DAILY DIGEST, 11/5: Feds give green light to Friant-Kern Canal repairs; Camp Fire: Cause of benzene water supply contamination challenged; Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta tunnel; and more …



On the calendar today …

The Delta Conveyance Authority Stakeholder Engagement Committee meets from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Click here for more information and remote access information.

WEBINAR: Wildfire: The Size of the Problem vs. the Sizes of the Solutions from 4:30 to 6:00pm

The last decade has presented a nearly constant stream of superlatives and new records in wildland fire in the US. Then again this last 2020 wildland fire season has set numerous records and perhaps given us a preview of coming fire seasons with changes associated with ongoing climate change. However, this last year may be something a little more than just another big year. There were some profound shifts in the way the west burned this last summer. Dr. Medler will take us through some of the salient facts and issues exposed by the past season’s burning patterns.  Click here for more information and remote access link.

PUBLIC MEETING: Trinity River: Oregon Gulch channel rehabilitation project from 6pm to 7:30pm

The Bureau of Reclamation, along with the Bureau of Land Management and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, will host a virtual public meeting on the Trinity River Restoration Program’s proposed Oregon Gulch channel rehabilitation project in Trinity County.  The virtual public meeting can be accessed online via the event page: https://www.trrp.net/calendar/event/?id=11685.

In California water news today …

Feds give green light to Friant-Kern Canal repairs

The Friant-Kern Canal has received the approval from the federal government to fix a sag in the canal.  The Bureau of Reclamation gave its approval Tuesday – signing a Record of Decision giving environmental clearance for the project – following action from the Trump administration to invest about $5 million to study and begin pre-construction work on the canal. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here:   Feds give green light to Friant-Kern Canal repairs

SEE ALSOTrump Administration greenlights Friant-Kern Canal repair, press release from the Bureau of Reclamation

Camp Fire: Cause of benzene water supply contamination challenged

The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI) said today that its investigation of benzene contamination in the water supply of fire damaged areas such as Paradise, California has determined that the cause is not from pipe made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), but was from the burned-out environment. This debris was sucked into the pipes, contaminating the water system regardless of the pipe material. The major North American trade association representing the plastic pipe industry conducted the study in response to claims that the melting of HDPE pipe led to the production of benzene, a carcinogen. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: Camp Fire: Cause of benzene water supply contamination challenged

Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta tunnel

A declaration suit filed in Superior Court in Sacramento by attorneys for some of the leading environmental groups in America accuses the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) of trying to prevent anyone in California from filing a court action challenging the bonds after the bond sales are underway.  Referring to the DWR’s court filing in August, the environmental groups’ Oct. 29 suit says it amounts to the DWR writing a “blank check” to finance the project. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta tunnel

Expiration dates looming for TCP lawsuits

The clock is ticking for some water systems and well owners to file a claim if they’re considering suing Dow Chemical and Shell Oil companies for possibly tainting groundwater with a chemical known as 1,2,3-TCP.  That’s short for 1,2,3-trichloropropane. It’s a chemical that was added to a nematode fumigant made by Shell and Dow and applied liberally to Central Valley farmlands from the 1950s through the 1980s. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here:  Expiration dates looming for TCP lawsuits

Coalition requests CA supreme court depublish opinion addressing prop. 218 ratemaking process

ACWA and a coalition of local government associations filed an amicus curiae letter on Tuesday with the California Supreme Court requesting depublication of a recent state appellate court opinion addressing the responsibilities of a plaintiff prior to challenging the rates of a utility in court.  If the high court fails to depublish or review the decision in Malott v. Summerland Sanitary District, public agency ratepayers could be encouraged to bypass the Proposition 218 ratemaking process and drag the agency straight to court. … ”  Read more from ACWA Water News here:  Coalition requests CA supreme court depublish opinion addressing prop. 218 ratemaking process

Water Board enforcement actions being taken on dairies

Dairy producers will need to be mindful of potential enforcement actions from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Director of Environmental Services for Western United Dairies, Paul Sousa explained enforcements are typically occurring during the rainy season. A range of enforcement actions have been taken on six California dairies. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here:  Water Board enforcement actions being taken on dairies

