DAILY DIGEST, 11/17: Biggest storm of season so far set to hit NorCal today; Zero Delta smelt found in September midwater trawl; Outsiders wary of San Diego’s multibillion-dollar pipeline plan; and more …



On the calendar today …

  • ONLINE MEETING: The State Water Board meets at 9am. Agenda items include consideration of two proposed orders for Administrative Civil Liabilities from the Administrative Hearings Office, LA Watershed Management Programs, and the 2019-20 Annual performance report.  Click here for the complete agenda.
  • WEBINAR: The Potential for Managed Aquifer Recharge from 10am to 11am.  California water users are facing new regulations under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). There is widespread interest in expanding managed aquifer recharge (MAR) as one potential approach to comply with the SGMA sustainability targets. Join us to discuss the economics of artificial groundwater recharge with economists Dr. Bradley Franklin (The Nature Conservancy) and Dr. Steven Wallander (USDA, Economic Research Service).   Click here to register.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Response, Recovery and Lessons Learned from PSPS Events from 10am to 12pm.  Presented by the EPA.  Click here to register.
  • ONLINE EVENT: Building a Water-Resilient California, part 2: Collaborative approaches to foster groundwater sustainability from 11am to 12pm.  A look at collaborative approaches that can make it easier to enact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act while protecting vulnerable communities and ecosystems.  Click here to register
  • FREE WEBINAR:  American Water Infrastructure Act and creating resilient water utilities fr0m 11am to 12:30pm.  This presentation will discuss the American Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) which requires community water systems serving a population greater than 3,300 persons to assess the risks to, and resilience of, their systems. Click here for more information and to register.
  • WORKSHOP: Building Resilience with Multiple Benefit Water Strategies fr0m 12pm to 2pm. Presented by the Sustainable & Resilient Resources Roundtable.  Click here to register.
  • TECHNICAL WORKSHOP:  That’s So Meta! from 12pm to 1:30pm today and tomorrow.  The objectives of this workshop are to provide participants increased understanding of water-related metadata and application of water metadata tools. This workshop will offer a short introduction to metadata and why metadata are important, followed by an in-depth conversation and hands-on exercises on water-related metadata.  Click here to register for today’s presentation. Click here to register for tomorrow’s presentation.  Please be sure to register for BOTH sessions.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Preparing for floods after fires: tools and teams from 12pm to 1pm.  The California Silver Jackets Team recently completed the Flood After Fire California Toolkit, a technical guide to support hydrologists, hydraulic engineers, and GIS specialists working on wildfire response teams.  This presentation will share the purpose, content and structure of the toolkit, and how a Watershed Emergency Response Team integrates work to prepare for flood and debris flow risks after a wildfire.  Click here to register

In California water news today …

Biggest storm of season so far set to hit Northern California today

Northern California kicked off mid November with a dry, sunny Monday before the weather changed on Tuesday.  Tuesday morning, the winds will kick in for the high Sierra and the east side of the Sierra, with gusts up to 30 mph for Truckee and the Tahoe Basin, with much higher gusts of at least 60 mph over the top of the Sierra. … ”  Read more from KXTV here: Biggest storm of season so far set to hit Northern California Tuesday

SEE ALSO:

Zero Delta smelt found in September midwater trawl – will this trend continue?

Dan Bacher writes, “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released the September 2020 Fall Midwater Trawl results and guess how many Delta Smelt they have reported?  Yes, zero so far. Will 2020 be another year with no Delta Smelt reported in the trawl?  We will find out at the end of December after the October, November and December totals of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, striped bass, threadfin shad, American shad and Sacramento splittail caught in the annual survey are tallied by the CDFW. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Zero Delta Smelt Found in September Midwater Trawl – Will This Trend Continue?

