DAILY DIGEST, 9/29: Bleak water year ending, with hope for future elusive; CA making it cheaper to replace your lawn to save water and save money; Gov. signs bill for $40M for farmland repurposing, vetoes bill to prohibit foreign governments buying farmland; Pivotal Supreme Court term begins with WOTUS war; and more …
WORKSHOP: Advancing Precipitation Enhancement Strategies to Augment Hydropower and Water Resources in California from 9:30am to 11am. California Energy Commission (CEC) staff will host a remote-access staff workshop seeking public comment on an upcoming solicitation for research to advance precipitation enhancement strategies for California. Click here for the notice and remote access instructions.
WEBINAR: Resilience Through Restoration – Kim Delfino and Curtis Knight from 11am to 12pm.Sustainable Conservation is delighted to announce our Fall 2022 Webinar Series, Resilience Through Restoration! Join us as we explore the need for habitat restoration at scale and highlight the importance of collaboration and collective stewardship. We’ll be kicking the series off on Thursday, September 29 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM with a conversation between President and Founder of Earth Advocacy and Sustainable Conservation Board Member, Kim Delfino, and Executive Director of CalTrout, Curtis Knight, moderated by CEO of Sustainable Conservation, Ashley Boren. This conversation will set the scene for the rest of the series and explore why we must accelerate the pace and scale of ecosystem restoration to boost climate resilience in California. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
Bleak water year ending, with hope for future elusive
“Nearing the end of the water year on Sept. 30, California farmers and water officials are eager to turn the page to begin the next opportunity for the state to accrue snowpack and precipitation. However, with a La Niña atmospheric phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, which generally signals drier, warmer conditions, water officials say they are preparing for a fourth dry year next year. “We are currently in a La Niña condition, and that is forecasted to persist through December with a high level of certainty and about a 50% to 60% probability through January into the spring months,” said Jeanine Jones, California Department of Water Resources interstate resources manager. “As a prudent measure, we’re actively preparing for a fourth dry year.” … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Bleak water year ending, with hope for future elusive
California is expected to enter a fourth straight year of drought
“California is most likely heading into a fourth consecutive year of drought. The state’s water year ends tomorrow, which has prompted predictions about what’s in store for the next 12 months. (California’s water year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, so that the winter rainy season falls within a single water year.) The forecasts tend to agree: The Golden State’s extreme drought, exacerbated by warming temperatures and increasingly unpredictable precipitation patterns, is expected to continue into the new year. Gov. Gavin Newsom warned on Wednesday that Californians must adjust to a hotter and drier world. … ” Read more from the New York Times here: California is expected to enter a fourth straight year of drought
California is making it cheaper to replace your lawn to save water and save money
“Conserving water has become a way of life in California, and one of the most effective ways to cut back on water use is to replace your lawn with drought-resistant plants and landscaping. Now Californians can get more money to do just that thanks to a new law signed today by Governor Gavin Newsom. The legislation exempts local rebates for turf replacement from state income tax, ensuring more dollars can be spent on transforming grass lawns into water-wise yards. “Our hots are getting hotter and our dries are getting drier. Our state is on track to lose 10% of its water supply by 2040 which is why we must all do our part to conserve water,” said Governor Newsom. “With a drier landscape becoming the norm, we’re stepping up to help Californians replace their lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping that will help us combat the drought we’re in and build resilience for the future. … ” Read more from the Office of the Governor here: California is making it cheaper to replace your lawn to save water and save money
California’s drought has brought back water shaming. Is that a good thing?
“Amid a third painfully dry year, the Bay Area’s biggest water retailer began releasing the names of customers using “excessive” amounts of water this week, a practice that may soon tee up hundreds of households for humiliation and shame. The move, by the East Bay Municipal Utility District, harkens back to last decade’s drought when several of California’s rich and famous, including such beloved stars as Giant’s great Buster Posey, Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and comedian Amy Poehler, were outed for their lack of restraint at the tap. East Bay utility officials, who say they just want to save water this year, maintain that their intent in releasing customer identities is not to ridicule anyone. … ” Read more from the SF Chronicle here: California’s drought has brought back water shaming. Is that a good thing?
