eight years.  Thanks to rapid progress on the long-awaited project, which will improve fish passage and restore habitat along York Creek, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has suspended the $70 per day penalty the city has incurred since November 2012, the city announced Friday. … ”  Read more from the Daily Reporter here:  Progress on St. Helena dam removal ends years of daily fines

Valley Water relocates threatened steelhead for upcoming dam retrofit

When a team of 18 biologists in mid-August rescued threatened Central California Coast steelhead trout in Coyote Creek, the magnitude of the feat wasn’t lost on anyone involved.  Least of all on Clayton Leal.  “This was a first-of-its-kind thing …. conducted by Valley Water,” the senior water resource specialist said in a recent interview. “I’m not really familiar with anything else done at this level for any other species. This was a major effort that had consultants involved as well.” ... ”  Read more from the Morgan Hill Times here: Valley Water relocates threatened steelhead for upcoming dam retrofit

Nation’s largest solar farm approved for Tulare County

“Work to build the nation’s largest solar farm in Tulare County may begin by the end of this year.  At its Aug. 26 meeting, the Tulare County Planning Commission unanimously approved environmental documents for the Rexford Solar Farm in southeastern Tulare County. … Aaron Bock, assistant director of the county’s Resource Management Agency, said most of the farmland is not being irrigated and the project would drastically reduce the “water footprint” of the area which was hit hard during the historic drought from 2012-2017. Southern Tulare County already has a water deficit problem as evidenced by issues with land subsidence. … ”  Read more from the Sun-Gazette here:  Nation’s largest solar farm approved for Tulare County

Visalia firefighters demonstrate new water-saving device

The Visalia Fire Department will have a step up in training thanks in partnership with California Water Service.  Cal Water awarded VFD a grant worth $102,000, which allowed for the purchase of a 10-foot mobile pump pod for the fire agency.  According to Cal Water administration analyst Chrissy Balderama, the new water-saving device is a self-contained unit that recirculates water that is used during firefighter training and pump testing. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Visalia firefighters demonstrate new water-saving device

Proposed $171 million Central Valley groundwater bank faces TCP contamination

A Kern County groundwater bank proposal just at the starting blocks has been hit with 1,2,3-TCP contamination.  Irvine Ranch Water District and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District had just begun the environmental review process for their joint banking project this past April when TCP reared its head.  “It doesn’t appear TCP is an existential threat to the program,” said Todd Robins, an attorney representing both Rosedale-Rio Bravo and Irvine Ranch. “But there is a likelihood there will be damages. Either wells will need to be replaced or the water will need to be treated to fully restore flexibility for the project.” ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  Proposed $171 million Central Valley groundwater bank faces TCP contamination

Channelkeeper celebrates its 20 years of environmental impact at Virtual Blue Water Ball

On Wednesday, September 9, water watchdog Santa Barbara Channelkeeper will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a free, virtual version of its annual Blue Water Ball, this year hosted by SBCC Foundation CEO Geoff Green. The event will include remarks by Executive Director Kira Redmond and Board President Mike Wondolowski, some surprises, and the kickoff of its extensive silent auction and its raffle. Each year, Channelkeeper has raised about a quarter of its funds from this event. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barabara Independent here:  Channelkeeper celebrates its 20 years of environmental impact at Virtual Blue Water Ball

An Orange County marine biologist wants to weed the ocean to help kelp grow

Marine biologist Nancy Caruso has a plan to help giant kelp grow in the ocean waters off Orange County – again.  Kelp, the ocean’s forest and critical to a healthy ecosystem, made a comeback after Caruso, with help from more than 2,000 Orange County students and volunteer divers, replanted areas from the Newport Jetty to Dana Point in 2009. After her project, there was more kelp along the section of coastline than there had been in 30 years. At the time, Caruso worked for Orange County Coastkeeper. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: An Orange County marine biologist wants to weed the ocean to help kelp grow

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Along the Colorado River …

Nevada officials raise concerns about proposed Utah pipeline to tap into more Colorado River water

Nevada officials raised numerous concerns Tuesday about permitting a proposed project to pipe large quantities of Colorado River water roughly 140 miles from Lake Powell to southern Utah, a controversial plan that would place new demands on the river.  Six of the seven states that use the Colorado River also sent a letter to federal water managers Tuesday asking them to refrain from completing project permitting until a consensus among the states could be reached on “outstanding legal and operational concerns.” … ”  Read more from the Nevada Independent here:  Nevada officials raise concerns about proposed Utah pipeline to tap into more Colorado River water

Six Colorado River Basin States to Interior: Don’t allow Utah to blow up basin collaboration

The six Colorado River Basin states that do not have the letters “U-T-A-H” in their names just sent a remarkable letter to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt with a plea – don’t let the rush toward federal approval of Utah’s proposed Lake Powell Pipeline blow up the Colorado River Basin’s framework of collaborative rather than confrontational problem solving … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here: Six Colorado River Basin States to Interior: Don’t allow Utah to blow up basin collaboration

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In national water news and commentary today …

Federal report warns of financial havoc from climate change

A report commissioned by federal regulators overseeing the nation’s commodities markets has concluded that climate change threatens U.S. financial markets, as the costs of wildfires, storms, droughts and floods spread through insurance and mortgage markets, pension funds and other financial institutions.  “A world wracked by frequent and devastating shocks from climate change cannot sustain the fundamental conditions supporting our financial system,” concluded the report, “Managing Climate Risk in the Financial System,” which was requested last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and set for release on Wednesday morning. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Federal report warns of financial havoc from climate change

Dan Farber: Rebuilding Environmental Protection

He writes, “After almost four years of Trump, federal environmental protection is in about the same shape as Western Europe at the end of World War II, filled with bomb craters and destruction. If the election turns out in Biden’s favor, he will be faced with the task of rebuilding from the smoking ruins.  Here are some initial, somewhat tentative thoughts about “rebuilding better.” One component of being “better” is “less vulnerable to being axed by conservative judges.” … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet here:  Dan Farber: Rebuilding Environmental Protection

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Today’s featured articles …

WATER QUALITY: A basic primer on water quality regulation

In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA), requiring local agencies to be formed and groundwater sustainability plans to be written for all groundwater basins subject to SGMA.  Those plans must avoid six undesirable results, one of which is “significant and unreasonable” impacts to groundwater quality.

Ensuring that groundwater quality is maintained at a standard that is acceptable for its intended uses, such as drinking water, is particularly important as impacts to groundwater quality can affect a variety of users but tend to hurt small water supply systems and domestic well owners disproportionately. Therefore, writing plans that protect drinking water and ensure the management actions required under the law do not negatively impact groundwater quality will be critical and requires understanding a host of existing federal, state, and local regulations and laws related to water quality.

This post is a primer on water quality regulations with a focus on groundwater quality regulation.  It is based on a lecture from Dr. Thomas Harter’s Groundwater Shortcourse held earlier this year, as well as the textbook, Watersheds, Groundwater and Drinking Water, and some internet research.

Click here to read this article.

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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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