Outsiders wary of San Diego’s multibillion-dollar pipeline plan

Opposition is building against San Diego’s dream of erecting a $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River in the name of resource independence.  The pipe, which wouldn’t produce savings for ratepayers until at least 2063, faces its next trial on Thursday, when water managers meet to vote on spending another $1.7 million to do the next planning step. But well in advance of that meeting, nine of the San Diego County Water Authority’s member water agencies cosigned an opposition letter to newly appointed chair Gary Croucher from the Otay Water District.  … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  Outsiders wary of San Diego’s multibillion-dollar pipeline plan

New laws address water affordability and wildfire risks

The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic turbulence forced the state legislature and Governor Newsom to make tough decisions this year about which issues to prioritize and which to sideline. By the end of September, most plans developed earlier in the year had been put on hold—including significant new funding proposals such as bond proposals to boost climate resilience. Despite the challenging circumstances, several high-priority bills covering safe drinking water and wildfire risk reduction were enacted. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  New laws address water affordability and wildfire risks

Thinking harder and smarter about wildland fire

The West Coast is on fire, quite literally. From the dry chaparral scrublands of Southern California to the grass and oak woodlands of California’s Wine Country to the lush coniferous forests of Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, late summer and early fall wildfires are setting records for their scale, intensity, and destructiveness. In California alone, some 4 million acres—more than twice the all-time record set in 2018—had burned by the start of October, only partway through the traditional “fire season.” And the fire season itself is lasting longer.  The region is no stranger to wildfire. Long before humans altered the landscape, western lands were adapted to a seasonal fire regime. But changing climate patterns are making these ecosystems hotter, drier, and increasingly vulnerable to wildland fire. … ”  Read more from the Regulatory Review here:  Thinking harder and smarter about wildland fire

Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils

Meadows in the Sierra Nevada mountains are critical components of watersheds. In addition to supplying water to over 25 million people in California and Nevada, meadows contain large quantities of carbon belowground. While it has been known for some time that meadows have large quantities of soil carbon, whether meadow soils are gaining or losing carbon has remained unclear. … ”  Read more from Nevada Today here: Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils

Change in the grapevine

When winemaker Eric Hays met his wife, Emily Hays, more than 13 years ago in Sacramento, she owned a small shop, Wildflower Boutique, where she sold organic, fair trade and sustainable products. At the time, he worked for a winery in Placerville and wasn’t focused on the environmental impacts of conventional winemaking, but his wife immediately began teaching him about sustainability and the importance of treating the environment with respect. In 2010, when Hays and his wife opened Chateau Davell in Camino, they built their winery on sustainable practices from day one. “We do it mostly because we live on the vineyard … and not wanting to be exposed to harsh chemicals. … Secondly, it’s to try (to) just respect the land and Mother Earth and not poison her,” Hays says. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s here:  Change in the grapevine

We may have a colder winter, but experts say the climate is still warming

This winter may seem colder than previous warmer winters Californians have experienced in recent history, because a moderate to strong La Niña is forming over the pacific.   But La Niña, an annual weather pattern off of the Pacific Ocean that often dictates California’s drier conditions in the winter, doesn’t buck global warming trends, according to Michelle Mead, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.  Mead says since California is this long skinny state, La Niña’s impact will differ depending on where you live, just like the storm moving across Northern California this week. … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here: We may have a colder winter, but experts say the climate is still warming

State adopts ‘aspirational’ plan for the California coast

From increasing public access to tackling the challenge of sea level rise, California is aspiring to meet all the challenges it will face in the next five years, according to a new plan released by the California Coastal Commission on Friday, Nov. 6—despite not having the budget to see it through.  At last Friday’s coastal commission meeting, the agency’s five-year strategic plan for 2021-25 was adopted, unanimously. The new plan represents the culmination of two years of work by members of the coastal commission staff and builds on the commission’s previous 2013-18 strategic plan. The newly adopted plan provides a framework of nine goals, 50 objectives and 199 specific actions to guide the agency’s performance over the next five years, representing its vision and mission. … ”  Read more from the Malibu Times here:  State adopts ‘aspirational’ plan for the California coast

