DAILY DIGEST, 2/17: Tentative order released for Poseidon water project; Labor, water dominate CA fruit growers’ concerns; Fight over Klamath dams goes to FERC; How an atlas of SF Bay is helping deal with sea level rise; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The California Water Commission meets at 9:30am.  Agenda items include the Commission’s 2021 work plan, a briefing on the Conveyance Workshop Report, and a panel discussion on financing mechanisms and challenges.  Click here for the full agenda and webcast information.
  • WEBINAR: Ecological Drought: Planning for Resilience from 10am to 11:15am.  This webinar is the second in a four-part series that seeks to raise awareness of ecological drought, share actions that strengthen ecosystems resilience and mitigate the impacts of droughts, and discuss research and management needs for future drought planning and preparedness. The series is co-hosted by NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System and the USGS National Climate Adaptation and Science Center, with expert speakers from the research community, tribal nations, and government agencies.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operation: National Applications and Transferability from 10am to 11am. Fourth in a series of Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) webinars, this webinar will focus on taking the lessons learned by applying FIRO at the initial pilot reservoir, Lake Mendocino, and transferring them to other locations. The process and rationale used to select other pilots will be shared along with the current status and findings to date. FIRO transferability lessons will inform the development of a Screening Level Assessment Tool to allow the quantification of the myriad requirements for FIRO success, and allow portfolios of reservoirs to be categorized by suitability for implementation.  Click here for more information and to register.
  • WEBINAR: Communicating about Potable Reuse and Public Health: Tools for Success from 11am to 12pm. Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) is a framework that evaluates the many factors impacting water reuse practices and management, as well as those influencing community perception. With the emergence of new pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, the acceptance of water recycling as part of a community’s drinking water sustainability plan may be even more challenging. This webcast will describe how QMRA may be used to communicate with stakeholders – including healthcare providers – the human health safeguards associated with water reuse implementation.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: California’s Regulatory Investigations of Microplastics in Drinking Water from 12pm to 1pm.  This presentation will provide an overview of the world’s first regulatory investigation of microplastics in drinking water, including the definition of microplastics, known human health effects, method standardization efforts, and upcoming plans and actions regarding microplastics in drinking water.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Design of Yorba Linda Water District’s New 19 MGD PFAS Treatment Plant from 12:30 to 1:00pm. Hosted by OCWA.  Sponsored by Tetra Tech, Carollo Engineers, and Richard Slade & Associates.  Click here to register.
  • DWR Water Wednesdays: Healthy Watersheds from 1:00 to 1:30pm.  Watersheds can be huge, even cut across county or state lines; so how do we protect them? Join Senior Environmental Scientist, Cassandra Evenson, as she discusses some of the laws that guide us and how DWR collaborates with other agencies to keep our watersheds healthy.  Watch on YouTube or register to watch on Zoom and ask Cassandra your questions.
  • GRA BRANCH MEETING, SoCal: Overview of Long Beach Water Department’s Collection, Distribution, and Recycle Water Systems from 5pm to 6:30pm.  The presentation will be a general overview of the Long Beach Water Department’s collection, distribution and recycled water systems. The presentation will also cover some of the challenges the Department faces to achieve groundwater pumping targets and other Department objectives.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Egret at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Photo by CDFW/Kirsten Macintyre

Tentative order released for controversial Poseidon water project

The Santa Ana Regional Water Board released a tentative order Friday detailing proposed revisions to Poseidon Water’s controversial proposed $1.4-billion water desalination project in Huntington Beach.  The board’s tentative order would make Poseidon responsible for five mitigation projects, including four projects within the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and the restoration of a 41.5-acre rocky reef offshore of Palos Verdes. The four proposed wetlands projects include the long-term preservation of the wetland’s ocean inlet, restoration of the wetland’s intertidal shelf, restoration of the wetland’s muted tidal basin and creation of the muted tidal basin water circulating system. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Tentative order released for controversial Poseidon water project

Labor and water dominate California fruit growers’ concerns

Growers all over the U.S. are concerned about labor, and those in the Golden State are no exception. The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) announced the results of their “Top Issues Survey” for 2021, and labor- and water-related issues were prominently featured. CFFA members were recently surveyed to rank the top issues for the association to focus its efforts on this year.  President Ian LeMay says the CFFA membership has provided staff a strong assessment of the issues that the industry will grapple with in 2021.  “As we saw in 2020, the California fresh fruit industry continues to be impacted by increasing regulatory requirements, labor and wage cost increases, and water availability all while continuing to provide the nation and world with quality fresh produce,” LeMay says. … ”  Read more from Growing Produce here: Labor and water dominate California fruit growers’ concerns

Water in the West under the new Administration

How will family farmers fare under the new Biden administration? Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen says in the early days of the Biden presidency, he does see opportunities to advance the priorities of farmers in the west.  Keppen… “You know, every administration has different policies. Our issues and challenges are going to be the same. … ”  Read more from Ag Info here: Water in the West under the new Administration

Drought restrictions had side benefit: Lowering risk of mosquito-borne disease

Shallow pools of water on lawns are ideal breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus, the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States.  A new study by scientists from UCLA and three other universities found that reducing shallow pools of water where the insects lay their eggs is key to preventing the spread of the virus.  The study, funded by a grant from the UC Office of the President and published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, found that California’s water-use restrictions during the statewide drought from 2012 to 2016 led to a decrease in the number of mosquitoes that carry the virus. … ”  Read more from UCLA News here: Drought restrictions had side benefit: Lowering risk of mosquito-borne disease

The path to healthy headwater forests

The worst wildfire year in California history has prompted new interest in and increased efforts to better manage Sierra forests to improve their resilience to fire, drought, and pests. “It is both a daunting and remarkable time to be engaged in headwater forest management issues,” noted PPIC researcher Henry McCann at a virtual event last week.  McCann summarized PPIC’s new analysis of recent forest stewardship practices on public and private lands in the headwaters region, which shows that the amount of land treated is below what experts say is needed to keep forests healthy. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC here: The path to healthy headwater forests

Wildfire smoke could be the main way Californians experience climate change

The rising threat from wildfire smoke was on full display last fall, when dense plumes from several fires burning across Northern California blocked out the sun, shrouding the Bay Area in orange-tinged darkness.  That smokestorm in August and September polluted Bay Area air for a record 30 straight days, at the apex of a fire season that saw more than 5 million acres burned up across the state.  Wildfire smoke now accounts for half of the fine-particle pollution that wafts across the West, according to a recent study led by Marshall Burke, an Earth scientist with Stanford University. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Wildfire smoke could be the main way Californians experience climate change

Forest thinning to reduce wildfire risk gives opportunity to new startups

As the risk of wildfire grows, scientists say the U.S. needs to aggressively thin out overgrown forests. That’s expensive and it can create massive piles of worthless brush and branches. Sam Brasch of Colorado Public Radio reports some businesses see a new market. … ”  Read transcript/Listen to radio show from Valley Public Radio here: Forest thinning to reduce wildfire risk gives opportunity to new startups

California to review carbon trading program as part of climate roadmap

Newsom administration officials said today that they will evaluate the role of California’s landmark cap and trade program as the state examines its strategies for tackling climate change over the next decade.  At an oversight hearing today, Jared Blumenfeld, secretary for environmental protection, and Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph said the carbon trading program will be a key part of the conversation as California updates its climate roadmap, called a scoping plan, over the next two years. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  California to review carbon trading program as part of climate roadmap

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Klamath Tribes file 60-day notice to sue Reclamation for ESA violations

On February 12, 2021, the Klamath Tribes filed a 60-day Notice of Intent to file suit against the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) for violation of Sections 7 and 9 of the Endangered Species Act.  The notice is required before bringing suit, should the BOR fail to meet the legal requirements of the 2020 US Fish & Wildlife Service Biological Opinion that identified baseline Upper Klamath Lake elevation levels necessary to provide bare minimum protection for our endangered C’waam and Koptu. … ”  Continue reading at Klamath Falls News here: Klamath Tribes file 60-day notice to sue Reclamation for ESA violations

Freshwater mussels: the Klamath basin’s shelled little heroes

The Klamath River is home to many aquatic and amphibious animals that make up an intricate, interdependent ecological community. Various salmon and trout species, green sturgeon, and river otters are some of the more recognizable critters that inhabit the Klamath. But it’s some of the lesser-known characters that are just as crucial for the Klamath River’s biodiverse ecosystems. In today’s post, we’re highlighting one of the Basin’s little shelled heroes: The freshwater mussels. The Klamath River and its tributaries are home to several species of freshwater mussel. While often overlooked, these animals play a critical role in maintaining a healthy river ecosystem and have historically been an abundant, dependable source of sustenance for human and animal populations alike. … ”  Read more from Reconnect Klamath here:  Freshwater mussels: the Klamath basin’s shelled little heroes

Fight over Klamath River dam removal project goes to federal regulators

A renewed push to remove a series of hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River is now in the hands of federal regulators, but some local lawmakers are lobbying in opposition to the project.  The proposal to remove four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River has been years in the making, with stakeholders represented by the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) arguing that it would help native fish populations to rebound. … ”  Read more from Channel 12 here: Fight over Klamath River dam removal project goes to federal regulators

Klamath Dam update: restoration contract signed

Last month in an announcement on Business Wire, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) and Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) announced they have signed a contract for RES to provide restoration services in connection with the removal of four dams on the Klamath River. The agreement between RES and KRRC finalizes habitat restoration, maintenance, and liability transfer responsibilities for a fixed price, opening the door to a successful restoration of native vegetation and anadromous fish habitat along the historical, pre-dam path of the Klamath River. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout here:  Klamath Dam update: restoration contract signed

Working to safeguard Hamilton City

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District recently reached two important milestones for the small town of Hamilton City, California, a small agricultural community located about 100 miles north of Sacramento. Home to just under 2,000 people, the history of Hamilton City includes many flooding events and several near misses. The city and surrounding area were inundated in 1974, and its residents have been evacuated several times throughout the years during periods of extensive flood fighting including 1983, 1986, 1995, 1997, and 1998.  One of the primary reasons for this susceptibility to flooding has been the town’s reliance on a substandard and undersized levee called the “J levee” – a levee that does not meet any USACE engineering standards. And with the Sacramento River pressing relentlessly against the town’s Eastern boundary, winter storms can wreak havoc on the tiny embankment. … ”  Read more from the Army Corps of Engineers here:  Working to safeguard Hamilton City

Wildfire resiliency grant to fund improvements at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park

Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association is among 15 state parks and park partners receiving grants to help restore fragile habitats, rebuild parks and create a climate-resilient state park system.     The California State Parks Foundation is awarding $135,000 in grants from its new Wildfire Resiliency and Prevention Fund to help 15 parks – 10 of which are in the Northern California region – recover from devastating wildfires.  The Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association, or AMIA, will receive $9,026, with the grant term running for a year, beginning March 1, the foundation reported. … ”  Read more from Lake County News here: Wildfire resiliency grant to fund improvements at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park

How an atlas of San Francisco Bay is helping deal with sea level rise

Recent flooding along one of America’s great estuaries—the San Francisco Bay—is prompting local groups to take action against further climate risk.  The San Francisco Bay Trail provides more than 350 miles of walking and cycling path through the 47 cities and nine counties that ring the San Francisco Bay, and acts as a popular viewing platform for tide cycles and abundant wildlife. Because it sits at the wetland-urban interface, the trail is extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise. … To understand the Bay Trail’s vulnerability and determine ways to mitigate flood damage, planners with the East Bay Regional Park District are using SFEI’s San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas, created by Beagle and her colleagues. ... ”  Read more from ESRI here: How an atlas of San Francisco Bay is helping deal with sea level rise

Herring fishermen sue Chevron over California oil leak

A pipeline rupture that gushed hundreds of gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay spurred a class action filed Tuesday that accuses a Chevron refinery of prioritizing profits over safety and threatening the survival of herring in the area for years to come.  “We have been working for years to preserve and protect the herring that spawn in the Bay,” said plaintiff John Mellor, a longtime fisherman and vice president of the San Francisco Herring Association. “You dedicate your life and career to something like that, and then an oil company that sits on the water goes and reverses your work to save a buck. It’s more than a little frustrating.” ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Herring fishermen sue Chevron over California oil leak

Lompoc City Council votes to pursue second large-scale riverbed cleanup

More than two years after the city of Lompoc made sweeping efforts — to the tune of $500,000 — to clean up approximately 750 acres of the Santa Ynez riverbed overrun by homeless encampments and littered with garbage, Lompoc officials are pursuing a second large-scale cleanup.  …  Osborne said protecting the city’s quality of drinking water is of paramount importance.  “This is not about solving a homeless issue, it’s about dealing with the quality of water and the water impacts and the responsibility we have as council to protect that water resource,” said Obsorne, noting that fines from the EPA and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are imminent without massive action. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here: Lompoc City Council votes to pursue second large-scale riverbed cleanup

Santa Clarita Valley Water hosts meeting on Saugus aquifer

As the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency works to remove hazardous substances from the Saugus Formation Aquifer, the agency hosted a virtual public meeting to inform residents of the process and gather community input Thursday.  The aquifer is the deepest of the SCV’s underground groundwater reservoirs that lies in the upper Santa Clara River watershed, near Magic Mountain Parkway, according to Steve Cole, assistant general manager at SCV Water. … ”  Read more from The Signal here: Santa Clarita Valley Water hosts meeting on Saugus aquifer

Commentary: Ferdman perpetuates water myths

Dan Masnada, former General Manager of Castaic Lake Water Agency, a predecessor to SCV Water, writes: “When I read Alan Ferdman’s commentary entitled “Drought Potential? Here We Go Again” (Feb. 12), I was reminded that no good deed goes unpunished.  The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency is preparing its five-year update of the SCV Urban Water Management Plan and “Always Advocating” Alan chooses to criticize the agency simply because it is complying with state law in preparing an accompanying Water Shortage Contingency Plan. He makes a number of gross assumptions and incorrect assertions, which, had he read the current version of the UWMP, would have resulted in a much different narrative or, more than likely, rendered the necessity of his commentary moot. ... ”  Read more from The Signal here: Commentary: Ferdman perpetuates water myths

Palmdale Water District to host informative meeting on fire

A local water utility company is set to share information about how the Littlerock Creek watershed was adversely affected by the Bobcat fire. Palmdale Water District will host a free, virtual event at 3 p.m. on Feb. 24 and provide information to the public about what steps are being taken to mitigate the damage.  Much of the watershed has been burned and there is concern that potential heavy debris flow will create excessive sediment in the Littlerock Reservoir and affect water quality. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley-Press here: Palmdale Water District to host informative meeting on fire

San Diego County Water Authority didn’t always take Pure Water project seriously, emails show

In its 25-year plan ensuring the San Diego region has enough water to go around, the county’s largest water provider didn’t appear to take the region’s biggest water recycling project to date very seriously, at least at first.  Emails between the San Diego County Water Authority staff and city of San Diego officials show the city had to argue for the second and biggest phase of its Pure Water program to be considered a realistic future source of drinking water. That surprised San Diego, which is the Water Authority’s biggest customer and is legally required to construct its wastewater recycling project. ... ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  San Diego County Water Authority didn’t always take Pure Water project seriously, emails show

San Diego aims for resilience to face climate crisis

The city of San Diego has its own Climate Action Plan for reducing greenhouse gasses which foster global warming. But, as we face debilitating temperatures, bigger wildfires, sea-level rise, flooding and persistent drought, it has become as obvious as a burned hillside that we need more armor in this fight. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: San Diego aims for resilience to face climate crisis

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Along the Colorado River …

Why Utah lawmakers are worried about having enough water in the future

Utah lawmakers say drought and the dwindling Colorado River make it more important than ever for the state to act now to safeguard its interest in the river.  A bill to set up the Colorado River Authority of Utah passed the House 61-12 Tuesday and will be taken up by a Senate committee for further consideration.  Sponsored by House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, HB297 sets up the authority made up of representatives from major water districts in the state, as well as the Colorado River commissioner representing Utah. ... ”  Read more from Deseret News here: Why Utah lawmakers are worried about having enough water in the future

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In national water news today …

‘America, send us your ideas’: Biden pledges to protect 30% of US lands by 2030

It was an executive order that made waves in environmental circles: after only a week in office, President Joe Biden pledged to preserve 30% of US lands and waters by 2030.  The so-called 30 by 30 conservation goal has already met with bipartisan support in Congress, and it aligns with science-based global preservation targets to reach an eventual target of 50% by 2050.  So which US areas might be at the top of the list? Environmentalists have a few ideas. … ”  Read more from the Guardian here:  ‘America, send us your ideas’: Biden pledges to protect 30% of US lands by 2030

PFAS water utility lawsuit shows an increasing trend

In the latest PFAS water utility lawsuit (PAWC Complaint – PFAS), the Pennsylvania-American Water Co. (“PAWC”) sued numerous PFAS manufacturers over allegations that the companies knowingly or negligently allowed the contamination of the drinking water in the state of Pennsylvania. … The Pennsylvania lawsuit is not the first lawsuit brought by a water district seeking to recoup the costs of cleanup and decontamination of PFAS. For example, on October 27, 2020, another California water district (the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency) brought a similar, albeit much less extensive, lawsuit for PFAS cleanup costs. Shortly thereafter, in December 2020, eleven water districts in Orange County, California filed a lawsuit for PFAS remediation costs from drinking water and publicly estimated the damages to be over $1 billion. … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here: PFAS water utility lawsuit shows an increasing trend

Sea level data confirms climate modeling projections were right

Climate model projections of sea-level rises in the early 21st century are in good agreement with sea level data recorded in the corresponding period, a recent analysis has found.  And the scientists who crunched the numbers say the finding does not bode well for sea level impacts over coming decades if greenhouse gas emissions are not reined in. … ”  Continue reading at YubaNet here:  Sea level data confirms climate modeling projections were right

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Today’s featured articles …

What is Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM)?

Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an initiative led by the Department of Water Resources that seeks to support collaborative efforts among agencies, NGOs, Tribes, and stakeholders within a region that identify and implement water management solutions to increase regional self-reliance, reduce conflict, and manage water to achieve multiple objectives. Integrated Regional Water Management has the potential to deliver higher value for investments by considering all interests, providing multiple benefits, and working across jurisdictional boundaries.

But what exactly is Integrated Regional Water Management (or IRWM)?  In September of 2020, a webinar hosted by the IRWM Roundtable of Regions and the Local Government Commission covered the basics of the program, how it works, the benefits, the implementation, and success stories from regions across the state.

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Lake Mendocino~ Water Data~ NASA Article~ Headwaters Study~ Water Replenishment~ WateReuse Symposium~ Forest Stewardship ~~

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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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