DAILY DIGEST, 11/23: The future of Madera County groundwater; Groups question effectiveness of CA’s cap-and-trade program; Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress, President-elect Biden; and more …



On the calendar today …

    • WEBINAR: California-Nevada Drought & Climate Outlook from 11am to 12pm:The California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System (CA-NV DEWS) November 2020 Drought & Climate Outlook Webinar is part of a series of regular drought and climate outlook webinars designed to provide stakeholders and other interested parties in the region with timely information on current drought status and impacts, as well as a preview of current and developing climatic events (i.e. El Niño and La Niña).   Click here to register.

In California water news today …

The future of Madera groundwater is being decided. Do residents have a say?

” … Groundwater in the Madera area is a primary source of irrigation water for a $2 billion agricultural industry and the drinking water for more than 150,000 residents in the county.  After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality and groundwater level declines, residents in the area have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to participate is quickly approaching. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: The future of Madera groundwater is being decided. Do residents have a say?

Groups question effectiveness of California’s cap-and-trade program

” …  Pollution, poverty, and race collide in many other disadvantaged communities across California and the country, and some argue that the state’s climate policies haven’t helped. While California has already cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 13% since their peak in 2004, many residents still suffer from high levels of air pollution, much of it produced by fossil fuels.  In particular, controversy has dogged California’s cap-and-trade policy, which took effect in 2013 and regulates roughly 450 entities accounting for 85% of California’s emissions. … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here: Groups question effectiveness of California’s cap-and-trade program

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In commentary today …

Commentary: After this year’s wildfires, California must spend to manage forest health

Robert Dugan with Placer County Water Agency and Jeff Harris with Sacramento Regional Water Authority write, “The uncontrolled wildfires that raged across California this year devastated lives, homes, forests and entire watersheds. We set a dubious record for most acres burned in a single year: 4.1 million and counting.  It takes a long time to recover from such intense fires. In 2014, the King Fire burned 97,000 acres of vital American River watershed in Northern California, and we’re still managing the consequences. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  After this year’s wildfires, California must spend to manage forest health

Dan Walters:  Why are taxpayers footing Klamath River dam removal cost?

” … The dams should go because they serve no real purpose, devastate what were once one of the largest salmon fisheries on the West Coast and damage the native peoples who live along its banks.  However, one must ask why California taxpayers should pay more than half the cost, a $250 million chunk of state water bonds whose repayment with interest will double the eventual bite. … ”  Read the full commentary at Cal Matters here:  Dan Walters:  Why are taxpayers footing Klamath River dam removal cost?

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Craig Tucker on Klamath dam agreement

Last week, Governors Gavin Newsom of California and Kate Brown of Oregon, leaders of the Yurok and Karuk Tribes and billionaire investor Warren Buffett issued a joint announcement that four dams on the Klamath River will be removed. … Karuk natural resources spokesperson Craig Tucker joined John Howard to talk about the historic agreement, its impact on the region’s salmon fisheries, and the potential for replication in other places where dams are contested. … ”  Listen to podcast from Capitol Weekly here:  Capitol Weekly Podcast: Craig Tucker on Klamath dam agreement

SEE ALSOA historic milestone for the Klamath River, from American Rivers

Sacramento River salmon restoration will continue with new $10M federal grant

The United States Bureau of Reclamation has provided a ten million dollar grant to Chico State and its partners to re-establish juvenile salmon and salmonid habitats along the Sacramento River.  The ten million dollars will be used over five years to help restore 47.3 acres of juvenile salmon habitat along the Upper Sacramento River.  Project manager Susan Strachan from the University’s Geographical Information Center (GIC) said that the project’s success so far is due to their partners, which include the Sacramento River Forum, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), River Partners, The Yurok Tribe, Tussing Ecological Sciences, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. … ”  Read more from Action News Now here: Sacramento River salmon restoration will continue with new $10M federal grant

Getting to the bottom of what fuels algal blooms in Clear Lake

Clear Lake is one of California’s oldest and most unique natural features. Nestled in Northern California’s coastal mountains, Clear Lake is the largest lake completely within California and is the oldest lake in North America with sediments dating back 480,000 years (Sims et al. 1988). Rich mineral deposits around the lake were historically mined for borax, sulphur, and mercury. Thus, Clear Lake continues to be polluted by mercury and methylmercury which bioaccumulates in the food chain (Suchanek et al. 2008). In spite of pollution, the lake boasts an impressive diversity of biological life. … ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here:  Getting to the Bottom of What Fuels Algal Blooms in Clear Lake

Orange County:  Refillable water bottle station to be added at Main Beach to keep plastics out of the ocean

A refillable water station will replace a drinking fountain at Main Beach as part of Laguna Beach’s ongoing effort to reduce single-use plastics from littering beaches and the ocean and ultimately harming marine mammals.  The water station – planned for a January installation – is thanks to a collaborative effort by the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition and several other community groups who raised $5,000 for the project and presented it to the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 17. ... ”  Read more from the Orange County Register here:  Orange County:  Refillable water bottle station to be added at Main Beach to keep plastics out of the ocean

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In national water news today …

Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress, President-elect Biden

In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden last week, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) urged the incoming administration to prioritize COVID-19 relief for water utilities and investment for the overall water infrastructure sector.  The letter, authored by association president Melissa Elliott, notes AWWA research that revenue shortfalls at U.S. drinking water utilities may reduce economic activity by $32.7 billion and cost 75,000 to 90,000 private-sector jobs. Drinking water utilities are expected to see revenues from customer payments drop by nearly $14 billion, according to AWWA estimates. This is the result of the elimination of water shutoffs for non-payment, increased late payments due to high unemployment, reductions in non-residential water demands, and the addition of fewer new customers due to economic stagnation. … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress, President-elect Biden

EPA receives 67 new requests for WIFIA financing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received 67 letters of interest in response to the agency’s 2020 Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Notice of Funding Availability. A total of $9.2 billion was requested this year — the largest amount ever requested through the WIFIA program.  “These letters show the incredible interest in the financial support that the WIFIA program provides to communities that are upgrading their water infrastructure,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “President Trump in October signed an Executive Order to speed progress on water infrastructure and EPA will continue using the highly effective WIFIA program to help address community needs and protect public health.” … ”  Numerous California projects have applied; check out the 2020 submissions starting on page 16 of this list.  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  EPA receives 67 new requests for WIFIA financing

Trump gutted environmental protections. How quickly can Biden restore them?

” … Over the course of his term, Trump has erased or watered-down dozens upon dozens of regulations designed to keep pollutants out of the water, air, and soil. He has allowed oil and gas companies to leak planet-warming methane into the air. He has told power plants that they can keep emitting dangerous levels of carbon dioxide. If all those rules stand, according to one analysis, they will be responsible for 1.8 billion metric tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.  With President-elect Joe Biden preparing to move into the White House in January, this anti-environment era is about to come to an end.   … ”  Read more from Salon here:  Trump gutted environmental protections. How quickly can Biden restore them?

Harsh droughts can actually start over oceans

Droughts conjure images of vast expanses of hard, cracked soil and parched plants, but new research suggests that disastrous dry spells can develop over the wettest place of all: the ocean. Low-moisture air masses sometimes form and migrate thousands of kilometers over the sea, similar to the way hurricanes behave. These dry-air regions are less coherent, changing shape as they develop, however, and they move much slower. Some take more than half a year before they hit land, where they can destroy crops and threaten water security. Yet the long travel time means forecasters might be able to predict when this newly recognized type of drought will impact key regions, such as the western U.S. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here:  Harsh droughts can actually start over oceans

This week in water podcast

Could California’s Salton Sea become “Lithium Valley?”  It won’t be easy for President-elect Biden to delete Trump’s water rules.  Meet the shrimp who leave the water and walk on land.  Because of this new research there’s no need to cry over spilled milk.  When it comes to mushrooms, one person’s trash is another one’s treasure.”  Read stories or listen to podcast from This Week in Water here: This week in water podcast

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Weekend Daily Digest …

In California water news this weekend …

  • Lawsuit challenges Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir
  • 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
  • Newsom wants farmers to help fight climate change but provides no new funding for the effort
  • Klamath tribes team with state to bring fire out of the shadows
  • Humboldt County: The biodiversity of Jacoby Creek
  • Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds
  • Three ways Artificial Intelligence can enhance water governance
  • And more …

Click here to read the Weekend Daily Digest.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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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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