DAILY DIGEST, 11/9: Rain, snow in NorCal and more on the way; Small dam, big deal: York dam removed in Napa Valley; Seasonal wetlands ‘best success story’ of repurposing rice straw; Closely divided Congress complicates policy landscape for 2021; and more …



On the calendar today …

  • ON TV TONIGHT: KVIE/PBS Rob on the Road Features French Meadows Forest Restoration Project at 7:30pm.  Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) and the French Meadows Partnership will be featured on Rob Stewart of KVIE’s “Rob on the Road” on November 9 at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 6, a PBS station. The 30-minute segment features the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project. PCWA General Manager Andy Fecko and Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs and Policy at The Nature Conservancy, spoke with Rob over Zoom in a virtual format.  Click here for more information.
  • ONLINE EVENT: Environmental Concerns: Protecting California’s Lands, Water, and Birds from 7:30pm to 9:00pm  Mike Lynes, Policy Director for Audubon California, will discuss Audubon’s advocacy for the state initiative AB3030 with the goal of protecting 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030 and the resulting Executive Order issued in October.  Presented by the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Rain in San Francisco, hail in Marin, snow in Tahoe — and more storms are coming, at last

Rain arrived in the Bay Area on Sunday — and more is expected toward the end of the week, potentially enough to start bringing the devastating wildfire season to a close.  San Francisco’s Marina district experienced a brief downpour Sunday afternoon and Marin County saw hail, while Lafayette heard a roll of thunder and Mount Hamilton got a dusting of snow. Lake Tahoe resorts also received snow. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Rain in San Francisco, hail in Marin, snow in Tahoe — and more storms are coming, at last

SEE ALSOSierra Nevada sees first snow of the season. Expect a cold snap in the Sacramento Valley, from the Sacramento Bee

Small dam, big deal: York dam removed in Napa Valley

The recent removal of the sediment-filled York Dam in Napa County has reconnected two miles of steelhead trout habitat that has been blocked for over a century. While the dam itself was small and non-functional, it took nearly 30 years to accomplish removal. Thousands of barriers to stream flow and fish passage similar in size and impact to York Dam are scattered throughout California, contributing to population declines in native fishes and other freshwater species. Reconnecting streams will help counter climate change impacts, allowing fishes access to more habitat for spawning and rearing. Completion of the York Dam removal project is encouraging, and it shows us what can go wrong – and right – at the local level. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Small dam, big deal: York dam removed in Napa Valley

Seasonal wetlands ‘best success story’ of repurposing rice straw

Motorists driving along Interstate 80 within the burn area of the recent LNU Lightning Complex Fire cannot help but see the staked fiber rolls that are being used for erosion control on the slopes of the adjacent hillsides.  The state Department of Transportation reported that its contractor put down between 25 and 30 miles of wattles at a cost of $5 million. Those wattles are filled with rice straw, one of the few markets that have been afforded growers when they were prohibited from burning their fields starting in 1991 for air quality reasons. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Seasonal wetlands ‘best success story’ of repurposing rice straw

Fairfield: Pacific Flyway Center planning back on migration path to reality

The nonprofit group driving the development of the $75 million Pacific Flyway Center in the Suisun Marsh has submitted its permitting application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Claude Grillo, one of three directors on the Pacific Flyway Center LLC board and head of the project, said the grading permit application was turned in Thursday.  “I’d love to give you more, but nothing has changed except we are moving forward with our permitting,” Grillo said. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Pacific Flyway Center planning back on migration path to reality

Bay Point Regional Shoreline beautifully restored

Wildlife and people now have a beautiful, newly restored place to roam — Bay Point Regional Shoreline in eastern Contra Costa County.  Through an extensive and environmentally sensitive restoration project, the East Bay Regional Park District has returned the shoreline to its former natural state, with habitat for a multitude of animals and plants and an accessible trail from which park visitors can observe them. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Bay Point Regional Shoreline beautifully restored

LA County beach contamination warning issued due to rainfall

On Sunday, November 8, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a “beach water use advisory” due to the recent rainfall in the city. Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis issued the warning.  “Because of the recent rainfall… bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash, and other public health hazards from city streets and mountain areas are likely to contaminate ocean waters at and around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers after a rainfall,” the department said in a press release.  Beaches across L.A. County have been placed under the advisory order, from San Pedro to Malibu. … ”  Read more from Canyon News here: LA County beach contamination warning issued due to rainfall

