Front Page News:

State Aims to Exterminate Nutria Problem in San Joaquin Delta

From CBS Sacramento (CBS13) – Giant river rodents are damaging water projects and infrastructure in the San Joaquin Delta, officials say. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is now asking for nearly $2 million to track and kill the rodents, known as nutria or coypu. Native to South America, nutria first showed up in Merced County in 2017 before making their way north. The creatures look a lot like a large rat, but they are more closely related to guinea pigs. It is not clear how they got into the state. Being a semi-aquatic rodent, nutria are now being found in wetlands, rivers canals and other freshwater habitats in Merced, Fresno and Stanislaus counties, according to the CDFW. Along with damaging habitat and infrastructure, officials are also concerned about degraded water quality as a result of nutria infestations.



From ACWA – The Little Hoover Commission on Feb. 7 released the 2017-2018 edition of its biennial Economy and Efficiency Report, which includes a summary of past recommendations, implementation progress during the past two years and follow-up recommendations.

In the category of Natural Resources and Water, the commission reiterates its recommendation from 2010 that California remove the State Water Project from the Department of Water Resources and state government control. It further recommends that DWR be converted into a broader-scale Department of Water Management that retains all functions of DWR, plus oversees water rights. (more)

Midweek California storm to bury Sierra Nevada under yards of snow, bring flooding risk

From AccuWeather – One of the more potent storms of the winter will hit California with heavy rain, excessive high country snow and gusty winds from Tuesday night to Thursday night. The worst of the storm is forecast to focus on Central and Northern California with a heightened threat of flooding, mudslides, erosion, power outages and avalanches and road-closing snowfall in the mountains. (more)

New Scale Will Measure Atmospheric Rivers In California From 1 To 5, Like Hurricanes

From the L.A. Times – On Tuesday, researchers announced a new scale to describe the strength of atmospheric river storms, weather events that cause many of the West Coast’s heaviest rains. Unlike other scales that focus on potential damage — such as the Fujita scale for tornadoes or the Saffir-Simpson scale for hurricanes — the atmospheric river scale will also characterize how beneficial storms can be for the water supply among California and other Western states, according to UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It was created in collaboration with the Department of Water Resources and the National Weather Service. (more)

Feinstein, Harris Introduce Bill to Establish Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area

From the Office of Senator Feinstein – Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris (both D-Calif.) today introduced the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Acta billto establish California’s first National Heritage Area. “The Delta is one of the most productive and ecologically important watersheds in the country,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our bill recognizes the Delta’s important contributions to California and helps secure additional resources to protect its rich culture and history. Establishing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area will ensure future generation can enjoy everything this region has to offer.” (more)

The Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project

Allen Young, DWR – At 59,000 acres, the Yolo Bypass can hold four times the capacity of water as the Sacramento River. The primary trigger for river releases into the bypass is the Fremont Weir, a 1.8-mile concrete wall that automatically overtops when the Sacramento River reaches a designated high-water mark. Water flows over the weir every two out of three years on average. Built in 1924 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Fremont Weir has been hailed as a simple yet impressive feat in sustainable flood protection and engineering. The Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project is one of many restoration and infrastructure improvements within the Yolo Bypass aimed at boosting salmon survival rates. Other projects include the Wallace Weir Adult Fish Rescue Facility, the Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project, and the Lower Putah Creek Restoration Project. (more)

Survey Shows Areas of Land Subsidence in the Sacramento Valley

From Dept. of Water Resources – Data shows most of the valley has experienced little to no subsidence over the past nine years, with some exceptions. New data released today measure changes in land subsidence in the Sacramento Valley over the past nine years, finding the greatest land surface declines near the city of Arbuckle in Colusa County. (more)

Area congressmen introduce flood insurance for farmers act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) reintroduced legislation to provide farmers access to discounted rates under the National Flood Insurance Program. The Congressmen’s bipartisan Flood Insurance for Farmers Act of 2019 (H.R.830) would also lift the de facto federal prohibition on structures construction and repair of agricultural in high flood-risk areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “Sacramento Valley families have been farming the floodplain for generations, and my bill with Congressman LaMalfa ensures that growers can get more affordable flood insurance that takes into account the levees they pay to maintain,” said Garamendi. (more)

WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS – Hamilton City leads California in a new approach to managing rivers.

From Pacific Standard– Jose Puente’s boots were on, his slicker ready by the door. It was New Year’s Eve, 1994, and rain was drumming hard and fast on the flat, metal roof of the Hamilton City Fire Hall. Across town the Sacramento River was swelling by an inch an hour in the channel that bends around the rural community 90 miles north of California’s state capital. Puente, the town’s fire chief at the time, had already sent firefighters door-to-door to evacuate the community’s nearly 2,000 residents. As midnight approached, he and two volunteers headed out to the J Levee, the only bulwark between the river and Hamilton City. A few minutes later, Puente stood at the edge of the levee and watched as uprooted trees plummeted down the channel toward Sacramento, and waters raged just a few feet from the top of the barrier. Muddy swirls of water boiled out on the riverside of the 13-foot-high earthen berm. If the J Levee broke, Hamilton City would be in the direct path of the flood. (more)

Public Comment Period Opens for Riverine Stewardship Program

From CA Dept. of Water Resources– The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced the opening of the public comment period for the Riverine Stewardship Program: San Joaquin Fish Population Enhancement Program (SJFPEP) & Urban Streams Restoration Program (USRP) Grants Draft Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP). The public comment period began on January 28, 2019 and will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2019. Following review of the public comments, DWR will release the final guidelines and solicit proposals. (more)