DAILY DIGEST, 11/13: Rain, snow headed to NorCal this weekend; Q&A with Felicia Marcus on safe drinking water; Restoration brings salmon, people back to Clear Creek; Meadow restoration in the Sierra Nevada; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

First rain in six months expected this weekend in NorCal, snow in the Sierra Nevada

Remember 105-degree temperatures? Choking wildfire smoke?  The weather misery that enveloped the Bay Area and much of Northern California over the past two months will be replaced this weekend by cool temperatures, blustery winds, and wait for it … actual rain — the first significant rain in nearly six months, since May 18. Some snow also is expected to fall in the higher elevations across the Sierra Nevada. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  First rain in six months expected this weekend in NorCal, snow in the Sierra Nevada


Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus, California water expert

Environmental inequality is pervasive in California’s less wealthy areas; the inequities are stark in small Central Valley communities whose drinking water from home wells has long been polluted. Not just polluted, but in some cases cut off entirely as nearby farms over-pumped local groundwater during the major drought.  As chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus had to confront the issue directly. Here are Felicia Marcus’s answers about what has been done and what still needs to be done to untangle the physical, financial and political barriers blocking fair access to clean drinking water in California. … ” Read more from … & the West here:  Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus, California water expert

California is making progress on safe water for all, but work remains

Benedicto Cazares does not turn on his tap. He and his neighbors of East Orosi, an unincorporated community of about 1,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley, have been dealing with unsafe levels of nitrates in their water supply for years — and paying for it.  “We had to keep paying the bill as if it was clean water,” Cazares said, speaking through a translator. He now receives free deliveries of 5-gallon jugs of bottled water every two weeks. Those jugs are the family’s sole source of water for their household. Some weeks, especially when it’s hot, they run out and have to buy bottled water to make up the difference. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: California is making progress on safe water for all, but work remains

DWR study finds no ‘unacceptable risks’ at Oroville Dam

A 19-month study of the safety of the Oroville Dam project has found no “unacceptable risks.”  The Department of Water Resources released its Comprehensive Needs Assessment on Oct. 30, and notes its findings generally agree with those of an Independent Review Board and a regular five-year review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that was completed in July.  Though no unacceptable risks were found, several “potential vulnerabilities” were identified. DWR said work is underway to address some of those. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  DWR study finds no ‘unacceptable risks’ at Oroville Dam

SEE ALSO: After repairs, Oroville Dam deemed safe to operate, from the Western Farm Press

Restoration brings salmon, people back to Clear Creek

Clear Creek has been transformed multiple times in the past two centuries, but the transformation of the past few decades was designed to last. Ravaged first by gold-seekers and then by gravel-miners, the Sacramento River tributary is today a haven for fish and people alike.  “You get to see big male salmon chasing each other away from females and see females digging redds, or nests. It’s exciting,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Charlie Chamberlain. “It’s something a lot of people would not expect to see in California except on National Geographic.” … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  Restoration brings salmon, people back to Clear Creek

Meadow restoration in the Sierra Nevada

Meadows of the Sierra Nevada are among the most pristine places left in California – we flock there to hike, bike, fish, cross-country ski and sometimes just to chill as a refuge from every-day life. Meadows also fill an essential role for the ecosystem – they catch winter run-off when the snow melts, they store and release water throughout the year and are a bedrock of biodiversity. They capture carbon in their below-ground root systems and above-ground greenery, they are relatively resistant to wildfire, and they are important wildlife corridors. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout here:  Meadow restoration in the Sierra Nevada

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Redding: South Cypress Island side channel restoration project kicks off in Redding

Work began this week on the South Cypress Island Side Channel Restoration Project along the Sacramento River immediately downstream of the Cypress Street Bridge in Redding. The project will provide 4.8 acres of new and improved spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Sacramento River, including the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon, by connecting existing ponds and low-lying areas within Henderson Open Space to create a continuously flowing cold-water side channel. Two bridges will be constructed to maintain access, public safety and enhance recreational opportunities after the channel is constructed. During project construction, the Henderson Open Space trails will be closed. …

Click here to continue reading this press release.

The South Cypress Island Side Channel, designed to function even at the lowest allowable Sacramento River flows (3,250 cubic feet per second), creates a much needed ‘fish nursery’ refuge for juvenile salmonids before they migrate out to the ocean. The project includes native riparian planting and other habitat features that will provide protective cover, slower flows, and sources of food. Up to 6,740 cubic yards of gravel excavated from the side channel will be placed in the Sacramento River for spawning habitat and an additional 1,400 cubic yards of finer cobble will be placed across 1.16 acres of the side channel to establish a spawning area.

