DAILY DIGEST, 9/16: Drought haves, have-nots test how to share water in the West; Who is to blame for CA’s drought?; Rising seas will change the coast and the groundwater beneath your feet; Fall storm to bring rain, first snowfall for some; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • WEBINAR: Wildfire: Weather, Water, Weeds, Wildlife, Day 1 from 9am to 12pm.  This webinar will focus on climate, geohydrology, fire, and how we address their impacts. Panel 1 focuses on climate and weather science related to wildfire and impacts on soils and watersheds. In Panel 2, we will focus the discussion on how we manage the physical impacts of fire on communities.  Click here to register.
  • MEETING: The Delta Independent Science Board will meet from 10:30am to 1:30pm.  The Delta ISB will discuss the recruitment of post-doctoral scholars to support the Delta ISB’s work, the current vacancy on the Delta ISB, the election of the new Chair-elect, and the draft report for the Monitoring Enterprise Review. Additionally, Dr. Laurel Larsen will provide an overview of the Delta Science Program.  Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Southwest Drought Briefing from 10am to 10:30am. The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that nearly all of the Southwest is experiencing some level of drought. Recent monsoonal rain has improved drought conditions, but extreme and exceptional drought still persists for much of the region. This short drought briefing will focus on drought conditions for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada. It will be followed by the seasonal outlook and an overview of forecast products from the Climate Prediction Center.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: The Water and Tribes Initiative: A Conversation with Anne Castle from 12pm to 12:30pm. This talk will provide background on the effort to achieve universal clean water access for Native Americans and the current state of play, highlighting new opportunities to solve this problem by aligning with the Biden Administration’s commitment to racial equity and ensuring clean drinking water for all Americans.  Click here to register.
  • WORKSHOP: Draft Water Budget Chapter of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Turlock Subbasin from 12pm to 1pm.  During this lunch session, participants will learn more about Water Budget chapter of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) being jointly developed by the West Turlock Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) and the East Turlock Subbasin GSA for the Turlock Subbasin. Under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act these GSAs must develop a GSP to that achieves long-term groundwater sustainability.   Click here to register.
  • MEETING: Delta Protection Commission from 4pm to 6pm. Agenda items include reports from the Delta Protection Advisory Committee, the activities of the Delta Stewardship Council and the Delta Conservancy, and 2021 Delta Flood Prep Week.  Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
  • WEBINAR: Delta Conveyance Project Informational Webinar: Environmental Justice from 6pm to 7:30pm. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is hosting four informational webinars between July and September 2021 to provide background information related to preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Drought haves, have-nots test how to share water in the West

Phil Fine stands in a parched field and watches a harvester gnaw through his carrot seed crop, spitting clouds of dust in its wake. Cracked dirt lines empty irrigation canals, and dust devils and tumbleweeds punctuate a landscape in shades of brown.  Across an invisible line separating Fine’s irrigation district from the next, it’s another world. Automated sprinklers hiss as they douse crops, cattle munch on green grass and water bubbles through verdant farmland.  In this swath of central Oregon, where six irrigation districts rely on the Deschutes River, the consequences of the strict hierarchy dictated by the American West’s arcane water law — “first in time, first in right” — are written on the land. As drought ravages the West, the districts with century-old water claims are first in line for the scarce resource while others nearby with more recent claims have already run out.  … ”  Continue reading at the Seattle Times here: Drought haves, have-nots test how to share water in the West

Who is to blame for California’s drought?

Social media users are playing the blame game when it comes to California’s drought. Read enough comments online and you’ll see many similar responses blaming the state government for its management of water: California should have more water storage. California dumps water into the ocean. Northern California sends too much water to Southern California.  UC Davis experts said those assertions are incorrect.  “The characterization that this is just government malfeasance is wildly inaccurate and unfair, and misses the key points,” said Richard Frank, professor of environmental practice and director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at the UC Davis School of Law. … ”  Read more from UC Davis Magazine here: Who is to blame for California’s drought?

