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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 California WaterBlog

Blog: Remarkable Suisun Marsh: a bright spot for fish in the San Francisco Estuary

Here we provide an updated account of Suisun Marsh fishes to show why the marsh is so important for conserving fishes in the upper San Francisco Estuary in general…and why we continue to be enthusiastic about working there.

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.

Aquafornia news USC News

Blog: As Salton Sea shrinks, experts fear far-reaching health consequences

University of Southern California researchers are exploring how losing California’s largest lake could affect the respiratory health of people throughout the Imperial Valley and beyond.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Blog: How a young, orphan beaver learned life skills from a bunch of otters

We don’t get to see Castor canadensis, the 60-pound North American beaver, in Sonoma County very often, so I jumped at the invitation to see one up close at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. An orphaned young kit, little more than a year old, is there for care and rehab before release to back to the wild.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Audio: Should California insulate itself from federal rollbacks of environmental laws?

Moderator Kathleen Schock spoke with advocates on both sides of the issue, John Harris of Harris Farms and Kim Delfino with Defenders of Wildlife. Dr. Lisa Bryant, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Fresno State also joined the conversation.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

State approves $20M for Bel Marin Keys wetlands restoration

Restoration of nearly 1,600 acres of wetlands near Bel Marin Keys is set to begin this year after the approval of $20 million in funding on Thursday. The state Coastal Conservancy voted unanimously during its meeting in Sausalito on Thursday to allocate the money to begin the first phase of construction…

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Understanding how fish deal with drought

Aquatic animals in regions like California that have historically experienced frequent droughts have evolved remarkable adaptations to dealing with dry conditions. However, the duration, severity, and frequency of droughts are all increasing as a result of ongoing climate change and an increased human demand for water, leaving even drought-hardened species struggling.

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Red-legged frogs making a comeback at Yosemite with help of SF Zoo

After four years, San Francisco Zoo officials wrapped up a successful reintroduction program Monday by releasing the last of more than 1000 red-legged frogs into Yosemite National Park. The zoo began partnering with the National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy in 2015 to reintroduce the threatened frogs back into Yosemite National Park…

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: It was ‘do or die’: Saving the Tijuana Estuary

The idea of conserving the marsh was not popular with most of the residents and elected officials, and the McCoys were frequent targets of threats and harassment. It was a rough and tumble fight and there was a lot of money at stake. Ignoring personal risk, the McCoys launched their campaign to secure the estuary.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

A panel of experts discuss how reactivating the floodplains can provide habitat and food for native fish and for migrating birds, and highlights the many projects and opportunities in the Sacramento Valley.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Redwood City Cargill development opposition emerges

More than 60 elected officials and environmental and community groups throughout the Bay Area are urging Redwood City officials to reject proposals to develop the Cargill salt ponds and rather have them restored as wetlands.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Spawning a solution for McKinleyville’s wastewater

Finding a way to deal with the wastewater produced by a town full of people is a challenge, one that’s forced the McKinleyville Community Services District to find some creative solutions. Officials are touting the emerging solution as a win-win, a cutting-edge project that will serve the district’s needs at minimal cost to ratepayers while also helping the environment.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: EPA proposes to narrow water quality certification authority under the Clean Water Act

The proposed rule would re-write EPA’s existing Section 401 implementing regulations and significantly narrow the authority of states and Indian tribes when acting on Section 401 certification requests.

Aquafornia news California Sun

Podcast: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and a deep dive into the San Francisco estuary

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, the editor in chief of Estuary Magazine and long-time Bay Area science writer, talks about the resiliency of the largest estuary on the West Coast, the challenges facing the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, and the potential impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Will Calif. pass SB 1 to resist Trump’s environmental assault?

Earlier this week, the Trump Administration announced final regulations that would gut the Endangered Species Act nationwide, weakening protections for our most imperiled wildlife. … SB 1 is intended to help fill these gap to ensure no backsliding in protecting clean air, clean water, and endangered species.

Aquafornia news SouthTahoeNow.com

New channels planned for the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe

The California Tahoe Conservancy had planned to get started on their $9 million, multi-stage Upper Truckee River project to restore and enhance over 500 acres of floodplain this fall, but that has been postponed until 2020. They will be redirecting the Upper Truckee River flows to a historical network of channels through the current Marsh while creating new channels for the river in the vicinity of the Silverwood neighborhood.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Then and now: Photos of Irvine Lake show dramatic recovery from drought times

Irvine Lake looks a lot different today than it did a year ago. Last September the reservoir looked like a giant puddle at 13 percent of capacity, today, after a rainy winter, the water covers the area and is ready to greet the public on Saturday, Aug. 17. After a 3-year hiatus, Irvine Lake is reopening for shoreline fishing on Aug. 17.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Conservationists fight to save critically endangered amphibians as Trump guts Endangered Species Act

A dozen conservationists gathered eagerly around the edges of some shallow pools above a waterfall in the Angeles National Forrest. They watched with anticipation as about a thousand Southern mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles and three adult frogs enjoyed their first few minutes of life in the wild.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

New mapping reveals lost West Coast estuary habitat

An unprecedented survey has revealed the loss of about 85 percent of historical tidal wetlands in California, Oregon, and Washington. The report, published today in PLOS ONE, also highlights forgotten estuary acreage that might now be targeted for restoration.

Aquafornia news Pew Charitable Trusts

Blog: Remarkable California lands and rivers would gain protection under U.S. bill

According to a 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generated $92 billion in consumer spending in California and is directly responsible for 691,000 jobs in the state. That’s why local residents and elected leaders have sought additional safeguards to make sure that some of the more extraordinary lands and rivers within the national forest and monument receive permanent protection as wilderness and wild and scenic rivers.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Secretary Crowfoot: Reactivating natural floodplains in Central Valley is a win-win

At his inaugural Speaker Series on July 15, California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot led a discussion on restoring local wildlife species and habitats by reactivating floodplains. The Secretary’s Speaker Series provides a public discussion on emerging ideas and priorities in the natural resources arena.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: What water is covered by the Clean Water Act?

