Topic: Wetlands

Overview

Wetlands

Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems in the world. They produce high levels of oxygen, filter toxic chemicals out of water, reduce flooding and erosion and recharge groundwater. They also serve as critical habitat for wildlife, including a large percentage of plants and animals on California’s endangered species list.

As the state has grown into one of the world’s leading economies, Californians have developed and transformed the state’s marshes, swamps and tidal flats, losing as much as 90 percent of the original wetlands acreage—a greater percentage of loss than any other state in the nation.

While the conversion of wetlands has slowed, the loss in California is significant and it affects a range of factors from water quality to quality of life.

Wetlands still remain in every part of the state, with the greatest concentration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its watershed, which includes the Central Valley. The Delta wetlands are especially important because they are part of the vast complex of waterways that provide two-thirds of California’s drinking water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

States lead court fight against Trump. They’re winning

The Trump administration’s aggressive deregulatory agenda has run full-speed into a blockade set by Democratic attorneys general. Led by New York and California, the states have challenged virtually every effort by EPA and other agencies to walk back Obama-era rules like the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule.

Aquafornia news Mendocino Beacon

Gualala River Estuary conservation effort takes a $2.1 million step toward success

Thursday, the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy announced that it has received three grants totaling over $2.1 million for the Gualala River Mill Bend Conservation Project that they are stewarding for the community.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Carlsbad supports modified plan to restore Buena Vista Lagoon

The agreement between property owners, nonprofits and multiple governmental agencies outlines a plan to remove the weir, or low wooden dam at the mouth of the lagoon, and excavate the entire 220-acre preserve to restore tidal flushing. … Without intervention, the lagoon would continue to fill with sediment and vegetation until it eventually disappears.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: States seek to freeze Trump water rule as effective date looms

A 17-state coalition on Monday asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to block the Navigable Waters Protection Rule while they spar with government lawyers over its legality. The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers published the rule in April, and it officially takes effect June 22, tightening the federal definition for the types of wetlands and waterways the Clean Water Act covers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump’s water jurisdiction rule: What’s all the fighting about?

The Trump administration’s long-anticipated water jurisdiction rule has already drawn a half-dozen legal challenges since its April release, with more on the way. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule narrows which types of wetlands and waterways trigger federal Clean Water Act oversight, replacing interpretations by Obama-era officials and earlier administrations. … Here’s a breakdown of key legal arguments:

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drawing boundaries with DNA to improve conservation

Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs have begun to spawn, laying small snow-globe sized egg masses in streams and rivers. They are one of the few stream-breeding frogs endemic to California and Oregon. This species is a good indicator of stream health because they link aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and are strongly tied to natural seasonal cues associated with local hydrology.

Aquafornia news Civil & Structural Engineer

Engineers and wetland scientists face challenges with regulatory changes to Clean Water Act

This year’s changes to the Clean Water Act have made the already-challenging work of scientists and engineers in water planning and management exponentially more difficult. Questions abound, from jurisdictional issues to definitions and classifications, as a result of the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” which, among other things, removes federal protections from ephemeral waterways.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Communicating what’s at stake: The art of communicating science

Developed by The Economist based on research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analysts created a chart to show the projected number of coronavirus cases with and without protective measures. This single image effectively conveys what’s at stake, and it inspired me to consider how we can modify communications about scientific findings related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, especially as we adapt to limited in-person interactions during these extraordinary times.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA: Agency leans on 1870s ‘housekeeping’ law to block science

Critics say EPA’s justification for using the rule is legally flimsy, whether the housekeeping law applies to it or not. The agency’s gambit highlights the lengths to which the Trump administration will go, critics say, to cement the president’s anti-regulatory agenda ahead of a possible second term, or to try to tie the hands of subsequent administrations.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The Trump administration is reversing nearly 100 environmental rules. Here’s the full list

Calling the rules unnecessary and burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other businesses, his administration has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks, and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals.

Aquafornia news Bitterroot Magazine

It’s time to plan for drier western rivers

A strange thing happens during particularly wet winters in California: farmers flood their fields. … Aquifers are the last line of defense against drought conditions. By flooding their fields in January, farmers hope to fill these underground reservoirs with water they can use in August. If a trio of recent studies prove accurate, one can expect to see this method deployed more regularly.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand

Blog: 22 environmental groups and 19 jurisdictions file suit in three district courts challenging the 2020 WOTUS rule

Last week, environmental groups, states, and cities filed three complaints in differing federal district court challenging The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States, which was published in the Federal Register on April 21, 2020, and is currently scheduled to become effective on June 22, 2020.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Conservation Service

News release: USDA announces $5 million in wetland mitigation banking program funds

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced today the availability of up to $5 million for wetland mitigation banks. This funding through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program is available to help conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Central Valley Flood Protection Board: Yolo Bypass salmonid habitat restoration and fish passage project

At the April meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Board members heard an informational briefing on the Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project being planned for the Fremont Weir. Referred to as the Big Notch, this project will construct a gated notch at Fremont Weir to create seasonal floodplain habitat for juvenile fish as well as to improve migration for adult fish.

Aquafornia news KSNV TV

Government begins water experiment along Colorado River

The U.S. Department of Interior started a water experiment along the Colorado Friday, May 1, at the Glen Canyon Dam, located near Page Arizona. The experiment is meant to improve the egg-laying conditions for insects that live at least some part of their lives in the water, which are the primary food source for endangered Colorado River fish as well as native fish.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Truckee accepts $2.31 million for Trout Creek restoration

The Truckee Town Council has approved a resolution to accept $2.31 million in funds from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for the restoration of Trout Creek The money will be used as part of the project extending Church Street, which is part of the larger Truckee Railyard Master Plan.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California, 15 other states sue over new rule diluting protections for nation’s waterways

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accuses President Trump and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of illegally exposing waterways to pollution and development by rolling back a key provision of the Clean Water Act.

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Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

DWR to pay $750K for final phases of Cache Slough habitat plan

Solano County will receive $750,000 from the state Department of Water Resources for the development of a Cache Slough Habitat Conservation Plan. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the agreement with the state…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Environmental groups sue EPA over Clean Water Act rollback

Two separate coalitions of environmental advocacy groups filed litigation on Wednesday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers challenging the Trump Administration’s rollback of the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news South Tahoe Now

$11.5M project to restore the Upper Truckee Marsh now underway

The largest wetland restoration project in the history of the Lake Tahoe Basin is now underway in the Upper Truckee River Marsh. The major project to restore the marsh in South Lake Tahoe has been years in the making to fix the environmental damage done by the creation of the Tahoe Keys.

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Aquafornia news Sonoma Index Tribune

Work to protect Sonoma beaver lodge begins

To prevent flooding and manage water levels in a Sonoma creek, a pond leveler will be installed where a family of beavers is living, Sonoma County Water Agency officials said. The pond leveler will help water transfer through the beaver dam so that the pond doesn’t cause flooding. It will also assist with maintaining the habitat for the beavers…

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Aquafornia news Patch.com

Nonprofit hopes to begin renovations of Pacheco Marsh

A fundraising campaign is underway for a salt marsh restoration effort near Martinez that a local nonprofit preservation group sees as both an educational opportunity and a small component in improving the ecology of the Contra Costa County shoreline.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

East Bay’s new rain gardens, an old-school pollution control

Just days before Covid-19 spurred a vast quarantine-at-home in California, a crew of workers in downtown Oakland was busily planting dozens of potted grasses, shrubs and trees in a newly sculpted garden bed in what had been a gutter and a row of parking stalls a block from City Hall.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand

Blog: After months of delay, the 2020 WOTUS Rule is finally published

Publication of the 2020 WOTUS Rule in the Federal Register is the final step in the Trump Administration’s repeal and replacement of the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule (“2015 WOTUS Rule”), issued under the Obama Administration.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: Trump’s rewrite is finalized. What happens now?

Publication starts a 60-day clock before the rule goes into effect and waves a green flag for an onslaught of lawsuits likely to be filed around the country. The litigation will undoubtedly run beyond Election Day, so the future of the rule likely depends on whether Trump wins a second term.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

EPA finalizes rollback of water pollution safeguards

Pulling the plug on the eve of Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency eliminated critical pollution rules from the Obama era that had safeguarded at-risk ecosystems and drinking water across the country. The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule, in the works since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, was finalized Tuesday.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

How Mexico’s dry Colorado River Delta is being restored piece by piece

In the past decade, environmental groups have had success bringing back patches of life in parts of the river delta. In these green islands surrounded by the desert, water delivered by canals and pumps is helping to nourish wetlands and forests. Cottonwoods and willows have been growing rapidly. Birds have been coming back and are singing in the trees.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Yolo Basin Foundation names new director

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.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California says it will fill gaps in lax EPA enforcement

California’s top environmental agency said it would “fill any enforcement gaps” left by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision last month to relax oversight in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Feds cut water to exchange contractors, wildlife refuges

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a water allocation update Monday and it had disappointing news for some San Joaquin Valley farmers, as well as wildlife refuges. The San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors saw their allocation cut from February’s announced 100% to 75%, which is their contract minimum. Wildlife refuges likewise were reduced from 100% to 75%.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Too big to dream? A landscape-scale approach to re-envision our floodplains in the Sacramento Valley for multiple benefits

How critical are Sacramento Valley floodplains for a vibrant fishery? A California Fish and Game Bulletin from 1930 gives us a clue. The report documents the Sacramento River commercial salmon catch declining from 6 million pounds in 1918 to less than 1 million pounds by 1927.

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Aquafornia news Fisheries Podcast

Audio: New rule defines Waters of the United States

Our guests discuss what the WOTUS rule is and how it was developed, what was formerly protected under the Obama era rule and what water bodies and ecosystem services have lost federal protection under the new rule. They also discuss whether state level protections are sufficient and whether science backs the new rule (it doesn’t).

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Research tests how rice fields can benefit fish

Winter-flooded rice fields already provide essential habitat for migratory birds, but could they also provide benefits to help the state’s salmon populations? Scientists at the University of California, Davis, are finalizing their fieldwork on an experiment to find out what management practices farmers might adopt in their fields to maximize fish survival.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How water managers can build recharge basins to boost resilience for farmers and birds alike

Recharge basins are becoming increasingly popular in overdrafted regions in California, where water managers are seeking solutions to balance groundwater supply and demand to comply with the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Opinion: Time for Cargill to join the 21st century

Let’s be clear, the Redwood City salt ponds are simply the wrong place for development. This is an open space tidal plain that’s part of the Bay and was a thriving wetland for centuries.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: From “extinct” to “prolific”

“’Listen to the land’ is my mantra,” said Susan Sorrells, a 4th generation resident and owner of Shoshone, California. … Integrating nature with community became a part of Sorrells’ and her husband Robby Haines’ vision for stewarding the land. As a gateway to Death Valley National Park, ecotourism became their economic engine.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

South Bay salt pond restoration: Science and adaptive management in action

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast. When complete, the Project will restore 15,100 acres of industrial salt ponds to a rich mosaic of tidal wetlands and other habitats. The Project is intended to restore and enhance wetlands in South San Francisco Bay while providing for flood management, wildlife-oriented public access, and recreation.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Is the Sacramento splittail an endangered species?

The Sacramento splittail is a lovely, silvery-white fish that lives primarily in Suisun Marsh, the north Delta and other parts of the San Francisco Estuary (SFE; Moyle et al. 2004). The name comes from its unusual tail, in which the upper lobe is larger than the lower lobe. It is a distinctive endemic species that for decades has fascinated those of us who work in Suisun Marsh.

Aquafornia news E&E News

LWCF, parks bills head to Senate floor after Trump tweet

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.

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Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

‘They’re failing us’

The preserve [inside the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility near Chico]—which is overseen by California Open Lands, a local nonprofit land trust—also has been a focus of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Office of Enforcement, which is investigating the landfill for allegedly discharging last winter about 24 million gallons of waste-contaminated stormwater into the preserve and a neighboring watershed.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Bay-Delta Committee: Update on habitat and fish projects in the Yolo Bypass

At the January meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay Delta Committee, Program Manager Randall Neudeck updated the committee on some of the projects and activities happening underway the Yolo Bypass.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin group joins fight over Clean Water Act changes

Joining 12 other conservation groups from throughout the country, the Olema-based Turtle Island Restoration Network alleges the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not attempt to weigh the potential impacts to endangered species when it removed millions of acres of waterways and habitat from Clean Water Act protections in January.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

What remains in high court’s environmental lineup

By this summer, the justices will have decided a case that could more clearly establish the scope of the Clean Water Act and a challenge that could more firmly define states’ role in federal Superfund cleanups. The court has so far been slow to issue opinions while Chief Justice John Roberts was spending half of his days at impeachment trial proceedings across the street on Capitol Hill.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Trump administration’s clean water rollback will hit some states hard

But the effects of removing this “environmental safety net” won’t be felt equally. States with fewer local protections and resources will suffer the most — as will their people and wildlife.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups plan to sue over Trump rollback of Obama waterway protections

A coalition of environmental groups informed the Trump administration Tuesday that it would sue over a major rollback of water protections designed to replace the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program: A regional vision for coordinated monitoring

Luisa Valiela is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the watershed division of US EPA Region 9. Xavier Fernandez is the Chief of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board’s Planning and TMDL division. At the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Ms. Valiela and Mr. Fernandez gave a joint presentation covering the goals and objectives of the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program, the development process, and the Program Plan that will be released in early 2020.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump’s regional EPA chief in California is suddenly removed

The Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in California was abruptly removed from office Wednesday. No reason has yet been given for Mike Stoker’s dismissal. … Stoker’s tenure was mired in controversy. In 2018, a few months after he was appointed regional administrator, a “hotline” complaint was filed with the EPA’s inspector general regarding his infrequent visits to the region’s main office, in San Francisco.

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Western Water Water Education Foundation

ON THE ROAD: Cosumnes River Preserve Offers Visitors a Peek at What the Central Valley Once Looked Like
Preserve at the edge of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta includes valley oak forests and wintering grounds for cranes

Sandhill cranes gather at the Cosumnes River Preserve south of Sacramento.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.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

WOTUS litigation may follow clarified clean water jurisdiction

the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a long-awaited new rule redefining the term “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Agencies state that their so-called Navigable Waters Protection Rule will improve and streamline the regulatory definition of WOTUS.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Whose water is being carried by Trump’s latest environmental rollback?

When a Healdsburg winery leaked thousands of gallons of Cabernet into the Russian River last week, the jokes flowed, too. … But the spill coincided with a more sobering blow to clean water, coming to light the day the Trump administration announced it was ripping up expanded protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater adopted by the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump administration eyes changes to environmental enforcement

The White House issued a notice [Thursday] seeking input on efforts to “reform enforcement” — a potential boon for the energy industry. … [Thursday's] memo, which appears in the Federal Register, states that federal enforcement has ballooned in recent decades but protections for defendants has not.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: The role of estuaries

Current research shows 11 of the remaining 21 anadromous salmonids in California are at critical risk of extinction in the next 50 years under present trends. Estuaries are especially important to the survival of juvenile salmonids given their important role, helping to increase the number of adult salmonids that survive to adulthood and return to spawn.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Bill Summary: H.R. 1132, San Francisco Bay Restoration

A San Francisco Bay Program Office would be established at the Environmental Protection Agency to make grants for estuary conservation and other water-related initiatives under a modified version of H.R. 1132. The bill would authorize $25 million annually for the office for fiscal 2021 through 2025.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

California unlikely to benefit from new Navigable Waters Protection Rule

It is doubtful that the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule will provide any benefits to California’s farmers and ranchers. Because of rules that the State Water Board established last year, California is unlikely to be affected by the recent federal regulation that replaces the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers welcome new federal rule on water quality

Farmers and ranchers expressed support for a new federal rule to protect navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, saying the rule should offer certainty, transparency and a common-sense approach about how the rule would apply on the farm.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: Reversing history in the San Francisco Bay

Since the 19th century, close to 90 percent of the marshland that historically ringed San Francisco Bay has been lost to development. The effects include diminished wildlife habitat, increased flood risk, degraded water quality, and far fewer opportunities for nature-based recreation. In 2016, more than two-thirds of voters across nine counties supported ballot Measure AA, a $12 per year parcel tax over 20 years to provide $500 million in restoration funding to reverse some of those effects.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Science for you: What’s in store for Arcata’s marsh?

One of the things that we humans have struggled with for centuries, and some countries continue to do so, is how to dispose of sewage and wastewater. People whose sewage is treated in Arcata have a big advantage that has been copied many thousands of times across the world. The Arcata wastewater treatment center and the marsh are the result of science and engineering that is currently under review.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Opinion: EPA’s new water rule is a mockery of science and the Clean Water Act

If the Trump administration’s own scientific advisory board, a host of biological societies, and scores of former government agency officials are disappointed, the rest of America should be fearful and angry.

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Aquafornia news The Coast News

City hears ideas for Loma Alta Slough from community

After hearing from community members back in August and on Jan. 16, Oceanside city staff are working with consultants to design the Loma Alta Slough Wetland Enhancement Project.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump’s latest water policy exposes sharp divides

Democrats and environmental groups on Thursday admonished the Trump administration for issuing a rule they say sets protections for waterways back decades; however, it’s shaping up to be a huge win in GOP-leaning rural America as the Trump campaign eagerly courts farm country ahead of the 2020 election.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Court battles, 2020 election loom over Trump WOTUS rule

Trump administration officials took a victory lap after they unveiled their final revisions to Clean Water Act protections for waterways and wetlands. But the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, replacement rule that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers completed yesterday must now survive a possible Democratic win in the 2020 presidential election and an expected inundation of challenges in the courts.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California will be hit hard as Trump administration weakens clean water protections

Defying environmentalists and public health advocates, the Trump administration on Thursday will announce the replacement of Obama-era water protections with a significantly weaker set of regulations that lifts limits on how much pollution can be dumped into small streams and wetlands.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

At a panel discussion hosted by California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, the panelists discussed how by spreading out and slowing down water across the landscape can provide multiple benefits year-round by allowing farmers to cultivate the land during the spring and summer, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife in the fall and winter months.

Aquafornia news Mad River Union

McKinleyville Town Center limits loosened to allow wetlands relocation, development

The committee voted to recommend a less stringent definition of wetlands for the Town Center area. The committee also recommended a policy that would allow the wetlands located on a vacant lot behind the McKinleyville Shopping Center to be reconfigured or even relocated. The recommendations have the potential to open up the property to more development…

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Santa Ana River Wash Plan aims to protect land and species

The conservation district is a special governmental entity that has been recharging the local groundwater aquifers for 100 years. The Wash Plan will implement water conservation, supply infrastructure, transportation and aggregate production while protecting threatened species.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump hails WOTUS overhaul as critics call for investigation

President Trump yesterday touted his repeal of key Clean Water Act regulations as more than three dozen current and former government officials called for an investigation into the scientific basis of his forthcoming replacement rule.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

First look: San Diego State University’s $54M plan for a Mission Valley river park

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.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Stewardship Council: Briefing on the 2019 update to the State of the Estuary Report

At the December meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Caitlin Sweeney, Director of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, briefed the Council on the 2019 update to the State of the Estuary report. She began with some background on the Partnership.

Aquafornia news Vacaville Reporter

Restoring the marsh for future generations in Solano County

Slogging through thick mud may not be everybody’s idea of a rewarding morning, but for a handful of dedicated volunteers, it meant helping Mother Nature thrive. The Solano Land Trust’s “Citizen Science Volunteer” program was at Rush Ranch Friday to plant native plants around an area that has undergone major tidal marsh restoration project…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: The Delta’s sinking islands: A way of life hangs in the balance

The courtroom battle over 9,000-acre Staten Island is the latest conflict in the Delta over farming, wetlands and aging levees that, besides preventing flooding, preserve a way of life on the man-made islands. The suit, filed in 2018 by a group called Wetlands Preservation Foundation, accuses the California Department of Water Resources and the Nature Conservancy of failing to adequately protect wildlife or employ sustainable agricultural practices on the property…The stakes are high because the channels, islands and marshes that make up the Delta are a catch basin for most of California’s drinking water.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Polluted wastewater in the forecast? Try a solar umbrella

Evaporation ponds, which are commonly used in many industries to manage wastewater, can span acres, occupying a large footprint and often posing risks to birds and other wildlife. … Now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated a way to double the rate of evaporation by using solar energy and taking advantage of water’s inherent properties.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Rapid changes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta both diminish scientific certainty and increase science’s value

These changes will be substantial, multi-faceted, and often rapid. Some changes will be irreversible. Many changes are inevitable. Some will say today’s Delta is doomed. It will be important for California to develop a scientific program that can help guide difficult policy and management discussions and decision-making through these challenges.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: Creating a safe harbor on the ranch

In the shadow of Mount Shasta lies the Butte Creek Ranch, its alpine meadows carpeted in grass sprinkled with wildflowers and bordered by forest. … For over 160 years, this summer scene has played out for six generations of the Hart family. … Recently, the Harts guaranteed the continuation of this legacy by working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan that balances their land use with conserving the rich natural resources of Butte Creek.

Aquafornia news Laguna Beach Independent

Aliso Creek estuary restoration closer to reality

The mission to restore the Aliso Creek estuary, spearheaded by Laguna Ocean Foundation two years ago, received a second gift from the California Coastal Conservancy this holiday season, a $400,000 grant to implement the plan’s next phase.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles wants to store water under lake in Owens Valley

Quick shifts in climate have prompted Los Angeles to consider an unlikely place to bank some of its Sierra Nevada snowmelt: beneath dry Owens Lake, which the city drained starting in 1913 to fill the L.A. Aqueduct and supply a thirsty metropolis.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

State awards $5.5M for Hill Slough wetland restoration, research project

Ducks Unlimited has received nearly $5.58 million to restore 603 acres of managed seasonal wetlands to tidal wetlands in the Hill Slough Wildlife Area of the Suisun Marsh. The grant also will fund research on greenhouse gasses in the wetlands.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Salmon’s return marks proud day in push for creek restorations

Salmon are swimming back into the Lagunitas Creek watershed. Not only is that a natural phenomena, but it is a sign that hard work at restoring habitat and promoting greater public awareness are paying off.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Scientists from UC campuses study floods

We’ve heard this about earthquakes – it’s not a matter of if but when the big one will hit. Well, some researchers also say it’s a pretty similar situation for a major flood in the area. A research project currently being undertaken at SoCal and NorCal UC campuses is looking at how flooding could impact the area, including socioeconomic issues.

Aquafornia news Curbed LA

Landscape designer Mia Lehrer and the LA River Revitalization Plan

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.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Standing too close to the elephant: addressing scales in restoration and fisheries conservation

Dr. Rachel Johnson is a research biologist with the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and UC Davis with over 15 years’ experience working on various aspects of conservation and fisheries biology. In this presentation from the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Dr. Johnson discussed the importance of developing a holistic framework among aquatic ecosystems and management authorities.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid the wasteland of the Salton Sea, a miraculous but challenging oasis is born

It came as a bittersweet surprise to biologists and government agencies monitoring the steadily shrinking Salton Sea’s slide toward death by choking dust storms and salt. Thousands of acres of exposed lake bed have become, of all things, the unintended beneficiaries of lush marshlands that are homes for endangered birds and fish at the outlets of agricultural and urban runoff that used to flow directly into the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Rains make way for Lagunitas Creek coho return

After a dry fall, the first storms of the winter kicked off the annual migration of coho salmon from the Pacific Ocean to the streams where they spawn. Over 10 inches of rain fell on Lake Lagunitas last week… Streamflows are now high enough to allow endangered central California coast coho to migrate.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Most U.S. states have cut environmental budgets and staffing since 2008: study

The report by the Environmental Integrity Project released on Thursday showed some 30 states have reduced funding for pollution control programs, 16 of them by more than 20%. Forty states, meanwhile, have cut staffing at environmental agencies, half of them by at least 10%, the report showed.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: California urged to rethink 40 years of ‘piecemeal’ freshwater protections

The bitter drought validated scientists’ warnings that despite longstanding endangered species protections, the state’s outdated and overtaxed water management plans are failing in the face of climate change. … A report released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California recommends the state stop prioritizing individual species recovery plans and adopt holistic management methods that improve entire freshwater ecosystems.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Presidio at 25: Time moves backward as restoration sites regain their original habitat

Over the past three decades, a shoreline lagoon and a historic, natural lake have been restored. Hundreds of thousands of native plants — some of them endangered — have been planted. Indigenous wildlife has returned, and an ancient creek ecosystem was freed from underground pipes, exposing hidden streams and ponds that once quenched the thirst of American Indians.

Aquafornia news Curbed LA

Giant water wheel will churn L.A. River water just like the 1860s

Called Bending the River Back Into the City, the project will churn with water from the river, siphoning a fraction of it out of the waterway, cleaning that water via “an artificial treatment wetland” … and then piping it to Los Angeles State Historic Park and the recently opened Albion Riverside Park and Downey Recreation Center so it can water plants and other landscaping there.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Tahoe Conservancy receives $2.98 million in funding for Upper Truckee Marsh

The California Wildlife Conservation Board has awarded $2.98 million to the California Tahoe Conservancy to help restore the Upper Truckee Marsh, the largest wetland in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Hideous, shameful, grotesque: Rains push mountains of L.A. trash into Ballona Creek

For as far as I could see, east and west, the banks were littered with plastic cups, fast-food containers, spray paint cans and chip wrappers. It had rained a smidgen the day before, the first wet weather of the season, and this was what had washed downstream from the area west of downtown Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Oysters to serve as biological sensors in San Diego estuaries

San Diego researchers will wade into a couple of local estuaries to deliver biological sentinels — oysters equipped with sensors that will monitor the bodies of water. The scientists are looking for insight into a habitat that can undergo dramatic changes in a matter of hours.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California Democrats seek EPA watchdog help amid Trump threats

A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has retaliated against their state for political reasons, including by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple transportation projects.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA sued over oil waste dumping in aquifer near Pismo Beach, California