Costa’s bid for House Ag Committee chair boosted by Calif. farmers

Rep. Jim Costa’s (D–Fresno) bid to become the next chairman of the powerful House Agriculture Committee gained considerable steam on Friday.  A lengthy assortment of California grower groups and agriculture services associations arrived in full-force behind Costa’s candidacy in a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “We believe that Congressman Costa possesses the experience and leadership adeptness needed to carry the Committee and its important work forward,” the letter reads. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here:  Costa’s bid for House Ag Committee chair boosted by Calif. farmers

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary today …

Government Agency discusses how to manage future of groundwater in Ukiah Valley Basin

Plans to regulate groundwater for the first time ever in the Ukiah Valley Basin are moving forward; and though the details are wonky and a little esoteric, the results of this meeting could affect water and ag policy for years to come.  Last week, the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (UVBGSA) had their second public meeting, where they discussed how their mammoth project of sustainably managing the groundwater in the Ukiah Valley Basin is coming along. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Beacon here:  Government Agency discusses how to manage future of groundwater in Ukiah Valley Basin

Rush is on in Sonoma County to protect burned watersheds ahead of winter rains

After the devastating loss of his home of 52 years in the Glass fire, Bob Miyashiro was unaware that he would bear any responsibility for the ruin and runoff beyond his property line at the edge of forested Mark West Creek.  But in the sprawling burn zones of Sonoma County’s two large wildfires this year, the Glass and Walbridge, watershed watchdogs are trying to get that word out to landowners, stressing the risks for streams and wildlife of debris- and toxic-laden runoff from destructive fires. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Rush is on in Sonoma County to protect burned watersheds ahead of winter rains

Cloverdale: Water, sewer rate increase postponed in hopes of continued community engagement

Following an outpouring of opposition from the community, the Cloverdale City Council voted unanimously to postpone its decision regarding Cloverdale’s water and sewer rate increase in favor of being able to spend more time engaging the community on alternatives to such a significant rate hike.  Mayor Gus Wolter was absent from the Nov. 11 meeting. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Water, sewer rate increase postponed in hopes of continued community engagement

Work on the Sacramento River East Levee almost done

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District has just announced that the work on the Sacramento River East Levee in the Pocket is nearing its conclusion.  As reported by the Corps, the crews are in the process of rebuilding the levee at five locations between Miller Park and the Freeport Regional Water Intake Facility. … ”  Read more from Dredging Today here:  Work on the Sacramento River East Levee almost done

Chico State Enterprises receives $10 million grant to continue salmon habitat restoration projects

A research team from California State University, Chico will continue its exceptional work to re-establish juvenile salmon and salmonid habitats along the Sacramento River, after learning it would continue to be funded by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.  Chico State Enterprises received a $10 million grant over five years to help restore 47.3 acres of juvenile salmon habitat and 4.3 acres of spawning habitat along the Upper Sacramento River. Susan Strachan, the restoration’s project manager from the University’s Geographical Information Center, credits much of the work’s success thus far to the project’s partners, which include the Sacramento River Forum, the California Department of Water Resources, River Partners, the Yurok Tribe, Tussing Ecological Sciences and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. … ”  Read more from Chico State University here: Chico State Enterprises receives $10 million grant to continue salmon habitat restoration projects

Dry heat, wet feet: Record temperatures and king tides collide in Southern California

Towering high tides hitting the Southern California coast were met with record-high temperatures Monday, according to the National Weather Service.  The astronomical tides, known as king tides, occur when the moon is closest to Earth and are often the highest tides of the year, said Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Combined with high surf, king tides can bring tidal overflows, minor beach erosion and an increased risk of drowning. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Dry heat, wet feet: Record temperatures and king tides collide in Southern California

The battle over protecting Ballona Wetlands — and if they need it

For decades it’s been an environmental jewel wedged between the urban sprawl of Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey. But now the Ballona Wetlands State Ecological Reserve, home to diverse plant and animal wildlife, has become a battleground for conservationists and other activists.  Just where the battle lines will ultimately be drawn depends in large part on a decision by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW), which is expected to choose, possibly before year’s end, from four alternatives for restoring one of the few remaining freshwater coastal wetlands in Los Angeles County. … ”  Read more from The Patch here:  The battle over protecting Ballona Wetlands — and if they need it