The West’s historic drought in 3 maps

More than 94 percent of the West drought this week, according to the US Drought Monitor, with six states entirely in drought status: California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana.  Parts of the West saw record-setting rainfall that brought some slight relief to the region, but most areas remain dry.  Against the backdrop of climate change-fueled drought, wildfires have charred nearly 6 million acres of vegetation across the region. Fire experts say that dry and windy conditions create a prime environment for wildfires to spark and spread.  Scientists say the multi-year drought is a clear sign of how the climate crisis is affecting not only the weather, but water supply, food production and electricity generation. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: The West’s historic drought in 3 maps

Water transfers helped farmers survive this year. Now, all eyes are on the coming water year

Water transfers, trades and sales doubled this year as drought left San Joaquin Valley farmers scrambling for supplies.  “This has been kind of an exceptional year for transfers,” said Sam Boland-Brien, program manager at the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights. Boland-Brien said he’s seen about twice the amount of transfers this year compared to an average water year.  Surface supplies were slashed to 5% of of contracted amounts for State Water Project contractors and many federal Central Valley Project contractors.  Transfers typically take 30 days for approval, Boland-Brien said.   But the 2021 drought proclamation shortened the comment period to 15 days making the whole approval process just 45 days long and moved it entirely online. ... ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Water transfers helped farmers survive this year. Now, all eyes are on the coming water year

Rising seas will change the coast and the groundwater beneath your feet

While concerns over sea-level rise have typically focused on the ocean washing over previously dry land, higher seas also raise the coastal groundwater table — and that could expose far more Californians and their property to climate-change effects than overland flooding.  Miami is already experiencing such groundwater flooding. The Atlantic Ocean has risen enough that it routinely pushes subterranean water levels so they breach the land’s surface in some neighborhoods there on a daily basis, U.S. Geological Survey coastal geologist Patrick Barnard told the state Coastal Commission in a multi-agency presentation on the issue Sept. 8.  “Low-lying areas like ports and reclaimed estuaries — like we have in northern Orange County and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — have very shallow groundwater today and by the end of the century, it will become even more of an issue,” Barnard said. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Rising seas will change the coast and the groundwater beneath your feet

Indoor cannabis producers adopt water-efficiency systems in the heat of drought

Drought has driven water restrictions across the West, impacting citizens, municipalities, farms and businesses – cannabis producers among them.  In response, many indoor producers have implemented water-efficiency technologies in past years to maintain enough water for their growing seasons while ensuring they are responsible stewards of the environment.  As the drought worsens, it’s likely more restrictions are coming, producers say.  Adopting long-term water-efficiency measures must be the answer to show leadership in an industry that – right or wrong – has had a reputation for water overuse.  “We’re building (production technologies) so we’re prepared, from both a fiduciary and a corporate responsibility standpoint, if there’s an issue with water use,” said Jigar Patel, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco’s NorCal Cannabis.  “But, more important, because we think it’s the right thing to do.” … ”  Read more from MJ Biz Daily here: Indoor cannabis producers adopt water-efficiency systems in the heat of drought

Feds OK plan to cut salmon fishing when needed for orcas

Federal officials have approved a plan that calls for cutting nontribal salmon fishing along the West Coast when the fish are needed to help the Northwest’s endangered killer whales.  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries adopted the plan Tuesday as recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. It calls for restricting commercial and recreational salmon fishing when chinook salmon numbers are especially low.  It’s one of the first times a federal agency has restricted hunting or fishing one species to benefit a predator that relies on it. ... ”  Read more from KOB here: Feds OK plan to cut salmon fishing when needed for orcas

Taste of fall in Northwest to bring first snowfall for some

A large storm with drenching rain is brewing over the Pacific Ocean, and it has eyes for the northwestern United States, which is in need of rain, AccuWeather meteorologists say. Much lower temperatures will follow, and some residents in the West may see their first snow of the season. …  A general 1-2 inches of rain is forecast in the zone in between the Coast Ranges and the Cascades in Washington and Oregon, with 0.25 to 1.00 inch of rain possible east of the Cascades in Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho. Heavier rain is forecast along the western slopes of the Olympics, Coast Ranges and Cascades, where 2-4 inches of rain are expected with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 6 inches.  A second burst of moisture may swing in and soak northernmost California later Saturday and Sunday. There can be enough rain around San Francisco to wet the ground, make puddles and create slick roadways. … ”  Read the full article at AccuWeather here: Taste of fall in Northwest to bring first snowfall for some

World’s largest trees under siege from California wildfire as sequoias face new perils

Deep inside the heart of Sequoia National Park lies a cathedral-like grove that is home to thousands of towering sequoia trees. Known as the Giant Forest, it draws throngs of visitors each year who come to marvel at its behemoths, including the 275-foot General Sherman tree, known as the largest tree on Earth.  Wildfire is a natural part of the life cycle of sequoias — helping to release their seeds. But with climate change fueling a new breed of extreme fire in California, that ecological contract has been betrayed. Flames from a wildfire are lapping at the Giant Forest and threatening to decimate some of the greatest natural wonders of the world. … ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here: World’s largest trees under siege from California wildfire as sequoias face new perils

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In commentary today …

Adding needed homes won’t unduly burden water systems

Jim Larimar writes, “The availability of potable water is not a reason to oppose development in drought-threatened California. The view that water should limit development is one of the false claims made by Not-In-My-Back-Yard organizations that want to stop the future. The NIMBY mantra that new development poses risks to the environment, that we will run out of water, is wrong. Less than 5 percent of annual water supply is used inside residences.  There are many NIMBY organizations making these false claims, some with longstanding national stature. Regardless of who suggests that water is a reason to stop building houses, they are wrong. … ”  Continue reading at the Half Moon Bay Review here: Adding needed homes won’t unduly burden water systems

In regional water news and commentary today …

Fort Bragg upgrades its water emergency to Stage 4 as Noyo River at virtual standstill

Continuing low flows in the Noyo River have prompted the city of Fort Bragg to once again upgrade its drought emergency level.  On Monday, the Fort Bragg City Council unanimously approved upgrading the emergency from a Stage 3 to a Stage 4 water crisis, which will require residents and businesses to conserve an additional 10% of water, bringing their total reduction in water use to about 30% to 40% of a normal year. Some new rules, like a ban on watering your lawn or washing your car outside of a commercial facility, will also go into effect. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Voice here: Fort Bragg upgrades its water emergency to Stage 4 as Noyo River at virtual standstill

SEE ALSO: Drought on Mendocino Coast: State Water Board amends curtailment orders to expedite water deliveries, from the Fort Bragg Advocate

Two Basin Solution Partnership requests more time to address regional water crisis

The Two-Basin Partnership, comprised of California Trout, the County of Humboldt, the Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, and Sonoma County Water Agency, on September 2 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow additional time to re-evaluate the proposed plan to take over the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project (Project).  The Partnership specifically requested that the time delay continue until May 31, 2022, at which time the Partnership will provide further notice regarding its plans. … ”  Continue reading from the Sonoma County here: Two Basin Solution Partnership requests more time to address regional water crisis

A holistic approach to water management in the Sacramento River basin: Ridgetop to river mouth water management

Water resources managers and the leaders in Northern California continue to advance Ridgetop to River Mouth water management to bring this region and its people to life—the farms and ranches, the cities and rural communities, the fish, birds, and wildlife. Northern California’s water is the lifeblood for our families, the fish and wildlife that grace this region and our special way of life.  There are unique opportunities in the Sacramento River Basin to advance ridgetop to river mouth water management, which can best be envisioned by looking holistically at: 1) headwaters and forest health, 2) floodplain reactivation for public safety and fish and wildlife, 3) sustainable groundwater management (including groundwater recharge and banking), 4) healthy soils and farms; 5) safe drinking water; and 6) vital rivers and streams. … ”  Continue reading at the Northern California Water Association here: A holistic approach to water management in the Sacramento River basin: Ridgetop to river mouth water management

30 years later: Upper Sac River and Cantara Loop Spill

The Upper Sacramento River was again at risk of devastation after a Union Pacific train derailed recently at Cantara Loop, reminding many of the disastrous spill over 30 years ago in the same location. Luckily this time, no spills of any kind occurred, but this further strengthens the argument that this pristine stretch of river requires protection.  In July 1991, a 97-car Southern Pacific train derailed at the Cantara Loop near Mt. Shasta and dumped 19,000 gallons of herbicide metam sodium into the Sacramento River. Within two days, the spill had reached Shasta Lake, leaving in its wake hundreds of thousands of dead fish and 45 miles of river so scoured of life that not even algae remained. ... ”  Read more from Cal Trout here:  30 years later: Upper Sac River and Cantara Loop Spill