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the agency wrongly allowed oil waste to be dumped into a San Luis Obispo aquifer and ignored impacts to the California red-legged frog and other endangered species.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom administration sends mixed signals on Delta endangered species protections

California officials sent mixed signals Thursday when they said they will sue to block a Trump administration rollback of endangered species protections for imperiled fish — while also proposing new water operations that mimic parts of the Trump plan. The state moves reflect political pressure the Newsom administration has been under as it confronts one of California’s most intractable environmental conflicts — the battle over the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

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Aquafornia news Bay City Beacon

Presidio’s new Tunnel Tops Park will connect ancient springs to SF Bay

Lew Stringer is leading a tour of the massive renovation of the entire watershed on the Presidio’s waterfront. The next string of pearls to be unearthed is Quartermaster Reach, a 7-acre salt marsh on the south side of Mason Street. … The $118 million park project, opening in late Spring of 2020, is part of a wetlands restoration movement across the Bay Area that will benefit all species – including us – facing the uncertain future of climate change.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Bel Marin Keys restoration an important move

The start of work on the restoration of the Bel Marin Keys wetlands is another example of efforts to bring back the miles of wetlands that, over the past century, have been lost to development, other encroachments and years of sedimentation buildup.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Arcata city officials say they want to use the wetlands for wastewater treatment for as long as possible

The treatment plant isn’t only at risk from rising sea levels … but also from rising groundwater and tectonic forces causing the land to sink, according to the 2018 assessment compiled by local sea level rise expert Alderon Laird. Laird has said to expect .9 feet of sea level rising by 2030, 1.9 feet by 2050 and 3.2 feet by 2070. … Arcata city officials are discussing moving the treatment … but that’s too expensive to do right now.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

The water is cleaner but the politics are messier: A look back at the Clean Water Act movement after 50 years

Today, the quality of river water has improved markedly since the early 1970s, though critics say the red tape imposed through the Clean Water Act has become burdensome. The Clean Water Act has not been altered much over the past 50 years, though how we interpret the act has recently changed dramatically.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Save Newark’s wetlands, while we still can

Even today, with all we know about the challenges posed by climate change and sea-level rise, some cities seem determined to continue to fill and develop their shorelines. One of the most flagrant examples is taking place in the city of Newark…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Living shorelines: Linking estuary habitats and building capacity to adapt to rising seas

A living shoreline is an alternative to ‘hard’ shoreline stabilization methods like rip rap or seawalls, and can provide numerous benefits such as nutrient pollution remediation, habitat, and buffering of shorelines from storm erosion and sea level rise. … At the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Marilyn Latta from the Coastal Consevancy and Katharyn Boyer from San Francisco State University gave a presentation on living shoreline projects in the San Francisco Bay.

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Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

Housing project pits regional goals against city plans

On Thursday, the East Bay city of Newark will consider approving 469 single family homes and 2,739 parking spaces at the edge of the San Francisco Bay shoreline, on a 430-acre parcel where conservation groups and state and federal agencies have for decades hoped to restore wetlands. … The proposal illustrates one way even straightforward and widely agreed-upon regional climate solutions can fall apart at the local level…

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa River project wins prestigious environmental award

Napa County and its partners have been presented with the 2019 Outstanding Environmental Project Award by the Friends of the San Francisco Estuary for ongoing efforts to restore riparian and floodplain habitat along an important segment of the Napa River

Aquafornia news Sierra Club

Blog: Newark luxury development would pave over restorable wetlands, increasing risk from sea level rise

Instead of pushing efforts to restore wetlands and wildlife habitat to help our region become more climate resilient, developers and city leaders are pushing to advance plans to fill in Newark’s Bay shoreline. The proposed “Sanctuary West Residential Project,” would build 469 luxury units along the City of Newark’s shoreline on a 559-acre site…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Arizona prepares to lose federal water protections

The vast majority of Arizona waters now regulated by the state under the federal Clean Water Act could be excluded from protection under the Trump administration’s narrowed definitions of federal waters, according to state environmental officials.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Wildlife and water in U.S. forests are being poisoned by illegal pot operations

An unlikely coalition in California — including environmentalists, law enforcement agents, politicians, wildlife ecologists and representatives of the legal cannabis industry — have joined forces to try to reduce these illegal operations and the environmental threat they pose.

Aquafornia news Bitterroot Magazine

Dust kicked up from the West’s drying lakes is a looming health hazard

Matt Dessert does not want to sue San Diego, nor does he want to start a legal battle with the state of California. But the growing threat to Imperial County’s air quality may leave Dessert, an officer with the county Air Pollution Control District, with little choice.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Massive Bel Marin Keys marsh restoration begins

While breaking this levee would seem like a catastrophe, state and federal agencies intend to do just that. The purpose is not to unleash some biblical, punishing flood, but rather to allow nature to reclaim nearly 1,600 acres of wetland habitat.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Researchers look to wetlands to increase Delta water quality

By looking at how to manage levels of salt, mercury and nutrients heading into the San Joaquin River, researchers are aiming to boost water quality and reduce impacts on fish and other aquatic life in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … The project will examine wetlands — about 40 miles southwest of UC Merced’s campus — that drain into the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Putting the ‘flood’ in Flood-MAR: reducing flood risk while replenishing aquifers

Flood-MAR is recognized as an emerging water management strategy that can provide broad benefits for Californians and the ecosystems of the state, including water supply reliability, flood risk reduction, drought preparedness, aquifer replenishment, water quality improvement, and climate change adaption.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Bustin’ berms: The restoration of Tule Red

On October 15th, an excavator trundled out onto the narrow isthmus of land separating the freshwater Tule Red pond from Suisun Bay and began digging. As the salty water from Grizzly Bay began to pour through the breach, the 460-acre pond felt the push and pull of the tides for the first time in a century, beginning its transition back into marsh habitat.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Supreme Court leans toward expanding Clean Water Act to protect oceans from wastewater

Supreme Court justices, both conservative and liberal, appeared skeptical Wednesday of a Trump administration argument that the federal Clean Water Act should not apply to sewage plant wastewater that flows into the ground and eventually seeps into federally protected waters, such as rivers or oceans. The case from Hawaii has emerged as a major test of the federal anti-pollution law’s scope …

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The disconnect between groundwater legal systems and groundwater hydrology

The Groundwater Resources Association’s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress featured David Sandino, Senior Staff Counsel at the Department of Water Resources, who spoke about the disconnect between legal groundwater systems and how the system actually works; and Maurice Hall, Associate Vice President of Ecosystems-Water at the Environmental Defense Fund, who spoke of how more holistic and inclusive groundwater management can increase the resilience of our water supply…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water officials work to assist recharge projects

Flood-managed aquifer recharge involves moving floodwater from surface streams onto land where it could percolate into a groundwater basin. Though the concept sounds simple, it brings complications that include managing the floodwater, finding appropriate land to accept it and establishing rights to the water involved.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: 5 things to know about today’s Supreme Court face-off

By next summer, the court will make a decision on a key question: Are pollutants that flow through groundwater from a single, identifiable source on their way to navigable waters subject to federal permitting requirements?

