In California water news this weekend …

First rains of year didn’t bring much to Northern California — but another storm is coming

In some places, more than an inch of precipitation fell Friday in Northern California while other places, including Sacramento, saw only a fraction of that.  Whatever came down in the first rains of the season were a mere drop in the bucket. … A new storm system is coming on Tuesday night , with showers continuing on into Thursday, forecasters said. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: First rains of year didn’t bring much to Northern California — but another storm is coming

Ignoring mega-flood risk — like California did with wildfire prevention — may spell disaster, experts say

The Sacramento region is not prepared for a mega-flood and won’t be for nearly a decade, says Rick Johnson, executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency.  “We’re still working on getting our base-level protection up,” he said. “But then we need to also address potential for that 100 year [storm] being a much larger event in the future.”  Johnson says there’s more than $3 billion of work currently taking place in the area to build levees, raise dams, redesign part of the American River to hold more water and deepening blockades below levees so water won’t seep underneath them. The goal is to get the region to eventually be able to withstand a 500-year storm. … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Ignoring mega-flood risk — like California did with wildfire prevention — may spell disaster, experts say

Yuba Water Agency sues California water board to protect its future, the Yuba River and Yuba County

Yuba Water Agency filed lawsuits in both federal and state court today to challenge the water quality certification that California’s State Water Resources Control Board issued in July for Yuba Water’s new license for its hydroelectric project, the Yuba River Development Project.  “This is not something we wanted to do,” said Yuba Water General Manager Willie Whittlesey. “We tried every diplomatic option available to us. But the State Water Board’s actions pose a significant threat to Yuba Water’s long-term viability and would prevent us from being the catalyst for public safety, economic growth and prosperity that this disadvantaged community so desperately needs. This is us defending ourselves against a significant and unfair overreach.” … ”  Read more from the Yuba Water Agency here:  Yuba Water Agency sues California water board to protect its future, the Yuba River and Yuba County

Creek Fire update: After burning for three months, will fire be fully contained soon?

On Friday morning, the Creek Fire remained subdued, and the team previously managing the fire is headed back to Alaska.  The California Interagency Incident Management Team 10 has taken over command of the fire from the Alaska Incident Management Team at 7 a.m. on Friday, after a day of shadowing on Thursday. A total of 428 people were working on the fire Friday.  The number of personnel will likely keep decreasing, according to Thursday’s Facebook briefing, because much of the suppression repair has been completed. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Creek Fire update: After burning for three months, will fire be fully contained soon?

Six strategies for managing nation’s flammable landscapes as fire crisis grows

As of late fall, wildfires are still smoldering under snowfall in Colorado. I am hoping that the cold and snowy weather over the last few days will finally put to bed the 2020 fire season in my state. Through much of October, great pillars of smoke rose in the sky and ash rained down from at least four major fall wildfires, affecting millions in the urban corridors east of the Rocky Mountains.  October wildfires are rare in Colorado, especially large ones that burn more than 1,000 acres. Only about a dozen that size have burned since 1984, out of 335 in the state over that period. … ”  Read more from The Conversation here: Six strategies for managing nation’s flammable landscapes as fire crisis grows

Feinstein, Bennet, colleagues urge appropriators to fund wildfire recovery in the West

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in two separate requests to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for federal funding to support wildfire recovery efforts in the West.  In the first request, the senators urged the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies to secure additional funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program to meet projected demand. The letter also calls on the subcommittee to reduce costs to local project sponsors in light of the effect of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on state and local budgets. The EWP program helps counties, towns and private property owners protect against post-fire damage. Additional funding, and greater flexibility on cost share requirements, would ensure that the USDA can partner effectively with state and local governments to recover from wildfires. … ”  Continue reading this press release from Senator Feinstein here:  Feinstein, Bennet, Colleagues Urge Appropriators to Fund Wildfire Recovery in the West

Costa endorsed for Agriculture Committee Chair on record of accomplishment and experience

Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), who announced he will seek the chairmanship of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, received key endorsements from 70 agricultural organizations because of his extensive experience and effectiveness in delivering results for American agriculture: “Congressman Costa is uniquely qualified to take on this responsibility,” the Organizations wrote. “We have seen firsthand the dedicated work and lasting impacts he has made to California agriculture and rural communities and are confident that he would carry this leadership forward to further develop agriculture policy throughout the nation.” … ”  Continue reading this press release here:  Costa endorsed for Agriculture Committee Chair on record of accomplishment and experience  The Packer notes that Congressman Jim Costa is also endorsed by dozens of growers.

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In people news this weekend …

APPOINTMENTS

Celeste Cantu, 65, of Temecula, has been reappointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board

 … where she has served since 2018. Cantu has been an advisor with the Water Solutions Network since 2017. She was General Manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority from 2006 to 2017, Executive Director of the California State Water Resources Control Board from 2001 to 2006, State Director at U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development from 1998 to 2001, Executive Director at the Imperial Valley Housing Authority from 1978 to 1998 and Planning Director for the City of Calexico from 1977 to 1978. Cantu is vice chair of the Water Foundation Board of Directors and Water Education Foundation Board of Directors and president of the Public Policy Institute of California, Water Policy Center Advisory Council. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $250 per diem. Cantu is a Democrat.

Jayne Battey, 61, of Half Moon Bay, has been reappointed to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board

where she has served since 2016. Battey has been Owner of Miramar Farms since 2012. She was Director of Land and Environmental Management at Pacific Gas and Electric Company from 2009 to 2012, where she was a Land Planner from 1983 to 1988. Battey was Executive Director at the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council from 2005 to 2009 and President at Essex Environmental from 1988 to 2005. She earned a Master of Science degree in urban and regional studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $250 per diem. Battey is a Democrat.

Monica Samaniego Hunter, 71, of Los Osos, has been reappointed to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

 … where she has served since 2005. Hunter has been Chief Researcher at YKT Consulting since 2018. She was Director of Research at PAST Foundation from 2007 to 2018, Central Coast Watersheds Program Manager at the Planning and Conservation League Foundation from 2004 to 2012 and Instructor in the Napa Valley College Social Sciences Department in 2003. Hunter was a Research Assistant for the California Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program from 2000 to 2003, a Researcher for the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2001 and a Consultant for the Morro Bay National Estuary Program in 2000. She was a Curator for the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum from 1996 to 1997, Associate Curator for the Los Angeles Maritime Museum from 1993 to 1995 and a Field Assistant and Researcher for California State Parks and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in 1994 and 1991. Hunter was an Associate Producer for Intellicom Communications Inc. from 1985 to 1990. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $250 per diem. Hunter is a Democrat.

Linda Lye, 47, of Kensington, has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Law Enforcement and General Counsel at the California Environmental Protection Agency

Lye has served as a Judge at the Contra Costa County Superior Court since 2018. She held multiple positions at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California from 2010 to 2018, including Senior Staff Attorney and Staff Attorney. Lye held multiple positions at Altshuler Berzon LLP from 2002 to 2010, including Partner and Associate. She served as a Law Clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from 2000 to 2001 and at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit for Judge Guido Calabresi from 1999 to 2000. Lye earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $195,000. Lye will assume her position with the California Environmental Protection Agency in January after she steps down from the Court. Lye is a Democrat.

AWARDS

Jeff Kightlinger wins Harriet Wieder Award for 2020

Our region and the state of California owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff Kightlinger for his tireless work on modernizing the state’s water infrastructure through the Delta Conveyance project and more to assure a sustainable water future. From the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement to its drought contingency plan to efforts to build Southern California’s largest water recycling facility, his legacy is assured,” Wilson said.  Known for his collaborative negotiating skills and deep knowledge of California water issues, Kightlinger has served as general manager of MWD since 2006. In that role, he manages the nation’s largest wholesale water agency in its mission of ensuring safe and reliable delivery of high-quality water through its 26 member agencies to a region of more than 19 million people. In March, he announced he would retire from the position at the end of 2020. ... ”  Read more from the Southern California Water Coalition here: Jeff Kightlinger Wins Harriet Wieder Award for 2020

David Pedersen wins first Kathy Cole award

This year, along with the Harriett M. Wieder Award, the SCWC has introduced the brand new Kathy Cole Award. Kathy Cole, former Metropolitan Water District executive legislative representative, is known for her exemplary career and commitment to education and advocacy in water policy. As part of her recognition by the SCWC in 2019, an award has been created in her honor to be presented to a deserving individual each year who exemplifies the perseverance and collaborative spirit that Cole is known for. This year, the SCWC has found that individual in David Pedersen.   Pedersen, the general manager of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District and the administering agent for the Las Virgenes-Triunfo Joint Powers Authority, brings over 25 years of public service experience. By focusing on water management, flood control, and other public service infrastructure, he serves as the chief executive responsible for providing water and sanitation services to approximately 100,000 people. ... ”  Read more from the Southern California Water Coalition here: David Pedersen wins first Kathy Cole award

Golden State Water’s Kruger recognized with award for outstanding contributions to the water industry

Golden State Water Co. Senior Vice President of Regulated Water Utilities Denise Kruger has been recognized as this year’s recipient of the George Warren Fuller Award, presented by the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association, or AWWA, for distinguished service and leadership to the water supply field.  The announcement was made on Tuesday as part of the CA-NV AWWA’s Annual Fall Conference.  “I am truly humbled to receive this recognition and have my name forever linked to George Warren Fuller and the past recipients who have been pioneers and leaders in the industry,” said Kruger. “This really is a team recognition, one that I share with those who mentored me in the industry and the talented professionals we have at Golden State Water. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry, and I’m proud of our dedicated team at Golden State Water that shares the focus of serving our customers and protecting our region’s precious water resources.” ... ”  Continue reading at the Lake County News here:   Golden State Water’s Kruger recognized with award for outstanding contributions to the water industry

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Podcasts …

SCIENCE IN SHORT: Wall-to-Wall Sampling Via Remote Sensing

Invasive plants – the submerged and floating kind – clog nearly a third of the Delta’s waterways today. These alien weeds invite native fish predators to hide in their murky jungles, fuel algal blooms, rearrange the ecosystem, and prevent boats from passing through. But Cal Fish & Wildlife senior scientist Shruti Khanna is keeping an eye on the spread of these Delta weeds from above. In this new Science in Short podcast, Khanna explains how large images captured by remote sensors mounted on satellites, planes, and drones afford wall-to-wall sampling of the Delta.


ACE MARKETEER PODCAST:  Getting to Know Chris Austin of Maven’s Notebook

A leading voice in California water news, Chris Austin is the founder and publisher of the independent and reader-supported Maven’s Notebook website, California’s most comprehensive source for water news and information.  Dedicated to providing unbiased information about California water issues, the water news source reaches thousands of regular readers and water leaders throughout the state. Based in Southern California but regularly traveling throughout the state to cover conferences, meetings and events, Chris Austin has earned a stellar reputation among the state’s agricultural, environmental and water stakeholders for unbiased, complete, timely, and accurate reporting and news curation.


Urban Planning and Water

Urban Planning and water seem to overlap each other when designing for land development. Some of the fundamental decisions for planning surround questions related to water. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.  Podcasts here Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co

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In regional water news this weekend …

What a Biden Administration could mean for Klamath Basin water

When the Associated Press called the presidential race for Joe Biden, stakeholders in local water issues started preparing for a federal shakeup.  The last three administrations have been considerably active in Klamath Basin issues regardless of political party. Negotiations for a basin-wide agreement began under the Bush Administration and continued under the Obama Administration until faltering in the House of Representatives — though each president’s approach has varied. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:   What a Biden Administration could mean for Klamath Basin water

Bay Area: King tides could cause flooding in low-lying areas

King tides expected on Sunday and Monday could bring minor flooding to low-lying areas along Bay Area shorelines, forecasters said.  The National Weather Service on Saturday issued a coastal flood warning effective from 8 a.m. Sunday to 2 p.m. Monday. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Bay Area: King tides could cause flooding in low-lying areas

Marina:  Closing the CEMEX plant: The sands will be shifting

The sands are shifting on Marina and nearby beaches as the country’s last coastal sand mine nears shut down in Marina.  On Dec. 31, the CEMEX Lapis sand plant in Marina will permanently close, ending over 100 years of sand mining.  Many scientists believe the closure of the sand plant off of Lapis Road will widen the shoreline, as more sand will flow unhindered down the coast. For Marina residents, this may mean more beach to enjoy. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Marina:  Closing the CEMEX plant: The sands will be shifting

Election 2020: Pure Water Monterey expansion hangs in balance

With the future of the much-debated Pure Water Monterey expansion proposal hanging on a single vote, the hotly contested Del Rey Oaks City Council race has taken on regional significance.  If Mayor Alison Kerr, who easily won re-election for a second two-year term over incumbent councilwoman Pat Lintell in the Nov. 3 election, had won a council majority in the race for two open seats on the five-member council, she was expected to move to replace Councilman John Gaglioti on the Monterey One Water board to shake loose the stalled Pure Water Monterey expansion project at that agency. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Election 2020: Pure Water Monterey expansion hangs in balance

Ridgecrest City Council to talk agreement with Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority for recycled water

The Ridgecrest City Council at its meeting Nov. 18 will discuss potentially entering into an agreement with the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority regarding treated wastewater.  The city recently approved an easement agreement which allows Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake to use 525 acre-feet of treated water each year. Of that, “325 acre-feet each year of treated water can be used in any manner the Installation deems necessary to support its mission,” according to a staff report. … ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here:  Ridgecrest City Council to talk agreement with Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority for recycled water

Aerial technology to survey Santa Ynez Valley groundwater resources

Starting Sunday, Nov. 15, Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valley residents might spot a low-flying helicopter in the sky carrying a large hexagonal frame.  It will be surveying groundwater resources in the eastern management area of the Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin.  A partnership between the Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin Eastern Management Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency and the Santa Barbara County Water Agency, the effort aims to get a more thorough understanding of local resources to better manage groundwater. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Aerial technology to survey Santa Ynez Valley groundwater resources

Ventura County oil wells drilled under old permits need environmental review

Ventura County supervisors this week imposed modern review standards for new oil wells drilled under decades-old permits that have been exempt from a landmark state law intended to protect the environment.  The county government granted the so-called “antiquated” permits in the oil-rich unincorporated areas starting in the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. Many had no expiration dates or requirements for the maximum number of wells or their exact locations.  … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura County oil wells drilled under old permits need environmental review

Army Corps of Engineers signs off on Rindge Dam removal

Removal of the 90-year-old Rindge Dam from Malibu Canyon—a long-anticipated, multi-million-dollar project—moved a crucial step closer to reality on Friday, Nov. 13, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced the project’s report was signed and sent to congress for funding.  Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general and 55th U.S. Army chief of engineers, signed the Malibu Creek Ecosystem Restoration Chief’s Report on Friday, “progressing the project to Congress for authorization,” according to a USACE social media post. … ”  Read more from the Malibu Times here:  Army Corps of Engineers signs off on Rindge Dam removal

Orange County: King Tides arrive this weekend, give glimpse into the future for California’s coastline

Planning on taking a leisurely morning stroll along the coast this weekend? Be warned: Your favorite stretch of sand might be underwater.  The first of two winter season “King Tides” is expected on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 15 and 16, when the mega tides reach almost 7 feet, pushing water up to areas that are usually dry. It is a chance for people to see what the coastline may one day look like as sea levels continue to rise. … ”  Read more from the Orange County Register here:  King Tides arrive this weekend, give glimpse into the future for California’s coastline

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In national water news this weekend …

Bernhardt order gives states veto authority over Land and Conservation Water Fund

The Interior Department is seeking to make sweeping changes to how Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars can be spent in what critics say is tantamount to a rewrite of the Great American Outdoors Act.  It’s the latest chapter in the ongoing saga over the administration’s rocky implementation of its signature conservation law enacted in August.  A new order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, published this afternoon, would, among other things, essentially give state and local jurisdictions veto power over how communities spend and match grants through the LWCF, which funds access to recreation in states and federal land acquisitions. … ”  Read more from E&E Publishing here: Bernhardt order gives states veto authority over Land and Conservation Water Fund

Biden review of USDA may have a climate mitigation perspective

Robert Bonnie, an Obama appointee at the USDA and now the head of an initiative to identify agriculture’s role in mitigating climate change, will lead a review of the Agriculture Department to prepare the way for the incoming administration, said the Biden transition office. Meanwhile, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge said on Wednesday that she would be honored to serve as Biden’s agriculture secretary. If chosen, she would be the first Black woman to hold the cabinet post. ... ”  Read more from Successful Farming here: Biden review of USDA may have a climate mitigation perspective

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Catch up on last week’s water news in the Weekly Digest …

WEEKLY WATER NEWS DIGEST for Nov 8-13: What is the state’s role in financing conveyance projects? plus all the top California water news this week …

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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