Waters covered by the Act, called “jurisdictional waters,” are determined by the language of the Act and by court decisions and administrative rulemakings interpreting that language. Ongoing rulemaking efforts by the Trump administration, coupled with several recent court decisions, make defining jurisdictional waters very difficult.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Latest plan to drain Hetch Hetchy water system doesn’t add up

There is hard reality that can’t be dodged in pursuing a dreamy idea that’s existed as long as the 100-year old water and power system. Pulling the plug on the watery expanse to expose the original valley is much more complicated than a sunny study commissioned by an anti-dam environmental group hoping to pump up its cause.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Nutria infestation has Central Valley Democrat declaring war

Rep. Josh Harder has focused much of his first year in office on local issues such as water storage and the effects of almond tariffs on Central Valley farmers. Now he is training his attention on the nutria, a semi-aquatic rodent that has drawn the ire of environmentalists, farmers and local officials alike.

Aquafornia news KQED News

CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld on California’s environmental priorities under the Trump administration

California’s Secretary of Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld joins Forum to discuss how the state is responding to the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks and what he sees as the state’s top priorities and challenges.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County sues state water agency over drilling for tunnel project

San Joaquin County has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court asking the state Department of Water Resources to abide by local drilling permit requirements to protect wildlife and water quality in accordance with California law.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

On the edge of SF’s Presidio, restoring a watershed will benefit nature and humans

There was a glint in Michael Boland’s eyes as he watched cars zooming along the Presidio Parkway over an ugly panorama of broken asphalt, weeds and construction debris behind a chain-link fence next to Crissy Field. The chief of park development and visitor engagement for the Presidio Trust was excited as he envisioned what the vacant lot was about to become — a picturesque lagoon surrounded by walking trails, vivid greenery and a spectacular view.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Editorial: Sea level rise is not ‘climate fear porn’ — it’s a threat to all of California

If we stand by and do nothing, California’s transportation network will be disrupted, its economy will be jeopardized as tech, manufacturing, tourism and ag industries falter, sandy beaches lost, and coastal residents will be forced to relocate, putting a strain on resources in inland communities. Yet many Californians have been treating sea level rise as a distant worry…

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Vineyard of Silicon Valley investor hit with $3.7 million in penalties after bulldozing Mendocino County wetland

A Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and winemaker has agreed to pay $3.76 million in penalties after his company bulldozed a protected wetland and filled in a stream bed to build a vineyard in Mendocino County, North Coast water regulators announced Friday.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Nutria a danger to California agriculture. Will $7 million proposal help?

Massive invasive rodents are chewing up wetlands in Merced and other counties. Area leaders say the problem needs more money to eradicate the animals, before they are out of control.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Coastal cities wrestling with ‘managed retreat’ ramifications of rising sea levels

The California Coastal Commission has encouraged cities to include a strategy called “managed retreat” in plans to prepare for sea level rise. But the commission may be retreating from that position. Del Mar is a prime example of a city where an entire neighborhood is threatened by rising seas.

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Aquafornia news Cool Green Science

Blog: A biodiversity analysis in Los Angeles

Two of the most basic questions about biodiversity are “what is it?”, which is the focus of taxonomists, and “where is it?”, which is the realm of biogeographers. Understanding basic patterns in the biogeography of an urban area is the focus of a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. We call our project Biodiversity Analysis in Los Angeles (BAILA).

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

County to start revising streamside ordinance

How do you assess and mitigate the cumulative environmental impacts of future development? That’s the question that Marin’s environmental planners and contracted scientists have been analyzing in the San Geronimo Valley over the past decade, particularly related to the area’s threatened fish populations.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Pair of GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule

Two Midwest Republican senators are pushing a bill to cement changes made by the Trump administration to an Obama-era rule designed to reduce water pollution, bringing a pet project of the Trump administration to Congress. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule has long been controversial within the agriculture community…

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Environmental group says stop killing beavers; Trump administration says OK

The Trump administration has feuded with California over the state’s sanctuary laws, its stricter standards on tailpipe emissions, and the president’s declaration of a national emergency at the border. But apparently there’s one dispute, involving a certain fur-bearing mammal, that the federal government apparently wants no part of.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

Owens Lake, under a microscope

A caravan of scientists, staffers and water watchers wound its way through the maze of roads on Owens Lake last week in search of answers: Are the dust control measures working and will this project ever be done? The answers are yes and probably not, respectively.

Aquafornia news SCVNews.com

Efforts to save federally endangered frogs, tadpoles continue

Close to one thousand Los Angeles Zoo bred mountain yellow-legged frogs and tadpoles will be released into a tributary to Cooper Canyon, located in the Angeles National Forest. Representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Los Angeles Zoo, and Forest Service will release the tadpoles Aug. 14 …

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

The Yolo Bypass: It’s a floodplain! It’s farmland! It’s an ecosystem!

California’s biggest river—the Sacramento—needs a lot of room to spread in big water years. A floodplain project called the Yolo Bypass allows it to flood naturally, while also providing habitat for waterbirds, fish, and other aquatic species. We talked to Ted Sommer, lead scientist for the Department of Water Resources (DWR), about this versatile landscape.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Kaufmann’s watercolor hope is for California’s watery future

Naturalist and artist Obi Kaufmann has made a specialty of pairing information-packed text with gorgeous art. … Kaufmann’s second book, “The State of Water: Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource,” has a narrower though still ambitious focus: California’s rivers, lakes and watersheds, their wildlife, and the ways in which we humans have altered them.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

How California has blocked Trump’s environmental rollbacks

More than halfway through his term, experts say, the president has had almost no lasting impact on California’s major environmental rules despite making broad promises and appointing former industry officials into top jobs. The reason: California, a quasi-country with 40 million people and the world’s fifth-largest economy, has been aggressively passing its own state laws, filing lawsuits against the federal government and cutting deals with other states and countries to go around the Trump White House.

Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

Local group produces Petaluma wetlands field guide

When Marian Parker first began to consider creating a field guide for the Petaluma Wetlands, she had little way of knowing the project would open a whole watershed of opportunity for Petaluma’s wetland educational programs.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Woolsey fire burned habitats for California Red-Legged frogs

Katy Delaney pointed to an open patch of sediment at the base of the canyon. A year ago, pools of cool water gleamed under the sun and frogs basked on their banks. Now, a trickle of water lazed through the mud. And the California red-legged frog, whose fate had consumed eight years of Delaney’s life, was nowhere to be seen.

Aquafornia news San Francisco State University

Blog: SF State team tests surprising new tools for slowing climate change

This month, a group of researchers working out of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus received funding for a five-year study to determine if restoring degraded meadows to their former, more lush state could make these ecosystems more effective tools for slowing the pace of climate change.