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California seizes $1.5 billion-plus in black market marijuana

Authorities seized more than $1.5 billion worth of illegally grown marijuana plants in California this year — an amount an industry expert said is roughly equal to the state’s entire legal market — as part of an annual eradication program, officials said Monday. … Law enforcement raids often find illegal farms that have dammed or diverted public streams and dumped dangerous pesticides including carbofuran, methyl parathion and aluminum phosphate…

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Restoring a San Mateo County creek to keep new generations of fish thriving

The executive director of the San Mateo Resource Conservation District was admiring the restoration of 8,000 feet of the Butano Creek stream channel, the largest and most ambitious of a series of projects the district is spearheading to stop chronic flooding, bring back endangered fish and restore 28 acres of degraded wetlands at Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: Economic analysis could undermine Trump rule repeal

When the Trump administration finalized its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Water Rule last month, it also quietly updated an economic analysis of the repeal’s costs and benefits. The 195-page final analysis is nearly 10 times longer … and estimates different costs and benefits of repealing the regulation.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Navigating California’s new regulations for wetlands and state waters

California regulations protecting wetlands and state waters were approved by the State Water Resources Control Board and will take effect on May 28, 2020. These new rules create a more expansive and complex permitting scheme for developers, public agencies and others with projects that may impact waters and wetlands.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Environmental prosecutions drop to lowest level in decades

Prosecutions of environmental crimes dropped to historic lows under the Trump administration last fiscal year and one legal expert believes that could endanger public health. “There’s a risk that unenforced violations could lead to fires, leaks, spills, and contamination,” said Ethan Elkind, climate program director at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

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Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Garamendi bill for extended life of Clean Water permit passes

A bill that will extend the life of water pollutant regulatory permits from five years to 10 years for local wastewater treatment and water recycling infrastructure projects has passed a key House of Representatives committee.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: WOTUS lawsuits start long, muddy legal battle

Get ready for a surge of lawsuits over the Trump administration’s decision to walk back Obama-era protections for wetlands and streams. … The cases add a new dimension to what could soon be a complicated legal quagmire over the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule and the Trump administration’s efforts to both erase and replace the regulation.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club

Blog: Santa Fe Dam: A hidden jewel of Southern California

Santa Fe Dam is an element of the Los Angeles County Drainage Area (LACDA) flood control system. Watersheds are more than just drainage areas in and around our communities. They are necessary to support habitat for plants and animals, and they provide drinking water for people and wildlife.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Environmental groups sue over Trump rollback of waters rule

The National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and nine other groups sued Oct. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, accusing the federal government of breaking the law in its rollback of the 2015 Clean Water Rule.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘It’s where we come from’: The River People in Mexico left without a river

It was on the Colorado River that González, now 82, taught her children, just like her parents and grandparents taught her, to fish with canoes and traps made from willow trees which flourished on the riverbanks. Now, the river stops at the US-Mexico border and the lakes are dry and native vegetation is confined to reforestation projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump team weakens Delta protections for California smelt, salmon

In a move that would boost water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and Southern California cities, federal fishery agencies are weakening decade-old endangered species protections for some of the state’s most imperiled native fish populations.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

San Francisco Estuary health report offers mixed review

The health of North America’s largest estuary, the San Francisco Estuary, is showing some signs of improvement, but much of the historic damage caused to the massive watershed has either not improved or worsened, according to a new report.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial County seeks to declare Salton Sea emergency, wants disaster funds

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.

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Aquafornia news Capital Press

New market would pay farmers for conservation practices

The initiative to establish an ecosystem marketplace began in 2017 with the Noble Research Institute, which started working on developing protocols to verify carbon sequestration and improved water quality…

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

Aerial view shows environmental disaster at the Salton Sea

Audubon California’s Salton Sea Program Director Frank Ruiz served as the guide for this trip. Ruiz says the Salton Sea is receding at an alarming rate, about 6-inches a year, exposing toxic lake bed which is evident from the air.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Tubbs fire zone landowners felling dead trees, thinning brush to protect Santa Rosa-area creek

The project includes improvements along more than 3 miles of dirt roads, repairing culverts and building erosion control features designed to reduce sediment flow into the creek. The aim is to protect gravel nests, called redds, where female salmon and steelhead lay their eggs, suffocating the eggs as well as clogging the gills of adult fish…

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Governor’s veto of SB1 criticized as playing into hands of anti-environment White House

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of Senate Bill 1 means the honeymoon may be over with environmental groups who saw the bill as a bulwark to protect California’s water quality and endangered species from the Trump administration’s regulatory slashing.

Aquafornia news HowStuffWorks.com

How the Salton Sea became an eco wasteland

California’s largest inland lake, the Salton Sea, lies in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. The lake, which is more than 50 percent saltier than the Pacific Ocean, is becoming more salt than water because it’s essentially evaporating. The lake and the area that surrounds it — once hotspots for tourism and wildlife — have essentially become ghost towns.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Trump forcibly expands oil and gas drilling in California. Will Newsom fight back?

The majority of California’s elected leaders oppose Trump’s plans. A majority of Californians also believes the state should ban the dangerous practice called “fracking,” which injects poisonous, cancer-causing chemicals deep into the ground.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Opinion: Profit and Trump’s attack on Bay protections

Areas under Clean Water Act, or CWA, jurisdiction are not prohibited from being filled for development, but if developed, the act does require federal oversight, permitting and full mitigation for any loss of wetlands and wildlife habitat. Removing CWA protections would likely make the 1,400-acre salt pond site more profitable to develop, and thus more difficult to purchase for tidal marsh restoration.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California water czar seeks resource collaboration, not combat

For E. Joaquin Esquivel, California has made great strides in fighting climate change and transitioning to a cleaner energy sector. Now, he said, it’s water’s turn. “Water, I think, is ready for that moment,” said Esquivel, the chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board who took over from longtime chair Felicia Marcus in February.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

San Francisco Bay study gives 20-year window into marine life, climate impacts

On a biological scale, 20 years is like the blink of an eye — if not faster. But for San Francisco marine biology researchers, 20 years is priceless in what it can tell about the changing nature of the bay’s wildlife, especially in the face of a changing climate.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: California must defend its environmental protection laws

At Orange County Coastkeeper, we are disappointed that Gov. Gavin Newsom chose to veto SB 1 because of pressure from water interests, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Environmental bill’s veto sparked surprise

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of a major environmental protection bill angered and surprised environmentalists – and left some wondering what happens next.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

A ‘chilling message’: Trump critics see a deeper agenda in California feud

President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Why is Newsom vetoing SB 1?

