DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Locally led solutions for groundwater sustainability are advancing; Groups defend needed regulations for the Delta; Drought foreshadows another tough year in the Klamath basin; Congress approves funds to fix Whittier Narrows Dam; and more …
Through challenges of drought, locally led solutions for groundwater sustainability are advancing
“California’s groundwater basins are a critical part of the state’s water supply for millions of people. Small communities rely on it, individual homes rely on it. It is a source of drinking water as well as irrigation for California’s agricultural community. Groundwater is a fragile lifeline for some communities and as we find ourselves entering a third year of a severe drought, conservation will be critical as many of the monitoring wells statewide now show groundwater levels below historical average. Despite this year’s dire drought circumstances, there is hope on the horizon for long-term groundwater sustainability and drought resiliency. That’s because California started taking action after the last drought. … ” Read more from DWR News here: Through challenges of drought, locally led solutions for groundwater sustainability are advancing
Groups Defend Needed Regulations for the Delta: 19th century “water rights” should not trump drought management
“On Thursday 3/10/22, a coalition of California Indian Tribes and Delta community groups (represented by the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic) filed an amicus brief in state appellate court defending the State Water Resources Control Board’s power to protect the California Bay-Delta by regulating and enforcing against excessive diversions of water, which harm the Delta watershed and the communities that depend on it. The Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Little Manila Rising, and Restore the Delta are parties to the brief. The amicus brief was submitted in the “California Water Curtailment Cases.” The cases arose in 2015, the fourth year of drought, when the State Water Board issued curtailment orders to senior water right holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River and Delta watersheds. … ” Read more from Restore the Delta here: Groups Defend Needed Regulations for the Delta: 19th century “water rights” should not trump drought management
All the Governor’s Men: Life and love in the Delta town Newsom’s tunnel would destroy
“There’s a final light on the cherry orchards, sundown brightening bricks on Hood’s River Road Exchange building as it touches the relic’s sloped hump and frosted sugar-cube windows from another era. Voices are laughing past the structure’s mammoth Art Deco façade. The evening sharpens its palms, their leaves fanning ahead of the battered tin roof to a packing shed from the Great Depression. A few women in evening gowns stop to observe it – a kind of canary-yellow Noah’s Arch steadily suspended over the Sacramento River. They can see how it’s hunching on old wood poles that drill down where twilight meets a calm crystal mirage on the current. … ” Continue reading at Restore the Delta here: All the Governor’s Men: Life and love in the Delta town Newsom’s tunnel would destroy
EPA publishes Resiliency and Natural Disaster Debris Report
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report highlighting the importance of resiliency and effective planning for management of debris from natural disasters. Due to climate change and sea level rise, more frequent and more intense natural disasters are generating significant amounts of disaster debris. Planning for and developing resilient affordable housing and debris management infrastructure are critical for equitable and safe disaster debris management. “The report published today has important implications for our Pacific Southwest region, especially for communities in coastal areas in California and Hawaii and the Pacific Islands,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Planning now to reduce disaster debris through resilient design, reuse, recycling, and composting can better protect vulnerable communities, support equitable disaster recovery and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” ... ” Read more from EPA here: EPA publishes Resiliency and Natural Disaster Debris Report
Saving California’s salmon is now up to Governor Newsom
Kate Poole, Senior Director of NRDC’s Water Division, writes, “The federal court has spoken on the matter of keeping the highly destructive Trump biological opinions in place this year and the verdict is that doing so would likely drive California’s wild salmon, their habitat in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, and all who depend on them, into a death spiral from which they may never recover. It’s time for the Biden Administration to acknowledge that these biological opinions are highly illegal and wildly destructive, and to impose adequate protections during the three years that it will take to write new biological opinions. In the meantime, it will be up to the State of California to step up and prevent California’s salmon and other native fish from disappearing off the face of the earth.… ” Read more from the NRDC here: Saving California’s salmon is now up to Governor Newsom
Daniel Curtin, 73, of Sacramento, has been reappointed to the California Water Commission
… where he has served since 2014. Curtin has been Director at the California Conference of Carpenters since 2001, where he was a Legislative Advocate from 1987 to 1999. He was Chief Deputy Director for the California Department of Industrial Relations from 1999 to 2001. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Curtin is a Democrat.
