DAILY DIGEST, 4/29: Q&A with Peter Gleick on CA drought; Hatcheries trucking salmon to the Pacific; Klamath Drainage District diversion continues; Questions linger about enviro impact of Huntington Beach desal; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • REE EVENT: Strategies for Preventing and Managing Harmful Cyanobacteria Blooms from 10am to 11:15am.  The Harmful Cyanobacteria Blooms (HCBs) training reviews key information found in the ITRC Guidance Document, Strategies for Preventing and Managing Harmful Cyanobacterial BloomsClick here for more information and to register.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Drought: Are We Ready? from 10am to 11:30am.  A looming mega-drought is building in the western U.S., just five years after California’s hottest and longest dry stretch on record ended in 2016. Discover how Southern California has increased its drought resiliency since and what may be different this time around during Southern California Water Coalition’s What Matters webinar on April 29.  Click here to register.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Data for Lunch w/OpenET from 12pm to 1:30pm.  OpenET uses best available science and publicly available data to increase access to satellite-based ET and consumptive water use information for farmers and water managers. This talk will provide an introduction to the OpenET platform and the approach taken to its development, and demonstrate a few of its applications. Click here to register.
  • PUBLIC WORKSHOP: San Joaquin Valley 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 San Joaquin Valley 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 29th San Joaquin Valley regional workshop encompasses San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Kings, and the western 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.
  • GRA BRANCH MEETING (FREE): Groundwater Sustainability Plans – Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Now What? from 5pm to 6:30pm.  While preparation, adoption and submittal of these GSPs represents a significant achievement by the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) involved, the reality is that the GSP submission milestone, while significant, only represents the beginning of SGMA implementation. Some lessons can be already be learned regarding the transition between GSP development and implementation.  This talk will share experiences with early-stage GSP implementations issues, regarding issues such as funding, monitoring, stakeholder engagement, coordination, and litigation.  Click here to register.
  • FREE EVENT: Elkhorn Slough Watershed Scale Thinking – From the Big Picture to Your Backyard from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  Join ESF Stewardship Director Dash Dunkell and Digital Mapping expert Kass Green for a discussion of the brand-new vegetation maps of the Elkhorn Slough, watershed restoration, and how to take meaningful action in your own area. This event is part of the Evenings at the Estuary series, which focus this year on exploring conservation through community action.  The event is FREE and will be streamed live to Facebook via the Elkhorn Slough Reserve’s page. You can join the discussion via Zoom at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rfuispz0uHNJZKefKEQroGhxKyT5Z8-p6

In California drought news today …

Q&A with Peter Gleick: From dust bowl to California drought: a climate scientist on the lessons we still haven’t learned

Lake Mendocino, April 21, 2021. Photo: Andrew Innerarity/DWR

California is once again in a drought, just four years after the last dry spell decimated ecosystems, fueled megafires and left many rural communities without well water.  Droughts are a natural part of the landscape in the American west, and the region has in many ways been shaped by its history of drought. But the climate scientist Peter Gleick argues that the droughts California is facing now are different than the ones that have historically cycled through the Golden State.  “These are not accidental, strange dry periods,” said Gleick, the co-founder of the Pacific Institute, a global thinktank that has become a leading voice on water issues in California and around the world. “They’re increasingly the norm.” ... ”  Read more from the Guardian here: Q&A with Peter Gleick: From dust bowl to California drought: a climate scientist on the lessons we still haven’t learned

Drought-depleted rivers force salmon hatcheries to truck fish to the Pacific

Millions of young salmon raised at fish hatcheries in the Central Valley will be trucked to San Francisco Bay and other coastal sites for release, because the rivers they’d normally travel to get to the ocean are drying up, state and federal officials said Wednesday.  The ambitious trucking program, a response to the state’s escalating drought, is intended to maximize survival of the hatchery fish that prop up California’s fall-run of chinook — the mainstay of the state’s commercial and recreational salmon industries.  Officials in charge of the five major inland hatcheries that rear the fish say convoys of tanker trucks are the only way to ensure the 3-inch smolts make it to sea. The rivers are either too low or too warm for the fish — or both. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Drought-depleted rivers force salmon hatcheries to truck fish to the Pacific