El Dorado County: Millions needed to fix burned flumes

Rebuilding three burned wooden flumes with concrete will cost up to $17 million.  El Dorado Irrigation District General Manager Jim Abercrombie Sept. 8 selected Syblon Reid to rebuild Caldor Fire-burned Flumes 4, 5 and 6 totaling 725 feet. The contractor will also build an access road to them.  This emergency single-source contract is a time-and-materials contract that is not to exceed that amount. The reconstruction will include a mechanically stabilized wall and concrete flumes. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: El Dorado County: Millions needed to fix burned flumes

Amador County water officials ask customers to cut usage by 20%

At first glance at the north fork of the Mokelumne River, the water supply looks healthy for Amador County, but some waterways like Sutter Creek sit dry.  “We tell everybody to make every drop count. That always applies, but even more so right now,” explained Larry McKenney, a general manager with the Amador Water Agency.  He told FOX40 that the agency is asking its customers to cut water usage by 20% since the utility can’t divert water from the river anymore. … ”  Read more from Channel 40 here: Amador County water officials ask customers to cut usage by 20%

Delta: Remembering a century of history at Giusti’s Place

Giusti’s Place in Walnut Grove, whether reached by vehicle or by a short walk from the nearby boat dock, was a must-stop for visitors to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region for over 100 years.  Giusti’s, in its fourth generation of family ownership, had called the historic Miller Ferry Saloon building in Walnut Grove its home since 1912. Visitors were drawn to the restaurant’s classic Italian American menu offering lunches and three-course dinners, all served with a bowl of minestrone soup. The bar and restaurant were a sight to see, with walls covered with autographed photos from the likes of Ronald Reagan, Jay Leno and Mickey Mantle, plus 1,500 baseball caps hanging from the ceiling. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here: Remembering a century of history at Giusti’s Place

Aging infrastructure to blame for water main break that caused flooding in San Francisco homes

City officials initially blame aging infrastructure for a large water main break Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco’s Crocker-Amazon neighborhood. The break sent a steady stream of water flowing down city sidewalks and streets.  Several homes flooded as crews and residents were left mopping up the mess into the night. Some people said as much as a foot of water flooded their basement. … ”  Continue reading at KTVU here: Aging infrastructure to blame for water main break that caused flooding in San Francisco homes

Monterey commentary: Local water a dangerous political game

Rudy Fischer writes, “The board of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is playing a dangerous political game and one that could be costly for Peninsula water ratepayers.  Over a period of several months negotiators from Cal Am, the MPWMD, and Monterey One Water met nine times to work out an agreement that would allow expansion of the Pure Water Monterey pure water recycling plant. There were actually 14 exchanges of ideas and language changes. This is something the MPWMD board — at least in public – has long sought. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Local water a dangerous political game

PPIC Policy Brief: Groundwater and Urban Growth in the San Joaquin Valley

Urban water utilities in the San Joaquin Valley rely heavily on groundwater, and many plan to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population with increased pumping.  These utilities will face unique challenges as the region—which has the state’s largest groundwater deficit—implements the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Smart land use changes will play a critical role in helping communities reduce per-capita water use and recharge more groundwater, a key drought reserve. Partnerships between urban utilities, agriculture, local land use authorities, and state agencies can drive resilience efforts and help keep water rates affordable for the region’s residents. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC here: PPIC Policy Brief: Groundwater and Urban Growth in the San Joaquin Valley

City council discusses groundwater sustainability for Atascadero

” … John Neil from Atascadero Mutual Water Co. and the Groundwater Sustainability Agency presented an update on work being done for Atascadero Basin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). Neil shared the goal of the Atascadero Basin GSP, which “is to continue the sustainable management of groundwater resources for the benefit of Basin stakeholders and to avoid undesirable results throughout the 20-year Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation horizon and beyond. In adopting this GSP, it is the express goal of the GSA to balance the needs of all groundwater uses and users through effective management actions and project implementation.” … ”  Read more from the Atascadero News here: City council discusses groundwater sustainability for Atascadero

