DAILY DIGEST, 3/17: Lessons learned from the 2012 – 2016 drought; Rising seas, worsening wildfires endanger CA parks; North Bay cities grapple with sea level rise; Dems weigh assault on Trump rules, but time is short; and more …
PUBLIC WORKSHOP: 2020 Safe Drinking Water Plan at 9:30am. This workshop will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to learn about,and contribute to,the State Water Board’s 2020 Safe Drinking Water Plan. The State Water Board will provide an overview of the document,highlight progress made since the 2015 Safe Drinking Water Plan,and describe the goals in the 2020 Safe Drinking Water Plan. Click here for the agenda and meeting notice.
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.
FREE WEBINAR: Ecological Drought: Impacts on Coastal Ecosystems from 12pm to 1pm. This webinar will share recent research on drought impacts to coastal ecosystems and services. Click here to register.
WEBINAR: The Role of Asset Management in Support of OC Sanitation’s Mission from 12:30pm to 1:00pm. Eros Yong, Engineering Manager for OC San’s Planning Division, will provide an in-depth look at the District’s ongoing efforts for asset management. She will show us the approach the District took to develop the program, share details on the process, and give valuable insight on how it is used on a daily basis. Click here to register.
Report: Lessons learned from the 2012 – 2016 drought
“California’s drought between Water Years 2012 and 2016 was one of the most severe in state history. A string of five dry winters left some rural communities without water, interrupted surface water deliveries to some farmers in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys for two consecutive years, disrupted thousands of farming jobs, pushed some fish populations toward extinction, and created conditions that fueled some of the most catastrophic wildfires in state history. The State response included actions not taken since the short but intense drought of 1976–1977. For example, water right administrators curtailed thousands of diversions on the mainstem Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers in order to protect fish and wildlife and senior water right holders. … ” Continue reading from the Department of Food and Ag here: Lessons learned from the 2012 – 2016 drought
Rising seas, worsening wildfires endanger California parks
“Of all the existential threats California parks face — dwindling budgets, more visitors and costly, long-deferred maintenance — now comes a climate-driven conundrum: When is a park no longer a park? When its namesake trees disappear in a barrage of lightning strikes? When its very land is washed away by ever-rising seas? The California Department of Parks and Recreation is coming to terms with this dilemma after a climate-reckoning moment last August, when more than 97% of Big Basin Redwoods, California’s oldest state park, was charred by a lightning-sparked wildfire. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Rising seas, worsening wildfires endanger California parks
Natural Resources Committee passes Atkins’ bill to protect California from sea level rise
“Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) today presented SB 1, a landmark bill to help California address the impacts of sea level rise, to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, which approved the bill in a 7-2 vote. “Climate change is acutely affecting California’s coast in subtle and damaging ways through sea level rise. With experts predicting that our state could experience a half foot of sea level rise in the next decade and up to seven feet by the end of the century, the changes could inundate low-lying coastal areas, cause adverse impacts on inland areas, and wreak havoc on our communities and economy,” Pro Tem Atkins said. … ” Read more from Senator Toni Atkins here: Natural Resources Committee passes Atkins’ bill to protect California from sea level rise
Monterey area will open to salmon fishing April 3 – rest of coast will remain closed
“The recreational salmon fishery in the Monterey Management Area will open on April 3, but the season has been curtailed on the rest of the California coast, due to poor stock assessments of Sacramento River and Klamath River fall-run Chinook salmon. The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the federal management body that oversees salmon and other ocean fisheries, adopted three alternatives for 2020 ocean salmon fisheries off Washington, Oregon and California for public review. The Council will make a final decision on salmon seasons at its meeting in Vancouver, Washington, on April 5-10. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: Monterey area will open to salmon fishing April 3 – rest of coast will remain closed
California salmon season delayed and shortened, angering North Bay fishermen
“San Francisco Bay Area grocery stores and fish markets aren’t expected to be stocked with salmon this year, as fishery officials chose to delay the start of the season last week and restrict the time fishermen have on the water. What’s the reason? It appears adult king salmon numbers from the Sacramento River fall run are projected by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council to be much smaller than last year’s. The state wants to protect more of the salmon navigating the rivers to spawn by shortening the season that they can be caught in the Pacific Ocean. … ” Read more from the North Bay Business Journal here: California salmon season delayed and shortened, angering North Bay fishermen
Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects
“At its Feb. 25, 2021 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $33.97 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 39 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some endangered species — while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community. … ” Read more from the Department of Fish & Wildlife here: Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects
Wildlife officers shut down illegal cannabis operation on CDFW property
“Wildlife officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) conducted a raid of a clandestine cannabis grow on the North Grasslands Wildlife Area, Gadwall Unit in Los Banos. The property is home to dozens of species of nesting waterfowl, migratory birds, rabbits, pheasants, birds of prey, small rodents and native plants. Over 1,500 hunters and outdoor enthusiasts visit the property annually. Nestled in the closed zone of the property, the growers constructed five hoop houses made from PVC pipe and wood that was covered with plastic tarps. The hoop houses were filled with 185 immature cannabis plants and the site had been prepared to plant several thousand more. … ” Read more from the Department of Fish & Wildlife here: Wildlife officers shut down illegal cannabis operation on CDFW property
Commentary: Dry year intensifies focus on California groundwater
Danny Merkley, director of water resources for the California Farm Bureau writes, “Each March, those of us involved in water policy commemorate National Groundwater Awareness Week. Because groundwater represents such a precious resource to California farmers and ranchers, Farm Bureau works to promote groundwater awareness throughout the year. In 2014, the state Legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, the most sweeping water management legislation in 100 years. Since then, the California Farm Bureau has been assisting members with understanding, engaging and complying with SGMA. Groundwater aquifers are best understood and managed locally; therefore, the key to successfully implementing SGMA lies in maintaining local control, something Farm Bureau vigorously advocates. In addition, we have stressed that to reduce dependence on groundwater, we must expand surface water storage and recharge our groundwater aquifers when excess water is available. … ” Read more from the California Farm Bureau Federation here: Commentary: Dry year intensifies focus on California groundwater
Reclamation spring management plan must do more to protect Klamath Tribes’ critical treaty resources
“In this historically bad water year, protecting the C’waam (Lost River sucker) and Koptu (shortnose sucker) must be the first priority. That is the key message the Klamath Tribes delivered to the Bureau of Reclamation today [3/15/21] in comments on Reclamation’s initial draft management framework for Klamath Project operations this spring. These two critically endangered tribal treaty resources are on the verge of extinction, and Reclamation’s draft framework is insufficiently protective of their needs during the vital spring spawning season. … ” Read more from Klamath Falls News here: Reclamation spring management plan must do more to protect Klamath Tribes’ critical treaty resources
California Geological Survey issues new tsunami maps for North Coast
“On the 10-year remembrance of a tsunami that devastated Japan and damaged many California ports and harbors, the California Geological Survey (CGS) today released two new maps created to ensure public safety on the North Coast. These Tsunami Hazard Area maps, which cover Del Norte and Mendocino counties, serve two purposes. First, using new data and improved computer modeling, they update 2009 inundation maps showing how far inland a surge of seawater might go in a worst-case scenario. Second, the maps include a small buffer beyond the modeled inundation area that enhances the model results and can help local officials create or update evacuation plans. … ” Read more from Willits News here: California Geological Survey issues new tsunami maps for North Coast
Salvage experts mull plan for wrecked fishing boat on Marin coast, with cost a key concern
“Marine salvage experts are honing in on possible solutions for removal of a damaged fishing vessel stranded on the rocky shoreline off the northern Marin County coast for the past week. A leading possibility involves patching holes in the hull of the 90-foot boat and pumping it full of impermeable lightweight foam — both to make the vessel more buoyant and prevent water from infiltrating the main body before dragging it from the rocks with tugboats, according to Christian Lind of Petaluma-based Lind Marine Inc. But funding for the mission, whatever approach should win approval, remains in question … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Salvage experts mull plan for wrecked fishing boat on Marin coast, with cost a key concern
The coming tide: North Bay cities grapple with sea level rise
” … In the 1870s, tidelands in Marin County were auctioned off to developers. Over the course of more than a century, many of those plots were filled in to create space for new city infrastructure and other developments. This scenario was not uncommon in the Bay Area. According to Baykeeper, a nonprofit focused on protecting the San Francisco Bay from pollution, 90 percent of all Bay Area wetlands have been “lost or seriously degraded” after being dyked and used for developments. However, due to rising oceans, the dykeing of wetlands now seriously threatens many wild and urban spaces across the region. … ” Read more from the Pacific Sun here: The coming tide: North Bay cities grapple with sea level rise
Report: San Francisco homeless struggle to access enough water for survival
“San Francisco’s homeless residents struggle to access enough water to live and stay healthy, according to a grim report released Tuesday by the nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness. The Coalition surveyed 73 homeless residents, and found that 61 percent of them do not have access to 15 liters of water a day, which is UNICEF’s disaster response standard for people to meet a minimum survival level. ... ” Read more from CBS San Francisco here: Report: San Francisco homeless struggle to access enough water for survival
Drought: Santa Clara Valley Water District asks public to step up water conservation
“In the latest sign that California is entering a new drought, Silicon Valley’s largest water provider on Tuesday asked the public to step up water conservation efforts. “We have no idea how long it will last or how bad it might get,” said Tony Estremera, chairman of the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. “Clearly we can’t just sit back and wait for more rain.” The district, a government agency based in San Jose that serves 2 million people, stopped short of announcing immediate mandatory water restrictions, like asking cities and private water companies who buy its water to implement odd-even lawn watering days for their customers, or to impose rates that set a penalty for residential water use above a certain level. … ” Read more from the East Bay Times here: Drought: Santa Clara Valley Water District asks public to step up water conservation
Work underway at highway washout on Big Sur coast in California
“It was a dramatic event: the loss of a 150 ft section of the iconic Highway 1 along the Big Sur coast in California on Jan. 28. “A debris flow from the hillside above Rat Creek on Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast overwhelmed a drainage culvert, flowed across the highway, and eroded the road, resulting in the complete loss of a segment of Highway 1,” according to a news release from Caltrans, the state’s department of transportation. Two days before the event, a 44.6 mi section of the highway was closed and an evacuation order had been issued to residents in the Rat Creek area. … ” Read more from Civil Engineering Source here: Work underway at highway washout on Big Sur coast in California
Will off-roading end at Oceano Dunes? Coastal Commission to consider fate of controversial park
“There is little common ground in a decades-long battle over off-road recreation, economic freedom and the fate of California’s dwindling coastal resources. While the matter is likely to end up in court, the California Coastal Commission is scheduled Thursday to finally decide whether off-road riding will continue to be permitted at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area — the only state park where vehicles can be driven along the beach. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: Will off-roading end at Oceano Dunes? Coastal Commission to consider fate of controversial park
Lathrop closer to being able to discharge treated water into San Joaquin River
“The City of Lathrop’s longstanding goal of discharging highly-treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River could clear a major hurdle tonight. When the Lathrop Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. tonight they will consider a resolution that would affirm that the city’s surface water discharge capital improvement project is in line with the city’s existing general plan. While it’s a relatively mundane agenda item – the city is required to do this with all capital improvement projects and the discharge proposal was only in its infancy when the last round of approvals was made – it denotes the progress of the proposal that Lathrop has long wanted to see come to fruition. … ” Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Lathrop closer to being able to discharge treated water into San Joaquin River
LADWP Proposes; the Superior Court disposes: Mono County wins legal fight to stop de-watering of Long Valley
“Mono County won their court case against a plan by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to remove irrigation water from the Long Valley from Crowley Lake to Bishop. On Monday, March 8, the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda, issued an order requiring the DWP to continue to “provide water for wildlife, habitat, and scenic, recreational and economic resources in the Long Valley and Little Round Valley regions of Mono County,” according to a news release from the Mono County Counsel’s office. ... ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here: LADWP Proposes; the Superior Court disposes: Mono County wins legal fight to stop de-watering of Long Valley
Bakersfield: Students find saving water “elementary”
“When a region’s groundwater is critically depleted and its dirt as hard as a frying pan, how do you refill the aquifer? Ask a fifth grader. Actually, ask the fifth and sixth grade combination class at Bakersfield’s Munsey Elementary School taught by Barbara Elrod. Elrod’s students discovered a pretty cool way to both conserve water and recharge aquifers through “grey water.” … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Bakersfield: Students find saving water “elementary”
Scrapped Vegas pipeline plan looms amid swamp cedar debate
“The shadow of a controversial plan to pipe groundwater from rural Nevada to Las Vegas looms as state lawmakers weigh two proposals to protect groves of swamp cedar trees considered sacred on Monday. Until last year when the Southern Nevada Water Authority decided to “indefinitely defer” its pursuit of permits, the trees were caught in the crossfire of fights over development and conservation. Opponents for decades argued that the Las Vegas water agency’s proposed pipeline would endanger the swamp cedars by siphoning away their water supply. ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Scrapped Vegas pipeline plan looms amid swamp cedar debate
Geomorphologists map fine sediment in Colorado River to improve sandbar management
“Grain by grain, sandbars are ecologically important to the Colorado River system for humans and wildlife, say scientists. How sand, silt and clay move along and become deposited within the river corridor in the Grand Canyon National Park, downstream from Glen Canyon Dam, has become an important question to a number of government agencies as well as to Native American tribes. The answer impacts the entire Colorado River ecosystem and will help scientists better understand how the Colorado River system works. … ” Read more from EurekAlert here: Geomorphologists map fine sediment in Colorado River to improve sandbar management
“Scientists are investigating an unconventional way to combat climate-driven drought in the western U.S.: spraying clouds with special particles to make them dump more snow. It’s a strategy known as “cloud seeding.” And although controlling the weather sounds as if it belongs in the distant future, it’s actually been around for decades. At least eight states and dozens of countries use it to try to boost precipitation. Interest in cloud seeding is growing as the planet warms — not just among water managers, but scientists as well. Rising temperatures are a growing threat to water resources across much of the western U.S. … ” Read more from E&E News here: Why cloud seeding won’t reverse climate droughts
New EPA Administrator Michael Regan confirmed by Senate
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is officially under new leadership. Michael Regan has been confirmed by the Senate as the 15th EPA Administrator through a vote of 66-34. Regan received significant support from the agricultural industry throughout the confirmation process. Ag groups had expressed enthusiasm for working with Regan in finding practical solutions to environmental issues. ... ” Read more from Ag Net West here: New EPA Administrator Michael Regan confirmed by Senate
Dems weigh assault on Trump rules, but time is short
“Democrats said yesterday they are still considering using the Congressional Review Act to quickly kill Trump environmental rollbacks. “We’re evaluating which are the most constructive to look at,” Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz told E&E News yesterday. Some progressive and green groups have been urging Democrats to use the CRA to ax certain Trump actions before the clock runs out. Under the law, Congress and the White House can quickly repeal a regulation finalized within 60 legislative days, or roughly six months. … ” Read more from E&E News here: Dems weigh assault on Trump rules, but time is short
NCWA ANNUAL MEETING: Secretary Crowfoot and Cal EPA’s Kristin Peer discuss ‘Ridgetop to River Mouth Water Management’
The Northern California Water Association Annual Meeting was held on March 5, 2021. The theme was ‘Ridgetop to River Mouth Water Management.’ For the opening session, Thad Bettner facilitated a discussion between Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and Deputy Secretary and Special Counsel for Water Policy at Cal EPA Kristin Peer, who works closely with Secretary Blumenfeld and the State Water Board and the Regional Water boards on all things water. Their discussion began with watershed management, then the voluntary agreements, and concluded with the Newsom Administration’s big vision.
A week doesn’t go by without someone saying there are water wars underway or about to kick off in California. How we manage and govern water is critically important to people, the environment, and the economy. But, are we really at war? Really? Do we believe there are always victors and vanquished? What is the impact of telling ourselves and others this is warfare, when in reality it is simply the messiness of working together in community? So, we’ve gathered a panel to answer the question: Water wars, what are they good for?
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.