Since World War II and a booming state population that
increasingly sought out the great outdoors to relax, the state’s
water-based recreational activities have continued to grow more
popular and diverse, occurring in a multitude of sources –
from swimming pools and spas to beaches, reservoirs, natural
lakes and rivers.
Public water supply projects, such as the State Water Project,
have helped to provide additional recreational opportunities for
Californians. In some cases, reservoir releases can contribute to
downstream recreation benefits by improving fisheries or by
creating whitewater rafting opportunities that would not be
possible in the absence of reservoir regulation. However, there
are conflicting values and needs for the same river system.
A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an
actual, wet river means for residents. Speakers asked board
members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate
unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the
board for the past 10 years.
Congressman John Garamendi, who represents the northern half of
Lake County, on Friday submitted a formal comment to the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposing removal of Scott
Dam on the Eel River at Lake Pillsbury and demanding that Lake
County have an equal seat at the table for determining the
future of Potter Valley Project and the lake.
At a shuttered water park in the desert landscape of Coachella
Valley in Southern California, Tom Lochtefeld has transformed a
pool into a surf spot. For decades, inventors like Lochtefeld
have struggled to mimic the ocean’s swells. In recent years,
commercial projects and proof-of-concept pools have made good
on the dream.
The industry that operates America’s hydroelectric dams and
several environmental groups announced an unusual agreement
Tuesday to work together to get more clean energy from
hydropower while reducing the environmental harm from dams, in
a sign that the threat of climate change is spurring both sides
to rethink their decades-long battle over a large but
contentious source of renewable power. The United States
generated about 7 percent of its electricity last year from
hydropower, mainly from large dams built decades ago, such as
the Hoover Dam, which uses flowing water from the Colorado
River to power turbines.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently
launched an environmental justice community survey to gather
input to inform Delta Conveyance Project planning. The survey,
entitled, “Your Delta, Your Voice,” seeks direct input from
communities that may be disproportionately affected by the
Biologists and engineers are setting the stage for an
environmental recovery effort in downtown Los Angeles that
could rival the return of the gray wolf, bald eagle and
California condor. This time, the species teetering on the edge
of extinction is the Southern California steelhead trout and
the abused habitat is a 4.8-mile-long stretch of the L.A. River
flood-control channel that most people only glimpse from a
Fifty years ago this week, the Bakersfield City Council
committed an audaciously historic act. On Monday evening Sept.
28, 1970, council members decided to sue Tenneco West for a
slice of the Kern River.
When Jay Rowan learned in late April that trout in California
hatcheries were exhibiting strange symptoms, he had been the
hatchery production manager for California’s Department of Fish
and Wildlife for less than a month. Already forced to rejigger
operations after the coronavirus lockdowns, Mr. Rowan began to
worry that a second crisis was on the way.
Called the Three Creeks Parkway Restoration, the $9 million
project will yield two acres of floodplain and a canopy of
riparian trees set in nearly 4.5 acres of grassland and oak
woodland. Construction began in May and is scheduled for
completion at the end of the year…
The collaborative design process for the Franks Tract Futures
project brought initially skeptical local stakeholders on board
and is being hailed as a model for future initiatives. Yet
major uncertainties remain as interested parties explore the
challenges of implementing a complex redesign of a big chunk of
Samples with confirmed cyanobacteria were collected at three
locations on the Mad River spurring local Public and
Environmental Health officials to warn community residents to
keep themselves and their pets out of the water.
The mayor of Imperial Beach and governor of Baja California are
in a public spat over cross-border sewage spills. Gov. Jaime
Bonilla has held three separate press conferences this month
demanding Mayor Serge Dedina apologize for his public
criticisms of Mexico’s inability to stop sewage from flowing
into the United States.
All of Santa Barbara’s beaches and creeks are designated as
“impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act. … The council
voted 7-0 to send its proposed changes to stormwater runoff to
the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board… The
list of changes are extensive, and are proposed over four tiers
based on various types and levels of new construction
development. They involve landscape changes and stormwater
treatment for new impervious construction.
Scientists have published a global water quality database
detailing the health of nearly 12,000 freshwater lakes, almost
half the world’s freshwater supply. Compiled by researchers at
York University, in Canada, the database offers water quality
information on lakes in 72 countries and all seven continents,
The Park and Natural Resource Manager for Chico and Butte
County Linda Herman confirmed the dead fish being reported are
on the back side of the pond near the fresh water area, saying
the fish have succumbed to lack of oxygen in the water due to a
thick layer of ash that has formed atop many parts of the pond.
Jacob Pounds, environmental program coordinator with the Blue
Lake Rancheria, told the Outpost this afternoon that the
bacteria — well established in other local waterways, such as
the Eel and the Klamath — has never been confirmed in the Mad
Every September for the last 22 years, the South Yuba River
Citizens League has hosted a Yuba River Cleanup with the help
of the California Coastal Commission. This year, the river’s
need for some tender, loving care has only grown as the region
reckons with more visitors, more single-use plastics and less
accountability amidst the pandemic.
The results of targeted sampling for more than 80 lakes and
rivers are summarized in an interactive map showing which sites
were tested at each waterbody. The map indicates the specific
tiered recreational health advisory level — “Caution,”
“Warning” or “Danger” — based on cyanotoxin testing results
and/or visual indicators confirming presence of a harmful algal
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional
San) is currently completing major upgrades to its wastewater
treatment plant. In anticipation of these upgrades, USGS
scientists are gathering data to establish baselines for
current nutrient levels and dynamics in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta (Delta).
For the first time in years, boats will soon be able to travel
freely again down the Petaluma River. … Once a vibrant
waterway, Petaluma River is now silted in, full of mud. Lt.
Colonel John Cunningham says the river hasn’t had a full
cleaning by the Army Corps of Engineers for nearly 20 years.
Nevada and California joined forces last week at the 24th
annual Lake Tahoe Summit to advance the states’ shared
priorities to protect and restore Lake Tahoe. … There is a
long history of collaboration between Nevada and California to
restore and protect the spectacular natural treasure of Lake
Tahoe and its surrounding environment. This spirit of
collaboration was a pillar of the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit
In the Aug. 14 outage, multiple redundant power sources failed
at the plant in West Oakland, something that hasn’t happened
since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Major flooding at the
pump station led sewage to flow from an outlet into the estuary
more than nine hours later. The incident occurred amid hot
weather when people like to swim in the estuary running between
Oakland and Alameda,
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday the agency
would pay for more water treatment south of the border, and
work with San Diego to control trash coming into the United
States from Mexico by way of the Tijuana River. Wheeler made
the announcement during a visit to Southern California, a
region long plagued by sewage, water, trash, and other
contaminants flowing from Mexico.
The two projects — which will cost $25 million and are funded
by the EPA’s Border Water Infrastructure Program — will control
sewage and wastewater, sediment and trash that flows from the
Tijuana River across the U.S.-Mexico border into San Diego, EPA
Administrator Andrew Wheeler said during a press conference
Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard station in San Diego.
San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay are open in Merced
County, after being shuttered by regional wildfires. However,
state Department of Water Resources officials say that’s not an
invitation to go in the water. DWR on Tuesday issued a harmful
algal bloom warning advisory at the O’Neill Forebay, plus a
caution is in effect for the San Luis Reservoir.
Since 2015, [Armando] Quintero has worked as executive director
of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced. Before
that, he was director of development there from 2008 to 2014.
He also has served on the Marin Municipal Water District board
since 2009 and the California Water Commission, where as
chairman he oversaw awarding $2.7 billion in state bond funding
for new reservoirs and other water projects.
A major release of raw and partially treated sewage into the
Oakland Estuary earlier this month was triggered by a
rapid-fire series of electrical failures at the East Bay
Municipal Utility District’s main wastewater treatment plant,
the agency says in a report filed with state regulators.
The Lake Dolores Waterpark in California’s Mojave Desert has
been abandoned three times since it first opened to the public
in 1962. A private firm recently secured the rights to revive
the derelict site.
With Lake Mendocino losing about a foot of water every five
days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declared that 2020 is
the “third driest year on record for the basin.” Though 2019
“was one of the wettest years over the past 25 years, this year
is stacking up to be one of the driest,” the Army Corps
explained…However, the Army Corps said a new forecasting
model for storms developed over the last few years has
definitely helped maintain the lake’s water levels.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has
reported that a recent collection of water samples from
cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms along the Stockton
waterfront contain microcystins up to 220 times higher than the
“danger” level. These extremely dangerous readings were found
at 5 out of 6 testing sites along the Stockton waterfront.
Public health officials are urging boaters, swimmers and
recreational water users to be on the lookout for hazardous
blue-green algae blooms as warm temperatures persist. San
Joaquin County Environmental Health Department officials posted
advisory signs at local marinas warning people to stay out of
the water where toxic algae is present.
The harmful algal blooms at Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino
County and Lake Isabella in Kern County, which can appear to be
bright- to dull-green and sometimes looks like spilled paint,
can make people and animals sick. Water samples from both lakes
taken this month indicated the presence of algal organisms
Sea levels on the California coast could rise as much as seven
feet by 2100 and put tens of thousands of vulnerable San
Franciscans at risk of daily flooding, according to a new
report from the California State Legislative Analyst’s office.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced it will no longer be
conducting higher water flows for whitewater recreation on the
Feather River during the weekend of Aug. 22-23, saying in a
press release the cancellation came as a result of the COVID-19
A reservoir originally meant to supply water to Solano County
has now become a recreation destination. In this week’s
Destination California, FOX40 took a trip out to Lake Berryessa
to find out why families are flocking there.
After a massive loss of fish at three hatchery facilities in
the eastern Sierra and Southern California this summer, the
California Department of Fish and Wildlife has implemented an
updated stocking plan to continue putting trout into waters
that are popular with anglers.
The new tool is a light fixture called an array mounted under a
working barge, which trolls the marina dousing the plants on
the bottom with UV-C light, a short-wave electromagnetic
radiation light that damages the DNA and cellular structure of
The City of Bakersfield is poised to ink a deal with Buena
Vista Water Storage District that will provide at least some
water in the riverbed through the main part of the city between
April and June — even in drier years.
Some have found fishing the L.A. River to be a peaceful respite
from COVID-19, political and social turmoil and malaise of all
flavors. Even those who have been fishing the river for years
say it’s a new experience amid the new normal.
Toxic algal blooms have resulted in a “danger” advisory not to
go in the water at Prado Regional Park Lake and not to eat fish
from the lake. A similar advisory at part of Big Bear Lake has
been posted since last month.
The act, which allocates $900 million a year to the Land and
Water Conservation Fund and provides up to $9.5 billion over
five years to begin clearing up a maintenance backlog at
national parks, was approved on a 310-to-107 vote in the House.
