DAILY DIGEST, 9/11: Stormwater biofiltration increases coho salmon hatchling survival; Climate change, invasive clams are fueling algae growth on Lake Tahoe; Can golf cure its water addiction?; As the Colorado River declines, some upstream look to use it before they lose it; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • WORKSHOP: Flood-MAR Network from 2:30pm to 5:00pm. Agenda items include Flood-MAR Permitting Flowchart and Table, Flood-MAR Implementation Guidance Materials, Flood-MAR Publications, and Action Team Updates. Click here for the full agenda.  Click here to register.
  • VIRTUAL PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Los Padres Dam Alternatives from 6pm to 8pm. Representatives from engineering firm AECOM will make an informational presentation on the Los Padres Dam Alternatives Study, which was released in April 2023. The Alternatives study fulfills a requirement of an agreement between the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, California American Water, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the State Coastal Conservancy to determine the feasibility of removing or improving the dam, which sits on the Carmel River and was constructed in 1949. After the presentation, representatives from the primary organizations that participated in the study will be available to answer questions. Feedback from the workshops will help inform additional areas of concern to study and future decision-making about the preferred alternative. Click here to register for the virtual session.

In California water news today …

Stormwater biofiltration increases coho salmon hatchling survival

“A relatively simple, inexpensive method of filtering urban stormwater runoff dramatically boosted survival of newly hatched coho salmon in an experimental study, according to a press release from Washington State University (WSU).  The findings, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, are consistent with previous research on adult and juvenile coho that found exposure to untreated roadway runoff that typically winds up in waterways during storms resulted in mortality of 60% or more. For the coho hatchlings in this study, mortality from runoff exposure was even higher at 87%.  When the stormwater was run through a biofiltration method — essentially layers of mulch, compost, sand and gravel — nearly all the coho hatchlings survived, though many of resulting fish had smaller eyes and body sizes than a control group. … ”  Read more from Stormwater Solutions.

The wrong kind of blooms: Climate change, invasive clams are fueling algae growth on Lake Tahoe

“While out enjoying an afternoon on one of Lake Tahoe’s sandy beaches over the past few years, you might have noticed large mats of decomposing algae washing up or floating nearby. The lake’s famed blue waters are facing another threat while the battles of climate change and invasive species wage on — and it’s all very much connected.  Nearshore algae blooms are a burgeoning ecological threat to Tahoe. Not only do they impact the experience for beachgoers, but they also degrade water quality and, in some cases, pose a threat of toxicity.  Over the last 50 years, the rate of algal growth has increased sixfold, according to U.C. Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center’s 2022 State of the Lake Report. Between 2021 and 2022 alone, the amount of algae growing in the lake jumped up 300%. … ” Continue reading from the Sierra Sun.

Can golf cure its water addiction?

“At The Ranch at Laguna Beach, golfers tee off under the dramatic shadow of a vast canyon, zipping around in electric carts and strolling along gleaming grassy fairways. From the lush greenery, you’d never know California is emerging from a historic mega drought. Golf and the Southern California climate make for uneasy bedfellows. The sport is often a target of water cuts by regulators — and of environmentalists who believe the game uses far too many resources in a world of water scarcity.  Kurt Bjorkman, The Ranch’s general manager, is quick to agree with all of it. He’ll also tell you that golf can be part of the solution. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post.

Doctors fear deadly fungal infection outbreak after Tropical Storm Hilary, monsoon flooding in West

“Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Hilary, storms from Jova and flooding from monsoon moisture have doctors on high alert in the Desert Southwest for a disease outbreak that can turn deadly if not caught.  Valley fever, or Coccidioidosis, is a fungal infection. Humans and pets can get it just by inhaling dusty air. Fungus spores grow in dirt and soil and become airborne when wind, construction, digging and earthquakes disturb the soil. Wind carries the spores to noses and mouths. The spores thrive in the rain and multiply, according to notes in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. … ”  Read more from Fox Weather.

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary today …

Hidden links between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems: part 3 – Eel River

“In California’s north coast, the Eel River winds its way through hills with shady slopes carpeted in lush ferns and towering redwoods and sunny ridges covered in brushy chaparral. The South Fork Eel River has been the site of extensive research by UC Berkeley professor Dr. Mary Power that has upended the traditional paradigm in ecology that trophic subsidies from forested watersheds shape river food webs, but subsidies from rivers are unimportant to forests.  During spring, floating mats of bright green algae grow on top of the water in the river. Aquatic insects like caddisflies and mayflies lay their eggs inside these mats, which provide nutritious food and protection from predators to their young when they hatch. Populations of many different species of these insects will emerge into their terrestrial adult forms in synchrony and then fly away from their algal homes, creating trophic subsidies that flow from the river into the forest. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog.

Palo Alto: Baby beaver sighting brings hopes of comeback for California’s little climate superheroes

“Bill Leikam was reviewing footage from a wildlife camera he placed along a Palo Alto creekbed recently when something unfamiliar scampered across the screen.  “I have enough experience with the wildlife out there to be able to identify every one of them just by their movement — this one had me baffled,” said Leikam, president and co-founder of the Urban Wildlife Research Project. “I’d never seen a critter out there moving like this little guy did.”  Leikam, who is better known as The Fox Guy, watched the clip over and over. Eventually, he recognized the mysterious creature as a critically important species that has long been missing from his beloved Baylands — a mammal that California wildlife officials have hailed as a “climate hero.”  “I just stopped and said to myself, ‘Is that a baby beaver?’” Leikam said. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

San Diego County’s shrinking beaches

“San Diego County’s beaches need costly, sustained replenishment efforts to remain the wide, sandy tourist attractions they have been for so long, a new regional study shows.  Shorelines in south Oceanside, south Carlsbad, Leucadia and Coronado are shrinking fast, according to the 2023 “State of the Coast” report released Thursday by the San Diego Association of Governments.  Only beaches bolstered by sand dredged from nearby lagoons, harbors and offshore deposits are maintaining their width or growing, says the report, presented Thursday at a meeting of SANDAG’s Shoreline Preservation Working Group.  Most California beaches have never been the wide, sandy expanses seen in East Coast states such as Florida, some experts say. Most of the West Coast shore is steep, rocky and pounded by powerful waves, and the beach culture popularized by movies and advertising is largely a myth. … ”  Read more from the Del Mar Times.

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

As the Colorado River declines, some upstream look to use it before they lose it

Rangely, Colorado, from the air. Credit: Mitch Tobin/The Water Desk with aerial support provided by LightHawk and pilot David Cole.

“The fossil fuel industry once boomed here.  Oil pump jacks dot the landscape around the community and serve as a reminder of the town’s origins. Prairie dogs race across the two-lane highway outside of town that is filled with thousands of Mormon crickets during the summer.  But times are changing. With the nation beginning to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy like solar and wind power, oil and gas companies are beginning to plug their wells here.  So local leaders are looking for the next economic development opportunity. And they may have found their solution—divert more Colorado River water with a new dam and reservoir that will generate more hydropower, irrigate more agriculture and store more water for emergencies.  They’re not alone in that quest. … ”  Read more from Inside Climate News.

Colorado River problems: Glen Canyon Dam, desalination and a city that could run dry

“The boldest strategies to save the Colorado River are coming from environmental groups, including a rising chorus of voices to give Lake Mead priority over Lake Powell.  Recommendations to decommission Glen Canyon Dam — or at least abandon hydropower production there — are part of the solutions offered in a 23-page letter signed by several long-established conservation groups. The theme is repeated by others in comments submitted to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as it crafts new policies for managing the river, with a 2026 deadline as a previous 20-year plan comes to an end. … ”  Read more from KLAS.

Return to top

In national water news today …

Water recycling grants program launched

“On Sept. 7, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) announced the launch of the Large-Scale Water Recycling Projects Competitive Grants Program, which Congress created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.  The WateReuse Association helped create the program during the development of the BIL and has worked extensively with BOR to guide its implementation. The program supports communities in developing large-scale water recycling projects with the high-level objective of achieving sustainable water supplies. Through this initial funding opportunity, BOR is making available $180 million out of a total of $450 million over five years. … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management.

U.S. saw its 9th-warmest August on record

“A warm August wrapped up a sweltering Summer 2023 across the U.S., according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.  The nation has also been hit with 23 separate billion-dollar disasters so far this year, the largest number of billion-dollar disasters since records have been kept.  The average temperature for August across the contiguous U.S. was 74.4 degrees F — 2.3 degrees above average — ranking as the ninth-warmest August in the 129-year record. Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi all sizzled through their hottest Augusts on record, while Texas saw its second-hottest August. Alaska, whose climate record goes back 99 years, had its third-warmest August on record. … ”  Continue reading from NOAA.

Return to top

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

In California water news this weekend …

  • Lake Tahoe. Photo by Dave Schumaker

    Lawmakers approve plan to strengthen oversight of California water rights

  • State Department of Water officials renew the push for Delta Conveyance Project
  • Tech moguls’ $17 million land offer spurned by California water officials
  • Column: Why the California Forever dream of a new city would be a nightmare
  • Mines for climate-friendly technologies face growing water scarcity in the West
  • Assembly approves Sen. Dodd’s water shutoff protection bill
  • Are drones the future of agriculture?
  • EPA agrees to protect waterways from harmful ship discharges
  • California’s Bay Area is an ideal location for a new navy shipyard
  • Riverside County declares emergency over toxic dumpsite leak
  • Here’s what 7 states say about solving the West’s water crisis
  • Can alfalfa survive a fight over Colorado River water?
  • And more …

Click here for the weekend digest.

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