On the calendar today …

The Central Valley Flood Protection Board meets at 9am.

Agenda items include an update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Project, an update on the American River Common Features project, and the DWR monthly report.  Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.

In California water news today …

California’s landmark groundwater law falls short, advocates say

In the midst of the last drought, California took its first step to regulate how the state uses groundwater. But advocates worry the new rules have favored big agricultural users over small communities, particularly in areas like the San Joaquin Valley.  That legislation, officially called the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, created a new framework to figure out how to better balance the amount of groundwater that residents, cities, and private industry across California use. The 2014 law created dozens of agencies across California to plan for and provide oversight of that use. The areas facing the most acute threat to their groundwater supply had to submit detailed plans for management by January 31, 2020.  Recent studies show those initial plans, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, could be anything but balanced. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: California’s landmark groundwater law falls short, advocates say

Friant-Kern Canal fix approved over concerns the plan isn’t fully baked

The Friant Water Authority on Thursday approved the final environmental review for a massive project to fix a 33-mile segment of the Friant-Kern Canal despite continued questions about funding and other concerns expressed by some Friant contractors.  One water manager compared the plan to several bungled construction projects, including a patient tower at the former Tulare Regional Medical Center that was labeled the “tower of shame” in a 2016 Tulare County Grand Jury report for more than 700 change orders that created $17 million in additional costs. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  Friant-Kern Canal fix approved over concerns the plan isn’t fully baked

California’s rising and sinking coast

Global sea level has been rising at a rate of 0.1 inches (3.3 millimeters) per year in the past three decades. The causes are mostly the thermal expansion of warming ocean water and the addition of fresh water from melting ice sheets and glaciers. But even as the sea takes up more space, the elevation of the land is also changing relative to the sea.  What geologists call vertical land motion—or subsidence and uplift—is a key reason why local rates of sea level rise can differ from the global rate. California offers a good example of how much sea level can vary on a local scale. ... ”  Read more from NASA here:  California’s rising and sinking coast

700 winter-run Chinook salmon return to Battle Creek

At least 700 sub-adult and adult winter-run Chinook salmon (winter Chinook) returned this year to Battle Creek.  Although monitoring efforts were curtailed, 47 redds were also observed with juveniles now being captured in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s rotary screw trap as they emigrate out of the system. To date, more than 300 fry have been captured and monitoring efforts will continue through the fall.  Establishing another self-sustaining population in a second watershed (in addition to population in Sacramento River), such as Battle Creek, is a high priority and a major component of the Central Valley salmonid recovery plan. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here: 700 winter-run Chinook salmon return to Battle Creek

Feather River Fish Hatchery steps in to raise inland chinook salmon eggs amid Glass Fire

In addition to destroying and threatening thousands of homes and businesses, the devastating Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties jeopardized the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Inland Chinook Salmon Program – until the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville came to the rescue. The Feather River Fish Hatchery is owned and maintained by the California Department of Water Resources – and operated by CDFW. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  Feather River Fish Hatchery steps in to raise inland chinook salmon eggs amid Glass Fire

Endangered fish get a lift to safety after wildfires

Of the many large wildfires that destroyed millions of acres around California during the 2020, one blaze in particular threatened to wipe out years of fishery conservation efforts. The Lake Fire in Los Angeles County burned more 31 thousand acres and it illustrated – for the second time in four years – what lengths dedicated biologists will go to in order to preserve California’s Unarmored Three Spine Stickleback (UTS). The UTS, Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni, is a state and federally listed endangered species and a State of California Fully Protected Species. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Endangered fish get a lift to safety after wildfires

Wildfires lead to increased flood risks: be prepared, stay alert

California has experienced record-breaking wildfires in 2020 with more than 4 million acres burned, increasing the risk of flash flooding along with mud and debris flows to communities and homes downslope of burn areas.  The impacts caused by wildfires can be drastic when it comes to flood risk. In normal conditions, trees, shrubs, grass, and other protective groundcover allow rainfall to infiltrate into the soil. After a wildfire, the extreme heat can bake the soil to the point that water is unable to penetrate and can cause excessive run off in a post-wildfire area. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Wildfires lead to increased flood risks: be prepared, stay alert

Very strong offshore wind event to bring extreme wildfire risk Sun/Mon, esp. NorCal

