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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California moves closer to crafting specific water caps for urban districts

California cities and towns may find themselves on a water budget in the next decade under a pair of bills approved Thursday by the legislature. The measures follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to make water conservation a permanent way of life in a state long accustomed to jewel-green lawns and suburban tracts studded with swimming pools.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior secretary tells greens he’ll make ‘grand pivot’ to conservation

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday huddled with more than two dozen conservation group leaders, including some of his staunchest critics, in his latest bid to generate both ideas and support for his ambitious departmental reorganization plans. … Also in attendance were Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt; Susan Combs, the acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks; and Greg Sheehan, the principal deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (Greenwire, March 30).

Aquafornia news Western Water

Could the Arizona desert offer California and the West a guide to solving its groundwater problem?

As California embarks on its unprecedented mission to harness groundwater pumping, the Arizona desert may provide one guide that local managers can look to as they seek to arrest years of overdraft. Groundwater is stressed by a demand that often outpaces natural and artificial recharge. In California, awareness of groundwater’s importance resulted in the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014 that aims to have the most severely depleted basins in a state of balance in about 20 years.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID elections are coming up. Coachella Valley residents can’t vote.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the Imperial Irrigation District. On the energy side, IID canceled tens of millions of dollars in contracts following allegations of financial conflicts of interest against the consultant ZGlobal Inc. On the water side, the publicly owned utility was jolted by a court ruling that could make it more difficult to limit the use of Colorado River water by Imperial Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Can lower fines create water savings for Fresno residents? Study hopes to find out.

More than 100,000 Fresno homes will be part of a “groundbreaking” and “novel” three-month research study to see whether easing up on water restrictions and reducing fines for excessive water use will actually spur greater conservation by residents. The University of Chicago’s Energy and Environment Lab is working with the city’s Public Utilities Department on the summer pilot project.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Congressman: Sea levels rising due to falling rocks, dirt along ‘white cliffs of Dover, California’

For years now, thousands of studies have linked rising sea levels to climate change. But one Republican congressman had an alternate explanation he floated this week during a meeting of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology with leading climate scientist Philip Duffy.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Got several years and several million dollars? You probably still can’t plant a Napa Valley vineyard.

Is it too difficult to plant in Napa, or not difficult enough? That’s now a matter of considerable controversy, as county residents prepare to vote in June on Measure C, a ballot initiative that would curb further vineyard development on Napa’s hillsides to preserve oak trees and water sources.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Northern California’s 12 splashiest waterfalls

Waterfalls are a testament to each winter’s rain and snow. … About 33 percent of this winter’s total precipitation is locked in the snowpack and released as it melts, according to the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Twin Lakes State Beach improvement project draws to a close

Just inside the construction site, however, improved beach access, new room for vehicle parking, a pedestrian walkway and ocean-themed bench walls beckoned to visitors. Less visibly, sunk beneath the sand near the road’s edge, a new underground stabilization wall sat tied into the area’s into underlying bedrock, ready for the harshest projected winter storm lashings and sand shifting.

Aquafornia news NPR

Warming waters push fish to cooler climes, out of some fishermen’s reach

The oceans are getting warmer and fish are noticing. Many that live along U.S. coastlines are moving to cooler water. New research predicts that will continue, with potentially serious consequences for the fishing industry.

Aquafornia news Sierra, the national magazine of the Sierra Club

Fires restore wetlands for desert fish

It may seem strange to burn the area around wetlands as a habitat restoration technique, and even more oxymoronic to do so in order to save an aquatic creature in the desert. But for a nearly extinct species of fish in the arid Owens Valley, a prescribed burn is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Park Service signs deal to round up Death Valley’s wild burros

The National Park Service said Thursday it has entered into a contract with Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, a Texas-based nonprofit, to round up and remove up to 2,500 wild burros from the [Death Valley National] park 100 miles west of Las Vegas. … They damage springs and vegetation, create a safety hazard on park roads and compete for food and water with desert bighorn sheep and other native animals.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Mammal Center cites harm if people touch young sea mammals

Human interaction with young sea mammals on Marin and other state beaches is a problem each year, and Marine Mammal Center officials are now reminding people to stay away from the pups. Seal pups — in particular harbor seals — can suffer permanent harm if they are moved or if their mothers are scared off, scientists say.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Work on powerhouse means higher flows on stretch of North Fork

Water will be flowing higher and faster than normal on a stretch of the North Fork of the Feather River starting Monday. PG&E said flows from Belden Reservoir on Caribou Road to the Belden Powerhouse on Highway 70 in Plumas County will rise for a few weeks.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

President appoints Reno resident to Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board

President Donald Trump has selected a Reno resident to serve in the presidential-appointee position on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board. A.J. “Bud” Hicks, a Reno resident since 1957, will assume the seat — a non-voting position — held by Tim Carlson since 2012, according to a press release from TRPA.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Teen who ignited massive fire may have to repay $37 million

A teenager who started a huge wildfire in the scenic Columbia River Gorge in Oregon could owe more in restitution that he will earn in a lifetime. Eleven requests for restitution totaling almost $37 million have been submitted to a court. … The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area attracts more than 3 million tourists a year and holds North America’s largest concentration of waterfalls.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Why a bill before Congress is such a big threat to the Delta

If you care about the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or protecting California water rights, you should be very alarmed by something that just happened 3,000 miles away in the halls of Congress. Backed by southern California interests, the House Appropriations Committee just unveiled the fiscal year 2019 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Commentary: For water, they’d take your rights

Get outta here. A Southern California congressman has slipped a rider into a federal spending bill that would exempt the Delta tunnels from lawsuits — pause to hear water attorneys howling like coyotes — including suits already brought by the city of Stockton and county of San Joaquin.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Commentary: Innovative water storage projects aid wildlife, salmon and fishing jobs

As a result of California’s highly variable climate, the practice of storing water predates statehood. And for more than a century, storage projects in California have generated heated controversy. A century ago, John Muir led a famous and unsuccessful effort to stop the damming of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Duke’s wild and scenic river legacy

California’s Republican members of Congress want to raise Shasta Dam to increase the reservoir capacity and provide more water for San Joaquin Valley farmers. To pull that off, they’d have to gut part of the legacy of Republican Gov. George Deukmejian, who died last week.