DAILY DIGEST: Climate change and the economic value of water in CA; Franks Tract: Makeover for Delta weed patch & salt trap; San Diego CWA defers regional conveyance system study vote until November; and more …



On the calendar today …

WEBINAR: California-Nevada Drought & Climate Outlook from 11am to 12pm

The California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System (CA-NV DEWS) September 2020 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar is part of a series of regular drought and climate outlook webinars designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the region with timely information on current drought status and impacts, as well as a preview of current and developing climatic events (i.e. El Niño and La Niña).  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

How will climate change affect the economic value of water in California?

Climate change is affecting natural resources in California, with water being one of the most important in the state. Water source is critical for municipalities, agriculture, industry, and habitat/environmental purposes. Will future supply meet future demand? How will the economic value of water change over this century? ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: How will climate change affect the economic value of water in California?

Franks Tract: Makeover for Delta weed patch & salt trap?

What began as a project to convert a submerged Delta island into habitat for endangered native fish has morphed into a multi-benefit package with additional payoffs for water quality and recreation. The collaborative design process for the Franks Tract Futures project brought initially skeptical local stakeholders on board and is being hailed as a model for future initiatives. Yet major uncertainties remain as interested parties explore the challenges of implementing a complex redesign of a big chunk of the Delta. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Franks Tract: Makeover for Delta weed patch & salt trap?

California’s ancient “asbestos” forests no longer seem immune

In the annals of California’s wildfire history, so much is happening now that seems unfathomable: The number and size of this year’s fires — and their maddingly erratic behaviors — have created the worst season in the state’s modern history. Nearly 4 million acres have already burned, killing 26 people.  But what has stunned  officials most about the state’s 8,000 fires is the location of the largest blazes: sizzling deep in stands of redwoods along what should be a fog-shrouded rainforest. The state’s oldest park, Big Basin Redwoods, was gutted by fire. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: California’s ancient “asbestos” forests no longer seem immune

Natural capital a missing piece in climate policy

Clean air, clean water and a functioning ecosystem are considered priceless. Yet the economic value of nature remains elusive in cost-benefit analysis of climate policy regulations and greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts.  A study published today in the journal Nature Sustainability incorporates those insights from sustainability science into a classic model of climate change costs. Led by the University of California, Davis, the study shows that accounting for the economic value of nature has large implications for climate policy and that the cost of climate change could be partly alleviated by investing in natural capital. ... ”  Read more from UC Davis here: Natural capital a missing piece in climate policy 

Naturalist Obi Kaufmann on the power of forests: ‘Be ready to change the story’

As 25 wildfires burn through California in another record-breaking fire season, it’s a good time to talk about the state’s forests and their future. That’s the focus of a new book — The Forests of California — from Oakland, California-based artist and naturalist Obi Kaufmann.  Wildfire is an intrinsic part of most landscapes in California, so much so that Kaufmann says, “trees themselves in California are fire waiting to burn.” … ”  Read more from The Revelator here:  Naturalist Obi Kaufmann on the power of forests: ‘Be ready to change the story’

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Water has always posed a challenge for Santa Maria Valley, says Shirley Contreras

She writes, “From the time when the pioneers first arrived, water, or the lack of it, was a major problem for the valley. The first water system was started by Reuben Hart, who came to the United States from Derbyshire, England, first settling in New Jersey with his brother, Thomas.  The two brothers came to California in 1866. After working in San Jose for a time, the two moved to Castroville. In 1872 they moved their business again, this time to Guadalupe where they established a blacksmith and machine shop. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here:  Water has always posed a challenge for Santa Maria Valley

Will Gov. Newsom replace Poseidon Desal Project critic on OC Regional Water Board?

The clock is ticking away this week on the reappointment of a key state regional water board member and vocal critic of a controversial, pending proposal for a seawater desalting plant in Huntington Beach.  There are mounting questions over whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will replace William von Blasingame — an Irvine resident first appointed to the regulatory seat in 2013 by former governor Jerry Brown — when his current term expires Sept. 30, ahead of his panel’s vote on the Poseidon Water Co.’s desalination proposal. ... ”  Read more from the Voice of the OC here: Will Gov. Newsom replace Poseidon Desal Project critic on OC Regional Water Board?

Does La Nina mean a drier, shorter winter for Southern California?

La Nina is back.  It’s been a couple of years since satellites and buoys detected the mass of cold water forming along the equator. National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy said when you average out the effect of La Ninas over the last few decades, they tend to indicate we’re in for less precipitation than what we’d get in an average winter. ... ”  Read more from KPBS here: Does La Nina mean a drier, shorter winter for Southern California?

San Diego County Water Authority defers regional conveyance system study vote until November

The San Diego County Water Authority board vote on the regional conveyance system study was not expected to be unanimous but, when the motion was to defer action until November, the SDCWA board members voted unanimously for that postponement.  The CWA will thus discuss the potential study once again Nov. 19. The CWA board normally meets on the fourth Thursday of the month, but Nov. 26 is Thanksgiving.  “I certainly appreciate the board interest in taking extra time,” Jim Madaffer, board chair of CWA, said. … ”  Read more from the Village News here: San Diego County Water Authority defers regional conveyance system study vote until November

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In national water news today …

Disaster declaration issued after deadly ameba found in Texas water supply

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria County in response to Naeglera Fowleri, a deadly ameba, found in the City of Lake Jackson’s water supply. A Boil Water Notice has been issued for Lake Jackson as authorities continue to flush and disinfect the water system back to normal.  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is working alongside the City of Lake Jackson, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve the ongoing water issue. ... ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Disaster declaration issued after deadly ameba found in Texas water supply

E.P.A. To promote lead testing rule as Trump tries to burnish his record

The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to overhaul the way communities test their water for lead, a policy change that will be pitched ahead of Election Day as a major environmental achievement for a president not noted for his conservation record.  But a draft of the final rule obtained by The New York Times shows the E.P.A. rejected top medical and scientific experts who urged the agency to require the replacement of the country’s six million to 10 million lead service lines, an expensive but effective way to avoid crises like the one still afflicting Flint, Mich. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: E.P.A. To promote lead testing rule as Trump tries to burnish his record

New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

Nearly 50 years ago, a power company received permission from North Carolina to build a reservoir by damming a creek near the coastal city of Wilmington. It would provide a source of steam to generate electricity and a place to cool hot water from an adjacent coal-fired plant.  Sutton Lake became popular with boaters and anglers, yielding bass, crappie, bluegill and other panfish. But coal ash from the plant fouled the public reservoir with selenium, arsenic and other toxic substances, endangering the fish and people who ate them.  Environmentalists sued Duke Energy, which settled the case by spending $1.25 million protecting nearby wetlands. But now the company — and other U.S. power producers — may have gotten the last laugh. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

Everglades restoration: A story of wetlands and water

Water flowing through the Everglades gets held up by wetlands and recharges the Biscayne Aquifer, which supplies some of Florida’s most populous places with drinking water. Over 5 million people draw drinking water solely from the Biscayne Aquifer.  Water from the Everglades system also supports huge agricultural enterprises, especially in sugar cane production. In 2019, Florida produced more than 17 million tons of sugar cane. That production is concentrated south of Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States. … ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here: Everglades restoration: A story of wetlands and water

“Our Ocean’s Edge” celebrates California’s Marine Protected Areas

California is famous for its national parks and monuments, but one of its greatest conservation success stories is not nearly as well known. In 1999, the state passed the Marine Life Protection Act, which mandated the creation of a statewide system of marine protected areas. In 2004, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife launched an initiative to develop a management strategy for implementing the law. An exhaustive eight-year planning process followed, involving community meetings, workshops, and hearings to solicit public input and scientific expertise. When the plan was completed in 2012, 119 MPAs and five state marine recreational managed areas had been established. The rules governing individual MPAs vary greatly, but all are subject to some level of regulation prohibiting or limiting human activities in order to conserve and protect marine resources. Stretching from border to border—and mostly underwater—the system constitutes the largest continuous network of marine protected areas in the world. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Club here:  “Our Ocean’s Edge” celebrates California’s Marine Protected Areas

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Podcasts today …

SCIENCE IN SHORT: How fish interact with wetland topography

In this podcast, reporter Alastair Bland and UC Davis PhD student and fish researcher David Ayers discuss the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, its fish, its marshlands, its flows, and its future. Ayers explains the focus of his research, which seeks to reveal how underwater topography in the wetlands fringing the estuary affects interactions between predators and small fish. SCIENCE IN SHORT is co-produced by Maven’s Notebook and Estuary News, with support from the Delta Stewardship Council.


THIS WEEK IN WATER:  As If 2020 Weren’t Bad Enough—Now We Have Zombie Storms. That story and other headlines in the current newscast of This Week in Water

“California law is being used for the first time to protect a species because of climate change.  Droughts can happen over the ocean and scientists say they can come ashore.  What happens in soils on the ground can make thunderstorms stronger. It’s now possible to keep cool without an air conditioner.  Because 2020, we now have Zombie Storms.”

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Weekend edition of the Daily Digest …

  • Small farmers shortchanged by SGMA
  • The Delta’s blooming problem
  • A plan to settle the Ventura River litigation
  • Delta Legacy Communities slams DWR’s $15 million loan for Delta tunnel engineering design
  • In California, windy, dry weather expected to bring ‘critical’ fire conditions
  • A watershed study for wetland restoration
  • Why dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ are allowed in US drinking water
  • Justice Ron Robie to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association
  • How worms and a parasite harm salmon on the Klamath River — and how a new data portal may help
  • Dominos from the massive Creek Fire teetering over Central Valley farmers
  • Utah asks U.S. to delay decision on tapping Colorado River
  • Podcast: Obi Kaufmann Paints the Forests of California and Tells Their Stories
  • And more …

Click here for the weekend edition.

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And lastly …

This photo book explores Lake Tahoe from below

“Photojournalist Dylan Silver had been shooting his adventures on and around Lake Tahoe for four years when, in 2014, he bought his first waterproof camera housing and began training his lens not at the lake but into its clear waters. In the six years since, Silver has amassed a colossal photo archive with thousands of images that document its underwater world and shoreline environments.  Lake Tahoe—deep enough to swallow the Empire State Building and holding enough water to submerge an area the size of California—is a geologic wonder and recreation paradise located in the High Sierra on the California-Nevada border. In Silver’s photo book Clarity: A Photographic Dive into Lake Tahoe’s Remarkable Water, which was published in May, images capture the interplay of sunlight, sky, water, sand, and stone through the looking glass of Tahoe’s renowned clarity.  … ”  Read more and check out the photos from Outside Magazine here:  This photo book explores Lake Tahoe from below

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

FREE WEBINAR SERIES for small water utilities

NOTICE OF PUBLIC WEBINAR: SAFER Aquifer Risk Map: At-Risk Domestic Wells and State Small Water Systems

NOTICE: USEPA Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Template

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: 45-Day Comment Period Open: Systemwide Flood Risk Reduction Program Draft Guidelines

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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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