DAILY DIGEST, 11/16: Adults salmons’ anchovy diet may be causing juvenile mortality; Planning for a shorter rainy season and more frequent extreme storms; ‘Accounting’ for better decisions: Making the most from Canada’s water accounts; and more …



In California water news and commentary today …

Adults salmons’ anchovy diet may be causing juvenile mortality

On a day the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported a salmon population increase in Clear Creek off the Sacramento River near Redding, and touted an improved trout spawning route for endangered Lahontan cutthroat trout, it also reported juvenile Chinook salmon were dying in the Central Valley hatcheries.  Although the exact cause, and the greater effect in the rivers, have not been labeled, scientists believe the unusual mortality may be due to adult salmon feeding on anchovies over the past couple of years. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Adults salmons’ anchovy diet may be causing juvenile mortality

Planning for a shorter rainy season and more frequent extreme storms in California

California’s hydrologic future is muddled by a fundamental uncertainty: will the state get wetter or drier? Climate models disagree on this question, but provide insights on other important water management questions.  The wetter or drier question has been studied often in government reports (DWR CCTAG, 2015; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 2016) and a variety of academic studies (Connell-Buck et al., 2011; Dogan et al., 2019; Medellín-Azuara et al., 2008). Forecasts for California mean annual precipitation commonly range from at least 20% wetter to 20% drier on average. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Planning for a shorter rainy season and more frequent extreme storms in California

How four California Green Medal Award-winning wineries and vineyards are ramping up sustainability efforts

Now in their sixth year, the California Green Medal Awards recognize the leadership of wineries and vineyards that are committed to sustainability.   Recipients of the 2020 awards didn’t make it to State Capital in Sacramento for the traditional ceremony with the California Department of Food and Agriculture because of the Covid-19 situation, but the video recognizing California 2020 Green Medal Award winning wineries and vineyards is available here and embedded below (available upon click-through).   This year’s awards come at a time that extreme weather events, including wildfires, are bringing increased attention to the need for a broader dialogue on climate change and sustainability. … ”  Read more from Wine Business here:  How four Green Medal Award-winning wineries and vineyards are ramping up sustainability efforts 

Hundreds of towering giant sequoias killed by the Castle fire — a stunning loss

Kristen Shive glanced around the blackened forest and started counting.  She stopped at 13 — the number of giant sequoias she spotted with charred trunks, scorched crowns and broken limbs.  The towering trees had grown on this Sierra Nevada ridge top for well over 500 years. They had lived through many wildfires and droughts. But they could not survive the Castle fire, which swept into the Alder Creek Grove in the early hours of Sept. 13. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Hundreds of towering giant sequoias killed by the Castle fire — a stunning loss

California prepares for Joe Biden presidency, state expects a change in environmental policies

As Joe Biden prepares to enter the White House, California is planning for a transition of its own: From the state of resistance to a state of acceptance. For four years, California has led the charge against Trump’s policies, including filing more than 100 legal actions against the administration, mostly over environmental issues. And the state has become a haven of sorts for former Obama-era White House officials who landed government jobs in California regulating the world’s fifth-largest economy while Republicans ruled Washington. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here: California prepares for Joe Biden presidency, state expects change in environmental policies

Commentary: Delta Conveyance Project will soak Californians, says Susan Shelley

She writes, “Even before the pandemic, an investigation by the water news site Circle of Blue found that more than 1.5 million households in major U.S. cities owed municipal utilities $1.1 billion for overdue water bills. And now it’s worse, especially in California, with unemployment higher and no visible end to the COVID-19 restrictions that have locked millions of people out of their jobs.  So what do you suppose California is doing about high water bills and low incomes?  If you guessed, “Find a way to raise rates and taxes,” you’re right.  Demonstrating once again that boondoggles have more lives than a cat, the deceased tunnel project most recently known as WaterFix is coming back in a new form. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Delta Conveyance Project will soak Californians

Editorial:  Biden’s climate policies will be a boon for California’s environment, says the San Francisco Chronicle

They write, “No more chatter about sweeping forest floors to stem wildfires. Instead, there’s a push for cleaner tailpipes and more electric vehicles. Offshore drilling will have zero chance, and salmon should swim in more water.  These are all the tantalizing thoughts that a coming Biden administration brings up for California’s environment. The transition may not be smooth or instantaneous if a Republican-run Senate remains, but the next presidency could enact changes through its wand of executive power. … ”  Read ore from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Editorial:  Biden’s climate policies will be a boon for California’s environment

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Barge overtaken by king tide leaks fluids into Petaluma River

A marine construction barge that apparently became stuck in the mud at low tide in the Petaluma River on Saturday was inundated by the rising tide overnight, becoming partially submerged and leaking fluids into the tidal slough, authorities said Sunday.  The Petaluma Fire Department reported that most or all of the diesel fuel used to operate the barge had been removed before the vessel began to sink. The base of the crane affixed to the barge was underwater, with the crane arm jutting skyward from the sunken end. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Barge overtaken by king tide leaks fluids into Petaluma River

Environmental art installation measures rising tides in Marin County

As a king tide crept up on Mill Valley on Sunday morning, Nov. 15, Jeff Downing stood knee deep in Richardson Bay, holding an 8-foot striped pitchfork and looking like American Gothic in the mud.  Downing was installing an environmental sculpture to warn that the high-water mark brought twice a year by king tides will soon be the daily high-water mark if society does not get serious about climate change.  And if you want to grab the attention of speeding cyclists and power walkers along the paved path connecting Sausalito to Mill Valley, it might just take a set of 250-pound pylons sunk into the marsh and topped by nautical symbols. … ”  Read more from Datebook here:  Environmental art installation measures rising tides in Marin County

San Francisco to see nearly 7 foot king tides Sunday and Monday

King tides are expected to bring higher-than-normal tides to the San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday and possible coastal flooding to low-lying areas along the coastline, weather officials said.  The king tides, which are caused by strong gravitational pulls from the moon and sun with the Earth, are forecast to bring high tides of 6.91 feet at 10:44 a.m. on Sunday in San Francisco, and tides of the same height again at 11:26 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  San Francisco to see nearly 7 foot king tides Sunday and Monday

How one Bay Area state park benefited from this summer’s big fires

Wildfires this summer devastated California’s historic first state park, Big Basin Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. But just 35 miles away, where another blaze burned a state park in the Bay Area, the results were dramatically different.  Roughly 55,000 acres — an area nearly twice the size of San Francisco — burned at Henry W. Coe State Park near Morgan Hill in August and September. But while California’s record summer of wildfires blackened Big Basin’s beloved redwoods and destroyed its historic visitor center, gift shop and campgrounds, a fire that charred nearly two-thirds of Coe park spared its buildings. In the end, the fire was an overwhelmingly positive event for California’s second-largest state park, biologists say, one the best things to happen to its landscape in years. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  How one Bay Area state park benefited from this summer’s big fires

Monterey:  King tides may give a glimpse of the future

This week’s king tides may be giving us a glimpse of the future. But scientists say, don’t look for something dramatically different. Sea level rise, although very important, is a subtle thing.  Cue the fanfare: the king tides – the highest and lowest tides of the year – return to Monterey Sunday and Monday and again on Dec. 13, 14, and 15, when they’ll reach their peak highs and lows.  The California King Tides Project is asking the community to get involved by taking photos of what they see and thinking about how their communities may be impacted by the rising sea. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: King tides may give a glimpse of the future

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Along the Colorado River …

Why understanding snowpack could help the overworked Colorado River

Forty million people, 5.5 million acres of farmland and the livelihood of residents in major metropolitan areas such as Salt Lake City, Denver and Las Vegas depend on the Colorado River, described as the workhorse of the West and under assault by drought.  The U.S. Geological Survey is in the beginning stages of learning more about this river via an expanded and more sophisticated monitoring system that aims to study details about the snowpack that feeds the river basin, droughts and flooding, and how streamflow supports groundwater, or vice versa.  Begun earlier this year, the probe is part of a larger effort by the federal agency to study 10 critical watersheds throughout the country by expanding its monitoring capabilities. … ”  Read more from Deseret News here: Why understanding snowpack could help the overworked Colorado River

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In national water news today …

‘Accounting’ for better decisions: Making the most from Canada’s water accounts

Many countries are now developing a capacity to generate environmental accounts, and one important component of those accounts is water – how is it being used, by who and for who’s benefit? And how are these patterns of usage changing over time? However, it is one thing to collect the data, but quite another to present it in such a way that decision makers and society can understand what is at stake. Who is responsible for making sure this happens? Michael Vardon is a world expert on assembling environmental accounts. Here he explains how we might make more use of water accounts, using Canada’s just released water accounts as a case study.  … ”  Read more from the Global Water Forum here: ‘Accounting’ for better decisions: Making the most from Canada’s water accounts

The foods that do the most damage to our climate

The foods we eat and the ways we produce them damage our planet’s climate.  Emissions from food systems around the world are stopping us from hitting key climate change targets of lower temperatures, according to a recent report in Science. A conservative estimate by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations puts agriculture’s contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions at 14.5 percent.  Some experts warn those numbers are too low. ... ”  Read more from Mashable here:  The foods that do the most damage to our climate

Biden could revive enforcement tool, with new focus on climate

The incoming Biden administration could not only resurrect a recently nixed environmental enforcement tool—but also wield it to fight climate change, former government officials say.  A memo from the Climate 21 Project—a initiative from more than 150 former officials identifying levers for climate action across the U.S. government—recommends the Justice Department reinstate supplemental environmental projects, or SEPs, a popular settlement option the Trump administration nixed in March. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here:  Biden could revive enforcement tool, with new focus on climate

Study: Urban greenery plays a surprising role in greenhouse gas emissions

Burning fossil fuels in densely populated regions greatly increases the level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The largest carbon dioxide sources are cars, trucks, ports, power generation, and industry, including manufacturing. Urban greenery adds CO2 to the atmosphere when vegetation dies and decomposes, increasing total emissions. Urban vegetation also removes this gas from the atmosphere when it photosynthesizes, causing total measured emissions to drop. Understanding the role of urban vegetation is important for managing cities’ green spaces and tracking the effects of other carbon sources. … ”  Read more from NASA here: Study: Urban greenery plays a surprising role in greenhouse gas emissions

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Weekend Daily Digest …

In California water news this weekend:

  • 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
  • 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?
  • Six strategies for managing nation’s flammable landscapes as fire crisis grows
  • Feinstein, Bennet, colleagues urge appropriators to fund wildfire recovery in the West
  • Costa endorsed for Agriculture Committee Chair on record of accomplishment and experience
  • SCIENCE IN SHORT PODCAST: Wall-to-Wall Sampling Via Remote Sensing
  • Marina: Closing the CEMEX plant: The sands will be shifting
  • Aerial technology to survey Santa Ynez Valley groundwater resources
  • And more …

Click here to read the Weekend Daily Digest.

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Today’s featured articles …

GUEST COMMENTARY: Partnership is Key to Protect Stockton Region from Flooding

Guest commentary by Gary Singh, Board Chair, San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency (SJAFCA) in response to a guest commentary posted on Maven’s Notebook by Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton and former state senator Mike Machado

If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that the unthinkable – a pandemic, or forest fires that reduce urban areas to ashes, as examples – can quickly become reality.

Since 1995, the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency (SJAFCA) has worked hard to prevent the unimaginable: a major flood like the one in 1955 that devastated Stockton’s most populated areas. Our last close call came in 1997, when flooding impacted nearly 2,000 homes and businesses, causing $80 million in damages. The following year, SJAFCA completed its Flood Protection Restoration Project, which included repairing 40 miles of existing levees, constructing 12 miles of new levees, building two major detention basins with pumps, and modifying 24 bridges. But, SJAFCA’s work was just beginning.

Click here to read this guest commentary.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Public Comment Opens for the Castac Lake Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan

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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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