In California water news this weekend …

Lawsuit challenges Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir

A proposed dam in California’s Central Valley is billed as a vital agricultural resource. But conservationists say it would also flood important cultural and recreational sites for surrounding communities and destroy wildlife habitat.  Del Puerto Canyon near Patterson, California, is a “treasured place” supplying critical habitat for protected plants and animals as well as bicycle routes, hiking trails and bird-watching areas for residents, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Stanislaus County Superior Court.  The entrance to the canyon area, called the “gateway,” is the area where water management officials propose constructing Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir.” … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Lawsuit challenges Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir

SEE ALSO:

Mild weather and sunny skies for Bay Area with no rain in sight

Mild days and sunny skies should linger through next week across the Bay Area, blanketing the region with pleasant winter days while extending the long statewide drought that has fueled this year’s catastrophic wildfires.  Temperatures should rise into the high 60s and low 70s Saturday and Sunday with light winds, according to the National Weather Service. No rain is expected next week, as storm systems glide past to the north, and long-term projections “continue to show dry conditions prevailing.” ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Mild weather and sunny skies for Bay Area with no rain in sight

Livermore work crew triumphs in quest to find wedding ring flushed down toilet

A Livermore woman who accidentally flushed her wedding ring down the toilet thought her chances of ever seeing it again had also gone down the drain, but with a lot of luck and hard work on behalf of the Livermore Public Works Department, the owner was reunited with her beloved band last week. … ”  Read more from Pleasanton Weekly here: Livermore work crew triumphs in quest to find wedding ring flushed down toilet

Newsom wants farmers to help fight climate change but provides no new funding for the effort

Judith Redmond, a California farmer, wants people to know that agriculture is a tool, not an enemy, in the fight against climate change.  “Not a lot of people understand how important agriculture is if we want to reach our climate, greenhouse gas reduction goals,” she said.  Sacramento seems to understand. In October, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order calling on the state’s agricultural players to join the fight against climate change by preserving California’s biodiversity and storing and removing carbon from the atmosphere – all with the goal of conserving 30% of the land by 2030.  But the order gives farmers and ranchers little guidance on what that means, how to accomplish it, and even worse, no new funds. … ”  Read more from the Peninsula Press here: Newsom wants farmers to help fight climate change but provides no new funding for the effort

Return to top

In commentary this weekend …

Commentary: Why restoring tidal marsh habitat in the Delta is good for Valley farmers

Thomas Birmingham with Westlands Water District writes, “Last Wednesday Westlands Water District and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced the completion of the Lower Yolo Restoration (LYR) Project. The project was constructed on property in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta purchased by Westlands in 2007, and restored 1,764 acres of tidal marsh habitat for the benefit of at-risk fish species.  Why would a public water agency that exists primarily to serve irrigation water to farmers on the westside of Fresno and Kings counties undertake an ecosystem restoration project in the Delta? ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Why restoring tidal marsh habitat in the Delta is good for Valley farmers

San Francisco Chronicle Editorial: A free-flowing Klamath River, at last

Water wars don’t easily end, especially in California. There are too many combatants, too many costs and too little water. The Klamath River could prove the exception to this troubling history.  An all-sides agreement is cementing over the latest problem standing in the way of demolishing four moss-slicked dams astride the California and Oregon border. Taking them out is a long-held dream for environmentalists, fishing groups and native tribes pushing for revived flows and returning salmon on a river that once flourished.  All the pieces are now in place. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Editorial: A free-flowing Klamath River, at last

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary this weekend …

Klamath tribes team with state to bring fire out of the shadows

Twice each year, Elizabeth Azzuz leads an unusual expedition into the Klamath River forest in Humboldt County, where her tribe has lived for thousands of generations.  To set it on fire.  “Help us guide our hands as we bring the greatest tool left to us, to the land, which is fire,” Azzuz says, calling on the spirits of the elders. She then talks to the forest creatures themselves. “The birds, the trees — we call them one legged people — asking permission to come into their home, basically, and to light it ablaze.” … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Klamath tribes team with state to bring fire out of the shadows

Humboldt County: The biodiversity of Jacoby Creek

This week’s peek at Bayside is brought to you courtesy of Humboldt State University Environmental Science and Management students Marcos Sosa, Auston Teague and Maeve Flynn, who are working towards the restoration of wetlands and riparian areas at the Kokte Ranch and Nature Preserve in Bayside.  As part of their senior capstone project, they have completed a survey to determine what species of plants are currently at the site and will make recommendations about what types of native plants could be established to benefit pollinators and increase biodiversity and species richness in the area. … ”  Read more from the Mad River Union here:  The biodiversity of Jacoby Creek

Paradise Irrigation District request for FEMA funds on Reservoir B gains state support

The Paradise Irrigation District was told on Thursday morning that the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services agreed that the district’s request that its Reservoir B Replacement project qualifies for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding as it relates to the Camp Fire.  The reservoir was damaged in the fire.  The announcement increases the likelihood that FEMA will help fund the $11.77 million project that could also be funded through insurance proceeds. Consultant Sami Kader told the board they hope to hear from FEMA in December. … ”  Read more from the Paridise Post here: Paradise Irrigation District request for FEMA funds on Reservoir B gains state support

Over $1M in grants secured for Kings River improvements

Monday, Assemblymember Salas (D-Bakersfield) applauded the awarding of $1,165,644 in grants for the Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project.  The California Department of Conservation (DOC) distributed this funding in first-of-their-kind grants for watershed restoration and conservation projects on the Kings River. … ”  Read more from Valley Voice here:  Over $1m in grants secured for Kings River improvements

San Diego: Popular Lake Miramar gets key new role just as it turns 60

Lake Miramar, a longtime recreational oasis celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is about to become a key part of San Diego’s new $5 billion Pure Water system that will boost the city’s water independence by recycling treated sewage.  The last of San Diego’s nine city reservoirs to be built, Lake Miramar attracts an estimated 100,000 people a year for jogging, biking, fishing, boating, picnicking and other activities. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: Popular Lake Miramar gets key new role just as it turns 60

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

Twenty years ago, the Colorado River Basin’s hydrology turned persistently dry, reservoir levels plummeted and a river system relied upon by nearly 40 million people, farms and ecosystems across the West was in trouble. So key players across the Basin attacked the problem. The result was a set of Interim Guidelines adopted in 2007 that, according to a just-released assessment, mostly worked to prevent forced water supply cuts. With the guidelines expiring in 2026, that assessment is expected to aid discussions as key players begin writing a new set of river operating rules.”  Read more at Western Water here:  Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

To protect native fish, agencies put a bounty on brown trout in the Colorado River

The reflection of the red rocks made it tough to tell where the water ended and the cliffs began as Barron Tsinigine cast his line into the river. It was daybreak and he had been fishing for rainbow trout, until he found out he could earn $25 for landing a brown trout.  That’s when his plan changed.  “I’m in the same boat as everyone else right now. I’m unemployed and it’d be nice to make a little bit of cash, as well as get a meal,” Tsinigine said. “I’ll be out here fishing either way, at least now I can get paid for it.” … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: To protect native fish, agencies put a bounty on brown trout in the Colorado River

Return to top

Podcasts …

INGRAINED PODCAST: Where the wild things are

If you think about rice in California, these are the sounds that likely come to mind first: tractors working, high-speed low flying airplanes planting seed, and GPS-guided harvesters bringing in America’s sushi rice. But in the fall and winter, the sounds from Sacramento Valley rice fields are different. We have ducks and geese by the millions, joy-filled sandhill cranes, large flocks of white-faced ibis, and majestic tundra swans.  While many wildlife species thrive in rice fields throughout the year, including the fantastic American bittern, the original angry bird, black terns, the tremendously photogenic shorebird, the black-necked stilt, it’s not unusual to hear from a western meadowlark in rice country. But there’s something extra special about fall and winter in rice country, it’s when rice fields really come alive.”  Click here for online resources.


WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING: Water Through the Eye of a Painter

Steve Baker writes, “Water presence in our landscape is a subject that fine artists enjoy when they send messages through their art. As water flows, a painter will take snap shots in their mind at different moments and assemble these moments as an abstract of colors and shapes. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co

Return to top

In national water news this weekend …

This entrepreneur is plugging the world’s drinking water into the (digital) cloud

Growing up outside of Mumbai, India, Meena Sankaran struggled to access what many people take for granted: clean drinking water. With service for only an hour a day, her family had to collect as much as they could in buckets. But the water wasn’t potable, and Sankaran’s parents couldn’t afford a filtration system. … Now based in California, the 39-year-old engineer and entrepreneur is working to make water cleaner and more reliable — by making it smarter. Using sensors and analytic tools, Sankaran’s startup KETOS provides real-time monitoring of both water usage and quality, alerting, say, a farmer to a leak, or a municipality to a contaminant. … ”  Read more from Grist here: This entrepreneur is plugging the world’s drinking water into the (digital) cloud

Three ways Artificial Intelligence can enhance water governance

AI, or artificial intelligence, is on the rise. It’s behind our search engines, powers our online assistants and will likely be driving our cars for us in the near future. For all that, it’s not being deployed in any meaningful way when it comes to the way we use water. And that’s a crying shame when you consider how much water we waste and our planet’s growing crisis of water insecurity. Christos Makridis knows a thing or two about AI and how we value water. Here he points out three ways AI could revolutionise the way we govern water usage. With the challenge of water growing all the time, it’s a technology we can’t afford to ignore.”  Read more from the Global Water Forum here:  Three ways Artificial Intelligence can enhance water governance

Who’s going to be the next agriculture secretary?

Projections are being made for who will be named the Agriculture Secretary once Joe Biden is sworn in as president. Nearly a dozen names are being talked about as the Biden transition team makes preparations for the incoming administration. Some of the contenders for the position include Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, and former deputy agriculture secretary Kathleen Merrigan. One of the frontrunners for the position, however, is former Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here:  Who’s going to be the next agriculture secretary?

Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) on Wednesday finalized its decision to weaken environmental analysis of many of its plans, excluding a number of actions from scientific review or community input.  The new rule allows the service to use a number of exemptions to sidestep requirements of the bedrock National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), something critics say will speed approval of logging, roads, and pipelines on Forest Service land. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects

Return to top

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

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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: