DAILY DIGEST, 11/18: Klamath River dams closer to removal after deal signed; Predicting urban water needs with Zillow and census data; St. Helena threatened with lawsuit over groundwater extraction; Biden transition team reviewing USDA and EPA; and more …



On the calendar today …

    • ONLINE MEETING: The California Water Commission meets beginning at 9:30am. Agenda items include conveyance projects, Temperance Flat withdrawal of WSIP funding and consideration of options; Subsidence and the SWP, and SWP construction update.  For agenda and webcast link, click here.
    • MEETING: Wildlife Conservation Board meets at 10am.  Click here for the full agenda and remote access information.
    • SPECIAL EVENT: Water Recommendations for the Next Administration at 1pm. In this webinar, Pacific Institute President Emeritus Dr. Peter Gleick and Director of Research Heather Cooley will join President Jason Morrison to discuss the Pacific Institute’s water recommendations for the next administration. The webinar will include an overview of America’s current water woes and provide practical solutions for the incoming administration, on issues ranging from aging infrastructure to inequitable water access and climate change’s effects on water resources.   Click here to register.
    • WEBINAR: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Public Works Projects at 12:30pmClick here to register.
    • WEBINAR: Review of 2020 Urban Water Management Plans Public Comments Webinar from 1pm to 3:30pm.  DWR will host a meeting summarizing the public comments received and the associated changes being made to finalize the Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) 2020 Guidebook.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Klamath River dams closer to removal after Newsom, Oregon governor sign deal

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown agreed Tuesday to put the power of their two states behind a stalled effort to remove four dams on the Klamath River, reviving the nation’s largest dam demolition and a bid to unlock hundreds of miles of waterway for struggling salmon.  The move, jointly announced by the governors in a virtual news conference, breaks an impasse that resulted when the dam’s owner, a subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, appeared to walk away from the project because of concerns about liability. In July, Newsom personally appealed to the powerful investor to proceed with the decades-old plan. Tuesday’s announcement brings a new, and promising, agreement to move forward. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Klamath River dams closer to removal after Newsom, Oregon governor sign deal

SEE ALSO:

More rain needed to reduce fire danger, stave off future drought

More than a month and a half into this year’s rainy season and significant precipitation was finally falling on Tuesday in Northern California. The state could use it in more ways than one.  “If we could get these systems where we get upwards of a half inch to an inch, with enough time in between each other to relieve our soils and relieve our creeks,” said Paul Lowenathal of Cal Fire, referring to optimal rain conditions for the North Bay. … ”  Read more from KPIX here:  More rain needed to reduce fire danger, stave off future drought

Stanford researchers combine Zillow and census data to determine residential water needs

The gateway to more informed water use and better urban planning in your city could already be bookmarked on your computer. A new Stanford University study identifies residential water use and conservation trends by analyzing housing information available from the prominent real estate website Zillow.  The research, published Nov. 18 in Environmental Research Letters, is the first to demonstrate how new real estate data platforms can be used to provide valuable water use insights for city housing and infrastructure planning, drought management and sustainability. … ”  Read more from Stanford University here: Stanford researchers combine Zillow and census data to determine residential water needs

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary today …

OSU researchers team up with Karuk Tribe on new fire planning approach in northern California

Scientists from Oregon State University are teaming up with the Karuk Tribe and other partners to develop strategies for managing future wildfires in northern California’s Klamath Mountains and restoring the role of beneficial fire in the region.  “Historically, fires were frequent and highly useful for this landscape and the Karuk people,” said project leader Skye Greenler, a graduate research fellow in the OSU College of Forestry. “For the last 150 years, we’ve suppressed fire, and now most of the fires on this landscape are ones we can’t suppress, that are often devastating to communities, ecosystems and cultural resources.” … ”  Read more from Oregon State University here:  OSU researchers team up with Karuk Tribe on new fire planning approach in northern California

Windsor:  Town’s floating solar panel project up and running

The town of Windsor announced on Nov. 17 that its floating solar array system had “successfully completed the testing phase and is now fully energized and online. Operation of this new floating solar array, the largest in California, will reduce Town GHG emissions by 350 metric tons of CO2 per year and save approximately $5 million dollars in energy costs over the next 25 years.”  Construction on the array started in May of 2019, and represented a partnership with Ciel & Terre, a French solar company, working with local union contractor, Collins Electrical Company, on the town’s largest recycled water Pond 7. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Windsor:  Town’s floating solar panel project up and running

Environmental group threatens to sue St. Helena over groundwater extraction

An environmental advocacy group is threatening to sue the City of St. Helena over its handling of groundwater.  Grant Reynolds, a director of Water Audit California, delivered a letter to the city on Monday criticizing its use of the Stonebridge wells for municipal use and “a pattern of exercising no discretion” in issuing permits for new wells. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Environmental group threatens to sue St. Helena over groundwater extraction

Thousands of coho salmon released into Pescadero Creek in restoration project

There really hasn’t been many salmon in Pescadero Creek north of Santa Cruz for years. On Tuesday, that changed.  Thousands of baby Coho Salmon arrived by four wheel drive truck, where a small army of folks released them into the creek.  This project has been in the works for years. Ranchers, farmers and all manner of public agencies finally got on the same page and major portions of the creek are now restored. Once released, the baby salmon quickly swam for hiding places, diving into protected hiding spots. … ”  Read more from KPIX here: Thousands of coho salmon released into Pescadero Creek in restoration project

Oakland’s new waterfront park is a startling remake of a derelict pier

Every shoreline park is unique — shaped by conditions that differ from site to site as surely as each day’s shifting tides.  But even within this reality, Township Commons on Oakland’s waterfront is a startling act of urban reinvention that, with time, should pull people from across the city to an area that until now has been off the map. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Oakland’s new waterfront park is a startling remake of a derelict pier

Castle Fire could have restorative effects on sequoia groves in national forest

Snow, rain and hail over the weekend cleared away the summer smoke from California wildfires and have given Valley towns the beautiful view of the Sierra Nevada mountains again. Since the majority of the Castle Fire has come under containment the forest service is surveying some of the damage left behind.  Thousands of acres have been burned, but it is not all bad news. According to the forest service approximately 9,800 acres (35%) burned out of the 27,830 acres of giant sequoia groves in the Monument, with approximately 6,000 acres (61%) burning at high-severity. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here:  Castle Fire could have restorative effects on sequoia groves in national forest

Turlock: Fall rainfall below average amid drought

As California’s continued state of moderate drought persists, local rainfall over the last two and a half months has failed to meet historical averages. During Turlock Irrigation District’s Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday morning, Hydrologist Olivia Cramer shared that the 2020-2021 water year, which began in September, has seen the region receive 0.8 inches of precipitation through Nov. 15. Historically, the average for those first three months of the water year combined has measured 6.7 inches, meaning the Tuolumne River Watershed has received just 17.3 percent of the historical average amount of rainfall for the date. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here: Turlock: Fall rainfall below average amid drought

Department of Conservation awards grant for Kings River improvements

The California Department of Conservation has awarded $2 million in first-of-their-kind grants for watershed restoration and conservation projects on agricultural lands in Marin, Sonoma, Ventura and Kings counties.  The Corcoran-based Tulare Lake RCD and co-applicant Kings River Conservation District, based in Fresno, were awarded $1,165,644 for the Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here: Department of Conservation awards grant for Kings River improvements

Long Beach: Hydraulic sand pump fails beach to beach, but may work elsewhere

A $300,000 study this spring has apparently proven pumping sand and water from one beach to the Peninsula isn’t feasible — but there may be hope for another option.  Last week, the Marine Advisory Commission received a report about the summer experiment. The idea was to use a pump and pipeline to move sand instead of the huge earthmover trucks used the last several years to replenish the beach in front of Peninsula homes. … ”  Read more from the Grunion here: Long Beach: Hydraulic sand pump fails beach to beach, but may work elsewhere

Long Beach: Alamitos Bay’s water quality at risk once again, unless the city spends millions to fix it

A state requirement that power plants stop using ocean water to cool their systems could have the unintended consequence of worsening overall water quality in Alamitos Bay, according to a city report.  But fixing it would likely cost the city millions of dollars.  Power plants will soon be banned from using ocean water, a state mandate intended to protect fish and other critters from being sucked into cooling pipes and pumps. The deadline for the Alamitos Energy Center to comply with the mandate is Dec. 31, 2023. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here:  Alamitos Bay’s water quality at risk once again, unless the city spends millions to fix it

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

USGS Report: Climate change will reduce groundwater in Lower Colorado River Basin

A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey says climate change will affect groundwater resources in both the Upper and Lower Colorado River Basin, but in different ways. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports. … ”  Read more from KNAU here: USGS Report: Climate change will reduce groundwater in Lower Colorado River Basin

Will Las Vegas run out of water?

We usually think of Sin City as the land of milk and honey, where anything goes and everything flows. But experts have been predicting for years that, by 2021, water levels in Lake Mead could drop to such a low level it would create a water shortage.  … With this in mind, we decided to do some digging into where Vegas gets its water, as well as who uses the most and what we can do about it. Will casinos come out among the worst water waste offenders? Let’s find out … ”  Read more from Casino.org here:  Will Las Vegas run out of water?

Return to top

In national water news today …

Biden transition team performing agency reviews of USDA and EPA

President-elect Joe Biden is working to address important positions within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  A series of agency review teams have been made available online. Former USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie is leading the Biden transition team in its review of USDA.  The USDA team will also review the Farm Credit Administration and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation. A majority of the 17-member USDA review team previously worked for the department under the Obama administration. Many of the team members have more of a background related to nutrition programs rather than production agriculture experience. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Biden transition team performing agency reviews of USDA and EPA

Five big Trump environmental rollbacks Biden could try to reverse

Even if President-elect Joe Biden can reassemble the pieces of climate policy shattered by President Donald Trump, it is not likely to be adequate to tackle the challenge of global warming, which has grown substantially after four years of inaction.  Biden faces science that paints a more alarming picture than it did four years ago and federal courts that, with Trump appointees, will be more skeptical of presidential power to act than when President Barack Obama put in place the first U.S. regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Five big Trump environmental rollbacks Biden could try to reverse

Farm industry braces for tougher eye on practices under Biden

American agriculture is bracing for tougher scrutiny of practices from environmental protections to workplace safety in the transition from the anti-regulatory regime under President Donald Trump to the Biden administration.  The key question will be the magnitude of pressure, amid divisions among Democrats about how hard to move on a progressive agenda. Another element of President-elect Joe Biden’s likely program for the Agriculture Department is more certain: greater food assistance for needy families. … ”  Read more from Yahoo News here: Farm industry braces for tougher eye on practices under Biden

California eyeing Biden resolution to dozens of Trump lawsuits

It’s no secret California and the Trump administration are often at odds—which many times has led to the courtroom. The Golden State has sued the president and his agencies 106 times over the past four years, more than any other state.  With President-elect Joe Biden (D) set to take over the White House in January, California is looking over its lingering cases. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg Law here: California eyeing Biden resolution to dozens of Trump lawsuits

Return to top

Today’s featured articles …

YOSEMITE ENVIRO LAW CONFERENCE: Federalism & water quality: After 50 years, are we done with the 401?

Recent changes by the Trump Administration to the Clean Water Act have had a ripple effect on many regulatory programs. The changes to Section 401 in particular, intended to promote energy infrastructure, have really changed how the states and the federal government implement the Section 401 program.

At the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite held in October of 2020, a panel of speakers discussed how Section 401 has functioned in the past in different contexts, how the final rule might be changing the legal landscape, and how a change in the federal administration after the election might affect the changed rule.

Click here to read this article.


MET BAY DELTA COMMITTEE: Preparing for the vote on Delta Conveyance planning costs

At last week’s meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay-Delta Committee, preparations continued for the board action at the December meeting regarding funding the first two years of planning costs for the Delta Conveyance Project.  Bay-Delta Initiatives Manager Steve Arakawa provided an update on the funding agreement with the Department of Water Resources for Metropolitan’s proportionate share of the planning and preconstruction costs for the Delta Conveyance Project, and an amendment to the JPA agreement for the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority.

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.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: