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 Marin Independent Journal

Novato bayside levee project nears completion

Working over the last year, construction crews expect to complete a new 2-mile levee near Novato in the coming weeks. It will allow bay waters to eventually reclaim nearly 1,600 acres, or about 2.5 square miles, of former tidal marshes that had been diked and drained for agriculture and development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers look to plant more rice acreage in the Delta

Now in its second year, a long-term project intends to learn whether rice farming in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta can succeed economically while helping to preserve the region’s uniquely carbon-rich peat soils.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Environmentalists win key battle over Mission Bay Park redevelopment, get $1.25M for marshland study

Local environmentalists won a key victory this week when the regional water board approved a $1.25 million study focused on transforming much of Mission Bay’s northeast corner into marshland, which could help San Diego fight sea level rise.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

In the world of groundwater recharge, not all dirt is created equal. Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Crystal clean water? Not if Trump can help it

For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. … Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s unrelenting rollback of clean water protections is stalling progress toward fixing these problems and endangering a half-century’s worth of gains.  

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: We need to rethink our San Diego coast to deal with sea level rise before it’s too late

The solutions are not just about spending money, but changing how we do coastal development — fewer expensive seawalls and roads, and more “living shorelines” and coastal parks that can temporarily flood.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Huntington Beach wetlands continue to expand, following decades of degradation

The coastal wetlands of Orange and Los Angeles counties, once scorned for the obstacles they posed to the construction of roads and buildings, have been squeezed by development to less than 10% of their 19th-century size. But recently approved funding for improvements at two Huntington Beach preserves offer evidence of a growing recognition of the beneficial role they play for man, flora and fauna alike.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Mary Nichols may be EPA’s next boss. Here’s her vision

California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols yesterday outlined her vision for EPA over the next four years. And it starts with science.

Aquafornia news E&E News

FEMA ends policy favoring flood walls over green protections

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken a dramatic step to encourage communities to use environmentally friendly features such as wetlands for flood protection instead of building sea walls and levees.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020: Encore Event
A Virtual Journey - November 10

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Citizen science drives restoration, preservation in Tahoe-Truckee

Volunteer citizen scientists working with the League to Save Lake Tahoe conducted surveys of Donner and Spooner lakes to detect aquatic invasive species, and restored native wetland habitat in Johnson Meadow in September. Both efforts are aimed at preserving the Tahoe-Truckee region’s unique ecology.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Serving multiple benefits along the Sacramento River: A look at fall operations

As we have transitioned from summer to fall in the Sacramento Valley, we are finishing the agronomic season and there is now a focus on fall and winter operations on the Sacramento River. Water resources managers and fish and wildlife agencies continue to work together in the Sacramento River watershed to serve water for multiple benefits, including two salmon runs and the essential time for birds (and other species) migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

Aquafornia news The Current

Blog: Fall River – The gem of California’s natural springs

Naturally when I say, “cold water,” what comes to mind are lakes, rivers, wetlands, delta, estuaries and even reservoirs. These are the areas that I spend the most time fishing, boating, swimming, rafting etc. However, our natural cold-water resources include a few lesser-known components that are just as important to the entire operating system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Redwood City salt ponds subject to environmental protections, judge rules

A federal judge ruled Monday that a sprawling collage of salt ponds in Redwood City is subject to protection under the Clean Water Act — going against a previous decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that would have eased development along the bay.

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Aquafornia news Utility Dive

California’s Salton Sea offers chance for US battery supply chain, despite financial, policy challenges

Developing a lithium industry in California’s Salton Sea, an area that experts think could supply more than a third of lithium demand in the world today, could help set up a multi-billion dollar domestic supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

After Clean Water Act change, uncertainty reigns over water protections

In June, the Trump administration’s new version of which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act took effect. The new rule is an about-face from the Obama-era regulations, and Arizona state regulators are trying to make sense of it.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Restoring a watershed for wildlife at Marsh Creek

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…

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

How Measure AA funds are restoring the bay

Assessments of the worst-case scenario predict the Bay may rise a damaging 1.9 feet by 2050 and as much as nearly 7 feet by 2100. Restoring even a fraction of the Bay’s lost wetlands would provide long-lasting benefits.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom greenlights commission on Salton Sea lithium extraction

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday added his signature to a new law that orders the formation of a commission to study the feasibility of lithium extraction around the Salton Sea. Local politicians hope the commission will lead to the creation of a green economy around the state’s largest lake, which is a geothermal hotspot. It was one of several bills focused on California’s environment that Newsom dealt with this week.

Aquafornia news UC Davis News

Natural capital a missing piece in climate policy

Clean air, clean water and a functioning ecosystem are considered priceless. Yet the economic value of nature remains elusive in cost-benefit analysis of climate policy regulations and greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts. A study published Monday in the journal Nature Sustainability incorporates those insights from sustainability science into a classic model of climate change costs.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Audio: How fish interact with wetland topography

In this podcast, reporter Alastair Bland and UC Davis PhD student and fish researcher David Ayers discuss the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, its fish, its marshlands, its flows, and its future.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Makeover for Delta weed patch & salt trap?

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 the Delta.

Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Alameda to seek wetland park funding

The proposed ecological wetland park at Alameda Point, known as DePave Park, is another step closer to becoming a reality. On Sept. 15, four members of the city council gave thumbs up to moving forward with seeking a $2 million grant to pay for a master planning process.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Students kayak the Salton Sea to raise awareness about lake’s plight

Three Coachella Valley high schoolers kayaked across the Salton Sea Saturday to raise awareness about the social and ecological crisis unfolding as California’s largest lake continues to shrink and toxic dust from its shores pollutes the air.

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Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: When it comes to droughts, the costs of climate change are too high for both birds and people

Although droughts may not garner as much attention as acute extreme events like hurricanes, floods or fires, their multidimensional effects are vast. … A multi-year drought in California has seen the number of breeding waterfowl dip 46% below average as wetlands shrink and dry up.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate Dems push resolution against Trump WOTUS rule

Senate Democrats unveiled a resolution today calling on EPA to maintain and strengthen the Clean Water Act, a direct rebuke of the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How the loss of Ginsburg will affect the term ahead

The absence of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court this coming term is unlikely to change the outcome of two looming battles over water rights and Endangered Species Act records, but legal experts say her death will have a lasting impact on environmental jurisprudence at the nation’s highest bench.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

How beavers became North America’s best firefighters

A new study concludes that, by building dams, forming ponds, and digging canals, beavers irrigate vast stream corridors and create fireproof refuges in which plants and animals can shelter. In some cases, the rodents’ engineering can even stop fire in its tracks.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Nursing salmon on flooded farms

In 2012 a team of salmon researchers tried a wild idea: putting pinky-sized Chinook on a rice field in the Yolo Bypass, a vast engineered floodplain designed to protect the city of Sacramento from inundation. … Now, after nearly a decade of testing fish in fields, a new paper in San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science outlines lessons learned as well as next steps in managing floodplains for salmon.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Killing the Vegas pipeline — Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing

Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. … In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Why floodplains are important for California salmon

Floodplains were the historic rearing areas for juvenile salmon, and the remaining floodplains in California are an important food-rich habitat as present-day salmon grow and attempt to survive their trip out to the ocean. We sat down with Hailey Wright, a Department of Water Resources environmental scientist, to discuss the salmon lifecycle and her work designing and implementing projects in the Yolo Bypass…

Aquafornia news E&E News

House panel to probe toxic wasteland in California lake

A House committee will meet Thursday to discuss the deteriorating public health crisis at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Conservation groups complete Chorro Creek restoration project, benefiting the Morro Bay watershed

For years, a stretch of Chorro Creek near Hollister Peak ran through active farmland, where its flow was diverted for irrigation and its banks were shored up by levees, blocking the water’s natural access to its floodplain. … After nearly two decades of planning and fundraising, the Estuary Program and its partners recently completed a major restoration of the site.

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Conservationists split over Poseidon desal project’s potential to help Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Along a Huntington Beach coastline dotted with oil rigs and a power plant, one of California’s largest remaining saltwater marshes has been a source of pride for local environmentalists. But the marsh, known as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, is endangered despite a years-long struggle to pull together sufficient public funding for its upkeep.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump WOTUS rewrite could backfire, lawmakers warned

A top water regulator from New Mexico yesterday warned senators that hardrock mines, wastewater facilities and other industrial entities could face stricter environmental oversight as the Trump administration’s Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule takes effect.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: A greater sense of urgency needed for crises at the Salton Sea

Responding to the lack of progress in 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered the California Natural Resources Agency to adopt a 10-year plan to implement projects to suppress the harmful dust and restore habitat. … But in the three years since the water board’s order, progress has been dismal, even though there is more than $350 million available to implement the plan.

Aquafornia news Audubon

A disease outbreak in California has killed an estimated 40,000 birds

As wildfires burn across California, temperatures hit record highs, and communities cope with the COVID-19 crisis, biologist Caroline Brady is helping respond to a different disaster: the worst avian botulism outbreak that anyone can remember at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate committee takes up Trump’s WOTUS rewrite

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hear Wednesday from an Iowa farmer, a Florida developer and a New Mexico regulator, who are expected to discuss the Trump administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule and weigh in on the environmental and public health issues raised by rolling back water protections.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Climate change may bring unexpected benefits to San Francisco Bay-Delta

The San Francisco Bay-Delta is literally threatened from all sides: rising sea levels from the ocean, disruptions to sediment supply from upstream, and within the Bay-Delta itself, development and other land use changes have left only a tiny fraction (5%) of marshland untouched. … A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey used historical streamflow and sediment data to predict what will happen to the Bay-Delta under varying levels of climate change.