It was introduced last year by Representative John Lewis, the
Georgia Democrat and civil rights leader who passed away last
Summer energy demands driven higher as the COVID-19 pandemic
keeps more people at home could lead to more water flowing from
Glen Canyon Dam into the Colorado River. That could mean
rapidly changing conditions for rafters, anglers, hikers or
others on the river in Glen Canyon or the Grand Canyon,
The water level at Folsom Lake is dropping by nearly half a
foot each day, and soon boaters who rent a slip at Folsom Lake
Marina will have pull their boats out. Marina managers told the
tenants they should plan on removing their boats from the water
by around Aug. 16…
A Marin County Superior Court judge rejected a petition filed
by a group of San Geronimo residents and golfers to halt creek
restoration work in the former San Geronimo Golf Course. The
ten residents and golfers, known as the San Geronimo Heritage
Alliance, filed the lawsuit in July alleging the creek
restoration work is illegal.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Border
Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, a bill to reduce
pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water
quality of the Tijuana and New rivers.
A contagious, potentially fatal bacteria has infected trout in
the three state-run hatcheries that provide the fish to public
lakes in Southern California and the eastern Sierra. The
California Department of Fish and Wildlife expects to euthanize
all 3.2 million trout in those hatcheries this week.
When it was measured last year, the clarity of the lake was
about 80 feet. … But, consider this, about 20 years ago, the
clarity of lake was 100 feet. That’s the trend scientists are
trying to reverse.
This new technology is an improvement on the existing bubble
curtain, providing more air and a much stronger application of
it. It also includes sea bins that will act like garbage cans,
collecting the fragments that are knocked free by the bubble
There are just 12 parking spots near Yankee Jim’s, a sliver of
crystal clear water on the North Fork American River, about 35
miles west of Lake Tahoe, but last weekend California State
Parks and Placer County authorities counted more than 300
vehicles parked near the rugged roads surrounding a one-way
bridge overhead. … Authorities said the scenic area has
exploded in popularity thanks to social media postings.
WaterWorks Park in Redding opened on June 5 in violation of
California’s coronavirus rules and “repeated direction” not to
do so, according to the Shasta County Health and Human Services
Agency. It has continued to operate since then — sparking a
nearly two-months long battle with health officials.
Saturday and Sunday, PG&E will raise the water level on the
North Fork of the Feather River, which goes from Quincy to
Oroville. … But this year, it seems the whitewater levels —
thanks to the coronavirus — aren’t raising excitement.
An algal bloom at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County has the
Department of Water Resources (DWR) warning the public not to
swim or participate in any other water-contact recreation or
sporting activities due to potential adverse health effects.
However, DWR said boating at the lake is still allowed.
Imperial Beach Mayor Pro Tem Paloma Aguirre joined Good Morning
San Diego to discuss a new report claiming that an audit done
by Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water
theft and contributed to raw sewage and hazardous pollutants
ending up in the Tijuana River.
Heal the Bay today released the annual River Report Card, which
assigns water quality color-grades of Red, Yellow, or Green for
28 freshwater sites in Los Angeles County based on observed
bacteria levels in 2019.
“The people of Bakersfield need a flowing river — with water in
a thriving river parkway, quality of life in Bakersfield will
be significantly improved,” says the petition, posted recently
by local resident Jonathan Yates on Change.org.
Looking at the water hyacinth’s lovely lavender flowers and
lush green leaves, it’s easy to see why it was brought here
from South America. But too much of a good thing can cause
trouble, and few things turn into “too much” as quickly as
water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes).
The Karuk Tribe is set to hold its World Renewal Ceremonies in
Six Rivers and Klamath national forests from July through late
September. In honor of these long-standing tribal traditions,
outsiders will be prohibited from entering the water or
launching watercraft during the ceremonies, the U.S. Forest
Service has announced in a press release.
The Consul General of Mexico in San Diego said there are things
happening in Tijuana that will help. In a written statement
responding to questions by KPBS, Carlos González Gutiérrez said
there are several projects underway.
The city of Imperial Beach, environmental advocacy group
Surfrider Foundation and the San Diego Regional Water Quality
Control Board agreed to put down their proverbial legal swords
for a period of 12 months while the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency puts a stack of cash to work on the
decades-long sewage issue plaguing the Tijuana River watershed.
Several California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fish
hatchery facilities in the Eastern Sierra and Southern
California are battling a bacterial outbreak that has the
potential to cause significant losses to both hatchery and wild
With Southern California beaches largely open again — and Los
Angeles beaches expected to reopen after a timeout for the
three-day holiday weekend — you might find latest Heal the
Bay’s Beach Report Card on water quality reassuring when you
head back to the ocean.
Studies conducted in multiple countries in recent months have
detected the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, in treated and
untreated wastewater, but to this date there has been no
evidence of a person contracting the virus through wastewater
or swimming areas.
The state of California, city of Imperial Beach, and the
Surfrider Foundation have agreed to a 12-month stay in
litigation over cross-border sewage flowing in from Mexico
while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focuses work on
the Tijuana River Valley.
The summer’s high temperatures have contributed to an algal
bloom that’s impacting Clear Lake, with recent testing of 30
sites on the lake finding concerning levels of cyanotoxin. On
Thursday, Lake County Water Resources reported on the lake-wide
The project — managed jointly by California Division of Fish
and Wildlife, the Department of Water Resources and the
Department of Parks and Recreation — seeks to make changes in
Franks Tract with the goal of improving water quality,
providing enhanced recreational opportunities and improving the
ecology for the benefit of native and desirable wildlife.
Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which naturally occur in
waterbodies, can grow very rapidly into an algal bloom due to
factors such as warm water temperature, calm conditions, and
certain nutrients in the water. While some algae are harmless,
certain types can produce toxins that can make people and
Saying in a project description that there is a demand for
high-quality construction supplies, … the company proposes to
modify the cement plant and quarry on Friant Road and use
explosives to mine hard rock that sits below the gravel, sand
and rock that’s currently mined a half-mile from the river. …
But, the project is at odds with the vision of organizations
like San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust that
prioritize recreation over industry for future use along the
The most common complaint about Clear Lake is the algae. …
Actually, the algae problem was a lot worse 40 years ago. Clear
Lake is getting clearer. According to scientists the lake is
now clearer that it has been in the last 50 years. There are
also side effects from the clearer lake and that is aquatic
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging
anglers and other recreational water users to be vigilant about
checking for harmful freshwater algal blooms, also called HABs,
while out enjoying California’s lakes, reservoirs, rivers,
streams and creeks this year.
The rough dirt and ragged rocks at the Riverbend Park’s
waterfront will soon be replaced with a smooth beach to restore
the one that was swept away by flooding. Construction began
earlier this week to restore the beach that was washed away by
the severe floods caused by the Oroville Dam Spillway crisis.
Health officials are urging residents and visitors to stay out
of the water in Discovery Bay after dangerous levels of harmful
algae were detected. Marisa Van Dyke of the State Water
Resources Control Board reported that recent lab results from
water testing showed “significant” harmful algal blooms
occurring in Discovery Bay. Multiple locations recorded a
“danger” level, the highest threshold, she said.
Aaron Thomas arrived back in Paradise Valley just in time to
christen the Ambiente Course, which proved a sort of launching
pad for all manner constructive, on-course experimentation. …
Thomas confirms the new design saves between 45 million and 55
million gallons of water annually, compared to pre-2013 levels.
That is the platform from which Thomas has worked these past
Water pollution from Tijuana sewage runoff has once again
shuttered the Imperial Beach shoreline. The County of San Diego
Department of Environmental Health on Saturday extended north
the existing beach water-contact closure area at the Tijuana
Slough shoreline to now also include the Imperial Beach
Both United States and Mexican officials announced separate
plans Tuesday to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities.
The international river has been a longtime problem for
residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash
from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades,
often closing beaches near the border and damaging natural
habitats along the river.
Unlike in recent years when researchers were able to point to a
dominant factor affecting lake clarity like drought or
higher-than-average precipitation, 2019 saw a range of
influences on Tahoe, including lake mixing for the first time
in several years, sediment, algae, and climate warming. Those
factors, according to the University of California, Davis Tahoe
Environmental Research Center, combined to cause a roughly
8-foot decrease in average clarity from the previous year’s
The County of San Diego has released a report that identifies
27 projects that could potentially reduce the flow of sewage
from Mexico into the U.S. and Tijuana River Valley each year by
as much as 91%, from 138 days to 12. The report, the Tijuana
River Valley Needs and Opportunities Assessment, identifies
strategies to manage impacts from sewage, trash, and sediment
on the U.S. side of the border.
The health department took water samples from 17 locations in
the lake. Five indicated the presence of potentially harmful
blue-green algae (cyanotoxin) at the cautionary level, one area
at warning level, and five areas at the danger level.
In 1984, a small group of California surfers were fed up with
the development and water pollution at their favorite break,
Malibu’s Surfrider Beach. They took their environmental
concerns to California State Parks officials — and prevailed.
The Surfrider Foundation was born.
Prompted by a complaint from a Discovery Bay resident, the
State Water Board issued a press release on May 22 warning
residents about harmful algal blooms (HAB). The press release
comes early in the season, when HAB are not normally seen. The
algal blooms, a build-up of blue-green algae toxin called
cyanobacteria, float on top of the water or in the water and
look like green, white or brown scum.
Situated between Bethel Island and False River and accessible
only by boat, Franks Tract is primarily used by fishermen,
boaters and waterfowl hunters. But, over the past several
years, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has been studying
ways to restore part of the 3,523-acre underwater state park to
its original marshland in the hopes of reducing saltwater
intrusion into the Delta and more.
The Bureau of Reclamation will begin using mussel-sniffing dogs
to inspect boats on the weekends this summer to help protect
New Melones Lake from invasive-aquatic species, such as quagga
or zebra mussels.
Discovery Bay residents are growing irritated with invasive
aquatic plants and the COVID-19 pandemic slowing down weed
abatement. While the town can be the ideal place to enjoy a
vacation lifestyle year-round, this spring’s crop of weeds is
ruining the bays and inhibiting movement around docks on the
west side of town.
A plan to set new restrictions on the levels of bacteria in the
Petaluma River Watershed is nearing the next stage of approval.
At a virtual meeting on Tuesday, the California State Water
Resources Control Board … will consider a plan meant to cap
and reduce the amount of bacteria getting into the Petaluma
U.S. policymakers understand quite well the impact of Mexico’s
wastewater management on American communities. What they fail
to comprehend is that the ongoing border sewage crisis is
rooted in a longer history of U.S. imperialism and private
enterprise in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
The CDC says there’s no evidence the coronavirus can spread to
people through pool water and that proper cleaning with
chlorine or bromine should inactivate the virus if it’s in the
water. So why are pools remaining closed if there’s no evidence
of the virus spreading through the water? Because of human
Clear Lake is one of the richest lakes in the state when it
comes to nutrients. That is one reason we have algae blooms as
well as a massive amount of aquatic weeds. Some of the species
of aquatic weeds have been in the lake for more than a million
years and others only a few years. These new arrivals are
classed as foreign invasive weeds.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed spending
$300 million to address the problem of toxic sewage flowing
across the border into San Diego County, legislators announced
Tuesday. The money would be part of the United
States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act, and will be
used for the engineering, planning, design and construction of
wastewater infrastructure at the border, officials said.
South Bay leaders are once again calling for action to fix
cross border pollution. … Tuesday, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge
Dedina told FOX 5 that the Tijuana sewage system has collapsed
and is spewing about 60 million gallons of untreated sewage
each day in the river.
Lewis MacAdams, a poet and crusader for restoring the concrete
Los Angeles River to a more natural state and co-founder of one
of the most influential conservation organizations in
California, has died. He was 75.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced that it
will be upgrading the Lower Bucks Lake Dam this year by
attaching a waterproof membrane to the upstream surface of the
dam to prevent seepage and extend the dam’s service life.
Yolo Basin Foundation’s Board of Directors announced this week
that Chelsea Martinez has been named the Foundation’s new
executive director. … Martinez joined the Foundation in 2017
as the Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator and has grown
and sustained the Foundation’s volunteer base to over 200
volunteers as well as helped to increase community involvement
in its programs.
The US Bureau of Reclamation is to resume a seismic safety
modification project at Boca Dam near Truckee in California
today, following its seasonal closure in November 2019, with
social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention and other COVID-19 precautions
to be followed during construction.
Southern California Edison, the operators of the San Onofre
Nuclear Generating Station, is still investigating what caused
the release of 7,000 gallons of sewage into the ocean last
month but it appears the culprits were a blockage in the
facility’s sewage treatment plant and a worn out pump switch.
For weeks, a debate has been raging over whether going to the
beach or swimming in the ocean increases your risk of catching
or transmitting the coronavirus. The issue has rankled surfers,
overwhelmed runners and bikers and confused anyone seeking the
fresh air and freedom of California’s coast. So when a
scientist last week suggested sea spray could possibly expose
people to the virus, the controversy just exploded.
In the fall of 2018, a six-member independent Social Science
Task Force was charged by the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta
Science Program to develop a strategy for strengthening and
integrating social sciences into the science, management, and
policy landscape of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This
document summarizes the findings and recommendations of the
Already a well-regarded landscape and portrait photographer,
Bay set out to bring more attention to the issue. The avid
surfer admits that he initially wasn’t sure how best to convey
what he saw as an environmental emergency. Then, one day, he
says he was visiting the Tijuana River mouth and stumbled upon
We’re getting better when it comes to the L.A. River. Ten years
ago, most of us didn’t even know that L.A. even had a river.
… It’s hit a few bumps along the way (including the 1936
Flood Control Act that channelized it with concrete walls) —
but now, you not only can get to the re-wilded parts of the Los
Angeles River, but you can get onto them, too (for a part of
Beaches were closed on Tuesday from the Mexico border to
Coronado as rain flushed sewage-contaminated runoff from
Tijuana into the San Diego region. “Things have gotten worse
than ever,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.
One day after President Trump tweeted his support, Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to take
steps today to bring to the floor legislation that would
permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and
address the national parks maintenance backlog, senators said.
… Trump’s tweet was an election-year about-face from his
latest budget proposal, which recommended virtually eliminating
the popular, bipartisan program.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board issued an
investigative order in February that requires more monitoring
of sewage-tainted cross-border flows. The order requires the
International Boundary and Water Commission to monitor more
than a dozen locations over an 18-month period.
A handful of protesters marched outside the Mexican Consulate
in Little Italy, protesting cross border sewage flows. They
want Mexico to do more to fix the problem. Polluted water has
routinely flowed from Mexico into the United States since
December. “We feel like we’re not getting heard,” said Mitch
McKay, president of Citizens for Coastal Conservancy.
A warming planet has major ramifications on winter snowpack
across the globe, including a long-term drying trend for many.
That’s a concern for winter sports enthusiasts and communities
that depend on snow throughout the year.
California’s coast is truly a treasure for residents and
visitors alike. Sadly, rising seas are washing away our beach,
and for every inch of sand lost, our opportunities for joy —
and our economic future — similarly shrink.
Though the process leading to removal of the Klamath Dams
continues to march forward, numerous citizens in Siskiyou
County have continued fighting to keep the dams in place. Many
of those dam advocates are members of the Siskiyou County Water
Users Association, which in January hosted a presentation about
an alternative fish passage technology the association believes
could “make it possible” for the dams to remain.
A warming climate has been linked to human activity around the
world, and has affected the Colorado River System as well. The
impacts are substantial, from reduced water flows, threats to
indigenous species and the influx of new invasive species along
the river system.
With the backing of an unusual mix of local Democrats,
Republicans, Border Patrol agents and environmental groups,
House Democrats leveraged their support for the trade bill —
one of Trump’s highest priorities — to secure the
administration’s rare backing for an environmental project.
Each group played a part.
The State Lands Commission and State Controller pleaded with
the Environmental Protection Agency in a letter Friday asking
for immediate action to stop the flow of 50 million gallons per
day of polluted water into the Tijuana River Valley. That
polluted water flow has created significant and ongoing beach
closures in Imperial Beach and Coronado.
In the waning moments of 2019, San Francisco’s Water Department
persuaded Congress to deny long-promised access to unreachable
areas of Yosemite National Park. This power play would ban
environmentally benign boating on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The
move reverses the guarantees of improved access and recreation
which San Francisco made in 1913, when it pleaded with Congress
to pass the Raker Act and allow it to build the reservoir in
Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.
Deep, throaty cadenced calls —
sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands,
farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each
year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the
Cosumnes River Preserve,
46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) is a highly invasive aquatic
plant that has the capacity, by forming dense mats that
restrict dissolved oxygen levels, to disrupt many of the
water-based activities that are synonymous with Lake County.
SDSU, with the help of its landscape architect Schmidt Design
Group, hopes to engineer ties to the oft-overlooked San Diego
River, which runs behind the Mission Valley property currently
home to SDCCU Stadium. Although park-goers won’t be able to
access the river — a landscaped buffer will be used to keep
people away from the natural habitat — they should get a
river-like feel from the park.
The city has a five-year plan for its initial removals of
sedimentation, and city officials forecast spending a total of
about $1.65 million. According to a 2016 city report, removing
the sediment would deepen the lake and create community
benefits that include enhancing wildlife habitat, critical for
threatened steelhead trout and local and migratory birds, as
well as recreational opportunities…
Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for
more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer
operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally
assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break…
Unfortunately, a proposal by Cemex threatens to dash those
hopes while ensuring another century of heavy industry on
California’s second-longest river…
The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley
and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and
anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political
collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put
the region on the brink of real action.
It started with last month’s heavy rains that brought an
unprecedented volume of debris tumbling down Tijuana’s Matadero
Canyon: old mattresses, used furniture, discarded construction
material. That led to a clogged storm drain by the border
fence, authorities said, and the flooding of a nearby sewage
pump station. The resulting pool of trash and
sewage-contaminated water has now been raising fears in San
In 2018, there were more than 300 reported incidents of toxic
or harmful algae blooms around the world. This year about 130
have been listed on an international database, but that number
is expected to increase. … The causes of the blooms vary, and
in some cases are never known, but in many parts of the world
they are being increasingly linked to climate change and
The House has torpedoed a proposal to allow limited boating on
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Critics
feared the plan could introduce contaminants to the reservoir
that supplies famously pure drinking water for 2.7 million
people in the Bay Area. Boating on its waters has been banned
for nearly a century.
To many West Side residents and others familiar with the [dam]
site, Del Puerto Canyon is a natural gem and one of the
county’s scenic wonders. An environmental impact report
released last week raises some concerns about seismic risks and
impacts on wildlife. But a significant and unavoidable impact
noted in the report is “substantial damage to scenic
resources,” “degradation of the visual character” and “adverse
effect on a scenic vista.”
Passing the new North American free trade agreement would mean
millions of dollars to help upgrade sewage infrastructure on
the border, say the agreement’s backers. But an environmental
group and a local organization on the U.S.-Mexico border say
it’s not enough.
The early-winter rains, coming on top of high holdover levels
at reservoirs from summer, are helping to shape 2020 as one of
the best for lake-based boating, camping, fishing and water
sports. At the 154 major recreation lakes in California, lake
levels are 114% of normal for the date…
The new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement reached
Tuesday commits the federal government to provide $300 million
for the Border Water Infrastructure Program to address
pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the Tijuana
River Valley region, where millions of gallons of raw sewage,
heavy metals and other contaminants regularly flow from Tijuana
to San Diego.
The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are
pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final
spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco
Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but
without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final
At 65, Lehrer has become Los Angeles’s doyenne of landscape
design and a leading advocate for green urbanism… But the
main project that Lehrer has been tenaciously, tirelessly
working on for most of her career is the Los Angeles River.
Skiers and snowboarders already know this: California’s recent
storms have lifted the state’s precipitation totals to the
respectable range in the northern part of the state, and to
well above normal in the south…
The planned downtown Palm Springs entertainment arena, like
many desert projects, is a thirsty one, requiring almost 12
million gallons of water each year to accommodate an American
Hockey League affiliate team and other visitors.
Elected leaders from across South Bay San Diego announced
Tuesday a joint effort aimed at pressuring the federal
government to support a long-term fix to the sewage pollution
that routinely flows over the border from Tijuana, fouling
beaches as far north as Coronado.
The work, which started in August, focused on restoring natural
habitat for the fish by removing boulder walls called ripraps
along the creek banks and placing large pieces of trees into
the creek. The riprap walls … channeled the water into a
swift current during the rainy season, which scoured away
salmon eggs and salmon fry that were attempting to survive the
long year-and-a-half in freshwater.
Authorities have reopened about six miles of Orange County
ocean and bay water areas closed by a 1.4-million-gallon sewage
spill. … The estimated amount of the spill was revised down
from 4 million gallons. The city of Laguna Beach said
wastewater began leaking Wednesday afternoon from a broken
valve on a 24-inch city sewage pipe near Aliso and Wood Canyons
Through a variety of panel discussions, presentations and a
showcase of student research, the Re:Border conference is
exploring how San Diego State University and its regional
partners can contribute to innovative solutions for
water-related challenges in the transborder region.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority is proposing a 10-year
marketing deal with the future Las Vegas Raiders that will pay
the NFL franchise more than $30 million in tax dollars over the
next decade, enabling the agency to use team logos and place
advertising in the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.
PG&E said Thursday that a small powerhouse at the reservoir
had been shut down since a canal at the reservoir had been
damaged during last winter’s storms. The utility has determined
that the costs to repair the canal “outweigh the economic
benefit of (power) generation at the Kilarc powerhouse.”
After touring film festivals in two dozen cities across the
country, the documentary, Visions of the Lost Sierra, will be
released online Wednesday for all to view. … Visions is a
short film exploring how the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork
Feather River has connected communities and inspired outdoor
enthusiasts for generations.
San Marcos will start construction of its Creek District this
year, with a $100 million plan to reduce flooding and improve
habitat and traffic flow, officials said at a public forum
earlier this week.
Working with the East Bay Regional Park District,
Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan has secured $4 million in
state funding to daylight and restore an over 2,000-foot
culverted section of creek in the upper San Leandro watershed.
Almost 50 years after the Lahontan cutthroat trout was listed
under the Endangered Species Act, agencies are investing in a
game-changing, fish-friendly infrastructure project at Derby
Dam to help bring back the legendary fish to the Truckee River.
Announced on Sept. 11, 2019, construction of a fish passage
structure will allow Lahontan cutthroat trout to complete their
natural migration, swimming back and forth between Pyramid Lake
and historic spawning grounds.
The California Coastal Commission last week approved a project
proposed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation
to replace and reline about 6,500 feet of sewer line within
Doheny State Beach.
Elizabeth Castillo looks on as her daughter Reynata plays with
children at a playground near the Los Angeles River in Long
Beach, California, in mid-October, hoping one day the river
will be clean enough to kayak on. … In the last half-century,
the LA River served primarily as flood control infrastructure,
but open space and wildlife advocates fomented a movement to
make it wild and accessible to all.
A recent “Sunday Morning” Moment of Nature highlighted brook
trout in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California (see below).
With their bright red and orange abdomens, orange fins trimmed
in black, and sides sprinkled with yellow and red dots, they
flash through the water like little jewels.
Imperial County is seeking to declare a public health
emergency at the Salton Sea … aiming to force Gov. Gavin
Newsom and federal officials to free up emergency funds
and take immediate action to tamp down dangerous dust.
Invasive fish species have long been a challenge for scientists
in the Grand Canyon because they attract fishermen but can
devour threatened native species. Now, the National Park
Service is ready to try a new approach to keeping things in
balance: pay fishermen and women to harvest one of the worst
offenders, the brown trout.
In an effort to reduce litter, wildfire risk, and ocean
pollution from cigarette butts, smoking will be banned on all
of California’s state beaches and in state parks under a new
law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Starting Jan. 1, it will be
illegal to smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vaping devices “or
any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended
for inhalation” on any state beach or in any state park in
The Senate approved almost $20 million in funding to address
sewage flows along the border. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who
secured language in three different appropriations bills for
the 2020 fiscal year, called the spills that send millions of
gallons of raw sewage from Tijuana to San Diego,
The morning dawned hot and sticky Tuesday, Sept. 24, when a
slew of volunteers and scientists clad in T-shirts and hip
waders along the Lake Elsinore shoreline. Their goal? To catch,
measure, tag and release fish in the city’s namesake lake all
in the name of conservation.
The United States-Mexico border region is enduring the latest
in a series of massive cross-border sewage tainted spills.
Federal officials in charge of monitoring the trans-border
sewage situation on the U.S. side of the border said nearly 8
million gallons of tainted water flowed across the border in
the Tijuana River channel.
Senate Bill No. 690 seeks to reduce exposure to dangerous
pathogens, limit beach closures and address water quality
issues in the Tijuana River Valley. The bill will also allow a
$15 million budget allocation for cleanup efforts as well as
prioritizing projects that will address water quality, flood
control, trash and sediment.
Now that the San Francisco Giants’ underwhelming season is
over, the team has big off-season plans — at least in terms of
real estate. Construction should begin this winter on the first
phase of the remake of the team’s parking lot south of McCovey
Cove along Third Street, including a 5-acre waterfront park
with tide pools open to waders and a bayside lawn capable of
holding 5,000 people.
Bright pink “whiskers” have popped up in Riverside Park
recently, likely left by people performing a topography survey
in the beginning stages of a grant-funded project to restore
habitat in the largely undeveloped park that used to be home to
the city’s sewage treatment plant.
Los Angeles’s twin challenges of building more housing while
restoring its namesake waterway are clashing along a shady
11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River between downtown and
the hills of Griffith Park.
There are nut festivals. There are fruit and vegetable
festivals. Hot sauce and spicy food are cheered in other
places. There are wine and beer events. All are fun and bring
entertainment to our lives. But for all of that, there is
something extraordinary about Saturday’s Salmon Festival in
When the Coachella Valley became a hub of tourism in the 20th
century, spas and resorts were built around springs, whose
unusually lithium-rich waters were touted as therapeutic. There
are more than 20 such establishments in the 30 square miles
that make up Desert Hot Springs, one of which is the
recently-refreshed Two Bunch Palms resort.
Elected leaders from around the San Diego region met with the
Trump administration on Tuesday to ask for help stopping the
sewage-tainted water that regularly flows in the Tijuana River
across the border with Mexico. Specifically, regional leaders
tried to persuade federal authorities to fund a more than
$400-million plan to capture and treat the pollution…
Officials said in a news release that a property in the 13000
block of Kilham Mine Road in Nevada City was likely the source
of the plume that moved downstream into Englebright Lake. …
Investigators discovered multiple code violations on the
property and county code enforcement is working with the
property owner to rectify the violations.
Lawns cool the air, reduce urban heat-island effect, remove
pollutants, and provide play spaces. … From a design
standpoint, they make uncluttered views, provide background and
contrast for flowers, and create our outdoor living spaces.
Historically, lawns provided all those benefits at high cost,
literally and environmentally.
Authorities have not yet determined the source of contamination
of an E. coli outbreak detected on a stretch of the South Yuba
River in Nevada County, but the water has now returned to a
safe condition, environmental health officials said Tuesday
A white egret delicately dips its beak into a small puddle. A
mother otter and pups dive and roll in a clear, still pool.
Tiny minnows dart in the shady shallows. And all of this takes
place a stone’s throw from backyards and byways. Our local
creeks and streams are literal rivers of life flowing through
Sonoma County communities.
Because harmful algae blooms have increased significantly over
the past 40 years and are now found in every state in the
country, NRDC set out to find out how states are tracking this
growing menace and how (and whether) states are educating and
warning the public of the threats posed by toxic algae. … To
our dismay, 16 states reported no data at all.
Nevada County authorities are still working to determine the
source of contamination after discolored water in the South
Yuba River tested positive for “dangerous” levels of E. coli
over the weekend, prompting a no-swim advisory.
The mayor of this beach town, which abuts Tijuana, Mexico at a
point that is visible by a border wall marking the two
countries, is fed up with sewage and toxic chemicals flowing
into the United States, and he is heading to Washington, D.C.,
to ask the Trump administration to do something about it.