How well does the Governor’s reasoning for vetoing the bill actually match up with the legislation he will be vetoing?

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Conservation before construction: Bay Area pilots new state program

To optimize mitigation for impacts to wetlands, other wildlands, and at-risk species, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is developing a program called the Regional Conservation Investment Strategy (RCIS). … Each RCIS identifies top conservation needs, such as habitat for sensitive species…

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Newsom administration faces difficult tests on water this fall

While I’m deeply disappointed that Governor Newsom vetoed SB 1, the governor’s veto is also a troubling sign for several big tests on California water coming this fall…

Aquafornia news Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Opinion: Trump administration makes right move in repealing 2015 water rule

Recently, authority over many streams, pools, and lakes in the United States reverted from the federal government to the states. The Trump administration repealed the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule, under which the federal government claimed authority to regulate virtually any body of water it wished.

Aquafornia news Berkeleyside.com

New ‘green stormwater spine’ in West Berkeley aims to clean water traveling to the Bay

A new “green infrastructure” project under construction along the western side of the block is designed to slow down that process by detoxing the water through soil and plants and pumping a purified product back out to the creek. The project, a whopping seven years in the making, is part of a $4 million, four-city effort…

Aquafornia news TheEcologist.org

Blog: Victory for defenders of Californian waterways

A coalition of river and coastal defenders have won a major victory against the State Water Resources Control Board, securing an order that requires the board to meet the statutory deadlines for its list of impaired waterways in California. The lawsuit focused on the board’s violations of the Clean Water Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act…

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Stewardship of wetlands and soils has climate benefits

When you look at a farm, do you think about nutrient rich soils or cover crops growing between rows? When you look at a marsh, do you see the submerged layers of sediment created by years of plant litter piling up? Probably not. But those parts of well-managed agricultural lands and wetlands store a lot of carbon, and that’s increasingly important as climate change is forcing society to consider ways to lower carbon emissions…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Resnicks set a record with Caltech gift, but altruism isn’t the whole story

Although the $750 million represents a personal gift to Caltech rather than a corporate gift from the Resnicks’ principal corporate entity, The Wonderful Company, they’re engaged through that company in some arguably unsustainable environmental practices.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

SF Giants unveil plan for a 5-acre ‘constructed eco-system’ along bay

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.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Ballona Wetlands: Malibu Lagoon’s resounding success

The final of six yearly Comprehensive Monitoring Reports performed by The Bay Foundation based on detailed scientific monitoring data prove the Project wholly succeeded in meeting its goals, performance standards and success criteria, and requires no supplemental work.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: SB1: Newsom vetoes bill to block Trump Endangered Species Act rollback

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill on Friday that would have allowed California to preserve Obama-era endangered species protections and water-pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta should they be dismantled by the Trump administration, a move scorned by environmental groups that have been among the governor’s most important political allies.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California, environmental groups sue EPA over protection of SF Bay salt ponds

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Bay Area conservation groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday for failing to protect Redwood City’s salt ponds under the Clean Water Act, a decision they say will harm the San Francisco Bay ecosystem.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Opinion: Keeping streams safe and clean

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.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Concrete jungle: The quest to make the L.A. River wild again

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 overhead.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Editorial: WOTUS has done more for trial lawyers than clean water

While farm and private property interests cheered, environmental groups last week bemoaned the Trump administration finalizing the repeal of the controversial “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, rule. We see little to cheer or jeer at this point, as the repeal is hardly the final chapter in a dispute that has stretched on for nearly 10 years.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom should sign SB 1 into law. Without its environmental protections, Californians will suffer

At least 85 different federal laws and regulations affecting California have been weakened or undermined by the Trump administration since January 2017. … That’s why I, along with many proponents, believe that Senate Bill 1 would safeguard our state …

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Aquafornia news Estuary News

Clout and cool science push land-river reconnection

Before all those thousands of miles of levees went in, the Central Valley had one of the West Coast’s largest salmon runs, with a million or more of these mighty fish returning each year. A big reason for the salmon’s suc-cess was that the valley was among the most extensive floodplains in the world.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: How SB1 defends against Trump environmental rollbacks

Our beaches, bays and waterways are central to who we are as San Diegans and to our unique way of life. But in a heavily urbanized region clean water doesn’t just happen; it takes hard work and stewardship.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Demise of key environment bill could escalate California’s water wars

Newsom has said he won’t approve Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ bid for a legal backstop against environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. And Washington is poised to reduce protections for endangered fish species in the state’s largest watersheds. The result may be the heightened regulatory uncertainty that opponents of the bill said they hoped to avoid…

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom has a chance to end California’s water battles

Last week, the Legislature acted to thwart President Donald Trump on water matters by passing a bill to essentially pre-empt the execution of federal environmental law. The Metropolitan Water District opposed Senate Bill 1 because it would have unleashed rounds of state-federal litigation, and would have likely brought 13 years of effort to a halt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signaled he plans to veto the measure.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The quiet death and imminent rebirth of a water bond

A concerted effort to put a $4 billion bond measure for safe drinking water, drought preparation, wildfire prevention, and climate resilience on the March 2020 ballot in California died quietly in the state legislature last week. But the bond measure proposal will rise again early in the new year…

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Opinion: Why environmentalists are losing the water wars

It all boils down to diluted language that minimizes the perception of how we’re devastating our rivers and other bodies of water.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Editorial: Newsom must keep his promise on California SB1

Whatever satisfaction might be gained by telling the president to pound sand is nowhere near as important as protecting the water supply of Modesto and thousands of farmers depending on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

EPA confirms the agency is changing water policy

The Trump administration announced significant rollbacks of Obama-era EPA regulations. How could the policy change affect the environmental landscape, and what could opponents do to fight it?

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

Want to prevent California’s Katrina? Grow a marsh

Something is amiss on Sherman Island, a whale-shaped swath of farm and grazing land at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. If you don’t know what ails the place, it might be hard to pinpoint the problem.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

South Gate charts new course to rear fish that once thrived in L.A.

