DAILY DIGEST, 3/28: New winter storm could push California’s snowpack to record high; Map shows unusual impact California storms are having on the ocean; Farms that haven’t flooded from storms still facing harvesting challenges; California’s ‘phantom lake’ returns with a vengeance, unearthing an ugly history of water; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • LEG HEARING: Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife beginning at 9am.  Click here for the agenda and remote access links.
  • WATER ENERGY EDUCATION ALLIANCE: Results of a statewide water and wastewater workforce needs assessment from 9am to 12pm. An Online Interactive Meeting for California Water, Energy, and Education Partners.  Join the WEEA for a very special Leadership Roundtable as the Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research present their report findings and recommendations on a much anticipated statewide water and wastewater workforce needs assessment.  Agenda includes introductions and leadership updates, a presentation by the Centers of  Excellence for Labor Market Research, and facilitated regional breakout groups. Click here to register.
  • LEG HEARING: Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water beginning at 9:30am.  Click here for the agenda and remote access links.
  • WEBINAR: Secretary Speaker Series – Leading into the Future: Visionary Women Shaping the Future of California’s Coast from 12pm to 1pm.  For the first time, women are leading five of California’s management and policy agencies working to protect the state’s coastal and ocean resources. Female leaders are also shaping coastal and ocean protection from diverse leadership roles outside government. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we’ll talk to these history-makers about this moment and what it means. What is the importance of female leadership in public service? How did these leaders get to where they are now? How do we build stronger networks and pipelines for female leaders across government and public policy? Join us for a candid and uplifting conversation.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

New winter storm could push California’s snowpack to record high

“Here we go again. After a several-day break in the rain, snow and wind across California and the West Coast, another intense storm system is poised to slam into the region late Monday night into Tuesday. Heavy snow in the high terrain will make for difficult travel, while heavy rain in coastal, valley and foothill regions could cause flooding. … Ahead of this storm, the amount of water stored in the state’s snowpack had approached or surpassed records in two of three regions. The southern Sierra blew past its previous record in late February and is running 284 percent of the annual normal as of March 27. After this storm hits, the state average could climb to a record high. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post.


Looming atmospheric river may put California at highest snowpack level ever. What’s your forecast?

“Call it the Greatest Snow on Earth. Well, at least the largest ever recorded in the state of California.  As…  yet another atmospheric river speeds toward the Golden State, threatening to deliver several inches of rain to the Bay Area and several new feet of snow to portions of the Sierra by Wednesday evening, the Sierra snowpack is on track to top 1952 as the snowiest season on record.  That’s right. The last time California had this much snow at the end of March, Harry Truman was president, gasoline cost 27 cents a gallon, and the film “The Greatest Show on Earth” was No.1 at the box office. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.

With drought relieved, California casts wary eye on snowmelt

“With record and near-record snowpack up and down California, much of its multiyear drought has abated — but it’s never time to break out the balloons and party favors when it comes to water in the West.  During a California-Nevada U.S. Drought Monitoring Group seminar Monday, water experts were upbeat when talking about the massive snowpack, reservoirs spilling and more storms on the horizon.  “Overall, things are looking very good. And so that’s really nice to share after many of these kinds of updates where we tend to look at things going the other direction,” said Ben Hatchett of the Desert Research Institute. “So, the bottom line: Drought conditions have been improving and they continue to improve.”  A substantial portion of California has no drought, although areas still listed as dry to moderately dry include the California desert in the south and uppermost northern California in the southern Cascade Range region near the Oregon border. … ”   Continue reading at the Courthouse News.

SEE ALSO: Mammoth Mountain now has 840 inches Ready to melt on its 11,053-foot summit, from the Manteca Bulletin

Map shows unusual impact California storms are having on the ocean

“While the world’s oceans have hit a record high temperature, the Pacific Ocean off the California coast remains colder than average.  In fact, in virtually no place in the world is the ocean so much colder than normal, according to a map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  “California right now is really a remarkably anomalous outlier,” said Daniel Swain, climate scientist at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, during a press event Monday.  “There is no place on earth right now that has larger negative ocean temperature anomalies than the west coast of North America,” he said.  The stormy weather is clearly a factor. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle (gift article).

California farms grapple with flooded fields, ‘hundreds of millions’ in damage

“From dairy farms in Tulare to strawberry fields in Salinas, farmers in California have been dealing with the relentless back-to-back West Coast storms washing out their crops and fields, hitting them financially.  The damage caused by the storms has threatened the state’s vast agricultural production, which produces more than one-third of the nation’s vegetables and three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.   California’s agriculture industry isn’t just crucial for the country but also for the world’s food supply. The state is the country’s largest agricultural exporter and the nation’s sole exporter of many commodities such as almonds, artichokes, dates, garlic and much more, according to the California Agricultural Statistics Review 2020-2021. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather.

Amid south Valley’s massive flooding, where’s Gavin?

“Amid a week of major flooding in the San Joaquin Valley due to intense storms, a question is creeping up: where’s Gavin?  Last week Gov. Gavin Newsom wrapped up his State of the State tour around California, which bypassed the Central Valley.  Driving the news: Newsom’s State of the State tour took him to Sacramento, San Quentin State Prison, Downey and San Diego. In the meantime, flooding in parts of the Central Valley has been so catastrophic that the outskirts of the old Tulare Lake, which was drained over 100 years ago, has reformed, covering farmland and threatening homes. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun.

Farms that haven’t flooded from storms still facing harvesting challenges

“The recent storms have put a dent in the drought, but they’ve also flooded precious farmland, ruining mile after mile of crops across the state. But even at farms that didn’t flood, they are still harvesting challenges.  Thanks to a much-needed assist from Mother Nature this year, Erin Gil’s crops are faring quite well in the Santa Clara Valley. He grows cool-season grass.  “We’ve been doing this since 1969. This is one of the biggest years for rainfall that we’ve had,” he said. “It’s a savior for the state of California.”  However, while the rain has helped his product, it’s hindered his ability to harvest it.  “It is keeping us away from doing all of the things that we normally do,” he said. “A long spell of rainfall means we’re down for a long time without cash flow.” … ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area.

California farmers flood fields to boost groundwater basin

“A field that has long grown tomatoes, peppers and onions now looks like a wind-whipped ocean as farmer Don Cameron seeks to capture the runoff from a freakishly wet year in California to replenish the groundwater basin that is his only source to water his crops. Taking some tomatoes out of production for a year is an easy choice if it means boosting future water supplies for his farm about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Fresno. He’s pumping 300 acre-feet a day — enough to supply hundreds of households for a year — from the gushing North Fork of the Kings River onto former vegetable fields and others dotted with pistachio trees, which can withstand heavy flooding.  “We knew long-term if we didn’t have water, we’d be out of business,” Cameron said. “We’re doing our part to protect communities downstream, but we’re also putting the water in the ground.” … ”  Read more from US News & World Report.

The biotelemetry boom: Tracking fish movement through time

“Scientists have been tracking and monitoring animals for research since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, primarily by tagging and banding fish and birds with small metal bands. These tags, equipped with unique codes, allowed scientists to identify individuals when they were recaptured. This process aptly referred to as “Mark and Recapture,” provided data that could then potentially be used to estimate population size, migration patterns, behavior, habitat use, and more. While resighting marked birds only requires a pair of binoculars and some patience, recapturing marked fish can be very challenging.  As a result, data from these early efforts were often limited and left scientists with many unanswered questions. However, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, significant electronic advances made it possible for scientists to track animal movements wirelessly and without needing to rely on the physical re-capture of tagged individuals. … ”  Read more from FishBio.

Return to top

In commentary today …

California must provide a global model for coastal resiliency

David Helvarg, an author and executive director of Blue Frontier, writes, “Ten years ago, I wrote a book called “The Golden Shore: California’s Love Affair with the Sea.” Back then, I suggested that California, with almost 40 million people and the world’s fifth largest economy, was proof that you could grow a progressive society while protecting your coast and ocean. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the book “just might make you feel optimistic about the future.”  Well, that future has arrived and I’m less optimistic. This winter’s atmospheric river storms, coastal flooding, erosion, sea level rise, saltwater intrusion into rivers, and sedimentation dumping thousands of tons of soil into the ocean were only the most recent of the state’s disasters. The year 2022 alone brought a massive red tide in San Francisco Bay, the continued die-off of 95% of northern California’s kelp forest between the Golden Gate and Cape Mendocino, and a spike of gray whale deaths along the entire coast. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.

Return to top

Today’s featured article …

FEATURE: The Magic of the Mokelumne: How such a small river produces so many salmon

“The Mokelumne River is on the modest side, running 95 miles from the Sierra Nevada and accounting for less than 3% of flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. But the river’s impact on salmon is outsized and the latest figures really made a splash. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) puts the Mokelumne’s contribution to the 2022 commercial ocean salmon fishery at a whopping 51% of the total for hatcheries.

“The Mokelumne is the single biggest contributor to the catch,” says John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association. “It’s huge.”

The Mokelumne River Hatchery’s record is even more impressive given that it raises just a fraction of the young salmon—about 6 million of the 32 million total—produced by Central Valley hatcheries each year.

“It’s punching above its weight,” McManus says. “Why? What’s the magic with the Mokelumne?”

Click here to read this article.

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary today …


Yurok tribe and fishermen sue to protect Klamath salmon

“Last week, the Yurok Tribe, with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA) and the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR), sued the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to ensure enough water will remain in the Klamath River to protect threatened coho salmon and endangered resident killer whales.  In February, BOR reduced Klamath River flows below the mandatory minimum required to preserve extremely at-risk coho salmon stocks. The water reduction will dry up critical habitat for juvenile coho and Chinook or king salmon. Federal fisheries managers are poised to shut down the ocean commercial salmon fishing season in California due to this year’s dismal Chinook salmon forecast on the Klamath River. The Yurok Tribe will be canceling its commercial fishery for the fifth consecutive year to protect fish runs. … ”  Read more from the Daily Kos.


Winter storm warning issued for Lake Tahoe; Heavy snow expected on Tuesday

“The National Weather Service has upgraded to a winter storm warning for the Lake Tahoe region for heavy snowfall expected to start Tuesday morning.  The warning is in effect from 5 a.m. Tuesday and lasts for 24 hours for 8 to 16 inches of snow for Tahoe communities and 16 to 26 inches above 7,000 feet. Winds will gust up to 45 mph with Sierra ridge gusts in excess of 80 mph.  The service says this storm may be a two-part event with the first, main portion, late Monday through Tuesday with a brief break until the second portion arrives which will primarily be additional snow showers Wednesday afternoon into the evening. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Storm to bring ‘difficult to impossible’ Tahoe travel conditions

“As many families prepare to travel to California’s Sierra Nevada for spring break, the National Weather Service is sounding the alarm bells and warning of dangerous travel conditions: A storm is expected to unleash a torrent of snow Monday night into Wednesday. If you want to drive to the Tahoe Basin, Monday morning and afternoon offer the best opportunity before the snow starts falling.  “If you do go up today, plan to stay up there for a few days,” Scott Rowe, a forecaster with the weather service, said. “Travel will become very difficult after tonight. It’s very possible there could be travel delays and road closures. The potential for heavy snow rates is a real possibility.” … ”  Read more from SF Gate.

Why the Pacific Crest Trail will be more dangerous than ever this year

“The Pacific Crest Trail draws thousands of people from all experience levels annually. Some are thru-hikers hoping to complete the 2,650-mile trek through California, Oregon and Washington (from the Mexican border to Canada), in one journey, while others are weekend backpackers and day hikers taking on smaller sections of the trail.  The hikers regularly contend with challenges like hypothermia, heat exhaustion, poisonous plants, lightning, bears and rattlesnakes, along with wildfires and other impacts of climate change. But this year, experts warn, hikers face one of the greatest risks in the trail’s history: the record-setting Sierra Nevada snowpack. … ”  Read more from SF Gate.


Farmers look forward to full water delivery

“As the rain year continues to look promising, rice farmers are happy to expect most if not all of their water allocations will be delivered.  This week the Department of Water Resources announced a 75% water allocation to the irrigation districts served by the State Water Project.  Farmers on the east side of the valley served by Lake Oroville are expected to receive 100% of their water rights, according to Louis Espino, rice farming systems adviser and director at the University of California Butte County Cooperative Extension.  “There’s a lot of optimism and a lot of excitement in the air. Everyone’s looking forward to go out and start working the fields,” Espino said. “They haven’t been doing much for a year, and now they’re all ready to go.” … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record.

As California eases back on drought restrictions, what are the watering rules in Sacramento-area cities

“California is easing its drought restrictions after the state became soaked with several storms in recent months.  During a visit in Yolo County on Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state is changing its drought restrictions and water conversation plans.  However, the governor said the state drought emergency proclamation won’t be lifted, although, half of the state is no longer in drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  One of the restrictions Newsom announced will be lifted is the state’s 15% voluntary reduction in water use.  With the statewide mandate ending, local water agencies and governments, such as cities and counties, can implement their own water restrictions. … ”  Read more from Fox 40.


Atmospheric rivers offer opportunity for Sonoma County reservoirs

“Even though the floods, atmospheric rivers can’t rain on James Gore’s parade.  The meteorological phenomenon is having a moment in 2023, with 12 recorded in California through mid-March, well ahead of the typical six to 10 for an entire year. Sonoma County is seizing the opportunity to use new hydrological research into atmospheric rivers to gain more flexibility in managing its reservoirs, getting leeway from federal regulations set during the Eisenhower administration.  “We’re holding more water in our reservoirs than ever before and we are finally moving away from the post-World War II infrastructure system of risk management,” said Gore, a Sonoma County supervisor and NACo second vice president. “We effectively have built the new system to allow more water to be there, the water to be managed effectively, but in these boom-and-bust cycles.” … ”  Read more from the National Association of Counties.

Napa Water Forum looks at how nature, humans can both thrive

“Ideas flowed at a recent forum on how to manage Napa Valley water, which is the lifeblood for local cities, world-famous wine country and the environment. Save Napa Valley Foundation — formerly Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture — and other groups put on the Napa Water Forum. It took place Friday, March 24 in the Native Sons of the Golden West building in downtown Napa.  “This is not in lieu of the county, but another voice in addition to the county,” said Mike Hackett of Save Napa Valley Foundation. “I’m a firm believer in using as many resources as you can to come to the best conclusion.” … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register.

SEE ALSO: Video: Napa Water Manager Joy Eldredge talks about drought and “purified water,” from the Napa Valley Register


Oakland nonprofit fundraising to help Lake Merritt avert another fish die-off

“The Lake Merritt Institute, a nonprofit that helps to clean and monitor the health of Lake Merritt in Oakland, says the recent rains in the Bay Area have sent lots of fresh water and pollution into Lake Merritt.  The weather-related changes have also stoked fears that the fish die-off in the lake last summer could repeat this summer. The Lake Merritt Institute is ramping up fundraising efforts in hopes of curbing conditions that could fuel a repeat die-off. … The Lake Merritt Institute says the city of Oakland is working on a pilot project that will help to oxygenate the lake. In the meantime, the institute is fundraising for several things to help the lake immediately. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area.


Crews demolish historic Monterey Bay pier, in danger of collapse after January storm damage

“In the final chapter for one of the most venerable landmarks along Monterey Bay, crews with excavators and other heavy equipment on Monday tore apart the 500-foot-long wooden pier at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos.  Popular with generations of beachgoers and anglers, the pier, built in 1930, was best known as the connection between sweeping sandy beaches of Santa Cruz County and the SS Palo Alto, a Word War I-era steamship widely called the “cement ship.”  The wooden pier was severely damaged by huge waves during storms on Jan. 5, and was in imminent danger of collapse, state parks officials said. President Biden visited it as part of his trip to California on Jan. 19 to survey the damage and issue disaster declarations.  As excavators ripped apart the wooden decking Monday, crowds of tourists and locals gathered to take photographs and talk about the demolition. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.

After a dry weekend, more rain is on tap for Monterey County

“After a much-welcomed weekend respite from rain, clouds will soon interrupt the brief show of spring sun as the Central Coast braces for yet another storm this week.  Spurred by an approaching cold front, a familiar lineup of wind and showers are in store for Monterey County starting Tuesday morning.  Gusty conditions are expected to pick up bright and early, with a wind advisory going into effect Tuesday at 5 a.m. The National Weather Service is cautioning gusts up to 30-45 mph, particularly for coastal areas and higher peaks, into Tuesday afternoon.  … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald.


California’s ‘phantom lake’ returns with a vengeance, unearthing an ugly history of water

“A winter of epic snow and rain had brought California’s “phantom lake” back to life — and threatened towns and farms in the process.  Once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, Tulare Lake was largely drained in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the rivers that fed it were dammed and diverted for agriculture.  This month, after powerful storms, rivers that dwindled during the drought are swollen with runoff from heavy rains and snow, and are flowing full from the Sierra Nevada into the valley, spilling from canals and broken levees into fields. Here is a history of Tulare Lake from the pages of The Times. … ”  Read more from the LA Times. | Read via Yahoo News.

‘It’s just a mess’: California farmers growing concerned over lingering flood waters

“It’s been a week since floodwater created a lake on a farm near Corcoran, California.  Farmer Mary Breckenridge says the only thing that has changed in a week is more flooding with higher water levels.Breckenridge believes the only way to stop the flooding in her area is to shore up the Tule River and Deer Creek.  “Those two are just blasting along and they spew water into every waterway and canal around her. They in turn break so it’s just a mess.”  Breckenridge is concerned about her 650 acres of pistachios. … ”  Read more from KMPH.

SEE ALSO: Photo feature: The scramble to save California’s Heartland, from the New York Times

Allensworth flooding getting state level attention – will it help?

“Some state officials have finally taken notice of Allensworth, the historic Black community in Tulare County that is on the brink of severe flooding.  Karla Nemeth, director of the state Department of Water Resources, toured Allensworth on Friday, March 24, to meet with community leaders to discuss issues and potential solutions.  Allensworth sits in the natural Tulare Lake bed which was drained by farmers over 100 years ago. But the recent string of storms has overwhelmed the valley’s water infrastructure and the lake is reforming.  For Allensworth, one of the most pressing concerns is overflow from the White River which is pouring into the east side of town and threatening homes. That was one of the issues community members discussed with Nemeth. … ”  Read more from SJV Water.

Allensworth seeks donations as flooding begins to ebb

“As California has received nearly 400% of their average rainfall since late December, areas like the small community of Allensworth, are asking for help as they struggle to stay afloat.  The Allensworth Progressive Association (APA) is working with local residents to lead a protection effort for the community of Allensworth from recent flooding. Recent storms dropping rain and snow over southern Tulare County and associated foothills have produced historic flows to the White River, Deer Creek and Poso Creek. According to Daniel Potter, public information officer with CAL FIRE, the levels of standing water vary from minimal to upwards of five feet deep. However on March 27, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux reduced the evacuation order for Allensworth to a warning, but did issue a boil water notice.  … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette.

The Kern Returns: Conservation efforts continue as extreme drought ends

“Plenty of rainfall has contributed to an increase in water supply across the state. In response, California Governor Gavin Newsom rolled back some drought restrictions on Friday.  At this point, most of Kern County no longer registered as being in a drought, but local water officials say they are still determining if they will move the area out of the Stage 2 drought restriction the county is currently still under.  Cal Water District Manager in Bakersfield Tamara Johnson says the water agency is reviewing the full order to determine their next action.  “These are historic times for our area to get this much, and it’s just a blessing for sure. However, because we see the climate changing so drastically, we have to be prepared for the future,” said Johnson. … ”  Read more from Channel 23.


More rain is rolling into L.A. County Tuesday after high winds die down Monday

“More rain is coming to Los Angeles County this week, following strong wind conditions that were expected to rake the region into the late hours Sunday night, according to forecasters.  Rain is expected to roll in again late Tuesday evening and continue until Thursday, but the storm won’t be as bad as last week’s. Rose Schoenfeld, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, expects a half to three-quarters of an inch of rain, compared with the 2 to 3 inches seen in the most recent storm.  The precipitation will be cold, though, with snow at higher elevations such as the Grapevine pass.  The rain is expected to clear out Thursday afternoon, Schoenfeld said, before uttering words that many have been hoping to hear: “There’s no other rain in the forecast.” … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

Metropolitan begins replenishing storage thanks to increased State Water Project supplies

“With winter storms increasing the availability of water supplies that were extremely limited during the punishing drought, Metropolitan Water District today marked a major milestone as it began refilling Southern California’s largest reservoir for the first time in three years.  Metropolitan and state officials came together at Diamond Valley Lake to share the operational actions being taken to maximize the amount of water stored in depleted reservoirs and groundwater basins, as well as encourage Southern Californians to continue conserving.   As climate change increasingly causes weather extremes, Metropolitan has quickly shifted its operations, from stretching severely limited water supplies, to now storing as much as possible in preparation for the next inevitable dry period. … ”  Read more from Metropolitan Water District.

‘Nature gave us a lifeline’: Southern California refills largest reservoir after wet winter

“Following a series of winter storms that eased drought conditions across the state, Southern Californians celebrated a sight nobody has seen for several punishing years: water rushing into Diamond Valley Lake.  The massive reservoir — the largest in Southern California — was considerably drained during the state’s driest three years on record, with nearly half of the lake’s supply used to bolster minuscule allocations from state water providers.  But an extraordinarily wet winter allowed officials from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to turn on the taps in Hemet once again. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

SEE ALSO: Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet, SoCal’s largest reservoir, refilled for first time in 3 years, from ABC 7

Orange County railroad project to buy into San Luis Rey River habitat restoration

“Native habitat along the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside will be preserved as a requirement of the railroad stabilization project underway on a coastal hillside at San Clemente.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has asked the Orange County Transportation Authority to purchase credit for half an acre in the San Luis Rey Mitigation Bank, an area of the river’s floodplain being restored to its natural condition.  Wildlands Inc. and the Wildlife Heritage Foundation bought about 60 acres for the mitigation bank more than 10 years ago to create off-site credits for public and private projects required to compensate for construction on natural lands. About 14 acres remains available as unsold credits, Brian Monaghan of Wildlands Inc. said Monday. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.


Camp Pendleton is latest agency to find PFAS chemical in drinking water

“Camp Pendleton leaders on Monday sent a public notice to thousands of service members and civilians who live and work on the base’s north end alerting them that recent testing revealed their drinking water contained a higher-than-desired level of PFAS, a potentially carcinogenic chemical that has been found in much of Southern California’s groundwater supply.  PFAS, or per- and polyfluorinated substances, can be found in cleaning products, water-resistant fabrics, grease-resistant paper and non-stick cookware, as well as in products such as shampoo, dental floss and nail polish. The state only set requirements to test for the chemicals in the last few years and has lowered the threshold for when their detection needs to be reported to the public by water agencies.  Water districts throughout Southern California have been struggling to get PFAS levels down. Base officials believe their water supply was likely impacted by groundwater that seeped in from inland and uphill Orange County. … ”  Read more from the OC Register.

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Meet the fish Lake Mead officials don’t want you to feed

“There’s something fishy happening at Lake Mead — while the water level has dropped over recent years, there is no apparent drop in the number of fish begging for food at the marinas at Hemenway Harbor.  On a sunny early morning weekend visit in late March, there were already families with large bags of store-bought popcorn feeding the gaping fish mouths of dozens – maybe hundreds – of carp and striper. It’s an uncanny sight to many to see these giant fish with human-like lips jutting out of the lake waiting to be fed. … ”  Read more from KLAS.

Salt River Project can’t store all the water spring rain and snow has brought to Phoenix

“If you drive past the Salt River in town right now, you might see something surprising there: water.  That’s because the Salt River Project continues to release water from its dams in order to clear space in its reservoirs for heavy spring snowmelt after an unusually wet winter. Several late-winter storms have water officials looking to clear room in the Verde River reservoirs, which, as of last week, are already over 80% full.  Charlie Ester, SRP’s manager of watershed management, joined The Show to talk about it.”  Listen at KJZZ.

If Colorado River option dries up, Cheyenne may have to look elsewhere for 70% of its water

“Cheyenne might be a long way from the Wyoming headwaters of the Colorado River, but the city is linked to the river’s shrinking supply against ever-more-pressing downstream demands, and the resulting conflicts.  For decades, Cheyenne has sourced up to 70% of its total water supply from the Colorado River drainage, albeit indirectly. That could start drying up, possibly by 2028. That potential has the city is looking for alternatives.  “Who would have thought that 70 years ago we’d be in this situation, but we are,” Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins told Cowboy State Daily. “We’re looking for drainages in this area that could compliment those (Colorado River) waters.” … ”  Read more from the Cowboy State Daily.

Return to top

In national water news today …

Study confirms nitrate can release uranium into groundwater

“New research experimentally confirms that nitrate can help transport naturally occurring uranium from the underground to groundwater, according to a press release from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The new research backs a 2015 study led by Karrie Weber of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The 2015 showed that aquifers contaminated with high levels of nitrate — including the High Plains Aquifer residing beneath Nebraska — also contain uranium concentrations far exceeding a threshold set by the U.S. EPA.  Uranium concentrations above that EPA threshold have been shown to cause kidney damage in humans, especially when regularly consumed via drinking water. … ”  Read more from Storm Water Solutions.

Sea levels are rising — and it’s going to get worse. Here’s how some communities are adapting.

“Our sea levels will remain elevated for thousands of years.  Scientists around the world agreed on that in last week’s U.N. report about climate change, which found it is “unavoidable for centuries to millennia due to continuing deep ocean warming and ice sheet melt, and sea levels will remain elevated for thousands of years.”  One of the problems with sea level rise is that it happens slowly, a tiny bit each year, making it a threat that people have an easy time ignoring.  We do that at our own peril, according to Mark Merrifield, director of the Scripps Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.  “Over time, it is just undeniable. The measurements all say the same thing. The glaciers are melting and the ice sheets,” Merrifield said while standing on the Scripps Pier, a hub of scientific activity on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. … ”  Read more from CBS News.

Return to top

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.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email