Matthew Swanson, 54, of Turlock, has been reappointed to the California Water Commission
… where he has served since 2019. Swanson has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Associated Feed since 1996. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Swanson is a Republican.
Dorene D’Adamo, 62, of Turlock, has been reappointed to the State Water Resources Control Board
… where she has served since 2013. She was a Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Congressman Jim Costa from 2013 to 2014 and for the Office of Congressman Dennis Cardoza from 2003 to 2012. She was Legal Counsel for the Office of Congressman Gary Condit from 1994 to 2003, where she was Legislative Director from 1990 to 1991. She served on the California Air Resources Board from 1999 to 2013. D’Adamo was a Visiting Instructor at California State University, Stanislaus from 1992 to 1998. She was an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Perry and Wildman from 1992 to 1994. D’Adamo was a Policy Consultant at D’Adamo Consulting from 1991 to 1992. She was Assistant Director, Legislation for the California Youth Authority from 1988 to 1990. D’Adamo was Legal Counsel at the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety from 1986 to 1988. D’Adamo earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $166,306. D’Adamo is a Democrat.
WATER TALK PODCAST: Functional environmental flows
A conversation with Dr. Marisa Escobar (Stockholm Environmental Institute) and Dr. Belize Lane (Utah State University) about different California river ‘personalities’, how flowing water creates and sustains habitat, and flow diversions for cannabis cultivation.
WEST COAST WATER JUSTICE PODCAST: California’s inequitable water rights system and water projects
In this episode, we interview Doug Obegi, Senior Attorney at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Doug shares his expertise about the history of our archaic and inequitable water rights system and how protections for fish and wildlife, and the tribes, fishing jobs, and communities that depend on these environmental protections, are constantly under threat from industrial agriculture and large corporations. He explains how California’s water rights and diversions are over-allocated and under-reported, and discusses how the mismanagement of our most precious resource has made some people billionaires while over 1 million Californians lack access to clean drinking water. We discuss how to protect California’s rivers and fisheries from excessive water diversions, and Doug makes it clear that we all need to participate in public comment periods, reach out to our representatives and the State Water Board because it really does make a difference.
WHAT MATTERS PODCAST: Martha Guzman and Felicia Marcus
Learn about two women who have done amazing things for the environment and water issues in our state. They’ve broken barriers and achieved tremendous results – and their work will undoubtedly have an effect on Californians for generations to come. Martha Guzman was appointed by President Biden as the first Latina to lead the Environmental Protection Agency for the Pacific Southwest. She is longtime Central Valley advocate from Sacramento who began her career working for the United Farm Workers and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. … Felicia Marcus jokes that she has had an accidental career, but we can see that her accomplishments are serious and consequential. Originally an East Asian Studies major with the intent of changing the international world, she fell into environmental and domestic policy instead.”
WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: Meeting of the Waters
Steve Baker writes, “I don’t know how many times I have heard this statement, “Any water that gets to the ocean is wasted water.” This certainly seems true looking through the eyes of a thirsty human but from a biological perspective all forms and uses of water seem important. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.” Podcast produced by Steve Baker. Operation Unite®: Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems. email@example.com
INGRAINED PODCAST: How Rice Fields may help Salmon Runs
Since fundamental changes were made to the way rice straw is managed following harvest in the early 1990s, Sacramento Valley rice country has steadily grown as a vital rest and refuel stop for millions of birds. Local rice fields not only provide habitat for nearly 230 wildlife species, the value of rice fields for the environment is proving to be even greater during drought years, because there is less water on the landscape and fewer habitat options. What’s next for the environmental crop? If promising research by the Rice Commission and UC Davis pays off, Sacramento Valley rice fields may one day help dwindling salmon runs.
JIVE TALKING PODCAST: Spencer Harris brings the blockchain to groundwater
Spencer Harris is a geologist from the central coast of California. He is a licensed California professional geologist and holds a masters degree in applied geoscience from the University of Pennsylvania. He has applied cross-disciplinary technology to solve water problems in Arizona, California and Rhode Island. He’s the co-founder of Basin Logix, a startup that offers a unique (blockchain) solution to groundwater management.
