The Los Angeles Aqueduct intake in the Owen's Valley.

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Santa Barbara County debates selling state water outside the county; Toxic water in East Orosi; EPA abandons plan to appeal to salt pond ruling; Delta National Heritage Area expands; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

Water security vs. water marketing: Should state water supplies be sold outside the county?

Bradbury Dam, Lake Cachuma. Photo by Damian Gadal

It’s not long ago that Lake Cachuma, the main water source on the South Coast, was in danger of going dry in a seven-year drought.  Water agencies from Carpinteria to Goleta spent millions of dollars scrambling to buy surplus state aqueduct water from around the state to avert a local shortage. They did so not only because their groundwater levels were plunging and Cachuma was failing, but because their yearly allocations from the aqueduct had dropped to zero.  Yet on Tuesday, the water managers serving Santa Maria, Buellton, Guadalupe, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito and the Santa Ynez and Carpinteria valleys will ask the County Board of Supervisors to grant them the right to sell their state water allocations outside the county — not permanently, but potentially for years at a stretch. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: Water security vs. water marketing: Should state water supplies be sold outside the county?

East Orosi: ‘It’s a toxic blend’: where the kids are warned not to swallow the bath water

An invisible line splits the rural road of Avenue 416 in California’s Tulare county, at the point where the nut trees stretch east toward the towering Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance.  On one side of the line, residents have clean water. On the other side, they do not.  On the other side lies East Orosi, an unincorporated community of about 700 where children grow up learning to never open their eyes or mouths while they shower. They know that what comes out of their faucets may harm them, and parents warn they must not swallow when they brush their teeth.  They spend their lives sustaining themselves on bottled water while just one mile down Avenue 416, the same children they go to school with in the community of Orosi can drink from their taps freely and bathe without a second thought. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here: East Orosi: ‘It’s a toxic blend’: where the kids are warned not to swallow the bath water

EPA abandons plan to appeal ruling protecting Redwood City salt ponds from development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday abandoned its appeal of a federal judge’s ruling last year that a sprawling collection of Redwood City salt ponds is protected from development under provisions of the Clean Water Act.  The move brings to an end the federal government’s attempts — started during former President Trump’s administration — to end protections that could have led to development at the site. The site’s owner, Cargill, Inc., also appealed the ruling. In a statement on Friday, David Smith, an attorney for the company, said Cargill does not intend to withdraw that appeal. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: EPA abandons plan to appeal ruling protecting Redwood City salt ponds from development

SEE ALSOEPA Drops Challenge Of Redwood City Salt Ponds’ Protection Under Clean Water Act, from SF Gate

Congress passes Garamendi bill to expand Delta National Heritage Area into Rio Vista

Approximately 62 acres of land in Rio Vista, including the former Army Reserve Center, have been incorporated into legislation by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, to increase the boundaries of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area. This bill, known as House Resolution 1230, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday and will move on to the Senate.  The bill is an expansion of bicameral legislation by Garamendi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that was signed into law in 2019 to provide $10 million for community-based efforts to preserve the Delta’s cultural heritage as well as its historical landmarks. The law was incorporated into the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Congress passes Garamendi bill to expand National Heritage Area into Rio Vista

Drought status update for California-Nevada

Moderate-to-Exceptional drought remains across California and Nevada as the region’s wettest months come to a close. Notably, conditions deteriorated in central Nevada over the past few weeks. The storms through February have not significantly improved drought conditions throughout much of the region. Precipitation totals and snowpack remain below normal.  Dry conditions are expected to close out February throughout the region with similar dry seasonal (monthly through spring) forecasts.  Preparation for continued drought impacts (e.g., pasture conditions, water supply, fire risk) should be considered, especially in the driest areas. ... ”  Read more from NIDIS here: Drought status update for California-Nevada

House approves bill to create 1.5 million acres of new wilderness in California, other states

The House passed legislation Friday that would create about 1.5 million acres of new wilderness and incorporate nearly 1,200 miles of waterways into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System as Democrats move to protect more public lands — with President Joe Biden’s blessing.  The bill passed by a vote of 227-200. The bill passed mostly along party lines, with eight Republicans joining all but one Democratic lawmaker in voting for the bill. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: House approves bill to create 1.5 million acres of new wilderness in California, other states

Fact check: Is the French Laundry lobbyist swaying Newsom’s stance on a proposed water plant?

Claim: An ad running in Sacramento media funded by an environmental group starts with a provocative question about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s now infamous attendance at a party held at a swanky restaurant.  “Just what was Gavin Newsom discussing at the French Laundry?” the ad asks.  The ad doesn’t answer the question directly, but suggests the Democratic governor might have discussed a proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant with his lobbyist friend Jason Kinney, who hosted the event. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Fact check: Is the French Laundry lobbyist swaying Newsom’s stance on a proposed water plant?

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In people news this weekend …

PROFILES

New Lead Scientist primed for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s challenges after a lifetime surrounded by water

It’s perhaps no surprise new Delta Lead Scientist Laurel Larsen finds herself in the thick of untangling the many mysteries surrounding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem. After all, Larsen grew up in Florida, where the deep, marshy backwaters of the Everglades are reminiscent of the large tidal estuary that is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The background stirred her interest early. In an interview with Western Water’s Gary Pitzer, Larsen discussed her goals for the Delta Science Program, the need to think creatively in addressing the Delta’s future challenges and how she hopes to mobilize a more nimble science program to respond to rapidly changing conditions in the Delta.”  Read the article from Western Water here: New Lead Scientist primed for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s challenges after a lifetime surrounded by water

Michael Preston: Helping sacred water heal people, land, spirits and salmon

In 2018, when Michael Preston met filmmaker Natasha Giraudie at a conference in Point Reyes National Park, she asked him to reveal one word from his ancestral language that changed his life — a word he wants to share with humanity to influence their consciousness. Preston knew immediately what that word would be. “Sawalmem,” he said.  Sawalmem means sacred water. The Winnemem Wintu tribe believes that adopting the worldview of caring for sacred water can mend people’s relationship with Earth. “Sacred water exists within ourselves and that is our connection to everything else that also has water inside of it,” Preston said. “If you don’t regard water as sacred, you don’t regard yourself as sacred.” … ”  Read more at KCET here: Michael Preston: Helping sacred water heal people, land, spirits and salmon 

SEE ALSO: One Word: Sawalmem – Healing our Relationship with the Earth – Interview with Michael “Pom” Preston  Dan Bacher interviews co-directors Michael “Pom” Preston and Natasha Deganello Giraudie, posted at the Daily Kos

Celebrating Black Scientists in Fisheries & Biology

In honor of Black History Month, the Center for Watershed Sciences would like to highlight the contributions of Black scientists in our field. These prominent researchers have not only pushed the social and scientific boundaries of fisheries biology, but have also acted as dedicated mentors. We recognize that scientists of color, and women, experience discrimination and have had more strenuous journeys to succeed in their fields. Out of respect for their lived experiences, the focus of this article is to share their important work, not speak on behalf of their experiences as scientists of color. ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Celebrating Black Scientists in Fisheries & Biology

PASSINGS

A Remembrance of George Basye

Many of my best days as a lawyer were spent driving through the Sacramento Valley and north Delta with George Basye (always in his Volvo). As George neared his retirement, he wanted to ensure that I, as the successor to a number of his clients, understood the foundations of his client relationships. George seemingly knew the history of every quarter section of land up and down the Valley. He had a deep affection not only for the landscape but, most important to George, for the individuals and families who had settled and reclaimed the land and built the agricultural economy of the region. ... ”  Continue reading at the Northern California Water Association blog here:  A Remembrance of George Basye

APPOINTMENTS

Delta Stewardship Council welcomes Christy Smith as new Councilmember

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has appointed former Assemblymember Christy Smith to serve as a member of the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) effective February 10. Smith replaces former Councilmember Mike Gatto, who resigned from his role effective February 9. Smith, of Santa Clarita Valley, began her career at the U.S. Department of Education. She is a former member of the California State Legislature, having represented California’s 38th State Assembly district. During her tenure, she authored bills on wildfire protections, environmental safeguards, and more. She has worked diligently with community partners – including environmental advocates – to build relationships at both the state and local levels.Smith attended College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita and earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. The seven-member Council is composed of six members serving four-year terms (four appointed by the Governor, one by the Senate, and one by the Assembly) and an additional member who is chair of the Delta Protection Commission.

From the Office of the Governor:

Alina M. Bokde, 50, of Los Angeles, has been reappointed to the Wildlife Conservation Board

where she has served since 2018. Bokde has been Chief Deputy Director at the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation since 2020, where she served as Deputy Director for Planning and Development from 2017 to 2020.  She was Executive Director at Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust from 2010 to 2016, Deputy Executive Director at the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy from 2007 to 2009 and Project Manager at Trust for Public Land from 2001 to 2006. Bokde earned a Master of Arts degree in community and regional planning from the University of New Mexico. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Bokde is a Democrat.

Fran Pavley, 72, of Agoura Hills, has been reappointed to the Wildlife Conservation Board

where she has served since 2017. Pavley has been Environmental Policy Director at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute since 2018. She was a California State Senator from 2008 to 2016, a California State Assemblymember from 2000 to 2006 and Mayor and Councilmember of the City of Agoura Hills from 1982 to 1997. Pavley is a member of the New Energy Nexus and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy boards and an advisory member at the UCLA Law School Emmett Climate Institute. She earned a Master of Arts degree in environmental planning from California State University, Northridge. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Pavley is a Democrat.

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Podcasts …

Colorado water lawyer James Eklund and California water policy expert Ellen Hanak talk to Jay about the future of water — or rather, about water futures. Water futures and securities are increasingly valuable investments. Some may feel anxiety at letting financial markets commodify such a basic human essential, but Eklund and Hanak, whose states have unique systems of water rights, say it’s a legitimate resource management tool and way forward for landowners struggling to monetize their assets.


WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: The Value of a Levee

Steve Baker writes, “If you own a home that requires a lot more work than you have money right now, how do you fix your home? Finding the funds for levee improvements is a lot like managing your own home. You can still live in it as long as things don’t take a turn for the worse. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co

WATER WE TALKING ABOUT? PODCAST: A Tinder For Water Nerds With Peter Fiske, Executive Director Of the National Alliance for Water Innovation

Peter Fiske, Executive Director at the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) talks about building a “Tinder for water nerds” and reflects on the importance of delivering valuable content beyond the product from his time as CEO of Pax Water Technologies.

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In regional water news this weekend …

Court upholds Klamath Tribes’ water rights, irrigators plan to challenge

The Klamath County Circuit Court upheld a majority of decisions concerning the Oregon water rights of the Klamath Tribes on Wednesday, but Basin irrigators say there could be changes in how those rights are enforced down the road.  Using treaty language wherein the U.S. government promised adequate resources for hunting and fishing on the former Klamath Indian Reservation, the Tribes had successfully proven the existence of their time immemorial water rights in federal court in the 1970s and 1980s. But that litigation required their participation in the Klamath Basin Adjudication in order to quantify those rights. ... ”  Read more from the Blue Mountain Eagle here:  Court upholds Klamath Tribes’ water rights, irrigators plan to challenge

SEE ALSOCourt upholds Klamath Tribes’ water rights, irrigators plan to challenge, from the Herald & News

How soil moisture impacts water availability in the Klamath Basin

While the Klamath Basin’s snowpack is at 85% of what it would be normally this time of year, there’s already more water stored in the mountains than last year. So why are Basin hydrologists projecting another exceptionally dry summer for Upper Klamath Lake? The answer lies beneath the snowpack—in the soil.  Chris Gebauer, a soil scientist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the amount of moisture present in the Basin’s soils at the beginning of a water year has a big effect on how much of that winter’s snowpack becomes available as surface water. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: How soil moisture impacts water availability in the Klamath Basin

Skeptical about Klamath River dam removal, Harbor District, Del Norte County seek protection against potential damages

Though the nonprofit tasked with Klamath River dam removal is about to submit its definite plan to federal regulators, Del Norte County and the Crescent City Harbor District are still worried about potential negative impacts.  Harbor commissioners on Thursday agreed to sign onto a memorandum of understanding that includes the county and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. The MOU contains conditions that ensures the harbor and county can recover potential damages to the port and the fishing industry that occur as a result of dam removal and reservoir drawdown on the Klamath River. … ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here:  Skeptical about Klamath River dam removal, Harbor District, Del Norte County seek protection against potential damages

Klamath Tribes to debut new endangered species documentary in March

““Killing the Klamath,” a documentary produced by Klamath Tribes to profile the ongoing fight to save endangered fish species from extinction, will premiere on PBS on Thursday, March 18, according to a news release.  The film is a detailed examination to showcase the efforts to save indigenous sucker fish species, known by Klamath Tribes as C’waam and Koptu, which have become endangered through population declines as a result of numerous factors and explores potential solutions. … ”  Continue reading at the Herald & News here: Klamath Tribes to debut new endangered species documentary in March

Federal agency removes leaky, sunken boat from Lake Tahoe

A private contractor hired by a federal agency removed a partially sunken boat on Tuesday that may have been leaking fluid into Lake Tahoe.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contracted High Sierra Marine out of Tahoe City to raise a vessel that was first reported sunk in mid-January about 300 yards off the shore of Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe.  Repeated efforts by multiple agencies to identify and contact the owner of the vessel had been unsuccessful, EPA spokeswoman Margot Perez Sullivan said. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Federal agency removes leaky, sunken boat from Lake Tahoe

Napa County needs wet March to avoid super-dry rain season


Time is running out to keep this from being the rainy season that wasn’t. Napa County Airport as of Friday had 6.02 inches of rain since the rain year began on October 1. Though the airport bordering wetlands near San Pablo Bay is one of the county’s drier locations, that is only 40% of normal for the season-to-date.  “That is about as pitiful as you can get,” said Mike Pechner of Fairfield-based Golden West Meteorology. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Napa County needs wet March to avoid super-dry rain season

Healdsburg completes country’s largest floating solar array project

The city of Healdsburg hosted a virtual celebration with city council members on Feb. 24 to commemorate the completion of the city’s floating solar array project, which will provide 8% of the city’s electric needs.  With 11,600 solar panels, the project also has the distinction of being the largest floating solar array in the United States.  Mayor Evelyn Mitchell, Vice Mayor Ozzy Jimenez, Councilmember David Hagele and Councilmember Ariel Kelley along with Healdsburg Utility Director Terry Crowley and project developer White Pine Renewables were on the project site at the city’s Westside Road wastewater treatment facility to discuss the project. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Healdsburg completes country’s largest floating solar array project

North Marin Water District weighs Novato drought measures

The North Marin Water District is weighing the need for a voluntary or mandatory water conservation order in Novato in response to record-low rainfall.  The district has recorded just under 7 inches of rain, the lowest amount for this time of year since records began in 1916, according to Drew McIntyre, the district’s general manager. This makes up only 26% of the average rainfall the district typically sees in a year.  Absent “miracle March” downpours, McIntyre said, mandatory conservation rules could be needed. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: North Marin Water District weighs Novato drought measures

San Rafael kicks off environmental review of marsh restoration project

A project to restore marshlands and add sea-level rise protections in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood received glowing reviews from the Planning Commission this week.  Commissioners gave comments of support during a “scoping session” Tuesday to kick off the environmental review of the planned restoration and expansion of Tiscornia Marsh, a 20-acre site situated north of Pickleweed Park and the Albert J. Boro Community Center.  The session was designed to solicit comments on what might be studied in the environmental impact report, a study required by the California Environmental Quality Act. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  San Rafael kicks off environmental review of marsh restoration project

Vallejo issues bonds that will fund $51.27 million in drinking water system improvement projects

On Wednesday the City of Vallejo took a step forward to improve the drinking water pipes, pumps, treatment plants, and water meters of the drinking water system by issuing its Series 2021A Water Revenue Bonds. The bonds will fund $51.27 million in drinking water system improvement projects, according to a news release from the city.  A bond is similar to an IOU but regulated by the government. Investors “buy” bonds from cities, which, like an IOU, is a promise that the city will pay the money back with interest over a certain amount of time. … ”  Read more from the Vallejo Times-Herald here: Vallejo issues bonds that will fund $51.27 million in drinking water system improvement projects

