DAILY DIGEST, 1/22: Meet the new folks who will determine how much water trickles down to the Valley; Wetter pattern to bring much needed precip; Biden halts oil and gas leases, permits on US land and water; and more …


In California water news today …

Column: Meet the new folks who will determine how much water trickles down to the Valley

Wayne Western, Jr. writes, “Obviously, the transition of power in Washington D.C. was timely and unhindered.  Within hours of inauguration, government websites were completely changed and lists of appointees put in place. For federal water users in California, all eyes are on the Department of Interior. On Dec. 17, Biden chose Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to serve as Secretary of Interior, among others.  In a statement, he said of this class of appointees: “They share my belief that we have no time to waste to confront the climate crisis, protect our air and drinking water, and deliver justice to communities that have long shouldered the burdens of environmental harms.” ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Meet the new folks who will determine how much water trickles down to the Valley

Wetter pattern to bring much-needed mountain snow for drought-plagued West, including California

A weather pattern change in the West will deliver rain and mountain snow not just for the waterlogged Northwest, but also for drought-suffering California, the Desert Southwest and Rockies into next week. …  The jet stream will take a sharp, southward nosedive near the West Coast, in response to a warm dome of high pressure aloft poking north toward Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.  This U-shaped jet stream trough may hold for a while and will guide a series of Pacific frontal systems into the West Coast over the next week or so. … ”  Read more from the Weather Channel here:  Wetter pattern to bring much-needed mountain snow for drought-plagued West, including California

SEE ALSO:

What California’s dry winter weather can tell us

This season has been unusually dry. Scientists at U.C. San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography looked at how much precipitation has fallen and how much is likely to fall in the coming months. At the beginning of January, they found that the odds of California reaching normal precipitation this year were only about 20 percent.  “If we miss the window of December or January, it can really set us back,” said F. Martin Ralph, director of the university’s Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  What California’s dry winter weather can tell us

State Water Boards adopts new rule for winery wastewater processing and discharging

The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a general order for how wastewater is processed and discharged at winery locations in an ongoing effort to safeguard groundwater and surface water from wastewater discharges. The order protects groundwater and surface water quality while giving wineries the flexibility to select compliance methods that best fit their site-specific situation, including tiering the compliance requirements to the winery size and associated threat to water quality. Under regulatory authority of existing Water Code Sections 13260 and 13263, the order also streamline statewide permitting of currently unregulated winery process water discharges and establishes statewide consistency, while allowing regional water boards to focus their resources on compliance. … ”  Read more from the State Water Board here:  State Water Boards adopts new rule for winery wastewater processing and discharging

Department of Conservation awards $1.5M in grants to support State’s Groundwater Management Plan

The California Department of Conservation (DOC) today announced five watershed coordinator grants totaling $1.5 million to support regional sustainable groundwater management goals. The grants will go to organizations around the state within medium- and high-priority groundwater basins.  “California’s world-class economy – its unparalleled agricultural sector, diversity, and abundance of industry and communities of all sizes and geographies — depends on water, and with the reality of climate change, that increasingly means groundwater,” DOC Director David Shabazian said. “Groundwater is a critical resource that we must manage more intently to meet today’s needs while also ensuring adequate water supply in the future. These grants, which support the goals of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), help us do that.”  … ”  Read more from the Department of Conservation here:  Department of Conservation awards $1.5M in grants to support State’s Groundwater Management Plan

Forecasting coastal water quality

Less than two days of water quality sampling at local beaches may be all that’s needed to reduce illnesses among millions of beachgoers every year due to contaminated water, according to new Stanford research. The study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, presents a modeling framework that dependably predicts water quality at beaches after only a day or two of frequent water sampling. The approach, tested in California, could be used to keep tabs on otherwise unmonitored coastal areas, which is key to protecting the well-being of beachgoers and thriving ocean economies worldwide. … ”  Read more from Stanford News here:  Forecasting coastal water quality

RADIO SHOW:  California moves to monitor microplastics in drinking water

We talk about microplastics in the ocean and on land fairly often, but they are present in drinking water as well. The California Legislature passed a bill in 2018 requiring monitoring of the tiny plastic particles in drinking water. Standards are due to be set up by the state Water Resources Control Board this year.  Scott Coffin, a researcher with the agency, visits with an overview of the issues with microplastics, and how the monitoring effort is coming along.”  Listen to radio show at Jefferson Public Radio here: RADIO SHOW:  California moves to monitor microplastics in drinking water

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Bureau of Reclamation updates its approach to ESA Section 7 consultations for Klamath Project operations, applying recent legal authorities and new solicitor guidance

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) released three documents related to its consultation obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for its operation of the Klamath Project (Project) in south-central Oregon and northern California. The analysis and conclusions contained in these comprehensive and technical documents significantly change Reclamation’s approach to ESA compliance when operating the Project. The new analysis was issued in response to a November 12, 2020 letter by the Secretary of Interior calling for a review of contracts with Project water users and other legal authorities governing the Project, as well as an October 28, 2020 memorandum (October 2020 Solicitor Guidance) from the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Solicitor (Solicitor) giving preliminary guidance on questions concerning Reclamation’s authority with respect to certain components of Project operations. ... ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here:  Bureau of Reclamation updates its approach to ESA Section 7 consultations for Klamath Project operations, applying recent legal authorities and new solicitor guidance

Hat Creek:  Creating a model for wild trout management

Hat Creek rises clear and cold in Lassen Volcanic National Park and runs north through the Hat Creek Valley to meet the Pit River at Lake Britton. The lower three miles, below Hat Creek Powerhouse Two, form the renowned spring creek waters that have challenged anglers for over 50 years with abundant insect hatches and highly selective trout. Today, this hallowed ground is now officially designated Wild Trout Water, although that’s a CalTrout story for another day. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout here: Hat Creek:  Creating a model for wild trout management

Christmas keeps giving to Oroville fish

Fish habitats are being constructed out of recycled Christmas trees at Lake Oroville and the Thermalito Afterbay. They will help improve the survival of young fish, help recreational fishing and keep more Christmas trees out of landfills.  The Chico Boy Scouts and Biggs 4-H collected Christmas trees. In total, a little under 1,000 Christmas trees were collected. Recology retrieved the donated Christmas trees and delivered them to Lake Oroville and Thermalito Afterbay. There, the California Conservation Corps, hired by the California Department of Water Resources, are constructing fish habitats out of the recycled Christmas trees. … ”  Read more from Action News Now here: Christmas keeps giving to Oroville fish

Gallagher bill to fast-track construction gains town, Paradise Irrigation District support

Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) announced Thursday he has introduced a bill that will allow fast-track construction of the Paradise Irrigation District (PID) water intertie and the Paradise sewer project.  Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) is the principal co-author of Assembly Bill 36, which is being sponsored by the Town of Paradise, the Paradise Irrigation District,and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Gallagher bill to fast-track construction gains town, Paradise Irrigation District support

USACE awards $29.5 million construction contract for Sacramento River levee improvements

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District awarded a $29.5 million construction contract on January 15 to Nordic Industries Inc. of Olivehurst, for 1.8 miles of levee improvements at four sites along the Sacramento River East Levee. Construction in 2021 will entail installation of seepage cutoff walls on both sides of Business 80/Highway 50 just upstream of Miller Park, on the south side of the little pocket, and on the north side of the big pocket. … ”  Read more from the Army Corps of Engineers here: USACE awards $29.5 million construction contract for Sacramento River levee improvements

Napa River flood project receives $48.3 million from the Army Corps of Engineers

Napa County will receive $48.3 million in federal funds to substantially finish the long-stalled Napa River flood control project and protect more than 2,000 additional city of Napa properties. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, in December said the recent federal spending bill made the project eligible for funding. On Thursday, he announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has included the project in its work plan. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Napa River flood project receives $48.3 million from the Army Corps of Engineers

Lightning Complex fires caused significant damage to Bay Area drinking water infrastructure

As the CZU Lightning Complex fire bore down on Gail Mahood’s tree-shrouded Felton neighborhood last August, she gathered what possessions she could and fled.  “As I drove away and saw how fast the fire was moving, I didn’t have much hope for my home,” Mahood recalled.  Thankfully, fire crews saved the little community of 20 or so houses, stopping the blaze within a half-mile of Mahood’s home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the pipes that delivered drinking water from a spring just up the hill were completely destroyed. … ”  Read more from KTVU Channel 2 here: Lightning Complex fires caused significant damage to Bay Area drinking water infrastructure

Monterey: EPA proposes ‘partial deletion’ of Fort Ord Superfund site from list

If a proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency goes through, nearly 12,000 acres of the almost 28,000-acre Fort Ord Superfund site will be deleted from the agency’s Superfund list, acknowledging the completed cleanup of military munitions and soil contamination there. However, cleanup of contaminated groundwater and soil gas throughout the site continues.  “The Army agrees and supports the EPA’s proposed decision to delete these parcels at the Fort Ord Superfund site from the Superfund list,” said Bill Collins, U.S. Army Fort Ord Base Alignment and Closure environmental coordinator. “This is a major milestone in the Superfund process for any site, but for such a large and complex site, it is a huge accomplishment. The deletion process provides many advantages for redevelopment.” ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey: EPA proposes ‘partial deletion’ of Fort Ord Superfund site from list

Best surprising green space in the city? These South L.A. wetlands

Mary Forgione writes, “Am I the only one who didn’t know about the wetlands in South Los Angeles? Last weekend I was invited to what I would call a curated park cleanup: Show up, pick up tools or garbage bags, dial into a conference call, and learn a little about the park through earbuds while you pick up trash — no contact required.  I went because the cleanup was held in South Los Angeles Wetlands Park, a place I had never heard of, at 5413 S. Avalon Blvd. As wetlands go, this one is a convincing imposter, described in a 2012 media account as “carved out from the industrial tundra of South Los Angeles.” … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Best surprising green space in the city? These South L.A. wetlands

SoCal: Renewed bid to hire former Carson mayor to lead water district rejected again

Following two months of infighting, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California on Thursday, Jan. 21, rejected the latest attempt to hire former Carson Mayor Albert Robles as its general manager and will instead bring on a professional with 30 years of experience to lead the district on an interim basis.  Stephan Tucker, a retired Los Angeles Department of Water and Power assistant general manager, will serve in the interim role for up to six months through his current employer, the Cordoba Corp., at a rate of $35,750 per month while the district conducts a search for a permanent replacement. His contract sets a 30-hour workweek. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here:  Renewed bid to hire former Carson mayor to lead water district rejected again

Continuous IX in Chino

The city of Chino sits below the San Bernardino Mountains 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The area has been known since the 1950s for its agricultural industry, including orchards, crops and one of the largest concentrations of dairy farms in the country.  With increasing demand for residential development, the area has gradually transitioned from farms to homes. Chino’s population increased from 78,000 in 2010 to 90,000 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the area projects its population to dramatically increase further in the coming years.   Such growth has required the city to expand its groundwater production capacity. However, nitrate contamination has stymied those efforts ... ”  Read more from Water & Waste Digest here: Continuous IX in Chino

From dust to pupfish: Salton Sea Species Conservation Habitat project breaks ground

Last week a fleet of bulldozers and other heavy equipment began the enormous task of moving roughly 5 million cubic yards of soil around a 4,110-acre area of dry lakebed at the southern end of the Salton Sea as part of the Species Conservation Habitat Project. The Species Conservation Habitat project is the first step toward achieving DWR’s Salton Sea Management Program’s goal of creating thousands of acres of new wildlife habitat and reducing windblown toxic dust.  “The Salton Sea is a very important stopover for millions of birds on the Pacific Flyway and after 10 years of planning we’re finally breaking ground on this major habitat restoration project,” said Vivien Maisonneuve, DWR program manager and project lead. “This is the first time that we’re building this kind of habitat, especially in this very challenging environment.” … ”  Read more from DWR News here: From dust to pupfish: Salton Sea Species Conservation Habitat project breaks ground

San Diego County Water Authority completes first aqueduct project in North County

The San Diego County Water Authority has completed a major rehabilitation project on the historic First Aqueduct in North San Diego County, it was announced Thursday.  The project renovated and replaced dozens of structures on two large-diameter pipelines which delivered the first imported water to the San Diego region in 1947 and remains a part of the regional water delivery system. The construction contract for the project was worth approximately $30 million. ... ”  Read more from KPBS here: San Diego County Water Authority completes first aqueduct project in North County

Port Of San Diego and California State Coastal Conservancy collaborate to create a native oyster living shoreline

The Port of San Diego is one step closer to creating a living shoreline to attract and establish native oyster populations while also protecting the shoreline from impacts related to future sea level rise. The first nature-based solution of its kind in San Diego Bay, the native oyster living shoreline pilot project and study is in collaboration with the California State Coastal Conservancy. ... ”  Read more from the Eagle & Times here:  Port Of San Diego and California State Coastal Conservancy collaborate to create a native oyster living shoreline

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Along the Colorado River …

Lakes Mead and Powell could drop to lowest ever; Colorado River drought plan triggered

Increasingly bleak forecasts for the Colorado River have for the first time put into action elements of the 2019 Upper Basin drought contingency plan.  The 24-month study released in January by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which projects two years of operations at the river’s biggest reservoirs, showed Lake Powell possibly dipping below an elevation of 3,525 feet above sea level in 2022. That elevation was designated as a critical threshold in a 2019 agreement to preserve the ability to produce hydropower at Glen Canyon Dam. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here: Lakes Mead and Powell could drop to lowest ever; Colorado River drought plan triggered

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In national water news today …

Biden halts oil and gas leases, permits on US land and water

The Biden administration announced Thursday the suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters for 60 days, as officials moved quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment.  The suspension, part of a broad review of programs at the Department of Interior, went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega. It follows Democratic President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves to help address climate change. … ”  Read more from GV Wire here:  Biden halts oil and gas leases, permits on US land and water

Press release: Interior department welcomes day one executive orders to restore public lands and waters, combat coronavirus

Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden signed Executive Orders that take critical first steps to address the climate crisis, create good union jobs, and advance environmental justice, while reversing the previous administration’s harmful policies. … The Interior Department has issued a Secretarial Order that temporarily elevates review of relevant agency decisions, including final agency actions, regulatory actions, and energy development. During the 60-day window that the Order may be in effect, decision-making over these matters will be reserved for Department leadership for the purposes of reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy they raise. … ”  Read more from the Department of the Interior here:  Interior department welcomes day one executive orders to restore public lands and waters, combat coronavirus

Joe Biden will spend his first hours as president trying to obliterate much of the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda, restore public land protections and reestablish the United States as a global leader on climate change policy.  Biden will sit in the Oval Office later today and sign a sweeping executive order to rejoin the Paris Agreement and undo President Trump’s rollback of greenhouse gas policies, said Gina McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser.  “We know rejoining [Paris] won’t be enough, but along with strong domestic action, which this executive order kicks off, it is going to be an important step for the United States to regain and strengthen its leadership opportunities,” McCarthy told reporters late yesterday. ... ”  Read more from the Department of Conservation here:  Gina McCarthy outlines Biden’s first climate actions

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National water and climate update …

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-20210121

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Delta Management~ DPC Meeting~ Water Conveyance~ ISB Meeting~ DSC Meeting~ Vulnerability Assessment ~~

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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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