DAILY DIGEST, 10/15: Trump creates water ‘subcabinet’; DWR teams with state, federal partners to protect endangered species; Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions; Winter outlook leans warm and dry across southern U.S.; and more …



On the calendar today …

MEETING: Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board beginning at 9am

The first of a two-day meeting, agenda items include the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Groundwater Protection Formula Update, internal program assessments, and consider enforcement actions.  Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.

WEBINAR: Soaking Up Success: Collaboration & Coordination with Communities from 9am to 12pm

Community coordination and collaborative decision making is essential for successful green infrastructure design and equitable placemaking. Panelists will focus on strategies for including community members in the green infrastructure design process to plan for, implement and sustain public health and community benefits.  Click here for more information and to register.

FREE WEBINAR: Urban Water Management Plans: 201 from 2pm to 4pm

The California Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) 2020 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) Guidebook is out, and it’s time for California urban water suppliers and utility managers to get to work on plan submissions.  Join our webinar on October 15 for an interactive look at the “Why” (overview and benefits), “How” (planning process steps), and “What” (key Guidebook sections and data tables) of Urban Water Management Plans. We will cover what you need to know to get to work on your plan and provide opportunities to engage with experts. Choose from four interactive breakout sessions with experts and dive deep into specific topic areas. Leave understanding what you need to do to keep on track to submit a thoughtfully crafted and fully vetted plan by the July 1, 2021 deadline.  Presented by the Water Now Alliance.  Click here to register.

MEETING: Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, Board of Directors Meeting from 2pm to 5:30pm

Click here for more information.

EVENT: Celebration of the Sacramento Valley from 4pm to 6pm

The Northern California Water Association invites you to join us for our annual Celebration of the Sacramento Valley.  Wear your favorite cap for the celebration that symbolizes the Sacramento Valley. There will be prizes for your participation.  Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

In California water news today …

President Trump yesterday issued a sweeping executive order to bolster water infrastructure across the country, including establishing a new “interagency subcabinet” to streamline decisions.  But critics were quick to denounce the reasoning behind the order, which, coming just weeks before Election Day, appears to be part of a recent effort to fortify the administration’s environmental record and deliver on a campaign promise to provide more water to Western farmers.  The order touches on a broad range of issues, from creating new water storage for Western farmers, to Florida Everglades restoration, to the Great Lakes. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Trump creates water ‘subcabinet’ in preelection push

SEE ALSOModernizing Water Resources, from Ag Info Network

DWR teams with state, federal partners to protect endangered species in SWP waters

A team of DWR scientists are working with federal and state partners to embrace the challenge of overseeing the implementation of one of the most complex endangered species permits in California history.  The State Water Project (SWP) is operated by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and delivers more than 3 million acre-feet of water a year to 27 million people. Operations of the SWP must be in compliance with the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) which conserves and protects endangered and threatened species. … ”  Read more from DWR News here:  DWR teams with state, federal partners to protect endangered species in SWP waters

Building long-term resilience to climate change in California

Matthew Armsby, vice president at Resources Legacy Fund, and Marisa Buchanan, head of Sustainability at JPMorgan Chase, write:  “In the past decade, California has experienced its most severe drought in over a millennium, devastating floods, the hottest summer on record and eight of the 10 largest wildfires ever recorded in the state.   Within the past month, Death Valley set a new record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth, and wildfires burned an area larger than the state of Connecticut. Three of the largest wildfires in California history are still smoldering, the smoke from which is now visible as far away as New York City. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Building long-term resilience to climate change in California

Thoughtful forest management and better building practices can help mitigate the impact of wildfires

More than five million acres have burned across the West Coast in this year’s unusually severe wildfire season. Billowing smoke has traveled across the country, degrading air quality as far east as Washington, DC, and amplifying health risks for a nation still grappling with COVID-19.  Many factors contribute to the unique intensity and reach of this year’s blazes. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has emphasized the role of climate change in exacerbating wildfire risks, while President Donald Trump has largely blamed poor forest management. … ”  Read more from Resources here:  Thoughtful forest management and better building practices can help mitigate the impact of wildfires

SEE ALSO: Thinning and prescribed fire treatments reduce tree mortality, from EurekAlert

