On the calendar today …
WEBINAR: The Brown Act: The People’s Business and the Right to Access from 10am to 11:30am.
In this Best Best & Krieger LLP webinar, attorneys Lauren Langer and Albert Maldonado will cover key provisions of the “open and public” law and some authorized exceptions. The discussion will also include the Brown Act’s purpose; to whom it applies, what constitutes a “meeting”, where meetings can be held, notice and agenda requirements, frequent mistakes, and following the Brown Act in the age of technology. Click here for more information and to register.
FREE WEBINAR: Smart Water 2020: Building a Resilient Water Future from 10am to 11:30am.
Join us as leaders from three proactive utilities discuss how they leverage information and technology to enable staff, make better decisions, reduce costs, become more efficient and resilient, and use innovative solutions to address current challenges and future uncertainty. Click here to register.
VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING: Draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan Guidebook from 12:30pm to 2:30pm
DWR has released the Draft Urban Water Management Plan Guidebook 2020. The Guidebook provides urban water suppliers with technical assistance for preparing an UWMP. Use of the UWMP Guidebook is voluntary. Every urban water supplier that either provides over 3,000 acre-feet of water annually or serves more than 3,000 urban connections is required to submit an UWMP. Suppliers must submit 2020 UWMPs electronically to DWR by July 1, 2021. This workshop is an opportunity for the public to comment on the Draft Guidebook. DWR will present a brief overview of the major changes to the Guidebook since the 2015 version and solicit feedback and comments. Click here to register.
DWR DISTANCE LEARNING: Navigating the Maze: Salmon in the Delta from 1pm to 1:30pm
Join DWR Senior Scientist, Dr. Brett Harvey, for a live presentation and chat as he describes the journey taken by juvenile salmon through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Before the salmon born in California’s Central Valley can get to the ocean, they must first make it through the San Francisco Upper Estuary, a maze of channels and sloughs that includes the Delta. Along the way, they need good habitat – places where they can find food without becoming food themselves. Only a small percentage of juvenile salmon survive this part of the journey. Dr. Harvey will describe this journey, and some of the things we are doing to help more juvenile salmon make it from their birth rivers to the ocean. Watch on DWR’s YouTube Channel or register and join through Zoom to ask Dr. Harvey questions.
ONLINE MEETING: Delta Conservancy Program and Policy Subcommittee from 1pm to 3pm
Agenda items include updates on Easements and Land Ownership Assessment, Prop 1, and Prop 68. Click here for agenda and Zoom meeting link.
VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING: Draft 2020 Agricultural Water Management Plan Guidebook from 3pm to 5pm
DWR has released the Draft “A Guidebook to Assist Agricultural Water Suppliers to Prepare a 2020 Agricultural Water Management Plan” (Guidebook). The Guidebook provides agricultural water suppliers with technical assistance for preparing an AWMP. Use of the Guidebook is voluntary. Agricultural water suppliers providing water to more than 25,000 irrigated acres are required to prepare or update their agricultural water management plans (AWMPs) every five years. The 2020 AWMP deadline for adoption is April 1, 2021 and adopted AWMPs must be submitted electronically to DWR within 30 days of adoption. This workshop is an opportunity for the public to comment on the Draft Guidebook. DWR will present a brief overview of the major changes to the Guidebook since the 2015 version and solicit feedback and comments. Click here to register.
GRA SAN DIEGO: Cannabis cultivation regulation and environmental concerns in Southern California from 6:15 to 8:30pm
In the first two years after Proposition 64, the South Coast Cannabis Cultivation Unit inspected greater than 200 illicit cannabis cultivation sites in southern coastal California. Observations from those inspections identified threats to Clean Water Act 303(d) waterbodies and Regional Water Board priority water systems, and observed illegal and unauthorized pesticide use, and discharges of wastes such as pesticides, fertilizers, hydrocarbons, litter, and sewage to California’s land and waterways. Click here for more information and to register.
