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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Lawmakers quiz water officials on Oroville Dam repair

Members of the state Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, at an hourlong oversight hearing on the Oroville crisis, questioned Secretary John Laird, the head of the Department of Water Resources and Natural Resources, on the specifications of the $275 million contract awarded earlier this month to Kiewit Corp. of Omaha, Neb., to fix the dam’s two damaged spillways.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Delta levee and ratepayer protection bills pass first hurdle

Two bills that would protect Delta levees and ratepayers were passed in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday. Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s two bills — AB 732 and AB 791 — passed through their first hurdle. 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New study: California drought boosted electricity bills, smog

California’s brutal five-year drought did more than lead to water shortages and dead lawns. It increased electricity bills statewide by $2.45 billion and boosted levels of smog and greenhouse gases, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Western Water on Tap

Legislative committee spotlights need for improved dam oversight

California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird said Tuesday that the February crisis with the broken spillway at Oroville Dam offers an “important opportunity” to assess the safety of the more than 1,400 dams in the state. … In addition to discovering the causes of the spillway failure at Oroville, committee chair Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said the Legislature must be fully informed about the issue in order to take action.

Aquafornia news Associated Press/Eureka Times-Standard

Congress working to prevent government shutdown; fishery disaster funds up in the air

[California 2nd District Congressman Jared] Huffman and a bipartisan group of 16 other legislators are urging congressional appropriation committees to include fisheries disaster funding in the spending bill for fishing fleets in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, which includes the California crab fleet and the Yurok Tribe salmon fishing fleet.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

State’s water chief: Despite crisis, Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway ‘worked’

The head of California’s water agency on Tuesday repeated his assertion that an emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam worked, drawing an incredulous response from a state lawmaker who represents tens of thousands of people ordered to evacuate when it was feared erosion at the spillway could lead to catastrophic flooding.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Experts: Oroville Dam’s crippled spillways can’t be fully repaired this year

A pair of crippled spillways at Oroville Dam can be repaired in part by November, but a good deal of the work will probably have to be done after the next rainy season, according to reports by an independent panel of experts.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Key players in Oroville Spillway incident given homework by senators

For the first time since the Lake Oroville spillway crisis began, members of the state Legislature peppered key water leaders with questions about what happened, what will happen next and what can be learned from it all.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought raised electric rates as hydro power dried up

Californians’ electricity costs jumped by a combined $2.45 billion from 2012 to 2016 because of severe shortages of cheap hydroelectricity, according to an estimate released Wednesday by the Pacific Institute, an Oakland water policy think tank.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Declining agricultural land values tied to water

It’s all about the water. As far as agricultural land values, that is. A new report on the outlook for Kern County ag land values shows water emerging as a major deciding factor in what land is worth, according to Michael Ming, a broker for Alliance Ag Services LLC.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Santos overcomes recall attempt, keeps Oakdale Irrigation District board seat

Linda Santos breathed a long and thankful sigh of relief late Tuesday when results of a recall attempt indicated she will keep keep her seat on the Oakdale Irrigation District board. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

State hits Visalia dairy owner with fines but he won’t pay

State regulators have told a recalcitrant dairyman in Visalia to stop playing games with them over a required annual report about water quality or potentially be prosecuted for failing to cooperate.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sea life dissolves quickly in warming waters off Northern California coast, UC Davis finds

Saltwater creatures that contribute to the ocean’s food supply appear to dissolve more quickly than once thought in the increasingly warm and acidic condition off the Northern California coast, University of California, Davis, researchers have found.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Whales putting on rare, spectacular show in Monterey Bay

Sightseers are being treated to a show of killer whales, gray whales, and humpbacks interacting in their natural habitat off the coast of Monterey.  “It’s a pretty exciting area right now,” said Nancy Black, a marine biologist with Monterey Bay Whale Watch. The reason for the spike in whale sightings?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area may be all but done with rain until fall

The time to put away the umbrella may have arrived. After a seven-month stretch that set rainfall records in some parts of Northern California, what could be the last rainfall of the season will brush the Bay Area on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Should we bring back extinct species?

For many Jurassic Park fanatics, seeing dinosaurs roam the Earth again would be a dream come true. But what if modern science could make that dream a reality? While dinosaur resurrection may not be in our immediate future, scientists are currently exploring the revival of more recently extinct species.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Novato solar farm nearly ready to power homes

A sea of 4,354 solar panels installed at a former rock quarry just outside northwest Novato is expected to begin powering 300 homes in 30 days.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Scholarships available to attend, exhibit at the Santa Ana River Watershed Conference

A limited number of scholarships are available for low-income community members and nonprofits that serve low-income or under-represented communities within the Santa Ana River watershed to attend and/or exhibit at the 2017 Santa Ana River Watershed Conference on May 25 in Ontario. Themed, 21st Century Water Strategy: Working Together to Make a Finite Resource Infinite, the conference is expected to draw 300 attendees from across the watershed and California.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: Defending science as many in power try to ignore it

When it comes to caring about the Earth, California got to the party long before it was fashionable. We had to; it was either that or learn to enjoy breathing smog. Instead of listening to those who insisted our air, water and earth couldn’t be cleaned up, we put science to work doing just that.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Oroville Dam secrecy helps further erode trust for big state projects

When Oroville Dam’s main spillway began crumbling in February and an auxiliary spillway couldn’t safely handle immense flows from a brim-full lake, California officials faced a full-blown disaster.