Aquafornia news The Coast News

Agreement in place for Buena Vista Lagoon restoration

The decades-long battle to determine the appropriate method to rehabilitate the lagoon appears to have been settled between government agencies and property owners, said Keith Greer, a principal planner for the San Diego Association of Governments during its June 28 board meeting.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Yolo Bypass fish passage project approved

The Department of Water Resources has secured final state and federal approval for a project that will expand a migration corridor for fish to the Yolo Bypass, the Sacramento Valley’s main floodplain. The project is part of the largest floodplain restoration action on the West Coast…

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Special report: The Central Valley’s trashed-out rivers

The Kings River is littered with trash, both in the water, and in the wooded areas surrounding the river. We all know people litter, and that can get caught in the River — but the Kings is also tarnished by shopping carts piled up high, countless tires stacked to form rubber walls, and even a truck, submerged in the same water people swim in.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Coalition of agencies, environmentalists sees future for aging dam

While California contemplates new dams for its thirsty future, it’s also thinking about taking out old ones. Along with advancing plans to demolish three dams atop the Klamath River, there’s a movement to rethink and possibly take out a water and power dam in the Mendocino County back country.

Aquafornia news Crosscut

Drinking responsibly could now mean drinking ‘Salmon-Safe’ beer

An Oregon-based sustainable certification organization, Salmon Safe, encourages farms, vineyards, buildings and even golf courses throughout Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia to mitigate their impacts on salmon habitat by doing things like reducing pollution-heavy stormwater runoff. For a brewery, that means getting its facilities certified or sourcing ingredients from farms that have restored salmon-inhabited streams and limited their use of water and pesticides.

Aquafornia news Glendale News-Press

L.A. River revitalization: Plan to connect Verdugo Mountains, San Rafael Hills unveiled

A plan to connect two ecologically rich areas in Glendale’s Verdugo Wash has been endorsed by officials tasked with revitalizing the upper part of the Los Angeles River.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Secretary Crowfoot talks about the water resilience portfolio, delta conveyance and more

Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot discussed the Governor’s water resilience portfolio and reiterated the Newsom administration’s support for modernized conveyance in the Delta. That was followed by a robust discussion that included Delta conveyance, water storage, emerging contaminants and PFAS, among other things.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

L.A. mayor nominates longtime water expert to MWD board

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Tuesday nominated a longtime water-resources expert for a seat on the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors. Tracy Quinn serves as the California director of water efficiency for the Natural Resources Defense Council and has almost two decades of water policy experience.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: The Trump administration’s latest efforts to hobble the Clean Water Act

Earlier this year, President Trump launched – by executive order, of course – a new process designed to circumscribe dramatically states’ longstanding authority to review applications for federal permits for any activity that may result in a discharge to a water body within a state’s boundaries. That proposal is fundamentally flawed, both on its merits and in the procedures USEPA is using to implement it.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

As flood risks increase across the US, it’s time to recognize the limits of levees

River towns can start by restricting floodplain development so that people and property will not be in harm’s way. This will create space for rivers to spill over in flood season, reducing risks downstream. Proposals to raise and improve levees should be required to take climate change and related flooding risks into account.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt Bay is retaking the land as the sea level rises

Between 1890 and 1910, almost 90% of Humboldt Bay’s salt marshes, about 8,100 acres, were diked and drained for agricultural uses or walled off from tidal inundation with the construction of the Northwest Pacific Railroad. Now … the earthen dikes are beginning to fail, both because they haven’t been maintained and because they aren’t tall enough to hold back the rising tides brought on by rising sea levels.

Aquafornia news Photographic Museum of Humanity

The illusion of limitless water

In black and white, John Trotter documents the use of water from the Colorado River, tackling the social, political, and environmental impact of the way it’s dealt with. Spanning over years and kilometres, his ongoing essay is a dire political outcry.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California Senate Bill 1 a dangerous over-reaction

Proponents have said SB 1 will keep Trump from delivering more water to farms, thereby harming endangered fish. That sentiment is exactly what makes SB 1 so dangerous. It relies on the worn-out trope that California’s water issues boil down to “farms versus fish.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California moves to block Trump from rolling back its environmental protections

There’s a new twist in the California-Trump brawl in the state Legislature. It’s aimed at overriding the president’s power to weaken environmental protections. Put simply, any federal protections President Trump tried to gut would immediately become state regulations in their original, strong form.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Riverine Stewardship Program offers $48 million in competitive grants

The Department of Water Resources released the final guidelines for the Riverine Stewardship Program on July 1, 2019. The grant program supports planning and implementation of projects that restore streams, creeks, and rivers to enhance the environment for fish, wildlife, and people.

Aquafornia news Dredging Today

South San Francisco Bay project: Alviso shoreline works resume

Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water) has resumed pre-construction activities in Alviso, California, delivering on a long-made promise to protect shoreline communities in Santa Clara County from devastating flooding.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards $3 million for restoration projects

Each of the selected projects strike at the heart of the Sierra Nevada watershed improvement program, SNC’s large-scale restoration initiative designed to improve ecosystem and community resilience in the region.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California needs to build Sites Reservoir. Here’s why

We need a broad portfolio of solutions that includes storage above and below ground, conservation, and other options such as traditional recycled and potable reuse to help ensure we can better manage this vital resource when the next inevitable drought comes along. … One part of that solution is the proposed Sites Reservoir.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drought, fish, and water in California

With a big collective sigh of relief, Californians rejoiced that we have largely recovered from 2012-2016 drought. But this is not a time for complacency… This should thus be a time to develop new and better strategies for reducing impacts of severe drought on both natural and developed systems.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Governor and Legislature advance voluntary agreements in the state budget

The Newsom Administration and the State Legislature approved a commitment of $70 million in the 2019-2020 State Budget for a comprehensive series of innovative fish and wildlife habitat enhancement actions identified in the collaborative Bay-Delta Voluntary Agreement proposals. This is a significant, early investment in the success of the Voluntary Agreements.

Tour Nick Gray

Bay-Delta Tour 2020
Field Trip - September 9-11

This tour travels deep into California’s water hub and traverses the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour will make its way to San Francisco Bay and includes a ferry ride. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Rule: Court sides with WOTUS foes as legal fight gets messier

The Obama administration violated the law when it issued its embattled definition of “waters of the United States,” a federal court ruled yesterday. In a long-awaited decision, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas sided with three states and a coalition of agriculture and industry groups that have been trying to take down the joint EPA and Army Corps of Engineers rule since 2015.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s growing demand for recycled water has ripple effects

Wastewater agencies produce highly treated water that is increasingly being reused as a water supply. While it’s still only a small portion of overall water use, the use of recycled water has nearly tripled since the 1980s―and is continuing to rise as water agencies seek to meet the demands of a growing population and improve the resilience of their water supplies.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

SF Bay’s problems fester as regulator neglects responsibility, investigation finds

An investigation into the Bay Conservation and Development Commission found mismanagement and disorganization so rampant that the once-celebrated watchdog agency allegedly neglected its primary responsibility — to protect San Francisco Bay. A state audit of the regulatory agency known as the BCDC describes slow and inefficient enforcement, a huge backlog of cases and an inability to perform key duties.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state’s iconic environmental law

Inside the Capitol’s corridors and pro-development quarters around the state, CEQA is increasingly disparaged as a villain in the state’s housing crisis. … New Gov. Gavin Newsom, to fulfill his hyper-ambitious quota of new housing construction, has called for fast-tracking judicial CEQA review of housing, similar to that granted sports teams building stadiums. But the act’s environmentalist defenders are pushing back.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Golden Gate Bridge district releases environmental report on $2M marsh restoration project in Corte Madera

On a former tidal marsh in Corte Madera that’s blanketed with bay mud and overgrown with invasive grasses, Golden Gate Bridge officials are planning a $2 million restoration project that would bolster habitat for an endangered bird species displaced by the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. The district has released the results of an environmental study of the proposed project and is accepting comments on the report until May 26.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Audit blasts San Francisco Bay watchdog on inaction

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission has “neglected its mission” to protect the bay and surrounding wetlands, the California state auditor reported Tuesday. The commission, which issues permits for activities like boating, dredging and dumping, has a backlog of 230 open enforcement cases, some decades old.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

$1 million grant for Elkhorn Slough to help restore wetlands

Elkhorn Slough has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which will be used to help restore approximately 63 acres—about 83 football fields—of tidal wetlands at the Slough. … Additional funds — equaling a $26.7 million — have been pledged by state and local governments, private landholders, and conservation groups.

Aquafornia news Western Water News

Friday Top of the Scroll: With drought plan in place, Colorado River stakeholders face even tougher talks ahead on river’s future

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. … But as the time for crafting a new set of rules draws near, some river veterans suggest the result will be nothing less than a dramatic re-imagining of how the overworked Colorado River is managed…

Aquafornia news The Log

Poseidon’s restoration obligations on deck at Coastal Commission meeting

Poseidon Water might be fighting for its desalination future in Huntington Beach, but the corporation’s representatives will be in front of the California Coastal Commission for an entirely different matter on May 9: the restoration and conversion of a 90.9-acre salt pond to tidal wetlands and 34.6-acrer Otay River floodplain site in San Diego.

Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: California’s bold step forward into the contentious world of wetlands regulation

In April 2019, the California State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved a comprehensive new legal framework for protecting California’s wetlands. California has lost approximately 90% of its historic wetland areas, which have important water quality, species habitat and other environmental and economic benefits. … California has never had its own comprehensive wetlands protection law.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Trump vs. California, the state is winning nearly all its environmental cases

California’s lawsuits have targeted the administration’s policies on immigration, healthcare and education. But nowhere has the legal battle had a greater impact than on Trump’s agenda of dismantling Obama-era environmental and public health regulations. In its rush to delay, repeal and rewrite rules it considers unduly burdensome to industry, the administration has experienced significant setbacks in court.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The California water model: Resilience through failure

A review of 170 years of water-related successes in California suggests that most successes can be traced directly to past mistakes. California’s highly variable climate has made it a crucible for innovations in water technology and policy.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Finally, California and IID reach agreement on Salton Sea access and liability

The Imperial Irrigation District board of directors voted Tuesday to allow access across its lands for critically needed state wetlands projects at the Salton Sea, designed to tamp down dangerous dust storms and give threatened wildlife a boost. In exchange, California will shoulder the maintenance and operations of the projects, and the state’s taxpayers will cover the costs of any lawsuits or regulatory penalties…

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Aquafornia news The Wildlife Society

Blog: Unique partnership preserves unique California ecosystems

Before California’s Central Valley became known as an agricultural powerhouse, it contained one of the largest expanses of streamside forest and wetland habitat in North America. … Much of that landscape has been transformed into farmland and urban areas, but at the Cosumnes River Preserve, a unique partnership of nonprofits and state, federal and local governments has conserved over 50,000 acres that provide resources for a variety of wildlife.

Aquafornia news High Country News

See the captivating flux of Western alkaline waters

These saltwater landscapes of the West are in a constant flux, transforming from low salinity chartreuses and cyans to alkaline magenta, finally settling into evaporated salty white wastelands. Soaring in a small plane above the landscapes, photographer Aya Okawa captures these unique ecosystems at different stages of their progressions, as salt becomes more concentrated.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

The Napa-Sonoma marshes are rebounding with wildlife

Once one of most extensive wetland areas in North America, the edges of the San Francisco Bay have become covered with farms, industry, and urban areas, squeezing out the marches and their animal and plant occupants. But at the lower end of the Napa River, a remarkable effort is underway to undo a century and half of damage to the once-thriving marshes.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Hundreds of California species at risk of extinction, United Nations report says — in addition to millions globally

In California, there are around 300 species at risk and 346 species in California, Nevada and Southern Oregon combined. A handful of plants and animals have already disappeared from the state, such as the Santa Barbara song sparrow and the the California subspecies of the Grizzly Bear. … About a dozen species are currently at risk of extinction, according to Dan Applebee, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Changes were made to water flow out of Glen Canyon Dam. That led to more bugs in the Colorado River

Ted Kennedy sums up what he sees along the river in the Grand Canyon: “It’s buggy out there.” That is to say, an experiment to change the flow of water from a dam near the Arizona-Utah state line appeared to boost the number of aquatic insects that fish in the Colorado River eat. Scientists are hoping to better understand those results with a second bug flow experiment that started this month and will run through August.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Triumph as rare red-legged frogs return to Yosemite