Drought foreshadows another tough year for fish and farmers in the Klamath basin
“Snowpack levels are trending far below average in the Klamath basin, foreshadowing another year of drought and bare minimum Upper Klamath Lake levels. In the meantime, the downstream effects on farmers and multiple endangered species of fish continue to ripple throughout the valley with no sign of letting up. The man-made Klamath Lake has been managed by the Bureau of Reclamation since 1902. The body of water feeds the ‘A canal’ that irrigates some 130,000 acres of farmland in the Klamath Water Project. ... ” Read more from KDRV here: Drought foreshadows another tough year for fish and farmers in the Klamath basin
The Klamath Basin’s water crisis is a growing disaster for waterfowl
Pepper Trail, retired after a 23-year career as an ornithologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, writes, “The late winter sky over the Klamath Basin is cold, and painfully blue, and empty. I’m standing at the edge of Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the California-Oregon border. It’s a spot where I’ve been coming for years to be awestruck by clamorous hordes of thousands of Snow and White-fronted Geese. This time of year, the refuge should be teeming. On my visit, however, not only are there no geese, but there is no lake, only an expanse of dry, cracked mud extending to the horizon. … ” Read more from Audubon Magazine here: The Klamath Basin’s water crisis is a growing disaster for waterfowl
Fire-damaged Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort will open to skiers for one weekend in April
“The Lake Tahoe-area ski resort that was severely burned in the Caldor Fire last fall is reopening briefly for a special gathering next month. When wildfire swept through Sierra-at-Tahoe’s 2,000-acre property, it torched thousands of trees and damaged chairlifts and other infrastructure, causing the resort to remain closed this winter as it undergoes repairs. But now, with about a month left of the winter ski season, Sierra managers say they will host visitors for a weekend celebration of the resort’s 75th anniversary on April 9-10. During the event, Sierra will spin two chairlifts and a bunny hill conveyor for skiers and snowboarders — the first time this season that any of its slopes will open to the public. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Fire-damaged Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort will open to skiers for one weekend in April
Placer taking another look at feasibility of biomass facility in North Lake Tahoe
“The Placer County Board of Supervisors today authorized staff to restart the feasibility evaluation for a biomass to energy facility in North Lake Tahoe. A plan for the project was initially approved in 2013, however Placer paused moving forward due to uncertainty surrounding the long-term economic feasibility. Biomass facilities create renewable energy by burning wood scraps left over from forest clearing and defensible space efforts, which then helps remove hazardous sources of fuel for wildfires. Certain biomass facilities can also create a byproduct called biochar used as fertilizer and in water filtration processes. … ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Placer taking another look at feasibility of biomass facility in North Lake Tahoe
Test sites to be closed in Tahoe Keys during invasive weed fight
“Scientists will gather new data points and information this spring and summer in the long-waged battle against aquatic invasive weeds in Lake Tahoe when the controlled methods test begins in the Tahoe Keys lagoons. The results will help determine long term solutions for the lagoons and Lake Tahoe. The Control Methods Test, which was unanimously passed by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board, will use stand-alone and combined use of various approaches including targeted herbicides and UV-C light to reduce and control the abundant growth of invasive and nuisance aquatic weeds in the Tahoe Keys west lagoon and Lake Tallac areas. … ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Test sites to be closed in Tahoe Keys during invasive weed fight
El Dorado County: Project proposals sought to benefit federal lands
“The El Dorado County Resource Advisory Committee is now accepting proposals for projects to benefit federal lands in El Dorado County. The RAC is a 15-member committee representing diverse views and partners and is appointed by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide advice and recommend funding projects consistent with Title II of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000 (reauthorized in March 2018). … ” Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Project proposals sought to benefit federal lands
Clean-up event along the American River Parkway hopes to spark action among local leaders