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Along the Colorado River …

Phoenix remains in drought after record-breaking summer heat

As the seasons start to change, offering cooler temperatures in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix is continuing to play “catch up” after record-breaking heat caused extra drying, furthering the drought that has been years in the making. “Similar to the last five months, October was extremely dry across Arizona,” said Shauna Evans, public information officer for the Arizona Department of Water Resources. “As a result, drought conditions worsened throughout the state.” … ”  Read more from AZ Big Media here: Phoenix remains in drought after record-breaking summer heat

River managers turn eyes to new Powell-Mead deal

A 2007 deal creating guidelines governing how Lake Powell and Lake Mead are operated in coordination isn’t scheduled to expire until 2026. But water officials in Colorado River Basin states are already beginning to talk about the renegotiations that will be undertaken to decide what succeeds the 2007 criteria.  “I think the guidelines have been a big success,” John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said Wednesday during the 10th annual Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum. The forum is put on by Colorado Mesa University’s Ruth Powell Hutchins Water Center and this year is taking place online due to the pandemic. … ”  Read more from the Grand Junction Sentinel here: River managers turn eyes to new Powell-Mead deal

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Election section …

Biden could roll back Trump agenda with blitz of executive actions

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is poised to unleash a series of executive actions on his first day in the Oval Office, prompting what is likely to be a yearslong effort to unwind President Trump’s domestic agenda and immediately signal a wholesale shift in the United States’ place in the world.  In the first hours after he takes the oath of office on the West Front of the Capitol at noon on Jan. 20, Mr. Biden has said, he will send a letter to the United Nations indicating that the country will rejoin the global effort to combat climate change, reversing Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord with more than 174 countries.  Mr. Biden’s afternoon will be a busy one. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Biden could roll back Trump agenda with blitz of executive actions

Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies:  Closely divided Congress complicates policy landscape for 2021

Voters across the country delivered somewhat mixed messages on Election Day, sending Joe Biden to the White House but also withholding the decisive victory that some had expected for congressional Democrats. Much remains to be settled in the coming weeks and months, but it is apparent that when lawmakers convene for the 117th Congress in January neither party will have any margin for error when attempting to advance policy priorities. … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Closely divided Congress complicates policy landscape for 2021

Voters pass dozens of environmental ballot measures across the country

The importance of nature and the environment was evident this election as voters across the country approved more than two dozen conservation ballot measures.  The initiatives include nearly $3.7 billion in new funding for land conservation, parks, climate resiliency and habitat, according to The Trust for Public Land Action Fund. … ”  Read more from ABC News here: Voters pass dozens of environmental ballot measures across the country

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In national news today …

1,4-Dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

1,4-Dioxane gets around.  It’s on laboratory shelves, a reagent familiar to bench scientists. Some drugmakers use it to purify pharmaceutical ingredients. Filter makers employ it to create tiny pores in membranes. The chemical’s commercial heyday was in the second half of the 20th century, when it stabilized chlorinated solvents used for metal degreasing.  Since then, the chemical’s reputation has dimmed. … ”  Read more from Chemical & Engineering News here:  1,4-Dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

People of color are more likely to live without indoor plumbing even in the richest US cities, study says

Even in the richest American cities, many still live without one basic utility — indoor plumbing.  That’s according to a team of geography researchers from King’s College London and the University of Arizona, who published their findings this week in the peer-reviewed PNAS journal. From 2013 to 2017, more than 1.1 million people in the US did not have access to a piped water connection, the study says, with almost half of them living in the country’s 50 largest cities. … ”  Read more from CNN here: People of color are more likely to live without indoor plumbing even in the richest US cities, study says

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Weekend Daily Digest …

In California water news this weekend:

  • Biden to move fast to strike down Trump’s environmental agenda
  • Trump leaves unfinished business in environmental litigation
  • A statewide response to sea level rise
  • Cal Am re-files desal project application with Coastal Commission
  • Santa Barbara County: Application for third Cat Canyon oil project withdrawn
  • Colorado River bugs spark two unprecedented experiments—with opposite goals
  • Terry Fulp: A Colorado River leader who brokered key pacts to aid West’s vital water artery assesses his legacy and the river’s future
  • California’s Costa to seek ag committee chairmanship
  • Experts distrust the tap, but prefer it to bottles
  • And more …

Click here for the Weekend Daily Digest.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

WEEKLY WATER NEWS DIGEST for November 1-6: Updates on Delta Conveyance Project and San Joaquin River Restoration, plus all the week’s top stories and more …

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: GRA’s The Future of Water 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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