In California water news today …
Past wildfires offer future roadmap for forest management’s effects on water
“Forest restoration is often associated with mitigating wildfire risk and improving ecosystem health throughout the Sierra Nevada. But restoration also dramatically affects water use within forests and the amount of runoff that flows downstream. The Sierra Nevada provides more than 60 percent of California’s water supply and sustains a globally important agricultural region. Quantifying the water-related benefits can be critical in showing the true value and cost-benefit of forest management. But until now, there hasn’t been enough locally relevant data to incentivize restoration projects. New research from UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) fills this data gap and provides a method to monetize the water-related benefits of forest thinning. … ” Read more from UC Merced here: Past wildfires offer future roadmap for forest management’s effects on water
The consequences of spraying fire retardants on wildfires
“Wildfires started burning in California early again this dry season—more than two million acres have burned so far. Larger and larger wildfires are occurring as new heat records are being broken each year. Firefighting efforts have leaned heavily on aerial spraying of fire retardants, but their environmental and health effects are little studied, says Jordyn Ellorin, VG19, a native Californian who received an M.S. in conservation medicine (MCM) from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. … ” Read more from Phys Org here: The consequences of spraying fire retardants on wildfires
Creek Fire ignites fire management debate on 102 million trees killed by beetles, drought
“When the Creek Fire exploded to 160,000 acres in just 72 hours, ripping through a jewel of the Sierra Nevada just south of Yosemite National Park, California and the world looked on in horror and surprise. But the stage had long been set for the megablaze, one of a half-dozen transforming millions of acres of Golden State landscapes to ash. Droughts supercharged by climate change dried out vegetation, aiding its transition into fuel. And as observers ranging from foresters to Californians living in the wildland urban interface predicted, the state’s zealous, century-long fight to suppress fires meant this flammable concoction grew to unstable levels. … ” Read more from the USA Today here: Creek Fire ignites fire management debate on 102 million trees killed by beetles, drought
Analysis: Trump blames California for fires. He should check to see whose land they’re on.
“With wildfires raging and smoke choking the West Coast’s cities and towns, President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed state officials in California, Oregon and Washington for the conflagrations, suggesting they have done a poor job of managing their forests—even suggesting that they somehow rake the forests to prevent fire. But when Trump met California officials this week for a briefing on the wildfires, CalFire director Thomas Porter showed him a map of California’s fires, most of which were located on territory the map colored green. … ” Read more from Politco here: Analysis: Trump blames California for fires. He should check to see whose land they’re on.
MORE FIRE NEWS …
- Fire destroys this California town for the second time in two years, from Channel 7
- Lawmakers decry Trump on climate, push wildfire prevention, from E&E News
- Farms assessing damage from devastating wildfires, from the Western Farm Press
- Smoke from West Coast wildfires blows into East Coast cities, from MSN
- Is biomass one of the answers to California wildfires? UC researcher says yes, from GV Wire
- This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires, from Fast Company
CSPA asks San Francisco water agency to withdraw voluntary agreement
“CSPA and thirteen other conservation and fishing organizations wrote a letter to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on September 9, 2020 requesting that the Commission withdraw its support for a proposed Tuolumne River Voluntary Agreement. CSPA and others also presented the request to the SFPUC meeting the same day. The request follows a scientific peer review of the fish population models that provide much of the purported basis for the Voluntary Agreement. The review by Anchor QEA of Seattle reached the following conclusion about the salmon population model developed by the Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts … ” Continue reading this press release from the CSPA here: CSPA asks San Francisco water agency to withdraw voluntary agreement
In a dry state, farmers use oil wastewater to irrigate their fields, but is it safe?
“For decades, farmers in California’s Kern County have turned to wastewater from oil production to help irrigate their crops during extended dry spells. The wastewater provides an alternative to groundwater, which has become increasingly scarce as farmers have pumped more than they could replenish. But the use of the recycled water, a byproduct of oil and natural gas extraction that is mixed with surface water for irrigation, has stirred controversy. … ” Read more from Inside Climate News here: In a dry state, farmers use oil wastewater to irrigate their fields, but is it safe?
Transforming water management in the U.S. West with NASA data
“Building upon more than two decades of research, a new web-based platform called OpenET will soon be putting NASA data in the hands of farmers, water managers and conservation groups to accelerate improvements and innovations in water management. OpenET uses publicly available data and open source models to provide satellite-based information on evapotranspiration (the “ET” in OpenET) in areas as small as a quarter of an acre and at daily, monthly and yearly intervals. Evapotranspiration is the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere, by water leaving the soil (evaporation) and water lost through plant leaves and stems (transpiration). Evapotranspiration is an important measure of how much water is used or “consumed” by agricultural crops and other plants. … ”
Evaporation adds up. How much? Google it – someday
“There are lots of new water gizmos popping up these days but there’s only one Google. Which makes the massive tech company’s involvement in a proposed water measurement tool both intriguing and slightly suspicious to some agricultural water managers. The same goes for another partner in the effort, the Environmental Defense Fund, a well-known advocacy group that has been at odds with farming interests in past years. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Evaporation adds up. How much? Google it – someday