SEE ALSO: CDFW Takes Proactive Measures to Increase Salmon Smolt Survival, press release from the Department of Fish and Wildlife

Despite no drought emergency, Calif. Senate mulls $3.4bil plan to fight it

Thursday, California state legislators will weigh-in on a plan to spend $3.41 billion in new spending in response to the state’s worsening drought and tackling deepening issues surrounding the Golden State’s water utilities.  It also raises the specter that Sacramento is fully moving on from long-sought, major water storage project in the San Joaquin Valley in the hopes of attaining smaller victories faster.  The California Senate Budget Committee is set to review a budget plan aimed at tackling twin issues tied to the drought and coronavirus: ever-dwindling water supply and Californians’ dizzying stack of unpaid water utility bills. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Despite no drought emergency, Calif. Senate mulls $3.4bil plan to fight it

Questions raised by targeted drought declaration

There has been some criticism for how Governor Gavin Newsom has approached the state’s water situation, issuing a targeted drought declaration. Many areas of California are also experiencing drought conditions similar to Mendocino and Sonoma counties where the emergency declaration was made. California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross told AgNet West the governor’s approach is influenced by what was learned from the last drought emergency in California. State officials feel better prepared for addressing drought conditions and will continue to monitor the situation closely in the event further action is needed. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Questions raised by targeted drought declaration

Commentary: Looming California drought

Juliet Christian-Smith and Andrew Fahlund with the Water Foundation write, “This weekend’s rain in Northern California, while welcome, did little to address the dry conditions across our state. As the state’s recent dismal snow survey showed, we are in for tough times ahead. Less snow means lower reservoirs, less water in our rivers and streams, and more groundwater pumping. And that spells trouble, particularly for disadvantaged communities and sensitive ecosystems, which have historically borne the brunt of California drought in consequences like dry wells and salmon die-offs. … Last week, Governor Newsom took an important step by declaring drought in two counties of California. And tomorrow, April 29, the California Senate will be discussing an important drought relief funding package. Looking back at our state’s response to the last drought, we outline some opportunities for moving forward. ... ”  Continue reading at the Water Foundation here:   Commentary: Looming California drought

Stunning drone photos over Lake Oroville show drought emergency in Northern California

Stunning drone photographs of Lake Oroville help illustrate the drought emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom in two Northern California counties.  Water levels at Lake Oroville have dropped to 42% of its 3,537,577 acre foot capacity. … ”  Check out the pictures at the LA Times here: Stunning drone photos over Lake Oroville show drought emergency in Northern California

Federal dollars available for farmers, ranchers facing drought

Federal dollars are on the table to help farmers and ranchers during the drought.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a drought disaster in 50 California counties last month.  Grants are now available to help with costs associated with the dry conditions. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Federal dollars available for farmers, ranchers facing drought

A bone-dry California moves into wildfire season

It’s been another dry year in California. Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a drought emergency in two northern California counties and the Sierra snowpack is well below normal. All that does not bode well for this summer’s wildfire season. To get a sense of what to expect this year, KAZU’s Doug McKnight spoke with Cal Fire Battalion Chief Issac Sanchez. … ”  Read/Listen at KAZU here: A bone-dry California moves into wildfire season

In other California water news today …

Almond matters: precision irrigation even more vital in dry years

In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, precision irrigation systems have helped growers make the most out of available water supplies. Water-use efficiency is even more important when California experiences drought conditions. The use of sensor technology and smarter irrigation systems have helped the industry become more sustainable in its water use. While many orchards have historically used flood irrigation, the industry has been moving to micro-sprinklers and drip irrigation in recent years.  “Dual-line drip on a crop like almonds works very effectively. In fact, I think it’s more precise and efficient than even flood irrigation,” said Todd Burkdoll, Field Market Development Specialist for Valent USA. “Having a drip system has costs upfront, but the savings long term can be pretty significant.” ... ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Almond matters: precision irrigation even more vital in dry years

Veles Weekly Water Report: NQH2O at New All Time High of $868.7 up 73.8% Year to Date . Technical analysis indicating next level could be $1070

The Veles Weekly Report provides timely analysis around the technical and hydrologic factors that are moving water prices, as well as a comprehensive look at the latest news in water markets.

Click here to read the Veles Weekly Water Report.

Sen. Dodd: Water project streamline bill advances

As California’s drought deepens, depleting reservoirs and agricultural wells, legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to expedite improvements to the state’s outdated central water delivery system cleared a key committee hurdle.  “California is updating its aging water infrastructure to meet the growing needs of a state that is now in the grips of drought,” Sen. Dodd said. “But it’s not happening fast enough. My bill helps meet demand by allowing more flexibility in contracting to expedite this process and keep the water flowing to our communities and farmers.”  California’s 60-year-old water delivery system, known as the State Water Project, serves more than 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland through its 700 miles of aqueducts, canals and pipelines. It is the largest state-owned and operated water system in the world. The Department of Water Resources is pursuing a number of projects to improve the system through the use of contractors. Senate Bill 626 would authorize the department to streamline the contractor selection process to get the most qualified experts at the lowest cost. It is supported by State Water Contractors, a nonprofit representing 27 public water agencies throughout the state. … ”  Read more from Senator Dodd’s office here: Sen. Dodd: Water project streamline bill advances

Why California’s first-in-world plan to monitor microplastics in drinking water matters

Every one of us, even unborn fetuses, are continually exposed to microplastics which have become such ubiquitous global environmental pollutants that they now contaminate the everyday air, food and water we take in.  Given a growing body of evidence that many chemicals in plastics pose human health risks, Californians should welcome recently passed legislation putting the state on path to be the first to track microplastics in tap water.  Because plastics are highly resistant to biodegradation – fragmenting instead into ever smaller bits eventually reaching micron and nanometer dimensions – they travel unseen in wind and waterways so that even the most remote regions of the globe, like the Arctic seabed and summit of Mount Everest, are contaminated with microplastics. ... ”  Read more from The Environmental Magazine here: Why California’s first-in-world plan to monitor microplastics in drinking water matters

Cleaner water through corn

Corn is America’s top agricultural crop, and also one of its most wasteful. About half the harvest—stalks, leaves, husks, and cobs— remains as waste after the kernels have been stripped from the cobs. These leftovers, known as corn stover, have few commercial or industrial uses aside from burning. A new paper by engineers at UC Riverside describes an energy-efficient way to put corn stover back into the economy by transforming it into activated carbon for use in water treatment. Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal, is charred biological material that has been treated to create millions of microscopic pores that increase how much the material can absorb. It has many industrial uses, the most common of which is for filtering pollutants out of drinking water. ... ”  Read more from the University of Riverside here: Cleaner water through corn

25,000 barrels possibly laced with DDT are found off California coast

In 2011, a curious marine scientist captured a series of photos of the ocean floor that left him disturbed. Using a sea drone, he documented dozens of corroding industrial barrels, scattered 12 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. Tests later showed that the sediment inside contained exceptionally high concentrations of DDT, a pesticide banned in the 1970s, and other chemical waste.  How serious his discovery was for marine life — and for the humans who consume that marine life — depended in part on whether he had captured the bulk of this eerie chemical graveyard or just a tiny piece. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  25,000 barrels possibly laced with DDT are found off California coast

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In commentary today …

Newsom promises while the Delta dies

Jacques Leslie writes, “The West Coast’s most important estuary is dying, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has hastened its demise.  As he took office two years ago, Newsom promised to generate voluntary agreements among farmers, environmentalists and government officials on the rules for allocating water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. One year ago, in a CalMatters op-ed, he said again that agreements were the way forward to “protect, restore, and enhance … the Delta.”  Not only have no voluntary agreements emerged, but conditions in the delta have grown so dire that in March the National Marine Fisheries Service estimated that high water temperatures could kill 90% of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River this year. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Newsom promises while the Delta dies

Column: California finds itself rationing water – and reality. It’s time for a change.

Wayne Western, Jr. writes, “Millions of dollars and thousands of hours are spent every year by agriculture interests in an attempt to educate people about the importance of the origins of the food on their table.  Hundreds of articles are written to do the same, while hundreds more are written to harm that effort and the industry itself.  With no regard for credibility or fear of marginalizing themselves, environmental groups issue dire warnings that the big, bad Central Valley farmers are set to drain the state’s reservoirs.  Meanwhile, those same farmers will receive a 0 percent allocation of surface water this year.  Yes, 0 percent – as in nothing. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Column: California finds itself rationing water – and reality. It’s time for a change.

How to save beaches and coastlines from climate change disasters

Michael W. Beck, research professor in the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, writes, “The frequency of natural disasters has soared in recent decades. Total damage topped $210 billion worldwide in 2020. With climate change, the costs attributed to coastal storms will increase dramatically.  At the same time, coastal habitats such as wetlands and reefs are being lost rapidly. Some 20% of the world’s mangroves were lost over the last four decades. More than half of the Great Barrier Reef was degraded by bleaching in 2020 alone. In California, we have lost more than 90% of our coastal marshes.  Coastal habitats serve as a critical first line of defense, and their loss puts communities at even greater risk from coastal flooding. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: How to save beaches and coastlines from climate change disasters

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Klamath Drainage District diversion continues, Reclamation could release more lake water in response

While most irrigators in the Upper Klamath Basin are enduring a spring without surface water, canals in Klamath Drainage District have been flowing since the middle of April. And KDD says no laws were broken to make deliveries to its customers.  KDD opened the Ady and North canals on April 15, diverting water from the Klamath River to serve its patrons. The Bureau of Reclamation, whose operations plan for 2021 emphasized that no water deliveries be made to the Klamath Project prior to May 15, sent a letter to KDD asking them to immediately cease the diversions. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath Drainage District diversion continues, Reclamation could release more lake water in response

Klamath Water Users Association moves to reopen lawsuit, questions Klamath operations

As the Klamath Basin braces for a historically dry year, the region’s water wars have once again spilled into court.  The Klamath Water Users Association filed a motion April 19 to reopen a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, seeking clarity on legal issues that may determine future irrigation water availability in the Klamath Project. … Paul Simmons, KWUA executive director, said there is nothing irrigators can do to change this year’s dire situation. Instead, the association is asking a federal judge to rule on future project operations, and what obligations the bureau has to protect several species of endangered fish. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: Klamath Water Users Association moves to reopen lawsuit, questions Klamath operations

Radio show: Where The Water Goes In A Historically Dry Summer

Summers in the region are long and dry; we expect that. But when the winters turn short and dry, there’s little chance for snow and rain to recharge the system of water stored for the growing season. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has already declared droughts in Jackson, Klamath, and Lake Counties for this year, others are sure to follow. We convene three people working in the water business to talk about what will happen in a season with critically short supplies: Jim Pendleton of Talent Irrigation District, Paul Simmons of the Klamath Water Users Association, and Shavon Haynes, District 13 Watermaster for the state of Oregon.”  Listen to the show at Jefferson Public Radio here: Radio show: Where The Water Goes In A Historically Dry Summer

Point Reyes: Coastal commission approves park’s ranching plan

After a sometimes-contentious meeting that lasted more than 10 hours on Earth Day, the California Coastal Commission approved, 5-4, an amended consistency determination for the Point Reyes National Seashore’s general management plan amendment, meaning the plan is considered consistent “to the maximum extent practical” with the state’s rules for the coastal zone.  The determination was technically a narrow one: Because the park is federal land, the commission only has jurisdiction on “spillover effects” on coastal resources, and only effects that have population-level ramifications. Initially, coastal staff only found spillover effects on water and marine resources, but that didn’t stop scores of public commenters, including many nonprofit groups and other individuals, from pushing the commission to do what it could to influence the plan, which is focused on the park’s ranchlands, an area amounting to 28,700 acres in the seashore and the northern Golden Gate National Recreation Area. ... ”  Read more from the Point Reyes Light here: Point Reyes: Coastal commission approves park’s ranching plan

3 more Bay Area water districts take drastic steps with drought looming

Three more big Bay Area water agencies are calling on residents to conserve water as drought looms in California following two consecutive extraordinarily dry winters.  Board members with both the East Bay Municipal Utility District and Sonoma Water approved proclamations Tuesday to declare drought emergencies.  Santa Clara Valley Water District’s board voted at its April 27 meeting to increase the recommendation for voluntary reduction in water use from 20% to 25%. It also approved doubling the price it pays homeowners to use drought-tolerant landscaping, with the Landscape Rebate Program going from offering an incentive of $1 per square foot to $2 a square foot, according to ABC 7. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: 3 more Bay Area water districts take drastic steps with drought looming

East Bay water district urges residents to conserve water due to drought conditions

Customers of the East Bay Municipal Utility District are being asked to voluntarily conserve water in response to below-normal water runoff projections.  The district, whose board of directors declared a Stage 1 drought on Tuesday, provides drinking water to 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. It is not placing mandatory restrictions on its customers at this stage of drought, but is asking “voluntary conservation to save water supplies now in case next year is also dry.” Officials said they will aim for 10% reduction in total water consumption across the agency’s service area. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: East Bay water district urges residents to conserve water due to drought conditions

Central Coast: Measures California farmers can take to keep their heads above new water regs

Vegetable growers in the Central Coast region of California produce most of the cool- season vegetables for the U.S. from March to mid-November. After many several years of multi-cropping vegetables, the groundwater in many of the coastal valleys has become contaminated with nitrate. Some wells have concentrations of nitrate several times the federal drinking water standard of 10 ppm (parts per million) nitrate-N. Rural communities that rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water must purchase bottled water or install small reverse osmosis systems.  The regional and state water boards have imposed several iterations of water quality regulations on growers on the Central Coast to address nitrate contamination of ground and surface water. ... ”  Read more from Growing Produce here: Measures California farmers can take to keep their heads above new water regs

Fate of Pure Water Monterey expansion now sits in hands of Cal Am.

With a unanimous vote that one board member called “unexpected,” Monterey One Water’s board of directors on April 26 paved the way for an expansion of its Pure Water Monterey recycled water project that many hail as a crucial piece to the Peninsula’s longstanding water puzzle.  The fate of the expansion now sits in the hands of California American Water, the region’s embattled investor-owned utility that has long opposed the project in favor of its own proposed solution—a desalination plant criticized as too expensive that now sits in bureaucratic limbo.  Cal Am owns the water distribution infrastructure necessary to get water produced by Pure Water Monterey to customers. The board for Monterey One Water, the region’s sewage treatment facility, said it does not have the money to finance the expansion on its own. In order for the expansion to be logistically and financially feasible, Cal Am has to agree to purchase the recycled water from a rival project. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Fate of Pure Water Monterey expansion now sits in hands of Cal Am.

Monterey Peninsula water district files complaint against Cal Am

Attorneys for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District filed a complaint with state regulators Tuesday asking that California American Water Co. be forced to purchase water from the expansion of a recycling project because Cal Am is failing to meet a deadline for its part in increasing the local water supply, according to language in the complaint.  Any decision by regulators is important because it will affect the ability of the Monterey Peninsula to generate an alternative water source. Cal Am in 2009 was hit with a state cease-and-desist order to stop over-pumping from the Carmel River basin. Over pumping was feared to cause environmental damage that included a threat to federally protected steelhead trout. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey Peninsula water district files complaint against Cal Am

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

Central Coast wineries prepare for another year of drought

Droughts are nothing new in California, so many wineries have adopted new methods and technologies to prepare for what has already been a very dry year.  Gary Eberle is the owner of Paso Robles’ Eberle Winery. He said the vineyard uses its own irrigation systems and new technologies, like overhead trough protection for the grapes.  Eberle said extra irrigation is common in California vineyards, since you can’t just count on the rain.  “Without additional water, it is almost impossible to get a crop; it’s almost impossible to keep the vines alive,” Eberle said. … ”  Read more from KCBX here: Central Coast wineries prepare for another year of drought

Shandon-San Juan Water District applies for Nacimiento and Santa Margarita lake water

A North County water district representing irrigated agriculture near Shandon is asking the state for allocations of Lake Nacimiento and Santa Margarita Lake water, which it proposes to pipe into the nearby Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.  While pitched as a potential solution to the Paso basin’s overdraft, the proposal is already getting blowback from two county supervisors.  “My job is not to work for special interests,” 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold said. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Shandon-San Juan Water District applies for Nacimiento and Santa Margarita lake water 

Atwater’s steps toward cleaner water continue: TCP project set for completion by August

Atwater’s drinking-water cleanup project is approaching two milestones, the City Council was told at this week’s meeting.  Work to remove the carcinogenic chemical 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) in the city’s water, which was first found in city wells nearly two years ago, is set to be completed in August, while new systems are expected to be bought online in June of this year, a project overseer said. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here: Atwater’s steps toward cleaner water continue: TCP project set for completion by August

Inyo County wants DWP to cut pumping in 2021-22

Faced with drought conditions and the second straight year of runoff levels far below average, Inyo County is recommending a significant drop in proposed groundwater pumping by the Los Angeles Department of Water and power during the 2021-22 runoff year.  The county is proposing that LADWP drop its planned pumping by 19,603 acre feet, to a total of 59,377 acre feet. The LADWP pumping plan calls for up to 78,980 af of pumping, as outlined in the department’s draft Annual Operations Plan for 2021-22. ... ”  Read more from the Inyo Register here: Inyo County wants DWP to cut pumping in 2021-22

The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust held a webinar on fixing current restoration plans

Disagreement over restoring the Ballona Wetlands still remains high. Walter Lamb, president of the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust, recently held a webinar to discuss why the current restoration plans are inadequate.  The Land Trust disagrees with the assertions of organizations such as Friends of Ballona Wetlands, as they aren’t supported by available facts. Lamb based his talking points around Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order made on October 7, 2020, of protecting biodiversity and an announcement phasing out fossil fuels from September 23, 2020.  Topics included protecting coastal resources against sea level rise, biodiversity, equitable access to natural resources, the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Lamb explained how the Land Trust can put forward the changes against the deficiencies of the restoration plans. … ”  Read more from The Argonaut here: The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust held a webinar on fixing current restoration plans

Huntington Beach: Questions linger about environmental impact of Poseidon plant

Every year that it converts a bit of the Pacific Ocean into drinking water, the proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant would kill tiny marine life crucial to the sea’s food web.  Questions of how and when to offset that environmental harm remain unresolved in regulators’ ongoing review of Poseidon Water’s plans to build a $1-billion desalting plant on the Orange County coastline.  After a nearly nine-month pause, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board last week resumed consideration of the project, which has been clouded by complaints that it is benefiting from political interference by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Questions linger about environmental impact of Poseidon plant

San Bernardino: Plunge Creek project expands water recharge, habitat

After the completion of its Plunge Creek Conservation Project, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (SBVWCD) recently reported that its efforts to return water flow to historic channels are successfully restoring natural habitat for endangered species and increasing the area’s natural groundwater recharging capabilities.  In August 2020, the Conservation District completed its project to return a 2.5-mile stretch of Plunge Creek, south of Greenspot Road and east of Orange Street, back to its historic braided-streambed after decades of rerouting the creek’s water flow created a swifter, narrower streambed. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here: San Bernardino: Plunge Creek project expands water recharge, habitat

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Along the Colorado River …

Arizona positioned to take on cuts in Colorado River supply

Water officials in Arizona say they are prepared to lose about one-fifth of the water the state gets from the Colorado River in what could be the first federally declared shortage in the river that supplies millions of people in the U.S. West and Mexico.  Arizona stands to lose more than any other state in the Colorado River basin that also takes in parts of Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and California. That’s because Arizona agreed long ago to be the first in line for cuts in exchange for federal funding for a canal system to deliver the water to Arizona’s major metropolitan areas. … ”  Read more from the AP via the Ridgefield Press here: Arizona positioned to take on cuts in Colorado River supply

Legal brief:Navajo Nation water rights

The Ninth Circuit revived the Navajo Nation’s breach of trust claim alleging that the federal government failed to consider “as-yet-undetermined water rights in managing the Colorado River,” finding that dismissal was improper as the Nation’s attempts to amend its complaint were not futile.”  Via Courthouse News.

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In national water news today …

Federal aid for overdue water bills is slow to arrive

In December, when Congress completed the 2021 budget, lawmakers added to the package more funding to help low- and middle-income Americans withstand the coronavirus pandemic.  In addition to a second round of stimulus payments, lawmakers included $638 million for households that were behind on their water bills. It was the first time that Congress had set aside federal funding for that purpose.  Little more than two months later, Congress doubled down on the approach, adding $500 million to what is now officially called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program, or LIHWAP. In total, more than $1.1 billion will be available to relieve households of water debts. … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here: Federal aid for overdue water bills is slow to arrive

Biden races courts for chance to torpedo Trump water rule

President Biden has gone full throttle in his first 100 days seeking to reverse Trump-era environmental rollbacks. But on one controversial rule, the president’s team may not be able to outpace the judicial system.  Key lawsuits that could define the reach of the Clean Water Act are working their way through federal courts — despite Biden administration attempts to stop them so it can craft its own regulations.  The cases concern what waterways and wetlands qualify for federal protections, a question that has befuddled judges for two decades. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Biden races courts for chance to torpedo Trump water rule

Brown and Caldwell receives funding grant for PFAS incineration study

Brown and Caldwell has been granted funding from The Water Research Foundation (WRF) to study the fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through sewage sludge incineration. … PFAS – deemed as “forever chemicals” – are present in discharges to wastewater systems, and because of their characteristics, undergo virtually no degradation before environmental discharge. Thermal treatment of PFAS-laden wastewater solids through sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs) offers a potential PFAS control strategy; however, with few published research studies available, the ability of SSIs to fully mineralize PFAS is unknown. … ”  Read more from Brown & Caldwell here: Brown and Caldwell receives funding grant for PFAS incineration study

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Today’s featured articles …

WEBINAR: Delta Hydrology 101

Presentation by Dr. Ted Sommer, Lead Scientist at the Department of Water Resources, for the 2021 Bay-Delta Science Conference.

Click here to watch webinar.


DELTA LEAD SCIENTIST REPORT: Ecological metrics for conservation planning and monitoring, Delta Lead Scientist office hours, and more …

At the April meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Lead Scientist Laurel Larsen spotlighted a research article that studied ecological metrics for conservation planning and monitoring, introduced the new Sea Grant Science Fellows, and updated the Council on the latest activities of the Delta Science Program.

Click here to read this article.


ESTUARY PEARLS PART 3: Pesticides, HABs, New Neural Network, Ship Channel, Tule Red, Quake Risk Levees and more

Click here to read this edition of Estuary Pearls.

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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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