DAILY DIGEST, 1/8: Zero Delta smelt found in fall midwater trawl survey for the third year in row; Delta National Heritage Area Management Plan Advisory Committee goes to work; Tackling data center water usage challenges amid historic droughts, wildfires; and more …



On the calendar today …

  • 2021 Delta Science Proposal Solicitation from 2pm to 3pm:  This webinar will review the application requirements of the 2021 Delta Science Proposal Solicitation Notice and to answer questions from prospective applicants.  Registration will remain open until the webinar begins.

In California water news today …

Zero Delta smelt found in fall midwater trawl survey for the third year in row

Dan Bacher writes, “For the third year in a row, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found zero Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus), once the most abundant fish species in the estuary, in its 2020 Fall Midwater Trawl Survey throughout the Delta.  Not only did the survey catch zero Delta Smelt , but it also found zero Sacramento Splittail, a native minnow that was removed from the Endangered Species list by the Bush administration.  The zero Delta Smelt and Sacramento Splittail found in the survey reflect an ongoing collapse of pelagic (open water) fish species in the Delta that also includes Longfin Smelt, Striped Bass, Threadfin shad and American Shad. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Ecosystem Disaster: Zero Delta Smelt Found in Fall Midwater Trawl Survey for the Third Year in Row!

Delta National Heritage Area Management Plan Advisory Committee goes to work

Amid the seemingly endless stories of threats to the Delta and the people who depend upon it, there is an occasional bright spot. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was designated as a national heritage area (NHA) in March 2019. On Tuesday, Jan. 5, the first meeting of the NHA Management Plan Advisory Committee was held to begin the process of shaping the Delta NHA.  “The NHA designation for the Delta is a national recognition of something people here have known for a long time — this is a nationally significant place with a nationally significant rich story, or more accurately, stories,” said Mike Moran, supervising naturalist at Big Break Regional Shoreline and ex officio member of the advisory committee. … ”  Read more from the Brentwood Press here:  National Heritage Area Management Plan Advisory Committee goes to work

Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency board approves Friant-Kern Canal settlement with FWA

The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency took another step on Thursday to contribute to all the funding that’s needed for much needed repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal.  The ETSGA Board unanimously approved a settlement with the Friant Water Authority that oversees the Friant-Kern Canal at its meeting on Thursday. The board met in closed session to discuss the matter the resumed the open session of its meeting on Thursday to approve the settlement.  The ETSGA and FWA negotiated the settlement and it needed approval from the ETSGA board on Thursday. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency board approves settlement with FWA

RELATED: Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency January 7, 2021, coverage from Water Wrights

Screen saver: New fish screen installed on the Feather River

Protecting fish in the Sacramento Valley takes time and teamwork.  This was keenly apparent on a recent morning along the Feather River in South Sutter County just outside Montna Farms.  The event?  Installation of a modern, new fish screen to protect Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Trout.  The project, officially known as Garden Highway Mutual Water Company Fish Screen, was over a decade in the making.  … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Valley here: Screen saver: New fish screen installed on the Feather River

Legal brief:  Santa Clara Valley Water District v. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

In a published opinion filed December 29, 2020, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate filed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District (District) challenging waste discharge requirements (WDRs) belatedly imposed by a responsible agency, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Board), on lead agency District’s flood control project. Santa Clara Valley Water District v. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (2020) ___ Cal.App.5th ___. The case involved highly unique facts, and a number of interesting legal issues concerning the Board’s authority under the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the state Porter-Cologne Act, and CEQA. … ”  Read more from Lexology here:  Santa Clara Valley Water District v. San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

Will this winter be wet or dry? DWR leads innovative effort to advance forecasting research

California’s 2020 Water Year, which ran from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, emphasized the State’s extreme weather swings, with drenching rains in the southern part of the state and dry conditions in the north. So far, California’s fall and winter seasons have seen intermittent precipitation, which has left many asking: what can we expect for Water Year 2021?  When asked this question, water managers look to forecasts. Conventional weather forecasts extend only about two weeks out, but most of their “skill” or statistical accuracy is in the first week. Sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasts differ from conventional weather forecasts as they extend significantly further into the future. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Will this winter be wet or dry? DWR leads innovative effort to advance forecasting research

Tackling data center water usage challenges amid historic droughts, wildfires

The seven-year-long California drought that ended in early 2019 and the wildfires that ensued are just two recent events that have cast a spotlight on the far-reaching consequences of worsening water shortages. … Data centers are under particular scrutiny. In the U.S. alone they are expected to consume an estimated 174 billion gallons of water in 2020. A 15-megawatt data center can use up to 360,000 gallons of water a day. Regulatory pressure is being turned up by state and local bodies that are concerned about scarcity of public resources while activist groups like Greenpeace have put a special emphasis on drawing attention to data centers’ use of both power and water. All this is happening as cooling options are narrowing due to restrictions on the use of refrigerants. … ”  Read more from Data Center Frontier here:  Tackling data center water usage challenges amid historic droughts, wildfires

A dry winter in California could lead to a repeat of the 2020 wildfire season, experts warn

Very little rain and snow are expected across California over the next few weeks, and what the clouds have dropped in the Sierra Nevada so far is about half of average for this time of year.  That has scientists worried California is headed not only for prolonged drought, but a fire season similar to or worse than the one that devastated the state in 2020.  “We’re seeing these fires become more and more disruptive and produce more and more smoke that more and more people breathe,” says UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. “It’s not the only reason why this matters. But I think it’s definitely something to be thinking about, as we head into what could be another dry year in California.” … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  A dry winter in California could lead to a repeat of the 2020 wildfire season, experts warn 

Researchers look to the stars for insight on wildfires, mudslides

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are performing both terrestrial and extraterrestrial soil experiments to develop new tools for the fight against mudslides.  UCSD structural engineer Ingrid Tomac is leading a team studying the behavior of individual raindrops to better understand — and hopefully, prevent — mudslides.  The team formed a partnership with aerospace research and development firm Space Tango (Lexington, Kentucky) to adapt their ongoing soil studies to run remotely on the International Space Station (ISS). ... ”  Read more from Stormwater Report here: Researchers look to the stars for insight on wildfires, mudslides

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In regional water news and commentary today …

North Coast: Volunteer divers hope to restore kelp from the ground up

I dove into a kelp forest for the first time in Monterey nearly a decade ago, and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Towering flexible “trees” stretching to the surface, held vertically only by properties of gas laws. What is this place? Then came the forest creatures. Who are you? I wanted to get to know them. That moment underwater affected me so vividly and profoundly that, from then on, I have lived in a new reality: a confluence of life on land and in the sea. My daily routines are dictated by the swells, winds and tides, and my eyes are always on the water. It’s a complicated love story and many of my friends, peers, and colleagues, can relate: when it’s good, you go.  Now I’m seasonally amphibious, spending the winters on land, and summers in the sea. This is what brought me to Reef Check and the coast of Northern California. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  North Coast: Volunteer divers hope to restore kelp from the ground up

City: Napa reservoirs spared the worst from 2020 wildfires

Two reservoirs feeding water to the city of Napa apparently were spared the worst of the onslaught from last year’s historic wildfires that tore through the county’s rural north, the director of the municipal water system reported this week. Watershed lands around Lake Hennessey and Milliken Reservoir escaped high-intensity burning during the Hennessey Fire that erupted Aug. 16, according to city water manager Joy Eldredge. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: City: Napa reservoirs spared the worst from 2020 wildfires

Nevada environmental agency funds water projects in Tahoe

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced that $1 million in Clean Water Act grant funds provided by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency will be used to complete 11 projects, including two in Lake Tahoe, to reduce “nonpoint source pollution” and improve water quality across the state.  The EPA used to focus solely on point sources, i.e. chemicals being leached from pipes into the water as the water flowed through. They later realized nonpoint source water pollution was also a major issue. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Nevada environmental agency funds water projects in Tahoe

Monterey: The Park District is negotiating to buy Cemex’s land on the coast of Marina