DWR certifies final EIR for Delta’s largest tidal habitat restoration project

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has moved one step closer to starting construction on the Delta’s largest multi-benefit tidal restoration and flood improvement project – Lookout Slough (LOS).  The final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been released and certified, clearing the project to move forward with completing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and getting approvals for final construction permits. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: DWR certifies final EIR for Delta’s largest tidal habitat restoration project

Examining agriculture’s role in combating climate change

Tension is growing between politicians claiming to be “climate leaders”; those who say that enacted policies are too little, too late; and industry sectors lobbying to maintain the status quo. Environmental activists are pushing hard against the fossil fuel industry and commercial agriculture — two sectors that helped build Ventura County but are now being put under the spotlight for activities that contribute to global warming.  “Climate change doesn’t give a hoot who’s president or what we believe. It’s going to do what it’s going to do,” said Brian Rasnow PhD, a lecturer on climate science at California State University, Channel Islands. He teaches courses in physics, astronomy, and one called “Energy and society.” … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Reporter here:  Examining agriculture’s role in combating climate change

New issue of CDFW’s scientific journal reviews environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation

The fall 2020 issue of California Fish and Wildlife (PDF), CDFW’s quarterly scientific journal, features a series of scientific articles on the environmental impacts associated with legal and unpermitted commercial cannabis cultivation. Once primarily hidden deep in the forests of the Emerald Triangle, cannabis cultivation activities are now occurring all over California.  Like other forms of commercial agriculture, land use practices associated with cannabis agriculture can pose a serious risk to many threatened and endangered species. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  New issue of CDFW’s scientific journal reviews environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Walden calls newly signed law welcome news for Klamath Basin irrigators

Klamath Basin irrigators in Oregon and California will be able to access up to $10 million in federal emergency drought relief funds under a bill supported by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) that became law on Oct. 30 with the president’s signature.  President Donald Trump signed into law S. 3758, introduced in May by U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to amend and make certain technical corrections to the Klamath Basin Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2000, according to the congressional record bill summary. The U.S. House of Representatives approved S. 3758 on Oct. 1 after U.S. Senate approval of the bill on June 30. … ”  Read more from the Ripon Advance here: Walden calls newly signed law welcome news for Klamath Basin irrigators

Yuba Water Agency funds drinking water infrastructure repairs for Camptonville residents

Yuba Water Agency took action yesterday to improve water supply reliability for Camptonville residents.  A $56,000 grant, approved today by Yuba Water’s board of directors, provides necessary funding for the Camptonville Community Services District to perform repairs to its Campbell Gulch diversion structure, which captures and diverts water for the entire community of Camptonville. … ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  Yuba Water Agency funds drinking water infrastructure repairs for Camptonville residents

Fire-ravaged California Wine Country: We’re still here

The subject of the call was dire: Scattered reports of fire. On the mountain. Maybe headed straight for the Meadowood Napa Valley resort.  It was late September, and most resort employees had evacuated to safer spots. Officials organized a conference call to reassure their people not to panic. Christopher Kostow, executive chef of The Restaurant at Meadowood, was one of those on the line.  The group discussed conflicting news reports of fire burning nearby vineyards. They shared first- and second-hand stories of friends losing everything. Finally, someone interrupted: What about “the picture?” … ”  Read more from the CNN here: Fire-ravaged California Wine Country: We’re still here

San Jose:  Valley Water and partners advance the San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project

Valley Water and its partners from the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (SFCJPA) remain committed to protecting homes and businesses from flooding along San Francisquito Creek.  The SFCJPA, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has nearly completed the design for the second phase of the San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project, from Highway 101 to El Camino Real in Palo Alto. Once completed, the second phase of the San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project will protect about 3,000 homes and businesses across three cities from flooding. ... ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Valley Water and partners advance the San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project

Placer County: Mitigating wildfires is about more than forestry management, says Brian Veerkamp, El Dorado Water Agency board member

He writes, ” … As a former fire chief, I’ve known for years that mitigating wildfire risks through forest management and plentiful, affordable water for greenbelts and landscape is essential to the health and safety of the environment and our communities. Now, as an El Dorado Water Agency board member, it is my goal to make sure others know that effective water planning is also a critical tool in the fight against wildfires and their impacts. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here:  Mitigating wildfires is about more than forestry management

Cabin owners say FEMA won’t help with Creek Fire cleanup, debris removal

Some families who lost their cabins near Huntington Lake in the Creek Fire are now dealing with another crisis.  They say the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, won’t help them clear out what’s left of their homes, because they are on U.S. Forest Service, or federal, land.  “The Creek Fire decided it would have our cabin,” said Jennifer Pool, who lives in Virginia. … ”  Read more from Channel 26 here: Cabin owners say FEMA won’t help with Creek Fire cleanup, debris removal

San Joaquin Valley: Reach O Levee improvement project in the East Side Bypass begins

Work has started on the Reach O levee improvements! The project will improve seepage and stability requirements within two miles of Eastside Bypass levees to allow for higher Restoration Flows. Currently, the levee is constructed of sand or gravelly soils of higher permeability which can transmit water via seepage during high-water stages — potentially impacting adjacent lands. The project aims to reduce these impacts by installing cutoff walls to reduce levee seepage and underseepage as well as replacing six aged culverts with concrete reinforced pipe. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin River Restoration Program here:  Reach O Levee improvement project begins

RELATED CONTENT: FLOOD BOARD: Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, posted today on Maven’s Notebook

Santa Barbara County to conduct groundwater survey flights

Residents of the Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys may see an unusual sight in the skies this November: a low-flying helicopter carrying a large hexagonal frame. This unique equipment is part of a project to map aquifers and improve our understanding of groundwater in the area. The project is being conducted by Santa Barbara County and the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District in cooperation with the local water agencies that comprise the three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in the Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin. … ”  Read more from Edhat here:  Santa Barbara County to conduct groundwater survey flights

Castaic Dam spillway assessment begins: DWR advances State Water Project modernization efforts

Assessments and evaluations of the Castaic Dam spillway in Los Angeles County began today as part of a statewide effort to reduce risks from major earthquakes or extreme weather events to State Water Project (SWP) infrastructure.  As part of the assessments, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will evaluate the concrete spillway and foundation located to the right of the dam. The 4,000-foot-long spillway consists of a 360-foot-wide ungated concrete s-shaped weir and channel connected to an 85-foot-wide rectangular concrete chute that feeds into Castaic Lagoon.  “Castaic Dam’s spillway assessments will help DWR prioritize further maintenance and potential improvements to continue the safe and reliable operation of State Water Project facilities,” said Ted Craddock, DWR Deputy Director of the State Water Project. “The Castaic facilities play an important role in water supply management in Southern California and also provide recreational opportunities for surrounding communities.”

Click here to continue reading this press release from DWR.

Investigative tools and construction equipment, such as drill rigs and heavy machinery, will be used to assess the facilities. Localized noise and increased activity at the site are expected. DWR has adjusted water operations to avoid the use of the spillway while the assessments and evaluations are underway.

Spillway assessments are expected to be completed by 2024, at which time DWR will plan, design and implement projects to modernize the structures at Castaic Dam. The modernization program is expected to take approximately 10 years to complete.

Castaic Lake, completed in 1974 and located 45 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, provides a water supply to more than 5.2 million Californians. The lake offers a variety of recreational opportunities and provides regulatory storage for power generation.

Swell to bring bigger surf to Southern California, along with danger

A late season south swell will roar into Southern California late Thursday, bringing thrills for local surfers but also dangers for beachgoers seeking to enjoy summer-like weather before a drastic dip in temperature this weekend.  Waves will reach the 3- to 5-foot range by late Thursday and Friday, and up to 4- to 6-feet and larger by Saturday, as a west swell is expected to show up. Waves will drop just slightly to 3- to 5-feet by Sunday and ease even more by early next week, according to surf forecasting website Surfline.com. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Swell to bring bigger surf to Southern California, along with danger

Portion of Los Cerritos Wetlands could be remediated

The California Coastal Commission, on Nov. 6, will be considering a permit application to replace a stretch of shallow contaminated sediment at Los Cerritos Wetlands with clean sediment. Los Cerritos Wetlands, LLC, filed the remediation request with the Coastal Commission.  About 0.47 acres of the Synergy Oil Field at Los Cerritos Wetlands – which is relatively close to Alamitos Bay Marina and Naples Island in Long Beach – has, according to Coastal Commission staff, been used “as a disposal site for oil field-related wastes.” … ”  Read more from The Log here:  Portion of Los Cerritos Wetlands could be remediated

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Meanwhile, next door in Nevada …

Norwegian company secures financing for industrial-scale salmon farm in rural Nevada

Raising salmon in the desert seems like an unlikely mission, but that is exactly what Norwegian-based West Coast Salmon AS intends to do.  The company announced in early October it had secured a first round of financing for a land-based Atlantic salmon farm facility near the Humboldt/Pershing County line.  Ralph Runge, project manager for the company, says the farm has been in development for over a year, adding that impacts from COVID-19 slowed the project down, but the company is ready to move forward. … ”  Read more from Northern Nevada News here: Norwegian company secures financing for industrial-scale salmon farm in rural Nevada

In Diamond Valley, farmers are looking to protect their future – and testing the limits of Nevada’s water laws

Diamond Valley starts at the edge of Eureka, a small town in one of the most rural areas of the state. The valley stretches on for miles, and so does the aquifer beneath it, a reserve of underground water that farmers have used at unsustainable rates, year after year.  Springs started to dry decades ago. There were reports of fissures in the ground. Groundwater levels in some areas fell by more than 100 feet. The underground reservoir continues to decline by as much as two feet every year in certain areas, and that means wells could one day go dry. … ”  Read more from the Nevada Independent here: In Diamond Valley, farmers are looking to protect their future – and testing the limits of Nevada’s water laws

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In national water news today …

2020 Election Recap: Florida county overwhelmingly supports granting legal rights to rivers

Residents of Orange County, Florida, voted overwhelmingly in favor of changing the county charter to give legal protection to rivers.  The result was one of a handful across the country in which voters endorsed new protections for waterways or property taxes that will fund water projects. Voters in Utah and Wyoming also approved constitutional amendments that fix technical matters related to municipal water supply and water infrastructure spending. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  2020 Election Recap: Florida County Overwhelmingly Supports Granting Legal Rights to Rivers

How Israeli tech protects the world’s most scarce, essential resource: water

From China to Israel, the US to South Africa, the world’s freshwater lakes and seas are witnessing a surge in harmful algal blooms (HABs) that are endangering the health and economy of nearby communities. These cyanobacterial blooms, algae that grow out of control, are also producing toxic effects and causing harm to animals, birds, marine life, people, and local ecology.  Market-approved algaecides have long tried to keep these toxic plant-like bacteria at bay but many of these treatments cause the release of even more toxins into the water thus creating more problems than they solve. That’s where the Israeli company BlueGreen Water Technologies say they differ. The blue-and-white solution begins out of the water – in outer space, actually – and uses its proprietary blend of algaecides to kill the algae, and prevent it from coming back, in an eco-friendly way. … ”  Read more from No Camels here: How Israeli tech protects the world’s most scarce, essential resource: water

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Today’s featured articles …

FLOOD BOARD: Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

At the October meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Elizabeth Vasquez, Deputy Program Manager for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program for the Bureau of Reclamation and Paul Romero, Supervising Engineer with DWR’s South Central Region Office updated the board members on the ongoing implementation of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Flood-MAR Network~ Arizona Meeting~ Annual Datasets~ Water Partnerships~ Virtual Conference~ CARCD Conference~~

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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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