Aquafornia news KJZZ Radio

Colorado River flow now part of caddisfly battle in Bullhead City

The idea was to lower the flows while temperatures were still warm enough to dry out the caddis larvae. That required buy-in from local merchants and the Bureau of Reclamation, local tribes and others. They were able to do it, and on Aug. 27, the first of two flow reductions took place. When the river dropped, people pitched in for a day of river cleanup.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Independent Science Board: 10 years on

At the August meeting of the Delta Independent Science Board, the new members joined with the outgoing members for reflections and discussion to bring the new members up to speed on the Delta ISB’s ongoing work.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Companies eager to ‘lock in’ Trump-era water rule exemptions

Coal miners, stone quarrying companies, and other businesses are rushing to lock down any exemptions to federal water jurisdiction for at least five years, under changes the Trump administration recently made to the nation’s water rule. … A decision that might in some instances have taken multiple site visits and nearly three years now can come as quickly as a day, the data show.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Have an idea to fix the Salton Sea? The state wants your input this month

The California Natural Resources Agency announced it will be hosting a new round of public engagement sessions in September to get input to assist in the development of wildlife habitat restoration and dust suppression projects for the Salton Sea Management Program’s 10-year plan.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

With Baylands under flood threat, Palo Alto explores projects to address sea level rise

If current predictions hold, the entire Palo Alto Baylands could be submerged by the middle of the century because of sea level rise, a destructive predicament that would threaten both the sensitive habitat and the critical infrastructure in the nature preserve. To prepare for rising tides, the city is moving ahead with the creation of a new Sea Level Adaptation Plan…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Judge considers freezing ‘political’ environmental review rule

A federal judge took a no-nonsense approach Friday to a hearing on the White House’s rewrite of the National Environmental Policy Act, grilling conservation groups on how they’ll be harmed and chiding the Justice Department for glossing over the political motivations behind the rules.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

EcoRestore update: Five years in, program makes big gains on Delta habitat restoration

California EcoRestore is an initiative started in 2015 under the Brown Administration with the ambitious goal of advancing at least 30,000 acres of critical habitat restoration in the Delta and Suisun Marsh by 2020. … At the August meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Bill Harrell, gave an update on the Eco Restore program and the progress that has been made over the past five years.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Judge says owner of Suisun Bay island broke law

The owner of a Suisun Bay island violated the federal Clean Water Act when he destroyed marshland by building a levee and dumping dredged material while building duck-hunting ponds, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The ruling is the latest in a years-long battle between regulators and John Sweeney, who owns an island in Suisun Bay, a tidal channel and marsh area northeast of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: New approach needed to protect health of California’s rivers

Dams, diversions, and land conversion have substantially altered California’s rivers and disrupted the processes that sustain ecosystem health. The result is a crisis for native fish and wildlife and the loss of many benefits we derive from river ecosystems.

Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Wetlands project moves forward

On Aug. 7, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a service contract to Adanta, Inc. of Napa to expand and enhance an existing wetlands on the Veterans Affairs (VA) property at Alameda Point. The wetlands project is being implemented to offset impacts to wetlands areas elsewhere on the VA property where a health clinic, offices and a columbarium cemetery will be built.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drilling, mines, other projects hastened by Trump order

The Trump administration is seeking to fast track environmental reviews of dozens of major energy and infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic… Projects targeted for quick review include highway improvements in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and other states; the Lake Powell water pipeline in Utah; wind farms in New Mexico and off the Massachusetts coast; and mining projects in Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Alaska.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: Community input sought for habitat restoration and dust suppression projects at Salton Sea

The California Natural Resources Agency has released a draft project description for the Salton Sea Management Program Phase I and announced a series of virtual public workshops for community input. The project description identifies habitat restoration and dust suppression projects to revitalize the environment and protect public health.

Aquafornia news Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing

Audio: A historian’s view of the Delta

Waters of the Delta are in the midst of a tug-of-war. If California is not careful, the largest inland delta on the western coast of the North American continent will be damaged. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups fight EPA rollback limiting states from blocking projects

The Clean Water Act previously allowed states to halt projects that risk hurting their water quality, but that power was scaled back by the EPA in June, a move Administrator Andrew Wheeler said would “curb abuses of the Clean Water Act that have held our nation’s energy infrastructure projects hostage.” The latest suit argues the Trump administration is inappropriately denying states veto power over major projects that pose risks to their waterways.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Despite COVID-19, natural resources should remain important to Legislature

As if a global pandemic was not enough, the tumultuous legislative session comes to a close as much of the state is on fire. Understandably, lawmakers had already significantly pared down their legislative packages to focus on a response to COVID-19. And, then last week many important bills on environmental justice and natural resources stalled.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Habitat funds available for Calif. rice farmers

California rice growers wishing to participate in a state-funded program to flood their fields for winter wildlife habitat have until Sept. 14 to submit their requests to the state. Growers who qualify this year will receive $15 per acre to flood their rice fields.