New drilling project in Bay Area wetlands meets resistance

The Center for Biological Diversity joined with a dozen environmental and health advocacy groups today in a letter urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reject a new methane gas well that would be drilled on the shores of Suisun Bay in Northern California.  The Army Corps is deciding whether to issue a permit to fill wetland habitat to allow the new well in Solano County.  “The federal government shouldn’t even be considering new oil and gas projects when the climate emergency demands we move away from fossil fuels,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “On top of that, this project is smack in the middle of important habitat for endangered species and connects to the waters of San Francisco Bay.” ... ”  Read more from the Center for Biological Diversity here:  New drilling project in Bay Area wetlands meets resistance

A potential flood threat is hidden in the East Bay Hills — Chabot Dam

If the Lake Chabot Dam cracked open in a big earthquake, what kind of flooding should the communities below expect? A tsunami that knocks down houses? Sidewalk streams?”  Hollyann Vickers Keng posed that question to Bay Curious as she and her husband were checking out the possibility of buying a home in San Leandro. The house hunt in the East Bay town, just south of Oakland and stretching from the East Bay Hills to the shore of San Francisco Bay, included something unexpected.  “You know, we were expecting to see on the disclosure things about earthquakes,” Vickers Keng says. “But I was not expecting to see anything about a flood zone. It was totally surprising to me.” ... ”  Read more from KQED here: A potential flood threat is hidden in the East Bay Hills — Chabot Dam

Elkhorn Slough restoration project receives $1.3m grant

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) recently approved $1.3 million in funding for the final phase of the massive restoration of the Elkhorn Slough wetlands, an effort that has been in the works since 2012.  Wetlands improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and provide important habitat for many species. Migrating birds stop to feed and rest in the space between land and sea, and many fish, birds and invertebrates use it as a nursery.  But these ecosystems have become increasingly rare, says Monique Fountain, director of the Tidal Wetlands Project and lead on the slough’s restoration efforts. … ”  Read more from Good Times Santa Cruz here: Elkhorn Slough restoration project receives $1.3m grant

Barge off East Beach fixing Santa Barbara desalination plant piping

A barge off East Beach in Santa Barbara is turning heads. It’s a couple hundred yards from Stearns Wharf and been there since Monday. Santa Barbara’s Water Quality Superintendent, Gaylen Fair, said it will be there through Saturday.  The barge is repairing the city’s water desalination piping.  Fair said this is normal maintenance on the piping that usually happens every couple of years. … ”  Read more from KEYT here: Barge off East Beach fixing Santa Barbara desalination plant piping

PFAS still a concern in Pico Rivera’s water

Chemical remediation was the big subject of the Feb. 9 Pico Rivera City Council Meeting with a presentation by the Water Replenishment District concerning the PFAS levels of the city’s water.  Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA and PFOS. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. … ”  Read more from the Los Cerritos News here:  PFAS still a concern in Pico Rivera’s water 

11,000 baby abalone will be planted at a secret spot off the Southern California coast

These sea creatures are on quite the California adventure.  The baby white abalone started their lives in the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab in Northern California. This week they boarded a private plane for a trip south, where they’ll vacation in labs and aquariums, eating buffets of kelp and hanging out to grow just a bit more. … ” Continue reading at the Long Beach Press Telegram here: 11,000 baby abalone will be planted at a secret spot off the Southern California coast

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Next door in Nevada …

Can Nevada Trust Blockchains –– Let’s Speculate

Blockchains LLC wants us to trust it. The company is asking the legislature for its own governmental utopia in the Nevada desert 20 miles east of Reno – free of the rules that our state’s 17 counties currently live by. The company has the backing of the executive branch, some of the state’s most powerful lobbyists, money for campaign coffers, and a wish-list of ways to exempt itself from standards of local governance.  What Blockchains needs more than anything else, however, is water. It got into the farming business just south of Gerlach. But that’s a short-term play if the company ultimately gets what it wants. … ”  Continue reading at the Sierra Nevada Ally here: Can Nevada Trust Blockchains –– Let’s Speculate

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Along the Colorado River …

House votes to permanently block uranium mining near Grand Canyon

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to permanently outlaw new uranium mining on about 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon.  The measure has previously been debated in Congress and failed to advance in the Senate in 2019. But with the bill’s passage by the House, the legislation could have better chances with the new balance of power in the Senate and support from the Biden administration.  “There has been momentum that’s been building,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., who is among the legislation’s leading supporters. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: House votes to permanently block uranium mining near Grand Canyon

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In national water news this weekend …

Dammed, drugged & poisoned: 3 iconic Susquehanna species struggle to survive

Brian Shumaker caught his first fish when he was maybe 8 years old.  He grew up in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, two blocks away from the Susquehanna River — his family pretty much living outdoors. Both of his grandfathers fished and hunted, as did his father and all of his uncles. He remembers the first catch, hooking a feisty bluegill on a farm pond.  “I loved it,” Shumaker, now 55, said. “I got a big kick out of it.”  He was hooked, so to speak. He pretty much grew up on the river, fishing for smallmouth bass and catfish, learning as almost a reflex how to read the water and where to look for fish. “The river was my playground growing up,” he said. … ”  Read more from the York Daily Record here:  Dammed, drugged & poisoned: 3 iconic Susquehanna species struggle to survive

House debate starts on need for boosted clean water funding

Funding for U.S. water infrastructure—specifically for wastewater-treatment facilities—is gaining more attention in the House as advocates push for increased federal investment.  House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), backs major facility funding, noting at a Feb 23 hearing, “I’m going to push for a very ambitious number and then we’re going to find ways to pay for it.” ... ” Read more from Engineering News-Record here:  House debate starts on need for boosted clean water funding

This EPA mapping tool could reshape environmental justice

No one had expected the judge to rule so quickly, let alone with such a striking condemnation of the Louisiana government’s failure to recognize racial discrimination in its own inner workings.  The virtual proceedings began without fanfare: A lawyer representing a resident of Welcome, La., argued that the latest data from an EPA mapping tool should have prompted state regulators to take a deeper look at an approval for a massive petrochemical complex slated to be built in the predominantly Black community. Attorneys for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the project’s developers rebutted the claims.  Then Judge Trudy White began to speak. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: This EPA mapping tool could reshape environmental justice

Biden administration won’t defend Trump-era relaxation of bird protections

The Biden administration has formally dropped a case seeking to uphold a Trump-era memo easing penalties for companies that accidentally kill birds.  By withdrawing the prior administration’s appeal, an August decision striking down the 2017 memo will go unchallenged.  The memo in question scaled back the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which for over 100 years offered protections to 1,000 different types of birds, instigating penalties for companies whose projects or infrastructure harm them. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Biden administration won’t defend Trump-era relaxation of bird protections

The real reason why Bill Gates is now the US’ biggest farmland owner

Late last year, Eric O’Keefe was researching a mysterious recent purchase of 14,500 acres of prime Washington state farmland. His magazine, The Land Report, tracks major land transactions and produces an annual list of the 100 biggest US landowners.  Sales of more than a thousand acres are “blue-moon events,” O’Keefe noted, so this one stood out. And Eastern Washington has some of the richest, most expensive farmland in the country. But the purchaser of record was a small, obscure company in Louisiana.  “That immediately set off alarm bells,” O’Keefe says. ... ”  Read more from the New York Post here: The real reason why Bill Gates is now the US’ biggest farmland owner

Biden hikes cost of carbon, easing path for new climate rules

President Joe Biden on Friday restored an Obama-era calculation on the economic cost of greenhouse gases, a step that will make it easier for his agencies to approve aggressive actions to confront climate change.  But the administration stopped short, for now, of boosting the cost figure to higher levels that economists and climate scientists say are justified by new research.  The interim figure — $51 for every ton of carbon released into the atmosphere — is well above the $8 cost used under former President Donald Trump, who declined to factor the global impacts of climate pollution into his calculation. … ”  Read more from Politico here: Biden hikes cost of carbon, easing path for new climate rules

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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Draft Cycle 5 Proposition 1 Grant Guidelines

Catch up on last week’s news in the Weekly Digest …

WEEKLY WATER NEWS DIGEST for Feb 21 – 26: Reviewing the Water Board’s actions during the 2014-15 drought years; Climate change and water rights permitting; The right to keep water instream; Plus all the top water news of the week and more …

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Photo Credit: Bradbury Dam, Lake Cachuma by Damian Gadal

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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