A dozen kayakers paddled down the tree-lined, sandy-bottomed
Los Angeles River in late August, running their hands through
sycamore and willow leaves and gliding over carp and steelhead
trout as traffic noise from the nearby 405 Freeway buzzed
An influx of Bay Area visitors to Sonoma County’s bucolic
riverlands has spiked in recent years, bringing with it a
problem typically reserved for the privacy of one’s own home.
People are pooping in public.
Nevada County has issued a no-swim advisory for a nearly
50-mile stretch of the South Yuba River, northeast of
Sacramento, because of dangerous levels of E. coli as well as
unknown sediments in the water.
Tijuana’s sewage system appears to be incapable of handling the
sewage generated in the Mexican city, and Imperial Beach Mayor
Serge Dedina called the situation unacceptable. Dedina hoped to
get the attention of President Donald Trump, who is in San
Diego on Wednesday for a fundraiser.
From New York City to coastal California, a poison-producing
living slime is overtaking waterways and shorelines, killing
pets, ravaging tourism markets and making its way into local
drinking water. So far this year, algae has been implicated in
dog deaths and illness in California, Georgia, North Carolina
Tiscornia Beach, an area on the lower American River frequented
by summer visitors, tested 7.5 times higher than the safety
threshold on Tuesday, according to data from the county and the
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Samples of
river water taken two weeks earlier at nearby Discovery Park
tested almost 5.5 times higher than the safety threshold.
The agency … says it’s “open to the concept” of allowing the
public access to the park-like grounds with decorative lagoons,
waterfalls, palm trees and walking paths. But there are several
notable caveats, including that it won’t pay a dime for making
the property accessible and that such a development wouldn’t
interfere with operations.
A Sacramento Bee investigation found high levels of E. coli
bacteria — a sign of fecal contamination — along the lower
stretch of the American, where homeless camps line the banks,
residents walk their dogs, and where thousands of swimmers dip
into the water to escape Sacramento’s summer heat.
An 11-month-old Santa Rosa dog died a “horrible death” Monday,
a day after she was in the water at a park where a city worker
subsequently found a small patch of algae responsible for
numerous public health warnings and two other dog deaths in
The blue ocean has turned a rusty red in Manhattan Beach — but
what is causing this change in color? The red tide, as it’s
called, is from an algal bloom, according to Valerie Hill,
administrative and development director at the Roundhouse
Aquarium off the Manhattan Beach Pier.
Over the last two decades most urban creeks have been reverted
from straight, lifeless channels back to more naturalized
streams that still provide flood protection but are now
abundant with trees, grasses and wildlife. … Despite these
tremendous advances, the 150 creeks in the Russian River
watershed and the critters that live in them are vulnerable.
The study, expected to be completed by early 2020, builds on
the last such fish survey conducted more than a decade ago.
“We’re hoping to find an improvement in the fishery,” Lake
Elsinore Mayor Steve Manos said, “and to identify ways in which
we can continue to improve the fishery.”
A recent analysis by ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm
based in Portland, Ore., estimates that a restored Hetch Hetchy
Valley, drained of its water and offering recreation options
and infrastructure in the same vein as Yosemite Valley, could
attract orders of magnitude more visitors.
A high-profile series of dog deaths has awakened the public to
the growing problem of toxic algal blooms, spurred by rising
temperatures and pollution. The blooms are emerging as a
national, not just regional, concern, according to preliminary
data reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Our leaders in Washington filled me with so much hope earlier
this year when they approved permanent reauthorization of
the Land and Water Conservation Fund. , securing the near-term
future of one of our country’s oldest and most important
conservation tools. But we can’t truly call this a victory
until Congress takes that final step: permanent program
The county of San Diego says beachgoers should “feel more
confident” that water quality is being closely watched
throughout the region, especially along South Bay shorelines
where sewage pollution from Tijuana regularly fouls beaches.
The small channel island near Brannan Island can be found about
one hour south of Sacramento in the Delta’s fresh-water Seven
Mile Slough, in Sacramento County. The marina and resort have
been in operation for more than 60 years.
Officials have closed Southern California’s Huntington Harbour
after a blocked sewer main sent 60,000 gallons of sewage
spilling into the water ahead of Labor Day weekend. The water
is closed to swimmers, surfers and paddle boarders until
testing determines the water quality is safe again.
Contra Costa Environmental Health encourages anyone planning to
boat or enjoy the water in or around the Sacramento-San Joaquin
River Delta this Labor Day weekend to stay safe and avoid
harmful algae blooms.
Known to locals as “Long Beach,” it’s part of the San Leandro
Shoreline Marshlands and once stretched at least 23 miles. The
most recent official estimate done back in 2008 put the beach
at seven miles amid development and rising sea levels.
The iconic image of Lake Tahoe is of a clear, blue lake
surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains. But that
picturesque sight could look very different by the end of the
century due to climate change. Those snowy mountains we’re used
to seeing could lose their white tips. And this would mean a
major transformation for life in Tahoe and beyond.
While some residents are unconcerned each summer as the algae’s
trademark scum appears atop stagnant water in the bays around
town, many are worried about the algal blooms’ toxic effects.
The Discovery Bay Community Foundation (DBCF) has formed a
harmful algae bloom (HAB) subcommittee, partnering with
agencies across the state to help mitigate the epidemic.
If you’re planning on visiting Big Bear Lake, avoid the water,
the state warned Friday. State and regional water quality
boards both urged dog owners, fishers and everyone else to
avoid direct water contact while visiting areas of Big Bear
Lake due to a harmful algae bloom.