The project is being funded through a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation agreement and has a wide variety of partners including the Sacramento River Forum, Chico State Enterprises, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, River Partners and the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors (SRSC). The SRSC, led by Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District and Reclamation District 108, are providing the crew for the side channel construction along with consultant expertise in restoration design and special materials handling. Participating SRSC include the City of Redding, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Reclamation District 108, Reclamation District 787, Reclamation District 1004, Reclamation District 1500, and the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority.

Project funding is provided through the Central Valley Project Improvement Act Restoration Fund which is co-managed by the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The project supports objectives contained in the California Natural Resources Agency Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, NOAA Fisheries Central Valley Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan, the Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program, the Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program, and Reclamation’s long-term operation of the Central Valley Project.

Humboldt Bay: Water district, tribe discuss service deal for Trinidad hotel project

The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District agreed on Thursday to send a draft of an agreement to the Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria to pursue a feasibility study for an extension of water service.  The tribe made the request for water service from the district after the California Coastal Commission deemed the tribe’s water supply inadequate for the proposed multi-story Hyatt hotel at the Cher-Ae Heights Casino. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Water district, tribe discuss service deal for Trinidad hotel project

Santa Clara: Sinkhole near Levi’s Stadium swallows 2 vehicles

Nearly a half-dozen Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities customers were without service Tuesday.  A ruptured recycled waterline severed service to some customers and flooded a parking lot near Levi’s Stadium. City officials said a call came in Wednesday night about the ruptured line, but the extent of the damage wasn’t visible until sunrise Thursday. … ”  Read more from KTVU here:  Sinkhole near Levi’s Stadium swallows 2 vehicles

Environmental report for Los Cerritos wetlands restoration set for approval

Environmental impacts of restoring Los Cerritos Wetlands have been studied, and that report is ready for certification.  This is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the overall conceptual restoration plan, according to Mark Stanley, Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority’s executive director. That means another EIR will be required for each specific wetlands restoration project. … ”  Read more from the Grunion here: Environmental report for Los Cerritos wetlands restoration set for approval

Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park Wetlands, once seen as a boon, bogged down by deficiencies

When Costa Mesa opened a 37-acre wetland complex at Fairview Park in 2013, the project was celebrated as an environmental accomplishment city officials at the time described as a “perfect marriage” of engineering and ecology.  Its 23 acres of riparian habitat would provide refuge to species threatened or endangered by years of Orange County development, while a recirculating pond system would draw urban runoff from nearby Greenville Banning Channel and suffuse flows throughout a web of interconnected streambeds. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park Wetlands, once seen as a boon, bogged down by deficiencies

King Tides to hit San Diego County’s coast this weekend

King tides are expected to hit San Diego County’s coastline starting this weekend.  The high tide event is forecasted to begin Sunday, Nov. 15, and last through Monday, Nov. 16, according to the California King Tides Project. Another round of king tides is also expected next month from Dec. 13 through Dec. 15. … ”  Read more from ABC 10 here:  King Tides to hit San Diego County’s coast this weekend

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Along the Colorado River …

Arizona:  Drought group again recommends Governor extend drought emergency declaration

Other than sunrise and sunset, the world provides precious few “sure things.”  So, maybe it was not an absolute sure thing that Arizona’s Drought Interagency Coordinating Group would recommend to the Governor that the State’s drought-emergency declaration should be extended once again.  Maybe, despite our just-ended endless summer of record heat and a complete dud of a summer rainy season, there was a chance the ICG would end its lengthy string of drought-declaration recommendations. … ”  Read more from Arizona Department of Water Resources here:  Drought group again recommends Governor extend drought emergency declaration

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In national water news today …

Drought plaguing much of US

A report by the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday revealed what anyone living in California or the Southwest already know: We need rain. Badly.  “Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 120 million people across the United States including Puerto Rico — about 38.9% of the population,” the National Centers for Environmental Information, of which the U.S. Drought Monitor is a part, said in its latest report. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Drought plaguing much of US

Trump races clock on remaining environmental rollbacks

The Trump administration is scrambling to wrap up a slew of environmental rollbacks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office in less than 70 days.  The administration has yet to get some of its most prized proposals across the finish line: finalizing the prep work to enable drilling in the Arctic and off the coasts; limiting protections for endangered species and migratory birds; and restricting what types of studies inform the government’s policy choices. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump races clock on remaining environmental rollbacks

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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.


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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Policy Forum~ ISB Meeting~ DSC Meeting~ DPC Meeting ~~

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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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