Aquafornia news E&E News

BLM plans first California auction in 7 years

The Bureau of Land Management will revive its oil and gas leasing program in California later this year, following a seven-year moratorium sparked by a fracking fight.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Project water deliveries help reduce botulism outbreaks

While the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex deals with one of its biggest botulism outbreaks in recent history, emergency water deliveries from the Klamath Project have prevented the situation from worsening. The waterborne bacterial illness, which causes paralysis and often leads to death, has impacted more than 15 percent of the molting birds currently on Tule Lake’s main sump.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Faster track for ecosystem restoration

California’s rivers and aquatic species are in trouble, but restoration projects often get bogged down by lengthy permitting processes. Sustainable Conservation has been at the forefront of finding ways to speed up badly needed restoration projects with improved permitting. We talked to Erika Lovejoy—director of Sustainable Conservation’s Accelerating Restoration program…

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Wildlife refuges battle devastating botulism outbreak, worsened by water shortages

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge’s main open body of water, Sump 1A, had been exceptionally low for weeks. The hot sun baked the shallow water during the day, and warmer nighttime temperatures ensured it stayed hot. Dormant bacteria awakened on the lake’s fringe wetlands, carrying with them a paralyzing and potentially fatal toxin. Beneath the cover of smoke began the refuge’s worst botulism outbreak in years.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: Biden would face slog to ditch Trump’s WOTUS

If Democrat Joe Biden wants to scrap the Trump administration’s definition of which waters qualify for federal protection, experts say he’ll face a heavy legal lift, lengthy rulemaking, and an onslaught of opposition from industry, ranching and agricultural interests.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California still hasn’t found analyst to study Salton Sea water import proposals

Long-term fixes for the ever-shrinking Salton Sea remain stalled as California Natural Resources Agency officials on Wednesday revealed they have been unable to find an analyst to study proposed solutions to a nearly two decades-old problem.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Proposals for California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program being accepted

With up to $4,058,220 available, the program provides economic incentives to landowners or lessees who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a management plan developed through a consultation with biologists from California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program for a two-year period.

Aquafornia news UCLA

Study: Tiny endangered shrimp may get big hand from environmental DNA testing

The San Diego fairy shrimp, a miniscule, puddle-dwelling crustacean that provides food for migrating birds, is nearing extinction as humans continue to encroach on its wetlands habitat. But a new approach to tracking the shrimp’s population numbers may give conservationists a boost in protecting the species

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Q&A: Global methane emissions soaring, but how much was due to wetlands?

Last month, an international team of scientists, including Berkeley Lab’s William Riley and Qing Zhu, published an update on the global methane budget as part of the Global Carbon Project. … They built one of the computer models that allows scientists to quantify these methane emissions from wetlands at global scale.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Sanitation District harvests Napa’s sewage sludge for fertilizer

The dredging is taking place in a vast sewage treatment pond. And the material being removed is biosolids, which is another way of saying sewage sludge. About 3,500 tons of biosolids will be piped from the pond this summer to be dewatered. It is ultimately trucked a short distance and spread over a NapaSan field where a farmer grows sorghum.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Fish surveys in the estuary: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

The San Francisco Estuary is a dynamic and altered estuary that supports a high diversity of fishes, both native and non-native. … Since the 1950s, various agencies and UC Davis have established long-term surveys to track the status of fish populations. These surveys help scientists understand how fishes are responding to natural- and human-caused changes to the Estuary.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Old aircraft taxiway in Alameda to be converted to wetlands park

A stretch of concrete and asphalt that was once an aircraft taxiway will be removed so the site along San Francisco Bay can be converted to a wetlands park, according to a proposal the city is considering.

Aquafornia news Science

Opinion: Distorting science, putting water at risk

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule … has redefined “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) to restrict federal protection of vulnerable waters. … Responding to this unprecedented distortion of science and rollback in water protections, which went into effect nationwide on 22 June, will require coordinated efforts among scientists, lawmakers, and resource managers.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘This land is all we have left’: Tribes on edge over giant dam proposal near Grand Canyon

If built, it would … pump groundwater into four new reservoirs … Tribal members and environmentalists say the project would flood several miles of canyons sacred to the Navajo; risk damaging cultural sites for several tribes; draw vast amounts of critical groundwater; potentially harm habitats for plants and animals, including some endangered species; and risk adverse effects for waterways leading into the Grand Canyon.

Aquafornia news Earthjustice

Blog: Is the water all right?

Like other environmental regulations, WOTUS was necessarily complex and grounded in science. But the reason for it was simple: keep U.S. waters clean. So what could be so bad about a law to stop water pollution that the Trump administration would decide to repeal it?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Clara Valley Water District seeks $682 million parcel tax

After years marked by a historic statewide drought and devastating floods around downtown San Jose, Santa Clara County’s largest water provider has decided to ask voters to approve a parcel tax to pay for a wide variety of projects, from flood control to creek restoration, along with some costs of rebuilding the county’s largest dam at Anderson Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Former chiefs say ‘derailed’ EPA needs a reset after election

Six former Environmental Protection Agency chiefs  [who served under Republican and Democratic presidents] are calling for an agency reset after President Trump’s regulation-removing, industry-minded first term, backing a detailed plan by former EPA staffers that ranges from renouncing political influence in regulation to boosting climate-friendly electric vehicles.

Aquafornia news KCET

Groups challenge restoration plan for Ballona Wetlands

A group dedicated to protecting the Ballona Wetlands is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging millions of dollars in public funds have been misused for what they claim is a “deceptive” plan to bulldoze the ecological reserve under the guise of being a restoration effort.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Judge rejects conservative challenge to Trump WOTUS rule

A conservative legal challenge to President Trump’s definition of what waterways qualify for Clean Water Act protections was rejected Thursday by a federal judge.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Pipeline plan could mean fewer stream protections, critics say

Under the Aug. 3 proposal, companies would no longer be required to notify the Army Corps if the pipelines they lay require clearing of forested wetlands, or building access roads longer than 500 feet with fill material dredged from streams or wetlands or with impervious materials.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Federal court dismisses Trump water rule challenge in Oregon

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association sued the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May for bringing non-navigable, small streams and wetlands under Clean Water Act protection in the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Judge Michael W. Mosman, ruling from the bench on a preliminary injunction sought against the water rule, dismissed the claims without prejudice.

Aquafornia news California Rangeland Trust

News release: Groundbreaking research into working landscapes

The study, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, examined 306,718 acres of California Rangeland Trust’s conservation easements across the state to explore both the environmental and monetary value of preserving California’s open spaces.

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Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Where’s the dirt? Scientists surveying sediment in salt marshes

When Brenda Goeden first started working on mud, silt, and sand in the San Francisco Bay two decades ago, dredgers and contractors couldn’t get rid of all the sediment they excavated fast enough. … But today sediment is a hot commodity, as restorationists and developers scramble to elevate salt marshes and building sites before rising tides claim them. Now, a new plan is in the works to optimize allocation of this critical resource.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Latest Trump proposal on endangered species could limit future habitat, critics say

When species are endangered, the Endangered Species Act requires the government to set aside habitat deemed critical for its recovery. But environmental groups say the new definition being proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service will allow the agency to block setting aside any land that isn’t currently habitat but might be needed in the future, particularly as the climate changes.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin judge rejects bid to halt San Geronimo creek work

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.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lawsuit challenges Trump’s overhaul of environmental-review law

A legal battle with far-reaching consequences for industry and ecosystems kicked off Wednesday with the filing of a federal lawsuit over the Trump administration’s revamp of a longstanding law that requires extensive environmental reviews for road, industry and building projects.

Aquafornia news Ingrained

Audio: Giants in the rice fields

Nearly 230 wildlife species depend on Sacramento Valley rice fields for food and a resting place, including the giant gartersnake, a threatened species. Although it has “giant” in its name, this creature is, at most, five-feet long. These snakes are heavily dependent on rice fields for their survival; having lost most of their earlier habitat – traditional wetlands…

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Council on Environmental Quality issues NEPA regulation rule

On July 16, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published its highly anticipated final rule to improve its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The update, which largely mirrors the proposed rule, is the first comprehensive amendment to the regulations since their original publication in 1978.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Klamath water arrives, saving 50,000 ducklings from certain death

More than 50,000 ducklings and other newborn waterfowl and shorebirds were saved from certain deaths this week after an emergency delivery of water to the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Aquafornia news Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Blog: An early success story in the Delta

A century ago, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was a massive wetland habitat. The construction of levees over the past 100 years has dried out these wetlands and converted them into farmland, eliminating 95 percent of this important aquatic habitat for fish. But scientists are finding out that given the right conditions, nature can reclaim itself.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA must focus on environmental justice, Inspector General says

The issue is new to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General’s periodic list of top management challenges facing the agency, underscoring its emergence as a leading national concern. The OIG called on the agency to strengthen its federal leadership role, continue to build an environmental justice strategic plan, and consider the impact of “all activities on environmental justice communities in actions revoked and taken by the agency as a whole.”