The city of South Gate plans to transform a weedy and rutted field overlooking an industrialized stretch of the Los Angeles River into a sylvan retreat boasting a nursery for rare native fish that thrived before the explosive growth of Southern California after World War II.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: State Water Board authorizes major recycled water project

Efforts to increase recycled water use in California got a significant boost this week with the State Water Board’s issuance of an order authorizing the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s program to deliver an average of 45 million gallons per day of recycled water from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant …

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

California steps up multimillion-dollar battle to eradicate nutria from state wetlands

There’s no certain answer as to how the nutria population re-emerged after being declared eradicated in California decades ago but the population is spreading and causing serious concern. The Department of Fish and Wildlife was recently awarded $10 million to wipe out the large, invasive rodents and that effort is now well underway.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Newsom plans to veto bill that would have blocked Trump’s rollback of endangered species protections

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to veto a bill passed by California lawmakers that would have allowed the state to keep strict Obama-era endangered species protections and water pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Newsom’s intentions … comes less than 24 hours after state lawmakers passed the sweeping legislation.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta legal framework: ‘All the acronyms you need to know’

At the Association of California Water Agencies‘ spring conference, a panel of lawyers covered the basics of the legal framework for the Delta. The panel was billed as ‘All the Acronyms You Need to Know”, but no 1.5 hour panel discussion could possibly cover all that. However, the panel did a good job of hitting the main ones and highlighting current issues.

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Bioreactors to the rescue in polluted California wetlands

Farmers clearly appreciate the yields that fertilizers facilitate, but many acknowledge that these chemicals are tainting the land and water. Enter the Central Coast Wetlands Group and the Coastal Conservation and Research, Inc. and their new bioreactor designed to process agricultural runoff, turning algae-bloom-triggering waste into benign nitrogen gas.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California protects itself from Trump’s rollback of Clean Water Act

The Trump administration rolled back a key provision of the Clean Water Act on Thursday, doing away with protections for many wetlands and streams across the country… The repeal of the Waters of the United States rule, however, will not directly affect landowners and businesses in California. State regulators in April passed a sweeping wetlands policy that secured state oversight of California’s waterways…

Aquafornia news CALMatters

Opinion: Newsom and legislators have a choice: side with the environment or with Trump

The Trump administration, under Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, is finalizing plans to rip up restrictions on diverting Northern California water to its friends in the agricultural industry in the dry western San Joaquin Valley.  However, some of the state’s biggest water districts oppose SB 1, hoping Trump administration efforts will translate into increased water diversions.  

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California’s Trump-blocking environmental bill may be delayed in fight over water

Facing fierce lobbying from well-financed water districts, the bill’s author, Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, acknowledged Tuesday that the bill might get pulled from consideration until next year.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County’s western pond turtle: A reptile in trouble

The western pond turtle in Butte County is currently shaking in its shell, due to habitat alteration and introduced species that are killing off the local reptile. … The turtle is being evaluated for listing as threatened or endangered, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Administration finalizes repeal of 2015 water rule Trump called ‘destructive and horrible’

On Thursday, the Trump administration plans to scrap the Obama-era definition of what qualifies as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, returning the country to standards put in place in 1986. … EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the administration will finalize a new definition for which water bodies deserve federal protection within a matter of months…

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation and DWR to restore floodplain habitat for endangered salmon in the Yolo Bypass

The Bureau of Reclamation, in coordination with the California Department of Water Resources, today announced its decision to move forward with a restoration project to improve fish passage and increase floodplain fisheries-rearing habitat in the Yolo Bypass.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Water users fight California’s anti-Trump environmental bill

Senate Bill 1 has strong support from some of California’s most influential environmental and labor organizations, including some that helped get Gov. Gavin Newsom elected. But several of California’s water suppliers and agricultural interests … oppose the measure. This includes the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has made SB 1 a top lobbying priority.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County’s yellow-legged frog under threat

If you see something hopping around in Big Chico Creek, chances are it could be the foothill yellow-legged frog. This frog is currently being evaluated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to possibly be placed on the state’s endangered species list.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Coming home: Helping endangered fish return to suisun marsh

DWR is currently overseeing five habitat restoration projects in Suisun Marsh. In October 2019, one of these projects, the Tule Red Tidal Habitat Restoration Project – which converts approximately 600 acres of existing managed wetland into tidal habitat – is expected to finish construction.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

New border wall could further deplete groundwater supplies

According to a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has identified existing groundwater wells construction contractors can use. In addition, the contractor has proposed drilling new wells along the border for the wall project. Currently, the construction contractor estimates needing about 84,000 gallons of water per day for the project.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Here’s a look inside Ventura’s wastewater operations

There’s a lot of confusion and concern about what will happen once the city of Ventura no longer discharges millions of gallons of water into the Santa Clara River Estuary. … To help residents get a better understanding of how Ventura’s wastewater operations work, and to help answer those questions, city officials opened up its facility to the public last week.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: Marsh of Dreams

Over the past 200 years, California has lost 97% of its wetland habitat. The Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve, part of the UC’s Natural Reserve System, represents about 3% of what remains of California’s coastal wetlands. Due to a century of draining for land use and land development, the marsh has dwindled to 230 acres.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Water to flow in Colorado River delta again

However, this is brackish water. For a few months we will see it in the Colorado below Morelos Dam, reminding us of the river that once flowed there. It is agricultural drainage that comes from farms in southwestern Arizona that use the Colorado River to irrigate in the desert.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Congress must fund protection for the Bay Area’s favorite parks

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 funding.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot to be keynote speaker at Water Summit

Crowfoot oversees a sprawling agency of 19,000 employees engaged in the stewardship of the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife and energy development. Now in its 36th year, the Water Summit features a variety of policymakers, experts and stakeholders discussing important topics in water across California and the West.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Controversial water legislation heads to California Assembly floor

Senate Bill 1 is seen as a pre-emptive strike by California lawmakers before the Trump administration ushers in new biological opinions to alter water deliveries through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news One Truckee River

Blog: The importance of Pyramid Lake water quality

There are a lot of reasons our watershed is unique. It’s a high elevation terminal watershed, what could be more special? Well, another contributing factor is that the terminus of the Truckee River watershed exists on the largest Native American Reservation in Nevada.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Legislature, rethink SB 1. It will hurt water management

If not amended, Senate Bill 1 will perpetuate California’s water and environmental troubles, not help to resolve them, as its proponents claim.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Nature gone: Bay Area beach getting washed away

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: California must follow water quality rules in Salton Sea restoration

The intent of the Salton Sea restoration is to mitigate losses of habitat for wildlife as the Salton Sea shrinks. However, mitigating lost habitat by replacing it with something harmful does not result in any benefits to wildlife; in fact, it makes things worse by creating a new exposure pathway that subjects wildlife to contaminants.

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