Palmdale Water District explores water recharge project options

The Palmdale Water District Board of Directors gave the go-ahead to explore an alternative option for a water recharge project in the Big Rock Creek area, during its meeting, Monday night.  The Antelope Valley State Water Contractors Association, of which the District is a part, has been studying the feasibility of using surplus State Water Project water from the California Aqueduct to recharge the local aquifer by releasing it into the streamed of Big Rock Creek, southeast of Palmdale. A pilot study of the original plan conducted in 2019-2020 proved to be infeasible, as the ground did not absorb the water fast enough to prevent it from spilling downstream, where it crossed and flooded Avenue T. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Palmdale Water District explores water recharge project options

Burbank Water & Power wants stricter rules on water use amid drought

With the effects of a statewide drought intensifying, Burbank Water and Power plans to request permission next week to tighten rules on water usage.  The utility will ask the City Council during a public hearing on Tuesday to allow it to move from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of Burbank’s water use ordinance. Under Stage 2, residents would be able to water landscaped areas via sprinklers for only 15 minutes once a week between November and March. They would also be prohibited from refilling artificial or ornamental bodies of water that don’t use recycled water. … ”  Read more from Outlook here: Burbank Water & Power wants stricter rules on water use amid drought

L.A. County takes first steps to end urban oil drilling

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has taken the first steps to phase out oil production in unincorporated areas, including the Inglewood Oil Field — a move that environmental justice advocates celebrated as historic after decades of fighting.  On Wednesday, the board unanimously voted to ban new oil wells and evaluate the status of existing ones while changing their zoning to “nonconforming.”  The environmental impacts of oil drilling in L.A. County have fallen disproportionately on people of color. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: L.A. County takes first steps to end urban oil drilling

LA County supervisors OK stormwater-capture projects for Measure W funding

Four LA Sanitation and Environment stormwater capture projects were approved for funding on Wednesday, Sept. 15, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  The board approved the projects for a total of $50.7 million in funding through the Los Angeles County Safe Clean Water 2021-22 Regional Program, which is financed by revenues from Measure W, the parcel tax measure approved by voters in 2018 for projects increasing the water supply, improve water quality, protect public health and provide community enhancements. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star News here: LA County supervisors OK stormwater-capture projects for Measure W funding

SoCal nonprofit developing pilot to reduce daily water usage

A pair of environmental groups are developing a path for Los Angeles residents to conserve water with a goal of using just 13 gallons per day, down from the current California average of 86 gallons, officials said Tuesday.  Last month, the Pasadena City Council unanimously approved the proposal to implement the Level 2 Water Supply Shortage Plan under the Pasadena Municipal Code and to establish a voluntary water reduction target of 15 percent, which aligns with the state’s reduction goal. … Now, the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles is partnering with the 50 Liter Home Coalition to develop a plan. … ”  Read more from Pasadena Now here: SoCal nonprofit developing pilot to reduce daily water usage

Column: Recognizing Orange County warriors in the fight against climate change

Columnist Patrice Apodaca writes, “The climate is changing, and to a certain extent there’s no going back. We humans have opened Pandora’s Box, and now we are reaping the consequences through the extreme events we are witnessing in real time: massive hurricanes, wildfires, floods, heat waves and droughts.  Yet, strangely enough, there is reason for optimism; that reason being the work undertaken by legions of people — more every day — who are dedicated to finding solutions. These warriors in the war against climate change are the quiet, unheralded heroes who might just be key to saving us all.  In this column, I’ll call attention to a few of them here in Orange County, all brainiacs at UC Irvine who have carved out what might appear to the general public to be dry, technical careers. Don’t be fooled. Their scholarly pursuits could help light the path forward. … ”  Read more from the Daily Pilot here: Column: Recognizing Orange County warriors in the fight against climate change

