DAILY DIGEST, 4/16: Three states, one river and too many straws; Costa, Feinstein introduce bill to restore Valley canals; Hurtado introduces the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021; Peter Gleick on the drought; Karuk Tribe critical of Klamath River water plan; and more …


On the calendar today …

FREE WEBINAR: Southwest Drought Briefing from 10am to 11am. The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that all of the Southwest is experiencing some level of drought, and forecasts indicate these conditions are expected to continue through spring. In this short drought briefing, Arizona State Climatologist, Nancy Selover, will provide an update of current drought conditions and forecasts for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada. Dannele Peck, from the Northern Plains Climate Hub, will then present the latest grassland productivity forecast for the southwest using the Grass-Cast tool.  Click here to register.

PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Drought Planning Tools and Methodologies from 10am to 3pm. Division staff  are evaluating approaches that will help to better evaluate water supply and demand, and are developing tools and methodologies to help the Division and the regulated community make informed decisions regarding water diversion and use. At this workshop, staff will demonstrate an online tool intended to help the public visualize and analyze water supply and demand in select Bay-Delta tributary watersheds.  In the afternoon, staff will discuss standardized measures that can be used to flag and help clean up potential errors with water use data provided by water right holders, which is used to estimate water demand.  Click here to register.

MEETING: The Delta Independent Science Board will meet from 12:30pm to 2:30pm.  Agenda includes a presentation on the initial findings from the Delta ISB Assessment by the Delta Science Program and a discussion on the scope and format of future reviews.  Click here for the complete agenda and remote access instructions.

FREE WEBINAR: Eel River: Improving forest and grassland health from 5pm to 6pm. Forest health has become the issue of our time. In the face of climate change, ERRP wants to organize basinwide forest health planning and implementation to make the Eel River basin a carbon sink.  Learn from Tim Bailey how technology can help us learn more about forests and assist us in planning. Luckily, we have traditional ecological knowledge about how Native Americans made the land more productive and kept themselves safe from catastrophic fire.  Listen to Ernie Merrifield talk about the practices of his ancestors and how we can restore Harmony.  Pat Higgins will talk about how forest health and grassland health impacts Eel River flows and fish.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Three states, one river and too many straws

As drought deepens across the West, California’s decision to limit State Water Project (SWP) deliveries to 5% forced Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to increase pumping from the Colorado River near Lake Havasu. The good news: there’s water behind Hoover Dam for them to use.  The bad news: As MWD draws on what they call “intentionally created surplus” under a previous agreement, Lake Mead will fall below the threshold for Tier 1 restrictions, leading to a curtailment of water deliveries to Arizona farmers.  It’s not MWD’s fault that California reduced its promised deliveries from the SWP. Under an agreement in the late 1960s that established the federal Central Arizona Project, Arizona agreed to a lower priority of Colorado River water.  … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Three states, one river and too many straws

Metropolitan statement on Colorado River reservoir conditions

General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger says, “The past 10 years of Colorado River runoff have been the driest in the river’s history, exacerbating a drought that spans more than two decades. Despite these conditions, we’ve been able to avoid shortages by working with our partners throughout the Lower Basin states to reduce waterdeliveries from Lake Mead. Over the last decade, our collective conservation and storage programs have added nearly 50 feet to water levels in the reservoir. Unfortunately, it appears that continued hot and dry conditions throughout the Basin mean a shortage declaration can no longer be avoided. While Metropolitan’s supplies are not reduced in a tier 1 shortage, if Lake Mead’s level continues to drop, we are prepared to make our required contributions. …

Click here to read the full statement from Metropolitan Water District.

NOTE: More Colorado River news in the ‘Along the Colorado River’ section below.

Costa, Feinstein introduce bill to restore Valley canals. No money for dams.

Rep. Jim Costa and U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein introduced the bipartisan Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act on Thursday, a bill to authorize more than $653 million to restore the capacity of three San Joaquin Valley canals.  Restoring these canals would improve California’s drought resilience and help farmers comply with limits on groundwater pumping under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Costa’s office said in a news release.  “We know we have a broken water system and we know there’s a lot that we need to do to improve our water supply and our water quality,” Costa told reporters during a virtual news conference Thursday afternoon. “One of the most precious resources we have is water. Where water flows, food grows.” … ”  Read more from GV Wire here: Costa, Feinstein introduce bill to restore Valley canals. No money for dams.

Costa spearheads $800 million water infrastructure bill to restore key Valley canals

Congressman Jim Costa (D–Fresno) introduced a bill on Thursday that would provide over $800 million in funding to water projects in California.  If the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act is enacted, $653 million in Federal funds will go to restore the capacity of three canals in the Central Valley, and $180 million will be used to restore salmon runs on the San Joaquin River.  “This act will improve the water supply and water quality for 27 million Californians,” Costa said in a press conference. “How does it do it? It does it by restoring surface water delivery capacity that will better charge and recharge our aquifers where communities up and down the Valley get their drinking water.” ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Costa spearheads $800 million water infrastructure bill to restore key Valley canals

SEE ALSO: $800M in proposed upgrades to Fresno, Valley canals could mean cleaner drinking water, from the Fresno Bee

Friant Water Authority is one step closer to fixing the Friant-Kern Canal

Today, the Friant Water Authority Board of Directors voted to finalize a cost-share agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) that details how the work to restore lost capacity in the Friant-Kern Canal will proceed and be funded.  Reaching this important milestone clears the path for Reclamation to solicit construction bids with the goal of having a contractor selected around Summer 2021.  Construction on Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in 2024. The Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project would restore capacity of up to 60% in certain areas where flow is severely constricted. The constriction is the result of land subsidence due to groundwater overdraft, largely from lands outside of the Central Valley Project Friant Division service area with no access to surface water supplies.

Click here to continue reading this press release.

“The Friant Division began 70 years ago with a shared vision and investments in its collective future,” said Cliff Loeffler, Friant Water Authority Chairman. “Although challenging, it was important for Friant contractors to continue financing their portion of the Friant-Kern Canal repairs together, as a family, irrespective of being north or south of the pinch point. It’s our legacy and part of what makes the Friant Division special, unique, and solutions-oriented.”

Components of the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project finance plan include:

  • $206 million in funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in December 2020;
  • A minimum of $125 million in funding provided by a landmark agreement with the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency; and
  • $50 million in local funding provided by Friant-Kern Canal contractors.

The Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project will restore the canal’s design capacity through 30 miles of its most conveyance-restricted section near Terra Bella. State and Federal environmental reviews for the project were completed in September 2020 and the project’s Record of Decision was signed on November 4, 2020.

The Friant Division was designed in the early 20th century to function as a large-scale conjunctive use effort to stabilize groundwater supplies while meeting community and farm water needs on the San Joaquin Valley’s eastside. One of the Friant-Kern Canal’s primary functions is to deliver surface water to be used in lieu of groundwater or to recharge groundwater aquifers. As a result, restoring the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal is critical to the southern San Joaquin Valley’s success in complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, in additional to achieving water quality and water supply goals for small, rural, or disadvantaged communities on the eastside.  

Fish on rice: A modern approach to managed landscapes for the 21st century

Jacob Katz writes, “My hands came up out of the muddy water and there it was, sleek and fat with silver sides flashing in the winter sun. What a surprise to pull such a beautiful little salmon from the turbid waters of a rice field. Salmon were supposed be in the river, not out here in the shallow, wetland-like waters of a farmed floodplain. But there it was: young, fat and healthy.  I had been taught (and had taken it as gospel) that salmon belonged in the river and that the river belonged in its banks. This little “floodplain fatty” was telling me that neither of those assumptions were necessarily so. This salmon definitely knew something we didn’t. ... ”  Read more from Cal Trout here:  Fish on rice: A modern approach to managed landscapes for the 21st century

Hurtado introduces the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) today introduced the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 – legislation that will provide up to $785 million to restore the capacity of California’s critical water delivery infrastructure and repair aging roads and bridges. The new legislation, Senate Bill 559, will fund repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal, Delta-Mendota Canal, San Luis Canal and California Aqueduct – California’s main state and regional water conveyance infrastructure.  “An investment made in the Central Valley and California’s water infrastructure is an investment made for the Nation and all Californians,” said Senator Hurtado. “This investment is critical for our country’s food supply chain, public health and ultimately the livelihoods of our farmworkers and families in rural communities. Restoring this infrastructure is essential to withstanding the long-lasting impacts of climate change while delivering clean, reliable, affordable water for hundreds of disadvantaged communities across California.” … ”  Read more from Senator Melissa Hurtado’s office here:  Hurtado introduces the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021

ACWA testifies in opposition of SB 222, SB 223

ACWA staff testified with an oppose-unless-amended position on SB 222 (Dodd) and an oppose position on SB 223 (Dodd) during the April 12 Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee hearing. … SB 222 would require the State Department of Community Services to create an overly broad and costly water and wastewater affordability program.  … SB 223 would prioritize use of non-rate revenue for customer debt forgiveness over all other uses and lead to agencies having less funds available for safe drinking water projects, infrastructure repairs and more. … ”  Read the full article at ACWA’s Water News here: ACWA testifies in opposition of SB 222, SB 223

In drought and hydrology news and commentary today …

Valley Congressmen press resistant Newsom to declare state of emergency over Calif. drought

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s sidestepping of a bureaucratic formality has caught the attention of California lawmakers in Washington who are demanding he declare a state of emergency over the severe drought conditions affecting the entirety of the Golden State.  Four Central Valley Congressmen – Devin Nunes (R–Tulare), David Valadao (R–Hanford), Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) and Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove) – signed onto the letter to Newsom.  “It is not a secret that we find ourselves dealing yet again with a major drought,” the Republican delegation wrote. “It is imperative we do all we can as elected leaders to ensure our constituents, and the communities they live in, have access to the resources they need ruing this time, namely water.” ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Valley Congressmen press resistant Newsom to declare state of emergency over Calif. drought

Why won’t Gavin Newsom declare a drought? California recall puts him in tough spot

Gov. Gavin Newsom stood on a boat ramp at Lake Oroville on Tuesday — a boat ramp that couldn’t reach the water because the reservoir was nearly 60% empty — and acknowledged what many Californians already know.  “We’re in the second year of these drought conditions,” he said.  But Newsom, who was in Oroville to sign a bill appropriating $536 million in wildfire-prevention funds, said he isn’t ready to declare an official drought emergency, as his predecessor did six years ago. Instead, he promised he can manage the situation without resorting to an emergency declaration, which could help his administration clamp down on water use. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Why won’t Gavin Newsom declare a drought? California recall puts him in tough spot

Editorial: Another drought, another threat to California farming. Gov. Newsom, are you listening?

The Fresno Bee editorial board writes, “One of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s favorite expressions is “real time,” as in something actually happening at the moment. Well, as a second dry winter has occurred and precious little rain and snow fell, the drought is suddenly real time for Central Valley growers. They face the prospect of not having enough water deliveries for their crops.  That is exactly why Newsom should issue an emergency declaration. The crisis Valley farmers face is real, as is the threat to the farm-based economy of California’s heartland. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Editorial: Another drought, another threat to California farming. Gov. Newsom, are you listening?

Peter Gleick: Yes, California is in a drought — even if officials aren’t saying it out loud

Peter Gleick, hydrologist, climatologist, co-founder of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, writes: “California is suffering from severe drought again. This winter produced water conditions far below normal for the second year in a row, the eighth year in the last 10, the 14th year in the last 20. Los Angeles has had 39% of normal precipitation; San Diego, only 30%; San Francisco, 37%; Sacramento, less than 40%.  The snowpack is meager — less than half of normal — and falling fast as spring temperatures warm up. The state’s largest reservoirs are hovering around 50% to 60% of their normal capacity, or less, for this time of year, almost exactly where they were when Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in January 2014. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Peter Gleick: Yes, California is in a drought — even if officials aren’t saying it out loud

Drought conditions already impacting Valley farmers

Drought conditions are already forcing Valley farmers to make difficult decisions when it comes to their crops as many are facing severe water restrictions.  “There’s districts throughout California that have experienced up to 95% reductions in water,” says Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen.  Jacobsen says the lack of wet weather means the water farmers do have will have to be reallocated to permanent crops, while others, like garlic, tomatoes, onions, melons, and rice will be reduced. ... ”  Read more from KFSN here: Drought conditions already impacting Valley farmers

Never mind: OID and SSJID cancel large water sale to West Side because of drought

The worsening drought has canceled a large water sale to West Side farmers by the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts.  They announced Wednesday that their own customers will need the water, which had been declared surplus in early March. A revised forecast of Stanislaus River runoff scuttled the sale, which could have brought up to $25 million to the sellers.  The water would have been delivered down the Stanislaus to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, then pumped to buyers as far south as Kern County. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Never mind: OID and SSJID cancel large water sale to West Side because of drought

Federal forecast finds no relief in sight for drought-stricken West

The prospects for alleviating the drought afflicting a large portion of the American West are not good, according to weather forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  “Drought is expected to expand and intensify in areas of the Pacific Northwest extending into the Rocky Mountains, parts of Montana and the intramountain west,” said Dan Collins, with the Climate Prediction Center during a conference call Thursday morning.  The drought is likely to intensify in California and other parts of the West Coast, Collins said, since precipitation is rare after spring in the Golden State’s Mediterranean climate. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Federal forecast finds no relief in sight for drought-stricken West

In California wildfire news today …

The wildfire season is coming quickly and it’s coming earlier, California forecasters warn

The wildfire season “is coming quickly and it’s coming earlier.”  That’s the message from meteorologist Eric Kurth and the National Weather Service in Sacramento, California, as the state deals with a crippling drought and vegetation and grasses that are already beginning to brown.  “We are seeing record levels of dryness for this time of year. It’s more like what we would see later in June than mid-April,” said Kurth. He is concerned about this year’s fire season on the heels of an extremely dry year in 2020, and the most active fire season that California has ever recorded.   … ”  Read more from CNN here: The wildfire season is coming quickly and it’s coming earlier, California forecasters warn

Cw3E Publication: Time since burning and rainfall characteristics impact post-fire debris-flow initiation and magnitude

Debris flows can pose serious threats to life and infrastructure downstream of steep, recently burned terrain. Previous studies have shown that, in the first year following a fire, debris flows are often triggered during rainstorms where the peak rainfall intensity exceeds some critical value. However, the effects of fire on soil and vegetation diminish over time as burned landscapes recover and it is not clear how this affects the critical rainfall intensity needed to initiate potentially damaging debris flows. ... ”  Read more at the Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes here: Cw3E Publication: Time since burning and rainfall characteristics impact post-fire debris-flow initiation and magnitude

Could wildfires ruin our wine?

Many wine lovers know that a hint of smoky flavors in Zinfandel or Pinot Noir are the perfect complement with grilled meats. They may also be familiar with the phrase, “Stressed vines make the best wines.”  But what if those smoky overtones go overboard as the grapes are exposed to destructive wildfires? And what if those stressed vines are the result of prolonged drought conditions?  As the effects of climate change are felt in California wine country and around the world, vintners are anxious about what the future holds. ... ”  Read more from the University of California here: Could wildfires ruin our wine?

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In regional water news and commentary today …

How a historic drought is threatening the future of Klamath Basin farms and endangered species

When it was announced Wednesday that Klamath River Basin farmers would receive less than 10% of their annual summer water allotments due to a historic drought, the news was not so much of a surprise as it was stunning in the totality of the economic devastation it would sow, irrigators said.  The announcement that farmers would receive only 33,000-acre feet of water was made by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees water deliveries on federal land and delayed the decision for more than a month.  Many farmers and ranchers, already reeling following a global pandemic, are now questioning their future in the second-largest land reclamation project on record. Native American tribes are also worried as endangered fish species such as Coho salmon and the Lost River sucker — considered an integral part of their culture — are equally threatened.  It promises to be a long and difficult summer for everyone involved. ... ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: How a historic drought is threatening the future of Klamath Basin farms and endangered species

Feds approve fraction of water farmers say they need on Oregon-California border

Hundreds of farmers who rely on a massive irrigation project that spans the Oregon-California border learned Wednesday they will get a tiny fraction of the water they need amid the worst drought in decades, as federal regulators attempt to balance the needs of agriculture against federally threatened and endangered fish species that are central to the heritage of several tribes.  Oregon’s governor said the prolonged drought in the region has the “full attention of our offices,” and she is working with congressional delegates, the White House and federal agencies to find relief for those affected. … ”  Read more from KATU here: Feds approve fraction of water farmers say they need on Oregon-California border

Karuk Tribe critical of Klamath River water plan

The Karuk Tribe has spoken out against a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plan that is expected to bring on economic hardship to farmers along the Klamath River Basin and fall short of filling the needs of fisheries and endangered species downstream.  The Bureau of Reclamation released its 2021 Klamath Temporary Operations Plan on Wednesday in response to the years of ongoing drought conditions in the Klamath River Basin. This year, the Upper Klamath River is recording its lowest historical inflows.  The document sets guidelines for the Bureau of Reclamation to manage the Klamath Irrigation Project this spring to keep a maintained water level in the Upper Klamath Lake. The plan will maintain specific river flows for salmon through September and preserve the option of a flushing river flow. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Karuk Tribe critical of Klamath River water plan

Past water management decisions, climate change put Klamath River salmon stocks at risk

The Yurok Tribe is gravely concerned about the rapidly declining salmon stocks in the Klamath Basin, where communities from the headwaters to the coast are suffering due to past water management decisions and drought.  [The day before] yesterday, the US Bureau of Reclamation released a temporary operations plan for the basin in an attempt to minimize the ecological and economic damage caused by a combination of last year’s water mismanagement and the current drought. The plan provides bare-minimum flows for imperiled Klamath salmon and sucker fish populations. … ”  Read more at the Redheaded Blackbelt here: Past water management decisions, climate change put Klamath River salmon stocks at risk

Releases on the Trinity River to significant increase flow this week

Restoration flows will begin tomorrow, April 16, on the Trinity River to help improve conditions after another critically dry water year.  A flow schedule based on the expected amount of water available to support salmon restoration efforts on the Trinity River is brought forward by the Trinity Management Council each year.  This week’s two-day schedule is slated to increase daily average flows from 300 cubic feet per second to 1,300 cubic feet per second. … ”  Read more from the North Coast Journal here: Releases on the Trinity River to significant increase flow this week

Seasonal dam on Russian River goes up early amid growing call for water conservation

Citing scant rainfall and historically low reservoirs, Sonoma County water managers are inflating a rubber dam on the Russian River near Forestville a month earlier than usual.  They are also urging the public to conserve water, noting that the region is entering the arid summer and fall months after two of the driest rain seasons on record in the past 127 years.  Lake Sonoma northwest of Healdsburg, the region’s major water source, is at 62% of capacity, while Lake Mendocino near Ukiah is at 44% of targeted capacity — both all-time lows for this time of year. “We want to keep as much water as possible (in the reservoirs),” said Barry Dugan, a Sonoma Water spokesman. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Seasonal dam on Russian River goes up early amid growing call for water conservation

Here’s how far Sonoma County is going to fight the drought

With every day that we do not see rain, our odds for a severe drought intensify. This is especially true in the North Bay, where communities rely on rainfall, not Sierra runoff.  Rainfall totals have been approximately one-third of normal this year.  Already, the Sonoma County Water Agency has taken a drastic conservation step by inflating a rubber dam much earlier than normal at its Mirabel Pumping Facility near Forestville on the Russian River. … ”  Read more from KGO here: Here’s how far Sonoma County is going to fight the drought

East Contra Costa groundwater sustainability efforts make progress

” … SGMA led to the formation of GSAs, and each GSA was tasked with creating a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) for its region. Locally, the East Contra Costa Groundwater Sustainability Working Group is comprised of eight agencies including the City of Brentwood, the Contra Costa Water District, the Diablo Water District, the East Contra Costa Irrigation District, the Town of Discovery Bay, the City of Antioch, Contra Costa County and the Byron Bethany Irrigation District. Members of that group signed a memorandum of understanding to create a single GSP for the East Contra Costa Subbasin from which the group’s member draw water. … ”  Continue reading at The Press here: East Contra Costa groundwater sustainability efforts make progress

Cargill drops fight to build 12,000 homes on Redwood City salt ponds

In what environmental groups are hailing as a “complete victory,” Cargill Salt announced this week it will not appeal a decision by a federal judge that protects Redwood City’s salt ponds from development, effectively halting its decades-long effort to build thousands of new homes there.  The move comes after a U.S. District Court judge ruled in October that the federal Environmental Protection Agency ignored its own regulations when it decided in 2019 that about 1,400 acres of San Francisco Bay salt ponds adjacent to the city’s port aren’t protected by the Clean Water Act.  As salt ponds, the land isn’t worth much financially — but if the ponds had been excluded from the act, it would have allowed Cargill to make lucrative land and development deals potentially worth billions of dollars. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Cargill drops fight to build 12,000 homes on Redwood City salt ponds

Bay mud could help wetlands survive sea level rise, new study shows

It’s a growing threat that sneaks in with the tide. Sea levels here in the Bay Area are expected to rise by a foot or more over the next several decades, potentially overwhelming levees and seawalls around the Bay.  But now an environmental group says one of the most powerful weapons we have to fight back, is being literally, thrown away.  “There are these giant machines that go out and basically dredge out the channels, so the big ships can come into Oakland and Stockton and other parts of our estuary. So all of that material could be reused,” explains Letitia Grenier of the San Francisco Estuary Institute. ... ”  Read more from KGO here: Bay mud could help wetlands survive sea level rise, new study shows

Column: It’s 2021. When will Fresno County supervisors kick their addiction to urban sprawl?

Columnist Marek Warszawski writes, “You’ve really got to hand it to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, past and present. Among the components of urban sprawl, Friant Ranch ticks all the boxes.  Increased air pollution? Check.  Sketchy water sources? Check.   Automobile dependency? Check.  Leapfrog development? Check.  Low-density, single-family homes? Check.  Loss of open space and wildlife habitat? Check.  It’s 2021. Municipalities are supposed to be smarter about how they grow — not stuck in the free-for-all mindset that pervaded the late 20th century. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  It’s 2021. When will Fresno County supervisors kick their addiction to urban sprawl?

Cannabis industry gains a foothold in parched Cuyama Valley

The county’s most depleted water basin, the Cuyama Valley, is fast becoming the latest battleground in the fight over how – and whether – to address the negative impacts of the cannabis industry on farming and residential communities.  The giant groundwater basin underlying this sparsely populated, heavily farmed valley is one of California’s 21 most critically over-drafted basins. For 75 years, the Cuyama Valley has been a mecca for water-intensive farming on an industrial scale – first, alfalfa, and now, carrots.  Now there’s a newcomer on the block. More than 740 acres of outdoor cannabis cultivation has been proposed for the Cuyama Valley and is under review for zoning permits, county planners say. The industry is poised to drop new straws into the declining basin. ... ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Cannabis industry gains a foothold in parched Cuyama Valley

Bakersfield children’s book takes a trip down the Kern River

The successful Bakersfield children’s book series “Indy, Oh Indy” has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its sixth upcoming book, titled “The Mighty Kern River.”  The book was inspired by a larger effort from the grassroots group Bring Back the Kern to raise awareness about Bakersfield’s mostly dry river and efforts to revive a more regular flow of water through town.  “The bigger picture is, we’re not just making a book. This is an educational tool and a way to get kids passionate about this project,” said Indy illustrator Jennifer Williams-Cordova in reference to the larger river efforts. ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Bakersfield children’s book takes a trip down the Kern River

Cal OES awards Santa Clarita Valley Water $250K grant

SCV Water has received a nearly $250,000 California Special Districts Association Public Safety Power Shutoff program allocation from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).  The allocation will be used to help fund the installation of a permanent generator at the Earl Schmidt Filtration Plant (ESFP). The addition of this second generator brings the facility up to 100 percent operational capacity in the event of a power outage. … ”  Read more from SCV News here: Cal OES Awards SCV Water $250K Grant

South Coast researcher discovers huge undersea toxic waste site off Southern California coastline

A South Coast researcher has discovered a major environmental crisis that’s been hidden for decades, under the surface of the ocean.  There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of barrels of discarded toxic waste on the ocean floor between Long Beach, and Catalina.  Dr. David Valentine is a Professor of Geochemistry and Microbiology at UC Santa Barbara. His research focuses on the interaction of microbes and chemicals. A decade ago, he was researching underwater seeps in the area. As he was doing research for the project, he stumbled across something interesting, but also very alarming. … ”  Read more from KCLU here:  South Coast researcher discovers huge undersea toxic waste site off Southern California coastline

Orange businessman indicted for dumping toxins into sewer for 3 years

Tim Miller and his Klean Water private treatment plant in Orange dumped untreated toxic wastewater into the sewer system for three years, lied to sanitation officials and would not let them collect samples, and tampered with regulators’ monitoring devices to cover up misdeeds, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down Wednesday, April 15.  Miller faces up to eight years in prison if convicted and Klean Water would be on the hook for as much as $300,000 in fines. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Orange businessman indicted for dumping toxins into sewer for 3 years

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Along the Colorado River …

Shortages looming For Colorado River Basin

The numbers show Lake Mead is likely to drop below 1075 (one thousand seventy-five) feet in elevation later this year. That triggers a “Tier 1” shortage under the rules of the Drought Contingency Plan.  Arizona takes the brunt of the shortage, losing more than five hundred thousand acre-feet of water, or about a third of the Central Arizona Project’s supply. The canal brings water to Tucson and Phoenix, but the cuts will largely affect farmers.  The Colorado River is currently in “Tier Zero” status, which requires Arizona to leave nearly two hundred-thousand-acre feet of water in Lake Mead. ... ”  Read more from KNAU here: Shortages looming For Colorado River Basin

Science Moab talks to Brian Richter about the impact of the Colorado River Compact

What do Colorado’s Front Range and the Californian coast have in common? They’re both fed by the Colorado River, one of the country’s most massive waterways. Despite its size, the river and its reservoirs have reached perilously low water levels due to increased use and the impacts of climate change. This week, Science Moab speaks with Brian Richter, the president of the organization Sustainable Waters, about the hazards of such limited water and how the Southwest is responding. … ”  Continue reading at Moab Sun News here:  Science Moab talks to Brian Richter about the impact of the Colorado River Compact

Homestake Reservoir release proves tricky to track: Getting water to state line would be key in compact call

In September, Front Range water providers released some water downstream — which they were storing in Homestake Reservoir — to test how they could get it to the state line in the event of a Colorado River Compact call.  But accurately tracking and measuring that water — from the high mountain reservoir in the Eagle River watershed all the way through the Colorado River at the end of the Grand Valley — turned out to be tricky, according to a recently released report from the Colorado Division of Water Resources. … ”  Read more from Vail Daily here: Homestake Reservoir release proves tricky to track: Getting water to state line would be key in compact call

Infrastructure plan lifts Tribes’ hope of turning on water taps

Navajo Nation resident Percy Deal hopes that federal coronavirus relief, coupled with $2.3 trillion for infrastructure in the American Jobs Plan, will give him something his grandparents and even his parents didn’t have—running water in his home.  President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is calling for the investment of $111 billion to modernize water systems, including $56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states, tribes, territories, and disadvantaged communities across the country. ... ” Read more from Bloomberg Law here: Infrastructure plan lifts Tribes’ hope of turning on water taps

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In national water news today …

Federal water rule does not account for pollution across state boundaries

In a research analysis to be published Friday in Science, scholars contend that a new federal water rule enacted in 2020 does not adequately account for transboundary pollution across state lines.  One of the government’s rationales for enacting the new rule, which removed millions of acres of wetlands and millions of miles of streams from federal protection, was an assumption that states would fill gaps in federal oversight. The research analysis, co-authored by Sheila Olmstead of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, suggests this may not occur. … ”  Read more from the University of Texas here: Federal water rule does not account for pollution across state boundaries

Can recycled glass help restore Louisiana’s eroding coastline?

Dave Clements, owner of Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge, a beloved dive bar in New Orleans, has watched Louisiana’s coast shrink year after year. … Clements wondered if a solution to this problem has been hiding in plain sight, concealed in New Orleans’ drinking culture. Every day, the city’s bars and restaurants produce tons of waste in the form of glass bottles, and because the city’s waste management system does not offer curbside glass recycling, most of that trash ends up in landfills, unable to decay. “It’s infuriating the amount of stupidity and waste,” says Clements. “I’m a bar owner and everybody’s having a great time and then there’s all this trash.” ... ”  Read more from The Guardian here:  Can recycled glass help restore Louisiana’s eroding coastline?

Environmentalists demand federal action on 19 neglected species

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday, alleging it failed to protect several vulnerable species during former President Donald Trump’s administration.  “The Endangered Species Act is incredibly successful at saving species from extinction, but only if they’re provided its protections in the first place,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the center, in a statement on Thursday.  In a lawsuit filed in Washington federal court, the nonprofit group pointed to 19 species from across the U.S. that it says are owed protections as threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.   “These 19 animals and plants are among hundreds waiting for action from the Biden administration,” Greenwald said. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Environmentalists demand federal action on 19 neglected species

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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-20210415

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

ANNOUNCEMENT: Incentive Program Launched for Small Municipalities to Replace Their Lead Pipes

ANNOUNCEMENT: CNRA Launches Website, Public Input Questionnaire on Using Natural and Working Lands to Achieve Climate, Biodiversity Goals

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Climate Workshop~ Meeting Canceled~ CWC Meeting~ Water Storage~ Bridge Closure ~~

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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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