DAILY DIGEST, 4/28: Marin explores revival of Richmond Bridge water pipeline; Tribes, fishermen call on Newsom to provide water for salmon; Studies find Sierra fuel treatments benefit trees and streamflow, though not together; Irrigators take aim at Klamath River flushing flows; and more …
MEETING: Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Peer Review Committee Meeting at 10am. Agenda items include a discussion of HI (large wood) projects, wood loading targets and related issues, and a discussion of FRGP projects under Central Valley recovery plans. Click here for the full agenda.
FREE WEBINAR: A Tale of Two Basins: Managing Groundwater in Orange and Los Angeles Counties from 11am to 12pm. Managing two very different groundwater basins in Orange County and Los Angeles County, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) will discuss their innovative approaches to groundwater basin management in their respective service areas. Click here to register.
SoCAL WATER DIALOG: JPL/NASA Scientist on Predicting Future Water Availability in a Changing Climate from 12pm to 1:30pm. Predicting future water availability in a changing climate presents a real challenge for scientific research on many fronts. But broadening our understanding is critical to adapting our water systems for the future. Join us as we enter The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) with JPL/NASA scientist Dr. Michael Gunson for an in-depth exploration of the fundamental and essential role of water and clouds in the greenhouse effect and a look at why predicting changes to the cycling of water through all of its phases presents some of the biggest questions in climate research. Click here to register.
PUBLIC MEETING: Development of Potential Amendments to the Water Quality Control Plans for Tribal Beneficial Use Designations from 2pm to 4pm. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board staff will hold an initial public outreach meeting to discuss the development of potential amendments to the Board’s Water Quality Control Plans to designate water bodies that have cultural and traditional importance to Tribes within the Central Valley Water Board’s jurisdiction with Tribal Beneficial Uses (TBU). Central Valley Water Board staff will present preliminary ideas for a potential project on TBU designations and will seek input and comments from the public regarding the designation of waterbodies for TBU. Click here for the full meeting notice and remote access instructions.
GRA CAST: Water Recycling and Environmental Learning at the Albert Robles Center: Tour with Q&A from 4pm to 5:30pm. The five-acre Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and Environmental Learning (ARC)—located in the City of Pico Rivera, CA – is a multipurpose and multi-benefit site which encompasses an advanced water treatment facility, learning center, and water-efficient demonstration garden. This GRACast will explore the Water Replenishment District’s ARC facility through a walking tour of the learning center and a live presentation on the advanced water treatment process. The tour will be followed by Q&A from the audience. Click here for more information and to register.
PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Sierra Nevada Regional Workshop on Expanding Nature-Based Solutions and Advancing 30×30 from 4pm to 6pm. Join the California Natural Resources Agency and our partners for a Sierra Nevada regional workshop to provide input on meeting the State’s commitment to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 and accelerate nature-based solutions to address climate change. The April 28th Sierra Nevada regional workshop encompasses Modoc, Lassen, Plumas, Sierra Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Alpine, Mono, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Inyo, and the eastern parts of Madera, Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties. All meetings are open to the public, regardless of you or your organization’s geographic location. Click here to register.
In California drought news today …
Marin explores revival of Richmond Bridge water pipeline
“The potential for water shortages in Marin has become so acute that the Marin Municipal Water District is in early talks with East Bay officials to build a pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to pump water into the county. The last such drastic move was during the 1976-1977 drought, when the district cut water use by 57% and faced running out of water within four months. The 6-mile pipeline gained statewide and federal attention and became a symbol of the state’s drought of record. Rebuilding the pipeline is one of several options being considered by the district, including adding a temporary desalination plant, should this upcoming winter be as dry as 2019 and 2020, said Ben Horenstein, the district general manager. ... ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin explores revival of Richmond Bridge water pipeline
Severe drought spells catastrophe for California salmon populations
“Last Wednesday, the California State Water Resources Control Board (CSWRCB) got bad news. In 2020, precipitation for much of northern California ranged between 50 and 70 percent of historical average, and last year marked the ninth driest summer on record. Following the driest December and January in recorded history, 2021 is shaping up to be even worse. This year has been deemed a “Shasta Critical” year based on inflow to Shasta Lake. Contracted diversions to the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project have been reduced by 25 percent across the board, though compliance is voluntary, according to the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors. Several who made presentations to the board last Wednesday contend that 75 percent for ag and municipal uses leaves too little cold water for salmon to successfully spawn. Biologists predict up to 90 percent salmon egg mortality this year. ... ” Read more from the Sierra Nevada Ally here: Severe drought spells catastrophe for California salmon populations
Tribal members and fishermen call on Gavin Newsom to provide water to stop salmon fish kills
Dan Bacher writes, “California Tribes, fishermen, and environmental groups are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to direct state agencies to take action to stop fish kills of California salmon runs that are nearing extinction and to protect water quality, according to a press release from Save California Salmon. “Salmon and good water quality are key to the health of California’s Native people, economy and drinking water supplies,” according to the coalition. “Without immediate action to scale down agricultural water deliveries and protect rivers and reservoir’s water supplies, the State will be complicit in causing fish kills and toxic algal blooms in many of the State’s already overdrafted rivers. … ” Read more from the Daily Kos here: Tribal members and fishermen call on Gavin Newsom to provide water to stop salmon fish kills
Drought: Big Bay Area water agencies ask – but don’t yet require – public to conserve more water
“After back-to-back dry winters, two of the Bay Area’s biggest water agencies on Tuesday moved forward with plans to urge the public to reduce water use to avoid shortages this year. But for now, they are using a carrot rather than a stick, saying they have enough water to get by without resorting to fines, water cops and strict rules. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, based in San Jose, was set to vote Tuesday night on a plan to double the amount of money it pays homeowners to replace their lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping, from $1 a square foot to $2, and to expand the maximum amount it will pay per household from $2,000 to $3,000 under the conservation program. Last time the agency offered that much, in 2014 during California’s last drought, interest in the program soared nearly 30 fold. ... ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Drought: Big Bay Area water agencies ask – but don’t yet require – public to conserve more water
Facing drought, Southern California has more water than ever
“The cracked and desiccated shoreline of Lake Mendocino made a telling backdrop for California Governor Gavin Newsom’s message at a news conference last week: Drought conditions are here, and climate change makes the situation graver. But water supplies vary across regions, which is why the governor limited a drought emergency declaration to just two northern counties. In fact, highly urbanized Southern California has a record 3.2 million acre-feet of water in reserve, enough to quench the population’s needs this year and into the next. That’s thanks in large part to tremendous gains in storage infrastructure and steady declines in water use — driven by mandates, messaging, and incentive programs — belied by the region’s storied reputation for thirst. … ” Read more from Bloomberg Quint here: Facing drought, Southern California has more water than ever
Column: Water created California and the West. Will drought finish them off?
Michael Hiltzik writes, “In what may become an iconic image for drought-stricken California, Gov. Gavin Newsom stood on the parched bed of Lake Mendocino on April 21 to announce an emergency declaration for Sonoma and Mendocino counties. “I’m standing currently 40 feet underwater,” he said, “or should be standing 40 feet underwater, save for this rather historic moment.” Newsom’s point was that the reservoir was at a historically low 43% of capacity, the harbinger of what could be a devastating drought cycle not only for the Northern California counties that fell within his drought declaration, but for most of the state — indeed, the American West. … Although there have been wet years since then, notably 2017, the big picture suggests that the drought never really ended and the dry periods of this year and 2020 are representative of the new normal — a permanent drought. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: Column: Water created California and the West. Will drought finish them off?
California Republican delegation requests House Natural Resources Committee hold drought hearing
“Today, Congressman David G. Valadao joined the entire California Republican delegation in requesting the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife discuss the Western U.S. drought and water-related issues in future hearings. In the letter sent to full Committee and Subcommittee leadership, the delegation notes the failure of the Committee’s Democratic Majority to properly prioritize urgent water issues and specifically requests the Committee to review H.R. 737, the RENEW WIIN Act. Sponsored by Congressman Valadao, RENEW WIIN Act would extend provisions related to California in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act (P.L. 114-322). Despite requests, the Subcommittee has refused to include the legislation in upcoming hearing agendas. “RENEW WIIN is critical for combating this detrimental drought to ensure families in rural communities and our farms in the Central Valley and have access to clean, reliable water,” said Congressman Valadao. “While there are many important issues the Natural Resources Committee is tasked to examine, addressing this water crisis cannot wait. … ” Read more from Congressman David Valadao here: California Republican delegation requests House Natural Resources Committee hold drought hearing
California is in another drought. What does that mean for your well?
“During California’s last major drought, more people turned to wells for access to water. Many people dug deeper or drilled brand new wells as the water in their taps came to a trickle. Mark Clay, the Manager and Head Driller at Precision Well Drilling, says during the drought in the early-to-mid 2010s, the waiting list to have a well drilled reached two years long. Right now, he says he’s able to manage his workload. But he’s worried that might change as the drought progresses. … ” Read more from Fox 26 here: California is in another drought. What does that mean for your well?
Receding reservoirs seen from space
“As drought intensifies across the Bay Area and the rest of California, the impacts to reservoirs can be easily seen from space. These images via the Adam Platform Copernicus/Sentinel 2 satellite show how major reservoirs are being impacted. ... ” Check out the pictures at NBC Bay Area here: Receding reservoirs seen from space
California drought: As communities see water issues, some reuse gray water
“It’s been years since the Bay Area has had to deal with drought conditions. While some counties look to instituting water-use restrictions, some communities look to creative ways to reuse water. When Ashley Shannon does a load of laundry, her garden and fruit trees get a super soaking. “I like the fact that I’m using it once to wash my clothes and then I’m using it a second time so that I’m getting more life out of it essentially,” she said. Shannon is a Santa Clara Valley Water District employee who recently installed a gray water system on her washing machine. Outlet pipes that would normally send wash water to the sewer system were redirected to go outside and around her garden. Valves installed in the ground let the water seep out to irrigate her plants and trees. … ” Read more from KPIX Channel 5 here: California drought: As communities see water issues, some reuse gray water
In other California water news today …
Studies find Sierra fuel treatments benefit trees and streamflow, though not together
“Predicting the effects of forest fuel treatments is difficult and uncertain — it is unclear whether the treatments are more helpful to forest health or streamflow. According to new research by disturbance ecohydrologist Ryan Bart and his colleagues at the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), the answer is both, though not at the same time. Fuel treatments for forest management include prescribed burns, tree thinning and pruning, for example, each of which are done to reduce fire risk and severity. Bart recently conducted two studies to examine the effect of these fuel treatments in the Sierra Nevada on both the streamflow in rivers and overall forest health of the trees. “The focus of these two papers was trying to understand how and when water made available from fuel treatments is allocated to forest health and/or streamflow,” Bart said. “Many studies have investigated these issues separately, but they have rarely been examined in tandem. This is important because fuel treatments cannot provide full hydrologic benefits to both forest health and streamflow simultaneously. They can be allocated to forest health or to streamflow, or partially to both.” … ” Continue reading at UC Merced here: Studies find Sierra fuel treatments benefit trees and streamflow, though not together
Tracking nitrate in farm fields
“For years it’s been relatively easy to measure pollution from, say, a factory. At a factory, there might be just one pipe of waste to measure. Easy enough. But what about a farm? We might not typically think of farms as sources of pollution. But they can have big impacts on the land over time. Unlike at a factory, the waste filters slowly through soil across the whole plot of land. This waste — excess nutrients from fertilizer — can eventually reach groundwater. If too much nitrogen enters groundwater, it can be dangerous to drink. … Thomas Harter, a member of the Soil Science Society of America, is trying to solve one of the most complex puzzles in farming: how to track nitrate as it moves through farm fields. ... ” Read more from Newswise here: Tracking nitrate in farm fields
Hurtado bill to repair and restore State Water Project and Central Valley Project infrastructure passes Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee 6-0
“Today, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released the following statement after her bill, SB 559—the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021—was approved by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee by a 6-0 vote: “We are on the verge of a global food crisis and Californians can avoid by learning from the crisis in 1974,” said Senator Hurtado. “Hunger and famine are not just a reality in some far away land anymore, it could be a real possibility for Americans if we fail to be proactive. The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 will provide much needed funding for canal conveyance repairs throughout the Central Valley that will impact more than 31 million Californians. These projects represent access and reliability of clean, safe, drinking water, health, jobs, and our food supply chain. Two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts come from California–one-third of its vegetables– and this drought, as well as the damage to our water infrastructure has threatened our ability to produce food at the volume we do. SB 559 provides us the opportunity to not only plan for our future, but to protect it as well.” … ” Read more from Senator Hurtado’s website here: Hurtado bill to repair and restore State Water Project and Central Valley Project infrastructure passes Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee 6-0
Karuk Tribe, Cattlemen’s Association and environmental group endorse potential legislation that would expand cultural, prescribed burns
“Today a diverse coalition representing tribes, ranchers and conservationists announced strong support of Senate Bill (SB) 332, state legislation that would enable more cultural and prescribed burns. Tribes like the Karuk want to use prescribed fire to protect homes and restore watersheds, much like their ancestors did, and farmers, ranchers and conservationists use fire to manage noxious weeds, restore wildlife habitat and protect biodiversity. In many cases the legal and policy barriers for all of these groups are the same. According to the bill’s author, Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), “California has to work harder to protect our communities from catastrophic wildfire. I’m proud to work with Tribes, conservation groups and ranchers to help our local communities play a larger role in fire management.” ... ” Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: Karuk Tribe, Cattlemen’s Association and environmental group endorse potential legislation that would expand cultural, prescribed burns
Nasdaq Veles California Water Index
“As water allocations are slashed due to low supplies, what options do farmers have? California Farm Water Coalition executive director Mike Wade says thousands of acres are likely to go fallow, but better solutions are needed. One tool that has just been created this past year is the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index. But Wade says it’s still too early to tell if this is truly going to be effective in helping growers manage their risk. … ” Read more from Cal Ag Today here: Nasdaq Veles California Water Index
CEQA news you can use
“Brownstein’s quarterly CEQA News You Can Use production includes a Regional Water Quality Control Board update we thought you may be interested in. This publication provides quick, useful bites of CEQA news, which we hope can be a resource to your real-time business decisions. That said, it is not and cannot be construed to be legal advice. Enoy! … ” Read more from Brownstein & Hyatt here: CEQA news you can use
Recall politics? No thanks, because the Delta keeps losing either way
Barbara Barrigan Parilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, writes, “Today’s commentary breaks my heart. Why? Because Restore the Delta is focused on water quality issues, flood control issues, future planning, and training the next generation of local water experts – for that is where hope exists. We are focused on the future because in some ways we have become very cynical about any positive meaningful change to Delta management presently — from the lack of care at the highest levels of government, to local pockets of Delta communities that will not acknowledge the deterioration of the estuary before their eyes. At all levels, we see leaders who want what they want from the estuary: unrestricted water exports; a destructive mega-tunnel; discharge of pollutants without regulatory oversight; delisting of endangered fisheries; limited, private recreation and access to waterways, so as to keep urban people (people of color) away; denial around sea level rise and needed mitigation for flood threats, unless there are deal sweeteners; elimination of the Delta’s family farms and their proud history … ” Continue reading at the Sacramento News & Review here: Recall politics? No thanks, because the Delta keeps losing either way
In regional water news and commentary today …
Amid severe drought, Oregon farming region illegally diverts water from the Klamath River
“In mid-April, a farming region in southern Oregon began to release water from the Klamath River into its irrigation canals. According to the local water authority, this was a standard move to jumpstart the farming season during one of the driest seasons in recent memory. But according to the federal government, it was an illegal maneuver that could further jeopardize the survival of multiple endangered species and food sources important to Indigenous tribes and fisheries in the region. Because of severe drought conditions in the region and low snowpack levels, the Upper Klamath Lake—a large, natural reservoir of freshwater that drains into the Klamath River—has experienced historically low inflow this year. That means there’s not enough water to go around for everyone who needs it: tribes that depend on the lake to sustain culturally important species of suckerfish, commercial and tribal fisheries downstream who depend on flow from the lake to support salmon populations, and farmers and ranchers who rely on irrigation to harvest crops. … ” Read more from The Counter here: Amid severe drought, Oregon farming region illegally diverts water from the Klamath River
Irrigators take aim at Klamath River flushing flows
“As the Klamath Basin approaches one of its driest summers on record, Upper Klamath Lake is already being subjected to a three-way tug-of-war in court. While the Klamath Tribes want water to remain in the lake, irrigators want it diverted to the Klamath Project — and neither party wants to see more water sent down the Klamath River. Earlier this week, Klamath Irrigation District filed an emergency motion against the Bureau of Reclamation in Klamath County Circuit Court, requesting a judge bar the agency from releasing water from Upper Klamath Lake for flushing flows in the Klamath River this spring. The motion comes after the Klamath Tribes filed a notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation earlier this year if the agency allows the lake to drop below 4,142 feet during C’waam and Koptu (Lost River and shortnose sucker) spawning season in April and May. As of April 1, the lake was below 4,141 feet — the lowest it’s been at this time in years. ... ” Read more from the Herald & News here: Irrigators take aim at Klamath River flushing flows
Video: Removal of Klamath Dams to restore river basin
“The Klamath River Basin was once home to one of the West’s most prolific salmon fisheries. But for more than a century, efforts to harness the natural power of the river through the installation of hydroelectric dams, have contributed to devastating declines in water quality, the region’s anadromous fisheries, and the tribal, recreational, and commercial economies and communities they support. The dams mentioned (Iron Gate, Copco 1, Copco 2, and JC Boyle) are blocking salmon and steelhead from reaching more than 300 miles of spawning and rearing habitat in the upper basin. CalTrout has been involved with the removal of these dams for many years, and we will continue to be until they are taken down. … ” Read more from Cal Trout here: Removal of Klamath Dams to restore river basin
Reclamation adjusts Sacramento River operations to benefit salmon
“The Bureau of Reclamation recently announced that springtime operations at Shasta Dam will adjust to benefit endangered winter-run Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River during this critically dry water year. The operation change is coordinated with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, Western Area Power Administration, State Water Resources Control Board, and Sacramento River Settlement Contractors to preserve the limited supply of cold-water pool in Shasta Reservoir. No additional water from Shasta Reservoir will be released during this temporary adjustment — only the withdrawal elevation and timing of water releases will change. ... ” Read more from the Tehama Daily News here: Reclamation adjusts Sacramento River operations to benefit salmon
Placer County to thin 3,000 more acres of forest to protect water supply
“Placer County will thin out an additional 3,000 acres of the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project to reduce wildfire risk this year. The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to add the additional acreage in hopes of protecting the county’s water supply during an expected severe dry season. According to a fact sheet released in 2019 when the project first began, wildfires in recent years have burned thousands of forested acres in the area, causing topsoil — hundreds of thousands of tons — to erode into the river system. … ” Read more from Rocklin & Roseville Today here: Placer County to thin 3,000 more acres of forest to protect water supply
Folsom Lake lupine super bloom is bittersweet as dried lake is replaced by purple flowers
“Locals from the Sacramento area are flocking to Folsom Lake this week, and it’s not for a quick dip or a scenic hike. A lupine super bloom is in full force in the Granite Bay region of the recreational area, washing the sandy landscape in a sea of purple. The super bloom is beautiful, but it’s also bittersweet, as it was only made possible by dry conditions at the lake leading to low water levels. Nearly the entire area is typically covered in water. ... ” Read more from ABC 10 here: Folsom Lake lupine super bloom is bittersweet as dried lake is replaced by purple flowers
Sonoma County supervisors declare drought emergency
“Sonoma County supervisors proclaimed a local drought emergency Tuesday, setting the stage for potential conservation mandates and other measures aimed at managing historically scarce water supplies while also positioning the county to seek disaster aid. The proclamation, approved unanimously, followed a similar move by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who last week declared a drought emergency for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, citing record-low storage levels in the region’s two main reservoirs after two year of extremely low rainfall. ... ” Read more from the Press Democrat here: Sonoma County supervisors declare drought emergency
This beloved Marin winery is shutting down, citing California’s drought and climate change
“After 21 vintages of making wine from far-coastal Marin County, Pey-Marin Vineyards is coming to an end. Wineries rarely close down entirely; more often, when an owner wants out, they sell. But Jonathan Pey, who founded Pey-Marin Vineyards with his late wife, Susan, in 1999, said that the extreme conditions of west Marin farming have simply gotten too punishing, in part due to climate change. “Mother Nature sends you a message over the years,” Pey said. “She’s saying the vineyard’s really tired, it’s really old, there are fires. And the market for it is really hard.” ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: This beloved Marin winery is shutting down, citing California’s drought and climate change
Stinson Beach residents must reckon with abandoning their homes as sea levels rise
“Many residents in one of the Bay Area’s most popular day-trip destinations are being told that they may need to abandon their homes as sea levels rise, KPIX reported this week, and the state coastal commission and county is now battling over the town’s future. Studies show that numerous homes in Stinson Beach will flood with just one foot of sea rise, an unavoidable result of human-caused climate change. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects that this will likely happen in under 20 years (the same data set shows a rise of nearly four feet by the end of the century.) … ” Read more from SF Gate here: Stinson Beach residents must reckon with abandoning their homes as sea levels rise
Emails raise questions about Chevron’s bay area oil spill response
“The morning after a quarter-inch hole in a pipeline owned by Chevron leaked petroleum fluids into the San Francisco Bay on Feb. 9, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt struck an optimistic tone about the incident at the oil giant’s refinery. “I think in the big picture it’s going to be OK,” Butt told one local press outlet. On his blog several days later, Butt wrote the city had “dodged a bullet on what turned out to be a relatively small spill with no lingering effects.” In a city council meeting a week after the spill, he offered no thoughts when a councilor brought up the incident. … But while the mayor’s public comments were positive, in private he offered a much more critical assessment, according to an email Butt sent to a regulator at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife — who was also a personal friend. He emailed a Chevron representative and an official at the U.S. Coast Guard as well. ... ” Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: Emails raise questions about Chevron’s bay area oil spill response
When an old dam in Santa Cruz Mountains comes down, coho will be free to swim home again
“Deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains, hidden by dense patches of conifer and far from any paved road, a century-old, abandoned dam whose purpose remains lost to history is quietly choking a small, yet important waterway. But not for long. The unnamed, 30-foot-wide dam on Mill Creek, home to one of the southernmost runs of endangered coho salmon, will be toppled this summer. The demolition is part of a broader effort to both open up passage for struggling fish along the Central Coast and restore a cherished forest known as San Vicente Redwoods. “With the scale of this property, there’s really just nothing like it,” said Ian Rowbotham, land stewardship manager for the Sempervirens Fund, one of four conservation groups that owns and manages the sprawling woodlands above the community of Davenport, before driving 30 minutes up a dirt road to the dam on Tuesday morning. “We’ve been doing a lot of restoration work here.” … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: When an old dam in Santa Cruz Mountains comes down, coho will be free to swim home again
Monterey venture moves a step closer to increasing area water supply
“Monterey One Water officials on Monday moved closer to its goal of providing additional water for the Monterey Peninsula when it unanimously approved a key environmental report for its expansion project. The 10 members of the board of Monterey One Water all voted to approve an environmental document called a supplemental environmental impact report, or SEIR, that advances closer to the expansion of its regional treatment plant. ... ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey venture moves a step closer to increasing area water supply
LA Department of Water and Power continues to advance landmark Mono Basin Restoration Project
“The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Commissioners voted today to approve the environmental impact study for the Mono Basin Water Rights Licenses project, further advancing one of the largest environmental restoration projects in the Eastern Sierra. The project includes a structure at Grant Lake Reservoir in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains which, once completed, will fulfill LADWP’s commitment to a landmark 2013 Settlement Agreement that brought numerous diverse stakeholders together to chart a unified path forward for the final stages of stream and habitat restoration in the Mono Basin. The Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) environmental document that was approved today studied all potential environmental impacts of both building and operating the Grant Lake spillway structure. The studies found that short-term and long-term impacts were “less than significant” when coupled with specific mitigation measures. The MND also provides the State Water Resources Control Board with the tool it needs to adopt the proposed Water Rights Licenses 10191 and 10192 while ensuring the ongoing protection of the region’s public trust resources, as required by state law. … ” Read more from the LADWP here: LA Department of Water and Power continues to advance landmark Mono Basin Restoration Project
Drought declared in Tulare County
“This weekend’s steady rainfall should have capped off what was projected to be a wet winter and instead was just the latest sign of an impending drought. Yesterday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors was expected to approve a “Local Emergency due to severe drought conditions” on the consent calendar but the meeting was held after press time. The resolution proclaims “that a local emergency now exists throughout said Tulare County due to drought which has created conditions of disaster and extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the county, and that such conditions are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and/or facilities of this county, thus requiring the combined forces of other political subdivisions to combat.” ... ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Drought declared in Tulare County
Santa Clarita Valley water shortage contingency plan hearing set for June 9
“The SCV Water board of directors is scheduled to hold a virtual public hearing on the Water Shortage Contingency Plan and ordinance at 6:30 p.m. June 9. The plan and ordinance are part of SCV Water’s planning efforts to ensure adequate long-term water quality and supplies for today and tomorrow. The plan focuses on water conservation and water shortage planning. … ” Read more from The Signal here: Santa Clarita Valley water shortage contingency plan hearing set for June 9
Thousands of barrels of what could be DDT discovered in survey off Palos Verdes Peninsula
“More than 27,000 barrels of what potentially could be the toxic chemical DDT are on the ocean floor between the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island, according to a survey scientists from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography released Monday, April 26. The survey, conducted from March 10 to 24, mapped more than 36,000 acres of seafloor — at depths of up to 3,000 feet, and about 12 miles offshore from the Palos Verdes Peninsula and eight miles from Catalina — in an area where scientists had previously discovered an accumulation of DDT. DDT has concerned scientists for decades, with high levels of the cancer-causing insecticide being found in dolphins and sea lions, Scripps said in a Monday press release. … ” Read more from The Beach Reporter here: Thousands of barrels of what could be DDT discovered in survey off Palos Verdes Peninsula
Supreme Court calls on Imperial Irrigation District to submit response to Michael Abatti
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday instructed the Imperial Irrigation District to submit a response to California farmer Michael Abatti’s request that their longstanding legal battle be taken up by the nation’s highest court. Scott Harris, clerk of the Supreme Court, wrote to Jennifer Meeker, an attorney for the water and power district, to say that even though IID didn’t feel the need to answer Abatti’s petition, “the Court nevertheless has directed this office to request that a response be filed.” This comes two weeks after Frank Oswalt, IID’s general counsel, said the district didn’t need to submit a response because “we expect the Court will swiftly reject Mr. Abatti’s latest filing.” ... ” Read more from the Desert Sun here: Supreme Court calls on Imperial Irrigation District to submit response to Michael Abatti
“Amid the extreme aridity of the vast Colorado Desert of eastern San Diego County, a ribbon of greenery allows life to thrive. The Sentenac Cienega area inside Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is more than 100 miles southeast of Irvine. It contains a desert wetland, which is part of the San Felipe Creek watershed that is fed by nearby mountains and ultimately flows into the Salton Sea. But the wetland is sick from invasive, non-native plants, and its water levels are dangerously low. Researchers from UCI are trying to figure out why. In decades past, cattle ranchers had burned the native vegetation to increase forage for cattle, and invasive tamarisk trees had moved in. When the state park acquired the land in the late 1990s, these shrub-like trees were removed in the hopes of restoring the native ecosystem. Yet contrary to the success of other tamarisk removal projects, it didn’t work for Sentenac Cienega. ... ” Read more from UC Irvine here: Using science to serve nature
San Diego’s climate future
“Climate change and drought will impact San Diego County’s climate future, but regional water supply planning and adaptation measures will ensure a safe, reliable supply for the region. Water supply strategy was one of the key points participants learned about during a Monday panel discussion, “San Diego County’s Climate Future,” hosted online by the San Diego County Water Authority, Citizens Water Academy, Leaders 20/20 and San Diego Green Drinks. Panel moderator Kelley Gage, Water Authority Director of Water Resources, kicked off the climate conversation by describing the investments and steps taken by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies to secure the region’s water future. “Since our founding more than 75 years ago, our mission in partnership with our 24 member agencies is to ensure a clean and reliable supply of water for the region,” said Gage. “As part of that mission we’re involved in partnerships like the one that we have today and the research to ensure that we have planned for the impact of climate change in our water supplies.” … ” Read more from the Water News Network here: San Diego’s climate future
Radio show: Colorado River basin states brace for future water cuts as Colorado River reservoirs run low
“As we inch closer to another, I’m sure, blazing hot summer here, Arizona remains in a prolonged drought that will continue to test our region’s water supply. And last week, the Bureau of Reclamation released a study that shows just how dry it could get. The two-year study predicts that we will soon hit a tier one shortage level in Colorado River water, which would then trigger reductions in our water supply under the drought contingency plan. It’s certainly not good news, but it’s also not surprising. And here to tell us more about what it all means is KUNC’s Luke Runyon, who covers the Colorado River Basin. … ” Listen/read at KUNC here: Radio show: Colorado River basin states brace for future water cuts as Colorado River reservoirs run low
EPA announces $6.5 billion in new funding for water infrastructure projects
“Today, at an address to water associations, utilities, and their workers to mark Water Week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the 2021 notice of funding availability under the agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and state infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. These lending programs accelerate investment in critical water infrastructure through innovative and flexible financing that can support a wide range of projects in both large and small communities. “EPA’s $6.5 billion in water infrastructure funding will provide more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today’s announcement illustrates the multiple benefits of investing in water infrastructure—better public health and environmental protection, job creation, and economic development. These benefits would be taken to new heights under President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.” … ” Read more from the EPA here: EPA announces $6.5 billion in new funding for water infrastructure projects
Data visualization for WIFIA loan benefits
“The U.S. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovative Act (WIFIA) loan program delivers a lot of financial value to qualified water infrastructure projects. Could some of that value be used beyond the project itself for innovative initiatives that address local water-related issues — water equity and affordability, climate and environmental justice, workforce training and other community concerns? WIFIA has been very successful since operations began in 2017, closing a total of more than 40 loans aggregating over $9 billion to date with an additional $10 billion currently in process. The program’s borrowers are primarily relatively large public water systems with geographically diverse service territories. The benefits of a WIFIA loan will vary in each case, but a median estimate of their value is about 7 percent of project cost, or over $10 million for a typically sized project. The estimate of aggregate value delivered to date or currently pending is already well over $3 billion — and there’s more on the way from future annual funding rounds. … ” Read more from Water Finance & Management here: Data visualization for WIFIA loan benefits
Millions of groundwater wells could run dry
“Millions of drinking wells around the world may soon be at risk of running dry. Overpumping, drought and the steady influence of climate change are depleting groundwater resources all over the globe, according to new research. As much as 20% of the world’s groundwater wells may be facing imminent failure, potentially depriving billions of people of fresh water. “We found that this undesirable result is happening across the world, from the western United States to India,” said Debra Perrone, a water resources expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and co-author of the study. ... ” Read more from the Scientific American here: Millions of groundwater wells could run dry
EPA Administrator Regan establishes new council on PFAS
“To help deliver on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mission to protect human health and the environment, today Administrator Michael S. Regan issued a memorandum to EPA’s senior leadership calling for the creation of a new “EPA Council on PFAS” that is charged with building on the agency’s ongoing work to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks caused by these chemicals. “Coming from North Carolina, I’ve seen first-hand how devastating these chemicals can be for communities and the need for strong EPA leadership,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “That’s why today, I am calling on our senior leadership to form a new Council that will identify pragmatic approaches that deliver critical protections to the American public. As one of my top priorities as Administrator, EPA will prioritize partnerships and collaboration with our federal, state, tribal and local partners, and engage the public about the risk associated with these chemicals. … ” Continue reading at the EPA here: EPA Administrator Regan establishes new council on PFAS
Legislation is first step toward establishing viable carbon markets
“The Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021 is being described as an important first step for getting farmers more involved in viable carbon markets. It would create a certification program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help alleviate barriers of entry for producers. The legislation seeks to provide clarity on how a carbon market will function and make it easier for farmers and forest landowners to participate. “It would establish a process for USDA to certify companies and individuals that have the expertise and are qualified to provide technical assistance to farmers that want to undertake these practices,” said Reece Langley, Vice President of Washington Operations for the National Cotton Council. “The bill will require USDA to establish an advisory committee to help advise the Secretary on how to move forward with these provisions.” ... ” Read more from Ag Net West here: Legislation is first step toward establishing viable carbon markets
Robots to fan out across world’s oceans to monitor their health
“A team of researchers is deploying a fleet of robotic ocean-monitoring floats across the world’s oceans to better understand and monitor their health. The Global Ocean Biogeochemistry Array (GO-BGC) project will use 500 robotic floats equipped with a range of sensors to collect data on the chemistry and biology of the ocean. The biochemical floats drift through the ocean and change depth at different intervals to collect data. The robots descend to a depth of about 3,280 feet for five to 10 days before diving about 6,561 feet and then returning to the surface. The devices dive and surface by pumping oil from inside the float to an external bladder and back to change its buoyancy. … ” Read more from Reuters here: Robots to fan out across world’s oceans to monitor their health
At the April meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Councilmembers received an update on the Delta Conveyance Project, including the status of the environmental review process and the results of the recent environmental justice survey.
First, Graham Bradner, Interim Executive Director of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, provided an update on the Authority. Then Carrie Buckman, Environmental Manager for the Department of Water Resources, provided an update on the Delta Conveyance Project environmental review process, community benefits program, and environmental justice survey results.
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.