DAILY DIGEST, 11/30: Sierra snowpack could disappear in 25 years; Groundwater plan managers not rattled by state’s initial negative reviews; Dan Walters: Drought has big impacts on California agriculture; and more …
WORKSHOP: Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program Stakeholder Workshop #1 from 10am to 12pm. The Department of Conservation is excited to hold two workshops to hear what stakeholders would like to see in our upcoming Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program. These workshops are designed to give stakeholders the opportunity to provide input into the Department of Conservation’s proposed Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program before program guidelines are developed. Click here to register.
SECRETARY SPEAKER SERIES: The Ocean is Moving In: Building Resilience to Sea Level Rise from 12:30pm to 2:00pm. Sea level rise threatens California’s beloved beaches, wetlands, and tidepools, and more broadly, our coastal communities and state economy. Climate change is accelerating, which means now is the time to prepare, adapt, and mitigate this complex threat. But how do we adjust to sea level rise and what does that mean for our policies and investments? Join us for a science update from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and to hear how California’s Tribal, state, and local governments are coming together to build resilience for our world-renowned coast. Register via Zoom.
WEBINAR: 15 Strategies for Communicating Science and Data to Non-Scientists from 2pm to 3:30pm. Do you speak at conferences, public meetings, or other events where you need to convey a specific message? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t quite hold the attention of your audience members? Would you like to learn a simpler, more effective way to design your slides? Join presentation coach and trainer, Cathy Angell, for a fast-paced and entertaining class that will show you how to present visuals that have impact; deliver data in a way that sticks in people’s brains; and transform the way you do PowerPoint. Click here to register.
Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada could disappear in just 25 years
“As the climate continues to warm, more and more of the snow falling on California’s mountains will be replaced by rain. Already in recent decades, the snow season has shrunk by a month, according to one estimate, while snow levels have moved upward by 1,200 feet, according to another. Scientists and water managers say that at some point California’s snowpack could simply disappear. This would leave the state without the crucial spring and summer melt-off that fills rivers and streams, nourishes plants and animals, and provides a huge chunk of the water supply. It would also be devastating for the ski industry. This snowless future, according to a new study led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, could arrive in California’s Sierra Nevada in as soon as 25 years. ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada could disappear in just 25 years
A future of little to no snow in the western mountains will stress water supply, scientists say
“The U.S. will need to make some serious changes to its water supply strategies as Earth’s climate continues to warm and snowpack in the country’s western mountains becomes much harder to come by in the coming decades, according to a new study. In America’s long and often strained history of managing its water infrastructure massive amounts of water from mountain snowpack has long been viewed as a comforting constant. Frigid temperatures and frequent snowfalls allow nearly 162 million acre-feet worth of snow to accumulate in the western mountains each year, only to melt during the spring and summer seasons when it becomes a key component of America’s water supply. But, as with countless other things, climate change is about dramatically change that. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: A future of little to no snow in the western mountains will stress water supply, scientists say
California remains in precarious water predicament
“October was a welcome water wonderland, but November was pretty much a dry bust for the Golden States. Was California’s wet October a sucker punch to the state’s all important reservoirs? “Historically, 1976, which was historically dry, started off with a wet October, so we’re not counting our chickens yet,” said East Bay Municipal Utilities District Public Information Officer Andrea Pook. Ski resort conditions tracker SkiCentral.com, says of the big 25 California resorts it tracks, only three are open and on a very limited basis. … ” Read more from KTVU here: California remains in precarious water predicament
Groundwater plan managers not rattled by state’s initial negative reviews
“Though the state’s first informal assessment of four San Joaquin Valley groundwater plans noted several — sometimes significant — deficiencies in those plans, groundwater managers were confident they could bring the plans up to snuff. “I did not read it as a failure at all,” said Stephanie Anagnoson, director of water and natural resources for Madera County, which includes the Chowchilla district. “These are challenging water resource issues. I think it’s hard to be in the first batch of these where there’s no model.” The Department of Water Resources issued letters on Nov. 18 to the Eastern San Joaquin and Merced subbasins as well as the Chowchilla and Westlands water districts calling out problems with those plans. DWR also approved four plans outside of the valley. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Groundwater plan managers not rattled by state’s initial negative reviews
DWR highlights indigenous cultural burning practices in Central Valley film showcase
“DWR, in collaboration with the North Fork Mono Tribe and Sonoma State University, joined nine other filmmakers in debuting a documentary at a Central Valley film showcase in November. Hosted by the Central Valley Community Foundation, The Big Tell is a film contest that awards 10 applicants $5,000 to produce a five minute documentary in three months to highlight untold stories in the region. After learning about the showcase, DWR Tribal Liaison, Emily Alejandrino immediately had a subject in mind to document: indigenous cultural burning. As one of many tribal liaisons with the Department, Alejandrino is no stranger to collaborating with Tribal partners. One of those partners includes Ron Goode, the North Fork Mono Tribal Chairman. The team partnered with Dr. Erica Tom, director of Native American Studies at Sonoma State, to helm the camera, documenting the relationship between fire, the land, and the North Fork Mono Tribe. … ” Read more from DWR News here: DWR highlights indigenous cultural burning practices in Central Valley film showcase
Warm-water habitat ‘pays the bills,’ allowing cold-water fish to fuel up
“New Oregon State University research shows that warm-water habitats can be critically important for the survival of cold-water fish such as trout and salmon. In the midst of climate change, this research has important implications for habitat protection and restoration efforts, which traditionally prioritize cold bodies of water instead of those that heat up during summer months, the researchers said. “We show in this paper by devaluing habitats that are warm in summer we miss their critical functions at other times of year,” said Nick Hahlbeck, who conducted the research as a doctoral student at Oregon State. “In this case, the habitat that would be written off provides almost all of the energy needed for growth and reproduction that is expressed at other times of the year.” … ” Read more from Oregon State University here: Warm-water habitat ‘pays the bills,’ allowing cold-water fish to fuel up
Recycled water can boost sustainable agriculture — if we get over the ‘yuck’ factor
“Since agriculture accounts for 69 percent of water use globally and 36 percent of overall water use in the United States, policymakers are eager to reduce freshwater demand. Boosting the use of recycled water within the U.S. agricultural sector might seem an obvious solution, but farmers — including greenhouse growers — have been reluctant to use recycled water. Why is that, given the urgent need for water conservation in agricultural production? Scientists have long noted that both farmers and the general public tend to disapprove of recycled water — that’s because of a condition called the “yuck factor,” when people believe that recycled water is unsanitary. Would improved educational outreach overcome some of the hesitancy to reuse water, if people understood how recycled water works and why it’s safe to use? … ” Read the full article at the Washington Post here:Recycled water can boost sustainable agriculture — if we get over the ‘yuck’ factor
University of California team’s research suggests more than 400 hazardous sites in California face flooding
“Unless climate change is slowed significantly, more than three feet of sea level rise (SLR) is expected in California by the end of the century, potentially flooding communities that are currently home to more than 145,000 residents. In addition to the threat to residential neighborhoods, new research suggests sea level rise will expose over 400 industrial facilities and contaminated sites in California, including power plants, refineries, and hazardous waste sites, to increased risk of flooding. Increased flooding can come with risks of contamination releases into nearby communities. … ” Read more from Newswise here: University of California team’s research suggests more than 400 hazardous sites in California face flooding
After wildfire, how do we rebuild for a “resilient recovery”?
“At least one in 12 California homes is at high risk of burning in a wildfire. Rebuilding for a Resilient Recovery—a report released earlier this year—found that state and local land use policies are currently incentivizing rebuilding in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), rather than driving development away from fire-prone areas. We spoke with one of the report’s authors—Robert Olshansky, Professor Emeritus of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—about the study. Q: Why did you do this study? A: Fire is costly in every possible way. We tried to delineate the various direct and indirect costs, but it goes on and on. Fire is part of the state’s housing crisis, because fires destroy homes and displace people: a fire can wipe out hundreds or thousands of housing units. Fire causes fiscal and financial problems for municipalities and the state, environmental problems for habitats, and insurance problems. Some insurers are considering leaving the state, and that’s reflected in everybody’s rates. And fire is a traumatic personal problem for people who’ve been affected. … ” Read more from the PPIC here: After wildfire, how do we rebuild for a “resilient recovery”?