Daniel Swain writes, ” …  Much of northern California has been under Red Flag Warnings this week due to very low humidities and occasional light to moderate offshore winds. Fire risk will remain high, but not extremely so, over the next 48 hours as this pattern persists.  However, a dramatically stronger and more widespread offshore wind event now appears likely beginning late Sunday and continuing into Monday–which will likely lead to a period of very dangerous wildfire risk. In fact, this wind event is poised to become the strongest of the season so far (by a wide margin) and will likely approach the magnitude of the extreme autumn wind events in 2019 and 2017. Given that vegetation is now at or near record dryness levels–much as it was prior to the North Bay firestorm in October 2017–this is a very concerning forecast. … ”  Read more from Weather West here:  Very strong offshore wind event to bring extreme wildfire risk Sun/Mon, esp. NorCal

In the west, lightning grows as a cause of damaging fires

Wildfires in the West caused by lightning have been growing bigger and occurring more frequently. If the weather extremes already brought by climate change are any indication, other parts of the country will start paying a price, too.   Wildfires have burned across much of the West in 2020, with enormous blazes raging across swaths of California, Washington, Oregon and now Colorado. While this year’s intense lightning storms in California could prove to be an anomaly, research suggests that lightning is an increasingly common cause of large blazes, and that climate change may cause an increase in lightning strikes over the continental United States in coming decades. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: In the west, lightning grows as a cause of damaging fires

Size isn’t the best way to talk about fires

One million acres. It seems an astounding number for a single fire. Even many fire scientists, who know full well that fire belongs in these forests, struggled to contain their surprise at how large the August Complex fire in the Mendocino National Forest has grown. Contrary to how the headlines usually portray it, however, size isn’t everything. Especially for wildfires. And for a state that must learn to live with fire, the first step is to distinguish between fires that are simply large and those that are irreversibly destructive. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: Size isn’t the best way to talk about fires

Not just California: Colorado and other Western states suffering worst fires in modern history

Just like California’s deadly and destructive wildfires, Colorado’s are shattering records this year.  The Cameron Peak fire, which has burned more than 206,000 acres and is still growing, has become the largest in Colorado’s history. The state has broken its record twice this season — the Pine Gulch fire, which raged over the summer and burned 139,000 acres, briefly held the title until it was eclipsed by the Cameron Peak fire. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:   Not just California: Colorado and other Western states suffering worst fires in modern history

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Local tribes sponsor day of action for removal of Klamath dams

Members of the Karuk, Yurok, Klamath and Hoopa Valley Tribes including different organizations throughout the U.S. are sponsoring a day of action for the removal of the Klamath dams on Friday, Oct. 23, demanding that Warren Buffet, owner of PacifiCorp and the Klamath River dams, keep his promise to remove the four dams. … ”  Read more from the North Bay Journal here: Local tribes sponsor day of action for removal of Klamath dams

Yuba Watershed Institute expands capacity to cooperatively manage BLM land in the South Yuba watershed

The Yuba Watershed Institute (YWI) has hired two new staff members to assist with forest stewardship planning and implementation projects in Nevada County, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and with support from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). … ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  Yuba Watershed Institute expands capacity to cooperatively manage BLM land in the South Yuba watershed

South Bay flood control crews work to clear debris from Guadalupe river

Crews in the South Bay are working to clear trash from the Guadalupe River ahead of the rainy season, but the coronavirus pandemic is impacting efforts.  The Guadalupe River, which passes under Branham Road, is mostly dry during the summer. But winter rains can easily create 10 to 15 feet of raging water here. … ”  Read more from KPIX here: South Bay flood control crews work to clear debris from Guadalupe river

Ceres Council OKs gap funding for water plant

Sitting as the Ceres Financing Authority, members of the Ceres City Council last week unanimously approved the sale of $22 million in bonds to finance the surface water project as an interim measure.  The cities of Ceres and Turlock have formed a joint powers authority, called the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority (SRWA), with the Turlock Irrigation District to build and run a plant to siphon water out of the Tuolumne River, filter it and pipe it to homes. The water will be stored in a large above ground tank at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park and comingled with groundwater. … ”  Read more from the Ceres Courier here:  Ceres Council OKs gap funding for water plant

Decommissioning panel to discuss Diablo Canyon water resources in virtual public meeting

Water resources at Diablo Canyon Power Plant and how they might be repurposed after the plant is decommissioned will be discussed by the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel in a virtual public meeting on Oct. 28.  The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom and will focus on the breakwater and marina, the intertidal area and the desalination facility.  “These topics have been of particular interest to local community and economic groups as decisions made regarding these topics will affect the community beyond the plant closure,” a panel spokesman said. … ”  Read more from the Santa Ynez Valley News here:  Decommissioning panel to discuss Diablo Canyon water resources in virtual public meeting

Santa Barbara:  Local water pact now official

Pen finally met paper on Wednesday, making official the 50-year water supply agreement between the city of Santa Barbara and the Montecito Water District.  A virtual ceremony was held via Zoom on Wednesday morning, as representatives from both jurisdictions were joined by local elected officials to celebrate what was considered by many as regional planning done right. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara News Press here: Santa Barbara:  Local water pact now official

Pipe break sends thousands of gallons of water flooding Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood

A water main break sent water pouring onto Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood early Thursday morning, flooding a neighborhood and damaging properties.  Just before 3 a.m., a 12-inch cast-iron pipe burst at Cahuenga Boulevard and Whitley Avenue, just off the 101 Freeway and a few block from The Ford theater, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. … ”  Read more from CBS Los Angeles here: Pipe break sends thousands of gallons of water flooding Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood

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Along the Colorado River …

Invaluable GIS technology helps make Arizona Department of Water Resources’ data visually appealing and understandable

Earlier this week, Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke delivered a videotaped shout-out to all the ADWR divisions that use GIS technology in presentations.  It was a pretty lengthy speech. Like most science-oriented State agencies, ADWR is finding more and more uses for “geographic information system” technology, widely known as GIS, to help organize layers of complex data into visually digestible maps and 3D images.  … ”  Read more from the Arizona Department of Water Resources here: Invaluable GIS technology helps make Arizona Department of Water Resources’ data visually appealing and understandable

Snow and rain coming to Southwest drought area, but La Niña could be bad news in the long run

Serious drought conditions continue in the Southwest, and while some beneficial rain and mountain snow are in the near-term forecast, the expectation of La Niña this winter could be bad news for the region.  Extreme and exceptional drought – the two worst categories on the U.S. Drought monitor – are widespread across the Southwest, from West Texas to Nevada and Arizona. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here: Snow and rain coming to Southwest drought area, but La Niña could be bad news in the long run

New national recreational trail designated along Colorado River

The Laughlin-Bullhead City area officially has a new 76-mile-long recreation trail.  The Mohave Water Trail, which stretches along the Arizona and Nevada shorelines of Lake Mohave and the Colorado River below Davis Dam to Laughlin-Bullhead, is one of 30 new national recreation trails in 25 states. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Sun here:  New national recreational trail designated along Colorado River

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In national water news today …

Financing water supply and sanitation in a changing climate

Human-caused climate change is real and accelerating, creating new challenges for all aspects of freshwater management, including meeting basic human needs for water and sanitation. Important gaps in our understanding of these challenges include both the complications climate change poses for planning, implementing, and sustaining water supply and sanitation systems, especially for the poor; and the links between these systems and the emissions of greenhouse gases that worsen the overall climate problem.  This report, created in collaboration with Water.org, addresses these gaps. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here: Financing water supply and sanitation in a changing climate

Mexico makes good on water debt to US

After nearly a year of uncertainty about whether Mexico would be able to fulfill its water debt to the United States, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that the two countries have reached an agreement to satisfy the debt by Friday, just one day before the treaty deadline to do so is set to expire. … ”  Read more from the Monitor here:  Mexico makes good on water debt to US

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In commentary today …

Trump’s new interest in water resources — why now?

Jeff Peterson writes, “After spending almost four years attacking programs to protect water resources, President Trump has just issued an executive order creating a new interagency water policy committee, or “water subcabinet,” to “improve our country’s water resource management.”  Is this a genuine effort to modernize water infrastructure to “meet the needs of current and future generations,” or simply dressing up the administration’s long neglect of water resources just in time for the election; in other words, putting lipstick on a pig? … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump’s new interest in water resources — why now?

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National water and climate update …

The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.

dmrpt-20201022

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

SCIENCE NEWS: USGS looks at long-term resilience of the Bay-Delta; Increasingly destructive wildfires threaten aquatic life; Hormone-mimicking chemicals harm fish now—and their unexposed offspring later; and more …

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Gates Closed~ DPIIC Meeting~ Registration Reminder~ PSN Review~ Disaster Preparedness ~~

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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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