DAILY DIGEST, 10/5: Happy New Water Year! Rain finally expected in NorCal; Rural communities struggle to provide clean drinking water; The climate science behind this year’s wildfires and powerful storms; Steelhead trout in the L.A. River?; and more …



In California water news today …

Happy 2021! Here’s to a New Water Year!

Jay Lund writes, “2020 was terrible, and as a water year (WY), October 2019 – September 2020, it is over.  A dry winter (drier than 2014-2015 in Sac. Valley), COVID-19, deep recession and unemployment, wildfires, racial violence and unrest, extreme high temperatures, water documents disappearing from State of California websites, and finally a very unpresidential debate.  (Fortunately, no major earthquakes.)  We happily ring out this year and hope for a better 2021! (… although it doesn’t seem to be improving just yet)  As we leave 2020, the soils are dry (and ashen) and most reservoirs and aquifers have been somewhat drawn down by the dry year.  Most major water storage reservoirs have below average storage, but some are above average.  We enter WY 2021 with less stored water than when we entered 2020. What should we look forward to in the new Water Year 2021? … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Happy 2021! Here’s to a New Water Year!

Rain finally expected across Northern California. How much will it help with fires?

We need it. We need it really, really badly.  With wildfire after wildfire battering California since late summer, burning record acreage and killing at least 30 people in less than two months, weather experts have repeatedly said conditions conducive to critical fire risk probably won’t begin to subside until the first significant rainfall of autumn.  Rain might finally — and mercifully — be coming soon to Northern California. Some big questions remain: How much rain will we get? Where exactly will it fall? And will it be enough to end this year’s wildfire danger? … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Rain finally expected across Northern California. How much will it help with fires?

SEE ALSO: Rain enters the Bay Area forecast, offering hope for wildfire relief

Rural California communities struggle to provide clean drinking water

Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003.  The struggle, however, has been all uphill.  The water system that serves the rural Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012, mostly for arsenic and 1,2,3 trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP), a manufactured chemical found in industrial solvents and soil fumigants, according to data from the State Water Resources Control Board. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Rural California communities struggle to provide clean drinking water

Trump gets Harder bill aimed at ‘swamp rats’ threatening Central Valley waterways

Congress has given final approval to a bill that would take on nutria, a giant rodent threatening waterways in the Central Valley and beyond.  The bill, by Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, passed the U.S. Senate unanimously on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The House of Representatives approved it without opposition in February.  The bill now goes to President Donald Trump, who has indicated support, Harder spokesman Ian Lee said by email Friday. When it will be signed is unclear, as Trump has been hospitalized since Friday with mild COVID-19 symptoms. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Trump gets Harder bill aimed at ‘swamp rats’ threatening Central Valley waterways

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California wildfires …

The climate science behind this year’s wildfires and powerful storms

At least 31 have died in the largest wildfires in California history. The east is defending itself against twice the usual number of tropical cyclones. And what may be the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth came in August in the United States. It’s a torrid 2020 and it was forecast 32 years ago. In the 1980’s, a NASA scientist named James Hansen discovered that climate change, driven by carbon emissions, was upon us. His graphs, of three decades ago, accurately traced the global rise in temperature to the year 2020. Last week, we had a lot of questions for Hansen. Are these disasters climate change? Do things get worse? Is it too late to do anything? But before we get to the causes, let us show you the effects. … ”  Read more from 60 minutes here: The climate science behind this year’s wildfires and powerful storms

Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

For more than a month after a wildfire raced through his lakeside community and destroyed his Napa County home, Kody Petrini couldn’t drink the water from the taps. He wasn’t even supposed to boil it.   And, worried about harming his 16-month-old, Petrini wouldn’t wash his youngest son Levi with it. Instead, he took the extraordinary precaution of bathing him in bottled water.  Among the largest wildfires in California history, the LNU Lightning Complex fires killed five people and destroyed nearly 1,500 structures — including whole blocks of the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood where Petrini’s home stood. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

Mega fires and mega floods: California’s new extremes require a response of similar scale, say Joshua Viers and Julie Rentner

They write, “Californians are understandably focused on the wildfires that have charred more than 3 million acres and darkened our skies – forcing us to find masks that protect us from both COVID-19 and smoke. But Californians should also pay attention to the multiple hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast this season. These disasters have much in common. First, climate change is increasing the risk from and severity of floods and wildfires.  Second, California is particularly vulnerable to both types of disasters.  And third, successfully reducing flood and fire disaster risk will require many years – perhaps decades – of sustained commitment and coordination.  … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Mega fires and mega floods: California’s new extremes require a response of similar scale

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Restoring and reconnecting the Mad River Estuary

The rivers and streams of the North Coast provide the potential for a climatic refuge for estuarine-dependent aquatic species such as coho, steelhead, and Chinook, as well as important nursery habitat for other species of cultural and economic value. The Mad River Estuary Floodplain and Off-channel Habitat and Public Access Project, located within the last few miles before the Mad River enters the mighty Pacific, is an important element of CalTrout’s Estuaries Initiative. The Project will restore an element of habitat complexity in a highly simplified estuary – providing off-channel habitat and floodplain connection. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout here:  Restoring and reconnecting the Mad River Estuary

Fall River – The gem of California’s natural springs

When you think of California and all it has to offer, what are some of your favorite natural places? Is it the forest, mountains or maybe the beach?  For me, I get the most enjoyment from our cold-water resources.  Naturally when I say, “cold water,” what comes to mind are lakes, rivers, wetlands, delta, estuaries and even reservoirs. These are the areas that I spend the most time fishing, boating, swimming, rafting etc.  However, our natural cold-water resources include a few lesser-known components that are just as important to the entire operating system. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout here:  Fall River – The gem of California’s natural springs

Watch: Fires, droughts, floods – What’s on tap for the Bay Area?

On Thursday, the Bay Area News Group hosted a webinar for subscribers, called “Fires, droughts and floods – What’s on tap for the Bay Area?”  The 60-minute video event featured San Jose Mercury News science reporter Lisa Krieger, Mercury News environment reporter Paul Rogers and Jason Kean, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. It was hosted by Mercury News enterprise reporter Julia Prodis Sulek.  The discussion touched on a wide variety of issues, including why California is having such a historically devastating fire season, what the outlook is for mudslides this winter in burned areas, and how California residents can reduce their risk of both.”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Watch: Fires, droughts, floods – What’s on tap for the Bay Area?

Steelhead trout in the L.A. River? These experts envision a fish passage through downtown

Biologists and engineers are setting the stage for an environmental recovery effort in downtown Los Angeles that could rival the return of the gray wolf, bald eagle and California condor.  This time, the species teetering on the edge of extinction is the Southern California steelhead trout and the abused habitat is a 4.8-mile-long stretch of the L.A. River flood-control channel that most people only glimpse from a freeway.  The brutal vista of concrete and treated urban runoff exists as an impenetrable barrier to ancestral spawning grounds in the San Gabriel Mountains for the estimated 400 federally endangered Southern California steelhead left on Earth. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Steelhead trout in the L.A. River? These experts envision a fish passage through downtown

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And lastly …

PHOTO FEATURE: California: Images of the Golden State

California is the most populous state in the nation, with 39.5 million residents—more than the smallest 21 states combined. It is also a huge state, ranking third in area, and an incredibly diverse place, with climates that range from desert to rain forest. From the Los Angeles metropolitan area to Yosemite National Park, from Death Valley to Mount Shasta, here are a few glimpses of the landscape of California, and some of the wildlife and people calling it home.”  View photos from The Atlantic here: California: Images of the Golden State

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Weekend Daily Digest …

In California water news this weekend …

  • New Drought Monitor map shows extreme dry conditions growing in Calif.

  • Can fish eat their way out of climate change?
  • Supporting the reintroduction of Sacramento winter-run chinook to the Battle Creek watershed
  • Newsom vetoes Anderson Dam bill
  • How wildfires are contaminating the water supply with benzene, other hazardous chemicals
  • California wildfires on the cusp of burning 4 million acres so far this year
  • Bottling climate change: how higher temps and wildfires will alter California Wine Country
  • Amador County: ‘Massive coverup’: Steady flow of contamination into Mule Creek continues
  • Southern California residents blast NASA plan to clean up rocket lab site
  • Support of Poseidon’s desalination at stake in water board election
  • An aqueduct to San Diego is worth studying, says Brian McNeece
  • Stop the San Diego pipeline, says JB Hamby
  • Peter Gleick, Heather Cooley, Jason Morrison: Water recommendations to the next president

Click here to read the weekend Daily Digest.

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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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