With no parting glance at their devoted human caretakers, 142 rare red-legged frogs swam to freedom on Friday — one small jump for the frogs but a giant leap for the threatened species. Our official state amphibian, the frogs vanished from these pristine mountain meadows 50 years ago.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California water board faces lawsuit over new wetlands rules

With the Trump administration trudging ahead and re-writing another Obama-era environmental law, wary California regulators last month approved new protections for wetlands in the Golden State. … Hoping to freeze the new wetlands rules, a coalition consisting of several California water suppliers and the city of San Francisco sued the water board late Wednesday in state court. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: It’s OK to stop, take a deep breath with state water policy

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call on Monday for a new comprehensive water plan for California looks like a smart timeout on one of the state’s trickiest and most intractable battlefronts. As with many political hot potatoes, there is no way to make everyone happy when it comes to water management, because the sides have mutually exclusive goals…

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Oysters to defend San Francisco Bay from sea level rise? Marin research shows promising results

While oysters and sea grasses may not immediately stand out as defenders against sea level rise, a five-year test run using oyster reefs and eelgrass beds in the waters off of San Rafael has shown promising results. … Marshlands, reefs and other natural habitats have proven to buffer shorelines from erosion and powerful waves, but human development over the past two centuries has resulted in a substantial loss of these natural defenses.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration unveils plan to open up 1 million California acres to oil drilling

A 174-page environmental report released by the U.S. Interior Department will expedite new extraction on roughly 1 million acres of Central and Southern California, primarily in the historical oil fields around Bakersfield and the deep petroleum deposits near Santa Barbara but potentially in the Sierra Nevada as well.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Federal official blocks water for Walker Lake restoration, conservation group alleges

A federal official is attempting to “obstruct” the flow of water to restore habitat at Walker Lake, the conservancy responsible for administering federal restoration funds alleged in District Court last week. After years of litigation, lawyers for the Walker Basin Conservancy said that “at some point, the court must put a stop to the federal water master’s obstruction.” The receding desert lake outside of Hawthorne is fed by the Walker River, which rises in California and snakes through Western Nevada.

Aquafornia news KESQ

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Salton Sea pelican population declining at startling rate

A new report paints a grim future for birds that rely on the Salton Sea habitat. Audubon California-released report uses bird-monitoring data from several different sources to show just how the destruction of the Salton Sea ecological habitat has decimated the populations of both pelicans and cormorants endemic to the area.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Restoring California’s great estuary

For centuries, the Delta was a dynamic and rich ecosystem of tidal wetlands, riparian forests, and vast seasonal floodplains. But about 98 percent of the native habitat disappeared after the Gold Rush and a population boom across the Golden State.

Aquafornia news KABC Los Angeles

Lincoln Heights park’s green design helps improve LA’s water quality

Ten-acre Albion Riverside Park can get a lot done. The green infrastructure built into the park can clean the stormwater that goes through it, capture pollutants and release it into groundwater basins. The price tag on the park is about $40 million. The new park sits on the old Downey Recreational Center and the Swiss Dairy site, bringing new athletic fields and more to the community.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How much hip can the desert absorb?

Should the state of California honor a commitment made in 2003 to restore the Salton Sea, despite moving water away from the area to thirsty coastal cities? Or should this artificial, long-festering sea be left alone to dry up entirely? While politicians have dithered, Bombay Beach’s atmospheric decay has drawn filmmakers, novelists and other artists who marvel at the thriving community hidden inside seemingly derelict properties.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Rising waters of the state and receding waters of the U.S.

While you may have heard about the Trump administration’s attempts to narrow the scope of Waters of the United States (WOTUS), California is expanding its regulations, including broadening the definition of wetlands subject to permitting requirements. … Projects impacting California surface waters and wetlands that are outside federal jurisdiction will now need state authorization under new and more expansive rules. 

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Endangered wetlands offer vital wildlife habitat and, often, a reason to fight about coastal development

In Orange and Los Angeles counties, more than 90 percent of the estuaries, lagoons and other coastal waters that existed in the 19th century have been lost to roads, buildings and other development. But what remains provides a crucial habitat for resident animals and migrating birds, including several endangered species.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Headwaters

I am standing where stream flow begins, in a nameless tributary of the Russian River to the east of Hopland, California. This particular spot and location has been a grazing livestock ranch, primarily sheep, going back more than 100 years. This is one of thousands of spots in the watershed where water comes to the surface, joins in a channel, and starts its path downstream.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: EPA won’t regulate pollution that moves through groundwater

EPA won’t regulate any pollution to surface waters that passes through groundwater. … If pollution travels through groundwater, EPA says, it “breaks the causal chain” between a source of pollution and surface waters. That could affect regulation of pollution from a variety of sources, including seepage from coal ash and manure management ponds, sewage collection systems, septic system discharges, and accidental spills and releases.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Fifteen AGs slam Trump move to limit federal authority under Clean Water Act

Attorneys general from 14 states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday vehemently opposed the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back a regulation known as Waters of the United States, a move they said would end federal oversight of 15 percent of streams and more than half of the nation’s wetlands.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

U.S. presidential candidate Warren wants drilling, mining banned on federal lands

U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said on Monday she would ban all fossil fuel extraction on federal land and in coastal waters, setting herself apart from a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls who have made climate change a central campaign issue but have yet to outline specific policies.

Aquafornia news KQED News

‘There’s so much here that’s still alive’: Young filmmakers document a dying Salton Sea

Massive fish-die offs. Dead birds. A toxic stench. Bryan Mendez and Olivia Rodriguez are dissatisfied that those sad facts are the only things most Californians ever hear about the Salton Sea, one of the largest inland seas in the world.  

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Removing the plants that clog the Salinas River

The tall, bamboo-like plants clustered in dense thickets along sections of the Salinas River in the Salinas Valley have long attracted the attention of those who have strolled in that area. Green and stately with long, sword-like leaves, they belong to a species known as Arundo donax, or more commonly, giant cane. … But the plant is a nuisance and local officials have decided to do something about it.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Environmentalists, lawmakers find compromise on water pipeline bill

Environmental groups have dropped their opposition to a bill they had originally blasted as a way for the state to green-light a controversial plan to pipe water from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas after the bill was amended last week. … But AB30 was altered significantly enough on Wednesday to allow those groups to feel comfortable enough to now say they are neutral on the bill.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

This toad’s sex life hinges on finding the perfect pool

The Yosemite toad is considered endangered, and its numbers are falling. Scientists say the amphibian chytrid fungus is one reason, but climate change also may contribute to some pools drying up before tadpoles mature.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

The Living Landscape: The western pond turtle

All along the lazy Lake County shorelines of creeks, ponds and lakes you may be able to sneak up on Western pond turtles to observe their slow-motion antics. … Besides watery places of residence, however, they require a terrestrial habitat to thrive. For instance, if the turtles’ resident pond or marsh dries up seasonally or in a drought, they might end up living outside of their aquatic environment for two-thirds of a year.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior: Bernhardt faces hefty to-do list

Bernhardt has a roster to fill, with gaping vacancies in key positions. He’s got, by his own account, a departmental ethics program to fix and an ambitious reorganization scheme that critics decry or simply dismiss. He’ll have to cope with a multibillion-dollar national parks maintenance backlog and thread the needle with an offshore drilling plan. And as he’s already discovered during his short stint as acting secretary, he faces opposition from Democratic lawmakers in control of the House.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Los Angeles’ water supply in good shape for the year

The Eastern Sierra snowpack that feeds the Los Angeles Aqueduct was measured this month at 171% of normal and is expected to meet 70 percent of the city’s annual water needs. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Friday the aqueduct will flow at or near full capacity for much of the next 12 months, providing about 119 billion gallons (450.4 billion liters).

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Garbage in, garbage out: Sacramento’s Salton Sea restoration plan

At its core, the ill-advised attempt to “restore” the Salton Sea is nothing short of environmental malpractice. It will inevitably fail at a very high cost to both wildlife and taxpayers, succeeding only in perpetuating a hazardous condition.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

David Bernhardt confirmed as Interior secretary despite ethics concerns

David Bernhardt, President Trump’s pick to the lead the Interior Department, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday amid persistent ethical concerns and doubts about his independence from the energy and water industry groups he long represented as a lobbyist.

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Aquafornia news Ag Alert

State wetlands policy returns to original intent

More than a decade in the making, a new state definition of wetlands will likely take effect early next year—as will procedures intended to protect them from dredge-and-fill activities. The State Water Resources Control Board adopted final amendments to the state wetland policy last week, after including changes that moved it closer to its original intent of limiting its application to agriculture.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: Using flood water for managed aquifer recharge

“Flood-MAR” is a resource management strategy that uses flood water for managed aquifer recharge (MAR) on agricultural lands, working landscapes, and managed natural landscapes. At the March meeting of the California Water Commission, a panel discussed Flood MAR with a focus on using agricultural lands for groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Five years later, effects of Colorado River pulse flow still linger

All this reliance on an overallocated river has left its final hundred miles as the ultimate collateral damage. Since the early 1960s, when Glen Canyon Dam impounded the river near Page, Arizona, it has rarely reached the Pacific Ocean. The thread is frayed beyond recognition, leaving no water for the river itself.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Editorial: SB307 goes against California’s water needs

Senate Bill 307 prohibits water transfers unless two agencies agree that the transfers do not harm state and federal desert lands. But it’s really about one thing: stopping the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project. … The Cadiz project has been thoroughly vetted and meets an important need. It’s time legislators let it proceed.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As the Colorado River Basin dries, can an accidental oasis survive?

The wetland is fed by a concrete canal that removes drainage water from American farms across the border in Arizona. … But there’s a problem. As the Colorado River basin heats up and dries out like climate projections predict, Juan Butrón-Méndez is concerned people will stop thinking of the water that flows to the wetland as waste, find a way to use it and, in turn, harm the Ciénega.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

For long-term water supply, U.S. officials look to Mexico

An increasing number of solutions to California and Arizona’s long-term water problems now involve Mexico. Some of the ideas are seemingly far-fetched, like a pipeline to bring water from the Gulf of California to the Salton Sea in Imperial County. Some are already happening, like Mexico agreeing to reduce its water use in the event of a Colorado River shortage. … That stands in contrast not only to recent threats by President Donald Trump to shut down the border, but some existing water projects.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

Western bird species are struggling in face of rapidly changing climate

New research finds that climate change is putting stress on wetlands in the West’s Great Basin and that is putting pressure on bird populations navigating the Pacific Flyway. Changing water conditions linked to climate change are impacting the wetland habitats that waterbirds rely on. The basin includes most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Arizona, Oregon and the eastern edge of California.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Opinion: Rain, like a tax refund, should be banked for the future

Our predecessors settled in a valley bordered by mountains that increase the rainfall and help store water as melted snow underground. They also experienced drought and, in response, they thoughtfully set aside thousands of acres of land needed to capture and replenish the primary source of the water they needed, underground.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand

Blog: After years of handwringing and negotiations, California Water Board adopts state wetland definition and procedures for discharges

Among other ramifications, the new procedures largely duplicate (and in some respects are inconsistent with) federal procedures, but add a significant new layer to the already byzantine regulatory process for permitting projects that involve fill of federal and state waters and wetlands.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

New recreational amenities, restored marshland proposed for Fiesta Island

San Diego officials are proposing a variety of upgrades to Mission Bay Park’s Fiesta Island including new parks, playgrounds, volleyball courts, marsh areas and habitat preserves. The proposed master plan for the mostly undeveloped 470-acre island is envisioned as a balance between improving the island and retaining its rural ambiance, city officials said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Protect the state’s environmental legacy from Trump’s onslaughts

His departments and agencies have moved to weaken or eliminate dozens of protections, and the rollbacks are coming so fast it’s not always possible for the state to keep up. It’s not for lack of trying. On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board approved new standards to protect California’s wetlands and seasonal streams and ponds that are slated to lose their current federal protection under the Clean Water Act as part of the Trump administration’s rollbacks.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Preserving protection for California’s vital wetlands

Under the Clean Water Act, states are allowed to enforce rules more stringent than federal standards. On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted rules that largely mirror the federal regulations the Trump administration plans to repeal. California’s new rules had been in the works since 2008, but the process took on added urgency when the Trump administration announced its intention to relax federal wetlands protections.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: California adopts new, welcome wetlands protection rules

This week California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted important new rules to protect the state’s remaining wetlands resources. Enacted after over a decade of Board hearings, workshops and deliberation, those rules are overdue, welcome and critically necessary. Their adoption is particularly timely now, given the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on and erosion of federal programs designed to protect our nation’s wetlands under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Fremont’s protected vernal pools wriggle with life

Our soggy spring has been a big boost to these so-called “vernal ponds,” ephemeral bodies of water which play a critical role in preservation of threatened and endangered creatures… The team found larvae of the threatened California tiger salamander in 28 of the 58 pools they monitor. The endangered vernal pool tadpole shrimp was found in 49 of these pools. That’s the third-highest tally in recent years.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Mexico-US talks focus on fixes for failing sewer systems on the border

Mexican and American officials met in Mexico City this week to talk about fixing a costly set of problems that have sprung up along the border: failing sewer systems that send raw sewage spilling into rivers. … Roberto Salmón, Mexico’s commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, said border cities from Tijuana to Matamoros need a total of about 10 billion pesos, or $520 million, “just to bring the sanitary systems up to speed, to correct the problems.”

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Aquafornia news Capital Press

Opinion: Now is the time to weigh in on proposed Clean Water Rule

Now EPA and the Corps want to hear directly from members of the public — including farmers, ranchers, landowners and others who may be subject to regulation — to make sure the new Clean Water Rule provides clear and easily understood guidelines. But with the comment period on the proposed new rule closing on April 15, there’s no time to lose.

Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: CalEPA Secretary Blumenfeld on Governor Newsom’s water & climate priorities

As Secretary, Jared Blumenfeld oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. … Blumenfeld joined TPR for an exclusive interview to discuss the administration’s priorities…

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Restoring mountain meadows to benefit water supply

To prepare for the dry years that will come again as well as an uncertain future, healthy mountain watersheds will be key to our water supply. While the importance of forests to these watersheds is well known, new research suggests that meadows are valuable too. Meadows are like sponges, soaking up snowmelt in the spring and releasing it through the dry season.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea gains protections, IID board president says

Excluded from a Southwestern drought pact, the Imperial Irrigation District won a small victory on Tuesday when federal legislators included protections for the Salton Sea that were left out of previous drafts of the agreement.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California adopts new wetlands rules to protect them from Trump rollbacks

California regulators voted Tuesday to strengthen state safeguards for thousands of wetlands and streams that are about to lose federal protections in a Trump administration rollback of the Clean Water Act. … The new state rules will insulate California from Washington’s efforts to drop regulations that prevent the destruction of isolated wetlands and seasonal streams.

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Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Bombay Beach Biennale focuses artists’ energy in effort to save Salton Sea

The use of public art to bring about social change created the interactive art event called the “Bombay Beach Biennale” on the shores of the Salton Sea. Organizers hope to bring attention to the long-ignored environmental issue facing the region, once one of the premier tourist destinations in Southern California.

Aquafornia news Western City Magazine

California’s public trust doctrine draws attention in the courts

Modern interpretations of the public trust are said to have originated from a sixth-century Roman law that asserted, “[b]y the law of nature these things are common to mankind — the air, running water, the sea and consequently the shores of the sea.”

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Vernal pools: Rains bring to life mini-ecosystem

Alongside auto wrecking yards and shipping centers off state Route 905, a pop-up world has emerged with some of the strangest creatures to swim in six inches of water. Here aquatic plants grow next to cacti, and animals that have waited for decades in the dust come to life. In this Otay Mesa preserve are some of San Diego’s vernal pools, fleeting water bodies that appear and vanish over the course of a season.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Water Resources Control Board must act to protect wetlands

In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act, which included a program designed to preserve the nation’s dwindling wetlands. This federal program has never been wholly successful in achieving that goal. … California has the ability to fill this alarming regulatory gap, at least here in the Golden State.

Aquafornia news The Eastsider

New Lincoln Heights park provides green space and cleans water, too

On Saturday officials held a grand opening ceremony for the $44-million Albion Riverside Park — the city’s newest greenspace. The triangular six-acre site next to the L.A. River at Spring Street includes playing fields, walking trails, restrooms, playgrounds, parking and an outdoor fitness center. But the park will also do double-duty as a giant filter to clean storm drain water before it flows in the adjacent L.A. River.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Fight against invasive plants at Bolsa Chica Wetlands expands to nearby state beach

Conservationists and weekend volunteers have toiled in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands for years, weeding out invasive plants and replanting native vegetation squeezed out by the invaders. … Now, these wildlife custodians are expanding their botanical battle across Pacific Coast Highway to the sand dunes of Bolsa Chica State Beach. After all, no matter how many enemy plants are removed from the wetlands, ocean winds will carry more seeds from  non-native plants growing in the dunes.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Farmers who disputed frog-focused habitat lose suit

Nearly 2 million acres designated as critical habitat for three imperiled frog species survived a court challenge Wednesday by California farmers. The Fish and Wildlife Service had designated the land in 2016 under the Endangered Species Act to protect two high-altitude species — the mountain yellow-legged frog and the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog — as well as Yosemite toads.

Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: Martha Davis: Using sustainable landscapes to address climate change & drought

TPR interviewed Martha Davis, a co-author on the Sustainable Landscapes on Commercial and Industrial Properties in the Santa Ana River Watershed report, about the potential for landscaping changes to capture stormwater, reduce flooding, and improve water quality. … Davis also comments on California water policies under the new Governor Newsom administration. A brief excerpt of the report follows the interview.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

A nemesis of California environmentalists gains new powers, but also new foes

Democrats and their allies are moving to push back against a former lobbyist and frequent foe of California environmentalists who is on his way to becoming the next secretary of the Interior Department. They don’t have the power to block Trump nominee David Bernhardt, but they do have far more ability to oppose his agenda than they had for the last two years, when he served as the powerful deputy secretary of the department.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Beat cops of the Bay: How the nonprofit group Baykeeper monitors polluters in Bay Area waters

This may be the bleakest shoreline in the Bay Area, and it isn’t just the industrial infrastructure that gives character to this place. Floating trash has collected along the docks, and the waters are contaminated by the loading and unloading of vast amounts of fossil fuels. A sign posted to a piling warns fishers not to eat anything they catch here.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Environmentalists and winemakers square off in Napa Valley

“The community is miserably divided,” said Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon during a meeting on Tuesday. Dillon and her four fellow board members were tasked with crafting and approving the Water Quality and Tree Protection Ordinance, a controversial new law that seeks to conserve trees and forested areas while improving water quality for the many creeks that feed the Napa River.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Rising seas bring rising water management challenges

Major new efforts to manage runoff and protect existing homes and businesses will be needed. Sea level rise will also affect water management in other ways. One area is wastewater treatment. Throughout coastal California and particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, wastewater and stormwater treatment takes place in facilities that are currently at or near sea level. Water supply will also be affected. Many coastal aquifers will see increases in salinity …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Aquarium of the Pacific CEO drives bold vision in climate change-focused expansion

In California, [Jerry] Schubel saw an opportunity to turn the energy, food and water issues facing the state into a sustainable model showing how people can live in harmony with the Earth and the ocean, and thrive. That model required deep collaboration, a commitment to educational resources for the public and an aquarium willing to take a risk.

Aquafornia news Paradise Post

New flood plain near Hamilton City gets first test when river rises

As the Sacramento River rose in late February and early March due to a series of storms, it spilled over and flooded several hundred acres of recently planted fields south of Hamilton City. Just the way it was planned. The river poured through a gap that had been opened in the old J Levee and flooded a habitat restoration project between the riverbank and a new levee that had been built, set back from the river a mile or so.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How California is defying Trump’s environmental rollbacks

State officials are throwing up legal barriers to some high-stakes attacks. … They are refusing to issue permits the federal government needs to build a controversial dam project… And they can use state water quality standards to limit Washington’s ability to boost irrigation supplies for Central Valley agriculture by relaxing federal safeguards for endangered fish.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

UC Santa Cruz biologist finds climate change and drought threaten small mountain streams in the Sierra

Small mountain streams and the vibrant ecosystems they support were hit hard by the historic California drought of 2012 to 2015. Researchers monitoring aquatic life in Sierra Nevada streams observed significant declines in the numbers of aquatic insects and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates during the drought.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

As Trump tries to roll back clean water rules, California seeks stronger protections

The Trump administration and California are at odds over what water bodies should be protected from new development. Each is pursuing its own regulatory policy.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

California works to head off another season of deadly fires

It’s inevitable. Every year, big swaths of California will burn. The question now that spring is here is how bad it will be. If recent history is any guide, this year’s wildfire season could be grim, despite a new push by state officials to keep flames at bay. For all of its lush redwood forests and snow-capped peaks, most of the Golden State is semi-arid… And a shifting climate has been delivering ever hotter summer weather.

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Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Colorado water officials start studying statewide program to reduce water use

The directors of the Colorado Water Conservation Board voted Thursday to start exploring the feasibility of a demand-management program as part of a larger effort to manage falling water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead and avoid violating the Colorado River Compact.

Aquafornia news KQED

Opinion: The Creek

Water gives us life, and water does not come easily to California. It made sense to invite it to stay a while and help nurture our Gravensteins, our white figs and pear. So I’ve spent months cutting back bramble and digging out blackberry. The creek has become my workout video. I spend mornings contemplating the flow of water and noticing what mushrooms grow in the leaf litter, what animal prints inscribe the mud.

Aquafornia news UC Santa Cruz

Blog: Climate change and drought threaten small mountain streams in the Sierra Nevada

Small mountain streams and the vibrant ecosystems they support were hit hard by the historic California drought of 2012 to 2015. Researchers monitoring aquatic life in Sierra Nevada streams observed significant declines in the numbers of aquatic insects and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates during the drought.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: Government meddling in groundwater creates more problems

Move over global warming or cooling, California has a new environmental disaster called groundwater. And where there’s an emergency, we have ambulance-chasing regulators and lawmakers with bureaucratic fixes. Why are we having groundwater problems? It’s plain and simple: Groundwater is replacing surface water.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Residents see zero progress at Salton Sea, but new officials say it’s time to turn the page

Another group of top state officials visited the Salton Sea this week to promise that this time, things will be different and progress will be made to restore the fast-drying water body. … Newly appointed water board chairman E. Joaquin Esquivel, who grew up in nearby La Quinta and fished in the lake as a boy, said he shares residents’ and longtime experts’ frustrations, and feels personally accountable to family members who still live in the area, as well as the communities around the lake.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Water managers decry blind eye for shrinking Salton Sea

Residents and officials who packed a yacht club on the north shore of the Salton Sea on Tuesday vented their anger about what they perceive as unnecessary delays and obfuscations about the environmental and public health disaster unfolding here. The California Water Resources Control Board held the workshop at the North Shore Yacht and Beach Club to both inform the public and garner opinions of residents living in proximity to the sea, which is rapidly vanishing into the desert.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Once again in Redwood City, a battle brews over Cargill’s land

A move by the Environmental Protection Agency could revive the contentious plan to develop 1,400 acres of Redwood City shoreline owned by Cargill Salt, which operates an industrial plant there. The EPA removed one barrier to development earlier this month by ruling that the area is not subject to restrictions in the federal Clean Water Act. That puts the EPA at loggerheads with environmentalists, who want to convert the land back to tidal wetlands.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Climate change alters habitat for migratory birds in California, Idaho

Every year, millions of waterbirds migrating from Alaska to Patagonia take a break from that epic journey to rest, eat and breed in a stretch of wetlands spanning six Western states called the Great Basin. A warming climate has made that migration more challenging by altering how mountain snowmelt flows into the network of lakes and rivers stretching from the Sierra Nevada to the Rockies, according to a new study.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

One increasingly popular way to control floods: Let the water come

When a wild river floods, water and sediment spills over its banks onto adjacent land, it builds up a natural floodplain. Floodplains allow a river’s high flows to spread out and slow down, forming temporary reservoirs that pool over the rainy season. That means more water percolating down into underlying aquifers … and less floodwaters barreling toward cities.

Aquafornia news Martinez News-Gazette

Building a better view of Moorhen Marsh

Otters, birds, and turtles might be the last animals you would expect to find living next door to the Interstate 680 toll-plaza. But, tucked between the freeway, an oil refinery and a wastewater facility hides an oasis on the mend. … The 21-acre constructed wetland is in the middle of an industrial zone and is part of the Mt. View Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant. “It’s the very first wetland on the west coast to use treated wastewater to create wetlands,” explained district biologist Kelly Davidson.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Now is California’s chance to save the Salton Sea

On Tuesday, March 19, the California Water Resources Control Board will hold a session on the North Shore to hear from state officials about their progress addressing the many issues related to the Salton Sea. This is a good opportunity for these officials to break through the remaining obstacles to progress at the Salton Sea and find a productive way forward.

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