DAILY DIGEST, 10/30: CA slammed over ‘blank check’ for Delta tunnel project; Putting a price on water: The NASDAQ Veles CA water index (nqh20) In parched CA, search goes deeper for water; Preparing the Klamath basin for dam removal; and more …



On the calendar today …

WORKSHOP: Pilot Small Water System Rates Financial Dashboard from 9am to 11am

This webinar will provide the public an opportunity to learn about and provide feedback on the Small Water Systems Rates Dashboard.  View Pilot Dashboard: bit.ly/SAFER_DashPilot  Click here to register.

JOINT SWRCB/CPUC WORKSHOP: Water Affordability Impacts During COVID-19 from 10am to 4pm

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a public workshop on Water Affordability Impacts During COVID-19.  The workshop will include panel discussions on solutions to customer protections, arrearage management, fee forgiveness, CARE funding, and small water system operation impacts.  Click here for the meeting notice and remote access instructions.

ONLINE EVENT: Advocacy & Water Protection in Native California Symposium from 10am to 4pm

The now popular discourse “Water Is Life” illustrates the relationships and knowledges Indigenous peoples hold with their water relatives and yet Indigenous peoples across California and the globe are increasingly forced to formulate innovative and powerful responses to the contamination, exploitation, and theft of water.  Click here to register.

WEBINAR: PFAS – What is in your water? from 11:30am to 1:00pm

What compounds are all around us and have been around since the 1940s? These compounds are used for stain and water-repellents, non-stick surfaces, cleaning products, fire-fighting foam and a wide range of other products. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of nearly 5,000 human-made compounds that have become a common part of our lives. These “forever” chemicals are very persistent in the environment, don’t break down, and accumulate over time. PFAS compounds are found in our drinking water, soil, plants, animals, and people. This webinar will provide a basic understanding of PFAS. Some of the questions that will be answered include: What is PFAS? Where did it come from? Where is it found? What are the potential issues related to PFAS? Click here for more information and to register.

On the calendar tomorrow …

VIRTUAL TOUR: Orange County Sanitation District’s Halloween Tour from 11am to 12pm

This tour will host all the greatness of our regular tours but with some spooky twists and turns including a Halloween inspired tour guide, visuals complete with spiders and other creepy crawlies, costumes and ghosts and goblins. A special treat will include a sneak peek into the belly of the Fountain Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.  To sign up: visit OCSD.com/Tours.

In California water news today …

California slammed over ‘blank check’ for Delta tunnel project

Lobbing another hurdle at California’s $16 billion plan to tunnel underneath the West Coast’s largest estuary, environmentalists on Thursday sued to freeze public funding for the megaproject championed by Governor Gavin Newsom.  Led by Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, a familiar coalition of critics of the so-called delta tunnel claim the cash-strapped state is pursuing a “blank check” for a project that isn’t fully cooked.  “It’s outrageous that California officials would commit funds for this massively harmful water tunnel without public engagement or environmental review,” said John Buse, the center’s senior counsel in a statement. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: California slammed over ‘blank check’ for Delta tunnel project

SEE ALSO:

Putting a price on water: The NASDAQ Veles California water index (nqh20)

Nasdaq’s unparalleled commitment to identifying and opening new markets places us squarely at the forefront of financial innovation. Where market challenges present undue inefficiency and risk, we see an opportunity to bring our expertise to engage participants and drive solutions.  Thus, when our partners, West Water and Veles Water, demonstrated a unique ability to capture transaction-level data in the California water market, light bulbs started going off. We had long been interested in developing a means of determining the fair value of water as a commodity as a key to addressing the risks that cyclical drought conditions bring to bear upon water-stressed locations. … ”  Read more from NASDAQ here: Putting a price on water: The NASDAQ Veles California water index (nqh20)

In parched California, search goes deeper for water

A carpet of green, new grass covered the rolling hills, southwest of Maricopa, near New Cuyama. In the distance, the coastal mountain range was capped by white, full clouds and blue sky.  For most observers of the lush scene, a looming drought would be an unlikely thought. But don’t tell that to John McCalip, president of All American Drilling Inc., who watched his drilling crew as they poked a hole through the hardpan soil in search of water. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  In parched California, search goes deeper for water

