DAILY DIGEST, 11/12: Will the West figure out how to share water?; Drought developing in much of the West; Reimagining the Colorado River by exploring extreme events; Overlooked Army Corps rulemaking would shrink federal stream protections; and more …



On the calendar today …

  • ONLINE WORKSHOP: Headwater Mercury Source Reduction Workshop from 9:30am to 3:00pm.  The workshop will address the issue of mercury contamination in Sierra waterbodies and the associated issue of mercury in locally caught fish.   Presented by the Sierra Fund.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: How to Survive the Information Flood: Modernizing Water Resources Data Management from 11am to 12pm.  If your organization is challenged by outdated, unwieldy, or inefficient data collection or management, this session will give you insight into approaches and tools you can use to modernize your process.  Presented by Woodard Curran.  Click here to register.
  • ONLINE EVENT: Building a Water-Resilient California, part 1: Funding water systems while ensuring affordability and equity from 11am to 12pm.   How do we develop more sustainable and reliable funding sources for the water sector while also ensuring safe and affordable drinking water for all?  Join the PPIC for a panel discussion.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Non-native Fish Species: A Management Conundrum and an Ecological Headache from 4:30pm to 6:00pm.  The presenter will discuss will discuss research on the ecological effects of fish stocking on contaminants in mountain lakes, how visitors to national parks perceive fish stocking activities, unintended consequences of fish removal, and thoughts on how we go forward from here.  Presented by Huxley College.Click here for more information.

In California water news today …

Will the West figure out how to share water?

“… In the dry and arid West, where little rain falls, irrigation is the life blood of farming.  As droughts become more persistent and urban growth across the Mountain West continues to skyrocket, agricultural communities are increasingly worried about losing their water to far away cities — turning the towns into dust bowls with few job prospects. … ”  Read more from Deseret News here:  Will the West figure out how to share water?

Drought developing in much of the West

La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean may lead to the second straight drier-than-normal winter in much of the West, as a blocking high-pressure ridge could set up off the California coast and potentially worsen an already developing drought, forecasters say.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s winter forecast favors warmer, drier conditions across the southern tier of the U.S. and cooler, wetter conditions in the north. This is due largely to La Nina, in which slightly below-normal sea surface temperatures lead to a high-pressure ridge that moves the storm track to the north. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Drought developing in much of the West

Protecting Open Land: California Rangeland Trust project places fiscal value on the environmental benefits of ranches

Stan Van Vleck, owner of the 13,000-acre Van Vleck Ranch in Rancho Murieta, is incrementally placing 30 percent of his ranch under conservation easements, with nearly 1,800 acres conserved to date.  “We’re going to be one of the largest private dedications of land in our region,” says Van Vleck, whose cattle ranch accounts for 5 percent of all agricultural land in Sacramento County. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here:  Protecting Open Land: California Rangeland Trust project places fiscal value on the environmental benefits of ranches

Court Of Appeal For Second Appellate District determines plaintiff not required to exhaust administrative remedies in proposition 218 challenge to ratemaking methodology

The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District recently ruled that a plaintiff challenging the method that a special district uses to calculate rates in a judicial action need not first present her evidence at the Proposition 218 public hearing regarding an increase in the rates.  … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here:  Court Of Appeal For Second Appellate District determines plaintiff not required to exhaust administrative remedies in proposition 218 challenge to ratemaking methodology

How California will shape U.S. environmental policy under Biden

California’s climate titans are ready to come in from the cold.  Donald Trump spent the last four years trying to rein in California’s vast influence on American emissions, energy and environmental policy, given that any rule made by the nation’s biggest state ripples through the national economy. That ends in just over two months, when Joe Biden enters the Oval Office, and has consequences that stretch well beyond the Golden State, as key California officials regain their clout in Washington. … ”  Read more from Politico here:  How California will shape U.S. environmental policy under Biden

‘Beast of a storm’ about to slam into Pacific Northwest

” … Rain will begin to increase in intensity late Thursday night and Friday morning as the storm approaches. Sheets of rain will pelt the coasts of Washington, Oregon and Northern California as the storm slams into the region on Friday. Given the strength of the storm, winds will rapidly increase to disruptive and damaging levels as well.  ... ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  ‘Beast of a storm’ about to slam into Pacific Northwest

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Crews work to prevent fire run-off from entering Lake Berryessa