Dan Walters: Drought has big impacts on California agriculture
“As California experiences a second year of drought, with no end in sight, the effects on California’s largest-in-the-nation agricultural industry are profound and perhaps permanent. State and federal water agencies have cut deliveries to some farmers to zero while others, thanks to water rights dating back more than a century, still have access to water. Farmers are reacting to shortages in three, often intertwined ways — suspending cultivation of some fields or ripping up orchards for lack of water, drilling new wells to tap into diminishing aquifers, and buying water from those who have it. All three have major economic impacts. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Drought has big impacts on California agriculture
DELTA LEAD SCIENTIST REPORT: Effects of pesticides on species in the Delta; plus activities of the Delta Science Program
At the November meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council during the Delta Lead Scientist report, Dr. Laurel Larsen spotlighted recent Council-funded research on the effects of pesticides on species in the Delta and provided an update on the activities of the Delta Science Program.
BLOG ROUND-UP: California’s resources agencies and the delta smelt’s slide toward extinction; Another threat to winter-run salmon in 2021 – Fall Sacramento River bypass overflows; Reasoning with regulators, benefitting from bureaucrats; and more …
‘There’s gold in these hills’: Heavy rain may have replenished prospecting spots at Mineral Bar
“After a soaking rain, the Mineral Bar campground is a treasure brimming with natural beauty on the North Fork American River, and the treasures are more than just visual. “You always hope you find a nugget,” said prospector Ron Nelson. FOX40 ran into Nelson, a prospector by hobby, on the riverbank. He agrees with what local mining shops are saying. Recent heavy rain has hobbyists excited about their prospects. Hard rain loosens pieces of gold from the riverbanks and canyon walls, sending them downriver. The process essentially restocks popular prospecting spots with gold. “It will fall into these holes if the river was up this high,” Nelson explained. ... ” Read more from Fox 40 here: ‘There’s gold in these hills’: Heavy rain may have replenished prospecting spots at Mineral Bar
Stinson Beach home project tests coastal development rules
“Marin officials are evaluating a Stinson Beach proposal that pits a property owner’s right to build a home against the increasing risk of sea level rise and efforts to protect the coastal environment. The Marin County Planning Commission held a discussion last week on a coastal permit application by Brian Johnson, who wants to build a two-story, 1,488-square-foot house at 21 Calle del Onda. The project also calls for a 288-square-foot detached garage and a new septic system on the 15,200-square-foot lot. The garage and the septic system are sited in a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plain. Marin County’s coastal rules prohibit new building in such flood zones. Nevertheless, the county’s planning staff recommended approving a permit for the septic system and house to avoid a lawsuit by Johnson. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Stinson Beach home project tests coastal development rules
Temperatures break record in San Francisco Bay Area. How hot will it get this week?
“The San Francisco Bay Area was soaked in sunshine over the weekend, and the dry and unseasonably warm conditions are expected to persist through most of the workweek, with afternoon temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal, the National Weather Service said. The sunny weather is the result of a ridge of high pressure stretched across California and the desert Southwest. The ridge is preventing any storms from the Pacific Ocean pushing into California. “It acts like a blocking mechanism and is streaming all that moisture into the Pacific Northwest,” said Sarah McCorkle, a meteorologist with the weather service. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: Temperatures break record in San Francisco Bay Area. How hot will it get this week?
Nahal Ghoghaie: Building environmental justice from the inside
“When Nahal Ghoghaie began her career in environmental justice, she advocated for vulnerable communities from the outside as a consultant. Now Ghoghaie elevates their voices from the inside, as the first Environmental Justice Manager for the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a state agency that regulates shoreline use in the San Francisco Bay. “This is a step in the right direction for government agency efforts to protect front-line communities,” Ghoghaie says. The people most vulnerable to sea level rise in the Bay include those of color, very low income, limited English and little formal education. Ghoghaie’s six years of experience with Bay Area community engagement make her a perfect fit for building connections between BCDC and underrepresented people. “There are a lot of trust issues with government in vulnerable communities,” she says. … ” Read more from the Bay Area Monitor here: Nahal Ghoghaie: Building environmental justice from the inside
Valley Water completes Lower Silver Creek Flood Protection Project
“Here at Valley Water, we’re dedicated to protecting Santa Clara County residents from flood risks. With the recent completion of the Lower Silver Creek Flood Protection and Creek Restoration Project, along with the Cunningham Flood Detention Facility Project completed last year, we’re happy to share that thousands of homes in East San Jose have been removed from the 100-year floodplain. … ” Continue reading from Valley Water News here: Valley Water completes Lower Silver Creek Flood Protection Project
The first crack at plans to manage the Salinas Valley’s groundwater is approaching its deadline.
“Under development for more than a year, official plans on how to manage the Salinas Valley’s spine of underground reservoirs are approaching completion. The reservoirs, called aquifers, are the lifeblood of the region known as the Salad Bowl of the World, where the agriculture industry produced $3.9 billion worth of crops in 2020. However, as the deadline for local agencies to submit these groundwater sustainability plans to the state nears, some have raised concerns over discrepancies in the modeling that is helping guide the plans. New modeling shows the overdrafting in the aquifers is worse than previously understood, but experts are unsure why. The plans, which outline how the local agencies will manage the underground reservoirs for the next 20 years, have to be submitted by Jan. 31, 2022. The agency responsible for completing the plans has chosen to exclude the new overdrafting information because there is not enough time to understand it before that deadline. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: The first crack at plans to manage the Salinas Valley’s groundwater is approaching its deadline.
California American Water requests California Public Utilities Commission approval of recycled water agreement and related facilities in Monterey
“California American Water filed an application today with the California Public Utilities Commission seeking approval of an agreement it recently negotiated with Monterey-area public agencies, Monterey One Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, for the purchase of additional advanced treated recycled water to be provided by an expansion of the Pure Water Monterey Project. “Our customers in Monterey are largely dependent on local rainfall for their water supply,” said California American Water president Kevin Tilden. “Given the need to protect over-strained surface and groundwater supplies in the area, new sources of water are critical. The Pure Water Monterey project brings us much-needed, additional supplies during this time of drought and contributes to a more sustainable water supply portfolio in the future.” ... ” Read more from Business Wire here: California American Water requests California Public Utilities Commission approval of recycled water agreement and related facilities in Monterey
King tides are coming back to SLO County. Here’s what to expect
“Gravitational forces caused by the moon and sun create our timeless tides. That tugging produces a tidal bulge, or, area of higher sea level on the ocean’s surface. As the Earth rotates eastward on its axis, California moves into this bulge, which produces a flood tide and, eventually, a high tide. As the Earth continues to spin, we move into an area of below-normal sea level, or nodes, which produces an ebb tide, eventually reaching low tide. The so-called “slack tide” is when the sea is not coming in nor going out. ... ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: King tides are coming back to SLO County. Here’s what to expect
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Bakersfield issues wave of mandatory water restrictions
“The city on Monday announced mandatory water restrictions effective Dec. 14 for all Domestic Water System customers to help fight worsening statewide drought conditions. “The City’s Water Resources Department has worked closely with California Water Service to monitor the conditions during the second years of the current drought. Both water providers have entered Stage 2 of their respective drought mitigation plans, implementing mandatory reductions in use of potable water for irrigation and outdoor cleaning,” the city said in a news release. It goes on to say, “These restrictions are for City of Bakersfield water system customers only and are similar to those mandated for Cal Water customers.” … ” Read more from KGET here: Bakersfield issues wave of mandatory water restrictions
Treatment project provides clean water to the city of Maywood
“Speaker Anthony Rendon joined the Water Replenishment District, State Water Resources Control Board Member Nichole Morgan, and Maywood Mutual Water Company No. 2 to celebrate the completion of a new water treatment project in the City of Maywood, CA. The facility removes manganese and iron, ensuring that residents have access to high-quality and affordable drinking water. … ” Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Treatment project provides clean water to the city of Maywood
Dominguez Channel odor fix could cost up to $143 million, says LA County Public Works
“Eliminating the persistent noxious odor that’s emanated from the Dominguez Channel and plagued Carson residents — and those of other communities — since early October has cost at least $54 million so far, officials say. And that number could hit $143 million if the odor isn’t entirely gone by March. That’s according to Mark Pestrella, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. His agency oversees around 483 miles of open channel and has taken responsibility for the odor, treating the water in the Dominguez Channel with a non-toxic and biodegradable odor neutralizer called Epoleon. … ” Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: Dominguez Channel odor fix could cost up to $143 million, says LA County Public Works
Conservation groups build support for Riverside County wildlife refuge
“Public-lands groups are asking Congress to support the proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge, a 500,000-acre swath between Hemet and Temecula in Southern California. The Hispanic Access Foundation and Defenders of Wildlife are asking people to sign a letter to lawmakers supporting House Resolution 972, which would create the refuge. Mariel Combs, senior policy analyst for Defenders of Wildlife, said the refuge would preserve important habitat and migration routes for many species. “It’s important, especially in this urban environment,” Combs asserted. “It would connect the Cleveland National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest.” ... ” Read more from the Public News Service here: Conservation groups build support for Riverside County wildlife refuge
Fallbrook CPG informed of Dec. 6 LAFCO hearing on MSR updates
“San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission will hold a Dec. 6 hearing on municipal service review updates for Fallbrook special districts, and LAFCO analyst Priscilla Allen provided a presentation on LAFCO, municipal service reviews, and the context of the hearing during the Nov. 15 Fallbrook Community Planning Group meeting. “We are in the process of coming forward to the commission with this study,” Allen said. … FPUD and RMWD are seeking to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and annex into the Eastern Municipal Water District. LAFCO approval will be a prerequisite for that. “That would be separate from the study,” Allen said. “For the coming meeting it will just focus on the MSR.” … ” Continue reading at the Village News here: Fallbrook CPG informed of Dec. 6 LAFCO hearing on MSR updates
EPA announces plan to address water pollution from the Tijuana River watershed
“The U.S. EPA is pledging $630 million to help clean up and prevent raw sewage from flowing into the U.S. from Mexico between San Diego and Tijuana. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox announced the decision to move forward with an environmental review of a suite of water infrastructure projects that would address this transborder water pollution. The issue has impacted the area along the Tijuana River Valley for decades, reported KRON 4 News. Raw sewage usually pours into the valley and out to the ocean in Imperial Beach, California, which most of it is from Tijuana’s outdated sewage and storm water infrastructure. ... ” Read more from Stormwater Solutions here: EPA announces plan to address water pollution from the Tijuana River watershed
Indy Q&A: SNWA general manager on the Colorado River and preparing for a drier future
“Colorado River officials face a math problem. Already, there is not enough water flowing through the Colorado River to meet all of the demands on the watershed, which spans seven U.S. states and crosses into Mexico. And as the climate changes, scientists warn that those who depend on the watershed should plan to receive even less water each year. … John Entsminger, the general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the states will be able to find a way to lower use “because of the structures we’ve already put in place.” He noted that if Lake Mead were to hit 1025 feet above sea level, current agreements would already trigger cuts of about 1.3 million acre-feet of water. The Nevada Independent spoke to Entsminger about the negotiations and how dry of a future Colorado River water officials should plan for. Our conversation has been edited for clarity and length. … ” Read more from the Nevada Independent here: Indy Q&A: SNWA general manager on the Colorado River and preparing for a drier future
Forecasters warn of a warm, dry winter in Arizona
“October came out on the dry side in much of Arizona. That’s not surprising: October’s one of the driest months of the year. But bad news lurks right around the corner — especially for ski bums and snow lovers. The surface of the Eastern Pacific continues to cool more than usual — which usually means a dry winter in Arizona and much of the Southwest. And that means more stress on already falling reservoirs. ... ” Read more from the Payson Roundup here: Forecasters warn of a warm, dry winter in Arizona
Utah’s Water Dilemma:Record-breaking drought along the Wasatch Front forces tough decisions about water supply
“Sitting inside a shepherd’s trailer hitched to his white pickup truck, Robert Child recounts a lifetime spent running sheep in the pastures of northern Utah. Wind gently rocks the compact trailer as Child, who is 75, describes the grazing rotations for his 2,000-head flock. Winters in Wendover, near the Nevada border. Summers in the high country above Logan. On a mid-October day he is here at the mouth of austere Whites Valley, where about five families harvest dryland grain, and where Child has leased grazing land for two decades. “I don’t know any different,” Child says about his occupation, his blue eyes gleaming playfully. “It’s a sickness.” … ” Read more from Circle of Blue here: Utah’s Water Dilemma:Record-breaking drought along the Wasatch Front forces tough decisions about water supply
Attorney General Bonta co-leads coalition in support of federal efforts to restore Endangered Species Act protections for habitat
“California Attorney General Rob Bonta, co-leading a multistate coalition, filed comments in support of the Biden Administration’s proposal to rescind two Trump-era rules that would drastically reduce the designation of critical habitat under the federal Endangered Species Act. In California, there are over 300 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act — more than any other mainland state — as well as millions of acres of designated critical habitat. In the comments, the coalition argues, as it has in ongoing litigation, that these rules, finalized in the last days of the Trump Administration, violate the Endangered Species Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act and should be rescinded. … ” Read more from Attorney General Bonta’s office here: Attorney General Bonta co-leads coalition in support of federal efforts to restore Endangered Species Act protections for habitat
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.