Cost analysis for desalination presented to South Coast Water District board

Ocean desalination has been named as one of the South Coast Water District’s top priorities—even more so as California undergoes an unprecedented water shortage.  In 2008, a Pilot Ocean Desalination Project was first initiated at Doheny State Beach, and the facility operated successfully for 21 months between 2010 and 2012. Subsequent to this effort, the District has proceeded with planning for an Ocean Desalination Facility.  On Aug. 26, the SCWD Board of Directors authorized general manager Rick Shintaku to exercise an extended agreement with GHD Inc. for ocean desalination program management and project development through June 30, 2022, in an amount not to exceed $275,000. … ”  Read more from the San Clemente Times here: Cost analysis for desalination presented to South Coast Water District board

EPA issues third emergency order on drinking water safety to Oasis Mobile Home Park

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday issued a new emergency drinking water order to the Oasis Mobile Home Park, requiring management to provide alternative drinking water to residents, reduce the levels of arsenic in the Oasis drinking water distribution system and monitor the water for contamination.  This is the third order the EPA has issued to Oasis since August 2019. … ”  Continue reading at the Desert Sun here: EPA issues third emergency order on drinking water safety to Oasis Mobile Home Park

SEE ALSO: U.S. EPA issues new emergency order on drinking water safety to Oasis Mobile Home Park, press release from the EPA

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Along the Colorado River …

Why this winter may be dry in Arizona

Our state could be facing another dry winter, thanks to a weather pattern called “La Niña.”  A week or so ago, a “La Niña” watch was issued for the eastern Pacific. It’s not like any of the watches we’re used to in the short-term weather business, but is issued by the Climate Prediction Center.  Surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific, mainly off the coast of South America, have shown to be indicators of certain types of weather in North America. La Niña represents cooler-than-normal sea water temperatures. It’s the opposite of El Niño, which is a warming of sea temperatures. Somewhere in between is ENSO Neutral, which is a fancy way of saying the sea temperatures are in transition from warm to cold or vice versa. … ”  Read more from Arizona Family here:  Why this winter may be dry in Arizona

Feds won’t do more emergency water releases to aid Lake Powell after this year

A series of emergency water releases from federally owned Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa and Navajo reservoirs, which began in July and are designed to bolster hydropower production at the ailing Lake Powell, will end late this year and will be replaced by a program that instead reduces the amount of water being released from Powell.  “The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation prefers not to initiate emergency action again unless absolutely necessary to do so,” said Becki Bryant, a Reclamation spokesperson. “If additional water releases are needed, Reclamation will consider monthly release adjustments at Lake Powell first before releasing additional water from the upstream initial units to Lake Powell.” … ”  Read more from Water Education Colorado here: Feds won’t do more emergency water releases to aid Lake Powell after this year

12 photos that show the drought’s impact on the American West

The federal government declared the first-ever water shortage last month for the Colorado River, with the limited water supplies affecting agricultural operations and wildlife populations.  CQ Roll Call’s photo editor headed West to report on how southern Nevada and bordering states are faring as drought conditions worsen.  Staff writer Joseph Morton examined how Congress is responding to the issue. Here’s our accompanying photo report ... ”  Read more and view photos from Roll Call here: 12 photos that show the drought’s impact on the American West

Colorado: Climate change isn’t coming in the future, it’s already here. This is how it’s impacting your everyday life.

When Virginia Iglesias goes climbing in Eldorado Canyon or skis the Gore Range, she tries to block out all the big data she collects as a researcher for the University of Colorado’s Earth Lab climate change section. But it’s hard to ignore.  The wildfire smoke and ozone choking her climbing friends and obscuring the views of the Flatirons. The fast-evaporating snowpack. All the homes she passes that her data studies highlight as increasingly vulnerable to wildfires.  If you tried to convince yourself climate change is “not now” or is happening “somewhere else,” that may have ended for you this summer in Colorado. … ”  Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Colorado: Climate change isn’t coming in the future, it’s already here. This is how it’s impacting your everyday life.