Water Conservation Shopping Cart: Santa Clara Valley Water District
“The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) provides drinking water and flood protection to more than 3 million residents in California’s Silicon Valley and surrounding areas. Because the entire state of California is in an extreme drought emergency, the district has launched a new website, known as the Water Conservation Shopping Cart, to quickly and easily distribute water-conserving devices to residents. … ” Continue reading at Gov Tech here: Water Conservation Shopping Cart: Santa Clara Valley Water District
Students “Hack the Drought” at annual coding competition
“The Sixth Annual H₂O Hackathon, set for Saturday, Nov. 5 calls on middle school, high school, and college students to compete for cash prizes in three divisions to build apps or create multimedia campaigns to help solve California’s tough water issues. Registration is now open for the Hackathon, put on through the San Joaquin County Office of Education. This community-supported event taps into the technological, multimedia, and problem-solving skills of local students to help find solutions to the water issues plaguing the state. Teams compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes. This year’s “Hack the Drought” challenge is focused on California’s ongoing drought. … ” Read more from the Escalon Times here: Students “Hack the Drought” at annual coding competition
Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bill to provide $40 million in additional funding for farmland repurposing program as drought conditions worsen
“As California suffers through a third year of severe drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation last night that dedicates $40 million to the Department of Conservation’s Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program. Established last year with an initial $50 million, the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program helps farmers and agricultural communities adjust to reductions in groundwater use by creating new benefits for people and wildlife on previously irrigated lands. The program requires prioritizing projects that benefit disadvantaged communities and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers for funding. … ” Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund here: Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bill to provide $40 million in additional funding for farmland repurposing program as drought conditions worsen
Governor and legislature provide relief for communities affected by drought in the Sacramento Valley
“Governor Newsom signed a bill providing a new $75M drought relief grant program designed to help small businesses that support production agriculture. This includes dryers, mills, suppliers, service providers, aircraft, and trucking that supports agriculture, as well as small or socially disadvantaged farmers with 100 or fewer employees. We applaud this new program! With the unprecedented and devastating dry year in the Sacramento River watershed, we welcome this program and it should be very helpful to the small businesses throughout our region who are vital to our communities, farming, and the environment. … ” Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: Governor and legislature provide relief for communities affected by drought in the Sacramento Valley
Newsom vetoes bill to prohibit foreign governments from buying CA agricultural land
“A bill to prohibit foreign governments from purchasing or leasing agricultural land in California was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom Tuesday. Senate Bill 1084, authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), would have prohibited a foreign government from purchasing, acquiring, leasing, or holding an interest in agricultural land within the California. The bill would also exempt land held by foreign governments before January 1, 2023, from that prohibition, and would have specified that it does not apply to federally recognized Indian tribes or their government units and enterprises. In addition, SB 1084 would have created yearly reports by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to list how much agricultural land is still owned by foreign governments and what recommendations are. … ” Read more from the California Globe here: Newsom vetoes bill to prohibit foreign governments from buying CA agricultural land
Audio: UC Berkeley engineers hoping to solve problems with drinking water
“As episodes of extreme heat and drought dry up surface water, California is looking at ways to find drinking water elsewhere. And the solution could be underground. The problem? Groundwater can present dangerous levels of arsenic for consumption. Researchers at the University of California Berkeley looked at 20 years of water quality data from the Kern Valley State Prison and three nearby Central Valley rural communities. They found persistent levels of naturally-occurring arsenic, in water coming from all aquifers, sometimes exceeding the federal contamination levels for months or years. … They are currently testing a low-cost arsenic treatment solution in Allensworth. Ashok Gadgil, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, is leading the operation. He told Bay City News,”For the first time, we’ll be treating groundwater with high levels of arsenic at a price local people can afford and in a way that they can operate.”” Listen at KALW here: Audio: UC Berkeley engineers hoping to solve problems with drinking water
Drought diminishes California’s rice crop
“The drought is having a major impact on California’s rice crop. Farmers have lost more than 300 thousand acres of rice production, according to Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, Ryan Jacobsen. That’s more than half of California’s rice crop and a steeper drop than any other major crop in the state. … ” Read more from Your Central Valley here: Drought diminishes California’s rice crop
Refurbishment work underway for Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates
“The Department of Water Resources (DWR) refurbished the first of three 95,000-pound radial gates that help reduce saltwater intrusion into the Suisun Marsh in Solano County. The work took place at the Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Facility, which has operated since the late 1980s. The project is part of a multi-year effort to remove, refurbish, and reinstall the massive gates at this facility. “Over time, the gates themselves, as well as the structure itself decay,” explained mechanical engineer Brandon Becker with DWR’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Division. Becker added while corrosion protection had been previously applied to the gate, “that only lasts for so long before that protection starts to wear away with time and continual use. It comes time when you need to take the gate out and repair it.” … ” Read more from DWR News here: Refurbishment work underway for Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates
Hurricane Ian is bringing historic storm surge. It holds lessons for California’s coast
“Hurricane Ian has made landfall in the Gulf Coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm. Along with roaring winds, it brings life-threatening storm surge — sea water plowed forward by hurricane winds.In the century since the area last experienced a major hurricane, the population has soared to 3 million and climate change has intensified the impact that storms have on coastal flooding. Sea level rise due to global warming also impacts coastal areas of California, on the opposite side of the country, where some 68% of the state’s population resides . While California has only seen one hurricane make landfall in recorded history , other storms that contribute to flooding and coastal run-up are forecast to worsen in a warming world. ... ” Read more from the SF Chronicle here: Hurricane Ian is bringing historic storm surge. It holds lessons for California’s coast
Cannibalistic house mice destroying the ecosystem of California islands
“A plague of house mice is wrecking the ecosystem of the Farallon Islands of California, according to research. The tiny rodents are eating their way through native insects, seabirds, and plants that are not found anywhere else. The findings of the study were published in the PeerJ – Life and Environment journal. The mice were introduced to the Farallon Islands, 30 miles off San Francisco, by 19th-century sailors. Their population has since soared to about 50,000, inhabiting an area roughly the size of two football fields. There is now a proposed plan by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to eradicate them. … ” Read more from Newsweek here: Cannibalistic house mice destroying the ecosystem of California islands
State Supreme Court rejects review of bumblebee status
“Bumblebees may be considered as fish under the California Endangered Species Act, and the pollinators can get protection as threatened species under state law. That interpretation now stands after the Supreme Court of California rejected legal challenges from agricultural groups, including the California Farm Bureau. The state’s high court last week declined to grant a review of an appellate court decision. The appellate ruling declared that bumblebees—a nonaquatic invertebrate—could be listed under a state Endangered Species statute applying to fish because both are invertebrates. The legal fight over seemingly arcane statutory language could have significant impacts on farming activities in California. ... ” Read more from Ag Alert here: State Supreme Court rejects review of bumblebee status
Clearing California’s landscapes is critical to stopping megablazes. Why is it taking so long?
“It was already approaching 100F on an early summer afternoon in Calaveras county, California, as six firefighters clad in heavy gear fed bushes and branches into the remote-controlled wood chipper following in their steps. The men were clearing drying and dying plants from the rustic terrain in this rural area near the Stanislaus national forest, that could otherwise serve as fuel for the next big wildfire. Authorities in California are increasingly recognizing that landscape treatments like the efforts in Calaveras county or prescribed burns are essential to stop or slow megafires, which are mounting across the drought-stricken state as temperatures rise. ... ” Read more from The Guardian here: Clearing California’s landscapes is critical to stopping megablazes. Why is it taking so long?
Column: Every burned town is tragic. But Newsom needs to lead with science, not sentiment
LA Times columnists Anita Chabria and Erika D. Smith write, “You can’t help but root for Kevin Goss and Kira Wattenburg King: Both are starting over, down-home friendly and clearly, deeply in love. But there’s another player in their relationship — the mangled, vulnerable town of Greenville — and we worry that makes for a threesome doomed for reasons the heart can’t conquer. As much as for each other, Goss and Wattenburg King are head over heels for this minuscule mountain community that burned to ash in last year’s Dixie fire. The life they are rebuilding here revolves around saving a place that exists only in their imaginations. Though they, along with a few hundred others, are working ceaselessly to bring back its picturesque Gold Rush charm, climate change is working against them, ensuring that whatever returns will bear little resemblance to what was lost. Instead, Greenville will be a hotter, drier, harsher place — one where the canopy of evergreens that once shaded its quaint downtown may never regrow, replaced instead by highly flammable shrubland. A place where rivers will be reduced to trickles for much of the year, and where the ownership of that water, which also feeds Southern California, is increasingly contentious. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Column: Every burned town is tragic. But Newsom needs to lead with science, not sentiment
Del Norte accepts invite to Klamath Watershed Governments Collaborative
“Del Norte County supervisors accepted an invitation to participate in an advisory committee consisting of governments in the Klamath River watershed. District 3 Supervisor Chris Howard volunteered to serve on the committee, which was created by elected officials in Siskiyou and Modoc counties in California and Klamath County in Oregon. Howard said Tuesday he’d been playing close attention to Klamath River issues for about two years, especially with the impact dam removal would have on Del Norte. … ” Read more from Wild Rivers Outpost here: Del Norte accepts invite to Klamath Watershed Governments Collaborative
Yurok Tribal members can now gather plants and minerals on state park lands within their ancestral territory
“Today, the Yurok Tribe and California State Parks signed a far-reaching agreement to facilitate the cooperative management, conservation and interpretation of traditional and natural resources on state park lands within Yurok ancestral territory. As a result of the landmark Global Memorandum of Understanding and Traditional Tribal Gathering Agreement, Yurok Tribe citizens with a tribal identification card can now access state parks inside of the North Coast Redwoods District and within Yurok Ancestral Territory to gather plants and minerals (without applying for a permit); and participate in tribal activities such as religious, spiritual, ceremonial, recreation, and research. … ” Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: Yurok Tribal members can now gather plants and minerals on state park lands within their ancestral territory
Supervisors deny appeal of Nordic Aquafarms Project
“Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms just cleared a major hurdle in its efforts to demolish a dilapidated pulp mill site and build a $650 million land-based fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula. At the end of an all-day hearing Wednesday, a shorthanded Humboldt County Board of Supervisors denied an appeal brought by two environmental organizations and the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association. The vote was unanimous, 4-0, with Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone absent due to a family emergency. Prior to the vote, Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson sought additional commitments from Nordic, based on a variety of community concerns, and following a half-hour of closed-door negotiations between staff and company executives, Nordic agreed to a few additional conditions. … ” Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: Supervisors deny appeal of Nordic Aquafarms Project
Why pet waste is ending up in Sonoma County’s water
“Water in Sonoma County is frequently polluted by dog feces which owners leave behind. The county gets its water from wells along the Russian River, which runs through much of the country before draining the Russian River State Marine Conservation area and the ocean. … Dog walkers frequent important beaches, parks and trails along the river throughout the County. Sonoma Coast State Park, Sunset Beach River Park, Riverfront Regional Park and many more popular recreation spots are right beside the river. Dog poop that is left here becomes a host for bacteria and other harmful pathogens and then finds its way to the river. … ” Read more from the Digital Journal here: Why pet waste is ending up in Sonoma County’s water
Am I a water hog? Here’s what could land you on California’s list of homes using too much water
“With California’s water supply shrinking and the drought dragging on, Bay Area water agencies are getting serious about persuading their customers to use water responsibly. At least one, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, on Tuesday started releasing the names of those guilty of what it considers “excessive use” of water. Three homes made the initial list but it’s expected to grow to hundreds by the end of October. So how does someone wind up on this list?According to Andrea Pook, a spokesperson for EBMUD, the circumstances that land most people on the list are leaks and outdoor water use, primarily for landscaping. … ” Read more from the SF Chronicle here: Am I a water hog? Here’s what could land you on California’s list of homes using too much water
East Bay’s worst water waster used 3,191 gallons daily, EBMUD says
“Water officials are cracking down on East Bay residents who used thousands of gallons of water at home daily in the midst of California’s severe drought. Three residents who live in Richmond, Orinda, and Oakland, each used more than 2,000 gallons on average daily, according to the East Bay Municipal Utility District. The three residents were penalized with fines. East Bay MUD said the following residents violated its Excessive Water Use Penalty Ordinance this summer in the months of July and August … ” Read more from KRON here: East Bay’s worst water waster used 3,191 gallons daily, EBMUD says
Appeals court rules Twitchell Dam operations must be modified to protect steelhead
“A recent court ruling issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will require the operators of Twitchell Dam to adjust operations and release water to comply with the Endangered Species Act and protect the Southern California steelhead. In 2019, San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper and Los Padres ForestWatch, represented by the Environmental Defense Center, Sycamore Law Inc., and Aqua Terra Aeris Law Group, filed a lawsuit against the dam’s operators, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District. The lawsuit alleged that they are violating the Endangered Species Act by limiting the amount of water flows in the Santa Maria River to “levels that harm the critically-imperiled Southern California steelhead population.” ... ” Read more from Noozhawk here: Appeals court rules Twitchell Dam operations must be modified to protect steelhead
Antelope Valley: Advanced water treatment plant moves forward
“As the Palmdale Water District proceeds with plans for an advanced water treatment plant that would turn recycled water into groundwater, the project has a new name and logo for residents to identify it. The project, under the auspices of the Palmdale Recycled Water Authority, is now known as Pure Water Antelope Valley. “We wanted recognition with other projects,” Engineering Manager Scott Rogers said. … ” Read more from the AV Press here: Advanced water treatment plant moves forward
State gives $130 million boost to projects essential to reliability of Southern California’s water supply
“Several Metropolitan projects critical to ensuring reliable water supplies for Southern California in the face of drought and climate change will receive $130 million in state funding, as a result of legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Metropolitan’s Pure Water Southern California project – anticipated to be one of the world’s largest water recycling facilities when complete – will receive $80 million from the FY 2022/23 state budget. The funding will help accelerate the project’s design, construction and operations. In addition, $50 million has been provided to Metropolitan for a set of drought emergency mitigation projects to move locally stored water into parts of Southern California that depend on extremely limited supplies from the State Water Project from Northern California. Without access to alternative supplies, these communities have faced significant mandatory conservation measures since June. … ” Read more from the Metropolitan Water District here: State gives $130 million boost to projects essential to reliability of Southern California’s water supply
Program encourages San Gabriel Valley schools, nonprofits to invest in water conservation projects
“The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has a program designed to encourage water-saving projects. At the Sierra Madre Community Nursery School, the kids are learning from a young age about being water wise. Sarah Healy Pyrzak, coordinator of the school garden, says when she arrived at the school about five years ago things were outdated. “We took out all the sprinklers, we put in the drip system, we put in an all new manifold that wasn’t leaking everywhere. We made everything very water tight, water efficient,” said Pyrzak. All that work was thanks to an OWL grant: Opportunities for Water Leadership. Started in 2017, the program allows schools and nonprofits in Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre to apply for funding to create new water-wise projects. … ” Read more from ABC 7 here: Program encourages San Gabriel Valley schools, nonprofits to invest in water conservation projects
Protesters oppose construction of disposal site in Newport Harbor
“The Friends of Newport Harbor said they are not being heard. Members of the group gathered at the corner of Marguerite and 5th avenues Tuesday night before marching to Newport Beach City Hall to ask the City Council to delay an application submitted to the state Coastal Commission for the construction of a confined aquatic dredged disposal site in lower Newport Harbor. Instead, as the matter was not on the evening’s agenda, council members took no action. The harbor, one of the largest recreational harbors in the country, must be dredged regularly to remove sediment that would otherwise impede its navigation by vessels. It was partially dredged in 2012-13. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Protesters oppose construction of disposal site in Newport Harbor
1 year after OC oil spill, wildlife biologists call for decommissioning of platforms
“Locals and biologists agreed: The 2021 oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach had the worst impact on wildlife. Dan Malane saw the effects of the spill as he rode his bike on the boardwalk. “The fish were turned over and flapping and shaking and things like that,” he said. Michael Ziccardi, the director of the Oiled Care Network out of UC Davis, helped with response efforts. “The oil spill in Huntington Beach, obviously, was a tremendous problem for the animals. We collected more than 130 during that response and cared for them,” Ziccardi said. … ” Read more from ABC 7 here: 1 year after OC oil spill, wildlife biologists call for decommissioning of platforms
OCC climate summit presents range of climate change remedies
“A climate change panel Wednesday told its small audience about policy changes Orange County has made and where local leadership has fallen short. Scientists, politicians and local first responders gathered at the Orange Coast College planetarium to share ways the county can improve and forthcoming dangers a warmer climate presents. Ayn Craciun, a policy manager with Climate Action Campaign, has been focused on the fossil fuel side of the problem and on promoting community choice energy. “Every day in Orange County every new home that is built, and every new commercial building contains fossil fuel infrastructure,” she said. “That needs to change.” … ” Read more from Spectrum 1 here: OCC climate summit presents range of climate change remedies
‘It’s getting close’: As megadrought grinds on, Arizona working to meet water demands
“NASA satellite photos show how drastically the water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead have receded in just the past few years. They demonstrate the severity of long-term drought and the challenges Arizona will face to conserve and enhance its precious water supply. Susanna Eden is the research program manager for the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona. She has been with the center for 17 years and has researched water policy and management even longer. The NASA images are shocking, she said, and should concern Arizonans. “They are very stark images,” Eden said. “People should recognize that it’s not a disaster yet, but it’s getting close.” … ” Read more from Arizona Daily Sun here: ‘It’s getting close’: As megadrought grinds on, Arizona working to meet water demands
Q&A: Environmental expert weighs in on Colorado’s megadrought
“Colorado’s legendary snowpack has long been of critical importance to cities and states on both sides of the Continental Divide and due south all the way to Mexico. It’s an essential resource for the winter sports industry, of course, but also for farmers on the plains, city dwellers on the Front Range and wildlife across the state. Thanks to persistent drought and a changing climate, the state’s snowpack is declining, and Colorado finds itself in the same predicament facing cities and countries across the globe, which, by dint of necessity, are changing how they collect, use and conserve water. Michael Kerwin, director of the University of Denver’s Environmental Science Program, has led field-based coursework and research into climate change and drought across the Rocky Mountains, the American Southwest and South Africa, where, in 2017, Cape Town nearly became the world’s first major city to run out of water. … ” Read more from the University of Denver here: Q&A: Environmental expert weighs in on Colorado’s megadrought
Big Pivots: Why baby steps when the Colorado River needs big strides?
“Rivers and streams on Colorado’s Western Slope chattered excitedly with runoff during mid-September after several days of rain, softening landscapes that had turned sullen after another hot summer. The water was a blink of good news for a Colorado River that needs something more. It needs a long, sloppy kiss of wetness. Hard, difficult decisions have almost entirely lagged what has been needed during the last 20 years of declining reservoir levels and rapidly rising temperatures. Hope has lingered stubbornly. After all, every batter has slumps. And maybe next winter and spring it will snow hard and long in Colorado, source of 60% of the river’s water, instead of getting unseemly warm come April and May, as has mostly been the case. This glass half-full hopefulness has left the two big reservoirs, Mead and Powell, at roughly 25% of capacity. To prevent worse, the smaller savings accounts near the headwaters — Navajo Reservoir in New Mexico, Blue Mesa in Colorado and Flaming Gorge on the Utah-Wyoming border — have been pilfered. Little remains to be tapped. … ” Read more from the Steamboat Pilot here: Big Pivots: Why baby steps when the Colorado River needs big strides?
On the Colorado River, growing concern for trout and chub
“To guide fishing trips for a year or two, that’s what brought Terry Gunn to the red canyons of northern Arizona. The chance to hike, raft and fly fish drew Wendy Hanvold, a retired ski bum, who took a job there waiting tables at an anglers lodge. She heard rumors of the intrepid fishing guide who had just returned from an Alaska trip, and one day when he came in approached his table to take his order. “You fly fish, right?” she said. “I’ve always wanted to learn.” It was a match made in Marble Canyon. Since then, the couple opened an anglers shop, guide service, purchased a lodge, and raised their son. They take pride in showing tourists the best spots to catch and release prized rainbow trout beneath craggy cliffs carved by the Colorado River. But it could all soon change as warmer water temperatures threaten fish survival and the Gunn’s livelihood. … ” Read more from Channel 11 here: On the Colorado River, growing concern for trout and chub
Tucson to address participation in Colorado River compensation plan
“On Tuesday, Sept. 27, city staff will give an update on Tucson’s participation in the Colorado River System compensation. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation previously said that the seven basin states would need to cut overall usage up to 4m acre feet in 2023 to stop Lake Mead and Lake Powell from getting to some serious low elevations. The city allowed Tucson Water to leave up to 30,000 acre feet of its 2022 water order in Lake Mead, this was to immediately benefit the reservoir’s water elevation. ... ” Read more from Channel 9 here: Tucson to address participation in Colorado River compensation plan
“After a summer marked by massive upheavals to abortion access, gun safety and climate regulation, the Supreme Court’s newly empowered six-justice conservative majority appears poised to undercut longstanding approaches to environmental protection and racial equity. The new term opens Monday with arguments in the landmark Clean Water Act case Sackett v. EPA and a new justice — Ketanji Brown Jackson — on the bench. Jackson’s ascent is monumental in that she is the first Black woman to be a Supreme Court justice. But her addition to the diminished three-justice liberal wing won’t dilute the power of a conservative majority that has signaled interest in scaling back the federal government’s ability to act on health emergencies, climate change and other key issues. … ” Read more from E&E News here: Pivotal Supreme Court term begins with WOTUS war
Will the Supreme Court gut the Clean Water Act?
“If you want to cross the Rillito River in Tucson, Arizona, anytime between October and July, you probably won’t need a boat, a bridge, waders or even waterproof shoes. During most of the year, the river is an arroyo, a curvy strip of dry sand that holds no more than the memory of water: braided serpentine patterns in the sand, erosion-smoothed stones, debris wrapped around the trunks of the few hardy deciduous trees. But when the Rillito springs to life, as it did on multiple occasions this summer, it becomes a river like any other, swelling up to 5,000 cubic feet per second or more, and rivaling the Southwest’s largest, fastest streams. On Oct. 3, the Rillito River and thousands of other ephemeral or intermittent rivers, streams, arroyos, gullies, wetlands, marshes and prairie potholes are going to court — the Supreme Court. … ” Read more from High Country News here: Will the Supreme Court gut the Clean Water Act?
Billions in USDA conservation funding went to farmers for programs that were not ‘climate-smart,’ a new study finds
“The Biden administration has said it will rely on the nation’s farmers to help achieve the country’s climate goals, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is paying them millions of dollars for practices that don’t achieve those targets—and in some cases, increase greenhouse gas emissions. A new analysis published Wednesday and based on extensive public records requests, finds that the agency gave $7.4 billion to farmers through its five major conservation programs from 2017 to 2020, yet only a small percentage of that money went toward climate-related practices. The analysis also finds that the agency failed to provide complete data on these payments. … ” Read more from Inside Climate News here: Billions in USDA conservation funding went to farmers for programs that were not ‘climate-smart,’ a new study finds
As carbon dioxide grows more abundant, trees are growing bigger, study finds
“Trees are feasting on decades of carbon dioxide emissions and growing bigger as a result, according to a new study of U.S. forests. Scientists tracked wood volume in 10 different tree groups from 1997 to 2017, finding that all except aspen-birch grew larger. Over that same period, carbon dioxide levels went from 363 parts per million to 405 parts per million, owing largely to the burning of fossil fuels. More abundant CO2 accelerates photosynthesis, causing plants to grow faster, a phenomenon known as “carbon fertilization.” The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. The study suggests that even as warming threatens forests by fueling worsening drought, insect infestations, and wildfires, with rising CO2 levels also mean that planting trees is an increasingly cost-effective method for fighting climate change, as the same number of trees can sequester more carbon, said Brent Sohngen, an environmental scientist at Ohio State University and coauthor of the study. … ” Read more from Yale e360 here: As carbon dioxide grows more abundant, trees are growing bigger, study finds
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.