DAILY DIGEST, 3/14: Newsom administration boosts state funding for drought emergency; Guide for CA’s new farmland repurposing program; NOAA maps show how CA’s winter compared to other states; Water, commercial companies face more urgent reporting of hacks; and more …
Newsom administration boosts state funding for drought emergency
“After California recorded its driest January and February in more than 100 years of records in the Sierra Nevada, Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration is spending an additional $22.5 million to respond to the immediate drought emergency. The additional $22.5 million allocation includes more funding for the Department of Water Resources, State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. More than a third of the money – $8.25 million – will be used to increase outreach efforts to educate Californians on water conservation measures and practices. … ”
Click here to continue reading this press release from the Governor.
California’s new farmland repurposing program requires community engagement. This guide describes how.
“Many regions in California are embarking on a new era of water and land management strategies as local agencies implement sustainability initiatives and climate change intensifies droughts and water scarcity. However, too often low-income rural communities have had little opportunity to influence land and water decisions that directly impact — and often harm — them, including wells drying up and limited access to parks. California’s new Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program aims to ensure these communities as well as small-scale farmers are more involved in land and water use planning by making their engagement a requirement for funding recipients. … ” Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund here: California’s new farmland repurposing program requires community engagement. This guide describes how.
How bad was winter? NOAA maps show how California compared to other states
“Winter isn’t over just yet, but the experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are already helping us take stock of the season. The agency released a new climate report Tuesday, which compares the 2021-2022 winter season to every winter before it dating back to 1895. This winter, between December and February, the average temperature on the contiguous United States was 34.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That sounds like a pretty low number, but it’s actually higher than average — about 2.5 degrees warmer, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. ... ” Read more from KTLA here: How bad was winter? NOAA maps show how California compared to other states
Between a rock and a dry place: effects of drought on stream drying patterns in California’s intermittent streams
“You may have heard the saying from the Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.” If you walk along a coastal stream in California at the end of the summer, you will understand the dynamic nature of these systems. In a wet year, such as 2017, you might find a stream that is fully connected with flowing water. But in a dry year, like 2021, you might walk miles of dry stream channel before discovering an isolated pool. Many of California’s streams naturally become intermittent at some point in the dry season. However, when and where stream channels go dry is highly variable year-to-year and difficult to predict (van Meerveld et al., 2020). … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: Between a rock and a dry place: effects of drought on stream drying patterns in California’s intermittent streams
NOAA: When rivers reach the sky – what caused 18-feet of snow to fall on California in December?
“This past December, a mind-boggling 18 feet of snowfall fell in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains! How does so much snow fall in one place in such a short period of time? One of the primary phenomena responsible for such extreme rain and snowfall, particularly in regions like the western U.S., is the atmospheric river. Like their terrestrial counterparts, atmospheric rivers carry tremendous amounts of water over thousands of miles. These aerial versions, however, often bring both severe disruption and great benefit through the heavy rain and mountain snows that they produce. In this blog post, we will give you a brief primer on atmospheric rivers and (of course!) explain how they are affected by ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation). … ” Continue reading at Snow Brains here: NOAA: When rivers reach the sky – what caused 18-feet of snow to fall on California in December?
Western US’s worst drought in 1,200 years brings year-long fire season
“Ten weeks after the wind-whipped Marshall fire blasted through Boulder County, Colorado, on December 30, taking with it one man’s life and over 1,000 houses, some residents with the means to do so are now preparing to build back. The instinct to return home, and the planning, saving and grappling with underinsurance that requires, is unfolding amid the backdrop of the western United States’ worst drought in 1,200 years and what’s morphed into a year-long fire season. Winter wildfires by the names of Emerald and Airport have scorched thousands of acres in California; led to the destruction of over 100 structures in Kansas; and amid this writing, prompted the evacuation of 1,100 houses in the Florida Panhandle — at a time of year when those with intimate knowledge of the cycles of burning and regeneration once relied on wetter and cooler conditions to keep blazes at bay. … ” Read more from Truthout here: Western US’s worst drought in 1,200 years brings year-long fire season
Climate change doesn’t have to spell doom for farms and food
“The world’s leading climate scientists have issued six assessments of the state of climate-change knowledge since 1990. The first five were influential, driving efforts to build global climate agreements. The sixth report, issued four days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been largely overlooked. That’s unfortunate. The new report of the International Panel on Climate Change sketches out the present and future of a changing globe. Among the most profound effect of global warming will be the impact on food production. According to the IPCC, climate change has reduced agricultural productivity by 12.5% since 1961. North America, long one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, already feels the pain. … ” Read more from the Washington Post here: Climate change doesn’t have to spell doom for farms and food
There are millions of acres of ‘failing’ rangelands, data shows
“Data released today reveals that 54 million acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management fail to meet the agency’s own “land-health standards.” While standards vary between states and bioregions, they generally measure biological conditions, including soil health, water quality, plant species diversity and the quality of habitat for threatened and endangered species. The standards define the minimum benchmarks land managers need to achieve and maintain in order for landscapes to function and be used sustainably. The BLM oversees 246 million acres of land — the vast majority of it in the Western U.S. The agency’s mission is to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations,” but according to records obtained by bipartisan watchdog organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), it is failing to do so on nearly a quarter of the land that’s leased for grazing. … ” Read more from High Country News here: There are millions of acres of ‘failing’ rangelands, data shows
Water, commercial companies face more urgent reporting of hacks
“Water utilities, casinos, and shopping malls would have to beef up their cybersecurity operations to comply with hack reporting requirements set to become law as soon this week. Cybersecurity reporting rules passed in a government funding bill (H.R. 2471) March 10 would encompass a broad range of businesses in 16 critical infrastructure sectors. Companies would have 72 hours to report a hack, and 24 hours to report a ransomware payment to the government, once rules are in place. … ” Read more from Bloomberg Law here: Water, commercial companies face more urgent reporting of hacks
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat editorial board writes, “Rain came early last fall, but whatever hope blossomed for a better than normal — or even average — year is gone. There is no March miracle in the forecast, and summers are dry in California, so mandatory water conservation isn’t going away any time soon. “We had a great start to the beginning of the wet season … and we have basically flatlined since then,” Jeanine Jones of the California Department of Water Resources said during a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday that Sonoma Water billed as “a huge reality check.” … ” Continue reading at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: For California, drought is the new normal
Farms, fish and the future: State water board must balance the needs of all Californians
Mike Wade, the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, writes, “On Wednesday, March 16 the State Water Resources Control Board will meet to discuss Sacramento River temperature management and its impact on salmon for 2022 and beyond. Salmon, salmon fishermen, and all Californians, are struggling with drought impacts. And as we work toward long-term solutions, that doesn’t make this year easier for anyone. However, it is important to maintain balance between all water users and observe the California Water Code, which requires “reasonable” decisions among competing water uses. And while some may want to define “reasonable” solely on the basis of an amount of water allocated to each user, it’s clearly not that simple. … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Farms, fish and the future: State water board must balance the needs of all Californians
“For Humboldt County, the year to date has been the driest on record, with rainfalls slightly over an entire foot below normal. So far in 2022, Humboldt County has seen about 2.36 inches of rain. The normal to date amount for this time of year would be 14.7 inches. However, this week will likely bring some respite as rains begin to fall on the county on Monday evening through Tuesday morning and Friday evening through Saturday morning, each system bringing roughly a half-inch to an inch of rain. “That is the driest start to the year on record,” Alex Dodd, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Eureka, said. … ” Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Humboldt County’s start to 2022 driest on record
Butte County: Konkow Valley Band of Maidu granted land in traditional homeland
“After 150 years without land ownership, the Konkow Valley Band of Maidu now has its own land to practice traditions. In December last year, the Konkow Valley Band of Maidu, a federally unrecognized tribe, was granted 10.72 acres of land in an agreement with Konkow Partners and are now beginning to work on their newly acquired land. The beginnings of traditional bark houses called Hubo are seen at the site, and some overgrown brush and trees have been removed. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Konkow Valley Band of Maidu granted land in traditional homeland
Napa County looks at sea level rise predictions
“One regional sea-level rise prediction has Napa River water in 40 to 60 years lapping into Kennedy Park, swallowing wetlands and flooding the rural, south county Milton Road community. That could be the result of a four-foot sea level rise if protective measures aren’t taken, according to Adapt to Rising Tides. The consortium was created by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies. This work has resulted in the Bay Adapt Joint Platform, a regional strategy for dealing with sea-level rise. Possible steps mentioned range from restoring wetlands as buffers to avoiding development in flood-prone areas to removing some existing developments. … ” Read more from the Napa Register here: Napa County looks at sea level rise predictions
Key Northern California highway to be protected from sea level rise
“California’s State Route 37 is a key east-west transportation link in the state’s North Bay Region, a subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area. The route is a low-lying, flood-prone highway that is expected to experience even more flooding as a result of anticipated future sea level rise. Against this backdrop, the California Department of Transportation and its local partners are assessing possible measures for protecting SR 37 against high water in the near future as well as in the long term. Although the potential solutions are in their early phases, initial estimates place their costs as ranging from hundreds of millions of dollars in the near term up to several billion dollars in the long term. … ” Read more from Civil Engineering Source here: Key Northern California highway to be protected from sea level rise
Sausalito reef project to study erosion effects
“Artificial oyster reefs will be established near Dunphy Park in Sausalito to study their impacts on shoreline erosion. The project is being managed by the San Francisco State University Estuary and Ocean Science Center at no cost to the city. The center, which is based in Tiburon, plans to install reefs and buoy markers in June. The project calls for a “living shoreline test project” of three concrete and pyramid-shaped reefs, each approximately 30 feet by 3 feet. Each reef will contain three blocks that will test a different degree of openness, or porosity, in the reef to evaluate the effect on wildlife. The reef elements will each be 60 to 100 pounds. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Sausalito reef project to study erosion effects
Light rain falls in Bay Area, with more on the way this week
“The Bay Area woke up to lingering showers and scattered clouds on Sunday, the first day of daylight saving time, according to the National Weather Service. The light rain was predicted to dissipate during the morning, making way for breezy winds and mild temperatures Sunday, said Jeff Lorber, a meteorologist with the weather service. ... ” Continue reading at the San Francisco Chronicle here: Light rain falls in Bay Area, with more on the way this week
Editorial: With another drought, water conservation and reclamation projects are vital
The Santa Cruz Sentinel editorial board writes, “On the day we spring forward, actual springtime is only a week or so off. And with it, the chances of winter-like storms drift away like spring blossoms on flowering trees. Except we haven’t had any winter storms since December, thereby missing out on any appreciable rainfall for more almost three months, which historically are three of the four wettest months. And that’s a problem for Santa Cruz County and for California. Statewide, water officials gathered last week to sound yet another clarion call for all Californians to conserve water as yet another drought afflicts the entire state. … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Editorial: With another drought, water conservation and reclamation projects are vital
One Santa Cruz County farmer’s quest to grow sustainable, locally raised meat
“The winter sun shines brightly off of fresh grass dotted with fluorescent oxalis flowers as farmer Ryan Abelson guides me down a dirt road to his chicken coops. Just three days before, he purchased 400 laying hens, and they’re still a little bewildered by their new surroundings at Pajaro Pastures, his 12-acre farm in Corralitos. Despite their spacious 2-acre enclosure, the cautious birds are clustered around four moveable henhouses, each about the size of a large RV. Once they relax, they have plenty of room to roam — 250 square feet per chicken, or more than a hundred times the 2 square feet required for the “free range” designation. … ” Read more from Lookout Santa Cruz here: One Santa Cruz County farmer’s quest to grow sustainable, locally raised meat
Commentary: Western U.S. has a voice to break through the D.C. bureaucracy
Arizona Reps. Debbie Lesko and Dan Newhouse write, “It is increasingly clear on issues ranging from energy independence to national security that Arizona’s priorities are America’s priorities. So we brought members of Congress, staff and stakeholders here in early March to see these priorities up close. We hosted a policy roundtable to hear from local experts about the need to modernize western water infrastructure and how we can work in Congress to address the historic drought conditions communities are experiencing. We discussed the continued need to promote safe, responsible domestic mineral development, and we heard from state leaders about how we can support Arizona’s agriculture industry and public lands. We are the Congressional Western Caucus, lawmakers who truly understand from experience the impacts the federal government can have on our lands, waters and energy supply. … ” Continue reading at Arizona Central here: Commentary: Western U.S. has a voice to break through the D.C. bureaucracy
Commentary: Amid growing water shortages, Colorado’s agricultural scene must change
Trish Zornio, a scientist, lecturer and writer, writes, “Two weeks ago, experts predicted that Lake Powell — the second-largest man-made reservoir in the nation — will soon drop below critical water levels. With over three million people in danger of losing hydropower, it’s yet another bleak reminder that the Colorado River is drying up. The Colorado River, which flows into Lake Powell on the Arizona and Utah border, originates at 10,184 feet above sea level on La Poudre Pass in the southern Rocky Mountains. In total, 40 million people gain water access from the river, and countless farms are irrigated along the way. Last summer, similar concerns of a drought in Lake Powell led to large diversions from the upper basins. … ” Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Commentary: Amid growing water shortages, Colorado’s agricultural scene must change
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.