Plastic waste cuts probably headed to California ballot as advocates give up on Legislature
“After the California Legislature killed bills designed to combat plastic pollution for the second year in a row, environmentalists say they’ve concluded the fight might be unwinnable at the heavily lobbied state Capitol. Instead, they’ve resolved to take the battle to voters, with an initiative aimed at the 2022 ballot. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Plastic waste cuts probably headed to California ballot as advocates give up on Legislature
In regional water news and commentary today …
Regulators raise water quality fine to $6.4 million for Montage Healdsburg resort
“The developer of the luxury Montage Healdsburg hotel is facing one of the largest environmental penalties of its kind in state history for dozens of alleged water quality violations during construction over the soggy winter of 2018-19. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is seeking to fine Sonoma Luxury Resort, a subsidiary for Encinitas developer Robert S. Green, more than $6.4 million for allowing what board prosecutors say was an estimated 9.4 million gallons of mud and sediment-filled stormwater to leave the site during work of the ultra-high-end hotel in north Healdsburg. … ” Read more from the North Bay Business Journal here: Regulators raise water quality fine to $6.4 million for Montage Healdsburg resort
California Coastal Commission must halt unjust, destructive Monterey desalination plant, says Ian Oglesby and Bruce Delgado
They write, “As two mayors of color, we oppose a desalination project that would impose environmental injustice and economic racism on the people of Seaside and Marina in Monterey County. The California Coastal Commission will vote on Thursday whether to approve a desalination plant being forced on the Monterey Peninsula by California American Water (Cal-Am). … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California Coastal Commission must halt unjust, destructive Monterey desalination plant
Calaveras River agreement aims to conserve threatened steelhead species
“NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fisheries has approved a final Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), sponsored by Stockton East Water District (Stockton East), for the Calaveras River. The plan is designed to protect threatened fish species while also providing long-term security for crucial water operations through 2070. As part of this long-term agreement, NOAA fisheries has issued a 50-year Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the operations and maintenance of Stockton East facilities on the river. In turn, Stockton East has committed to an array of conservation actions to benefit fish populations on the Calaveras River over that time period. … ” Read more from the Turlock Journal here: Agreement aims to conserve threatened steelhead species
Women farmers from Stanislaus to Madera can join Zoom forums on water, other topics
“A pair of online forums will give women farmers a chance to discuss water and other issues in the San Joaquin Valley. The American Farmland Trust is hosting the events on two Thursdays, Sept. 17 and 24, from 3 to 5 p.m. They are for current and aspiring farmers in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. The gathering, “Women for the Land Virtual Learning Circle,” will take place on Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions. Experts from all three counties will speak. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Women farmers from Stanislaus to Madera can join Zoom forums on water, other topics
Farmersville: Deep Creek Cemetery searches for water
“The last few years has been dry for one of the oldest cemeteries in Tulare County. The well at the Deep Creek Cemetery has been parched since 2014 and now they are in talks with the Farmersville City Council to potentially connect to the city’s water system. This is the second time over the last few years the city council has discussed this issue. It was an agenda item back in 2016 but no further action was taken. The Exeter District Cemetery, which encompasses Deep Creek Cemetery, has recently reached back out to the city council requesting to be connected. Both the city council and the Exeter District Cemetery, are still in the preliminary stages of the project. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Deep Creek Cemetery searches for water
Metropolitan board cuts spending in response to pandemic, lower water sales
“In response to lower water sales and concerns about the financial impacts of COVID-19 on its member agencies and the public, the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California today voted to approve a cost-cutting plan to reduce district expenditures. The cuts will save about $11.7 million, while allowing Metropolitan to continue providing the safe, reliable water supply Southern California depends on. Staff will continue exploring additionalopportunities for savings to bring back to the board for a mid-cycle budget review next summer. The full consequences of the pandemic’s financial impact on Metropolitan’s member agencies are not yet known, and declining revenue, low water sales, and an increased reliance on district reserves necessitate fiscal discipline, Metropolitan board Chairwoman Gloria Gray said. … ”
Santa Ana Water Board delays decision on Orange County desalination project
“The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, which was expected to make a decision September 17 on the waste discharge permit renewal for a proposed seawater desalination facility in Orange County, has postponed action for several weeks at the request of the applicant. Poseidon Waters, the company that plans to build the $1 billion plant on 12 acres of the AES Huntington Beach Generating Station, requested additional time to address concerns raised in three days of public hearings, among them: the need and cost of desalinated water; Orange County Water District’s commitment to purchase the supply; the harm to marine life caused by the facility’s intake process; and whether the Bolsa Chica wetlands Marine Life Mitigation Plan satisfies the state’s Ocean Plan requirements for seawater desalination plants. … ”
Bartrell’s Back Roads: Bombay Beach, Salton Sea: Bombs, drought and an art renaissance
“At first glance, Bombay Beach really looks like an area decimated by bombs. You might even mistake it for an environmental disaster. You certainly wouldn’t think the town is a vacation destination. But, if you take a second look at Bombay Beach, you’ll find a place that’s all of these things and a whole lot more. … ” Read more from ABC 10 here: Bombs, drought and an art renaissance
Outcry from environmental groups prompts San Diego to retreat from proposed merger
“Outcry from local environmental groups prompted San Diego officials Tuesday to retreat from plans to merge three longtime advisory boards that are focused on trees, marshland and green energy. Councilwoman Dr. Jennifer Campbell, who has spearheaded efforts to merge the boards, said the proposal needs additional feedback from community leaders and removed it from Tuesday’s City Council agenda before any vote could take place. … ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Outcry from environmental groups prompts San Diego to retreat from proposed merger
Tijuana: War of words heats up over international efforts to clean up border sewage
“Baja California Gov. Jaime Bonilla is involved in a war of words with a California mayor over cleanup efforts along the Tijuana River Valley, which lies between Tijuana and the city of San Diego. For decades, raw sewage, trash and debris have flowed from south of the border into the U.S. Most of those materials, especially the raw sewage, end up in the Pacific Ocean, forcing the closure of beaches in cities like Imperial Beach where over the last nine months, beaches have been closed 180 days due to high bacteria levels in the ocean water. … ” Read more from Everything Lubbock here: War of words heats up over international efforts to clean up border sewage
Along the Colorado River …
Reclamation projects Colorado River drought operations for the next 5 years
“Modeling results for the Colorado River Basin operations released today by the Bureau of Reclamation indicate continued drought and an increased chance of potential water shortages by 2025. The Colorado River Basin is in its 21st year of an extended drought. As reservoir levels decline, Lake Powell and Lake Mead operations are potentially impacted. The Colorado River Simulation System modeling results, released at least three times per year, provide water managers with information needed to plan accordingly for the future. … ”
Climate change likely to keep hammering Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs, model shows
“The Colorado River’s largest reservoirs are expected to keep struggling over the next five years due to climate change, according to the federal agency that oversees them. The Bureau of Reclamation’s new modeling projections, which include this year’s record-breaking heat and dryness in some parts of the southwestern watershed, show an increasing likelihood of an official shortage declaration before 2026. … ” Read more from Aspen Public Radio here: Climate change likely to keep hammering Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs, model shows
Water shortages in US West likelier than previously thought
“There’s a chance water levels in the two largest man-made reservoirs in the United States could dip to critically low levels by 2025, jeopardizing the steady flow of Colorado River water that more than 40 million people rely on in the American West. After a relatively dry summer, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released models on Tuesday suggesting looming shortages in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the reservoirs where Colorado River water is stored — are more likely than previously projected. … ” Read more the AP via the Beloit Daily News here: Water shortages in US West likelier than previously thought
Nevada: A housing developer and a powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight over how much water is there
“Five wells punch the scorching Nevada desert. Water in this area is locked underneath the ground. It flows silently and invisibly as part of an aquifer stretching roughly 50,000 square-miles. Much of this water collected here thousands of years ago when lakes covered most of Nevada. Now wells are summoning it for human use. The problem is there’s not enough to go around. At the center of this tension are the five wells. A housing developer, Coyote Springs Investment, owns four wells, planted to one day pump water for a sprawling new community in the desert, filling the highway stretch about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The remaining well belongs to the Southern Nevada Water Authority. … ” Read more from the Nevada Independent here: A housing developer and a powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight over how much water is there
In national water news today …
‘Forever chemical’ research delayed due to covid-19, Pentagon says
“Research into a new safer firefighting chemical for the U.S. military has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, said a high ranking member of the Department of Defense (DOD) on Tuesday at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Readiness. The U.S. military has been using a fire retardant foam which includes chemicals called PFAS, which have been linked with causing cancer in humans. Other items that include PFAS include some non-stick cookware, cleaning products and water repellents. PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because when they enter the human body, they are not expelled. … ” Read more from Newsweek here: ‘Forever chemical’ research delayed due to covid-19, Pentagon says
Dams alter nutrient flows to coasts
“The right balance of nutrients is crucial for a healthy coastal ecosystem. If rivers deposit too much nitrogen and phosphorus in coastal areas, algae that flourish on those nutrients can cause dead zones; if too little silicon flows downstream, organisms that depend on it will die off. Human interventions, whether through the addition of nutrients or through direct alteration of river flows, tend to upset natural nutrient balances. In a new study, Maavara et al. modeled how dams affect ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and silicon in coastal waters around the world. ... ” Read more from EOS here: Dams alter nutrient flows to coasts
Today’s featured article …
AG WATER PRICES: Groundwater Externalities and the Agricultural Response to Water Pricing
Dr. Ellen Bruno is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. At a recent Silver Solutions webinar, she shared some of the preliminary results on a paper she is working on with colleagues Katrina Jessoe at UC Davis’ Ag and Resource Economics Department,and Michael Hanemann with Arizona State University who is also a professor emeritus in the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. The study considers the impacts of agricultural water pricing and the effect on water use and land use change.