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: 21 state attorneys general sue over new Trump water rule

Attorneys general in 20 states [including California] and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Tuesday, alleging that new federal rules undermine their ability to protect rivers, lakes and streams within their borders. They say that new final rules issued last week by the Environmental Protection Agency alter a practice dating back more than 30 years giving state governments the authority to review, block or put conditions on federally permitted water projects.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Spring rains revealed fairy shrimp at Escondido preserve

Despite their brief existence … the pools, and the fairy shrimp they harbor are an important feature of the new preserve. The conservancy acquired Mountain Meadow Preserve, on hilltops off of Interstate 15, about two years ago. At that time, the 693-acre site was a deserted orchard, dotted with dilapidated agricultural sheds and withered avocado groves.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR environmental scientist Veronica Wunderlich discusses her work with reptiles and amphibians

Veronica Wunderlich is a Department of Water Resources senior environmental scientist with a focus in herpetology – the study of reptiles and amphibians. Below, Veronica discusses how she got started in herpetology –she even had snakes as pets as a kid, her current work, and how to translate a passion and interest in wildlife into a career – “If you really love the creatures you work with, you will never regret working with them.”

Long Criticized For Inaction At Salton Sea, California Says It’s All-In On Effort To Preserve State’s Largest Lake
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Dust suppression, habitat are key elements in long-term plan to aid sea, whose ills have been a sore point in Colorado River management

The Salton Sea is a major nesting, wintering and stopover site for about 400 bird species. Out of sight and out of mind to most people, the Salton Sea in California’s far southeast corner has challenged policymakers and local agencies alike to save the desert lake from becoming a fetid, hyper-saline water body inhospitable to wildlife and surrounded by clouds of choking dust.

The sea’s problems stretch beyond its boundaries in Imperial and Riverside counties and threaten to undermine multistate management of the Colorado River. A 2019 Drought Contingency Plan for the Lower Colorado River Basin was briefly stalled when the Imperial Irrigation District, holding the river’s largest water allocation, balked at participating in the plan because, the district said, it ignored the problems of the Salton Sea.  

Aquafornia news Rep. John Garamendi

News release: Garamendi secures wins for Delta and Central Valley in Water Resources Development Act

“I secured provisions in this bill to authorize and expedite construction of flood protection and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects, address harmful algal blooms in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and give local agencies greater flexibility in using federal Army Corps funds to meet local needs.”

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Are there plans to fill more of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County this summer?

As more people enjoy local trails this summer, they may notice many of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County are empty and dry. There’s no reason to be alarmed. In fact, the absence of water in many of the 100 percolation ponds owned by Valley Water is a sign that our underground water basins are mostly full and healthy.

Aquafornia news KESQ News

The state budget includes $47 million for the Salton Sea. Here’s how it will be spent

California’s state budget includes $47 million to help the Salton Sea. The new budget was signed by Governor Newsom last month. … News Channel 3’s Madison Weil spoke with Phil Rosentrater, the executive director of the Salton Sea Authority, to see how the new funds will be used. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA challenged on limiting state veto power under water act

The EPA is facing two separate challenges from environmental groups over its water rule that narrows the ability of states to veto energy infrastructure projects such as oil and gas pipelines if they adversely affect water quality.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

350 facilities skip reporting water pollution under temporary EPA rule

A total of 352 facilities, including fossil fuel companies, water treatment plants and schools, made use of the EPA’s relaxation of Clean Water Act requirements, according to a list the agency shared with The Hill. … Environmentalists are raising alarms over the number of facilities that aren’t monitoring their pollution levels, saying the damage could last well beyond the Aug. 31 expiration date of the temporary policy.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Opinion: NEPA suspension, infrastructure bill put wetlands at risk

Rollbacks of the Clean Water Act and the executive order to suspend the National Environmental Policy Act are meant to save costs and cut red tape. However, Jeremy Schewe, professional wetland scientist, explains these efforts will ultimately lead to far greater expense to business, society, and the planet, especially when combined with the House proposed infrastructure stimulus package.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Threatened frog species released into California forest after successful breeding program

A group of wildlife biologists in Northern California took another step in the conservation effort of the threatened Foothill yellow-legged frogs on June 30, releasing 115 of the frogs into the Feather River in Plumas National Forest. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the release marks the first release of captive-reared, Foothill yellow-legged frogs into the wild.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Report: Incorporating Multiple Benefits into Water Projects: A Guide for Water Managers

Adapting to climate change, coupled with the need to address aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded ecosystems, requires significant investment in natural and built water systems. These investments present a significant opportunity to support not only water, but to provide economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Aquafornia news Office of the Attorney General

News release: Attorney General Becerra criticizes Trump order instructing federal agencies to circumvent critical environmental review processes

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today led a multistate coalition in expressing opposition to President Trump’s recently signed executive order instructing federal agencies to use emergency authority to bypass critical environmental review and permitting processes for infrastructure projects.

Aquafornia news Earth.com

Restoration projects bring mountain meadows back to life

Degraded meadows and their streams can be rehabilitated using a “pond and plug” technique to restore the floodplain function. This strategy aims to elevate groundwater levels in the dry season by spreading large flows across the floodplain. The pond and plug treatment improves water quality, soil moisture, and wetland vegetation – improvements that are extremely beneficial to birds and other wildlife.

Aquafornia news The Press

Franks Tract project sponsors seek input

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.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawsuit challenges Trump administration waterway protection rollback

The Environmental Protection Agency has again been sued over its rollback of Obama-era waterway protections. On Thursday, the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of four other environmental groups, sued the agency, claiming that the new rule conflicts with the Clean Water Act and “disregards” science “without any rational, let alone ‘reasonable,’ explanation.”

Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

How protecting birds can save Western rivers

The American Southwest provides a last stronghold for the yellow-billed cuckoo, which was officially listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened in 2014. This February, the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a list of proposed protected areas that trace the curls and curves of rivers and streams in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Texas, and Utah.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California cities: Monsanto settlement to fund water cleanup

Major California cities say they’ll use their share of a $650 million settlement to clean up the now-banned chemical PCB from bays, lakes and other waterways polluted for decades. The giant chemical company Monsanto announced a tentative agreement Wednesday with government entities that had filed suit since 2015 over waterways and estuaries they say were polluted.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes, environmentalists sue to stop rollback of Clean Water Act protections

A coalition of tribal governments, environmentalists and labor advocates has sued to stop implementation of a new federal rule that weakens protections for streams and wetlands. The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which which took effect on Monday, rolls back clean-water regulation of intermittent waterways, arroyos and washes.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Filling Trump void, California steps in to protect birds, wetlands

California officials have parried federal moves with actions of their own — a state law enshrining protection for migratory birds and a new state regulation setting definitions that expand protection to smaller wetlands and seasonal waterways. California’s responses are yet another maneuver in the feud between Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Sinking islands capture carbon credits

Encouraged by a recently vetted new method for creating carbon offsets from wetlands, a flurry of new climate adaptation projects on publicly owned islands strewn along the central Delta corridor aim to defend against sea-level rise, restore habitat, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump water rule halted in Colo., can take effect elsewhere

A federal Judge in California on Friday rejected a request for a nationwide injunction of the rule. Hours later, a federal Judge in Colorado agreed to freeze the federal rule within that state. The California court’s decision is a major blow to environmentalists and states that had hoped to block the Navigable Waters Protection Rule across the country before it takes effect Monday.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: California and EPA tussle over water quality protections

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg presided over a lengthy and combative hearing that featured attorneys from the state of California making the case that the Trump-era EPA acted contrary to its fundamental mission when it exempted ephemeral streams and wetlands from protections afforded by the Clean Water Act.

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Aquafornia news Lake County News

Lake County Land Trust completes acquisition of Wright wetland property

A smidge over 200 acres, the Wright Wetland Preserve is easily the largest in the trust’s portfolio. Its terrain ranges from lake to valley oak woodland with everything from native wetland, freshwater marsh and upland pasture included. The property is partially bordered by Manning Creek, an important breeding ground for an endemic and threatened fish species, the Clear Lake hitch.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Palo Alto Tide Gates, which prevent flooding in low-lying areas on Peninsula, to be replaced

Driving on Highway 101 from the South Bay, up the Peninsula, commuters zoom by nearly invisible infrastructure keeping the highway and nearby communities dry. Beyond the highway, at the edge of the San Francisco Bay, are levees and tide gates protecting roads and neighborhoods against high tides and storm flooding. Unless you visit the bay lands to walk the levee trails, you might never know these important structures exist.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Environmentalists see regulatory, funding gaps amid Clean Water Act rollback

Although the Clean Water Act will still protect heavily used waterways in Nevada, including the Colorado River and the Truckee River, it excludes many wetlands and most seasonal streams. As a result, the rule has set off a flurry of legal challenges from environmental groups. And in recent months, several Democrat-led Western states, including Colorado, California and New Mexico, have sued the Trump administration to challenge the final rule. Nevada has not joined those suits.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Californias estuaries go virtual this summer

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way families, educators and students can experience state parks — through expanded online programs. … Education coordinator Anne Marie Tipton says the Tijuana River National Estuarine Reserve’s virtual field trips teach classrooms around the state about the estuary’s role in the environment.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: High-tech glimpse of restored wetlands

San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary on the West Coast, and in recent years much effort has been put into restoring tidal marsh habitat in the Bay. … FISHBIO was recently invited to tour one such project in the North Bay, where we had the opportunity to use our ARIS sonar camera to examine the fish community in the restored area.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Green infrastructure can be cheaper, more effective than dams

Hundreds of studies on nature-based solutions to extreme events show that “green infrastructure” is often cheaper and more effective than engineered projects like dams, levees and sea walls, according to a new analysis. Experts say federal and state governments should heed those findings and increase funding for natural landscapes and systems to reduce climate disaster risk. Solutions include floodplain restoration and “living shorelines” along vulnerable coasts and rivers.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

Understaffed and ‘struggling,’ Central Valley Water Board trims programs

While the budget for next year has yet to be passed, the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board is already taking drastic steps to prepare for a significant reduction in staffing. Farmers could face a potential fallout further down the road. “All told, the board is looking at around a 30 to 35% reduction in productivity,” said Patrick Pulupa, executive officer for the regional board, during a meeting Thursday.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Managing freshwater ecosystems in a pandemic

To assess the range of pandemic-related issues confronting the sector, the PPIC Water Policy Center held a series of conversations with representatives from state and federal agencies, water utilities, environmental nonprofits, and businesses that specialize in restoration. The pandemic’s impact falls into three categories: disruption of monitoring and research programs, delays to restoration projects, and the threat posed by the economic downturn to funding for this work. Here are some key takeaways.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘We are already in the outdoors’: Black birders week amplifies black voices

The group aims to counter the narrative that the outdoors aren’t for Black people, educate people about challenges people of color face, and to encourage diversity. “I think Black Birders Week shows that the Black experience is more than trauma, that it is about pride, is about joy. It is about resilience, strength and style,” says Tykee James, a Black Birders Week organizer and the National Audubon Society’s government affairs coordinator.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

WOTUS litigation: Considerations for the regulated community

The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in this litigation provides a road map for the legal and regulatory challenges ahead for the regulated community and agencies implementing Clean Water Act programs that rely on the definition for “Waters of the United States” aka WOTUS. The following provides insights as to how to support a strong Clean Water Act with the new WOTUS definition.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA water rule won’t speed up new oil, gas pipeline projects

A new EPA water rule to curtail state vetoes won’t necessarily ease the path for new oil and gas interstate pipeline projects, energy analysts and lawyers say. They say this is partly due to the sharp decline in oil and gas linked to the coronavirus pandemic. But the hurdles also come from a federal court’s suspension of the Clean Water Act Nationwide Permit 12, or NWP 12, that would allow developers to dredge and fill wetlands and stream crossings in order to lay pipelines.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

What Trump’s permit order means for NEPA, energy and race

Amid a public health crisis that has crashed the economy, President Trump last week ordered his administration to accelerate permitting for major projects — sparking blowback from critics who say it will inflict damage on communities of color he’s accused of ignoring as thousands protest across the country against police brutality and injustice.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump uses ‘emergency’ to speed up infrastructure projects

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday calling on federal agencies to use emergency powers to “accelerate” infrastructure projects on federal lands as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. The order urges the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense departments to use emergency powers under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act to speed projects through the approval process.

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Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Public can weigh in on Franks Tract marshland proposal at upcoming webinar

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.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA makes ‘contorted’ legal argument for permit rule

EPA’s final rule that curtails states’ authority over Clean Water Act permitting of pipelines, hydroelectric dams and other energy projects could run afoul of a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that originally granted states that oversight power.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Decades in the making, Buena Vista Lagoon restoration plan finally approved

A long-sought compromise has been approved that will open the stagnant, reed-filled Buena Vista Lagoon to the sea and restore its native coastal marine habitat, but years of work remain before the transformation begins.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Conservative states defend water rule from California-led suit

Georgia, West Virginia, and 21 other states moved to intervene in litigation in order to help defeat challenges to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule—a joint regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers that narrows the types of wetlands and waterways subject to federal Clean Water Act restrictions.

Aquafornia news PR Newswire

News release: Longfin smelt return to Tule Red tidal restoration site

After only 6 months post-construction completion and levee breach at the Tule Red Tidal Restoration Project, longfin smelt have returned. The 420-acre restoration site converted wetlands managed primarily for waterfowl to tidal wetlands for the benefit of dwindling native fish populations including Delta smelt, longfin smelt, Chinook salmon and the food web that supports them.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

COVID-19 resources for water quality monitoring programs and watershed stewards

To assist monitoring programs in staying informed and learn how to adjust their programs, especially conducting field activities during this time of COVID-19, the State Water Board’s Clean Water Team has compiled this list of resources. Few clear guidelines exist for water quality monitors, but we can learn from other fields like wastewater management and keep everyone safe & healthy.

Aquafornia news The Grunion

Review begins for Los Cerritos Wetlands restoration’s environmental impact

Restoration of the 500-plus acres of wetlands has been a goal for literally decades of both city officials and environmental advocates. Since the discovery of oil there in 1926, combined with the channelization of the San Gabriel River, the once 2,400-acre wetlands complex has been landfilled, graded and activated as a working oil field. Much of the remaining wetlands is controlled by Beach Oil Minerals Partners (BOMP).

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Environmental projects funded by Wildlife Conservation Board

At its May quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board approved approximately $36.2 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 31 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some endangered species — while others will provide public access to important natural resources.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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