Temperance Flat Dam returns $171 million to state. Still, backers swear it’s ‘not dead’
“Backers of a $3 billion project to construct the tallest dam in California swear the project isn’t dead, despite the Temperance Flat Reservoir Authority returning money and canceling applications. After it became clear that the reservoir project on the San Joaquin River west of Auberry would not reach upcoming deadlines for studies and funding, Temperance Flat Reservoir Authority declined $171 million designated by the California Water Commission and withdrew its application for additional funding, according to a resolution signed by the Authority on Oct. 30. It’s a sign the project hasn’t attracted the additional financial backers needed. ... ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Temperance Flat Dam returns $171 million to state. Still, backers swear it’s ‘not dead’
Will California finally fulfill its promise to fix the Salton Sea?
” … [The Salton Sea is]toxic — a looming environmental and public health disaster. The Salton Sea’s shoreline is receding, exposing a dusty lakebed known as the “playa.” This sandy substance holds a century’s worth of agricultural runoff, including DDT, ammonia, possibly carcinogenic herbicides like trifluralin and other chemicals. Its windborne dust travels across Southern California and into Arizona, but nearby communities — many of them populated by Latino farmworkers — bear the heaviest burden. The problem isn’t new. Yet California, though largely responsible for fixing it, has barely touched the more than 25 square miles of exposed playa. … ” Read the full story at High Country News here: Will California finally fulfill its promise to fix the Salton Sea?
Changes caused by worsening wildfires in California forests will last centuries
” … As California takes stock of its worst wildfire season on record, experts say that increasingly large and devastating fires have already altered the state’s iconic forests for centuries to come. Exacerbated by a warming climate and decades of aggressive fire suppression efforts — which left large areas of wilderness overgrown — these fires will continue to alter the landscape and, in some cases, will leave it more susceptible to wildfire than ever before, they say. In other cases, the flames were likely to restore patches of wildland to their original state. … ” Read the full story at the LA Times here: Changes caused by worsening wildfires in California forests will last centuries
Commentary: After this year’s wildfires, California must spend to manage forest health
Robert Dugan writes, “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 the Napa Register here: After this year’s wildfires, California must spend to manage forest health
Essay: ‘We can’t just walk away.’ California’s wild places are under siege and dying
Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow writes, ” ... I grew up in Siskiyou County, in the shadow of Mount Shasta. I spend as much time as I can up in this lonely northeastern corner of California. Here, you can drive along dirt roads through the pines, firs, junipers, and sagebrush for hours without seeing another person. After the first fall frosts, cowboys on horseback still ride into the woods to round up their cattle, which vastly outnumber people up here. After talking it over with my wife, Cara, I pitched to my editors a series of essays on this overlooked area of California. They agreed to let me work for much of the last three months out of my late logger grandpa’s old hunting trailer at my ducking-hunting camp along the Oregon border outside the small city of Tulelake. … ” Read the full essay at the Sacramento Bee here: Essay: ‘We can’t just walk away.’ California’s wild places are under siege and dying
Commentary: How funders can support clean, reliable water for all
Allison Harvey Turner, Randall Kempner, and Ridgway White write, “It’s time to redesign water systems in the United States to meet the needs of all people and communities — not just the privileged. Our present water system structure leaves many, particularly poor people, at risk of significant health and safety dangers. Today, amid a public health emergency, millions of US residents do not have clean water, and race is the strongest predictor of whether someone has running water at home. According to DigDeep and the US Water Alliance, people of color lack access to safe and affordable drinking water at much higher rates than white people. They also are most likely to be impacted by floods and droughts, which can disrupt water systems. The crisis facing US water infrastructure is of our own making. … ” Read more from the Water Foundation here: Commentary: How funders can support clean, reliable water for all
Commentary: The greatest water transfer in history
Michael Warady writes, “Our country is currently in the midst of the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind – not in 10 or 20 years – but today. Much has been written about the Silver Tsunami, roughly defined as the wave of water and wastewater operator retirements across the country. And yet, while every industry conference (virtual or not) reminds us about the latest operator to hang up his or her hat, relatively little attention has been paid to the challenges we face as similar retirement trends plague private businesses servicing the industry across the country. … ” Read more from Water Finance & Management here: Commentary: The greatest water transfer in history
House bill seeks up to $30 million for Sonoma, Mendocino counties’ fight against invasive mussels
“After nearly a decade of holding the line against invasive mussels, North Bay water agencies are hoping to welcome reinforcements. A measure that would make up to $30 million available annually to the Army Corps of Engineers to help guard against quagga and zebra mussels before they infest local water bodies, including Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, has been included in a federal omnibus spending bill, which is on track to be signed by President Donald Trump. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: House bill seeks up to $30 million for Sonoma, Mendocino counties’ fight against invasive mussels
Corte Madera vets draft climate change plan
“Wildfire, flooding and sea level rise are top of mind in Corte Madera as the town seeks feedback on its draft climate change plan. Town officials presented the draft at the Town Council meeting on Tuesday. The document is expected to be completed in February. “It’s the most important conversation that we face as a community moving forward,” said Todd Cusimano, the town manager. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Corte Madera vets draft climate change plan
Marin Municipal Water District allots $800K to fight suits over rates, fees
“The Marin Municipal Water District is doubling down in its fight against two lawsuits challenging its water fees and seeking refunds on rates deemed unconstitutional. The district’s board of directors voted unanimously this month to enter into a two-year agreement with the Grass Valley-based law firm Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley. The district will pay up to $400,000 per year. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: MMWD allots $800K to fight suits over rates, fees
UO research team solves an ancient Colorado River mystery
“Two new studies by Rebecca Dorsey’s University of Oregon research group have validated the idea that the ebb and flow of seawater tides, amid a wet climate more than 5 million years ago, covered basins that are now part of the arid lower reaches of the Colorado River valley. The evidence emerged from separate projects northeast of the Chocolate Mountains in a region that now encompasses the small desert communities of Cibola, Arizona, and Palo Verde, California. The region is in the southern Bouse Formation near Blythe, California. The studies, funded by the National Science Foundation, were published online ahead of print in the international journal Sedimentology. … ” Read more from the University of Oregon here: UO research team solves an ancient Colorado River mystery
Year-end deal includes major energy, environment wins
“While negotiators largely sidelined energy issues during months of stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, a number of significant energy and environmental provisions will hitch a ride on the year-end agreement set to pass today. House and Senate leaders yesterday announced they had reached a deal on a $1.4 trillion fiscal 2021 spending omnibus, pandemic relief legislation and a number of major items that will ride along. Final text had yet to be released by publication time. “At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said from the floor yesterday. ... ” Read more from E&E News here: Year-end deal includes major energy, environment wins
GUEST COMMENTARY: California water agencies are feeling the pandemic’s financial pinch. But the water will keep flowing.
Guest commentary by Danielle Blacet-Hyden, deputy executive director of the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA):
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, it’s more important than ever that all Californians have reliable access to clean, safe water. At the most basic level, our health depends on it: water is essential for the handwashing and cleaning that helps eliminate the virus. Water also is indispensable for our food supply, jobs and economy.
Unfortunately, water service providers have not been spared from the pandemic’s financial impacts. They need financial resources from the state and federal government to support California customers in need and to ensure the water keeps flowing.
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.