Scientists share coping strategies for San Joaquin Valley households at risk of extreme climate impacts

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has published an educational guide for people living in California’s San Joaquin Valley to better understand how climate change threatens their communities and what they can do to prepare for worsening living conditions.  Rural communities throughout the state will bear the burden of the state’s slow action on climate change, according to a recent UCS report, which pointed out that communities in the San Joaquin Valley have fewer water supply options, are located in areas more likely to flood and experience extreme heat, suffer the worse air and water quality in the state, and have less capacity to do their own climate risk planning. … ”  Read more from the Union of Concerned Scientists here: Scientists share coping strategies for San Joaquin Valley households at risk of extreme climate impacts

Spring-run and fall-run Chinook salmon aren’t as different as they seem

Historically, spring-run and fall-run Chinook salmon have been considered as separate subspecies, races, ecotypes, or even as separate species of fish. A new genetic analysis, however, shows that the timing of migration in Chinook salmon is determined entirely by differences in one short stretch of DNA in their genomes.  The new findings, published October 29 in Science, mean that within a drainage basin like the Klamath River, the different runs of Chinook salmon are all part of a single diverse population. … ”  Read more from UC Santa Cruz here:  Spring-run and fall-run Chinook salmon aren’t as different as they seem

Spotlighting 5 years of critical California conservation:

Sustainable Conservation catalyzes restoration work by creating policy and regulatory incentives to encourage landowners to do more restoration and to make sure projects can be done now, not years – or even decades – from now. Because the regulatory process can be so complex, creating more efficient permitting pathways is a vital area of our work, and has made a difference for restorationists all over California.  One pathway we developed is the Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act (HRE Act), and 2020 marks the HRE Act’s five-year anniversary. We’re highlighting the essential restoration projects throughout California that have used the HRE Act to help revitalize critical habitat for fish and wildlife. … ”  Read more from Sustainable Conservation here: Spotlighting 5 years of critical California conservation

California steps up efforts to protect and restore eelgrass

Calling eelgrass “critical for ocean and human health,” California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said state officials will continue to do all they can to restore and enhance this vital marine plant throughout the state. Crowfoot made his remarks following the September meeting of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), which advanced its goal to protect 15,000 acres of eelgrass and restore an additional 1,000 acres over the next five years by adopting a resolution urging the federal government to update its eelgrass mitigation policy for the state.  Found in estuaries, bays, and other shallow nearshore areas, eelgrass provides essential habitat for species such as Dungeness crab, an important part of the state’s commercial fishing industry that generated more than $51 million in 2019, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Eelgrass also nurtures endangered Sacramento River Chinook salmon, absorbs climate-warming carbon, helps protect the coastline from storm surges, and provides other benefits. … ”  Read more from Pew here: California steps up efforts to protect and restore eelgrass

Study of California wildfire costs suggests need for better tracking by state

The costs of wildfire damage in California have become almost impossible to fully quantify, and a report from a nonprofit reviewing public data recommends new approaches for the state’s mitigation and tracking efforts.  Butte County became known in just a few hours on Nov. 8, 2018 for one of the most deadly and most destructive wildfires in state history. According to a new report from the nonprofit California Council on Science and Technology released Thursday, such destructive wildfires like the Camp Fire are demonstrating a need for the state to better track and analyze the multiple costs of wildfires, to mitigate their effects and prevent costly destruction. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Study of California wildfire costs suggests need for better tracking by state

5 climate ghost towns (1 in CA)

Climate change is creating American ghost towns with a regularity not seen since the 19th century, when boomtowns sprouted and died as quickly as their resources could be devoured.  Today, disasters are hollowing out more small communities and erasing important cultural, historical and religous sites, leaving only painful memories and sometimes nothing.  Just this year, multiple hurricanes struck the Louisiana coast, including Zeta earlier this week. It remains a mystery whether Cameron and Creole, just 12 miles apart along the southwest Louisiana coast, will survive after back-to-back hits from Hurricanes Laura and Delta.  Today, Cameron has more opened graves than open businesses, and most of its residents have evacuated to other places. … ”  Read more from E&E here: 5 climate ghost towns (1 in CA)

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Story Map: Preparing the Klamath basin for dam removal

The Klamath River Basin was once home to one of the West’s most prolific salmon fisheries. But for more than a century, efforts to harness the natural power of the river through the installation of hydroelectric dams, have contributed to devastating declines in water quality, the region’s anadromous fisheries, and the tribal, recreational, and commercial economies and communities they support.  Despite the presence of these dams, partners from across the region have been working collaboratively to enhance and restore fish passage in the Basin. … ”  View story map from ArcGIS here:  Story Map: Preparing the Klamath basin for dam removal

North State Drinking Water Solutions Network: Connecting communities with new opportunities

On Thursday, October 22, NCWA hosted the second meeting of the North State Drinking Water Solutions Network via webinar. Over 30 participants joined in a detailed discussion of technical assistance and funding opportunities available through the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and Division of Financial Assistance (DFA). The Network works to connect communities in Northern California with new opportunities available for assistance and funding, with the goal of ensuring access to safe drinking water for all communities. … ”  Read more from the NorCal Water Association here: North State Drinking Water Solutions Network: Connecting communities with new opportunities

Nevada Irrigation District:  NID: Urban Water Management Plan and the Agricultural Water Management Plan move ahead – extra public workshops planned

The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is moving ahead with its work on its Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) and the Agricultural Water Management Plan (AWMP) to ensure future water deliveries to raw and treated water.  The plans are prepared by California water suppliers to support long-term resource planning, and ensure adequate water supplies are available to meet existing and future water demands. These plans are prepared every five years and submitted to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) as required in California Water Code and the Water Conservation Act of 2009. … ”  Read more from YubaNet here: Nevada Irrigation District:  NID: Urban Water Management Plan and the Agricultural Water Management Plan move ahead – extra public workshops planned

Yuba-Feather Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations

Despite its reputation for year-round sunshine and mild temperatures, California has one of the most varied climates in the United States.  For Yuba County and neighboring Sutter, these variations have manifested most notably in catastrophic flooding from the Yuba, Feather and Bear rivers, often after years of dry conditions. Since 1950, five major floods claimed 43 lives, caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and resulted in decades of social and economic impacts. ... ”  Read more from the Yuba Water Agency here:  Yuba-Feather Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations

Yolo County: State and supervisors assess Cache Creek flood capacity

California’s Department of Water Resources is leading a charge over alerting people about Flood Preparedness Week, where counties statewide assess and prepare for the risk of flooding in their area.  The state’s commitment to the cause is no surprise, as every county in California has been declared a federal flood disaster area at least once in the last 20 years.  This year, flood risk is only exacerbated by a devastating and destructive fire season. Large-scale wildfires like the ones the state has seen in recent months can dramatically alter terrain, leaving the ground unable to absorb water and conditions ripe for flooding. … ”  Read more from the Woodland Daily Democrat here:  Yolo County: State and supervisors assess Cache Creek flood capacity

Yolo County: Collaboration between rice farmers and environmentalists working out nicely

When driving over the Yolo Bypass in the winter, one can’t help but notice the flooded fields.  That land is one of the key freshwater marsh ecosystems in California and a Sacramento flood protection area. Historically, the area used to be wetlands and flood plain habitat, but now, farmers grow rice there. After harvest, the fields are flooded to not only help decompose the leftover rice straw but also, as a surprise to many, recreate a surrogate habitat for many area wildlife, most notably birds. … ”  Read more from the Woodland Daily Democrat here:  Collaboration between rice farmers and environmentalists working out nicely

Cazadero cannabis grower pleads guilty to felony environmental violations

Michael Silva, 37, of Cazadero pled guilty to three felony counts related to environmental violations on a property where he was growing 1,450 cannabis plants, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday night, Oct. 29.  Silva hadn’t obtained environmental permits for his grow. According to the district attorney’s office, he will perform remediation, 300 hours of community service, obtain the correct permits and satisfy other requirements related to cultivating on the Cazadero property “with the understanding that charges will be dismissed upon completion in a year.” … ” Read more from Sonoma West here:  Cazadero cannabis grower pleads guilty to felony environmental violations

Poop sleuths: Tracking COVID-19 in the Bay Area’s wastewater

Bay Area scientists are searching for the COVID-19 virus not only in our noses, but somewhere more private: our poop.  When we flush our toilets, the waste vanishes, never to be seen, smelled or considered again.  But the sludge, a precious resource for public health officials, is captured downstream in sewage pipes and wastewater treatment plants – and then sent off for analysis by virus hunters at UC Berkeley and Stanford. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here: Poop sleuths: Tracking COVID-19 in the Bay Area’s wastewater

When will the Bay Area see rain? Not any time soon

Moist Pacific air is making a return to the Bay Area. But rain? Don’t bet on it.  That’s the message from National Weather Service meteorologists tracking the possibility of winter precipitation in the wake of winds that triggered more than two dozen small fires in Northern California and precautionary power shut-offs.  Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it believes its widespread shut-offs, now fully restored, prevented an even greater number of wildfires. The utility company has identified 76 places where its de-energized power lines were damaged by winds and falling trees. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  When will the Bay Area see rain? Not any time soon

Del Puerto board certifies EIR on proposed reservoir

A proposal to built a water storage reservoir in the hills west of Patterson moved forward last Wednesday morning when the Del Puerto Water District Board of Directors certified a final Environmental Impact Report on the controversial project.  The Del Puerto district and San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority are partnering on the proposal to build an off-stream reservoir in Del Puerto Canyon with a capacity of 82,000 acre-feet. … ”  Read more from Westside Connect here: Del Puerto board certifies EIR on proposed reservoir

SCV Water files lawsuit over water contamination

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency filed a lawsuit Tuesday against multiple companies over water contamination, alleging toxic chemicals from products manufactured by those named in the case were discharged into the environment.  Raytheon Technologies, Chemours, DuPoint and 3M Co. are among dozens named in the lawsuit “for their roles in introducing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into the water supply in Santa Clarita,” according to SCV Water in a news release Thursday. … ”  Read more from The Signal here:  SCV Water files lawsuit over water contamination

There’s hope, SoCal: La Niña doesn’t always mean drier winter weather

El Niño and La Niña patterns are part of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which monitors sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  When sea-surface temperatures in this region are above average, it’s called El Niño; when they are below average, it’s called La Niña.  We aren’t talking about major changes in water temperatures but typically more minor swings — usually on the order of plus or minus a degree Celsius — 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — or less.  There are instances when water temperatures have been as much as eight degrees Fahrenheit above average — a very strong El Niño — but it’s not common. … ”  Read more from Spectrum 1 here: There’s hope, SoCal: La Niña doesn’t always mean drier winter weather 

San Gorgonio Water Agency and Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District to participate in Sites reservoir project

It is no surprise that southern Californians are in need of water. Even during wet seasons, it seems like water is always in short supply.  With the need for additional water reserve, Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District and San Gorgonio Water Agency have committed to participate in the Sites Reservoir Project Agreement. … ”  Read more from the Record-Gazette here:  San Gorgonio Water Agency and Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District to participate in Sites reservoir project

Salton Sea Project Receives $700k for Restoration of Bombay Beach Wetland

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a grant of $700,000 to Audubon California towards the stabilization, restoration and enhancement of wetlands near the town of Bombay Beach, on the Salton Sea. The area already hosts a number of “emergent wetlands,” formed by flows from nearby springs. These incidental wetlands, nearby saline wetlands and brackish pools have become home to species including the Yuma Ridgway’s Rail, American Avocet, Northern Pintail and possibly Desert Pupfish. … ”  Read more from Audubon here:  Salton Sea Project Receives $700k for Restoration of Bombay Beach Wetland Return to top

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-20201029

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

SCIENCE NEWS: Researchers probe deaths of Central Valley chinook; Spring-run and fall-run Chinook salmon aren’t as different as they seem; Managing aquatic invasive species; and more …

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Water Diversions~ DCB Meeting~ Ecosystem Article~ PSN Comments ~~

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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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