Matt Weiser, from Water Deeply
An initial review by the California Water Commission slashed the ‘public benefits’ claimed by project applicants, prompting outrage in some quarters. Others say the process is working exactly as voters intended. If California taxpayers are going to spend $2.7 billion on new water storage projects, the projects had better come with many more environmental benefits. (read more)
The Central Valley Flood Protection Board began its tour with briefings in Reclamation District 108’s Conference Room in Grimes, CA. Briefings included a presentation by Sustainable Conservation on how they could help, utilizing programmatic permits, projects get permitted and possibly funded more quickly.
The four other site visits looked at damage, and repair in some cases, to levees and other problems that resulted from last year’s storms and high water events, such as seepage, boils, stability issues, and a huge tree removal project.
Another briefing covered the critical need for, and construction of, the Wallace Weir Fish Rescue Facility to free the many salmon that were getting trapped in a drain. Wallace Weir Fish Rescue Facility was the last site visit on the tour.
A deal was worked out between the Yuba County Water Agency and Yuba County at the end of 2016 to refinance levee bonds issued in 2008. At the time, the deal was expected to save about a half million each year, but recent figures show savings have exceeded officials’ initial expectations. “The savings benefit the entire county as it reduces the County’s and YCWA’s annual debt service obligation, which allows the YCWA to further its flood control objectives in the region,” Mull said. (Read more…)
Article by Jake Abbott, Appeal Democrat – Photograph courtesy of Jennifer Bale
From the Fresno Bee, by Brianna Calix: As work to restore the San Joaquin River continues, scientists are seeing promising signs that salmon can thrive in the river as hatchery fish reach new milestones.
A recent breakthrough came in fall 2017, when spring-run Chinook salmon created their nests, called redds, in the colder parts of the river below Friant Dam. The fish successfully spawned, laying eggs that incubated and hatched into tiny fry as the sexually mature fish died, part of the species’ unusual life cycle. (more)
From Voice of San Diego: The news, as it often does, has been bouncing back and forth from extreme to extreme — historic drought, historic snowfall, historic fires, fatal floods and mudslides. That’s the nature of California’s climate. A common saying among water officials is that there’s no average year in California. Of course, when they add up rainfall and snowfall records, there is an average. But that average obscures savage fluctuations between bone-dry years and years of floods and landslides. (more)
From NOAA Headquarters and phys.org: As farmers in the American West decide what, when and where to plant, and urban water managers plan for water needs in the next year, they want to know how much water their community will get from melting snow in the mountains. This melting snow comes from snowpack, the high elevation reservoir of snow which melts in the spring and summer. Agriculture depends on snowpack for a majority of its water. Meltwater also contributes to municipal water supply; feeds rivers and streams, boosting fisheries and tourism; and conditions the landscape, helping lessen the effects of drought and wildfires. (more)
From Water Deeply: Interview with Jamesine Rogers Gibson of the Union of Concerned Scientists
Across California, droughts, floods, and fires are straining the state’s aging infrastructure. Jamesine Rogers Gibson of the Union of Concerned Scientists says the state needs to prepare infrastructure for the uncertain impacts of climate change. (Read more…)
The nine members of the California Water Commission have been tasked with deciding how to award the $2.7 billion in Prop 1 funds slated to pay for the public benefits of water storage projects, and competition is pretty fierce. Eleven storage projects have filed applications for the Water Storage Investment Program (Read more…)
From Sacramento Bee Opinion: Doris Matsui
With the winter season officially begun – and with climate change manifesting itself in ever more frequent and destructive events – it is more important than ever that the Sacramento region continue making smart investments in our flood protection. As the spillway illustrates, our region has come a long way over the last few decades in improving our flood control infrastructure. But we must continue to respect the enormity of our challenge. Because of Sacramento’s location at the confluence of two great rivers, we can’t take anything for granted, particularly as climate change accelerates. Read more HERE
At the Central Valley Flood Protection Board’s November Board Meeting, the Board presented a resolution of appreciation to David Thomas, who is retiring from the USACE. Mr. Thomas directed the last three phases of the Joint Federal Project at the Folsom Dam, a cooperative effort between the USACE, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Water Resources, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency to reduce flood risk for our area. Under Mr. Thomas’s directorship, the project was successfully completed years ahead of schedule, and at a much lower cost than expected. Congratulations Mr. Thomas….and thank you!