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In national water news today …

Counties urged to mobilize against shifting federal waters rule

The National Association of Counties is urging its members across the country to mobilize against a constantly-changing definition of the waters of the U.S., or WOTUS.  The most important factor is “regulatory certainty,” Adam Pugh, associate legislative director for the association, said Wednesday during a webinar about WOTUS changes.  “Knowing that you can begin a project—and knowing you won’t have to change it in four or eight years depending on the result of the presidential election—is key,” he said. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg Law here: Counties urged to mobilize against shifting federal waters rule

Dems seek ‘historic’ changes to U.S. flood program

Congressional Democrats are moving toward enacting two measures that could vastly expand access to flood insurance and give communities a more accurate picture of their flood risk through better maps.  Two provisions in a budget reconciliation bill the House Financial Services Committee approved Tuesday address long-standing shortcomings in flood protection as climate change and coastal development intensify damage from flooding.  One item provides $1 billion to launch a subsidy program to help low- and moderate-income households buy flood insurance and close the coverage gap that leaves poorer households and communities more vulnerable to flood damage. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Dems seek ‘historic’ changes to U.S. flood program

Republicans may abandon infrastructure bill because Pelosi ‘linked’ it with reconciliation: GOP Rep. Johnson

As Democrats charge ahead with writing their massive $3.5 trillion spending bill, which they aim to pass on a party-line vote through budget reconciliation, at least one moderate Republican is warning the bipartisan infrastructure bill may lose GOP votes because it’s too intertwined with the reconciliation bill.  “I think Nancy Pelosi did this whole process a real disservice by linking them together so strongly and she continues to do that. And that makes it very difficult to bring Republicans to the party,” Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC), told Fox News Wednesday. “I think for honest, forthright fiscal conservatives, it’s hard to get excited about the trillion dollar deal if in any way it makes it more likely that the three-and-a-half trillion dollar deal passes.” … ”  Read more from Fox News here: Republicans may abandon infrastructure bill because Pelosi ‘linked’ it with reconciliation: GOP Rep. Johnson

‘The opportunity is now’: Water advocates view upcoming UN climate conference as moment of relevance

When they converge on Glasgow this fall to rekindle pivotal global climate negotiations that were dampened during the pandemic, diplomats and government ministers will confront a world much changed since their last convention.  Covid-19, as it continues to rampage globally, illustrated the gulf in resources available to rich and poor in dealing with environmental stressors. Meanwhile, floods in Germany’s Ahr Valley and wildfires in Greece and the American West showed that no country, rich or poor, is immune to the terrors of a fevered planet, calamities that were summarized in the United Nations’ recent report on climate science. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: ‘The opportunity is now’: Water advocates view upcoming UN climate conference as moment of relevance

How is climate change impacting the water cycle?

Climate change is one of the biggest factors and concerns facing the modern world today. From carbon emissions, to rising temperatures, and melting ice caps, climate change affects the earth in many ways, and there are also a large number of side effects that are much farther reaching than we might think. One of these side effects is the impact on the water cycle.  … ”  Read more from the World Atlas here: How is climate change impacting the water cycle?

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Today’s featured articles …

BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: Insights into the life history and habitat use of historical salmon in the Bay-Delta Watershed

Chinook salmon have long thrived in California’s variable climate, including prolonged drought periods, by utilizing the historical Delta’s vast habitat mosaic and their adaptable life history.  However, changes to the estuary from reclamation and development as well as climate change threaten the long-term survival of Central Valley chinook salmon.

While surveys and geochemical tools have provided crucial insights for salmon populations in California, these data were collected after significant population declines and the construction of dams that blocked access to a significant portion of their historic habitat.  As a result, these data and tools may miss key aspects of potential salmon life history.

At the 2021 Bay-Delta Science Conference, Dr. Malte Willmes, a postdoc at UC Santa Cruz and NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, presented the findings of a study where researchers applied a suite of morphological and geochemical tools to chinook salmon otoliths collected from an archaeological site predating the Delta’s development.  The study showcases the potential for archaeological fish remains to provide unique insights into past salmon populations to guide future conservation, management, and recovery.

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

IEP NEWSLETTER: Zooplankton trends, Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Protram, Seasonal monitoring report for IEP surveys; and more …

VELES WEEKLY WATER REPORT: Technicals show Price Reversal for NQH2O. Is the worst over?

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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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