Three California Conservation Corps crews are working seven days a week to help Napa County protect Lake Berryessa from potential run-off from homes and other structures burned in the LNU Lightning Complex Hennessey Fire.  There was significant fire damage to the communities of Spanish Flat and Berryessa Highlands, both of which are within watersheds that drain into Lake Berryessa. … ”  Read more from The Patch here: Crews work to prevent fire run-off from entering Lake Berryessa

A new plan for ranching at Point Reyes and what it means for the future of the seashore

Although few of its more than 2 million annual visitors may realize it, behind the majestic coastal bluffs and sprawling pasture of Point Reyes National Seashore lies a history of conflicts, compromises, and competing park priorities. Ranchers and community leaders fought the establishment of the National Seashore itself, local food advocates fought for the continuation of an oyster farm in a designated wilderness area, and wildlife activists have fought against the fencing-in of native tule elk on the Seashore’s elk reserve. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  A new plan for ranching at Point Reyes and what it means for the future of the seashore

Point Reyes: New antennas bring better coho tracking

A new and improved tool that tracks salmon survival in Lagunitas Creek was installed on ranchlands west of Point Reyes Station last month, potentially changing the way the Marin Municipal Water District manages the watershed.  Every year, ecologists implant a rice-sized microchip in hundreds of juvenile coho salmon. Now, antennas anchored at the mouth of the creek will register their passage when they swim to or from the ocean. Scientists will use the data to understand the relationship between where salmon grew up and how they fared in the sea. … ”  Read more from the Point Reyes Light here: New antennas bring better coho tracking

King tides may reach 6.9 feet along low-lying areas in Marin County, San Francisco

King tides return to the Bay Area this week and ABC7 News Meteorologist Mike Nicco says they are really going to hit the North Bay, as they always do.  The entrance to the Manzanita Park & Ride Lot in southern Marin County is one of the areas that typically floods during king tides, affecting traffic.  King tides are also expected make a splash along San Francisco’s Embarcadero, like we have seen in previous years. … ”  Read more from KGO here: King tides may reach 6.9 feet along low-lying areas in Marin County, San Francisco

Madera groundwater plan accepted by state

The public can finally get a look at how Madera officials plan to correct severe groundwater over pumping and replenish aquifers in that area.  For some farmers, that correction will mean pumping limits of up to 50 percent from what’s allowed today.  Water budgets and water markets will also likely become the norm. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Madera groundwater plan accepted by state

Corcoran: Farmers donate money to help dairy in fight with city

Donations from Central Valley farm bureaus hope to aid a Tulare County dairy in a legal fight against the City of Corcoran.  On Oct. 2, The Tulare County Farm Bureau presented a check for $65,000 to Ben Curti and Tessa Hall of Curtimade Dairy to assist in their legal fees as they defend against accusations of groundwater pollution from the Kings County city, said Tricia Stever Blattler, president of the farm bureau.  Over the summer, the Kings County Farm Bureau donated $15,000 to Curtimade. Donations came from farm bureau members as well as the Madera County Farm Bureau, said Dusty Ference, executive director for the Kings County Farm Bureau. … ”  Read more from the Business Journal here:  Farmers donate money to help dairy in fight with city

Early-season snow means Mammoth Mountain will open Friday

After getting a solid snow dump over the weekend, Mammoth Mountain resort will open to skiers Friday, ahead of most other ski areas in the Sierra. However, single-day lift tickets for the opening weekend were already sold out Wednesday morning.  Early-season storms have brought upward of 12 inches of snow to some mountains around Lake Tahoe and to Mammoth, which rests south of the Tahoe Basin in the Eastern Sierra. More snow is expected to arrive later this week, possibly Thursday night. Most of Tahoe’s premier ski areas are targeting openings between Nov. 20 and early December. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Early-season snow means Mammoth Mountain will open Friday

Riverside County approves hemp grower regulations in unincorporated areas

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a series of regulations on where and how hemp growers can operate in unincorporated areas of Riverside County, prohibiting grows where water availability is already a challenge.  “We cannot allow groundwater basins to be depleted under any circumstance,” Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said. “That would be devastating to a community.” … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Riverside County approves hemp grower regulations in unincorporated areas

Restoration projects at the Salton Sea

Restoration projects are finally coming to the Salton Sea and New River.  Nearly $47 million dollars have been secured in California’s state budget for the next year to begin mitigation efforts at the Salton Sea and the New River.  It’s a major win for a decades-long problem that has contributed to the environmental and health impacts in Imperial County. ... ”  Read more from KYMA here: Restoration projects at the Salton Sea

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Along the Colorado River …

Reimagining the Colorado River by exploring extreme events

Imagine this scenario: Persistently poor monsoon seasons diminish surface water resources, forcing residents in the Colorado River’s Lower Basin to turn to groundwater for their residential, agricultural, and industrial needs. With pumping vastly increased, aquifers crash, and water deliveries from existing in-state sources are further curtailed. Demand for water from the Colorado River then rapidly increases, putting increasing pressure on high-priority surface water rights associated with Native American tribes. Story lines like this keep water management professionals, environmentalists, and government representatives awake at night. … ”  Read more from EOS here: Reimagining the Colorado River by exploring extreme events

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In national water news today …

Overlooked Army Corps rulemaking would shrink federal stream protections

Earlier this year, the Trump administration secured one of its signature environmental legacies when it completed a rule that reduced federal protections for wetlands as well as for streams that flow only following rainfall.  Environmental policy experts concluded that the administration’s narrow definition of the scope of the Clean Water Act was its most damaging decision for waterways. The rollback of the Obama-era ruling was a campaign promise of President Trump and a rallying cry for industrial lobby groups that supported him.  Now, the Army Corps of Engineers, with much less fanfare and in the final months of the Trump administration, is considering another rule change that would also shrink federal protection of small streams, ecologists and lawyers say. The Corps said in its proposal that it is acting in response to the president’s order to review regulations that burden energy development. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  Overlooked Army Corps rulemaking would shrink federal stream protections 

Presidential election polling shows what Americans think about water issues

As Americans shared their views on political issues leading up the presidential election this month, they revealed the national outlook on central drinking water and wastewater concerns at a most crucial juncture.  Polls conducted by The New York Times and Siena College, which were central to estimations about whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden would win the U.S. presidency, also gathered data about opinions on climate change, oil and gas operations, and other environmental concerns from the country as a whole and political battleground states in particular. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: Presidential election polling shows what Americans think about water issues

Ag research gets boost in Senate appropriations bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee proposed a total of $23.33 billion in funding that was included in draft legislation released on Tuesday. The bill provides more than $3.3 billion for agricultural research programs.  This includes $1.51 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and $1.54 billion for the National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA), including a $10 million increase for the Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI). This funding will support investments in the research and development of new technologies and varieties to improve the productivity, sustainability and quality of American agriculture. The bill also fully funds the President’s request to support the continued establishment of the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Ag research gets boost in Senate appropriations bill

As Cape Town races to save water, risk of ‘Day Zero’ drought seen rising

Cape Town faces an 80% higher chance of another ‘Day Zero’ drought by the end of the century if greenhouse gas-emissions keep rising at current rates, research showed on Monday, as the South African city races to safeguard water supplies.  Following a 2018 drought in South Africa that nearly caused Cape Town’s taps to run dry, known as Day Zero, officials have been working to avert further water crises that could put lives at risk and destroy livelihoods in the coming years.  Using new high-resolution simulations, researchers from Stanford University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated the role climate change could play in future droughts across the globe. … ”  Read more from the Thomas Reuters Foundation News here:  As Cape Town races to save water, risk of ‘Day Zero’ drought seen rising

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Today’s featured articles …

WATER COMMISSION: What is the state’s role in financing conveyance projects?

On July 28 of this year, Governor Newsom issued the final water resilience portfolio which calls for a set of actions to meet California water needs through the 21st century.  Specifically, Action 19.4 directs the Water Commission to assess the state’s role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet needs in a changing climate.

At the Commission’s October meeting, commissioners began the work set out for them in the portfolio by considering a background policy brief prepared by staff, hearing a synopsis of initial stakeholder interviews, a presentation from Ellen Hanak with some thoughts on resilience and conveyance, a presentation from DWR’s John Andrew on the intersection of resilience and conveyance, and a proposal from DWR’s Kamyar Guivetchi on a conceptual study of conveyance needs in the San Joaquin Valley.

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, 11/11: Pricey tunnel sparks talk of water sales; LAO Report on drinking water; Update on approaching atmospheric rivers; and more …

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Grants Available~ UWMP Webinars~ Advisory Document~ Landscape Study~ Resilience Webinar~ Metadata Workshop~ Applicants Sought ~~

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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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