Orange County:  Extreme tidal swings show two tales of the coastline

The winter tidal swings in recent days tell two tales of the Southern California’s coastline.  King Tides on Sunday and Monday swamped stretches of coastline with water. Show up for a morning stroll with your coffee and you were likely lacking space on the sand to walk at some eroding beaches.  … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Orange County:  Extreme tidal swings show two tales of the coastline

Coachella Valley:  Whitewater Preserve cleans up three months after the Water Fire

It’s been three months since flames descended on the Whitewater Preserve situated where the road is exhausted in the northern reaches of the Whitewater Canyon. Burning for about two days, the Water Fire threatened an area known for its beautiful hikes, refreshingly chilly water and prime bird habitat. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Coachella Valley:  Whitewater Preserve cleans up three months after the Water Fire

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona: Forecast calls for drier, warmer winter to follow ‘non-soon’ summer

On the heels of the driest monsoon ever recorded in the Arizona, state and federal weather officials are predicting a warmer and drier than normal winter here.  The “non-soon” summer followed by a La Niña winter could spell trouble for water resources and wildfire conditions in a state already gripped by drought, the officials said. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Forecast calls for drier, warmer winter to follow ‘non-soon’ summer

Return to top

In national water news today …

The key to thwarting non-revenue water? Understanding it

Non-revenue water loss is among the biggest challenges facing the water industry and the world. Nearly one-third of all water, amounting to $39 billion annually, is lost before it ever reaches a customer, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan. Water scarcity will proliferate with the aging water infrastructure, rapid urbanization and worsening disaster seasons throughout the world. … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  The key to thwarting non-revenue water? Understanding it

Senators propose level EPA funding for 2021, no WIFIA cuts

The U.S. EPA’s water infrastructure financing programs would be in line for approximately level funding next year under a plan for FY21 appropriations released by Senate Republicans last week. The funding proposal is detailed in the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ (AMWA) Nov. 16 Monday Morning Briefing.  The Republicans’ proposal would provide EPA with just under $9.1 billion next year, roughly in line with the agency’s FY20 appropriation. Within that sum, $1.126 billion would be set aside for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and $1.639 billion would go to the Clean Water SRF – each equal to current funding. … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Senators propose level EPA funding for 2021, no WIFIA cuts

US agricultural water use declining for most crops and livestock production

Climate change and a growing world population require efficient use of natural resources. Water is a crucial component in food production, and water management strategies are needed to support worldwide changes in food consumption and dietary patterns.   Agricultural production and food manufacturing account for a third of usage in the U.S. Water use fluctuates with weather patterns but is also affected by shifts in production technology, supply-chain linkages, and domestic and foreign consumer demand. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  US agricultural water use declining for most crops and livestock production

Scientist questioning ties between climate and extreme weather to oversee critical program: report

A scientist who has questioned the link between climate change and extreme weather events has reportedly been detailed to the White House to oversee a program that’s in charge of compiling a major climate change report.  The Washington Post reported late Friday that Ryan Maue has been detailed to the White House to oversee the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is in charge of putting together the Fifth National Climate Assessment. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:

Return to top

Today’s featured articles …

WATER COMMISSION: Update on State Water Project restoration efforts in the Delta

One of the goals in the California Water Commission’s strategic plan directs the Commission to remain apprised of the operations and construction activities of the State Water Project, focusing on how the State Water Project adapts and responds to hydrological extremes expected with climate change, restores critical ecosystems, and addresses aging infrastructure.

At the October meeting of the California Water Commission, Catherine McCalvin with the Department of Water Resources Office of Environmental Compliance discussed the status of projects that are underway to restore habitat for listed species associated with the State Water Project operations.

Click here to read this article.

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Return to top

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.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: