California Coastal National Monument at Point Vicente. Photo by Bob Wick/BLM

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Farmers, cities told to stop drawing water from Delta watershed; Bill aimed at repurposing farmland a step closer to passing; As CA burns, some ecologists say it’s time to rethink forest management; Biden moves to blunt Trump water permitting rule; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

California water regulators block thousands of farmers from accessing state’s largest watershed

California ordered thousands of farmers and ranchers Friday to stop drawing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta amid worsening drought conditions or face up to $10,000 in fines per day.  The order will affect approximately 4,500 water rights holders, according to the statement issued by the State Water Resources Control Board.  The order was voted through unanimously by the State Water Resources Control Board more than two weeks ago. The regulators said the order was an effort to “protect drinking water supplies, prevent salinity intrusion and minimize impacts to fisheries and the environment.” … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  California water regulators block thousands of farmers from accessing state’s largest watershed

Thousands of farmers face $10,000-a-day fines if they pull water from California rivers

Water regulators on Friday formally ordered thousands of farmers across California to cut back their water use this summer or face fines of up to $10,000 a day.  The State Water Resources Control Board began sending formal “curtailment notices” to the holders of 4,500 water rights permits that allow them to pull water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries.  Between 500 and 600 of the state’s heaviest water users also are being asked to supply information to the state about how much water they’ll be expected to use and their estimated demand. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Thousands of farmers face $10,000-a-day fines if they pull water from California rivers

State orders 4,500 cities, farms to stop drawing river water, including San Francisco

California regulators began cracking down on water use in the sprawling Sacramento River and San Joaquin River watersheds on Friday, ordering 4,500 farmers, water districts and other landowners, including the city of San Francisco, to stop drawing water in the basins — or face penalties of up to $10,000 a day.  The move comes as the state slides deeper into an extraordinary two-year drought. Lakes, streams and rivers no longer have enough water for everyone who is taking it, and dwindling supplies must be rationed, state regulators say. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: State orders 4,500 cities, farms to stop drawing river water, including San Francisco

SEE ALSO:

Bill aimed at repurposing farmland is a step closer to passing

Lawmakers may be close to passing a bill aimed at helping farmers cope with water restrictions.  Assembly Bill 252, the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Incentive Program, would set up a program under the California Department of Conservation to use grant money for repurposing former ag land in critically over drafted groundwater basins. The bill was authored by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) and Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield.)  The bill has passed the Assembly and is heading to the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 23 where it will likely go to the Suspense File. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Bill aimed at repurposing farmland is a step closer to passing

US lawmakers want information on chemical toxic to salmon

More than a dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the heads of NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife on Thursday, 19 August, asking them to investigate the effect a toxic chemical has on salmon species.  Led by U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman and Katie Porter, both Califiornia Democrats, a total of 14 lawmakers are seeking answers from NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad and FWS Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams about their agencies’ efforts to examine the deleterious effects of 6PPD-quinone on wild salmon mortality. … ”  Read more from Seafood Source here: US lawmakers want information on chemical toxic to salmon

A new SEI tool sheds light on one of the world’s most complicated water systems

California policymakers are now able to model reported water use easily and quickly in any basin in the state thanks to a new SEI tool.  The tool, developed for the California State Water Resources Control Board, captures data from the Electronic Water Rights Information Management System (eWRIMS). It then analyses the data to provide users with a monthly water use estimate for every water right in any given watershed.  The tool, known as the eWRIMS Analyzer, also flags missing and erroneous data. … ”  Read more from Stockholm Environmental Institute here: A new SEI tool sheds light on one of the world’s most complicated water systems

Implementing ecosystem-based management

Both the legal literature and the scientific literature are rich with articles extolling the advantages of ecosystem-based management; that is, simultaneous management of water, land, and organisms to achieve a desired ecosystem condition benefiting both native biodiversity and human well-being. This approach has succeeded in other aquatic systems, particularly marine ecosystems, but the ecosystem-based management approach has struggled for adoption in the freshwater ecosystem context.  The primary challenge lies in implementation. Using the state of California as a case study, this article shows that the California Water Board is empowered and well-positioned to implement freshwater ecosystem-based management in California. By demonstrating that existing state and federal laws allow and even support ecosystem-based management, this article lays out a new state-level legal framework for better management of freshwater ecosystems. This approach, which does not require controversial changes to state and federal law, offers a reasonable and realistic way to improve the state of freshwater ecosystems.”  Read journal article from Duke University here: Implementing ecosystem-based management

Wildfires, drought and blackouts: California’s climate change nightmare is already here

After last year’s historic wildfire season, two nights of blackouts and a dry winter that raised alarm bells about another drought, California knew a difficult summer lay head.  Then things really turned bad. A spring heat wave dried up the snow in the Sierra Nevada, ushering in one of the worst droughts on record. Grasslands and forests burst into flames across Northern California, and the Dixie Fire — the second largest in California history — leveled most of the community of Greenville in Plumas County. The Caldor Fire in El Dorado County just recently wiped out the town of Grizzly Flats and forced the evacuation of Pollock Pines. A series of 110-degree days nearly pushed the state into another round of blackouts. Sometimes, the forces fed off each other.  Welcome to the summer of climate change. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Wildfires, drought and blackouts: California’s climate change nightmare is already here

As California burns, some ecologists say it’s time to rethink forest management

As he stood amid the rubble of the town of Greenville, Gov. Gavin Newsom this month vowed to take proactive steps to protect California’s residents from increasingly devastating wildfires.  “We recognize that we’ve got to do more in active forest management, vegetation management,” Newsom said, noting that the region’s extreme heat and drought are leading to “wildfire challenges the likes of which we’ve never seen in our history.”  Yet despite a universal desire to avoid more destruction, experts aren’t always in agreement about what should be done before a blaze ignites. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: As California burns, some ecologists say it’s time to rethink forest management

Return to top

In commentary this weekend …

Newsom must not play politics with his response to California’s water shortage

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board writes, “When it comes to water supplies in California and the U.S. Southwest, the news has been remarkably grim in recent weeks.  One story detailed how inn owners in Mendocino County — which has no municipal water system — were begging guests not to use showers because their wells had dried up. Another noted that for the first time ever, the federal government had declared a Colorado River water shortage. The river’s large adjacent reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, provide water to 40 million residents of California and six other Western states. A third report detailed how the massive Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to 19 million people from Santa Barbara to Riverside to San Diego, had issued a supply alert because of low reservoir levels at both the Colorado River and the State Water Project.  The fallout of these stories is not yet clear. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Newsom must not play politics with his response to California’s water shortage

Cooperation, not opposition, is key to solving California’s groundwater management

Merced County supervisor Daron McDaniel and Calavaras County supervisor Jack Garamendi write, “Once again, we find ourselves in a drought and running out of water.  For the second time in the past decade, we are enduring another frustrating and uncertain period, asking how we will sustain the citizens of California as well as the agriculture that feeds the world.  Drought is not new to California and we have engineered one of the most comprehensive and complex systems on the planet to water our crops and people. What has changed is that the investments our grandparents made that allowed our state to bloom are now deteriorating, our water storage is inadequate, and we are woefully behind in managing the vast, but declining aquifer that runs throughout our state. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here: Cooperation, not opposition, is key to solving California’s groundwater management

Return to top

In people news this weekend …

Reclamation selects Dr. Joshua Israel for new science division manager in Bay-Delta Office

The Bureau of Reclamation’s California Great-Basin Region announced today the selection of Dr. Joshua Israel as the new Science Division Manager for the Bay-Delta Office. This new position will increase support for the region’s science efforts.  “Advancing reliable science is critical to continuing to improve the operation of the Central Valley Project and adapting our practices to meet our fish and wildlife, water supply, and power generation project purposes into the future,” said David Mooney, manager for the Bay-Delta Area Office. “Josh’s record on leading teams to develop and apply collaborative approaches to meet the needs of fish and wildlife makes him ideally suited to this role.” … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here:  Reclamation selects Dr. Joshua Israel for new science division manager in Bay-Delta Office

Water Forum Executive Director Jessica Law on how California is managing its water supply

Jessica Law became executive director of the Water Forum in January. In 1993, the City and County of Sacramento launched negotiations to figure out how to ensure reliable water supplies and safeguard the environmental needs of the Lower American River. In 2000, 40 different agencies signed the Water Forum Agreement, which has guided the organization’s work ever since.  Law, who grew up in Miami, Florida, has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Connecticut College and a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She came to the Water Forum with more than 15 years of experience in water and environmental resource management, public process and land-use planning. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here: Water Forum Executive Director Jessica Law on how California is managing its water supply

As drought intensifies, this California water manager is testing new tools to help farmers, communities and wildlife

Growing up in Hanford, California, Aaron Fukuda learned about the connections between water, animals and plants at an early age. His mother, a biologist, taught him how to study owl pellets and how rain changed the landscape when he was a kid.  As an adult, Fukuda is more focused on what’s happening both on the ground and underground with the region’s increasingly scarce water supplies.  Fukuda wears three hats that give him a unique perspective on the region’s water and land issues as general manager of the Tulare Irrigation District, general manager of the Mid-Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency and a participant in the Kaweah Regional Conservation Investment Strategy (RCIS) steering committee process. ... ”  Read more from EDF’s Growing Returns here:  As drought intensifies, this California water manager is testing new tools to help farmers, communities and wildlife

American landscapes, seen through the lens of Bob Wick

Alan Taylor writes, “Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced the retirement of Bob Wick, one of its most prolific photographers, after a 30-year career. Wick’s images of public lands across the American West have been seen and shared by millions; some of them became iconic symbols of the wildlife and areas being preserved. As a tribute to Wick’s efforts and keen eye, I wanted to collect some of my favorites from his body of work and share them here.”  Check out the photo gallery at the Atlantic here: American landscapes, seen through the lens of Bob Wick

Return to top

Podcasts …

RIPPLE EFFECT PODCAST: Water law 2.0

A great free-ranging discussion with Robert Glennon (Regents Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, Chair of the Morris K. Udall Professor of Law & Public Policy Emeritus, and author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It,”) about barriers and opportunities within Western Water Law. Prof. Glennon brings decades of experience and perspective to a really fun, slightly wonky, discourse about the state of water and how to move forward. Parting words – don’t despair – the water community is creative, innovative, and up for the challenge.”


WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: The Great Dust Bowl 

Steven Baker writes, “Life is so busy that the importance of water in our lives can be hidden. Unfortunately, it is when water becomes scarce that we recognize how important water really is. A close friend of mine, Marcella Hart knows. She was five years old during the dust bowl when her family had to leave Oklahoma. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co

 

Return to top

In regional water news this weekend …

Siskiyou County: ‘I don’t believe anyone is safe’: drought rules spark accusations of racism in California outpost

“I love the smell of diesel power in the afternoon. It smells like victory.”  The line, a play on the quote from the Vietnam war movie Apocalypse Now, is the first uttered in a July video by Doug LaMalfa, the US congressman for Siskiyou county. In the background, bulldozers are destroying what appears to be a field with marijuana plants.  LaMalfa’s video was a response to a call from the Siskiyou county sheriff, who had invited citizens in this remote region in northern California to help his department in the fight against illegal marijuana grows.  The sheriff’s request, and the congressman’s video, were the latest in an intense standoff between Siskiyou officials and Hmong American residents of the county. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here: Siskiyou County: ‘I don’t believe anyone is safe’: drought rules spark accusations of racism in California outpost

Paradise Irrigation District is working to save water

As water across the state of California is becoming more scarce, people in Paradise are concerned for their community.  “Water is life, water is precious,” Paradise resident Amaji Fox said. “Without water, there is no life, there is no town.”  Fox has been living in Paradise for 40 years.  She was relieved to hear that her town is taking steps to preserve water so that the town can continue to rebuild. … ”  Read more from Action News Now here: Paradise Irrigation District is working to save water

Paradise Irrigation District to more closely monitor water filling station

The Paradise Irrigation District says it will now more closely monitor its free water fill station to the drought.  “We’re looking at a statewide drought and restrictions on water use so it’s important that PID do everything we can to save water for our community’s future,” Mickey Rich, the district’s assistant manager said in a press release. “We believe there may be people from outside the district who are getting the water that is intended just for our customers who are in need of drinking water.”  The district says in more closely monitoring the station that is only open to PID customers, people who are picking up water now must register inside the office, include their service address name and vehicle information. … ”  Read more from the Paradise Post here: Paradise Irrigation District to more closely monitor water filling station

Hatchery coho salmon temporarily relocated amid heat stress and drought conditions in Sonoma County

Due to drought and poor water conditions at Lake Sonoma, thousands of juvenile coho salmon have been relocated from the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery in Geyserville. The fish were trucked to a conservation facility at a high school in Petaluma where they will be reared until conditions improve.  Beginning in late spring, rising water temperatures at Warm Springs Hatchery increased the risk of heat stress and pathogen outbreaks. Scientists developed the relocation plan as a precaution to keep the hatchery coho safe.  “We all have a vested interest in seeing coho salmon remain healthy. In addition to being endangered, coho are an indicator species and a sign of the health of the watershed. When they’re in danger action needs to be taken,” said CDFW Acting Regional Manager Stacy Sherman. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Hatchery coho salmon temporarily relocated amid heat stress and drought conditions in Sonoma County

North Marin Water District to explore Novato supply expansion

The North Marin Water District will explore options for expanding local water supply in our Novato Service Area.  The district will consider options including expanding recycled water distribution, capturing stormwater runoff from nearby areas such as Bowman Canyon, and groundwater banking, in which the groundwater aquifer can be recharged during wet years and drawn from during drought years. … ”  Read more from The Patch here: North Marin Water District to explore Novato supply expansion

Marin advances stalled Ross Valley flood project

A Corte Madera Creek flood mitigation project that has been stalled since 1971 could begin construction this spring following action by Marin County supervisors.  The supervisors certified a final environmental impact report on the $14 million project on Tuesday and adopted a resolution approving a construction alternative endorsed by the town of Ross.  Instances of the Ross Valley being flooded by Corte Madera Creek date back to the 1860s. The biggest winter downpours occurred in 1956, 1982, 2005 and 2017, causing tens of millions of dollars in damages. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin advances stalled Ross Valley flood project

San Francisco Airport protects endangered species until it boasts more of them than any place on earth

One of the most beautiful of its species, the garter snake that inhabits the San Francisco peninsula is also the most endangered of its kind. Fortunately for the California serpent, it has human protectors who have given it a safe haven near the runways of the San Francisco International Airport.  As the Bay Area has grown and developed, the wetland habitat that is needed to sustain the harmless snake has diminished, so the animal was listed as endangered 54 years ago. Brutal droughts have also thinned its population, and that of their prey, as well.  While the snake is mostly isolated around the San Francisco peninsula, they are thriving in numbers near the tarmac of the airport known as SFO. … ”  Read more from Good News Network here: San Francisco Airport protects endangered species until it boasts more of them than any place on earth

How San Jose could become the first major California city with water allotments and drought penalties

Highlighting the deepening drought, San Jose could soon become the largest city in California where residents are given monthly allotments of water with financial penalties for exceeding them.  San Jose Water Company, a private utility that provides water to 1 million people in and around San Jose, has filed a plan with state regulators that would require each of its residential customers to cut monthly water use by 15% from their 2019 levels and pay $7.13 in surcharges for every unit of water they use above that amount.  The rules are a possible precursor for similar limits in other communities across the state, experts said. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: How San Jose could become the first major California city with water allotments and drought penalties

Monterey One Water committee recommends OK of water deal

While one public agency earlier this week tapped its brakes on approving a contract to supply recycled water to California American Water Co. a committee of another agency on Thursday gave the agreement a thumbs up.  Members of Monterey One Water’s Recycled Water Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the wastewater agency’s full board of directors that they accept a water purchase agreement in a three-way deal among Cal Am, Monterey One Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey One Water committee recommends OK of water deal

Fresno writer remembers watery joys of the past, even as the drought wears her down

As if I’m a thirsty person craving my next drink, I keep thinking about water. I hear the stories. A 20-acre family farm sits fallow. Down the road, another piece of land has the same barren look. Is the problem reasonable crop values or access to water? Likely, a bucket of both.  Fresno averages 11.5 inches of rain per year. Total precipitation from Oct. 1, 2020 to date is 6.59 inches, or 60% of normal — a larger percentage than most parts of the state.  In the canal I floated down as a kid, not a drop of water has flowed all season. The irrigation district canceled deliveries. The ditch sits on a viable water table, but it takes expensive electricity to siphon the aquifer. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Fresno writer remembers watery joys of the past, even as the drought wears her down

Woodville PUD awarded $2.2 million grant to improve quality of drinking water

The Woodville Public Utilities District will receive a state grant of more than $2.2 million to improve the quality of drinking water for its community.  The grant was recently announced by the State Department of Water Resources as part of a program to support communities facing water supply challenges. The department announced the first round of funding which will eventually total $200 million through the Small Community Drought Relief Program.  In the first round, 10 small water systems in Tulare, Siskiyou, Shasta, Lake and Kern Counties were chosen to receive $25 million. The funds will support a range of projects including emergency wanter system repairs and infrastructure such as new wells and water storage tanks along with improving the ability to distribute water. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Woodville PUD awarded $2.2 million grant to improve quality of drinking water

Santa Monica: Stormwater pollution needs a tidal wave of solutions

Infrastructure improvements are on the way to address the monstrous amounts of polluted stormwater draining onto beaches, but it could take decades until the effects of these projects build a groundswell of environmental change.  Fortunately, Santa Monica is at the vanguard of the stormwater mitigation movement. Unfortunately, it’s also at the forefront of the stormwater pollution problem with the Pico-Kenter storm drain, Pier storm drain and several others dumping millions of gallons of runoff into the ocean each year. … ”  Read more from the Santa Monica Daily Press here: Stormwater pollution needs a tidal wave of solutions

Groundwater storage increases for local Chino Basin rights holders

A San Bernardino County Superior Court judge today ruled that local agencies that pump water from the Chino Basin can store and access an additional six-month supply of groundwater, providing significant benefit for 1.5 million people across Inland Southern California.  The ruling by Judge Stanford Reichert on this single element of the Chino Basin Optimum Basin Management Program (OBMP) means water providers in the region can retain use of the stockpiled groundwater, worth about $50 million, and have room for more. The Chino Basin Watermaster Board of Directors and staff and the cooperating agencies worked together to craft this solution over the course of several years. … ”  Read more from ACWA Water News here: Groundwater storage increases for local Chino Basin rights holders

San Diego launching Pure Water, largest infrastructure project in city’s history

San Diego formally launched Friday the largest infrastructure project in city history, a sewage recycling system that will boost local water independence in the face of more severe droughts caused by climate change.  Dubbed “Pure Water,” the multibillion-dollar project is the culmination of a lengthy process featuring thorny lawsuits, complex labor deals and an aggressive public education campaign to fight the derogatory early nickname “toilet to tap.”  While construction crews have been breaking ground for several years on some of Pure Water’s preliminary elements, this fall will mark the start of construction on the system’s three most essential projects. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego launching Pure Water, largest infrastructure project in city’s history

SEE ALSO: San Diego Mayor, EPA chief celebrate first phase of drought-resistant water recycling project 

EPA chief gets tour of Tijuana River sewage and trash that foul San Diego beaches

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan got a first-hand look Friday at the Tijuana River Valley, where hundreds of millions of gallons of water laced with raw sewage, trash and industrial chemicals regularly foul San Diego shorelines, shuttering beaches as far north as Coronado.  “You know, you can read about these things and have your own visualization, but seeing it first-hand really is impactful,” said Regan, the first EPA administrator to tour the local border region. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: EPA chief gets tour of Tijuana River sewage and trash that foul San Diego beaches

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Commentary: We hit the mark for additional cuts to prop up Lake Mead. How will that play out?

Opinion columnist Joanna Allhands writes, “We’re there. We’ve hit the mark that will likely force even deeper cuts to prop up Lake Mead.  But what happens now is anyone’s guess.  The August 24-month study predicts lake water levels will hit 1,026 feet in July 2023, triggering what you might call the doomsday provision in the Drought Contingency Plan.  The plan stipulates that if any part of the two-year forecast drops below 1,030 feet of elevation, the lower basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada must decide what additional actions they’ll take to keep the lake from falling below 1,020 feet.  That’s a big deal. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: Commentary: We hit the mark for additional cuts to prop up Lake Mead. How will that play out?

The climate crisis is taking these farmers’ most valuable resource

The federal government on Monday declared a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time, triggering mandatory water consumption cuts for states in the Southwest, as climate change-fueled drought pushes the level in Lake Mead to unprecedented lows.  Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, has drained at an alarming rate this year. At around 1,067 feet above sea level and 35% full, the Colorado River reservoir is at its lowest since the lake was filled after the Hoover Dam was completed in the 1930s.  Lake Powell, which is also fed by the Colorado River and is the country’s second-largest reservoir, recently sank to a record low and is now 32% full. … ”  Read more from KDRV here: The climate crisis is taking these farmers’ most valuable resource

Colorado work group fails to reach consensus in anti-speculation report

After nearly a year’s worth of meetings, a work group has not reached a consensus about what Colorado should do to prevent investors from profiting off speculating on the state’s water.  A report released last week by a group of water managers, policy experts and users — who were convened to explore ways to strengthen current anti-speculation law — lays out a list of concepts but does not give clear direction to state legislators about which concepts to pursue.  “Due in part to the drawbacks that the Work Group identified for each of the brainstormed concepts in Section 5, and a lack of consensus, the Work Group does not recommend any of the concepts for implementation,” the report reads. … ”  Read more from the Steamboat Pilot here: Colorado work group fails to reach consensus in anti-speculation report

Return to top

In national news this weekend …

Biden moves to blunt Trump water permitting rule

EPA today laid out a path for states and tribes to take more time to negotiate and tackle challenges before signing off on water permits — an attempt to defang a controversial Trump-era rule that allows only a year to approve or deny permits for utilities and oil and gas pipelines.  Sources say the move is an attempt by the Biden administration to mitigate the adverse effects of the Trump water rule finalized last year that’s still on the books while showing sensitivity to advocates fighting the proliferation of fossil fuel projects.  “They’re not completely eliminating the Trump rule, but they’re taking out one of the worst aspects of it,” said Pat Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Biden moves to blunt Trump water permitting rule

EPA, Army take action to address implementation challenges with 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 certification rule

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army issued a joint memorandum regarding implementation of the 2020 Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification Rule associated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) permits. EPA and Army are closely coordinating to address challenges and better empower states and Tribes to protect public health and the environment.  “While EPA moves expeditiously to revise the 2020 rule, it is essential that the agencies address pressing implementation challenges that have been raised by our co-regulators,” said Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water Radhika Fox. “Today’s action provides guidance to maximize flexibilities and support the authority of states and Tribes to protect their waters.” … ”  Read more from the EPA here: EPA, Army take action to address implementation challenges with 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 certification rule 

Biden EPA loosens Trump rule limiting states’ ability to reject pipelines

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday issued a joint memo with the U.S. Department of the Army allowing states and tribes to extend the finalization process for water permits after a Trump-era rule imposed a one-year window.  The memo directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to wait the maximum amount of time to finalize 41 Nationwide Permits proposed under the act in September. The Trump-era rule provided a window of only a year to make a final decision under the Clean Water Act for oil and gas project permitting. While the CWA allows states and tribes to weigh in on projects that run through waterways, the 2020 rule reduced the approvals required at the state and tribal level. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Biden EPA loosens Trump rule limiting states’ ability to reject pipelines

Minnesota’s drought reaches levels not seen since 1988 and the Dust Bowl

Entire channels of the Mississippi River are caked dry. Rocks, riverbeds and islands of the St. Croix and Minnesota rivers are visible for the first time in decades. Dozens of streams are at their lowest recorded levels since at least 1988, or even the Dust Bowl.  On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) put much of the state in a “restricted phase” as the drought continues to get worse. That means water utilities and suppliers will need to cut down the total amount of water used to no more than 25% above what they used in January.  Parts of Minnesota have even slipped into the most severe level — “exceptional drought” — for the first time since the U.S. Drought Monitor began ranking droughts by four levels of intensity. … ”  Read more from the Minnesota Star-Tribune here: Minnesota’s drought reaches levels not seen since 1988 and the Dust Bowl

Why autumn weather won’t be the same this year

At the halfway point of August, fall is quickly approaching as schools are back in session. But warm temperatures and prolonged drought could hinder the traditional fall feeling of cool, crisp mornings with beautiful foliage on the trees.  The Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) extended three-month outlook for September through November is showing a similar story for most of the country — above average temperatures.  The CPC has also increased chances for La Niña this fall. While this could be good news for the drought-stricken western states, it does not bode well for areas impacted by tropical systems in the Atlantic. … ”  Read more from CNN here: Why autumn weather won’t be the same this year

5 possible climate futures—from the optimistic to the strange

The UN’s latest report on the state of the climate offers a stark warning that humanity’s future could be filled with apocalyptic natural disasters. But that future isn’t set in stone. Depending on global economic trends, technological progress, geopolitical developments, and most important, how aggressively we act to reduce carbon emissions, the world at the end of the 21st century could turn out to be radically different. Or not.  The spectrum of possible futures that await us underpin the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, whose first chapter on the physical science of climate change was released last week. ... ” Read more from National Geographic here: 5 possible climate futures—from the optimistic to the strange

Return to top

And lastly …

Steven Colbert: Come visit the Colorado River

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

NOTICE: Experimental Release of Delta Smelt Project – Initial Study/Negative Declaration and Appendices

NOTICE: Notice of Status Conference – Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District

YOUR INPUT WANTED: Draft Strategic Plan for Trout Management

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: 2022 Solicitation of Proposals for the Chinook Salmon Enhancement and Restoration Program

Return to top

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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: