DAILY DIGEST, 12/28: Rural, urban CA areas feud over water; Disease is decimating CA’s wild ducks and shorebirds; The good, bad and alarming of CA’s environmental year; Sea otters could get new home in SF Bay; and more …



In California water news today …

CBS This Morning:  Rural, urban California areas feud over water

A century-long feud between Los Angeles and rural communities where the city gets much of its water is heating up again. Some believe the city’s water agency is “stealing” water again, like they claim it did in the early 20th century. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.”  Watch video from CBS This Morning here:  Rural, urban California areas feud over water

Disease is decimating California’s wild ducks and shorebirds. What’s really responsible

Ryan Sabalow writes, “Even through my face mask, I could smell botulism and decay as the mallard baked under the midday sun. The duck floated on its back near a patch of tules. It was writhing with maggots.  I reached over the side of the airboat to pluck it out of the muddy water with a pair of four-foot grippers, trying not to gag. I dropped it into a garbage bag at my feet filled with a half-dozen ducks and shorebirds. Maggots, mud and viscera splashed my chest waders.  “That’s what we’re looking for,” shouted the pilot, John Vradenburg, over the roar of the engine powering the airboat’s propeller. “The ones with the maggots are the problem.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Disease is decimating California’s wild ducks and shorebirds. What’s really responsible

SWS 2020 Top Projects – Carr Fire Recovery Project

In this week’s video, SWS Managing Editor Katie Johns is joined by Ross Perry, project manager for the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District, to talk about the #1 2020 Top Project – the Carr Fire Recovery Project.  Following the Carr Fire in Shasta County, California, this project aimed to reduce sediment transport to stream systems and protect waterways critical to the Sacramento River Fishery. This project utilized two treatments: 1) manual hand application and 2) hydraulic application. Overall, tens-of-thousands of tons of sediment were prevented from discharging into local watersheds by the recovery efforts, and more than 500 local landowners benefited from erosion mitigation efforts on their property.”  Watch video here:  SWS 2020 Top Projects – Carr Fire Recovery Project

Smog is contributing to pine tree deaths — and that’s a set up for huge fires

Back in 1953, high up in the San Bernardino Mountains, foresters noticed something strange. The needles of ponderosa pines were yellowing and dropping, tree growth was slowing, and some were dying. They called the condition “X-disease” at the time, but soon figured out that it had to do with Southern California’s notoriously toxic air.  Emissions from cars, trucks, shipping, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction were interacting with sunlight and heat to create toxic clouds of smog that washed over the region, causing not only our lungs to ache, but our pines to suffer. … ”  Read more from the LAist here: Smog is contributing to pine tree deaths — and that’s a set up for huge fires

The good, bad and alarming of California’s environmental year

When hindsight is employed on the year 2020, the looking glass will be anything but rose-tinted. This annus horribilis unleashed a global pandemic that has delivered more than 1.7 million deaths globally, economic carnage and long-term cultural and political tumult. Then comes the year’s environmental legacy.  While a wave of lockdowns and social restrictions triggered a temporary dip in greenhouse gas emissions, at year’s end global CO₂ concentrations are still at record levels. But 2020 has witnessed all sorts of other environmental ups and downs. Through the four classical elements—with wind thrown in for good measure—here’s a look at some of the year’s environmental developments, along with their impacts on the Golden State. … ”  Read more from Capitol & Main here: The good, bad and alarming of California’s environmental year

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Sea otters could get new home in San Francisco Bay

Once hunted to the brink of extinction for their luxuriant pelts, California sea otters rebounded after protections were put in place in 1911. Their population grew steadily for much of the last century, but now the still-threatened species is stuck at about 3,000 otters. The problem is that they are boxed in at both ends of their current range, along the state’s central coast, by a sharp (and so far unexplained) rise in shark attacks. Hoping to reintroduce breeding populations elsewhere in the otters’ historical range, wildlife managers have been looking at certain coastal estuaries, which are sheltered pockets of water. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here: Sea otters could get new home in San Francisco Bay

Ventura Water’s $104M debt refinancing to minimize rate hikes for customers

The city of Ventura has refinanced most of Ventura Water’s $104 million debt, resulting in nearly $16 million in savings that are expected to lower planned rate hikes for customers, city officials said.  Refinanced was $97.4 million of the debt total, said Michael Coon, the city’s finance and technology director.  The rate on the refinanced debt was lowered from 4.8% to 2.47%, resulting in the $15.95 million savings, he said. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Ventura Water’s $104M debt refinancing to minimize rate hikes for customers

1st storm of winter season brings rain, snow to Southern California

The first winter storm of the season arrived overnight, bringing rain and snow to parts of Southern California.  The stormy weather is expected to continue through most of the day Monday as the region is hit with a second wave of rain around noon.  The storm is expected to bring about an inch of rain to coastal and valley areas, according to the National Weather Service. … ”  Read more from KTLA here:  1st storm of winter season brings rain, snow to Southern California

Fullerton joins PFAS lawsuit against 3M, DuPont, others

The city of Fullerton has joined a large Orange County lawsuit against the 3M Company, DuPont, and others. The suit was brought by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and several Orange County cities and water districts alleging that these companies are responsible for water contamination from PFAS (see below) in the region’s groundwater and water systems. The lawsuit was filed December 1, 2020 by SL Environmental Law Group. ... ”  Read more from the Fullerton Observer here:  Fullerton joins PFAS lawsuit against 3M, DuPont, others

San Diego:  ‘I’m currently listening to an oversized jackhammer outside my living room’

Leah LaVelle has reluctantly embraced a new bedtime routine over the last three months as the noise from a pipeline-replacement project in North Park has made it impossible to sleep at night.  LaVelle rents an apartment in the neighborhood on 30th Street, with a bedroom window facing the road. Every night she moves her blankets and pillows to the couch. It’s one way she can rest, she said, but it doesn’t always work.  “Some nights I’ve had zero sleep,” she said. “(It) has pushed me over the edge.” … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  ‘I’m currently listening to an oversized jackhammer outside my living room’

Activists eye a Superfund reboot under Biden with a focus on environmental justice and climate change

The uber challenge facing the incoming Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency in its oversight of 1,570 hazard waste sites is best summed in a name that’s become synonymous with the daunting task: Superfund.  The “Superfund” started out as a trust fund created by Congress in 1980 to finance cleanups, paid for by billions of dollars in taxes on the chemical and petroleum industries. Congress allowed the tax to expire 25 years ago. … ”  Read more from Inside Climate News here:  Activists eye a Superfund reboot under Biden with a focus on environmental justice and climate change

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And lastly …

California’s ultimate outdoor bucket list: 45 natural wonders

The California Sun reached out to leading outdoor experts in each of nine California regions and asked the same question: If you had to name your absolute top 5 not-to-be-missed day outings, what would they be?  Listed below are their picks, 45 in all, roughly north to south.”  Check it out at the California Sun here:  California’s ultimate outdoor bucket list: 45 natural wonders

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Weekend Daily Digest …

In California water news this weekend …

  • Stormy weather to slam West Coast in final week of 2020
  • Michael Kiparsky: ‘Futures trading can bring efficiency to California’s water sector’
  • Newsha Ajami named to S.F. Public Utilities Commission
  • John Laird returns to Sacramento as a state senator
  • Monterey County is deciding on new rules for drilling wells. Will the result satisfy anyone?
  • Coachella Valley: Some see desert as next surfing hotspot
  • Colorado River management may change under Biden administration
  • Congress adds $638 million in water-bill debt relief to coronavirus package
  • Incoming interior secretary faces many issues in Arizona and beyond, from water rights to climate
  • Biden builds team to get aggressive on regs
  • And more …

Click here for the weekend Daily Digest.

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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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