“The American River Parkway Foundation is calling on leaders from Sacramento County and the city of Sacramento to submit a plan by Mar. 31 for removing hundreds of unhoused individuals along the parkway. On Saturday, they hosted a clean-up event and invited leaders to the Northgate area to participate and see the damage caused by camping first-hand in what was once a clean and peaceful area. “The city and the county can work together to say ‘How do we address the number of homeless individuals that are in this greater region,” said Dianna Poggetto, executive director of American River Parkway Foundation. “When you’re picking up soiled blankets and picking up hypodermic needles, it’s one thing versus looking at them on a picture.” … ” Read more from ABC 10 here: Clean-up event along the American River Parkway hopes to spark action among local leaders
Paradise Irrigation District delays meeting on its options study
“The Paradise Irrigation District announced early Thursday afternoon that it would delay a zoom meeting set for later Thursday night. The district said the consultants requested the delay until next month on the study that gives PID 23 options going forward. One of the options is to do nothing, but the 23 options covers district’s financial claims, potential reorganization into the Town of Paradise and the South Feather River Power agency, or Del Oro folding into the PID. It covers water transfers, infrastructure ideas, other ideas, including the Paradise Sewer Project and funding agreements. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Paradise Irrigation District delays meeting on its options study
Marin: Delaying ballot measure puts water board incumbents in tight spot
Columnist Dick Spotswood writes, “Marin Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors just rejected its staff recommendation that it place a measure repealing Measure S on June’s ballot. Measure S was approved in 2010. It requires voter approval before the agency can “approve construction, or financing construction, of a desalination facility.” The board deferred the decision, saying making such a decision before release of its recently commissioned $401,175 water resiliency report is “premature.” That white paper due in early July is expected to update options for new water supplies similar to those raised in the board’s 2017 250-page Water Resiliency Report. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Delaying ballot measure puts water board incumbents in tight spot
Marin poised to give fining powers to county staff
“Marin County enforcement officers will gain the authority to issue fines if the Board of Supervisors gives final approval to a new ordinance on Tuesday. “This ordinance would provide the authority and the procedure for the issuance of administrative fines for the violation of the county code,” Chief Deputy County Counsel Jenna Brady told supervisors at their meeting on March 1, when they approved the ordinance on a first reading. “Currently, enforcement options are limited to county staff when a violation occurs such as stormwater discharges, septic violations or building violations,” Brady said. … Brady said the new fining power would be particularly useful when dealing with illegal stormwater discharges. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin poised to give fining powers to county staff
‘Time is kind of running out’: Amid dry spell, the Bay Area could see some rain
“After experiencing the driest January and February in recorded history, the Bay Area is expected to see some light rainfall overnight and early next week. A new storm system is expected to soak the Pacific Northwest but will be much weaker in the Bay Area — as most of the recent systems have behaved so far this year. The Bay Area is forecast to receive its first light dousing of rain Saturday night and then again Monday night into Tuesday morning, likely accumulating less than a tenth of an inch of rain, according to Rick Canepa, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. The Sierra Nevada is also forecast to get a couple of inches of snow, he said. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: ‘Time is kind of running out’: Amid dry spell, the Bay Area could see some rain
Monterey County lawmakers seek a higher view on water issues.
“Christopher Neely here, wondering whether an upcoming series of listening sessions from the county’s Board of Supervisors will help move the needle on deep-seeded water issues. A somewhat unique gathering of who’s who in water issues will take place inside the supervisors’ chambers on Tuesday, March 15 at 1:30pm. Advertised as the Monterey County Regional Water Forum, Tuesday will be the first of three similar events scheduled for 2022, where supervisors, agency leaders and experts will discuss the county’s water problems, past present and future. When there is a problem with water, it often deals with availability. However, across such a diverse county, the issue of availability shows up in different ways. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Monterey County lawmakers seek a higher view on water issues.
Santa Barbara starts delivering recycled water to La Cumbre Country Club in Hope Ranch
“Santa Barbara is now delivering recycled water to La Cumbre Country Club in Hope Ranch, which is the largest water user in the area. The city signed a 25-year deal to provide surplus recycled water to La Cumbre Mutual Water Co., the water provider for the unincorporated area of Hope Ranch including the country club, Laguna Blanca School and large residential properties. Santa Barbara has been producing recycled water for three decades and uses it to irrigate parks, schools, the Santa Barbara Golf Club, the Montecito Country Club and other landscaping sites. … ” Read more from Noozhawk here: Santa Barbara starts delivering recycled water to La Cumbre Country Club in Hope Ranch
Ventura County: Stormwater diversion studied
“The Public Works and Transportation Committee, Tuesday, March 8, received a report about the stormwater diversion into the Oxnard Wastewater Treatment Plant (OWTP) for recycled water use. Wastewater Division Manager Jan Hauser presented the video to the committee, and he said diverting stormwater will increase the recycled water volumes. He noted there were a couple of questions asked about this issue at the January 4 city council meeting. … ” Read more from the Tri-County Sentinel here: Ventura County: Stormwater diversion studied
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Stanislaus River: Quenching thirst of south San Joaquin County farms & cities
“Take a half mile rock scramble up to the summit of the 11,570-foot Leavitt Peak located off the stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail heading south from Sonora Pass that is famous for its 100-mile Sierra views of glistening alpine lakes, soaring peaks and wind-swept treeless ridges coated with a blanket of wild flowers in late spring and early summer. It is on the western slopes of Leavitt Peak where the foremost reach of the Stanislaus River watershed starts. Snow melt from the lofty summit eventually reaches the headwaters of the 45.7 mile Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River. … ” Continue reading at the Manteca Bulletin here: Stanislaus River: Quenching thirst of south San Joaquin County farms & cities
New Turlock Irrigation District tech provides greater irrigation allotment
“After an irrigation allotment as low as 18 inches was proposed by Turlock Irrigation District staff last month, farmers are in luck as new technology could allow the water agency to increase the cap. During their last meeting on Feb. 22, TID’s Board of Directors heard from water distribution department manager Mike Kavarian that, following what is expected to be a third-straight year of drought conditions, an 18- to 24-inch irrigation allotment would be proposed, with a 182-day irrigation season from April 7 to Oct. 25. … ” Read more from the Turlock Irrigation District here: New Turlock Irrigation District tech provides greater irrigation allotment
City of Tehachapi asks water district to be a partner in planning for future development needs
“With a lawsuit filed by the local water district against the city of Tehachapi last September pending, there may be tension between the two public agencies, but the city shows no signs of backing down on its expectation of meeting some of its future growth needs with State Water Project supplies. In a presentation at a special meeting workshop held by the board of directors of the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District on March 9, city Development Services Director Jay Schlosser provided an overview of the city’s water supply and demand. The five members of the water district board — President Robert Schultz, Vice President James Pack, Kathy Cassil, Jonathan Hall and Rick Zanutto — listened to Schlosser’s presentation but made no comment. No action was on the agenda for the meeting. … ” Read more from the Tehachapi News here: City asks water district to be a partner in planning for future development needs
Congress approves second half of $412 million needed to fix Whittier Narrows Dam
“A $412 million project to repair the Whittier Narrows Dam is about to become a reality. The second half of funding, $219.5 million is included in the $1.5 trillion packaged to fund the federal government in the current year approved by the House of Representatives. Assuming President Joe Biden signs the bill, the money will fund a project that has been under consideration for most of the past decade. It began in 2016 when the Army Corps of Engineers upgraded the dam’s flood risk from high urgency to very high urgency. The re-inspection revealed a greater threat of erosion and breach which could cause massive downstream flooding to at least 1 million Southern California residents in the event of a severe storm event. … ” Read more from the Pasadena Star News here: Congress approves second half of $412 million needed to fix Whittier Narrows Dam
Why it’s been so warm and windy in Southern California this winter
“The official stats are in: January and February were the driest first two months of the year on record across much of California. Those months should normally be the wettest period of the year. February was also unusually warm. In Southern California, the warm readings were repeatedly accompanied by Santa Ana winds. These conditions dried out vegetation after an uncommonly wet December in the state and spurred winter wildfires such as the Emerald fire in Laguna Beach. After the December deluges, the atmospheric phenomenon nicknamed the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge by climate scientist Daniel Swain, moved back into position in the eastern Pacific. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Why it’s been so warm and windy in Southern California this winter
St. George Council warns stalled water supply could put brakes on ‘growth economy’
“As discussion over the city’s pending revision of its water use ordinance got underway during a St. George City Council work meeting Thursday, officials warned a depleted water supply could stall the city’s growth. Council members said the city needed to start considering the future impacts the drought may have on elements for the city’s energy use and future economy. “This number is very important to us right now: 3,490,” City Manager Adam Lenhard said. “It’s the elevation at which the Glen Canyon Dam will no longer generate electricity.” … ” Continue reading at the St. George Spectrum here: St. George Council warns stalled water supply could put brakes on ‘growth economy’
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.