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Let’s rethink Trinidad hotel proposal, before it’s too late, says Ted Pease

He writes, “If you drill a well for your own household use, a shallow well might be good enough, although you still have to conform to public health water quality standards.  The standards are more stringent for water that will be used by the public — as in a hotel, for example. And they should be stricter, of course. Who would want hotel guests getting sick from contaminated water in their oceanfront rooms?  That’s just one of the questions that remain unanswered by the latest claims that two shallow wells drilled at the Trinidad Rancheria will be adequate to supply its proposed 5-story, 100-guestroom Hyatt high-rise hotel on the bluff above Trinidad Bay. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Let’s rethink Trinidad hotel proposal, before it’s too late

Moderate Santa Ana winds likely to bring critical fire weather to parts of the Southland

Santa Ana winds will bring elevated and locally critical fire weather conditions to Southern California on Thursday into Friday, the National Weather Service said.  As a ridge of high pressure aloft continues to bring an extended period of hot, dry weather to the region, surface high pressure building in the Great Basin will boost offshore flow, resulting in moderate Santa Ana winds Thursday night into Friday, particularly in the higher elevations of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, as well as in the Santa Clarita Valley. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Moderate Santa Ana winds likely to bring critical fire weather to parts of the Southland

Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions

The Los Angeles Basin is often thought of as a dry, smoggy, overdeveloped landscape. But a new study led by NOAA and the University of Colorado, Boulder shows that the manicured lawns, emerald golf courses and trees of America’s second-largest city have a surprisingly large influence on the city’s carbon emissions.  Working as part of the Megacities Carbon Project, scientists analyzed the carbon dioxide in around 500 air samples collected during 2015 from four sites around the basin for the presence of a rare radioactive isotope known as carbon-14. Carbon-14, or 14C, is found in living organisms, including vegetation. By contrast, fossil fuels, which are millions of years old, are totally depleted of 14C. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions

New federal report show increasing groundwater levels in the Coachella Valley

A new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that efforts by Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) to replenish local aquifers in the Coachella Valley have been effective, leading to stable land surface elevations in most of the Coachella Valley. Areas with land subsidence identified in prior studies are now stable, uplifting, or experiencing substantial slowing of subsidence. CVWD partners with Coachella Water Authority, Desert Water Agency, Indio Water Authority, and Mission Springs Water District to manage groundwater in the Coachella Valley.  “The study shows that CVWD’s commitment to these partnerships and the sustainability of the aquifer that supplies most of our drinking water is a success story,” said Jim Barrett, General Manager of CVWD. “The results clearly demonstrate a reversal in trends of groundwater-level declines during previous decades. This is good news for the long-term health of the aquifers.” … ”  Read more from the Coachella Valley Water District here:  New federal report show increasing groundwater levels in the Coachella Valley

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In national water news today …

Stanford’s Dan Reicher on new agreement on U.S. hydropower and river conservation

A dialogue organized by Stanford that brought together environmental organizations, hydropower companies, investors, government agencies and universities has resulted in an important new agreement to help address climate change by advancing both the renewable energy and storage benefits of hydropower and the environmental and economic benefits of healthy rivers.  Dan Reicher, a former U.S. assistant secretary of energy, and board member of the conservation group American Rivers, launched and helped lead the meetings, which were the product of a Stanford Uncommon Dialogue – a format design to allow leaders from different sectors to debate and develop practical solutions to pressing environmental challenges. … ”  Read more from Stanford News here:  Stanford’s Dan Reicher on new agreement on U.S. hydropower and river conservation

Rock and a hard place: Constrained U.S. Growers see future in water innovation

Water represents the lifeblood of many industries, but especially agriculture. Agricultural success is highly dependent on irrigation that covers approximately 9.6 million acres with roughly 34 million acre-feet of water during an average year. In years of droughts, the agricultural industry is severely impacted, and so growers worldwide are taking necessary steps toward innovations and technology to maximize the water they have and sustain agriculture.  For the U.S., the question is, will innovation happen fast enough to sustain growers through seasons with the greatest droughts, while still meeting the most stringent regulatory restrictions? … ”  Read more from AgriBusiness Global here: Rock and a hard place: Constrained U.S. Growers see future in water innovation

Warning…PFAS Investigation Ahead: Tips for Navigating the Challenge

A per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) investigation is headed for a site near you… State and federal regulators are increasingly issuing PFAS investigation orders and requiring the addition of PFAS to site characterization plans. Further, some parties are opting to conduct voluntary PFAS site investigations as a means of managing future risk and liability. PFAS investigations can be daunting given the heightened scrutiny required of sampling procedures, the state-by-state patchwork of ever-lower regulatory criteria and the financial and legal implications potentially associated with investigation results. … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here:  Warning…PFAS Investigation Ahead: Tips for Navigating the Challenge

Reclamation designates $6.2 million for innovative water and power management solutions

The Bureau of Reclamation provided $2.2 million to support new internal research projects that will assist Reclamation water and power facility managers, as well as its customers and stakeholders better manage their facilities and operations. Reclamation is also providing $4 million to 134 multi-year projects that are continuing into fiscal year 2021.  “Reclamation staff have cutting edge engineering skills honed over years of work in addressing water and power challenges in meeting our mission to provide reliable water and power,” Research and Development Program Manager Levi Brekke said. “These exceptional professionals work with partners to develop solutions to scientific and technical challenges in meeting our mission.” …

Click here to continue reading this press release.

This internal research supports the President’s Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West through improved use of technology to increase water reliability and improve water availability.

The selected projects cover five research areas: water infrastructure, power and energy, environmental issues for water delivery and management, water operations and planning, and water supply development. The projects include innovative invasive mussel detection and control technologies, Salton Sea dust mitigation technologies, improving snowmelt modeling to support better runoff forecasts, evaluating wind impacts on water quality in reservoirs used for water reuse, identifying sediment impacts on river restoration habitat features, optimizing turbine operation and maintenance, and testing new canal seepage reduction technologies.

The research projects were selected through an internal competitive process. Many of these projects partner with internal and external organizations. Partners include technical professionals from federal and state governments, tribes, universities, private and local organizations. The partners will provide $2.3 million in cost-share for the new projects and $5.9 million in cost-share for the continuing projects.

View a summary of each project or learn more about Reclamation’s Science and Technology Program at https://www.usbr.gov/research/st/index.html

2020-21 Winter outlook leans warm and dry across southern U.S.

NOAA’s winter forecast for the U.S. favors warmer, drier conditions across the southern tier of the U.S., and cooler, wetter conditions in the North, thanks in part to an ongoing La Nina. Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service – are also closely monitoring persistent drought during the winter months ahead, with more than 45% of the continental U.S. now experiencing drought.  “NOAA’s timely and accurate seasonal outlooks and short-term forecasts are the result of improved satellite observations, more detailed computer forecast modeling, and expanding supercomputing capacity,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “From expansive and multi-hazard winter storms to narrow but intense lake effect snow, NOAA will provide the necessary information to keep communities safe.” … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  2020-21 Winter outlook leans warm and dry across southern U.S.

 

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And lastly …

‘Unheard of’: Wild owl rides shotgun as helicopter pilot fights California fire

An owl joined a helicopter pilot mid-flight while crews worked to help extinguish California’s Creek Fire.  “It’s odd to have an owl enter an aircraft. It’s unheard of to have it enter while the helo is in-flight,” Sky Aviation said. … ”  Check it out from Fox 4 here: ‘Unheard of’: Wild owl rides shotgun as helicopter pilot fights California fire

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Today’s featured articles …

STATE WATER BOARD: Report on the first year of the newly established Administrative Hearings Office

At the October 7 meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board, Alan Lilly, the presiding hearing officer in the Administrative Hearings Office, updated the Board Members on the first year of operations of the newly-formed office.

Click here to read this article.


SCIENCE NEWS: Linking critical zone water storage and ecosystems; The effects of repeated droughts on different kinds of forests; Where will snow survive in a warming world?; A new way to fingerprint drivers of water cycle change; and more …

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: State Grant Resources and Websites

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Executive Order~ Ancestral Lands~ Steering Committee~ CWC Meeting~ California Streamin’~ Webinar Posted ~~

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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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