As the pressure to address social inequities mounts, local land conservation organizations have been examining their own responsibilities. …More recently, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District approved a strategic plan that calls to “balance the distribution of high-quality parks, open spaces, facilities, recreational and environmental education opportunities” throughout the region served by the district.  An opportunity to make good on these promises for correction is opening up on the coastal dunes of Marina. ... ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here:  Monterey: The Park District is negotiating to buy Cemex’s land on the coast of Marina

Protecting Pismo clams from poaching

Pismo clam populations along Central Coast beaches are booming after decades of decline, but clammers should be aware that the shellfish are still too small to legally harvest.  Pilfering the clams before they’re able to reach a healthy size could hurt the chances that the pale and delicately striped Pismo clams will restore to historic abundance along the Central Coast. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers cited more poachers in 2020, including many in Santa Cruz County, than in any year since they started keeping records in 2017. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Protecting Pismo clams from poaching

Kaweah Water Foundation to host safe drinking water public workshop series in January 2021

The newly formed Kaweah Water Foundation (KWF) will be hosting a series of Safe Drinking Water public workshops in January 2021 for residents within Tulare County. The Part One and Part Two workshops will focus on nitrates in the Kaweah area and short-term drinking water solutions for community water systems and domestic well users. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Kaweah Water Foundation to host safe drinking water public workshop series in January 2021

Five months and 174,000 acres later, SQF Complex achieves 100% containment

The SQF Complex is 100% contained five months after the wildfire first exploded across the Sequoia National Forest, forcing thousand of Tulare County mountain residents to evacuate in the busy summer season.  Forest officials announced late Wednesday that the blaze had reached full containment, though pockets of smoke are expected to remain until the area sees heavy snowfall.  Winter conditions are expected to extinguish any lingering hot spots deep within the fire’s perimeter, though snow and rain bring new safety concerns in the form of flash floods that could threaten downslope communities, such as Camp Nelson. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Five months and 174,000 acres later, SQF Complex achieves 100% containment

Eastern Municipal Water District receives federal grant to increase supplies

The Eastern Municipal Water District will receive $25 million in federal funds over the next several years to expand its desalination program, increasing fresh water stocks and reducing dependence on water imports, the agency announced Tuesday.  The Perris-based EMWD was selected to receive the additional funding under the recently approved federal Water Resources Development Act, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be responsible for distributing the funds. … ”  Read more from My LA News here: Eastern Municipal Water District receives federal grant to increase supplies

Courts again reject bid to preserve illegal Laguna Beach seawall

A couple’s legal attempt to preserve a seawall protecting one of their beachfront homes in Laguna Beach has been rejected for a third time by state courts, with an appellate court panel on Thursday, Jan. 7, unanimously declining a petition to rehear the case it had already decided in favor of the state Coastal Commission.  Jeffrey and Tracy Katz’s remodeling of the investment home was in violation of the seawall permit, which required the 15-year-old wall be removed if there was new development on the Victoria Beach lot, according to the commission order. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: Courts again reject bid to preserve illegal Laguna Beach seawall

Coffee is growing, thriving in San Diego’s North County

Coffee is typically grown in tropical regions and was previously considered an unviable crop in the continental United States. But along the state Route 76 corridor in San Diego’s North County, farmers are growing California coffee.  Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz owns one of those farms in East Oceanside, in the South Morro Hills community. Five years ago he became one of the first farmers in the region to plant coffee trees. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  Coffee is growing, thriving in San Diego’s North County

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In national water news today …

Research confirms increase in river flooding and droughts in US, Canada

The number of “extreme streamflow” events observed in river systems have increased significantly across the United States and Canada over the last century, according to a study from Dartmouth College. In regions where water runoff from snowmelt is a main contributor to river streamflow, the study found a rise in extreme events, such as flooding. In drought-prone regions in the western and southeastern U.S., the study found that the frequency of extreme low-flow events has also become more common, particularly during summer and fall. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Research confirms increase in river flooding and droughts in US, Canada

2020 U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in historical context

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has released the final 2020 update to its Billion-dollar disaster report (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions), officially confirming what communities across the nation experienced first-hand: 2020 was a historic year of extremes.  There were 22 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters across the United States, shattering the previous annual record of 16 events, which occurred in 2017 and 2011. The billion-dollar events of 2020 included a record 7 disasters linked to tropical cyclones, 13 to severe storms, 1 to drought, and 1 to wildfires. The 22 events cost the nation a combined $95 billion in damages. … ”  Continue reading at Climate.gov here: 2020 U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in historical context

Importance of groundwater discharge into oceans

An invisible flow of groundwater seeps into the ocean along coastlines all over the world, and a new study has discovered that groundwater discharge plays a more significant role than had been thought.  Earlier, scientists have tended to disregard contributions of groundwater discharge to the ocean and the chemistry on the far greater volumes of water and dissolved material entering the sea from rivers and streams.  The new findings that were published in the journal Nature Communications, have implications for global models of biogeochemical cycles and for the interpretation of isotope records of Earth’s climate history. … ”  Read more from Big News Network here: Importance of groundwater discharge into oceans

SEE ALSOEPA Wades into Murky Groundwater Debate – Accepting Comments through January 12, from Stoel Rives

How 60,000 discarded flip-flops ended up on a remote island

In different parts of the world, environmental catastrophes happen in different ways. In Australia and California last year, it was a series of ferocious wildfires. In Venezuela and Mauritius, there were massive oil spills. In the Horn of Africa, locusts.  And at the remote Aldabra atoll in Seychelles, disaster is unfolding in the form of abandoned fishing gear and 60,000 discarded flip-flops.  That footwear composed about a quarter of the nearly 28 tons of plastic debris collected over five weeks in 2019 by the Aldabra Clean Up Project (ACUP), a team of 12 volunteers from Seychelles and Oxford University. … ”  Read more from Christian Science Monitor here:  How 60,000 discarded flip-flops ended up on a remote island

Global temperatures in 2020 tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record, according to data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.  The news is a capstone in a year of unprecedented global events. Eight of the top 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2010. And each of the last five years has ranked in the top five.  As 2020 drew to a close, scientists became increasingly sure it would rank first or second.  Last month, NOAA announced that November 2020 was the second-warmest November in recorded history. The agency added that the year to date was at least the second-warmest, and approaching tied for first. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  2020 ties for hottest year on record

Coming attraction: IPCC’s upcoming major climate assessment

Despite the speed bump posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is rolling toward completion of its Sixth Assessment Report, the latest in a series that began in 1990.  IPCC’s assessments, produced by many hundreds of scientists volunteering countless hours, have long been the world’s most definitive statements on human-induced climate change from fossil fuel use. Rather than carrying out its own research, the IPCC crafts its consensus assessment reports based on the vast array of peer-reviewed work in science journals. The draft reports are scrutinized by experts and officials in UN-member governments before they become final.  It’s too soon to know exactly what the authors will conclude in the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), to be released in 2021-22, but the chapter outlines suggest a more interwoven look at how society is affected by, and responds to, the climate crisis. … ”  Read more from Yale Climate Connections here: Coming attraction: IPCC’s upcoming major climate assessment

Global warming could stabilize faster than originally thought if nations achieve net zero

The world may be barreling towards climate disaster but rapidly eliminating planet-heating emissions means global temperatures could stabilize within just a couple of decades, scientists say.  For many years it was assumed that further global heating would be locked in for generations even if emissions were rapidly cut. Climate models run by scientists on future temperatures were based on a certain carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. … ”  Read more from Yale E360 here: Global warming could stabilize faster than originally thought if nations achieve net zero

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Precipitation watch …

The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.

dmrpt-20210107

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Today’s featured article …

SCIENCE NEWS: Hot and crowded: Salmon spawning on the Stanislaus; A struggling California marsh gets an overhaul to prepare for rising seas; Researchers have built an automatic habitat loss detector; and more …

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE: Army Corps of Engineers announces finalization of nationwide permits

NOTICE: Public workshop to focus on water conveyance needs and funding options in Central California

CV-SALTS: Salt Control Program Notice to Comply letters sent to dischargers in the Central Valley

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Extended Deadline~ ISB Meeting~ DPC Meeting~ Grants Workshops ~~

 

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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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